I currently have 2 girls who are 17 months and 33 months, and a baby boy who is due in 3 weeks. There are days when I absolutely panic about having 3 under 3 years, but most days I am confident that we will survive. Not only survive, but we will thrive. Ultimately my confidence comes from Christ because I know He gives me strength to face the day, but the day to day battle plan confidence comes from Babywise.
I have followed the principles of Babywise since day 1 with my first daughter. Many people criticize me “scheduling” my baby, but I find freedom in it. I think routine is a better word because we are not always right on schedule according to the clock, but I do plan a specific time schedule. I know when to plan appointments or other outings so my children will be at their best- not too tired or hungry. I enjoy spending all day every day with my children because our days are structured with a variety of activities including independent playtime, playtime together, learning time, chores, naps, etc. I also know that when things don’t go according to the schedule, I can rearrange things to make it work for us. We don’t always do things the exact same way, but my children know what to expect most days and I think this makes life easier for them. My husband and I took trip for our anniversary when our oldest was 8 months old and the family members that kept her were amazed at how well she did. They had always questioned my scheduling and thought I was too strict with it. However, they realized that she thrived on that schedule. She knew what to expect and she naturally fell into the schedule I had set for her. That is because I set it according to her needs, not my own desires. I majored in Early Childhood Education in college and every class talked about routine and structure (a schedule) being good for young children. I believe the same is true for babies.
When my second daughter was born I planned her schedule around my first daughter’s schedule, and it made the transition SO much easier. Not every day went according to plan because sometimes babies want to eat sooner than I think or don’t sleep as long as I would like, but our days were fairly smooth. I had one-on-one time with each child which helped tremendously with the adjustment to having a new baby; for both mom and the older child. I even believe this scheduling is what helped me achieve my nursing goals with my second child. I only nursed for 5 months with my first and really wanted to nurse #2 a full year. I was able to schedule naps or activities for my toddler so I was free to focus on the baby during nursing times. I am happy to say that I was able to nurse #2 for a full year!
I have done the same planning to prepare for #3. I have scheduled naps, independent playtime, tv time, etc for my girls around when the baby should eat so I can concentrate on each child’s needs. I can be easily overwhelmed with too much going on around me and Babywise helps me balance the needs of my children. My schedule gives me time to focus on each child individually and collectively, while still getting rest for myself and maintaining the needs of my home. I truly don’t know how I would function without the principles of Babywise to fall back on.
When most people hear Babywise they think sleep training and cry it out. Yes, the first Babywise book talks mostly about getting your baby on a schedule/ routine, but there is SO much more to the series. I strongly encourage parents to not stop after the first book. As my girls are getting older (1.5 and 3 years) I am able to see some of the benefits of the books beyond Babywise (Toddlerwise, Preschoolwise, etc).
If I notice a behavior problem at home, I am able to go to the books and see where I have become lax in my parenting. One of my favorite ideas is parenting within the funnel- not allowing your child too many freedoms too early. This helps me make daily decisions about what is and is not ok for my child to do. Of course, this idea depends so much on the child and what they can personally handle. Many of the ideas in these books seem like common sense, but yet also so profound. They are simple, yet effective. I recommend the whole series to anyone who seems interested.