Babywise: Our Choice & Journey Through 6 Months

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When Pat and I were looking for parenting programs and methods there was one that kept coming up- Babywise. It seemed a handful of my friends were either doing it or had successfully done it with their kids so we were definitely interested in reading about it and potentially implementing it.

It didn't take long into reading before we were hooked. Babywise aligned with what we were looking for with scheduling and although we knew the importance of sleep with Tiny girl we never knew how pertinent it was until we read the book. So, we decided to dive in.

Full disclosure, Babywise is no walk in the park. It is challenging. You have to be strict with yourself and baby, embrace the challenge and know that every phase is temporary and remember the long term goal. I wish I could go back and tell myself that. It takes time, but slowly each and every day IT BEGINS TO WORK.

Aveline was sleeping 6 consecutive hours at night by her two month mark, and all the way through the night at her three month mark. At four months we were able to adjust her schedule over some trial and error and now at five months she is consistently going to bed at 7:30 pm and WE wake her up at 7:30 am. She gets twelve hours of sleep, Patrick and I have almost 3 hours together before we go to bed each night, and we're getting enough sleep to feel refreshed!

To be honest, parenthood has been simply amazing because I have never in six months felt drained or that I was over-exhausted. Babywise teaches infants to "learn their nights", meaning separate the nights from the days, early on. Sleep is so important for a child, and a family as a whole. It helps with proper development and growth- mentally and physically. Sleep is also important for mom and dad, especially with mom's recovery from labor and delivery and while she's breastfeeding.

A few facts about Babywise, things that have worked for us throughout the program, and a few misconceptions people have:

  • Babywise does teach babies how to fall asleep. The program believes in eat, play sleep. This is important because it teaches babies how to fall asleep by themselves- without the help of a bottle, or mom or dad holing/rocking them. (Seriously amazing)
    • Our nighttime schedule- We take her to her room, turn on her sound machine *ques to her we're going to bed*, change her diaper, put her in her jammies, say our prayers, kiss her and put her down in her crib walk away. She does the rest!
    • Yes, Babywise believes in briefly letting them "cry it out" and I promise you it didn't last more than three days in the beginning of our sleep training. We began strictly sleep training at 4 weeks. Before we started that we were conscious of the eat, play cycles- even if it meant we just kept her awake to change her diaper before she fell back asleep in the early days and weeks.
      • We had a zero tolerance for screaming eagle screams. We didn't start strictly night training until she was four weeks old. By that time we knew her cries and knew which ones were her tired ones, which ones were her scared ones, and which ones were her "something's wrong" cries.
        • For Av screaming eagle screams are a mix between "holy hell guys help" and "I'm upset" and when this happened we'd go into her room, place our hand on her chest and shush her until she calmed down. It happened twice. We never picked her up because we didn't want her to think crying means she was getting out of going to bed.
          • Babywise extensively goes into the importance of letting babies fall asleep on their own, why they might be crying to sleep, and why it's important to sleep consistently early on in their lives.
          • Babywise NEVER tells a parent to let their kid cry it out for hours. The MAX time Babywise tells is 15 minutes, and we never had to let her go that long. A baby is safe to cry that long if they have been fed, are changed, and are in a safe environment.
          • Crying is a mechanism for babies to burn extra calories so that they can get to sleep and for some babies it's a soothing technique to help them get into their sleep. Babies also might cry during their sleep because they're transitioning into a deeper sleep phase. As adults, we have trained ourselves to go back and forth into sleep phases, babies need to learn this as well.
    • Babywise believes in feeding your baby until they have a full stomach at every feeding. The belief in this is that it slowly stretches out babe's stomach allowing him/her to sleep longer times as they get older.
      • For this, we found Aveline did better being bottle fed. So most of the time we bottle feed her. This was also something VERY important to me. I wanted Pat, Poppy, my Mom, and our friends to be able to have a connection with her on that level. I wanted her to have a relationship with Pat just like she did with me, and I wanted her to be able to take bottles so when I started working we could leave her and know she would be fine and fed.
      • Up until last month I breastfed her if she wants when she wakes up in the morning and I pump three times a day to make sure we have a supply. It's what works best for us!
  • Babywise is adamant that as soon as they're sleeping through the night that you should consistently be feeding them their first and last feedings at the same exact time every day, the rest of the day falls into place as play times and naps happen. This has also helped us stay on schedule with our lives.
  • I once read that someone said that Babywise parents starve their babies. That is 150% untrue. The longest we have ever gone without feeding Av during the day is three hours, although I think the book allows for four. Yes Babywise is a parent led feeding program BUT hunger and baby ques trump schedule if the baby is hungry. There have been a handful of times where we've fed her early because she seemed hungry.
  • Babywise isn't for everyone! It's just what has worked for us! It has been so amazing to know that a few hard weeks of work and training have not only made our lives much more enjoyable, but made for a happier baby. Aveline craves her schedule on the days we're off, and her naps and I'm so glad a schedule was what worked best for Patrick and me. We love it so much we will be doing it for all of our sweet babes!
  • Aveline has taken 9 flights and I will forever believe that we have had such easy transitions on trips because of Babywise. I'll be sharing a few posts on traveling with her and some tips and tricks soon, if you have any questions you'd like covered please let me know in the comments!

A typical schedule for Aveline at 6 months

7:30 am: Wake her up, change her diaper, get her dressed for the day, sometimes we just stay in jammies

7:35 am: Come downstairs, warm up her water, heat up a bottle and feed her, she will usually eat until 8

8 am: Play time! She has an activity table that she stands/sits in right now and she absolutely loves it! She's also into crinkle books and teething toys. During this time we'll also work on tummy time and rolling over

9 am: Lay her down for a nap... recently I've been waiting for her cue that she's ready for her nap - usually I'll let her wine once or twice and then I'll take her up. Sometimes it's a little earlier but it's always between 8:45-9 am.

9 am-10:45 am- First nap

11 am: Warm up her water, heat up a bottle and feed her,

11:30-12:30/12:45 pm: Play time! We've been loving spending our time outside recently! We'll grab our picnic blanket and sit in the grass or take Sophie on walk

12:45-1:30 pm: Nap

2:00 pm: Warm up her water, heat up a bottle and feed her

2:30- 3:30/4 pm:Play, go outdoors, read books, work on rolling

4- 4:45/5 pm: Nap

5 pm: Warm up her water, heat up a bottle and feed her

She is in the process of dropping this last nap right now so usually we'll just snuggle, hang out together or relax together until she's ready for her last feeding at 7

7 pm: Final feeding (usually she'll only take 3 or 4 ounces here)

7:15 pm: Burped, hugged, walked upstairs for a book

7:20 pm: Turn on sound machine, change diaper, put in pajamas, say our prayers, give her kisses and tell her we love her

7:30 pm: Place her in her bed and tell her goodnight and we love her, then we walk away.

 

We were using her Dock-A-Tot until she figured out rolling over. Now she sleeps alone in her crib! We absolutely loved the Dock-A-Tot and are so grateful for how helpful it was for 5 months.

The past six months have been such a blessing. Pat and I are loving being parents and are so grateful for our baby girl.

I was waiting for the perfect timing to do a Babywise post and felt a 6 months review was the perfect time. I wanted to give it enough time so we truly had tested it out and could give you our honest feedback. We love it. I hope this helps you if you're trying to decide on Babywise. If you have any questions about it PLEASE let me know. I would love to help any parents-to-be or mamas & dads with questions!