Saturday, June 21, 2014

Making Babywise Work


I am an extremely scheduled person. I mean extremely. I believe I have to be in order to fit everything in a 24 hour day that I want to. So naturally when I became pregnant I wanted to start researching how to get baby on a schedule as soon as possible. I believe it's good consistency for baby and mommy!

Enter Babywise.

All the teachings in the book seemed perfect for our family. It emphasizes good & full feelings, active awake time to stimulate baby's mind and body, and solid naps...along with getting baby to sleep through the night! YES PLEASE!

As soon Hunter was born I breastfed him within the first 2 hours. It is when baby's are most alert and I wanted to have him get a full feeding in. The first few days he nursed every 1.5-2 hours. Sometimes having to wake him if it had been almost 4 hours between feedings.

The first 2 months went really well. Hunter began sleeping through the night at 8 weeks, but his naps were a different story. His morning naps were great, but as the day progressed his naps got shorter and shorter. Babywise recommends 1.5-2 hour naps about 5 times a day at this age. WOW! He was not getting that. They also stressed the importance of a 3 hour cycle of FEED/WAKE/SLEEP, in that order. Which meant when Hunter woke up "early" from his naps (at about an hour or so) then he was supposed to eat within 20 minutes while he was alert enough to have a nice, full feeding. Unfortunately if that was the case, it may have not been 3 hours since he last ate, so he would just have go hang out and play until next feeding time.

For example:
Feed time: 9:00am - 9:30am
Wake/play time: 9:30am-10:00am
Sleep time: 10:05am - 11:00 am

His next feed time is around 12:00 (could be 11:30 to 12:30 depending on his hunger) so there was a big gap of time I needed to fill where he was "supposed to be sleeping"...

This led to a few weeks of cry-filled naps.

It. Was. Torture.

I had terrible anxiety at each nap that he was going to wake up early and I would have to go in and out of his room every 10-15 minutes to try to comfort him back to sleep, so about 5 times per nap. Multiple that by 5 naps and you get a very frustrated baby and tired momma.

So how did I fix this? How did I get my sweet boy to be the perfect babywise baby who slept 16 hours in a day while having 7 perfect feedings, great awake times and sleep through the night????

I didn't.

I had to just LET. IT. GO!!!! (cue frozen theme song)

Hunter has never been a great sleeper. Truth is he doesn't require that much sleep in a day. 16-17 hours was too much for him. He functioned great with 13-14 hours a day. He was still happy with that much sleep, still healthy. So WHY was I trying to force him to do this if he clearly didn't NEED it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I tried for weeks to get him to adhere to this much sleep because I wanted to do what was best for him, and I know how important sleep is. But it's all about priorities. My first priority was making sure Hunter was healthy and safe. Once I knew he was at this revised 13-14 hours a day sleep schedule then we can move on to the next priority: sleeping through the night. Hunter mastered that, so I knew it was safe to deviate from the rigid plan I originally made and tailor one to fit my baby.

Hunter does take 1.5-2 hour naps at least once a day, the other 4 naps are usually 45 min- 1 hour. And that's OK!! Just because it's not perfectly aligned with the book doesn't mean I am a "bad mommy" or  he is a "bad baby".

Now, I do agree with so much of what babywise has to suggest, which I'll share in another post because I think it is all fabulous advice. But the most important thing is to remember that every baby is different and as long as you have your baby's best interest in mind along with their health and safety (and moms sanity), then you are doing perfectly fine! I'm speaking to myself too, it's hard to not feel like a failure when things to go as planned...but such is life with babies! I wouldn't have it any other way.

Stay tuned for my babywise post on all the good tips and tricks I've learned from the book!