I think that it is important to re-evaluate why you do things every so often. By doing that, you can make sure that you're doing them for the right reasons and not just out of habit. So before I talk about why we do BabyWise, I want to talk a little bit about what BabyWise is. BabyWise gets a LOT of flack out there in the baby community, but I honestly think that most of it comes from people who have never read through the book and don't know exactly what it says. I think most of it comes from what people have "heard". Now, just like anything, BabyWise can be taken to the extreme and people can use it out of context. That's not the BabyWise that we do (or even, I think, that the book intended). A resource that I use A LOT is the baby wise mom blog. She has done BabyWise with all of her children (4, I think?), and really understands the ins and outs of the book. She also has a "what is BabyWise" portion of her site, so I thought I would just share with you some things that she says. (why reinvent the wheel, right?!) So here we go - What is BabyWise?
-I see and hear lots of comments about how "Babywise" something is or how much or little people follow Babywise. Here is the thing; it really isn't about that. It isn't a list of dos and don'ts. It isn't a ratings scale (from one to ten, how Babywise are you?). It really isn't even a program. So what is it then? Simply put, it is a lifestyle.
-This doesn't mean you have to follow Babywise principles with an "all or nothing" approach. I think that in just about any parenting book you read, there will be things you agree with and things you don't agree with. There will be things you will do and things you will think, "not for me." I think the only way you would agree with something 100% is if you wrote it yourself
-The premise of feeding with Babywise is that you use Parent Directed Feeding (PDF). You work to establish feedings every 2.5-3 hours initially and try to stabilize metabolism. Let me stress (as the book does): You always feed baby when baby is hungry. The clock does not rule your life. If baby is hungry, you feed baby.
-Sleep is important for babies. They need to sleep. You need to have regular naps for your child throughout the day. Provide that opportunity for your child. Feed your child, play with your child, then let the child sleep. Then do it all over again. You also want to move toward your baby sleeping on her own. She falls asleep and stays asleep on her own.
-With newborns, I have a hierarchy with sleep. Most important is that baby sleeps when baby should sleep. Second is that your baby falls asleep on her own. Third is that she stays in her bed and makes it through a transition on her own.
- For the first two weeks, you do not need to stress and worry about any "rules." Just feed your baby as needed in order to establish supply. For some, this will be every time baby asks for it. For others, you will have to rouse your baby to feed her every 2.5 to 3 hours.
(all words in italics came from the baby wise mom blog)
-BabyWise also stresses the importance of creating a eat-wake-sleep cycle. Babies, naturally, will try to fall into a wake-eat-sleep (or eat-wake-eat-sleep) cycle. The reason that BabyWise stresses to create a eat-wake-sleep cycle is because it doesn't make the baby dependent on needing to eat to go to sleep (thus teaching them to go to sleep on their own).
Now let me explain WHY BabyWise is important to us. Why do we do this?
-I think that having a routine/structure is important to a baby (and kids! And adults!). For a baby (and kids), when they have a routine, they know what to expect from every day. And when they know what to expect from every day, they can be more relaxed/happy/non stressed. LL naps every day at 1:00. She knows this. It's not a battle because it happens EVERY. DAY. Now, this isn't to say that we don't have "off" days. We do. There are days when we intentionally skip her nap (like when we were at Disney World), and there are days when she goes in her bed, but never naps. That is OKAY! But she knows that 99.9% of the time, she will have nap time.
-Having a routine/structure helps parents/caregivers out, too. When Cooper cries, my guessing as to why is minimal. If he's crying 20 minutes before it's time to eat, I can guess that he's hungry (not sleepy). If he's crying/fussing an hour after he's eaten, I know that he's sleepy (not hungry). Being on a schedule takes a lot of the guesswork out of knowing what Cooper wants/needs.
-Having a schedule helps our family. By having a schedule, we can plan things out because we know what our kids will be doing at certain times in the day. Somebody wants us to come over for dinner? Sure. We can give them a time because we know that LL is up from her nap around 3:00 and Cooper will be up around 5:00 - so dinner at 6:00 is perfect. It helps us to be able to plan things.
-It teaches my children the importance of sleep. For everyone. Matt and I don't have to worry about not getting any time for ourselves because our kids are up until 11:00 at night. Because that doesn't happen. LL knows that she will be in bed by 7:45. And she knows that she doesn't get out. This is so important because it gives Matt and I time for ourselves. It's also important because LL gets in enough sleep.
-By having a schedule during the day, I can ensure that Cooper is getting enough to eat during the day, giving him the best opportunity I can that he will sleep without waking during the night. This is not just because I want to sleep with no interruptions. It is also important to Cooper. He needs uninterrupted sleep just as much as I do. Babies sleep a lot because it's when their bodies and minds GROW. If they're not getting the sleep they need (and QUALITY sleep at that), they can't grow like they need to. Staying on a schedule during the day helps Cooper sleep long periods at night at a younger age - helping him to get that uninterrupted sleep that he needs.
BabyWise DOES work. And it doesn't mean that your child is laying in their crib (or bed) crying for hours on end. Does Cooper cry? Yes. Do all babies cry? Yes. Is it normal? Yes. Do I leave Cooper in his crib to just cry for hours because the "clock" says it's not time to eat? No. Absolutely not. And BabyWise doesn't say to do that. Do I do Cry-It-Out? Not really. I will let him fuss for a bit. And if he cries, I'll let him cry for a minute to make sure he truly means it. Sometimes, he'll stop very quickly and go back to sleep. Others, his cry will get "serious", and I'll go get him. Can you do BabyWise without CIO? Absolutely.
Here's one of the biggest benefits that I can see from BabyWise:
-Since birth, we have put Cooper down at "bed time" (this has varied depending what age he is), in his bed, in the dark, AWAKE, and he has gone to sleep. With no fussing. Because that's what he's always done. Same for nap time (minus the fussing part). I don't have to spend hours rocking him to sleep, putting him down gently, tiptoeing out of the room, and praying that he doesn't wake up. If that's not a reason to have a schedule, I don't know what is.
I, by no means, am an expert at BabyWise. Far from it, actually. But I'm trying the best I can, using the resources I have, to create a God-centered, happy, loving, structured environment for my children. :)