BabyWise was the answer I needed

For the first four weeks of Andrew’s life, we fed him pretty much on-demand. He cried? We fed him, or rocked him, or soothed him. Anything we could do to get him to NOT CRY. I slept… very little. I was tired, cranky, and recovering from a majorly traumatic birth (4th degree episiotomy) and not to mention, bleeding nipples. I could barely handle life any more. Looking back, I would say I was pretty border-line PPD.

I went online to our library website, and ordered every single book I could find about baby schedules. That first evening I read 4 or 5 books, or at least the majority of the 4-5 books. None of them sounded any different than what I was already doing – and most of them said in an essence: ‘it just takes time…’

Then I got my hands on the Baby Wise book. For the first time in my motherhood, I read, and agreed with EVERYTHING that was being said. About how stupid it was that I was letting him rule my life, and take over my schedule. When in fact – I’m the mom. He is not old enough to decide what is best for him.

I DEVOURED that book. I took notes, wrote down a schedule – and started.

Then I found a website that supported BabyWise and read through her tips and processes and realized that I just *HAD* to let him cry. It was tough, and I cried just about every time he cried. But I quickly saw the fruits of my labor paying off, and Andrew learned quickly sleep was easy, and mom would be there the minute he woke up to cuddle, comfort, and nurse him.

It took Andrew 4 days of crying through the first 10-20 minutes of his nap times, before he finally fell asleep on his own (which is exceptionally quick). From then on, he was an ANGEL child. I would put him down for a nap, awake and happy and he would roll over and close his eyes. I could vacuum, I could cook – I could CLEAN. I had two hands and FREEDOM. It was heavenly.

The day he turned 8 weeks old, was the first time that he slept through the night. He didn’t stop this sleeping-through-the-night trend until he was getting teeth around 7 months. It didn’t take any re-training on our behalf to get him back to a normal sleep cycle. After the pain was gone he simply went back to his schedule – because he was so accustomed to sleeping and his daily patterns were still the same. Eat, Play, Sleep.

He continued to be one of the best behaved children that I (and many others) have seen. He was really easy to transition through the feeding schedules when we introduced solids, and was being kind and respectful towards others much earlier than many would expect.

He knows and appreciates nap time and bed time and has a high respect for mom and dad. We were able to switch him to a Full-Sized big-boy-bed when he was 20 months old, with very few problems.

When Ethan came along – I was all geared up and ready to use Baby Wise again. However, having a toddler added into the mix has proved to be much more complicated than I thought, and therefore we’ve never really stuck with the whole ‘schedule’. As much as I *want* and *NEED* to get him on track, I just haven’t found the energy to do so. We did cry-it-out for a good solid week, and saw no improvements. Ethan will literally cry escalating louder and louder through an entire nap time if you let him. (He is also the child who refuses baby food, would not accept a bottle for 4 months, and absolutely will not drink a bottle that is less than medium-warm and his special brand of formula.)

The majority of his stubbornness can be corrected with diligence and re-training, and staying consistent for a good period of time. I have not been motivated enough to do it. I had nothing but time on my hands with Andrew, but with Ethan – I’m juggling him and a toddler, and extra tired because didn’t sleep the night before – because I got up twice with Ethan…  It’s a cycle.

Being consistent with children I believe is one of the major things that keep children feeling loved and secure in their daily lives. It is the consistency that keeps kids from guessing what the outcome is going to be while learning their surroundings.

Anyway, Please feel free to ask me any questions you have about BabyWise, or our strategy, or… well. Anything. I’ll do my best to direct you to a great answer.

Babywise was the answer for us. Do you have experience with it? Questions about it?

29 Responses to BabyWise was the answer I needed
  1. Daniel
    July 26, 2011 | 10:18 am

    I think that being consistent is important. I think that kids do thrive on a schedule, so I’m not going to argue that point with you. But I do feel that there is a big difference between helping them get on a schedule at 3-4 months and forcing them to be on YOUR schedule as newborns.

    “….how stupid it was that I was letting him rule my life, and take over my schedule…..He is not old enough to decide what is best for him.” I find so many things wrong with these statements. It’s not like your infant was making a conscious decision to make your life more difficult by crying. Newborns have a lot of growing a developing to do in the first few months and there are many, many reasons why they cry. Trying to rule your life is not one of them. It’s our job as parents to meet the needs of our newborns and to comfort them as they are adjusting to life outside the womb. Letting them cry for 20, 30, 40 minutes because YOU want them to bend to your will is just cruel. There is a reason they eventually give up and go to sleep….they have lost hope that you are going to come and comfort them. (As evidenced by children in orphanages who learn that crying doesn’t get them anything) So, maybe you’ve won the battle, but at what cost?

    “The majority of his stubbornness can be corrected with diligence and re-training…..” Maybe his stubbornness is just part of his personality and instead of forcing him to act like, and be who YOU want him to be, you should try and work with who he is.

    Having babies is not easy. Exhaustion is part of the price we pay for the joy that we get in return. God entrusted us with his children and we are supposed to nurture them and meet their needs. Ignoring a crying baby because they are changing your schedule & your life doesn’t feel like the choice that God would want us to make with his precious gifts.

  2. Amy
    July 26, 2011 | 2:57 pm

    While I do understand your side of this as well, I just personally did not feel that what we were doing in the first four weeks was helping him to become a better child, or for us to become better parents. It really is a personal preference, and for our family, we saw great results with Baby Wise.

    Trust Me. I know I’m in the minority here when it comes to the ‘mommy blogger’ side of things – and I’m expecting some heat for my opinions on child rearing. But at the same time – I know how it has worked in our family – and I know that we have not crossed any lines as far as ignoring or abandoning my child.

    I know that my child was not Trying to rule my life – but to be honest – that’s what was happening. Every time he woke up, I’d be in tears because it was time to feed him again and time to try to figure him out again and what he needed. He was so inconsistent and would cry even when I was holding him, but I’d have no idea what he wanted.

    My child knows that I put Myself and my marriage first. And having me/us time allows me to be a better mom for my child and a better wife to my husband. I was able to be patient and kind and have strength and wisdom in what I taught him – instead of being in a sleepy stupor and dreading the fact that my child was awake like I had previously been.

    After we started babywise, I knew what he was crying about when he cried, and I knew the signs to look for when he was sleepy. And if we passed those sleepy signs and he got ‘over-tired’ then I knew that he would need help falling asleep, and I would rock him. There was a difference in the cries.

    It wasn’t that I *let* him cry for 20,30,40 minutes all the time! He almost never cried for more than 5-10 minutes at a time because I was watching the signals for him to be sleepy. It was just that I had to change his pattern of needing me to fall asleep vs. needing peace and quiet and space to fall asleep. I never threw him in the crib and ignored him. I sat outside his door or in the very next room making sure that his cries were sleepy cries.

    There is no possibly way you could compare the cries of children in orphanages along with the cries of my children. My children’s cries were more along the whine than a scream. They were not malnourished, they were not unloved or untouched or ignored or abandoned. They did not have to ‘wait their turn’ to be held nor did they have any other needs to be met. They simply needed sleep, and had to learn how to calm and comfort themselves to sleep when tired and awake vs. being rocked and coddled to sleep and then tiptoeing away and feeling empty and startling themselves awake because they realize that mom’s not holding them any more.

    The minute he woke up I was there – OR – if he didn’t wake up, I woke him up when it was time to eat. That way, he had the reassurance that his mom or dad was going to be consistent and be there for him when he needed us. If he woke up before it was his regular time to awake – I got him. I didn’t just let him lay there and cry!

    As far as Ethan goes (our non-babywise child), He could be directed towards a more scheduled life – but there are so many inconsistencies in how we work right now because our lives are so filled with other things. You simply cannot put him on a schedule if you yourself are not consistent. I feel guilty not having him following a babywise plan, because I know he could be a much more happy child knowing those consistencies, which ultimately would make me a happier, and more well-rested mom. Meanwhile, I get cranky and tired and almost resentful towards my child because he’s not on a schedule – and we cannot communicate well. I still wonder what his ‘hungry’ whine is vs his tired whine. So I guess! Food first, then sleep. It just doesn’t make sense, because we could be feeding him several times before he really gets a nap that he needed in the first place.

    I really believe that BabyWise is a great method – and some people tend to read into it way too specifically and steal the heart out of it. They think that a child crying is a horrible thing and abandonment, where it is not. I love my children and would do anything for them and their health and safety. But ultimately, when I’m at my wits end of tiredness and inconsistencies myself, I am not a great mom.
    I could go on and on, but the real point of this is, that it is what worked for us. And in that matter, inspired a great child who thrives on consistency and has great manners and loves Jesus – and knows that Dad and Mom appreciate him and will be there for him whenever he needs – but he knows that there are boundaries and lines that cannot be crossed. As for our 2nd child, we love him very much as well – but we could be so much more consistent with him, which would make him a much more contented child overall.

  3. melissa aka equidae
    July 26, 2011 | 3:08 pm

    I admit that I do not agree on the cryng it out method and other such ways you raise your kids. On the other hand I can’t really say you are doing wrong becuase I learnt that everyone needs to find a groove that works for them.

    Still that the kid was ruling your life…yeah he is a new born and he would do that, it is our duty I believe to be available 24/7 for our kids. My son transitioned to a full sized bed at 24 months out of his own wishing. He still breastfeeds for comfort and when he feel like joining us in bed to sleep we let him. He is happy and yes we keep to aschedule because if nothing else that is MOST important. With the new baby things haven’t changed much although yes I am more tired and difficult at times to keep with toddler and baby but the answer to your crying could be likemine a sling 🙂

    I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing more of your method after all every method has the good and bad 🙂

  4. Elizabeth
    July 26, 2011 | 7:13 pm

    I always look forward to a post on this blog, and I usually enjoy reading them. I’ve found some like-minded moms who have always offered encouragement and shared wisdom. However, this post is different than the usual, and it is a disappointment in so many ways.

    I try to be open-minded when it comes to those who promote the ideas in Babywise. I know many families who have had great success getting their newborns to sleep through the night at a very early age, far too early (according to the medical world). These are parents who hold strong to the idea that they should come first, that their marriage is more important than their children, and that a sure sign of good parents is when a young infant sleeps through the night. All, in my opinion, unfortunate and wrong ideas. And often ideas that are dangerous to the infant-physically (with poor weight gain), emotionally (crying extensively is emotionally exhausting and completely unreasonable for a baby, or any human for that matter), and spiritually (if you can’t trust your parents to come to you when you call, why would you trust God to?).

    I could go on and on why I am opposed to the ideas in Babywise, but this is certainly not the place to do that. I just pray that the author of this post, who I’m confident is a loving mama, would do some more research on her own and find a better way to create consistency and routine with her younger child. Because I know from experience that there are better ways! This is a great place to start:

  5. Shiree
    July 26, 2011 | 11:55 pm

    We loosely used the Babywise method with our three babies. For each of them the situation of our life has been different so it hasn’t been the exact same each time. Also, they have different personalities which play a part too. 🙂 It’s nice to read about another family using this method. I tend to believe that if it works for your family it’s the best thing available. :)Thank you for taking the step to share about your experience.

  6. Jak
    July 28, 2011 | 12:06 am

    It seems like a good common-sense approach to parenting to me. From what I understand, babywise emphasizes stepping back from doing what you feel you ought to do at the moment to analyzing what repercussions your actions may have, good intentions aside, in the development of your child. It encourages a parent to lead their children with proper discipline and foresight (not punishment). However, I believe any parenting if done with patience, love, and decisiveness with the intent to lead your child from becoming rebellious, selfish, and willful will closely mimic this general idea behind the Babywise books.

  7. Joanne
    July 28, 2011 | 1:14 pm

    We used the Baby wise books for both of my sons and at 4 and 5 1/2 they are still such great sleepers and they rely on the routines we established for them when they are away from home too. They tell grandma it’s time for my nap now!

    Highly recommend them!

  8. L2L
    July 28, 2011 | 4:47 pm

    I used BabyWise with my first child and regret it sooooo much!!!! Here’s why, it didn’t speak to his love language and now at 9 years old we are seeing a separation from him, where with our younger two 7 and 4, who we let them sleep how they needed to sleep, we have their hearts in our hands!!!!! My personal experience has been that babies under 6 years old have needs emotionally that need to be met and there is a connection that takes place when parents are there to meet them. I did find it useful to put my children on a schedule of wake eat play sleep. But I feel this book might be doing more damage than good to the spirit of a child for the sake of a “good nights rest” Another thing is that when we demand behavior without a heart of obedience, we are growing a willfully disobedient child. So if a child is of age to obey what you are asking them to do and they aren’t doing them, I have found with my children to seek the heart of the matter before handing out correction. Ethan sounds just like my son, and mom to mom may I suggest that instead of going down the path of “corrected with diligence and re-training, and staying consistent for a good period of time.” LISTEN to him and what he wants. Not that he has to get it but if he is anything like my oldest, he just wanted to be heard to feel loved. Affirmation is his #1 love language. I also discovered, a bit too late, that God had given him a natural desire to be a leader and he did much better with choices (Choices that I was pleased with) Simple things such as giving him two choices to what he could wear and even when it was time to play in his room and he didn’t want to, I would say you can play in your room or you can get a spanking for disobeying. What do you choice, it was his choice to obey and he wasn’t being forced. And isnt that what we want, children who obey because they want to not because they have to.

    So I would say that for a child that thrives with a strict schedule, Baby Wise works like a charm but for those children who are “strong willed” or as I call them natural born leaders, it frustrates them and I think does damage to the very being that God created them to be.

    I hope this helps even one mom from the regret I have in trying to use this approach with my first child. Blessings!!!!

  9. Gina
    July 29, 2011 | 1:35 am

    We have used BabyWise for all three of our children. I think that those who talk about people using it improperly (like for newborns who are not recommended to sleep throught the night) have not read the book. The book is very clear on when an infant should sleep through the night. It does not say to allow a 2 week old baby to sleep through the night. Nor do I think that the writer meant to say that she wanted her infant to follow the schedule she kept before becoming a parent. It was important for me to understand that I should set the schedule of our day. An infant, a toddler, a child does not have the capability to understand what a day should look like. It is up to me to teach my children how you go about living life to its fullest. My husband and I did this by following a schedule (not rigidly, but purposefully). BabyWise also discounts hyper-scheduling and not allowing for any wiggle room.

    As with any parenting technique, I think it works for some parents and it doesn’t for others. We love BabyWise and the principles it teaches.

  10. Darcy
    July 29, 2011 | 12:25 pm

    I read this book while pregnant since a friend recommended it. It seemed to make sense at the time.

    After my daughter came I found it to be against natural parenting. I just adjust my schedule to better match hers.

    While I would never recommend this method – you have to do what works for you.. as long as baby is not seriously harmed.

  11. Diana
    August 9, 2011 | 10:38 am

    I highly recommend Baby Wise (secular version) or or the Growing God’s Way program. I attended local classes with my husband at a friends home for a number of weeks and made my way through the workbook.

    I implemented what I learned with my newborn and then again a year later when my twins were born. Having a schedule kept order in my home and sanity a midst the organized chaos of having three babies int he house.

    In everything, people can take a very extreme approach to even this type of thing….be careful to use wise judgement and counsel from a mentor of some sort.

    • Angela
      August 15, 2011 | 4:53 am

      I am a believer in routine but not in letting your child cry it out. Whether it is 5 or 20 minutes, that just does not sound right to me. I suppose it depends on each of us (as parents)so i don’t want to judge others too much. I am waiting my 3rd baby in 1.5 months from now and when that will happen my oldest will be 3years and 6 months, so i do have some experience with small kids. I

      A book and blog i found very useful for my sanity are
      -book: Baby Whisperer Book, created by Tracy Hogg
      What i found good here is that it looks for the middle way, it explains that there is a reason why children are crying. And as soon as you understand your child, you are empowered to help him/her go through the rough moments. I loved it because it gives advices on how to understand and treat your baby with respect and in the same time keeping your sanity.

      I can’t recommend this website and book(s) enough!

  12. Alison
    September 9, 2011 | 9:04 pm

    I’m a more natural parent. Because they didn’t come around because they just wanted to bother us. We wanted them. Take care of them. 24/7. Sure my life isn’t mine for a few years but I asked for it!

    But to each there own and if works for your kids without damaging them than that’s fine. 🙂

  13. Baby Girl Gift Ideas
    September 15, 2011 | 6:00 am

    I think any parenting if done with patience and love, with the intent to lead your child from becoming selfish, and willful will closely mimic this general idea.

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