If you’re looking to get baby on a schedule using Babywise then there are so many reasons it will benefit you both. You come home from the hospital and find that your new baby isn’t adjusting well. There is a lot of tears between you and your little one. This is probably from the lack of sleep which can be caused by the inconsistency in wake times and on demand nursing. That is where Babywise can come in handy.
Babywise applies a feed-wake-sleep cycle to map out baby’s routine. Now obviously as a newborn your baby will be sleeping and feeding more than spending time awake. As you progress through your baby’s first year there are several “merges” that occur, which lengthen wake time and decrease sleep times. Let’s go ahead and break down the different aspects of the method.
Babywise babies are fed based on Parent-Directed Feeding (PDF). This is a proactive method of parenting and is beneficial, especially to moms of more than one child. Now each parent is different and will need to be able to determine what is right for their baby. If baby had eaten thirty minutes ago and is now screaming, it is unlikely hunger is the issue. Thus, giving baby the breast or a bottle, while it may soothe the baby, will not take care of the actual issue. Doing this will also ultimately lead to a child led schedule and be exhausting for Mommy. Or maybe you’re the opposite and want to feed baby at specific times, even if the issue may be hunger. While I personally do not think this is the best method of parenting because it ignores baby’s hunger cues, it is ultimately each parent’s choice.
With PDF the parent has a general guideline for times the baby should be hungry or getting hungry. So when baby shows hunger cues (trying to suckle, fussing, smacking lips) the parent can assess the situation rather than relying strictly of baby’s cue or the clock. If we have a general outline for baby’s feed times then we know when to be on the lookout for clues. Or reversely if baby is showing cues that could be interpreted several different ways, then we can look at the clock to determine if it is close to one of his scheduled activities. PDF gives the parent the ability to determine if they need to drop what they’re doing and feed baby or if baby is getting tired, etc.
Waketime is the time from start of feeding until nap time. Now newborns sleep most of the day, so they will of course have small wake times. At about four weeks though waketime becomes a distinct time frame in baby’s day. Depending on the stage of baby’s life, wake times change throughout the first year as the nap schedule changes. There are many activities to do with baby during wake time to stimulate emotional and mental growth.
- Bouncy seat
- Tummy time
- Sibling play
- Taking a walk in the carrier or stroller
- Alone time for baby to just take in the environment
Baby’s sleep needs change throughout the first year. Where a newborn sleeps 17-19 hours total with 5-6 naps in a 24-hour cycle, a 12 month old sleeps 12-15 hours with only 2 naps in a 24-hour cycle. Babywise does not give a specific set of rules for sleep-training. I think each parent should be able to determine what is best for their baby as far as sleep training is concerned. The book does suggest not using any props (pacifier, mobile or noise maker). Again this is up to each parent to decide what is best.
I personally have used a pacifier with my two youngest children and have not had an issue with them sleeping. I do not use the cry-it-out method until baby is past the six-week mark and even then I personally have not had to use it often. When I say CIO I am not talking about leaving my six-week old infant in the crib crying until he is asleep. I mean laying baby down while he is drowsy and ready for nap, if he cries then I let him cry for a few minutes then I go back in and soothe him for a minute or two. I repeat this process until he is asleep.
As I said, I have not really had to use this often with any of my children. Also, if I know they are teething or sick then of course I do not expect them to handle CIO method very well. Each of my babies had different issues with sleep though. My first did not ever want to sleep and hardly stayed asleep during the day, but slept well at night. With my second baby we were on a nice routine from the day he was born and we just flowed perfectly together. Now my third, my hardest, was the one I had to use CIO with the most. He still, at 18 months, has sleep troubles on occasion.
When I did apply CIO method though it was never needed for more than a few days and then baby was good to go. I had to reapply it of course each time something interrupted sleep, such as teething or sickness which was probably why I used it mostly with my third baby who had a lot of issues with teething and ear infections.
How to get baby on a schedule using Babywise.
When to start using Babywise…
I started using Babywise with my third baby at six weeks, it was at that point that I could no longer live without some sort of routine. I am a scheduled person and cannot function properly without some sort of routine. With this next baby I will be using babywise from the start though.
I have created schedules based on merges that will take place throughout the first year. A merge is just when baby drops a nap so the schedule changes a bit. I start my day pretty early (6 A.M. :0), I know that most start around 7 though, so my schedules are written out to start at 6 in the morning. Of course you can adjust them based on your own families needs.
To get access to my schedules resource page you just need to subscribe below and I will send you the link and password straight to your email! I hope they help you incorporate this method into your little one’s life and that is helps ease some of your exhaustion and frustration!
If you have tried Babywise and have any advice please feel free to comment below! All of us Mamas could use all the help we can get!
From newborn through the first year. Schedules with each transitional phase in mind.