I have been meaning to write this post for AGES, but have never gotten around to it. I honestly wish I could share this with every new mom! It made becoming a mom SO easy. With baby number 2 around the corner, I am dusting off my copy of On Becoming Babywise and thought it was high time I share this GEM of a book with any expectant mothers. I'm sure most of you new moms have heard of it - some of you may have used it, some of you are probably skeptics, maybe some of you tried it and it wasn't right for your parenting style and there's a group of you who probably didn't want to follow any sort of method and just figured out what worked best for you and your baby along the way. I'm not here to tell you that this is the only method, I'm here to tell you how amazing this method worked for me and if you're searching for a method to follow I hope this helps give you more information to make your decision. I have also heard a direct report from a friend that she tried this method and it did not work for either of her kids. That being said, go in with the expectation that this method may not be for everyone! Here's what the book looks like:
Jason and I always get a lot of comments from friends and family on how well Everly sleeps. There's never any fighting to get her down, we never had to let her cry it out, she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night (unless she's teething or sick) and she sleeps 12 hours at night. We have come to realize this isn't the norm for a lot of kids, and it could be that we got lucky or because we used this method. We have lots of friends who have struggled through sleep training with their kids and eventually give up and let their kid make their own schedule (which sometimes means they are up until 11pm). If this works for your family - my hat comes off to you. This was never an option for me because I love my down time in the evening once Everly goes to bed. I can unwind, read, watch tv, work on my blog, hang out with Jason or just literally sit there and stare at a wall and not have to entertain a kid. That's my refueling time and I can't imagine giving it up. If you're in the same boat - keep reading!
The key to Baby Wise is starting right from birth. If your kid is 8 months old and still struggles with sleeping through the night, this book won't really help. I'm sure there are many other books out there on sleep training that would do the trick though. If you're a soon-to-be mom though now is the time to get the book and start reading. I read mine a few weeks before I was due so I wouldn't forget anything, and I highlighted and folded pages as I went on all of the important parts so that when I had a newborn I didn't have to try and remember everything off the top of my head (ie/ don't rely on your new-mom brain). I am reading over the highlights again now for baby 2 just as a refresher. A few of you may be thinking, well maybe Everly would have just been a good sleeper anyways, and you could totally be right! I always wonder that. That's why I am SO excited to use the exact same method with baby 2 to really test it's validity. I will definitely be doing a follow-up post to let you guys know if it worked the second time around! It'll also be a lot different with a toddler around and my schedule will have to be a little more forgiving. I'm interested to see how this all plays out with the Babywise method.
I'll give you the quick gist of the Babywise method, but you should buy the book for yourself because it has helpful charts and guidelines to follow that you will want to look back at as your kid grows. Basically the goal of the book is to get your baby to sleep through the night by 12 weeks old, and Everly was sleeping through the night by 3 months and 2 weeks. The basic premise is that feeding is parent-directed. In the beginning you feed your baby every 2.5 hours (there is obviously some flexibility for growth spurts and special cases that they talk about in the book). Lots of moms don't like this schedule because they either don't want to wake a sleeping baby, or they want to do baby-led feeding and basically feed them whenever they cry. These may be great methods - I have never tried them, but if you like schedules and getting your baby on a routine this method is definitely the way to go. Here is an example of the first few weeks on Babywise:
Another thing they mention is to avoid sleep props like: swinging, vibrating, rocking, nursing your baby too sleep, letting them sleep in your bed or fall asleep in your arms (or anyone else's). I think the hardest one on this list for most moms would be not letting them sleep in your arms. Moms may think that not doing this won't let you bond with your baby, or that they won't feel connected to you or loved. I am here to tell you that is not the case at all if you use this method. If you know my daughter, she is a STAGE 4 clinger to me. Like we are attached at the hip. There are so many other ways to bond with your baby, like skin-to-skin when they are little and playing with them or reading to them while they are awake. I also always hear new moms say, "How do you get anything done with a newborn", or they'll post a picture of their sleeping baby on them and say, "I guess I'm not moving for the next few hours". I never felt this with Everly. She would have her naps in her rock 'n play or bassinet and I could shower, workout, cook, clean, etc. I felt like all I had was time in the beginning! I think this was a large reason why it was so easy to get back in shape and feel like myself again. I honestly never felt tired as a new mom. In Everly's first 10 days on this earth we packed up our apartment, loaded it into a Uhaul, moved into a friends place for a few nights, went to Jason's graduation, took Everly on her first road trip and flight back to Winnipeg and moved into my parents place. Needless to say I probably couldn't have done this is Everly wasn't on a schedule and sleeping well. When they are really little letting them fall asleep in your arms a few times won't do any harm, but the more you do it the harder it will be for them to fall asleep on their own.
The Babywise method isn't only helpful for new moms to feel rested, but also so helpful for your baby. It teaches them to be okay on their own, teaches them to self-sooth, not to be too reliant on any one thing or person and most importantly it ensures that they get a GOOD nights rest which is so important for growing babies. I am 30 and still need a ton of sleep, I can't imagine how much more important it is for my baby who is growing and developing to get enough sleep.
If you're an expectant mom I definitely encourage you to go and buy this book. It made my life so much easier as a new mom and I'm honestly looking forward to following it again with baby number 2. Obviously every kid is different and it may not work for them, but there's no harm in trying! If you have any questions about it feel free to send me a message through my contact page, I would love to share about our journey!