BFBN Week {Keeping the Crazy to a Minimum}

keepingthecrazytoaminimum

What I have valued most about Babywise in the four and half years I have implemented it in my home is that it is Family Centered.

Babywise isn’t all about the parents’ needs or all about the baby’s needs. It’s about constructing a lifestyle that meets the needs of all family members all the time.

Bringing home a newborn baby is scary! Especially if you have no clue what you are doing or should do and you have a mom telling you to do things one way and a friend telling you to do it this way. It’s overwhelming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

I can remember Little Bug being a few weeks old and I had a pile of parenting books laid out in front of me on the living room floor. I was trying to figure this baby out because even though I had practically grown up taking care of babies, having your very own baby to care for is a whole new ball game and I felt clueless.

Little Bug was three months old when I was given a copy of Babywise. It was then, and only then, that things started to fall together for Little Bug and me. I managed to get her on a predictable schedule. I knew when she needed to eat, when she needed to sleep and our days fell into a rhythm that I hadn’t experienced since my world was totally changed upon entering motherhood.

Sweet Pea came along two years later. While I was very concerned about having a newborn and a two-year-old, in the back of my mind I knew I would start the second baby on Babywise from day one and things would be okay.

And they were even though I was dealing with a baby withdrawing from methadone and my very active two-year-old. Those days were crazy, but our crazy was no where near as crazy as it would have been minus Babywise.

There have been difficult seasons of life with two children two years apart, but through every stage we have always had the stability and predictability of Babywise to rely on and that has made all the difference in the world.

There is a time for everyone to eat, a time for everyone to sleep, a time for play, a time for learning and a time for exploring the great outdoors. There is a time for me to take care of household chores — to make sure the laundry is done, the dishes are washed and put away, the house is organized in a way that creates order and peace to our days and not chaos and turmoil. There is a time for us to spend together as a family, there are times for us to spend one-on-one time with our children and there is a time for us to spend as a couple so we can make sure through it all we are staying connected as a couple.

While there are chaotic times like any family experiences, the overall climate of our home is one of peace, serenity, order and routine. It creates a pleasant place to be.

Because every activity has it’s time and place, it is easier to keep priorities where they should be. This is still hard because we live in a world where the demands and commitments on people are tearing families apart. Marriage takes work and if we don’t plan times to intentionally focus on our spouses, to reconnect and communicate with each other, we are opening the door for everything to get in the way of keeping the marriage relationship priority over children.

Over the past four and half years of parenting there have been seasons of our married life where Dave and I felt disconnected to one another because the demands of parenthood were leaving us with nothing to give our spouse. When we would realize this, we would act on it and make changes – sometimes drastic changes – so that our marriage would not suffer. Already having our children on a predictable Babywise routine made our effects so much easier. We could put our children to bed at 8pm and know that unless something crazy happened, they were going to sleep through the night! I know couples can still nurture their marriages if their children do not sleep through the night, but having children that do sleep through the night made our efforts to strengthen our marriage and not feel like we were two ships passing at sea so much easier.

I believe there are five steps to take with a newborn that can help the family establish this order and consistency. While these are tips for those who have a newborn, it is never too late to start implementing Babywise with your baby or toddler. For more on that, read this.

1. Feed baby every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day. Yes, this means if my babies were sleeping past the three hours, I would wake them to eat! Oh, but you are never suppose to wake a sleeping baby, right?! Well, if you want them getting their calories in during the day so that they can eventually sleep all night, wake them!! It truly works. Babywise calls this stage the stabilization phase and that is exactly what feeding every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day did for my babies. It stabilized their metabolism which in turn stabilized their sleep patterns in time. There are always exceptions to this: If baby is hungry before 2.5 hours FEED BABY.

2. Find optimal wake time for baby. As a newborn (0-4 weeks old), most babies can only handle being awake for a very short period of time (30-45ish minutes). Anything more than that and they get overstimulated and it will be very hard for them to find sleep. These early weeks it may feel like all you do is feed baby and then lay them down to sleep for a nap, but that is exactly what they need at this age and stage of life. Before you know it, their wake time will extend and they will be up for longer and longer periods of time, but establishing sleep like this pays off in huge dividends once the baby is older. The eat/play/sleep cycle became ingrained in my babies and as a result there was order and stability.

3. Do certain things to help promote sleep. The top three for my babies were: swaddling, white noise and black out curtains. The swaddling quickly became a sleep cue for my babies at a very early age. I’d get the Miracle Blanket out and they would start to yawn because they knew it was time to sleep. I am talking here about my 8 week old! She learned that early! The white noise was also another sleep cue as when it was turned on, my babies knew they were going to be laid down for a nap. The black out curtains make for a nice, dark environment good for sleeping. From early on, I would open blinds in the day to signal “day” to my babies and darken the rooms at nap and night to signal “sleep time”. While we can’t make a baby sleep, we can do things to encourage sleep to happen.

4. Keep nighttime feeds dark and quiet. When my babies would wake to eat in the night, I would turn on minimal lights so that my babies would not think the light meant it was time to wake up! Babies are smarter than we think! They really can, and DO, pick up on these signals we either intentionally or unintentionally send to them. I would feed them in the dark and would only unswaddle if I needed them to be awake enough to take a full feed. Then, halfway through the feed I would swaddle them back up so they would be drowsy and right ready to go back in bed after the feed was finished.

5. Realize progress in establishing order and stability is a spiral journey. Meaning one day you are going to feel like you are making great progress, and then something will happen (sickness, teething, etc.) and baby will get off. That is to be expected and okay. Don’t panic. Just push through the sickness and get baby well and then start again on establishing order and stability. Sometimes you will feel your efforts aren’t paying off, but they are! Having even some stability and order to the baby’s life is better than having chaos every minute of every day (and night)!

I truly pity moms who complain about their baby or toddler never sleeping and life always being so chaotic. There are people out there who choose to live like this and that is 100% okay!! But, if this is your life and you want something to change, it can! You can choose to parent differently and establish order and stability for your baby that will in turn establish order and stability for your entire family and…keep the crazy to a minimum!

Parenting Against the Grain {BFBN}

madewithover

by Bethany Lynch

We make decisions many times in life to go against the grain. It usually isn’t easy or fun but we know it’s what we need to do. There are certain patterns we know we don’t want to follow. Most parents even teach their children not to go with crowd-led decisions, not to be afraid to stand apart.

There is also something deep within us, especially as moms, that longs for companionship and friendship and the ability to identify with others. We desire to fellowship with other like-minded moms often with similar parenting philosophies. Babywise is a great example. I have learned so much from other moms that have taught me how to add structure, how to be more flexible, how to use creative consequences, how to require first time obedience. These things are not unique to Babywise but it has been a strategy that has worked very well for our family.

Even within such a strong parenting philosophy, there have been times I have felt like we needed to go against the grain. What was in a book or among the majority of like-minded moms was not working for us or did not feel right. Although this is starting to sound like a discouraging post about the -wise series, it is not by any means. I couldn’t agree more with many of the things in the entire -wise series, and with any book, there will be things you should take/leave or modify for your family. However, I sense that many of us feel wrong for doing what is right for our family.  I wanted to write this post as an encouragement to do what is in your heart or gut.

I think "start as you mean to go on" is always a good place to start and a great consideration before making any big changes, but don’t be afraid to make changes…even if you are in the minority. By all means, ask for advice and consider what is recommended by seasoned moms as well as newer moms with fresh perspectives….but don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Some of the best decisions we have made have been a bit unusual and non-traditional but they turned out to be smart decisions specific to *our* family. After all, one of the strongest tenants of Babywise is being parent-directed.

Here are the top 5 thoughts I have for deciding whether to make a change:

1. How long have you tried something? Keep in mind as older as your children get, the longer you may need to be consistent in your efforts. Often it also feels like we’ve tried something day in and day out but in reality time has passed slower. My general rule of thumb for infants/toddlers is two weeks minimum and for older toddlers/preschoolers two months minimum.

2. How many things have you tried? My caution is not to try too much. Be consistent foremost and avoid making multiple changes. I loathe troubleshooting. I am horrible at it, and when I try, I usually end up doing way too many things. I have no idea what works or doesn’t. Keeping things simple and trying one thing at a time for a sufficient period of time has served me much better. It is still hard not to want to "fix" things quickly but what works for "most" moms really might not work for you.

3. Have you thought outside the box? Don’t be afraid to consider advice from moms that are not like-minded either. We have a lot to teach each other. No two kids are alike…especially of your own. I learn every day that my kids respond completely different to similar situations. It doesn’t mean you need completely different parenting strategies for each child but it might require some creativity when you don’t get the same response from each child.

4. Do you feel uneasy? We all know parenting is so extremely hard and without adequate instruction manuals…but there have been a few times as a parent that I *knew* something was not sitting right with me. Something bothered me. I had put in lots of hard work and it just was not working well. Don’t be afraid to admit that you need to do something else.

5. Who do you feel is influencing you? Hopefully you feel on the same page as your spouse. The times that my husband and I made an unpopular or unusual decision but were down to the same paragraph made those decisions all the better. There have been times we disagreed and I definitely felt differently than him. Make sure you are still considering what is right for your family…not just what works for other families. Seek advice! Learn from others…but make sure you are always willing to take the risk of doing things different if it is in the best interest of your marriage, your family, your children, and yourself.

Bethany writes a blog to encourage and inspire working moms at The Graceful Mom. She is a busy but passionate wife and mom to two children, ages 5 and 3.

BFBNnewgraphic_zps87560290

When aliens came to visit

I would probably consider myself a “Sleep Nazi”, meaning there is not much that I will allow my children to miss sleep over. If it is naptime, we are home so they can nap and if it is bedtime, we are home so they can go to bed on time.

While on vacation I allowed for some missed sleep for both girls here and there and oh.my.goodness. Saturday evening, we thought our kids had been abducted by aliens and replaced with two girls who were cranky, whining, and having a meltdown over seriously every.little.thing. It was NUTS! Absolutely NUTS!

In Sweet Pea’s defense, she hadn’t reached that stage…yet! Probably because I did guard her sleep a little more than Little Bug’s because she is still so young and an overtired baby is absolutely no fun.

But Little Bug? Wow. The kid was delirious by bedtime. The combination of waking up early (which she does EVERY SINGLE TIME we go on vacation) and some shorter naps and she was a complete mess on Saturday. It is simply amazing what a lack of sleep will do to a kid!!

I was beginning to see signs of being overtired in Sweet Pea, too. She was not sleeping as long for her naps, and she was waking up early in the morning – two sure signs of an overtired baby.

Saturday night we put both girls to bed before 8pm. Sweet Pea hit the sack at 7:25 and Little Bug at 7:55. I don’t think I have ever seen Little Bug so tired in her life! I laid her in bed, told her goodnight and she turned her head and said, “Okay, I’m going to go to sleep now.” No adjustments in her blanket needed. No “one more hug/kiss” needed. She just needed sleep and she knew it! I bet she was asleep before I even closed her door. Sweet Pea woke up at 7:35am and Little Bug woke up around 7:50am. So both girls FINALLY slept 12 hours and got a good night’s sleep.

Early bedtimes really are the best “cure” for being overtired. Often times the misconception is that if you put a baby (or child) to bed early, they will wake up early. And while both of my girls woke up about half an hour earlier than their normal wake up times, (since they both usually wake between 8 and 8:15am), they got 12 hours of sleep and that is what is important when a baby/child is overtired. They just need sleep because sleep begets sleep. And since babies tend to wake earlier if they stay up later, early bedtimes are the best solution to help a baby get out of being overtired because babies tend to sleep longer the earlier they go to bed.

Vacation only reiterated to me that my “Sleep Nazi” ways are not insane. Smile Sure it is very inconvenient at times to respect our kids’ need to sleep, but in the big picture, it truly is worth the sacrifices that must be made to have well rested children. Especially after dealing with those space aliens on Saturday night!

This is just my (humble) opinion but I think so many times it is just assumed that tantrums, whining and having meltdowns over everything is just “part of being a baby/toddler/preschooler”. I am certainly not saying that my children never throw fits or whine! (In fact, they do this when they are well-rested, but that is a matter of teaching and training a baby/child the correct ways to communicate what they want/need.) But what I am saying is that behavior is not the norm for my children and I do believe it is directly correlated with the fact that 95% of the time, they are well-rested. It is only when they are not well rested that I start to see an influx of these behaviors. Like I did on that Saturday night!

I would rather deal with sticking to nap schedules than having to deal with tantrums and whininess on a daily basis. Children do not have to behave like that – if they are well rested – and it is my belief that the majority of those types of behaviors can be eliminated if the baby/child is getting the sleep that they need every day. (At least it seems to work that way for my children.)

Once we got back from vacation we stayed home for two days straight. I put both girls down for early bedtimes and early naptimes to get them rested again.

And before you think we have no fun around here, we certainly do! There is a time for everything though, and when it is time to sleep, we will be home napping so the crazies stay away from my kiddos! Smile

Last week was exhausting!!

Full Swing

Summer is in full swing around here!

Uncle (my brother) is in town and Little Bug is one happy little girl about that. She wakes up every morning saying, “Are we going to see Uncle today?” The answer is usually, “Yes!”. Uncle has two more semesters in seminary and then we hope he will be back for good!

DSCN9160

Taking away milk time apparently got the message across that climbing out of her crib is unacceptable because, since that morning earlier this week, she hasn’t done it again.

I am actually less worried about the crib to bed transition now! I was mostly concerned with how I would get her to stay in her bed until I come get her in the morning, but we’ve pretty much established that rule this week so I don’t think it will be difficult to carry it over to the toddler bed when we make the transition at the end of this month.

I’ve decided to go for it (the transition) at the end of this month once things settle down a little bit.

Here is her little toddler bed. I think it is just adorable!

DSCN9208

Napping is another story. She is still playing for over an hour (but…in her crib!!) before finally going to sleep. For now, I will just continue with naptime consistently and hopefully she will start sleeping again because she obviously still needs a nap. She’s been going to bed at 8pm lately to help catch up on missed sleep from naptime.

Party planning is also in full swing as Little Bug’s Minnie Mouse party is this weekend! Some of the décor is currently sitting in my bathtub to keep it out of eager little hands’ reach.

DSCN9204

Did you know spray paint eats Styrofoam balls? I did not until yesterday when I sprayed one and it melted away to half it’s original size! Back to Michael’s I went for tempera paint which worked great.

Summer break for my blog will be the week of June 18th. No posting that week as I take a break from blogging.

We are in the middle of getting the hardwood floors done in the hallways. It looks awesome, even though it has been a HUGE ordeal getting the materials to be able to do the work. After numerous wrong orders, it is all finally in, and the installer should be coming soon to finish up the job. (The floors are all laid. We are just waiting on some trim and the transitions from carpet to wood.) I am so glad that nasty-could-not-keep-clean hallway carpet is out of this house!

DSCN9130

And…I’ll leave you with this. Sweet Pea, in the crawling position, but not crawling! I was trying to get her to go after that ball you can see there in the background.

DSCN9196

Hope you are off to a great summer and have some fun things planned!!

A Cup of Milk

Little Bug keeps me on my toes.

For the past few weeks she has started not going to sleep right away at naptime. Naptime is 2pm and after hearing her play in her crib for a while, I would go in her room at 2:15ish and tell her to go to sleep and she would.

Then things escalated from there. The past few days I’ve found myself going in there multiple times from 2-3ish, telling her to go to sleep and taking friends out of her bed if she doesn’t.

Then yesterday, she did the unimaginable – although I have learned to put nothing past this girl!

I put Little Bug down for a nap at my parents’ house and left for the Crisis Pregnancy Center.

At 3pm, after hearing strange sounds, my mom opened Little Bug’s door to find she had climbed out of her crib, turned the lights on, pulled numerous wipes out of the container and made a mess all over the room.

When I got back from the center, I talked to Little Bug about what she had done. We talked about sleep time rules: lay down, close eyes and go to sleep. Then, I talked to her about the danger of climbing out of her crib. (And yes, I realize it is time for a big girl bed. Thanks for your comments yesterday! We have lots of out of town family coming and going during the month of June so I want to wait until things calm down towards the end of June and then we are going for it.)

This morning, while warming Sweet Pea’s bottle, I noticed Little Bug’s light was on in her bedroom. I opened her door and found her sitting in the middle of her room, playing with a toy. She said, “I’m just playing with this.”

I calmly picked her up and told her, “You must stay in your bed until Mommy comes to get you.” I closed the door and left to go feed Sweet Pea and talk to Dave.

But first I prayed that God would give us wisdom on how to handle this because the issue had become more than just needing to adjust nap time or making sure she was good and worn out before laying down for a nap. (Little Bug still needs a nap. When she does not get one, by dinnertime, you can tell.)

A friend had suggested to me that I needed to take something away from her that would be a big deal to her. So I got to thinking. What could be taken away?

Dave and I started talking about this and I threw out the idea of “no TV”. Little Bug watches a 20-30 minute show while I feed Sweet Pea at noon. We didn’t really think that would be effective because the consequence wouldn’t be immediate upon waking up for the day.

Then I thought of “milk time” and as much as I hated to take this away from her, I knew that was the something that would speak to her the loudest that her disobedience is unacceptable.

I could already see the alligator tears that would be pouring from her eyes when she learned she had lost “milk time” and, I also felt like a mean Mommy.

But I knew it was the right thing to do to hopefully solve this issue.

When Sweet Pea was finished with her bottle, I left her in bed with her Daddy and walked to Little Bug’s room.

“Little Bug, what did you do this morning?”

“I climbed out of my crib.”

“Did you choose to obey Mommy?”

“No.”

The stinker was smiling through this whole conversation. It is one thing to do something wrong and then be sorry for it, but to smile and be proud of the wrong you have done? Help me raise this child, Lord, ‘cause this isn’t something I can do on my own strength!

I started talking about the story of Adam and Eve. I said, “Little Bug, did Adam and Eve obey God?”

She quickly said, “No they did not.”

I asked her, “What happened?”

“I don’t know.” Good answer, kid, since we have only talked about and read this story about a million times since your birth.

So I prompted her, “What did God tell them not to do?”

“Eat the apple.”

“And what did they do, Little Bug?”

“They ate the apple.”

“So did they obey or disobey God?”

“They disobeyed God.”

I then explained to Little Bug that Adam and Eve sinned when they chose to eat the apple and that sin always has consequences. Adam and Eve’s consequence was that they had to leave the garden.

Little Bug looked up at me and asked, “What is my consequence?” The smiling faded. She knew this wasn’t good. Finally.

And then I told her, “You chose to disobey Mommy. That is called sin when you disobey Mommy. Sin always has consequences. Your consequence is that you will not be able to have your milk time this morning.”

And then the buckets of tears fell right on cue as Little Bug realized her choice of disobedience cost her “milk time”.

It was in that moment that I realized something, too.

I felt horrible taking her milk time away but better for her to learn a lesson in sin and their consequences with climbing out of a crib and losing “milk time” at age three, than to learn with something like premarital sex and pregnancy at the age of 16.

Little Bug doesn’t need me to ensure her happiness and pleasures in this life. This morning she needed a mother that was willing to stand in the gap between learning to choose wisely in this life and being left to flounder around without clear boundaries and standards.

And, thank God, the only loss suffered this morning was a cup of milk.

I learned something invaluable too.

These are the moments God is giving me to mold and shape the heart of my little girl so that she will hopefully one day grow up and love our Lord and desire to do what is right and pure. I cannot allow myself to fall prey to the lies out there that would suggest my daughter’s happiness is more important than teaching her that sin has consequences.

No, it is my greatest responsibility and privilege to teach Little Bug, at the age of 3, that sin always has consequences. The choices we make have consequences and while our sins are forgiven because of Christ’s death on the cross, the consequences of our sin live with us forever.

Today was humbling for me because I feel so inadequate for this job of bringing this (stubborn, hard-headed) child up in the Lord! I must just press on and trust that God will continue the work He has already started in the life of this precious child.

And that she will learn these lessons well and only have to lose her cup of milk.

Anti-Babywise Articles

I’ve said it before that this blog isn’t for debates and this remains true even though I am about to talk about something controversial. I am writing this as information and NOT to open up a debate on my blog. Go elsewhere if you are looking for debates on this subject matter. This is not the place because I will not engage you in debates.

But, the fact of the matter is, I am tired of Babywise getting a bad reputation! I am tired of reading articles that claim Babywise leads to “failure to thrive”.

Contrary to what many people believe, Babywise does not advocate feeding a baby just by the clock!!! Yes, Babywise is about scheduling, but Babywise does NOT mean you feed your baby by the clock with no other factors involved!

To me, it comes down to two simple words: common sense. If your baby is hungry, you feed him/her, regardless of what time the clock says and when the next scheduled feeding is suppose to happen!!

To make himself clear on this matter, the author of Babywise, has clearly stated to feed a hungry baby multiple times throughout his book!

See for yourself:

[Please note: These quotes are taken from the book but I gathered these quotes from an article that Babywise Mom wrote on her blog.]

  1. Both the variable of hunger cues and the constant of time guide parents at each feeding." page 37
  2. "When the hunger cue is present, the clock is submissive to the cue, because the hunger cues, not the clock, determine feedings." page 40
  3. "Responding promptly to a newborn’s hunger cue is also a central part of Parent Directed Feeding." page 64
  4. "The first rule of feeding states: Whenever your baby shows signs of hunger, feed her!" page 74
  5. "Sometimes it may be less and sometimes slightly more, based on your baby’s unique needs" page 74–talking about how often to feed baby
  6. "As stated, there will be times when you might nurse sooner than 2 1/2 hours…" page 74
  7. "There is only one Babywise feeding rule for the first two weeks. Mothers and fathers should take their clocks, turn and face them against the wall." page 77
  8. "…even feeding as often as every two hours." page 79 (in discussing jaundice)
  9. "Be careful not to compromise your baby’s nutrition while attempting to establish healthy sleep patterns." page 98
  10. "Remain mindful of growth spurts that may require additional feedings for a few days." page 113
  11. "As stated, your baby’s normal feeding periods fall between 2 1/2- and 3- hour intervals. But there are times when you may feed sooner than those time increments." page 115
  12. "…it might be that she is hungry and in need of another full feeding. If that is the case, feed her again…" page 115
  13. "…just know that hunger is always a legitimate reason to feed less than two hours." page 115
  14. "There also may be medical reasons for feeding a child more frequently. For example,…premature newborns…jaundice…" page 115
  15. "…it’s okay to deviate from the 2 1/2- to 3-hour feeding norm." page 116
  16. "Don’t be afraid to add an extra feeding if you think your baby needs it." page 118
  17. "If you feel you need to add an additional feeding during the day, do it." page 121
  18. "Our emphasis and encouragement is to first approach the 45-minute intruder as a hunger problem, not a sleep adjustment problem. Try feeding your baby first." page 144
  19. "Feed the baby during these growth spurts and adjust your daily routine to allow for a few more feedings during the day." page 144
  20. "By feeding sooner than normal you are not going backward in your routine but are making the healthy and proper adjustments needed to move into the next phase of your baby’s development." page 145
  21. "With a reflux baby consider feeding more often than the general recommended 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Try feeding every 2 hours. This may be easier on your baby…" page 167
  22. "Possibly for a couple of days you might feed every two hours. That’s okay." page 192 (in discussing jaundice)
  23. "If baby is hungry, feed him." page 196
  24. "Probably she is going through a growth spurt. For the next couple of days, add a feeding or two to her routine." page 202
  25. "When your baby goes to the nursery, leave a bottle of water, formula, or breast milk and give the nursery worker freedom to do what he or she thinks is best." page 214
  26. "We are encouraged by the fact that so many parents understand the value of order in their lives and their children’s lives. But sometimes people redefine order to mean rigidity, and that leads to imbalance. Balance includes both structure and flexibility." page 214
  27. "If you are breast-feeding, these [growth] spurts may necessitate some extra feedings for a couple of days…" page 219

And, here are some quotes from the 1995 printing of Babywise.

1995 PRINTING

  1. "Second, our conviction is that a baby should be fed when he or she signals readiness. With PDF, a mother feeds her baby when the baby is hungry…" page 39
  2. "If your baby is hungry, feed him or her." page 132
  3. "If you have a baby who becomes exceptionally and continuously fussy, consider the possibility that that he is hungry." page 134 (in reference to late evening fussy periods)
  4. "If your baby is hungry, feed him" page 181

I’m always the first to say that Babywise isn’t for everyone! There is no one method that is going to work for all families and all babies. But the bad reputation Babywise gets, I believe, comes from people who believe Babywise is strictly hyperscheduling (feeding baby by the clock only).

And, if you take the time to read the book for yourself and really understand the philosophy and theory behind the methods, you will see it is not hyperscheduling at all.

If you are using Babywise with your baby, please understand that no where in the book does the author tell us to keep a hungry baby from eating until the clock says it is time to eat!

Once again, just use common sense.

If your baby is hungry, feed him or her!!!!

The End.

Ok – I guess I really wasn’t done, because I have one more thing to show you.

Do you see this baby?

DSCN8614

This cubby, roly poly, thunder thighs baby?

She is a Babywise baby. From birth, she was fed on a schedule, but, if she is hungry before feeding time, she gets a bottle. What a novel idea!

Ok, ok, she is formula fed. Must be because of the formula that she is so chubby…

Take a look at this baby!

IMG_6135

She is actually only 5 days younger than Sweet Pea but look at that chub!!! She is 20 pounds at 9 months old and she has been a Babywise baby since birth. And she has been exclusively breastfed since birth.

“Failure to thrive” on Babywise?! I think not…because their mamas use common sense!!

I’ll say it one more time and then, I am done.

"When the hunger cue is present, the clock is submissive to the cue, because the hunger cues, not the clock, determine feedings." page 40 {emphasis mine}

The End.

Independent Playtime for Sweet Pea

I didn’t start Independent Playtime with Little Bug until she was over a year old and I am not going to make that mistake with Sweet Pea!

Being that I was so excited to finally have a baby, when Little Bug was a baby, I would move her from room to room with me as I accomplished the things I needed to do in the day. And while there is nothing wrong with that, as a result, I had a 14 month old that could not and would not play independently!

Looking back, I can see now that since Little Bug already has such a social personality, teaching her that she had to be with me every second of the day (which is what I essentially did!) only made me have a toddler that literally could not entertain herself.

And that was when I started Independent Playtime in her room.

On Becoming Babywise II lists several of the benefits to Independent Playtime on page 73:

  • Mental Focusing Skills
  • Sustained Attention Span
  • Creativity
  • Self-Play Adeptness
  • Orderliness

At almost 3 years old, Little Bug now has an hour of “room time” where she plays independently in her room with select toys.

I knew I wanted to start Independent Playtime with Sweet Pea as a young infant.

When she was able to start playing under her floor mat, I started letting her have independent play on there. She was probably 3ish months old when we started this.

I would lay her on the floor mat for about 15-20 minutes and she played until I came back to get her. I placed her in a spot where I could see her but she couldn’t see me because I wanted her to learn that she can play and be happy without Mommy’s constant entertainment!

Sweet Pea is naturally better at entertaining herself than her sister was at this age. I think part of it is because of her easy-going personality and part is because she is the 2nd child. And perhaps part of it is because I have been teaching her essentially since birth to play on her own at certain times.

Babywise has suggested time lengths for independent play:

  • 5-10 minutes once or twice a day as a young newborn
  • 10-20 minutes twice a day for first few months
  • 15-30 minutes twice a day for the independent sitter
  • 30-45 minutes at least once a day for the crawler
  • Up to 60 minutes for the 15-20 month old in playpen or room

My plan was to keep Sweet Pea on the floor mat for Independent Playtime until she was sitting independently. I don’t do this twice a day, like suggested. One 20 minute block of IP time seems to be appropriate for Sweet Pea at this time.

After she was all better from her first cold, I started putting her in the pack n play for Independent Playtime. She does IP after her morning bottle from around 8:30-8:50ish, while I am getting Little Bug dressed and fed.

I do set the timer because I wanted her to learn from the very beginning that it is the timer that makes me return and not her fussing to get out. And, of course, with Sweet Pea, she has not fussed while in IP! One day she did fall over from her sitting position and her talking turned to a fuss and I knew she had probably fallen over. I went in and sat her back up and she continued to play happily until the timer went off.

There is a time for everything: a time to play with Mommy and a time to play independently. Independent Playtime (or room time) helps balance all this out, teaches my girls some useful skills and it gives me a block of time in the morning get some things done.

Phase 4: Extended Routine (25-52 weeks)

This is the last phase of the four phases of Babywise.

By the end of phase 3 (Extended Day) the Babywise baby has 4-6 liquid feeds per day and 11-12 continuous hours of nighttime sleep.

As I say every time I write one of these posts, every baby is different and every baby will reach these Babywise milestones in their own time as long as you just keep plugging along with baby at their own pace and encourage them to move towards these goals.

At the time that I am writing this Sweet Pea is 31 weeks old! At 31 weeks, Sweet Pea has accomplished this:

  • She extended her day by going 3.5 – 4 hours between feeds, instead of just 3 hours.
  • She is sleeping from 8:00pm until 8:00am after some sleep training because she was waking around 4am for the paci.
  • She dropped the dreamfeed at 6.5 months old!
  • She extended her wake times from 1 hour to 1.5 to 2 hours leaving a morning and afternoon nap with a short 30-minute catnap in the evening.

Not much changes during the Extended Routine phase (25 – 52 weeks):

  • Feeding times continue to be 3 to 4 hours apart. Most babies have reached the glorious 4-hour schedule by this time.
  • Sometime between 6-8 months old the average Babywise baby drops the 3rd nap and then has two naps ranging in length from 1.5 to 2.5 hours long.

Next up for Sweet Pea will be:

  • Moving to a 4-hour schedule. (As much as I want her to be on the awesome 4-hour schedule, I won’t rush her. She will get there, in her own time.)
  • Dropping the 3rd nap. (Hopefully within the next month.)

And there you have it: the four phases of Babywise! 

I can’t say enough good about Babywise. I hate that there are so many myths out there about Babywise. To me, Babywise is a lifesaver to the sanity and order of my home and my family.

God himself created the world with order and systems and Babywise is the perfect system for me to be able to manage and meet every single need my daughters have and my family has.

If I had to summarize three reasons why I love Babywise it would be: 1) My baby’s needs are literally met before they ever have to ask for anything. My baby is never hungry or sleepy, because before they reach a state of ‘being hungry or tired’ they are fed or put to bed for a nap, 2) Because of what I just wrote, my babies rarely cry. I was always told that Little Bug was the “happiest baby I’ve ever seen”. And I could almost say Sweet Pea never cries, but she cries when she gets scared, and 3) My babies are well rested and sleep when it is time to sleep. As a result, I am well-rested too, which is important in life to be able to function to your maximum capabilities.

As much as I love Babywise, I absolutely do recognize that Babywise is not for every family. You must figure out a system that works for you and your family (even if that system is the “fly by the seat of your pants” system!!). But I do encourage anyone who feels like their life is out of control and there is no order and stability to the day to check out Babywise.

It just might be your saving grace, too!

(Sweet Pea’s Tigger picture for 7 months is up! Click here.)

the night in which I forgot to turn the monitor on

Sweet Pea’s room is around the corner and down the hall from our bedroom. We sleep with a fan running so I have it in my mind that I have to have the monitor on with Sweet Pea because I am afraid I won’t hear her otherwise.

With Little Bug, I stopped using the monitor pretty soon after she moved into her bedroom because I was waking at every little sound she would make through the night and it just wasn’t necessary for me to hear that! I turned the monitor off, left her door cracked and if she ever cried in the night (which was rare), I could hear her, no problem.

Saturday night I was very tired because Sweet Pea had woken at 5am and been up for about an hour fussing and talking. So, when I went to bed (early for me) I totally forgot to turn the monitor on!

At 7:30am my eyes popped open and I couldn’t believe it was daylight outside. For weeks now, I’ve been awakened (by Sweet Pea) anywhere from 3-6am and it is still dark outside. I checked the time on my phone and then it hit me like a ton of bricks: Oh no!!! I forgot to turn the monitor on last night!!!

I jumped out of bed to double check the monitor and sure enough, it was off. So I bolted down the hallway towards Sweet Pea’s bedroom. I didn’t go in but I just stood there listening and much to my complete surprise, all was perfectly quiet…at 7:30am!!

I went back to bed with a quick stop to turn the monitor on. About 10 minutes later, I started to hear sweet little babble noises coming from the monitor.

I am pretty confident Sweet Pea slept from 8pm to 7:40ish!! When I went in to get her, I could tell she looked completely rested, she was all smiles and very alert. She didn’t look like she has looked several mornings this past week when she would wake and stay awake for about 1 to 1.5 hours before falling back to sleep for less than an hour before I would get her up at 8am to start the day.

The next night, I turned the monitor on but kept the volume very low. This solution is working so that I will be able to hear cries if I am needed but I won’t hear if she just wakes and talks for half an hour before going back to sleep.

CIO: What happened

I decided to go ahead and publish the notes I took on what happened as I let Sweet Pea cry it out mainly because of the bad reputation CIO gets. I want anyone who reads this (and might be totally against CIO) to see that it can be done responsibly.

Night 1 (February 10th):

Sweet Pea was in bed at 8pm, with one arm not swaddled so that she could find her thumb/fingers during the night if she wanted to use those to self-soothe. I gave her the paci and as I expected, because her arm was out of the swaddle, she was able to knock her paci out and she started fussing. (This is the main reason she is still swaddled at 6 months old!) I went back in and adjusted things a little bit and she went right to sleep, paci in mouth.

Sweet Pea woke at 5:45am. I heard her on the monitor and was walking to her room because, instead of giving her the paci, I was going to walk in and make sure she had access to her thumb/fingers and tell her it was okay and she needed to go back to sleep.

Just as I got to her bedroom door I had second thoughts about going in right away. I decided to not go in right away and wait for her to be really crying before I went in.

By 6:15am (30 minutes after she woke up) she was still minimally fussing, off and on. By 6:45ish she had started to let out some “hard” cries, but there was no intense crying that persisted for any length of time. I still had not entered her room because she never got really worked up.

Then, around 7am, the monitor was quiet. I have a video monitor, but it wasn’t pointed at Sweet Pea so I could not see what she was doing at all. I didn’t want to go in there until she was really worked up, so I was never able to point it at her to see her. But after 7am, I never heard her again, so I assume she did fall back to sleep, although I can’t be 100% certain.

I went in her bedroom at 8am to get her up and she was laying there, eyes open, both arms out of her swaddle. (Guess that is what she was working on from 5:45 to 7am!) And she was happy as a lark and greeted me with her usual big Sweet Pea smile.

Because it was a Saturday, the plan was Dave would get up with the girls and I would go back to bed. I told him to keep her stimulation to a very minimum and to watch closely for signs of being tired.

She stayed up till her normal naptime of 9:30am and then took her normal 2-hour nap. I was so afraid of her being overtired from being up so long before this nap, but because she was able to sleep well for this nap, it makes me think even further that she was able to go back to sleep on her own around 7am. (For nap she was completely swaddled and given the paci. My motto is “don’t fix something that isn’t broken” and, so far, there have been no nap issues with the paci, so I left things as they are for naps.)

Compared to Little Bug’s first CIO session, Sweet Pea’s was a breeze. But, that is my daughters for you: Little Bug=drama and Sweet Pea=no drama. Smile

Night 2 (February 11th):

As perfect timing would have it, I think Sweet Pea’s 6 month growth spurt is here or at least on the horizon because she woke from her 2nd nap early and crying, which has always been her sign that she is having a growth spurt. So, I got her and fed her and she was definitely hungry.

Then, I was thinking…Great! I can’t let her CIO if she is going through a growth spurt because if there is ever any doubt in my mind that my babies could be crying because of anything other than just needing to go to sleep and stay asleep, I don’t let them CIO.

I was stumped as to what to do because I also know consistency is KEY in doing CIO effectively.

And then I remembered that we could always do a dreamfeed! So, we gave her a dreamfeed at 11:30pm so that if she woke in the night I would still be able to let her CIO. However, I knew because of the growth spurt issue, I wouldn’t be able to let the crying go on for a long time because it could have been possible for her to need another feed before waketime because of the growth spurt. Not ideal circumstances for CIO, but because I had started, I wasn’t turning back and losing the progress she had already made.

Well, as it turns out, Sweet Pea didn’t make a peep until 7:30am! She woke up happy and talking.

11 hours of sleep. Night 2. Awesome.

Night 3 (February 12th):

Another uneventful night! She went to bed at 8pm. She woke up at 7am. It seems Sweet Pea might be an 11-hour sleeper, instead of 12.

We did give her another dreamfeed last night because it is apparent she is in a growth spurt.

Night 4 (February 13th):

Went to bed at 8:30pm and woke at 6:50am. Still gave the dreamfeed.

Night 5 (February 14th):

Went to bed at 8pm and woke at 7:15am, with an 11:30pm dreamfeed.

***

It is seriously amazing to me how CIO fixes things, just like that. And with Sweet Pea, I can hardly call what she did on that first night crying-it-out. It was more like fussing-it-out, but, it worked and my child did not get damaged in the process!!

All she got was sleep. Uninterrupted sleep, which is a priceless gift that I had the ability to give to my baby.

***

It’s the morning of February 17th and Sweet Pea woke at 5am. I let her CIO and she fussed-it-out and is asleep now. (And I am still awake, of course.) It’s not usual for babies to do this, apparently. They kinda spiral back and forth for a little bit after sleep training.

Also, Sweet Pea is needing some adjustments made to her daytime schedule, I think. I’m working to figure that out to hopefully help her sleep better through the night. Hopefully, by her 7 month update, we will have things worked out.