It still feels a little strange when I say it out loud, but I am a twin mom. Not only that, I have three kids! For real, how did that happen? Okay, I know how it happened, and that isn’t the point. The point now is what do I do with these three kids? We had Ben in a really good place schedule, sleep, and eating wise. Babywise was a major part in helping with this. While I was staring down the future with three kids, I knew the Babywise principles would help me again. I so do not have all the answers yet. In fact, I have more questions than answers. So I will hold off posting on details until then. What I am talking about today is why I have decided to even try Babywise with my twins when I already have a 2.5 year old.
Here are the big questions I get about choosing Babywise so far:
1) Why worry about a plan? I think the why question is the first one that needs to be answered. I am sure I know some people who wonder why I care so much to focus on Babywise principles with the girls. I mean, second children change everything, and twins to boot? How can I even expect to pretend to have a say about scheduling? I think the answer to this one is simple- I have to have a say! I don’t want our lives to be chaotic. I thrive with plans and schedules, and so far Ben has too. With three kids I need to have a plan of attack. I need to have some order to my day, and I want to have kids who thrive.
2) Why Babywise specifically? Well the easy answer is that it worked for Ben, I have seen great results from it, I am familiar with it, and I am confident in my ability to use the tools given in it. I started Babywise a little late with Ben. More accurately, I tried it, stopped, and came back to it. I quit following it because I read what many detractors said about it. I came back to it because I realized I naturally followed the main ideas Babywise presents. It made sense to me. It went along with a lot of my gut instincts. And finally, I think Babywise works! I have seen how well Ben does with it! I’m not claiming everything is perfect all the time. But my kid sleeps. And sleep is sooooo important to me. He goes to bed and naps willingly. Oh sure, he stalls. He stalls hard some nights. But we don’t have to fight with him. He is still happy and willing to go to bed. (He’s two, he’s got to test us a bit.) I am a firm believer that when sleep needs are met, other problems either go away or are more easily solved. I suppose a one word answer to why Babywise for me would be: SLEEP!
3) How do you get started? For me, the first thing I implemented was the morning wake time. How this works is I pick when in the morning the girls ‘wake up’ and have breakfast. I loved the morning wake time idea with Ben. I prefer to feed on a schedule, but as Babywise specifically says- if your child is hungry, feed her! If the girls get hungry between scheduled feedings I of course nurse them. With Ben I started with feeding on demand. With one child in the picture, that isn’t a big deal. But even with one child I hated how unpredictable our days would be. Could we go out, or would Ben be hungry? Could I make appointments and expect to keep them? Could I accurately tell people when I could be somewhere? Having the same time every day for the first meal made the days fall into a more predictable pattern. Oh sure, newborns can want to eat any time. It wasn’t perfect, but more often than not I could have a general idea of how our day would go. That brought some much needed sanity to our lives. I knew that when the girls were born I needed to keep some semblance of a schedule for Ben. I also knew that if I focused just on feeding on demand I could end up spending entire days just nursing babies. I know that feeding babies is important, but I just couldn’t picture doing that! By having a start time to our day the girls are already falling into a predictable pattern. With them both on the same eating schedule it is easier to nurse them at the same time. This is a huge time saver!! I can still plan activities for Ben, because I know to some degree when I will be nursing. Like I said, every day isn’t perfect. But more often than not I can get us out of the house and where we need to be on time. That is very important to me!
4) What do you focus on? This might sound funny, as I wrote about how important sleep is to me. Right now I am focused on eating. The girls weren’t premature or too terribly small when they were born, but they were still pretty tiny! Just under six pounds apiece, which made me want to fatten them up as soon as possible. For that main reason I decided to focus on feedings over sleep. More than that, it is hard for babies to sleep if they don’t have full bellies. You can bet I wake the girls up to eat. Well, during the day at least. By waking them for meal times every 2.5-3 hours, I know they are getting the nutrition they need. We are working on naps, but I know they will sleep better as they get bigger.
5) What about Ben? Does he still need this? Yes! Ben still follows Babywise principles! He has a morning wake time. Oh sure, some days he wakes up early, but he stays in his crib until the wake time. He has independent play time. This has been a life saver with the girls. He has that while the girls have their first nap of the day. Hello, time to get things done! This timing means I get a chance to shower on my own every day without waking up super early. I will get back to getting up before the kids, but with newborns every moment of sleep is wanted. I love that I can rest a little longer but still take care of myself a bit. Ben still gets his nap every day and has a consistent bed time. While I may be missing sleep, he isn’t. I really think this has helped his behavior be so good with this major life change.
6) What is the most important thing I want people to know about Babywise? My answer to this might sound a bit strange. I want people who don’t know anything about Babywise is that you don’t have to do everything in it perfectly by the book for it to work. I think that expectation is why a lot of people are either scared of it, or think it is too hard or too rigid. The books have so many great ideas, tips, and just good information in them. But you have to do what is best for you and your family. And honestly this was a big take away message I got from the books. The book suggests starting with the schedule at two weeks old. Well at three weeks old my in-laws came to town to visit the girls. We kept the eating schedule, but I didn’t stress the nap schedule too much. The girls spent several naps nestled happily in the arms of their grandparents. Is this ideal long term? No, I want them to sleep on their own in their beds. But they are only this little once. The girls are the last grandchildren for my in laws. Plus, they drove over nine hours to get to see the girls. I felt it best to maximize the time they all spent together, You know what? Taking that extra week has not messed up the girls in the slightest. We still work the wake time and the feeding times. We are working on naps and night time sleep, but I know that will come.
Honestly, I am doing Babywise with my twins because I know it works. I started really focusing on Babywise with Ben when he was 5 months old. At this point I was already following a lot of the main principles. We had a wake time, and feedings were scheduled. But naps needed work. They were all over the place. Five days with Babywise and naps were in place. No, they weren’t perfect every day, but more often than not they were. And they just got better with time! I truly think Babywise gave me that last push I needed to make my son into a great sleeper, and I am betting it will do the same with my girls. Being able to sleep on one’s own is so important. I truly feel I am giving my children the best start in life possible by giving them the gift of sleep and reliable feedings. I am just starting out with my twins, but I am so excited to see how well the thrive using Babywise ideas.