Do you ever wonder why people make the parenting decisions they do? How do they decide what their goals will be and how do they implement them? More importantly, how do they learn to, well, take care of a baby? This is exactly what the ladies of the BFBN are answering today. How did we find Babywise? My story starts with why I quit Babywise.
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When I was pregnant with Ben I, of course, read everything I could about what to do with a baby. I knew I would have to feed him a lot, and I assumed he would sleep when he was tired. I read about the eat, play, sleep cycle and it just made sense and I wanted to try it. The first month or so was pretty easy, Ben slept a lot. But as he spent more time awake things got a bit harder.
I nursed on demand and tried to follow Ben’s sleepy cues to get naps in. Sometimes I nailed it and the day went great. Other times I had no idea what was going on. Now, I know this is typical for the newborn period. Do any of us really know what we are doing with our babies, especially the first one? This wouldn’t be that big a deal except for the fact that I went back to work when Ben was two weeks old. And he came with me. You can imagine that some level of predictability would be needed to get any real work done.
So I asked around on how to get my baby on a schedule. Sadly all my friends with babies used daycare. There is nothing wrong with that, but it means they tended to follow the daycare’s lead on a getting an established routine. That didn’t help my situation. Next, I headed to the internet. I learned about a method that would allow you to know what time nap time was every day. It would help you schedule feedings so you knew if your child cried they were likely to be hungry or not. Basically, this method would help me meet the sleeping and eating needs of my child with consistency. It sounded great. It was called Babywise. I gathered a few key ideas from assorted websites and blogs and tried to implement them.
Things went along pretty well, but as most moms do I had further questions. Back to the internet I went. And I found a whole different set of articles that basically told me I was going to ruin my child and possibly do real physical harm to him if I continued down that path. There was just so much vitriol against this method! So I did what any reasonable, sleep deprived, first-time mom would do. I panicked. I immediately stopped everything I was doing and went back to no routine at all.
This was not a solution though. Naps were all over the place. I couldn’t predict when Ben would want to eat. I couldn’t confidently know when I would be able to work or when I could be relied on for anything. Going with the flow like that works for some people, but it wasn’t for me. And I wasn’t sure it was best for Ben either. He wasn’t getting quality naps, and that concerned me.
I didn’t want to just freak myself out again, so instead, I did something a bit crazy. I actually read the Babywise book. You know what? It made total sense to me. There was nothing about not feeding a baby if he was hungry, in fact, it encouraged it. I started making small changes.
Having a consistent wake time every day nudged our days into the right direction. Having a solid naptime and bedtime routine helped Ben settle into sleep better. I learned to take a step back and really see a situation before just diving in a reacting. Knowing when nap times and nursing times normally fall meant I could be an effective worker and mother. It also helped Ben thrive.
When we decided to have another child I knew I wanted to use what I had learned from Babywise again. Finding out we had twins only made me more certain. Let me tell you, I heard from many people how chaotic life was going to be with a two-year-old and newborn twins. It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t always easy, but having a solid system to build a routine meant I could take care of everyone’s needs. And yes, I could nurse twins on a schedule without issue.
Now all three kids nap at the same time every day. We get out of the house every day and did when the girls were just a few months old. And my kids sleep, every night. Basically, we can function and meet the needs of all five people in our family.
Every family needs to find what works for them. I know Babywise isn’t for everyone, but it has worked wonders for us. My only advice, whatever method you decide to look into, is to actually read the source first and make your own decision. Don’t just listen to someone else’s opinion. I am glad I quit Babywise. It taught me to really think about what I want for my children and our family, not what other people want. It helped learn to be an advocate for my children’s needs and not be swayed by what might be more popular. And that helps me focus in on my parenting goals and helps my family succeed.
Here are some more posts you might like:
All the ladies of the BFBN are sharing their stories of how they found Babywise today. Check them all out!
Christine Keys: How I Discovered the Remarkable Gift of Babywise
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: How the Babywise Mom Discovered Babywise
The Journey of Parenthood: How I Discovered Babywise
Mama’s Organized Chaos: Discovering Babywise
Rogers Party of 5: How I Discovered Babywise and Why I Followed it Despite the Controversy