For the next few weeks I am going to be sharing my experiences as a first time mommy and what has worked for our family during this past (very soon to be) year. Sigh. I can’t believe my baby is going to be year old in June. If you are with child or looking for a baby shower gift be sure to check out my Baby Registry Must Haves.
Josh and I decided early on in our pregnancy with Caden that we would be following the schedule outlined in On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep. We know there are many differing opinions on this book but for us it has been one of the best decisions we have made for our family.
If you have never heard of Babywise take a few minutes and google the title. Bloggers and reviewers have devoted entire websites to this book, both for and against. I am not going to debate this book or tell you it is the right choice for all babies, because there is no such thing. What I am going to do is explain how this method worked for me and my family.
The basic principals of the BabyWise Method include:
- Eat, play, sleep schedule for baby
- Striving for awake time during and after a feeding
- Trying for full feedings as opposed to snacks
- Putting baby to sleep without many props
With Josh being a firefighter sleep is crucial. For our family, deciding to sleep train Caden was a must. After talking with several friends who all had huge success after implementing the suggestions in this book we knew we would be a Babywise family. This method provided us with structure and taught us how to establish a routine for our newborn. We had an open and flexible mindset as we followed this book. If something didn’t seem to work for us we kept trying different variables until we had a positive outcome.
Our first day home from the hospital was a blur. Putting everything away, finishing the final touches on the nursery, and of course sitting and staring at our new baby. That night as we placed Caden in his crib and made sure his swaddle was snug we quietly walked out of the room and immediately went back to look at him again before gently closing his nursery door. I admit Josh and I were glued to the baby monitor and checked on him multiple times that first night. Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep, maybe 5 hours total after waking up round the clock to feed him. By three months of age Caden was sleeping 8 hours solid at night and at four months he graduated to rockstar status by sleeping 7pm-7am.
The following is an outline of Caden’s nursing and bedtime schedule for the last 11 months.
Birth: Every 2-3 hours for the first two weeks to increase Caden’s weight per doctors orders. After Caden’s weight increased we were given the go ahead from his pediatrician to allow him to sleep during the night without needing to wake him to eat.
Week 3: 4am, 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 6:30pm, 9pm, and 12:30am. Bedtime at 7pm followed by the last two feedings.
Week 7: 5am, 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 6:30pm, and 9:30pm. Bedtime at 7pm followed by a dream feed.
Month 3: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 9:30pm. Bedtime at 7pm followed by a dream feed.
Months 4 – 9: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm. Bedtime at 7pm.
Month 10 – 11: 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 7pm. Bedtime at 7pm.
Nap times were more of a challenge. Three month old Caden was averaging 60-90 minutes of daytime sleep. The Buschel house was not a fun place to be from 5-7pm. We had a very tried, cranky, and screaming baby for 2 hours each day. Up until this point we had been successful with following the book verbatim in regards to attempting to encourage Caden to nap without a sleep aid. My definition of success changed the moment we introduced Caden to the glorious pacifier. Cue sunbeams and choir singing! This was a game changer. We deviated from what the book said, became more flexible, and Caden napped! Yay for sleep aids!
At 11 months old, Caden now takes a morning and afternoon nap for a total time of 3-4 hours. It is amazing! Caden’s nap routine did not change overnight. It took several months of adjusting, using sleep aids, and being patient. The most common response Josh and I hear when we describe Caden’s sleep schedule is some variation of “You are lucky you have such an easy baby.” We agree! Caden is a super sweet kid! We also agree that it took both of us consistently working together in order for Caden to develop healthy sleep habits.
Life is short and time is too precious to waste judging others. I have nothing against feeding on demand or having your baby sleep in the same room with you. Each child is unique and what worked for my baby might not work for yours. I am just sharing what has worked for our family.
If you are thinking of trying BabyWise or using it as a flexible guideline here are my suggestions:
- Don’t be afraid to deviate from what the book says. Make it work for you and your family.
- Make sure any caregiver who watches your baby knows your plan and is willing to commit to it also.
- Give it time. Habits do not form overnight.
- Your baby’s schedule is constantly changing. Be flexible and ready to adapt.
What has worked for your family? If you don’t have kids, would this be a method you would try? I love to read your comments!
PS…Want to know what I else I will be blogging about over the next few weeks? Stay tuned for my breastfeeding story, how to make your own baby food, an overview of what we feed Caden, and other random goodness. Happy Wednesday!