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This post originally appeared on Twin Mom and More.
Babywise is primarily used as a sleep training book. Although, I would argue that there is so much more to it than just instilling healthy sleep habits in your child.
I have used the method with two of my children from birth and plan to use it again when our third child arrives in a few months. It has been hugely beneficial to our family as a whole. For me as a mother, it has saved my sanity.
My first two children are just 18-months apart and having them each on a routine was a lifesaver! –> Two Under Two – 7 Tips for Keeping Everyone Alive and Sane
However, there are a few things that I would love to have known about before I started out on my ‘Babywise journey’ as a first-time mom.
That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
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1) You’ll Need to Keep the Book Handy
Regardless of how many times you have read the book before your baby arrives you’re going to need to read it again.
It’s not a ‘one and done’ kind of thing. Why?
Well, not because the method is flawed in any way, but because of one simple thing.
I don’t care who you are. In those first few weeks (months…I mean, YEARS) of motherhood, your mind and body will go through significant changes.
There will be some lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and just a total shift in focus. You can, therefore, be forgiven for struggling to remember even the most basic of facts. As a result, you’ll need to keep the book handy.
I would suggest putting it wherever it is that you most commonly sit to feed your baby. Obviously, you’ll be spending a lot of time there.
Use markers so you can quickly refer to the sections that you most often need help with.
2) The First Two Weeks Don’t Count
This is actually something that they stress in the book. The first 2-3 weeks are a time for recovery and for you to get to know your baby.
If you’re breastfeeding it can be a very intense time of learning.
And regardless of what kind of delivery you had, the first 2-3 weeks are usually a time of healing for your body. Of course, it takes much longer than that for it to return to ‘normal’ (whatever that is!) but, those first few weeks really should be set aside for as much rest as possible.
However, if you’re like me then you may struggle with the concept of just ‘going with the flow’. So, for your sake, I’ll give you a few guidelines just to help you through.
First of all, don’t look at the clock. Instead, watch your baby.
By doing this you’ll start to learn their cues for hunger, sleepiness, and discomfort. Also, don’t worry if this seems completely overwhelming at first. No mother knows her child right from the get-go. It takes time.
Secondly, work on keeping them awake while they feed.
This can be hugely challenging during those first few weeks, so don’t stress at all if you’re finding your baby just will not wake up.
It’s normal. However, it’s great to start practising.
Other than those two things I would just recommend getting as much rest as is possible.
3) Your Baby Isn’t a Robot
Many moms that follow the Babywise method tend to have more of a type-A personality. For that reason, it can be really difficult when you do ‘a b c’ expecting to get ‘x y z’ and your baby does ‘m n o’.
I found this particularly difficult to get my head around as a first-time mom. Here’s the thing though. Every baby is different and not one of them is a robot. Fact.
Babywise is a method that is very helpful, but it isn’t the bible. Not every baby is going to fall beautifully into their recommended schedules and timeframes. You can troubleshoot and tweak for sure, but sometimes babies just do what babies do.
For example, my firstborn was a chronic catnapper until 9-10 months of age. It just about drove me mad. I tried just about every tactic I could to get him to sleep longer, but he eventually outgrew it.
My second child had much higher sleep needs and still does to this day.
They both had things we had to work on, but ultimately, with the use of the Babywise principles, they both have healthy sleep habits and were sleeping through the night well before 6-months old.
The sooner you realise your baby is a unique individual the sooner you will be able to relax when things aren’t going quite to plan.
4) The Schedule Works for You
There is a balancing act to be had here and it’s where parental discretion comes in. That’s something that the critics of Babywise fail to take into account. Babywise is a guide, not a rulebook!
Read –> The Myths of Babywise
Babywise stresses that the schedule should work for you, not the other way around. Yes, they provide samples and ideas for you to go off, but ultimately, you have to decide what is right for your child and family.
Does your husband get home late from work? Maybe an 8 pm bedtime will work better for your family rather than a 7 pm one.
Just remember that while having a schedule is a huge asset, there is no need to be a slave to it. And in saying that, there will be some sacrifices made, especially during that first year.
For instance, you won’t be able to just leave the house whenever you want if you are wanting your baby to take a good full nap.
For some, this can feel really restrictive, but I would urge you to consider what is really important. Use your common sense and judgement.
You will need to balance your baby’s sleep needs with that of your own. While their needs are super important, so are yours and your health will directly impact on them, so do take that into consideration.
5) There is Support
So many moms start out on their Babywise journey and then really struggle when things don’t go as they expected. It is very common to experience loneliness in motherhood.
However, what you might not be aware of is that there is actually a great community of moms that are all using Babywise to help teach their babies to sleep.
So, if you’re looking for advice, support, and friendship, here are some wonderful resources:
Made up of 8 mamas that all use Babywise to some extent. You’ll find an abundance of resources on all of their blogs as well as real-life situations that they have experienced.
I know of at least two Babywise Facebook groups that are filled with mamas there to help answer questions and provide feedback.
Just do a search and you’ll likely stumble across them. If not, reach out to one of the network group members and I’m sure we’ll be able to help you get into the Facebook club. 😉
At the end of the day, Babywise is what you make it.
If you’re curious about how to get started with Babywise then this is the post for you –> How to Start Babywise from Day One
It can be a wonderful tool that provides structure, rest, and calm in the chaos of parenting. However, it is important to put it into perspective and use it for what it is…a parenting tool. One of the many that you will come across in your journey of motherhood.
I hope it is as much of a blessing to you as it has been to me!
Hi! I’m Christine. I am a former registered nurse, turned stay-at-home mom, turned work-at-home mom!
Motherhood has always been my passion and blogging has only added to that and given me a creative outlet to share about the things I love.
As my blog has grown, my desire to share the knowledge of what makes my life less stressful, simplified, and more fulfilled has become one of my driving forces.
I have a heart for mothers that feel as though they are just existing from day to day and are longing for more. You can find out more about me and my family over on my ‘About Me‘ page.
As well as the abundance of posts you’ll find on my blog, you can also find me over at Today Parenting.