What You Need To Know About Babywise
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I refer to Babywise often.
It is a method that we’ve used with both of our children. I highly recommend it, but I’ve never actually given an overview of what the method actually involves.
So, that’s what I’m doing today.
However, if you’ve only ever heard the negative things about Babywise, then I strongly recommend you go check out this post about The Myths of Babywise before you read any further.
1) It Is A Parent-Led Sleep Training Method
The heading sums it up.
Parent-led is often confused with the idea that the wants and needs of a baby aren’t taken into consideration.
The Babywise Series
This isn’t true at all. Babywise strongly advocates learning the cues and tells of your child. It is vital for a parent to understand what their baby is trying to communicate.
The difference is that the parent makes the final call on what the child needs.
For instance, the baby might be crying. Once the parent has gone through the list of needs that the baby might have (i.e. hunger, wind, comfort, boredom, etc) then it can be concluded that the baby may just be tired and needs to be left alone to be able to sleep.
Every cry is acknowledged, assessed, and responded to in some form or another.
2) It Focuses On Developing Healthy + Independent Sleep Skills
One of the biggest claims of Babywise is that the method can help your baby sleep through the night as early as 8 weeks.
While my children took a little longer than that, I still believe firmly in the benefits of the method.
Both of my children were sleeping through the night consistently by 3 months of age and have gone on to develop healthy sleep habits, such as being able to get themselves to sleep on their own.
3) It Uses The EWS (Eat, Wake, Sleep) Routine
Essentially, it entails getting your baby into a routine of eating, have a short wake or playtime, and then sleeping.
This is a routine that is followed throughout the day in cycles.
Once nighttime approaches, it becomes just eat and sleep, until they reach a point when they can just sleep.
The purpose of this cycle is to prevent babies from falling asleep while eating and also to ensure that they are well-rested and fed during their awake time.
Read more about the eat, wake, sleep routine here –> Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle
This cycle really is a founding principle to the success of the method.
Not only does it help establish independent sleep but it also gives parents the confidence to know what it is that their baby needs.
Because baby eats, sleeps, and plays at a fairly consistent time of day, cries are more easily interpreted. Better yet, there is less crying because you’re able to preempt their needs!
4) It Isn’t A CIO (Cry It Out) Method
Contrary to popular belief, Babywise is NOT a CIO method. In fact, the book barely touches on the subject at all.
There is a brief discussion where the authors talk about how a little bit of fussing will not do long-term harm to your baby, but nowhere does it mention how to implement the CIO method.
And while Babywise does not give any tips for using cry-it-out, if you do choose to allow your baby to cry in order to self-soothe then you can rest assured that there are no reputable and current studies that link it to being harmful in any way.
It’s a hot topic, but ultimately, the discussion on whether cry-it-out is healthy or not is based solely on the opinions and feelings of each party.
So, please realise that if you do choose to implement the Babywise method, you can absolutely do so without committing to cry-it-out.
I have friends who have done it both ways and their children have all come through with healthy sleep habits at the end of the day.
Even within Babywise, there is more than one way to achieve the desired result.
5) Healthy Sleep Habits = Healthy Eating Habits
A full feed goes a long way in getting a baby to sleep well, and a well-rested baby feeds better than an overtired or fatigued one.
Focusing on getting your baby to take full feeds, and to learn to get themselves to sleep independently are two of the main concepts found in the book.
One is not focused on more than the other because they are not mutually exclusive. Both have to be taken into account.
6) What Babywise Isn’t
Babywise is not the Bible, and therefore you should not treat it as such. Even the authors stress that feeding a hungry baby always takes precedence over the schedule.
Like anything in life, you should take the things that work for you and discard the rest.
While I love the Babywise method, it is not the only sleep associated method that I’ve used with my children. This is because one size does not fit all, and babies aren’t robots.
I actually found that while Babywise is a wonderful guide, it lacked the detail that I was after. The blog Chronicles of a Babywise Mom really helped me in those early days when I needed to troubleshoot.
When I had my second child I came across Moms on Call.
I love it for its directness, simplicity, and easy-to-follow instructions. You can read more about it in this post –> What You Need to Know About Moms on Call.
So, if you’re curious, I suggest getting your hands on a copy of the book.
I have breastfed one child and formula fed the other and have still been able to use Babywise with great results. If you’re open to the idea of a parent-led method, then check this one out!