Our Boys

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm "Becoming Baby Wise"

Let's talk about being a first time mom. When I had Owen, it was like there were two different people inside of me. On the one hand, I was convinced that being a mom couldn't be more natural. Women have been doing it for a few years now and shouldn't everything just work. This was my view on breastfeeding, sleeping, basically everything involved in raising a baby. I never thought it would be easy just natural. On the other hand, I was scared to death that I was going to mess up. Surely at some point I would do something wrong that would scar Owen for life. I mean, seriously, I had NO idea what I was doing, so I just did what came naturally and for the most part, it worked. Breastfeeding was something that just worked for us. Owen latched immediately and even the lactation consultant at the hospital had no suggestions as he was doing very well. At times he's a lazy eater and sometimes a distracted eater, but always an eater. I have no horror stories of problems with my breasts, Owen refusing to eat, not gaining weight...it really just worked like it was supposed to. For the most part, everything else worked just fine too. He is a happy little boy. He smiles so often now and laughs on occasion. He has started to coo and you can tell he is responding to us being around.

The one thing that didn't come so natural was sleep. Now, I have to say, that I can't complain. I know there are moms out there that are up every hour and get no night time sleep. That has never (knock on every piece of wood within reach) been the case. Our problem was more that I never knew when Owen would sleep and for how long. His "schedule" basically went like this - I would nurse him, he would be awake for a little while, then he would get fussy so I would nurse him to sleep, then gingerly place him in his crib while creeping out, praying that he would stay asleep. Then I played the waiting game because I never knew if he would sleep for 30 minutes or 3 hours. I started to get very frustrated because I could't get anything done. Any time I thought I had time to do something, he would immediately wake up. If I thought he wouldn't sleep long, I would wait for him to get up and I would end up waiting for hours. I really couldn't take it any more.

At the July 4th parade, I ran into a neighbor with a little one a week older than Owen. She mentioned that she had "done Baby wise" with both of her kids and loved it. I knew  had heard brief mentions of "Baby Wise" but had never paid attention because like I said, shouldn't a baby sleeping just come naturally? Well, I did some research on the internet and checked the book out of the library. At first I was skeptical to say the least. I hated the thought of letting Owen cry and I just didn't think such a strict schedule fit our lifestyle. I like to go, go, go and didn't want to be tied down. Please hold the laughter. I do know that I have a baby :-) Anyway, I started by changing nothing, but writing down exactly what time we did everything each day and I found that he already had the start of a pattern. I then put him on a 3 hour feeding schedule that looks like this  -

7:00 am Owen gets up to start his day I sometimes have to wake him up. He eats and we play on his activity gym.
8:00/15 - Owen goes down for a nap.
10:00 Time to eat again. I sometimes have to wake him from this nap. We read some books, go outside if it's not too hot, play with the puppies and do some chores around the house.
11:30 Down for another nap.
1:00 Time to eat - he usually wakes up on his own. We read and go for a walk in the stroller.
2:30 Nap time.
4:00 Time to eat. 50/50 on whether I wake him or he gets up on his own.
5:00 He starts to get cranky and doesn't like to go down for a nap, but he is back in his crib by 5:30.
6:10 I wake him up to go pick up dad at the train station. He is usually fussy when we get home and dad makes every attempt to make him laugh while I finish dinner.
7:00 Time to eat. He is usually satisfied for a little while.
8:00 Start getting read for bed. We were putting him down at 8:30 but decided it's a bit late and are starting to put him to bed now at 8 or 8:15.
10:00 Dream feed...I initially wasn't sure how I felt about this, but after trying it and not, have decided it works for us.
3:00-5:00 Owen gets up to eat. He doesn't yet have a set time, but I hope that he will soon. Last night he got up at 4:50-woohoo!

So for now this seems to be working. Obviously these times are approximate, but what I love is that I now recognize exactly when he is tired. I can put him in his crib and might yell once or twice but goes right to sleep. I feel like I am being a better mom to him because I am giving him what he actually needs and not what I think he needs. The other nice thing about the Feed/ Wake/ Sleep schedule is that he is not eating right before lying down. He has a slight case of reflux and I think that is why he was previously waking up only a short time into his nap. (He is also sleeping better now that he naps on his tummy. I do not need reminded that "Back is Best", I know this, but Owen doesn't) Now, because he is up and awake for a while after eating, he is having less trouble and works through it while awake instead of asleep.

I am certainly no expert and am constantly second guessing myself, mainly on the waking him up form naps part. But, things are going so much better. I can accomplish more during the day, can plan our time out of the house, and Owen is SERIOUSLY a happier baby!

I linked up with Kelly at Kelly's Korner for her Show Us Your Life Series. Today's Topic: Best Parenting Advice.


Pink Slippers said...

I agree with it helping having a baby on a schedule. Even with a flexible one it just helps with recognizing baby's routine a little batter. As a Mommy to 8 I have had all sorts of different nappers and eaters. Thankfully no multiples. That must be somewhat difficult.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for sharing your BW experience! My 19-month DS is a BW alum and now we're going through Toddler Wise. We had such a positive experience with BW and it really taught us to be intuitive with our DS. He is still a great sleeper! Good luck and keep doing what you're doing!

Lauren said...

It's like we're living the same life. I had heard negative things about babywise prior to having my baby so steered clear of it. Then in desperation (bad naps, bad sleep) I turned to babywise. What a difference a simple schedule makes! I'm glad it worked for you too! One of the hardest parts of being a new mom is discovering what advice is bad and what is good. Looks like we've gotten past that in this case!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I was just like you when I was a new mommy - the EXACT same thing every day. Kept us both sane!

A great book for when they get out of the newborn period (about 4 mos) is called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It will help you transition to a 'big kid' nap schedule that he will stay on until he drops his first nap at about 18 months.

Amanda said...

I agree wholeheartedly that a "flexible schedule" is key. I did read Babywise and followed it loosely. Another great compliment to that book is The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. I found her style to be more in line with me and my personality, but she does adhere to a very similar routine outlined in Babywise...just a little more laid-back approach. Combining the two was great for me.

Megan said...

Just so you know, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement on the dangers of following the Babywise method. Babies are designed to eat when they are hungry, whether out not they ate an hour ago. Just want you to know so you can check it out! I'm sure you are trying your best!

Brooke said...

I noticed our schedules are basically identical...I too read BW and follow the schedule to the "T"... feedings at
7,10,1,4,7 and she goes to sleep at 7:30/45ish. My 7 month old has slept for 10 hours/night since she was 4 mos. I feel so much more comfortable bc I can tell she feels comfortable knowing what to expect next. Babies love routine. I need to hurry up and read Toddler Wise, now!!! :) GOOD LUCK to ALL the MOMMIES!!!!

cMe said...

As I said on my blog, I also can't let her cry. Once I knew she could sleep through the night, I used a modified version of Moms on Call to get her to sleep through. Our daytime pretty much follows your schedule though. I just started waking her at 7 a.m. rather than 9...mainly so I would get up and start my day. :) So glad Babywise worked for you!

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