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Well, we’ve been trying something new in our home. I had intended to start with the Babywise thing from the get-go. But, with all the breastfeeding commotion I figured it would be better to conquer that before adding another thing to our plate.
That being said, we finally started trying to get Baby Girl on a schedule about two weeks ago. Here’s how it’s going.
Before we get to far into this, let me start by explaining Babywise. At least, let me start by explaining how I’m incorporating Babywise into our lives.
For those of you who don’t know what Babywise is, it’s a sleep and feeding ideology/methodology/ approach that blends together following a schedule and feeding on demand. It allows parents to determine the structure, and baby to set the rhythm.
I’ve read both criticism and praise for this method. I kept an open mind as I read both and found a way to work the PDF (Parent Directed Feeding) ideology into our household in a way that I felt was beneficial to both me and my baby.
Want to check out what all the fuss is about? Here’s a link to the book!*
As I said in the introduction, we waited 5 weeks to start Babywise. I’m actually glad we did. This allowed me to get to know my baby a little better and figure out what her natural schedule is. Yes, there are variations (growth spurts, “fussy days”, etc.), but for the most part, she is sticking to a 2.5-3 hour cycle.
All I did when starting Babywise was put some structure to that schedule. One of the key components of Babywise is deciding on a first/last feeding and sticking with it.I chose 7:00am as my first feeding and 8:00pm as my last (with a 10:30 “late night” feed).
How did I decide when to put in a 2 ½ or a 3 hour stretch? Again, I let Norah make that decision for me. Originally, I had the first 3 hour stretch from 7:00-10:00 but I found that she had more trouble napping in that window (hence, getting hungry at the 2 ½ hour mark). During the second cycle, however, she seemed to nap longer and I would end up having to wake her up to feed her. So, I switched them!
- 7:00-10:00 went to 7:00-9:30
- 10:00-12:30 went to 9:30-12:30
This is what I like about Babywise (at least, my interpretation of it). Even though it is “Parent Directed,” baby still has a big say in what their schedule will look like. I let Norah tell me when she wants to eat. I pay attention to what works best for her (is she sleeping more at this time? hungrier at that? more playful in the morning? fussier at night?).
If she wakes up early, I do try to keep her calm and get her to feeding time. Sometimes, she cries just because she wants to be held. It doesn’t mean she’s hungry. If we get to about 20 minutes before feeding time and she’s still fussy, I’ll go ahead and feed her. I will not starve my baby!
Now that we’ve chatted about all the nitty gritty goodies, let’s take a look at Norah’s 5 Week Schedule!
Our biggest struggle is nap time. She doesn’t always want to sleep when she’s supposed to. For that reason, I allow a lot of flexibility with her sleep times. If she only sleeps 30 minutes during one cycle, I’ll let her drift off to sleep early the next (if she’s showing signs of being tired). Again, I let her lead me. My role in all of this is simply trying to “direct” her toward this schedule. If we stick to it or not is ultimately up to her.
Things to Keep in Mind
A few principles we’ve been sticking to when putting all of this into practice:
For the first feeding, make sure baby knows it’s daytime! There should be a clear distinction between day and night. I always make sure to turn on lights, open the blinds, and put on music or turn on the TV. I want her to know that it’s time to wake up!
The same thing goes for naps. I don’t try to keep quiet when she’s napping and I don’t make it dark. There is a difference between sleeping during the day and sleeping at night, and I want to make sure she’s aware of it.
The “Night Feed”
This feed is different than the others because it doesn’t begin a cycle. Like the middle of the night feeds, we keep the lights off and everything silent.
In our home, this feed is given with a bottle. Why? Because Norah is too sleepy and falls asleep on the breast. With a bottle, she’s more likely to get a full feed in.
What’s the big deal? Why don’t we just let her eat what she wants and fall back asleep?
Because at this age, she needs the calories and she needs the feeding. When she gets older and doesn’t need this feeding, we might turn it into a dream feed.
What About Dream Feeds?
For us, dream feeds (feeding baby at night without waking them up completely) don’t work right now. She will not eat! She needs to be awake. Some people have had great success with dream feeding, though. We might try again when she’s a little older, but for now, we’re doing a full feed at her night feeding.
What’s the Verdict?
Overall, Babywise has been going really well for us! Of course, I’m saying this two weeks in… I will be sure to post an updated schedule for her 6 week routine, and we’re currently in the process of shaking things up again for her 7 week.
The first week was a little difficult at times. It took a little adjustment for both of us. But, I can honestly say (two weeks later) that sticking with it was for the best.
Want to know why? Be on the lookout for my next Babywise update coming soon!
*If you decide to give Babywise a go purchase the book by clicking on this link, I get a little commission. It doesn’t cost you a single penny, though!