The Magic of Babywise

And so it is here- the long awaited post on the magic of getting your baby to sleep through the night by 3 months. Simply put, this book is my Bible, and should be yours, too.

Now before I get into my experience on practicing Babywise, I will preface it with this: Every mom is different. Every baby is different. Each mom should be able to raise their children as they wish. As angels or monsters. As breastfed, formula fed, or Chik-Filet fed. As crib sleeper, co-sleeper or no sleeper. I’ve learned that the beautiful magic of motherhood is such a personal preference, and that rather than tell people and other moms what they “should” be doing, we should spend less time judging each other and more time pumping each other up. After all, that’s all we really need as mothers, right? A little support and an occasional “you are doing a great job.”

Now having said that, let me tell you why “On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant The Gift of Nighttime Sleep” is the best purchase I’ve made yet as a mother.

babywise

A little background first. Distinguished pediatrician Dr. Robert Bucknam, M.D. and co-author Gary Ezzo are two of the world’s leading experts on infant management concepts. For over 25 years, “On Becoming Babywise” has been the de facto newborn parenting manual for naturally synchronizing your baby’s feeding time, waketime and nighttime sleep cycles, so the whole family can sleep through the night. If you follow this theory correctly, you can expect your baby to sleep through the night anywhere between 8 and 15 weeks (this is amazing, by the way).

With pregnancy and having children I have learned that the human body is INCREDIBLE. It is absolutely amazing where we can take our bodies, and what we can teach our bodies. Yes, I said teach. Just like muscle memory we can teach our bodies habits, such as metabolic habits with fasting. We can teach our bodies when to eat, when to play, and when to sleep. And that is exactly what I did with my babies in order to get them to sleep.

The Babywise theory essentially is infancy management of daily activities broken up into three elements: feeding time, wake time (play time), and naptime.  I practiced this with both of my boys, Jaxon Jet & Conway Bo. With Jaxon I had no idea what I was doing. I got so many different opinions from different types of mothers. Not to mention, I struggled tremendously with breastfeeding. I always thought I was going to breastfeed for at least a year and it would just happen naturally. No one told me about the bloody nipples, the engorged, heavy breasts or the pain from hell. It was PAINFUL. Well, Jaxon wasn’t latching, he wasn’t getting enough milk, I was sad from sitting there for 45 mins+ with bloody, scabbed nipples in the middle of the night just to have a hungry baby. And then finally, I got mastitis, also known as the WORST fever of your life. 104 degree fever mixed with vomiting, and sweating yet having the chills. The absolute WORST combo. I had never heard of this until I got it, unfortunately, and I took that as my final sign to call it quits (and I had never felt so relieved).

I don’t mean to be too real with the picture below, but hey, that’s what I’m all about. These things were HEAVY & hard as rocks (no, my boobs don’t regularly look like this and have since recovered). Breastfeeding was not for me, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

engorged

I remember my low point with Jax. He was about a month old, I had been struggling with breastfeeding, I was alone while Ty was away playing football, I hadn’t showered or eaten a solid meal in days, I hadn’t even put deodorant on. I was in sweats with throw up on me, driving around God knows where, trying to get Jax to stop crying. I was bawling crying.

I called my close girlfriend and fellow mama and she said “You HAVE to try Babywise. It will SAVE you.” And that’s exactly what it did.

I started Babywise when Jax was 3-4 weeks old. Because I had such a solid, positive experience with Jax, I got Conway on the same schedule immediately when we got home from the hospital at just 3 days old. Yes, you can start this that early!

bwmyths

So here are some tricks on HOW you do it, mamas. I’ll try my best to keep it simple.

  1. Buy “On Becoming Babywise” ASAP. Buy this shit before your baby is born if you can. Learn it, live it, love it. Highlight key points. This was SO helpful for me. Whenever I had ‘WTF’ moments, I would refer to my book and see critical points highlighted like, ‘ah, okay, that’s what I do.”
  2. Find a routine that works for you. If I could describe Babywise in one word it would be “routine.” Routine, routine, routine. My babies eat, play and sleep at the SAME time EVERY single day! This is helpful for both baby and parents. This allows for you to plan your day and make YOUR life easier, mom! When you can predict when your baby is sleeping or needs to be fed, you can plan YOUR day.
  3. Stick to your routine. Often mom’s would ask me how on earth I got my babies to sleep through the night. Well for one Karen, I wasn’t bringing my babies to Target or out to dinner at 9 o’clock at night. The baby’s routine trumps all. Sure, once in a blue moon we kept our babies out (I’m talking 2, 3 times MAX over Jaxon’s first YEAR). We stuck to this routine and made plans around it. If that meant we were out late, we got a sitter. We missed out on events or dinners sometimes, but it was all for the greater good of getting sleep.
  4. Don’t forget the details. “Say routine one more time” ROUTINE! I’m talking down to the words you use. I’m convinced I hypnotized my children to sleep. EVERY night, once it hits 6:30pm, I give Conway a warm bubble bath. He listens to soothing music. I look in his eyes, tell him how beautiful he is and what a great job he is doing. Then, he gets a baby massage & smiles. Then he gets a fresh onesie, diaper and wrapped in a swaddle. Then we turn on the white noise machine, turn the light off, and he gets his bedtime bottle. At this time I tell him the SAME thing EVERY night. “You are beautiful, you are smart, you are doing such a great job and mommy and daddy are so proud of you. But if you want to be big and strong like Daddy you need to eat a lot and sleep! The more you sleep, the more you grow… I’ll see you at 7:30 in the morning. I love you, sweet dreams.
  5. Type out a routine. I typed out my ideal routine and put this on the fridge. This was helpful for myself, for Tyler, for family, sitters, etc. With each “merge” and change in the baby’s routine, type it out again. You’ll eventually have it memorized, but this will be SUPER helpful if you decide to have more children. This way you won’t have to reteach yourself (you will forget), and you will have something to refer back to.
  6. Don’t be afraid to CIO. Crying it out is sometimes frowned down upon. BW has does TONS of research, and CIO in no way does any physical or emotional harm to your baby! Your child will not be scarred and in therapy down the line because their mom let them CIO at 2 months old. Again, to each their own. However, BW teaches your baby to self soothe. That way they never rely on mom, a binky, or being coddled until they fall asleep. The whole point of BW is to get your baby to sleep on their own. And that means putting themselves to sleep. In the beginning I will say, it is hard. And there are nights when they wake early & cry. I’ve listened to Conway cry for 25 minutes+ and it hurts my heart terribly. Or times when I put him down for a nap and he cries at first. Then.. it stops. He goes back to sleep. It’s tough in the moment, but it will pass.. AND IT WORKS.
  7. Stay patient. Each “merge” takes about 2 weeks to solidify. You will absolutely have moments of ‘is this even working?’ or ‘am I doing this right?’ and I promise you, if you FOLLOW this as the book instructs, your baby WILL sleep through the night by 3 months. Anytime I was impatient or listening to my baby CIO (cry it out), I’d refer to my highlights in BW, read other BW blogs or success stories/tips, or text my fellow moms who have gone through it before and reminded me of the greater good.
  8. Invest in a Dock-A-Tot. Upfront, this is an investment, but some of the best things in life aren’t free, ha! We didn’t have one with Jaxon, instead we made a makeshift, ghetto version and surrounded him with rolled up blankets, which worked. But with Jaxon we were gifted with the magical Dock-A-Tot. It’s the next best thing to the womb. Babies can rest, play and lounge. It is perfect for our family who are self-proclaimed gypsies. No matter where our next move is, whether in a hotel, grandma’s house, his crib or a pack & play, I can bring the Dock with me everywhere and Conway doesn’t know the difference, thus not disturbing his routine. dock

Now that I’ve given you a few tips, here are some sample schedules to get your baby sleeping through the night. Again, to each their own, but I will say that Jaxon slept through the night at 8 weeks. I’m talking 7pm – 7am every night. By 4 months he was waking up at 8:30am, and half the time I had to wake HIM up!! He is 2 years old and has slept 12+ hours on his own every night. No night scares, no co-sleeping, just an angel sleeping and mom and dad having their sanity. Conway slept through the night just before he hit 8 weeks, but then I made the mistake of making him travel across the country, experiencing time zone change followed by him getting a tummy bug where he wasn’t holding anything down for a week. But even with all that change, that strong little baby snapped back and slept 7pm – 7am by 11 weeks. THIS WORKS!

Babywise Schedule Week 1-4:

  • 8am:
    • 1. Wake-up, feeding, diaper change, outfit change
    • 2. Waketime: minimal
    • 3. Down for a nap
  • 11am:
    • 1. Feeding, diaper change
    • 2. Waketime: minimal
    • 3. Down for a nap
  • 2pm:
    • 1. Feeding, diaper change
    • 2. Waketime: minimal
    • 3. Down for a nap
  • 5pm:
    • 1. Feeding, diaper change
    • 2. Waketime: minimal
    • 3. Down for a nap
  • 8pm:
    • 1. Bath time
    • 2. Feeding, diaper change, ready for bed/swaddle
    • 3. Down for sleep
  • 11pm:
    • 1. Dreamfeed #1, diaper change
    • 2. Back to sleep
  • 2am:
    • 1. Dreamfeed #2, diaper change
    • 2. Back to sleep
  • 5am:
    • 1. Dreamfeed #3, diaper change
    • 2. Back to sleep
  • 8am: Wake up, repeat

**Each feeding is 2.5 oz breastmilk

You might be asking yourself, ‘what on Earth is a dreamfeed??’  Well, how I describe a dreamfeed is like this: think of sleep walking, but sleep eating. Essentially the baby is eating while he stays sleeping. You are teaching the baby to stay asleep during the night, but still giving him the nutrition and calories he needs as an infant. All you do is pick him up while he lay sleeping, sit down, feed him, and put him right back down. There is no socializing, no goo-goo, gah-gah’s, no diaper change (unless you smell something a little funny, which will absolutely be more common that first month). If your LO does have a poop, I always changed them first. That way if they start to wake, once you have them quickly changed and swaddled back up, the bottle will calm them back down and put them back to sleep.

Dreamfeeds continue to about 4 months. The rule of thumb is to drop the DF once your LO has slept solid through the night for at least 2 weeks. Some drop it cold turkey, others wean. I only have experience with weaning Jax off of it. I slowly brought his DF back from 11 to 10. I’d bring it back 15 minutes every 3 days, and would also lower his ounces.

As your little guy grows and exits that alien phase, his wake time will be a little longer. It took me a week or so to make adjustments, but this is what works for us now. Conway loves his naps, but the general rule is 2 hours wake, 1 hour nap. I guess I just got lucky with a little longer naps!

Babywise Schedule Week 5-12:

  • 7-7:30am:
    • 1. Wake, Feed 4.5 oz
    • 2. Wake/play time
    • 3. Naptime (9-9:30)*
  • 10:30-11:
    • 1. Wake, Feed 4.5 oz
    • 2. Wake/play time
    • 3. Naptime (12-12:30)*
  • 1:30-2:
    • 1. Wake, Feed 4.5 oz
    • 2. Wake/play time
    • 3. Naptime (3-3:30)*
  • 4-4:30:
    • 1. Wake, Feed 4.5 oz
    • 2. Wake/play time
      *Might take a cat nap some time during this period,  just make sure it’s no longer than an hour & he is up before 6:15
  • *Bedtime routine begins*
    • 1. 6:30: Bubble bath time
    • 2. Baby massage with lotion, fresh diaper, onesie & swaddle
    • 3. Feed 5 oz, down for sleep, white noise machine/humidifier on
  • 11pm:
    • Dreamfeed 4.5 oz

*You’ll see half hour windows for nap times. During this time allow your baby (and your sanity) a half hour window. For example, I put Conway down between 12 and 12:30 for his afternoon nap. And he will wake up between 1:30 and 2. Any time between that half hour window going down, and any time between that half hour window waking up to feed is okay. But stick with that window! If he is still sleeping at 2, I wake up him. Sometimes you’ll want to let your baby sleep in, or have a long nap, but you’ll have to wake him up. But I promise you, it is all for the greater good!!

Also, eventually your baby will be eating more. If he’s downing bottles, time to increase the ounces. Conway at 3 months is up to 5 ounces per feeding.

And well, that’s the jist of getting your baby to sleep through the night. If you follow the book as it instructs and my routine (or other routine examples you can easily find online that may be more suitable to your schedule), I can promise you that your baby WILL sleep through the night in WEEKS. It’s not rocket science, it just takes time and commitment. Remember, routine is your best friend. And when other moms are complaining about waking up at 5am when their kid is a year old, or how they can’t sleep because their baby is in bed with them, you’ll be on your second cocktail knowing damn well your baby is sleeping like a sound angel at home.

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

I’ll end it with these words of encouragement. The first 3 months is the hardest a mother will ever go through (however, I have yet to experience the teenage years). My same girlfriend who gave me the gift of BW also told me this “just hang in there and get through the first three months, after that it’s a breeze.” And she was right. Even with the BW schedule, you’ll wake in the middle of the night, you’ll have set backs, you’ll have WTF moments, but it will all be worth it. At the end of 3 months, your baby will be sleeping through the night, he will start to get chunky, start smiling, and you will have slept through the night too, and it will all have been worth it. I promise.

*Any questions? Comment below and I will give you my best advice based on my experience. Tell me your stories!

One thought on “The Magic of Babywise

  1. Great story, You should also look into baby nest, they are great for this time when the baby is so little. my wife and I was in the same situation and we actually made a baby nest for our second baby, she is now 4 months old and she is sleeping great, well now she is sleeping even more.

    We made my own research about the baby nest, and how can that help my baby to sleep, and the secret is very simple, they are born in a small nest inside the stomach, so when they are born the fell the freedom, and that why they cry a little more.

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    Like

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