This topic is extremely controversial among mommies. I want to start out by saying that Babywise mommies are amazing and so are your babies. I tried the Babywise method (a very popular method of sleep training your child), and by tried I mean for weeks I tried. I do not disagree with the Babywise method, however it did not work for me and my baby.
When baby G was 2 weeks old we started to notice his fussiness increase. He had a very hard time getting to sleep and he went through bouts and bouts of intense, inconsolable screaming (my mom can validate this, as we spent many evenings taking turns holding a screaming baby while I cried my eyes out along with him). . Everyone told me he was “colicky” which he technically was, being that colic consists of hours of inconsolable crying multiple days a week. But once I really starts to examine my baby’s behavior I discovered a few things that were causing this horrible crying phase.
Problem one, I had a “foremilk/hind milk imbalance” which caused him horrible tummy pains, leading me to problem number two. He had horrible gas. I mean the waking up screaming, rock hard bloated tummy kind of gas. The third problem is something we still battle with, reflux. I would constantly go in to comfort my crying newborn only to find his face and bed sheets covered in spit up. On top of these things my baby is considered “high needs”. All of these things combines made for one horribly fussy, overly tired, inconsolable newborn.
Once we started to figure out and solve a couple of the problems I began to try and “sleep train” my baby. I tried letting him cry it out, all according to the books ultimate wisdom. Again, I tried for a few weeks. And after only few successful attempts I decided this was not for me or my baby. He would only get more and more upset, crying to the point of not breathing. Which then made him even more tired because he would cry the entire duration of his nap time. Oh and did I mention he absolutely refuses a pacifier as well? I did check on him and reassure him by patting, talking, etc. every so often but nothing helped. I began to feel guilty for multiple reasons.
My baby was over tired and it is my fault.
Why can’t I get my baby to “self soothe” and sleep on his own for naps?
My baby needs me to fall asleep. I have become his “sleep prop”
I’m doing exactly what all the book say not to do.
My friend’s babies can do it, why can’t mine?
I felt embarrassed that my baby wasn’t on a glorious nap schedule like many of my friends.
I let my baby cry.
This went against my gut instinct.
The list goes on.
At some point I realized that my baby is not a Babywise baby and I became a Babywise dropout. And that is okay. I have broken all the sleep training rules. In fact, my baby is asleep in my arms as I’m writing this! And yes, I am enjoying watching his sleep expressions, hearing him breath and feeling him hold onto my arm. His naps are unpredictable and short. I have let him sleep wherever and however he can just so he isn’t sleep deprived at times. Yes this is hard, but we are constantly working on it and I know it will get better.
I still am embarrassed to have play dates with my Babywise mommy friends because while their babies simply go into their cribs awake and soothe themselves to sleep while my fussy little man needs to be rocked to sleep, in his swaddle with his white noise machine on and he screams until he falls asleep. I mean really, in comparison I look like the mom who does not have a clue what she is doing. But instead I constantly have to remind myself that baby G needs more. He needs more of me and that will only last for a little while.
I do try my best to follow the recommended “eat, wake, sleep” routine and this does work for my little one. He is exclusively breastfeed and started sleeping 5 hour stretches at 5 weeks old and always in his crib. Now at 12 weeks old he typically sleeps 7-8 hours, wakes for a feed and then sleeps another 3 until morning. His bedtime is around 8 o’clock, where he does put himself to sleep at night, and we wake for the day at 7am. I am pretty blessed by nighttime sleep. Naps and weekends are a different story, we will get to that in another post.
All in all, yes a huge part of me wishes Babywise worked for me and we had that schedule down now that I have to return to work. On the other hand, my baby is pretty flexible which also is important as I return to work with out one consistent babysitter. Our “schedule/routine” works for us and it will adapt and change as time goes on. In the mean time I am reminding myself that each and every baby is different and so is every mommy.
So to both Babywise mommies and Babywise dropouts, enjoy your little ones just as they are. They do not stay the same for very long.