Sometimes I hear someone say, “Babywise just didn’t work for my baby,” or something along those lines, and it’s almost always from someone who is having a hard time sleep training their baby. My first thought is always, “You make babywise work for YOU.” This is one of the main premises of the book – Babywise works for you; you don’t work for babywise. And this is one of the reasons I LOVE babywise. It has helped us find a routine and have kids that take great naps and sleep through the night. And people NEED sleep!
Many people who think of babywise immediately think of hyperscheduling or cry it out or whatever. And while babywise does incorporate a schedule and encourages you to allow your baby to learn how to self-soothe, what it’s NOT doing is demanding you stick to a rigid schedule or let your baby cry for hours and hours and hours. Babywise provides the skeleton for structure; it’s a parenting tool. It doesn’t get to make demands of you or dictate exactly how you sleep train your baby. That’s all you, mama. What it can do for you, however, is add support, structure, and a framework for getting your child on a schedule. And in my experience, a kiddo who knows what’s coming next is a child who feels happy and safe!
Please don’t hear me saying babywise is the ONLY way to create a schedule or to have a happy baby. I don’t believe that at all. I know lots of attachment parenting mamas with happy, healthy babes. And just like babywise isn’t their cup of tea, attachment parenting just isn’t mine. And that’s ok! What I’m saying is that I believe babywise can help with those things, if those things are what you’re looking for and you need a place to start.
When I had the twins (we got them at 3-months-old) and someone would hear that they took at least two 2-hour naps during the day and slept 12 hours through the night, a frequent response I got was, “Wow, you got so lucky!” I still get that response when people hear that every child in my home (ages 1.5, 4, and 6) still naps or at least has rest time during the day. Let me tell you, luck has got nothing to do with it. When people say I got “so lucky,” my sarcastic self says (in my head), “You’re right. They decided to do that all on their own. I didn’t do a thing. Amazing.” Do some babies respond better to scheduling than others? Sure. Do some kids adapt more easily to routine? Of course. But I’ve never had a child from day 1 of their lives; seven times we’ve welcomed into our home kids from hard places, who came from chaotic environments, and not once have babywise principles failed me. Not. One. Time. And that’s because I made babywise work for me, and I put in the work to make it work. If you want to believe I “got lucky” seven times, then fine. But if you want to know how to make babywise work for you too, keep reading, get the book, and do some research! The blogs at the bottom of this post are some great resources!
So, how do you make babywise work for you? Consistency is KEY. To make babywise work, I think it’s true that you do have to make some personal sacrifices, particularly in the early months. Consistency is so important to get a routine settled in. But once you do? Life is predictable and you can easily flex your schedule or bend the rules. All those “sleep crutches” that babywise talks about? If you want to break one of those rules a few times, go for it. You want to rock your baby to sleep tonight? Mama, do it. Don’t you dare think rocking that baby to sleep will ruin your hard-earned schedule. It won’t. I’ve rocked all my babies to sleep plenty of times when I wanted to, and I don’t regret a thing. The point is that I didn’t HAVE to. My babes all had developed the ability to self-soothe, and rarely did that require crying it out. They were just able to fall asleep without help (bottle, rocking, bouncing, etc), and they were able to put themselves back to sleep if they woke up during the night.
With that said, I also believe it’s important for you to have a life, and for your husband/significant other and other children to have a life. Your baby was born into a family, so he/she isn’t the only member of the group who has needs that must be considered. When we had the twins, I had to pick our older child up from preschool during their afternoon nap so we had no choice but to be flexible. Babywising with multiple kids requires flexibility!
So while consistency is important for scheduling, flexibility is important because… life. And oh my stars, don’t even get me started on foster care visit days. Allllll the flexibility is required for that mess (and all my foster care mamas said, “Amen.”) On those days we were scheduled-ish. And if you’re scheduled-ish on lots of days, that’s ok! Sometimes that’s life. The great thing about babywise is that once the schedule is in place, you can flex it this way and that way without breaking it. The schedule can bend without being broken. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
If you’re having trouble sleep training your baby, I HIGHLY recommend looking into babywise. Babywise principles have helped us add structure (and SLEEP!) to our lives, especially in this season of having kiddos who have never had structure or stability. We have seen kids who have resisted rules and structure go from being the most anxious, scared kids to extremely stable kids who feel safe. Obviously we know this has a lot to do with other aspects of our home, but it also has a lot to do with our implementation of babywise principles. Don’t believe the myths! Try it yourself. Take what you want from it and leave the rest. Make babywise work for you – however that looks.
Here’s the myth busting schedule for this week. Be sure to check out the rest of the posts!
- Monday: Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom talking about the Myths versus Realities of Babywise.
- Tuesday: Katrina at Mama’s Organized Chaos talking about the realities of Babywise and the schedule – babywise isn’t imposing a schedule; it is learning the ideal schedule.
- Wednesday: Shea at The Moses Home will be talking about how having a schedule actually makes you flexible, not rigid, and Natasha at Let’s Be Brave is talking about how babywise is supposed to work for you; you don’t work for babywise.
- Thursday: Carrie at Wiley Adventures is talking about how Babywise and Cry It Out do (or don’t) go together, and Kimberly at Team Cartwright will be discussing how scheduled feedings do not diminish milk supply.
- Friday: Cole at Twinning Babywise will be discussing how babywise is so much more than just sleep training. Emily at The Journey of Parenthood will finish us off talking about how it’s possible and doable to implement babywise with multiple kids.