Figuring out if you want to use the Babywise method can be an emotional decision. It’s one of the first big decisions you’ll make after bringing your new baby home. There is so much information out there on why you should feed on demand when breastfeeding, that if you are choosing a different method (such as Babywise), it can feel a bit overwhelming. You can start to second guess yourself. My heart was telling me to use Babywise, but pretty much everything else was saying not to.
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If you haven’t watched my video yet, you are going to want to. I remember it so vividly...it was Christmas Eve night, and Caroline was 1 month old. I was second guessing our choice to use Babywise, and my husband and I ended up in a huge argument with me yelling and ending up going for a walk to clear my mind. Luckily, it all worked out in the end and we chose to go down the path of using Babywise (see video above for more details)…
Are you contemplating using the Babywise method?
Are you unsure what to do? Did you start Babywise already and you are lost, or you’ve been told not to do it? You’ve come to the right place. I have been there! Here I’ll discuss the benefits we found, my notes to the first time mom, and how to be successful with Babywise. And if you want another good read, head over to my friends blog about how she quit Babywise (and came back to it).
The Emotions and Frustrations that Go With Choosing the Babywise Method
If you look up anything about breastfeeding, odds are you will find that feeding on demand is “best”. If you look up the Babywise method itself, you’ll find some articles out there stating how bad it is for your child. There is a TON of misinformation on the internet, and most of those posts are written by people that have never actually read the Babywise book.
Side note: If you are reading a post like that and it states that Babywise says to not feed your baby or that it causes failure to thrive, please close it and don’t trust that site. My friend Valerie (the Babywise Mom) notes in this post–> how many times the Babywise book specifically says to “feed your baby”. It’s a LOT by the way! Also worth mentioning, you should read the book for yourself. It’s a great resource!
The hard part, is that if you are drawn to the Babywise method, it can be hard to essentially go against the grain of popular culture and society. If you have heard over and over and over that feeding on demand is best, and that you should never wake a sleeping baby, it’s hard to stray away from those thoughts.
I struggled with this in the beginning…
There are, however, so many of us that have chosen to use Babywise and have had such great success with it.
Check out these great posts from Babywise Mamas as well: How I Discovered the Remarkable Gift of Babywise, How I Discovered Babywise, and Why I Followed it Despite the Controversy, Why We Chose (and love) Babywise.
So, for those of you struggling with these thoughts about Babywise and what to do, I want to say 4 things to you:
1- It is ok to follow your head and your heart and do your own thing. Whether that means using Babywise, or something else. It is ok to do what feels right for your family.
2- In my opinion, Babywise is the best resource we used for our daughter. So good we plan on using it again. So good, I blog about it so others know how great it is. So good.
3-You can use Babywise while you are breastfeeding. Using schedules while breastfeeding actually helped to strengthen my supply and helped make my breastfeeding experience the good one that it was. I am not sure I would have made it a full year of breastfeeding had I chosen to feed on demand.
4- Doctors actually recommend feeding schedules. They may not give you the official term “Babywise”, but they are on board with core of it, because it makes logical sense.
Why We Chose To Use the Babywise Method
When it came down to it, we saw several benefits to using the Babywise method. It seemed to really make sense to us. It seemed logical- like a no brainer. Quite honestly, we wouldn’t have had any doubts about it, had I not been hearing that feeding on demand was best.
The 11+ benefits we noticed and experienced with Babywise:
1- Teaching your baby the difference between day and night will lead to better nighttime sleep.
2- Getting the right amount of daytime sleep (not too much or too little), will lead to your baby sleeping better at night.
3- Teaching your baby how to get FULL feeds is beneficial to their sleep. (They aren’t waking out of hunger).
4- Feeding your baby the correct number of times during the day, leads to better nighttime sleep.
5- Having routines in place help your baby to know what to expect throughout the day, especially around naps and bedtime.
6- Teaching your baby to fall asleep without relying on food, will lead to better sleep. (If your baby wakes up, they don’t NEED to be fed to get back to sleep).
7- Your baby will eat because they are hungry, not because they need comforting and soothing.
8- Your whole family will get better sleep. Prioritizing sleep has so many of its own benefits!
9- A well rested baby is a happy baby and one that is ready to learn.
10- Breastfeeding is better on a schedule. Your body is super smart and loves being on a schedule. It’s great for your supply and emotional well being.
11- You will know when you can leave the house, and not get caught with a baby that is fussy due to tiredness or hunger.
12- I think I might be able to go on forever with all of the amazing benefits… LOL!
Check out this post from my friend Natasha as well, on 5 Reasons to Follow On Becoming Babywise.
Putting the Work In With Babywise
Encouragement For the New Mom That is Starting Babywise
There are some key things to introduce in the first month that will help you start implementing the Babywise method, and set you up for success in your Babywise journey. I want to say it loud and clear, however: You aren’t going to make a schedule, and stick to that schedule for the first month. The schedule is a simply goal. It is something to keep in mind. It is not the most important concept to get across in the first few weeks, however.
I’ve seen moms in Babywise groups on Facebook literally get super stressed over the schedule early on. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap, or you won’t be able to enjoy Babywise and really give it a good shot. Set yourself up for success, and know that the schedule is something you are working towards, but not something that falls into place immediately.
What Concepts To Focus on In The Early Days of Implementing Babywise
1- Establish Day from Night
- Keep it bright during the day and open up the curtains.
- Keep it dark during the night and invest in blackout curtains if need be.
- Wake your baby throughout the day (with the schedule in mind).
- Let your baby sleep at night (unless your doctor has instructed you to feed around the clock for some reason).
- Start your day off right and wake your baby at the same time every day. (DWT- desired wake time. Make sure to set this time for yourselves and stick to it).
2- Establish the Eat-Wake-Sleep Cycle
- Newborns sleep SO much. Eating time counts as wake time.
- After feeding, try to keep your baby awake, even if just for a tiny bit, to start establishing this routine.
- This is one of the most important parts of Babywise. By establishing this routine, you are preventing your baby from relying on eating to be able to soothe them to sleep. This is huge for being able to sleep through the night!
3- Focus on Routines
- In addition to the eat, wake, sleep routine throughout the day, you want to establish sleep routines.
- Before every nap, and before bedtime have a routine in place. Keep it simple. A sleep routine can be:
- Change diaper
- Place in sleep sack
- Put sound machine on
- Turn lights out
- Place in crib
- As your baby gets older, you can incorporate books, songs, etc. Keep it simple though. We always keep bath time separate so the routine would be short and sweet.
4- Focus on Full Feedings
- Newborns like to sleep. A LOT! Try and keep them awake for a full feeding so you aren’t feeding again too quickly.
- Tickle baby’s toes
- Use a cold wet washcloth on baby’s forehead
- Do a diaper change and then continue feeding on the other side, or finish a bottle.
- Do whatever you have to do to make sure your baby ate well!
5- Observe and Think About the Schedule
- A newborn in the first two weeks will need to eat about 8 full feedings during the day.
- During weeks 3 & 4 this may be down to 6 or 7 feedings if your baby is taking to the full feedings well.
- Keep the schedule in mind. Wake your baby when it comes time for that next feeding so you can fit them all in during the DAY. You do not want to have excess feedings at night. Your goal is obviously to limit nighttime feedings as much as possible.
- That being said, if your baby wakes up and is hungry, feed your baby.
- The schedule WILL NOT be perfect. It is a goal. Don’t stress too much over this.
- Observe, and even take notes so you know what you did throughout the day and how your baby did with the “schedule goal”.
I have a great printable schedule that you can use to record your observations in my Etsy shop at the below link:
Printable Schedule at My Etsy Shop:
6- Be Intentional With What You Introduce and Do
- While sleep associations from a routine, or things like a sound machine can be great, sleep props can be a problem later on.
- Sleep props are things like a pacifier, being rocked to sleep, or even being swaddled.
- Until your baby can grab things and move around, they aren’t going to be successful finding a dropped pacifier and placing back in their mouth. It can cause issues and cause you to have to be there when they wake from dropping the paci, etc. Avoid this all together if possible by not introducing one.
- If they need you to be rocked to sleep, that’s not the greatest either.
- And if they need to be swaddled, yet keep breaking free of the swaddle, that’s no bueno!
- Just keep in mind things that they would rely on you for, and try to limit it.
- In the first two weeks, snuggle the heck out of your baby! But after that, try to make sure you are putting them down for naps. If they get used to being held, they can learn to rely on it later.
Check out this post from my friend Emily, if you are interested in further reading about how to handle and tackle Babywise in the early days.
Babywise Will Click and You Will Be Thrilled
For us, it was around month 3 when things really started to “click” and fall into place. The schedule was going super smoothly, and the concepts of Babywise were really working to our advantage. It may happen sooner, or maybe a tiny bit later depending on how consistent you’ve been, and just the temperament of your baby.
With Caroline, we rocked her to sleep every nap and every bedtime. I plan on trying hard not to do this with our next. I think we would have seen success faster had we implemented this sooner.
Even still, we were successful and saw great results. I am really hoping to avoid having to do sleep training this time around… and I think that not rocking our baby to sleep will help tremendously.
Allowing our baby to fuss a bit here and there is also a key thing to keep in mind. All out crying isn’t anything I would do with a newborn, but a bit of “fussing” is totally ok. This is something I think we did really well with Caroline and will continue with the next.
When the moment happens that things really start to flow, it is such an amazing feeling. It is hard work, however. You have to put in the time to implement routines, get full feedings, establish day from night, keep your schedule in mind, etc.
You have to be intentional and yet flexible all at the same time. You have to not stress, but be focused on your goal. If you do those things, you’ll reach the golden part of Babywise where things flow so naturally. You and your family will reap the benefits listed above, and it will feel easy and stress free in those moments.
I highly recommend buying the Babywise books. They are inexpensive and have a plethora of information. I, of course, loved the first book, but I also am so glad we stuck with it and purchased the Babywise II book, Toddlerwise book, and Preschoolwise books as well. It’s a great foundation to have and the books are a must read! Find the books here at amazon:
You Can Purchase the Babywise Books at Amazon:
There are a ton of resources on my blog, and at many other blogs. I am a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN). It is a group of Babywise moms that all blog about- Babywise!
Other Posts of Interest Here at Mama’s Organized Chaos (click on each link to view):
Other Posts of Interest at BFBN blogs:
Kim- Why I Quit Babywise
Carrie- Why We Chose (and love) Babywise
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