Someone asked me the other day what the best parenting advice I'd received is. And there's been some good stuff, that's for sure. One of my favorites is:
If you don't want you child to act like the world revolves around them, don't treat them that way.
Good one. That's a good one.
One of the most useful tools I'd been “gifted” as a first time parent, without a doubt, has been this beauty:
Sweet, sweet Babywise.
Yes it takes effort, but none-the-less, an amazing tool.
After seeing my friend Natali easily lay her then one and a half year old down for bed (no tears, no screaming, no fussing), I was amazed. How'd you do that? I asked. I wanted to be able to do that!
The basic premise is this: When your baby is born, you begin teaching them to take a full feeding. Then, after the first few days, begin implementing a consistent eat, sleep, wake cycle throughout their day (always ensuring they receive a full feeding). When they are really little, the feedings will be consistently 2-2.5 hours apart and as they baby grows older, the feedings will slowly stretch to 2.5-3 hours apart and then 3-3.5 hours apart. Each day, you must work at keeping their routine consistent. Eat. Wake time. Sleep.
Sometimes, this means laying them down for the “sleep” portion and letting them cry (ahem, coo) themselves to sleep.
Sometimes, this means letting them just play in their crib until they fall asleep.
Sometimes, (most often when they are little), it means flicking their feet to keep the awake enough to take a full feeding! Full feedings are essential!
The goal of Babywise is this: Get baby to sleep through the night. A sweet, ideal for any parent to strive for.
And let me just tell ya…
Georgia began sleeping through the night at 9 weeks. Every night. It was wonderful. Eventually, as she grew older, we were able to drop her last night time feeding, and in a few more weeks, she had progressed to sleeping 10 hours a night. For the past eight months, she has been sleeping for 12 hours. Every night. Straight through.
Not only has she learned how to put herself to sleep at bedtime and naptime (thus avoiding the rocking, walking, driving, anything-to-get-the-baby-to-sleep routine), but she is also a happy baby.
People tell me all the time how lucky I am to have such a happy baby. And trust me, I know I have been blessed. But it's also been a lot of work! Effort went into establishing her Babywise routine – she wasn't just born this way! It took planning & consistent practice on our part.
As a first time parent, it was such a relief to not have to ‘guess' what was wrong with her if she began fussing. Based on her cycle and daily schedule, I knew if she was fussing because she was hungry or tired. It completely took the un-certainty out of dealing with a new wee-one. Babywise is based loosely on scheduled feedings (though they're not set in stone) and therefore, there it is not an on-demand feeding program.
I like this idea though for a few reasons:
1. If you teach baby to take a full feeding, they naturally will ‘demand' to be fed within the scheduled time. It doesn't take them long to fall into this routine.
2. It allowed me to nurse a set amount of times per day, consistently. This helped me to avoid not having enough milk and/or becoming engorged. My milk supply remained consistent, helping make breastfeeding a success.
3. I was able to schedule baby's routine around my life, not my life around the baby. As much as I love little G-baby, I surely don't want her to grow up thinking the world revolves around her pretty lil' self.
I tell you this because I love sleep. And my guess is you do to.
I couldn't live without my sweet sleep. Seriously. I would just shrivel up into an emotional brain-fart and die. One. Needs. Sleep.
So if you have a baby… or are pregnant (I'm so jealous!)…or are even considering one day procreating…I highly recommend that you read this book. HIGHLY.
As a young parent, I'm sure you hate it when people are constantly giving you “how-to” advice. Well….too bad. I'm going to be one of those people.
That's how much I love Babywise. Available HERE.
As usual, I will now step off my soapbox.