Sunday, May 8, 2011

So What Is The Babywise Theory Exactly? (Part 2)

Let's face it - we ALL need help.  We can always use some advice and guidance from others.  Especially when we're doing something for the first time.  In my case, I am a first time mom.  

One thing you will learn (or may have already noticed if you're a mom) is that EVERYONE wants to put their two cents in on how you should raise your child.  Some people really mean well and they want to give you pointers on what may have worked for them.  Others are just plain annoying and pushy. [I hope I wont be that way with others].  So, it is important that you figure out how you want to raise your child, stick with it and not let others sway you or make you feel bad for your decisions.

What I have begun using as a guide for my husband and I is the book "On Becoming Babywise".  I decided to do this because I wanted to bring some order to our lives.  As I mentioned in my first Babywise post , with a newborn things can seem chaotic and you may not know whats coming next. I believe that schedules and routines help to keep things in order.  The Babywise Theory has gotten alot of negative feedback and I think this may be because people dont completely understand what it is.

I dont follow it exactly, but I have taken from it (and other websites) what I can and put it into use.

So What Is This Babywise Theory All About?

To begin Babywise, there is a certain  (2 1/2 - 3 hour) cycle that you follow throughout the day: 

Feeding Time - Wake Time - Nap Time

Essentially, you feed your baby, keep him/her awake, then put him/her down for a nap

Feeding Time

If you are breastfeeding, you were probably taught to feed on demand - whenever the baby is hungry.  No matter if it was five minutes ago, an hour ago or five hours ago. This is where some of the negative feedback comes in because  Babywise encourages parent directed feeding (PDF) and people assume that you starve  your baby.

This is not true.  Although you are adhering to a schedule, you feed your baby whenever he/she is hungry.

The idea is to make sure your baby gets a full feeding.  Babywise shys away from snacking.  You are encouraged to offer full feedings throughout the day so that your baby has had enough to eat and can sleep through the night.

Also, you should wake the baby if he/she is asleep during the time that a feeding is scheduled.  The book suggests that feeding on demand sometimes has its downfalls because newborns are so tired that they may sleep for hours on end and sleep right through the time they should be eating.  So you control this, not the baby.  Although, once again, if your baby gets hungry before 3 hours (if you are following a 3 hour cycle), you need to and should feed your baby.

Wake Time

You may notice that after (or while) your newborn eats, he/she drifts off to sleep - especially if breastfed.  I mean come on who wouldn't fall asleep. Food + Cushion = Sleep LOL! :)

Babywise discourages this because they don't want babies to become dependent on the breast (or bottle) to fall asleep. (*One of the main ideas behind Babywise is to get the baby to fall asleep on their own and not need "props" to fall asleep).

So after your baby eats, you are encouraged to do something to keep them awake. Change them, play with them, sing to them, read to them, take them for a walk, give them a bath or anything of this nature.  You can also allow them to play alone in their crib, swing or bouncer for example.  Keeping them awake during the day should help them to sleep through the night.

Nap Time

After they have eaten and been awake for a little while, it is then time for a nap.  This is another part of Babywise that people may not agree with because it is suggested that you "put the baby down for a nap".  Like literally, put them down for a nap (while they are awake) - not rock them to sleep - because once again we're trying to get the baby to fall asleep on their own and not depend on something/someone to put them to sleep.

If the baby is not used to this, they will probably cry when they are "put down".  It is suggested that you dont pick the baby up.  Instead you let them cry in an effort to teach them to self soothe.

The book states: 
"There may be a period of fussing or crying when you put the baby down for a nap.  Don't be deterred from doing what is best for the child.  Some crying is normal part of a baby's day and some babies will cry a few minutes in the process of settling themselves to sleep.  The future trade-off will be a baby who goes down for a nap without fussing and wakes up cooing."

**I must mention that before having a child of my own, I was so against letting a baby cry without running to them right away.  I could never imagine leaving my baby to cry without going to console him.  It is amazing how you say you will or wont do this or that, but when faced with the situation, you do something totally different**

The Hardest Part So Far:

Nap times and bedtime -_- Sigh

Babywise encourages you to put your baby down while he/she is still awake.  Sometimes we follow this, sometimes we dont.  Most times, we wait until he is falling asleep (still half awake) and then put him down.  What has been happening is, we put him down and he cries.  Luckily he cries for about 3-5 minutes and then drifts off to sleep and leaving him to cry hasnt been as hard as I imagine.  However, I dont like it. At all.

There are those occasions where he cries longer than this and we go in and rub his back to see if he will go back to sleep.  Most times he will. If not, we figure something must be wrong and feed him, comfort him, change him or do whatever we need to do to get him to go back to sleep comfortably.

Let me just say that I dont agree with every single word written in "On Becoming Babywise", but I have been able to take information from it and implement it into our lives.

In my next Babywise post, I will tell you how this theory has benefited us thus far.

What do you think of this theory? Have you ever tried anything like it?


  1. It's true that there are things you say you will never do before you have a baby and then reality sets in. All I can say is, if you can get your son to learn to fall asleep on his own now, all 3 of you will be happy later. Ariana is totally dependent on nursing to soothe herself to sleep. It's exhausting for me. She's 8-months and I still haven't slept through the night. And I am afraid of what will happen when I wean her.

    1. Lalla Did you wean her? If so how old was she when you weaned her and how did you do it? I'm in the same boat right now but my daughter will be turning 2!!!! Still sleeps with me!!!!

  2. I think I'm a lil too crunchy for this system.

  3. Lalla is so right! Yorlee is almost 5 months, and requires nursing at night in order for her to fall asleep. I've attempted this method a few times, but can't bear to hear her cry. I always pick her up after a few seconds. AND, she sleeps in our bed! I know, I know. That's my fault, I love looking down at her sweet little face throughout the night...

  4. @Lalla Oooh girl, I can just imagine! Many people said to me welcome to #teamnosleep when I had Ezaias. Lol, and I expected the worst. It has gotten so much better tho!! When do u plan to wean?

    @Dani Lol what u mean by crunchy? And girl, you just never know!

    @Mrs.V I know different things work for different people and if you're enjoying the routine you and Yorlee have then its all good! :)

  5. This books seems like a MUST BUY! Although I think you've shared the most important parts of it. I let my baby sleep in the bed w/ us because its so much easier then running to the crib..I can just pat her back without breaking my sleep. But I think maybe I am creating a monster, I'm going to try this!! My bf is praying for the day she can sleep in her crib! lol She has completely taken over our bed, haven't gotten comfortable sleep in a long time.

  6. I am so lucky that my older sister gave me the book On Becoming Babywise, after she had much success with my nephew. My husband and I have used it since our son was 1 week old and it has brought order to our lives. He is now 9 weeks old and is sleeping 10 hours straight at night, he takes his last bottle at 10 and wakes up around 8. It was hard to let him cry at first, but now he only fusses for a short amount of time when going down for a nap. Everyone keeps telling me how lucky I am that he is sleeping through the night so early, but I don't think it is luck. I would recommend this book to all parents. I still think the key to success is being flexible and knowing that your baby will not always be "on schedule." The principles of this book are definitely a good starting point


I love reading your comments! Every bit of advice and input is helpful - trust me! :) I may not always have a chance to respond to every single comment, but I do read them all!