He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

10 May 2010

Why We BabyWise {Part 2}

Our Little-Bits...

As I said, we have chosen to stick to most of the principles of BabyWise, we just tweaked them to make them work for us...

1. We follow the Eat, Wake, Sleep cycle with the only exception of growth spurts which can throw everything out of whack for a few days.

2. Feeding Routine: The point is to get your little one's digestive system on a routine so not only will it ensure that your babe is getting the food they need but also to help ensure that you don't over-feed them of get them to count on eating as a cure-all/ crutch for everything.

I know moms who used feeding their baby as an answer to every whimper and fuss. It absolutely drove me bonkers to watch them feed their baby, whom they had just fed, again to the point where the child seemed to be drowning! This is particularly annoying to me if the child is formula fed. Personally, my main issues with feeding a kiddo every time they fuss are that 1. you don't learn what your child's cries mean if you keep shoving food in their mouths to keep them quiet {different cries mean different things} and 2. I believe it's a gateway to teaching your children to eat emotionally. If something is bothering them or hurting and they are fed in order to shut them up, what's to say that they won't chose to stuff their mouths when they're feeling that way when they're older? {a slippery slope? maybe, but the possibility makes me nervous}.

The guidelines that Ezzo and Bucknam recommend are feeding every 2.5-3 hours from birth until they are sleeping through the night or until they naturally stretch 3-4 hours. This excludes growth spurts that usually fall every 4 weeks for the first year. Then you go back to every 3 hours or sometimes 2.5 depending on your little one's age.

Plus, if you've read the book... the authors repeat many times "if your baby is hungry, feed him!"

3. Crying It Out: This is a tricky one where people usually jump on "BabyWisers" and accuse them of "bad parenting". Everyone's definition of this is different. For some, it's putting your little one down for a nap and letting them cry until their designated nap time is up {could be up to 2 hours}. For other's it's letting them cry for 5 minutes, then rubbing their backs and soothing them without picking them up and when they're calm leaving the room, if they cry, the let them go for 10 minutes and then soothe again, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes soothe, etc. {this doesn't work for all kids because some can't handle you going in and out of the room}. And still there are others who won't let their little one's cry at all. Dear Hubby and I fall into the middle... we first make sure the diaper is clean, baby has been fed recently, isn't going through a growth spurt, doesn't have bad gas, has their blanket, and isn't caught in the bed rails. For CJ, once we put him down we had to let him be otherwise he'd get really frustrated and would skip his nap entirely so we just let him cry. The most he cried was about an hour which sounds like a long time, especially when you're in the moment, but he only did that for a few naps before he cut it down to about five minutes. Miss Mak could handle our check-ups. After about 30 minutes, we'd check on her and she could still get to sleep after our visit. {We only had to let her cry that long, for naps, a few times before she cut it down to 1-2 minutes}

With both kids, we are not at the point where if they cry, something's wrong... either they're not feeling well, they're hungry or they are over-tired and need to de-stress with a good cry before they can settle in to sleep. This goes for nighttime sleep too. If either of our kids wake in the middle of the night, I can listen to the cry and determine if it needs my attention or not. If it goes beyond 10-15 minutes {unless we're trying to drop a feed} then I'll either feed them, check to see if they're in need of Tylenol, a cuddle or a drink {depending on their age}.

4. Putting The Kids To Sleep Awake: At first, I thought that idea was awefully silly but then I realized it made perfect sense. I kept trying to rock CJ to sleep before I put him down but inevitably my attempts to lay him down without him stirring failed and we'd have to start over. There were times that it took an hour just to get him to sleep! Then I realized he was becoming dependant on my helping him fall asleep which seemed like risky. Once we started putting him to bed awake he would fall asleep much faster. He learned to suck his thumb early on and once he found that and had his blanket he was good to go. With Miss Mak, I struggled to know whether or not I should put her down asleep or try to get her to the brink of sleep or just put her down and let her work it out herself. She liked the swaddle and therefore couldn't suck her thumb. When she was between 4 and 6 weeks she managed to go down with less than a couple minutes of fussing in just a swaddle. Around 10 weeks she found her fingers and at 12 weeks she dropped the swaddle. Now a blanket and her fingers do the trick and she often talks herself to sleep, no fussing.

I'v had people tell me that I just have good sleepers... I can assure you that the 9 weeks getting CJ to nap well and the 16 weeks leading up to him sleeping through the night were NOT easy and he wasn't natually a great sleeper. As for Miss Mak, her first 4 weeks of life were no picnic! {We moved her out of our room at 10 days because we couldn't take the crying!} It was diligence, patience and practice that made these two the great sleepers they are now and I can't think of a reason that every parent couldn't share in this.

BabyWise has a ton of other principles but for us, those are the basic "musts". I'm not a hater to those who chose to skip the book and its principles and I'm not suggesting that kids don't turn out well if you don't follow it. It was written by imperfect men and is not the Bible but before you knock it, give it a read. At least know what you and others are agreeing or disagreeing with.

BabyWise is NOT the dictatorship of parents, it is the training of children as God instructs. It is NOT abuse or negclect because you are never told to ignore your child's needs but rather to meet them and create healthy boundries for them. It is NOT a proponent of parent's sacrificing their relationship for the "good" of their kids but affirms that having a healthy marriage is the best thing you can do for them. It is a means that keeps the end in mind and leads to happy, healthy, well rested children. It's waht we do because it works for us.

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