Monday, April 26, 2010

Let's get down to the nitty gritty....

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Did someone say SCHEDULE!!??

First off let me say that I am completely about doing what works for you. I am not someone that pretends to have this all figured out by any means, so any and everything I talk about when it comes to what works for us is simply that - what works for us. If it doesn't work for you that is totally fine with me, and don't feel bad if it doesn't. When it comes to babies everyone, I repeat EVERYONE, has a different schedule/opinion/routine/trick/belief system that works for them and they want you to know how amazing their schedule/opinion/etc is. It can get overwhelming to say the least. But the best advice I have ever heard is "Your way is the right way." (I'm trying to get Jared to repeat this as well, haha)

So, what works for us - I heard a lot about the Babywise method before Brody was born and it seemed like everyone who used it was a huge fan. When he was about six weeks old all I heard was "sleep through the night" and I was sold. Buy me the books, teach me your ways - I am all yours Babywise.

I honestly had no clue what it was or how to implement it and trying to figure it out from the book was no help. My baby wants to eat all the time, I am getting zero sleep and will never sleep again the rest of my life, I am sick of pajamas, I want my makeup, will someone who knows how to do this please just TELL ME  because this book wants to explain the philosophy behind the method for forty chapters! So I  facebooked a couple of friends that I knew would explain it to me in short sentences with no big words. They were a lifesaver!

Part One: Sleeping through the night

There are a few basic principles of Babywise that work together towards the goal of getting on a schedule, sleeping through the night, and having a happy baby in general. In the beginning I was most interested in the sleeping through the night part. The two most helpful things I learned about this were:

1) most babies can sleep through the night after they have doubled their body weight and
2) if you work on getting the schedule down during the day they will work out the nights themselves.

The second piece was my key since I was unsure about the whole "crying it out" situation. Considering his health issues I didn't think letting him cry and wail until he figured it out was the best thing. More on this later.

So what schedule exactly? The basic schedule for us is EAT - PLAY - SLEEP and repeat every three hours. The length of each stage changes depending on the time of day, but this pattern really has helped us know when he's tired or hungry since the two can get easily confused. The thing that we remained pretty firm with is feeding him every three hours starting at about 7-8 weeks. Before then he needed to eat on demand to gain weight as a lot of babies do.

So we started with feeding him every three hours (sometimes I would cave and feed him 20 minutes early if I couldn't hold him off any longer) and trying to keep him awake for "play time" afterwards. Sometimes awake time only lasted for 15 minutes but the goal was to not let him fall asleep while eating. If he was asleep and it had been three hours since he ate last I would (gasp) wake him up to eat, but only during the day. This accomplished three things - reinforced the schedule/pattern, gave him the opportunity to eat enough during the day, and helped him sort his days and nights out by not sleeping all day.  For the first two weeks he still woke up every three hours at night and I would feed him. I tried to remember not to stress and concentrate on the daytime schedule. Then at nine weeks he slept through the night for the first time - HALLELUJAH! I was beyond ecstatic, SLEEP! I've missed you! This is when I learned the second important piece:

You will have good days/nights and bad days/nights, just plan on it and keep your eye on the goal. After that one night of sweet sleep he changed his mind and wanted to wake up every three hours again. But now I knew he wouldn't die or starve to death without eating all night so instead of feeding him I put the binky in, put my hand on his belly and shooshed him, and went back to sleep - repeated as necessary. Probably after two weeks of this it was back to whole nights of solid sleep. The heavens opened, angels sang, it was a miracle. Sleep - I'm sorry I ever took you for granted. You are wonderful and I love you.

In a nutshell these were the things that helped me in the early days:
  • If someones advice doesn't work for you that's just fine. Check it off the list and try something else.
  • Work hard on getting your day time schedule down and the nights will work themselves out.
  • EAT - PLAY - SLEEP 
  • Be consistent with the length of time between bottles/nursing.
  • Don't be discouraged by bad days/nights, it takes practice for everyone involved.

Next time - Part Two: The Anatomy of a Nap

Like I said in the beginning, this is just what works for us. I am fully aware that Brody's sleeping and happy temperament probably have more to do with luck of the draw than my efforts or his schedule, but for now everything's working out great and I get to sleep at night. So either way I'm happy (and grateful).  :)

5 comments:

jamesberg9 said...

awesomeness, i'm glad everything seems to be 'somewhat' smoother. i've been reading babywise too but i'll have to admit, i'm getting tired of the first few chapters (too much background info)

Molly said...

I'm glad it's working for you! That no sleeping thing will getcha every time! I got lucky with my kids so I didn't have to resort to Babywise. I'm kinda an all natural momma and I let them do what they wanted. But like i said, I was very lucky with happy, sleepy babies. You are an awesome mommy and I love pictures of the little guy! He is so beautiful! P.s. I want that onesie. Too funny!

Ryan and Rikke said...

That's so funny that you wrote on this, because I'm currently reading Babywise. In fact, I read part of it on my flight to DC today. People at work swear by it, so I figure I'll see if I can make it work for us once the litte guy decides to make an appearance.

Glad things are going well for you, and great picture!

B'Sloan said...

YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK!!!! Seriously!

Lauren said...

It is a little wordy, but boy is the sleep worth it!

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