Before I became a mom, I was very maternal. I never felt like I needed to read books or ask people’s advice on what to do once I became a mom. When I got pregnant, the fact that I was having twins did scare me just a little, and I had made some mental notes over the years of good books I had heard of so I decided that I would go ahead and read them, to be as prepared as possible. I read a few books with different suggestions and points of view and combined all of them to come up with my own style of parenting. What is interesting to me is that these books have many things in common (and these were the things I ended up following strictly). “Happiest Baby on the Block” and “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins” will come in the next couple of weeks. Today I will sum up “On Becoming Babywise”.
I’ve spoken before about Babywise and how I felt it is a great read for parents to be. The basics of this book are actually common sense, but sometimes you need someone to remind you. People ask me what it’s about so I’ve decided to write a post today that gives a general outline and summary on the Babywise Principles. This style of parenting isn’t for everybody but even if you are on the opposite end of the spectrum, you may still learn something that gives you ideas. If you are about to have a baby, you can skim over this, and then, if you feel it’s something you’re interested in, you can commit and purchase the book(s). If not, then I will feel good knowing I helped you save some time!
Here is the general gist:
The child is not the star:
Many couples abandon their own relationship and make it all about the baby once it comes. The baby is the centre of attention, and their lives completely revolve around it. When I read Babywise, it reminded me (and my husband), that the PARENTS are the centre of the family and the baby is the addition. Making your marriage a priority will ensure that the child grows up in a home where they know they are part of a family unit. Give your child all the love and attention they need, but not at the cost of your own marriage. Allow your child to see that they are an addition to your already existing team.
Establish a routine:
Put the child on a feeding and napping schedule. Feed your newborn every 2 hours and down for a nap after they eat. The time for both eating intervals and napping intervals slowly increases over the first year. If you get them on somewhat of a schedule right from the beginning, you will set their metabolism up for success and their daily routine will be predictable. It is tempting to let a baby who sleeps well to just keep sleeping until they wake, but if you wake them at the appropriate feeding time you will be setting their internal clock. Babies like stability and parents benefit from knowing what their day will look like. This one thing alone is the best thing I did with my boys. To this day, they eat and nap like clockwork.
In other words, there should be awake time between eating and sleeping. Do not let your baby fall asleep while eating. Keep them awake while they eat and put them down to sleep (in their own crib) while they are awake, and allow them to put THEMSELVES to sleep.
I kind of covered this on the last point but it is a big focus of the book. Sleep is important for babies and in order to have a baby that sleeps through the night at an early age (as early as 10-12 weeks is common with Babywise babies), you need to encourage good sleep habits and give babies the tools they need. This includes not rocking them to sleep, putting them down awake and not using sleep props. This was VERY hard for me to do. But again, with 2 babies, I just am not physically capable of sleeping with them or rocking them to sleep so I was forced to start this early. My boys were sleeping through the night by about 12-14 weeks without waking up for a feeding. I feel it was a combination of all the other things we did that gave them the proper tools. They still woke sometimes (and still do) for other reasons, but they didn’t rely on a feeding or a rocking to get back to sleep. This was huge for my sanity.
Start as you mean to go:
This one is pretty simple. Do not start doing anything you don’t want to carry on for the next 5 to 10 years. Don’t want to be sleeping with your 5-year-old? Don’t do it now. Don’t want to have to feed or rock your 2-year-old to sleep? Don’t start. The book doesn’t say that all children who start this way will end up being hard to break of their habits, but it just makes sense that if you allow the habit to start, it MAY be harder to break. For us, it was easy. We didn’t want to be having to break bad habits x 2. No matter how tempting it is, we stay away from doing anything that could become a bad habit.
The book also has lots of other great tips on feeding, sleeping, colicky babies, etc. But the general idea is what I have listed above. If you’ve read the book and feel I’ve missed something important, please feel free to add!
Thanks for stopping by!