When I was pregnant, with Benson I wasn't too worried about reading lots of books to prepare, but Jason's boss recommended that we give On Becoming Baby Wise a try. He and his wife had done it with their kids and they highly recommended it. They have four kids so I considered them experts compared to us.
This was seriously the only book I read and I am so glad that I did. It may be a little old school (it talks about letting your baby cry things out), but I'm kind of an old-school parent so it suited me really well.
Also, this is not a sponsored post. I just love this book and want to share it with as many people as I can.
On Becoming Baby Wise is all about making sure that your baby gets enough sleep. The main focus is on helping your baby sleep though the night, take good naps and be an overall happy baby.
When babies are well rested they are much happier. Baby Wise babies have somewhat strict nap times, bed times and wake times. It's important to set these times so that your baby can get used to going down and getting up at those desired times.
Benson gets up every day at 9 a.m. We then feed him and play together or independently and then he goes down for a two-hour nap and we repeat the process until 9 p.m. At 9 p.m. he goes down for the night. When I get him up every morning or after each nap I have the happiest baby. He smiles, coos-well, now he blows raspberries-and is so happy see me. I may have been blessed with a naturally happy boy, but I think a lot of it has to do with him getting enough sleep each day.
The real kicker is when you (and baby) start getting a full nights sleep. As any new mom can tell you, when your baby starts sleeping though the night everything changes. I think Benson started sleeping 12 hours a night by three and a half months and it was magical. I do not miss those late night feedings at all. I'm so baffled when my friends, whose babies are older than Benson, tell me that they are still getting up several times a night to feed.
If all this book helped you do was to get your baby sleeping though the night I would still recommend it highly. Benson is always happy in the morning and I'm much happier when I've been able to get my beauty rest! It's a win-win for all.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is that it tells you to not give your baby any sleep aids: i.e. rocking to sleep, having to eat to fall asleep, etc. I know a lot of moms spend a good amount of their time trying to get baby to fall asleep, but Baby Wise moms can simply lay their babies down and baby will fall asleep on his or her own. This doesn't necessarily mean that the second you lay them down they're out. My son usually talks to himself for 10-15 minutes and then falls asleep. The good news is that he's happy, he isn't crying so I don't have to be in there helping him fall asleep and he doesn't need anything in particular to help him sleep.
I work full-time from home and I was so worried when I was pregnant about how I would be able to juggle working and taking care of Benson, but I have a great schedule with Benson that allows him to be up and learn and grow while I can still work. I answer phones so it's important that I'm available whenever the phone rings and I think the Baby Wise method has helped me balance this.
The schedules outlined in On Becoming Baby Wise help you set wake times and sleep times. It's important that at certain ages your baby get a certain length nap. Right now Benson he needs at least an hour to hour and a half long nap. He's on a three hour schedule, so he gets up, eats and plays for an hour and then goes back down for his nap. We're working up to longer wake times, but right now an hour is what works best. I can always tell when it's getting close or when he's been up for a tad longer than he should have because he starts to wind down. He'll stop playing and just lay there, or start sucking his thumb (he's a major thumb sucker).
The most important part of the schedule theory is how you structure each wake time. After each nap you should feed your baby, let them play and then put them down again. The book stresses this a lot because a lot of people feed their babies right before putting them down and they become dependent on eating to fall asleep. With the Baby Wise method they don't associate eating and sleeping together.
This is the section where you may learn why I called this "Confessions by the mom who does it wrong."
According to all the new studies you'll read you shouldn't let your baby "cry it out" because then they'll feel abandoned, or like the one person who is supposed to take care of them doesn't care at all. I, however, feel differently about this.
I think it's OK to let my baby cry some things out. Before you grab your pitch forks, let me explain. I can tell the difference between a "I woke up early and want to play" cry and the "Mom, something's wrong please help me" cry. Occasionally Benson will wake up early and wants to get up because he can hear his dad and he loves his dad. But, it's not quite wake time and I'd prefer if he fell back asleep for a little while, so I let him cry it out for a bit. On the other hand, he's starting rolling over in his crib and does not like being on his tummy (do any babies though?) so he cries, I go in to check on him, see that he's on his tummy, flip him, let him hold my hand to calm down a bit and then I walk away. He falls back asleep and is happy when it's time to get up.
I don't feel like I'm abandoning my son. I don't think he feels abandoned either, so I'm ok with this method. I liked that On Becoming Baby Wise, told me that this was OK and helped me to figure out the clues to know when I need to let Benson cry and when I need to help and comfort him.
No system is 100% perfect, and I realize this with the Baby Wise method.
Benson is so used to being put down in his crib that he has a hard time sleeping in other places. Sundays are always a struggle because we attend church for three hours and there isn't a place for him to nap. When he was smaller he could nap in his carseat, but he's out grown it and won't sleep in it anymore. Because we've trained him to sleep in his bed he doesn't really sleep in our arms.
On Sundays he ends up skipping an entire nap because we can't get him to sleep at church. Because he's still happy and not screaming or crying I'm OK with him missing this one nap, but I wish that there were some sleep aids that we could use to help him sleep better when he can't be laid down.
I know this was a ridiculously long post and I hope you didn't mind it. I recommend this book to every single person I meet. I get so many compliments on how I have such a happy baby, and I owe it all to this book.
I started Benson on this method from day one, but you don't have to. If you think this would be a good fit for you I would recommend starting it at any age. There are a million books in this series that can help you with any stage. In fact, I need to get the next book so that I know how to deal with the challenges that are ahead! I'm no expert, but I would be happy to answer any questions you might have on the Baby Wise method to the best of my ability.
Here is one last link to On Becoming Baby Wise on Amazon so that you can check it out for yourself.