This morning Kelly's Korner is talking about advice for new moms. I am super Type A, so there's no way I was going into parenthood without a plan. What I found has worked for us, and many of my friends kids. It takes diligence, but it's so worth it in the end.
I have three words for you -- Eat, Awake, Sleep.
Remember these words. Say them to yourself over and over again.
Let them be your new mantra in life.
Let me start at the beginning. I read On Becoming Babywise before Scarlett was born and it was the best thing I ever did. I discovered Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby after I had Scarlett and I loved it.
I think the two books go hand in hand. They both emphasize the importance of sleep for your baby and how to sleep train your child from day one, including how to help them adjust to a feeding routine over time. I hate to use the word "schedule," I prefer "routine" because I think there's a little more flexibility in a routine.
I like Babywise because it's got good information and it's an easy read. It just makes sense. However, I like the Baby Whisperer because her method is the same as Babywise except she gives more real life examples and it's a little more realistic to life. She emphasizes that every baby has it's own personality and temperament, and she teaches you how to tailor her method to your baby's. Also, Babywise advocates for crying it out, while Baby Whisperer does not. Personally, I think there's a time and a place for crying it out, but Babywise's approach seemed kind of vague so it stressed me out a little.
There are plenty of critics of Babywise out there. I have heard that the very first edition of Babywise was more strict and people were turned off by it. Some people who followed Babywise back then were a little too rigid and only fed their babies at the exact time the book suggested, leading some babies to be dehydrated and malnourished. However, in the edition that I have, the authors say REPEATEDLY that if your baby is hungry, feed your baby! Even if it's only been an hour since it's last feeding. Use common sense and do what's best for your baby first, not what some book says.
Highlights from all the books that I think are the core of good sleep training:
1. Make sure baby is getting a full feeding from day 1. Keep waking him up if you have to. Time the feedings. Baby Connect can help with this.
2. Keep this routine -- Eat, Awake, Sleep. Keep baby awake as much as possible during a feeding, and have awake time after feeding. In the beginning the length of awake time will only be about the length of time the kid is awake to eat, but it will extend as baby gets older. This is super important so they don't learn to use eating as a prop to fall asleep.
3. People will say not to wake a sleeping baby. I totally disagree with this. I woke Scarlett up to eat all the time, especially in the beginning. It is super important to do in the first couple of months. If you don't wake him to eat, then his metabolism will never get on a solid routine. I also think this is important for maintaining a good milk supply. For the first 2 weeks at night, set your alarm for every 3 hours to get up and feed him. He will probably wake up on his own anyway, but if not at least you've got your alarm. After 2 weeks, you can sleep until the baby cries, but never go longer than 4-5 hours at night. At 7 weeks exactly, Scarlett slept through the night and has ever since. Babywise and Baby Whisperer will talk about the frequency of feedings and what is appropriate at certain stages of development in more detail.
I will also say this -- the first six weeks are hard when it comes to feeding and sleeping because they are growing so quickly so fast. There were times when I was feeding Scarlett every two hours and I thought I was failing at Babywise. But I powered through and then all of a sudden at six weeks it magically all came together. So even when they say "do this every three hours," it's more like every 2-3 hours and maybe even less than that, and that's ok. You have to be a little flexible with the routine in the beginning.
You can also read more about my love for Baby Connect here.