Chad and I both have type-A personalities and thrive on routine, schedules, and to-do lists. It seemed to be a no-brainer that we would, for our own sanity, try to set some sort of routine for our baby as well. We were recommended to use Babywise from a number of friends and started with M day 1.
For those who are not familiar with Babywise, there are plenty of misconceptions around it, and some parents hold so strictly to a schedule that it’s unhealthy for them and the baby; however, when done correctly (and from what I believe, as the author intended) Babywise causes both the parents and the baby to thrive. I found this SparkNotes version of Babywise helpful if you’re interested–it’s far more than just about scheduling!
We are 7+ months in to doing the Babywise routine with M. She follows the eat-wake-sleep pattern, “eats” full meals when she nurses for maximum nutritional benefits, and falls asleep on her own when it’s time for bed. We couldn’t ask for a happier, healthier baby.
There are a few things that I need to remember for our next kid, though. So today, while I feel sane and my baby is napping right on schedule, I have a few tips for the future, stressed out version of me that perhaps you could find useful as well.
3 tips for Babywise scheduling success:
Remember that every baby is different.
What works for one family doesn’t work for another, and trying to conform your baby into someone else’s will suck the life out of you. My next child will probably not be exactly like M. He/she might not sleep through the night at 2 months, and that is okay. Every baby is different and that is a good thing. Your primary job is to love your baby and care for him/her, however s/he was designed (Psalm 139:13-16). Training is important, but it will look different for your baby than it does for mine.
Babywise principles are meant to serve you, not the other way around.
At the end of the day, a human being cannot be controlled or manipulated into a robotic schedule. Even with the best routines and on the days where you do “everything” right, your baby still might not sleep on cue or sleep as long as they should. On those days, ask for help. Get outside of your head, humble yourself, cast your anxieties on God (1 Peter 5:6-7), and try to replace fixating on the problem of your schedule/sleeplessness on something greater. Or have a glass of wine. :)
Flexibility will not kill your scheduled baby. Flexibility is also good for your soul.
Just like your life shouldn’t revolve around you, you shouldn’t revolve it around your baby. Remember your priorities, and if you’re anything like I am, try to schedule at least one schedule-stretching event a week. Don’t throw your baby’s schedule out the window, but it’s never too early to start training your baby that their world doesn’t revolve around them. Sometimes they will need to stay awake longer or go to bed earlier, or sleep in a foreign place. Sometimes they cry. It won’t be the end of the world and each outing gets easier!
In the coming days (hopefully tomorrow) I will be posting an overview of M’s schedules for the first 6 months, with tidbits I’d learned in our scheduling successes and failures. Stay tuned!