Tuesday, October 26, 2010
(Not so) BabyWise (but working on it)
In counting all my blessings, especially surrounding this precious gift that the Lord has given Jason and I, I also count a very special friend, Emily Nelson, who I watched with her little man in their early days, and who has been a constant encouragement and source of advice and wisdom. The kind of advice you want to take, not the kind that gets offered and repeated whether you like it or not. She's been such a precious friend to me already, and I can't wait to have our babies meet, hopefully not too long from now!
Among other people in my life, I picked up the BabyWise book as a piece of free advice from Emily, and it's been a real lifesaver in helping me figure out what to do with Adria these first few days. Honestly, otherwise I don't know what to do with a baby, and I give it a lot of credit in how well Adria's done so far.
I've found that a lot of people are down on BabyWise, but for me it's provided a simple approach to these first few days. The goal is to help your baby establish regular eating and sleeping patterns, eventually leading to a regular and predictable schedule and helping baby sleep through the night. Both of those things sound good to me! Ironically, to establish a schedule for your baby, the basic advice for the first week or two is to ignore the clock altogether and feed your baby whenever she is hungry, just to keep her awake long enough at feedings to get a full tummy. The next piece of advise is to try and teach your baby the difference between daytime and nighttime--so the daytime routine is slightly different from the nighttime routine. In the daytime you strive for the pattern of eat, wake time, nap time. And at night it's just eat then sleep. The last piece of the puzzle is to put the baby down to sleep before you've nursed or rocked her all the way to sleep--to allow the baby to "cry it out" a bit before picking her up when she wakes early from a nap, or has trouble going down.
Getting a full feeding was a challenge particularly in the first few days when she was so sleepy, but with a full tummy she'd naturally go longer between feedings, and I knew she was getting all the rich milk and nutrition she needed. It helped her naturally get into a groove as far as eating and sleeping went--every 2 hours or so, like the hospital nurses had recommended as well. After the first week when we started trying to add in wake time, the night time schedule lengthened, and she began going 3-4 hours between feedings, allowing me up to 2-3 hours of sleep at a time throughout the night, which has kept me going! I've also just loved interacting with her during her wake times--her big beautiful eyes bouncing around the room, sometimes resting on me! And I've started reading books to her during her wake times, and she loves looking at the colorful pictures and listening to my voice. It's such a sweet time. She would eat forever if I continued holding her, so I use the bouncer to settle her after she eats and to sit in while I read. So I just snuggle her as much as possible during feeding times and at night.
We've not done as well with letting her fall asleep on her own--I'll either bounce her practically to sleep during the daytime, or I'll nurse her practically to sleep at night. I've got "the big 3" things to check on and make sure she's OK--is she hungry? Does she need to burp? Does she need to be changed? If not, instead of automatically picking her up, I'm trying to check on her and allow her to cry it out a bit. But just a bit! I know I need to do better to help her figure out how to self-soothe and fall asleep without the props of rocking or nursing, but for now it's still first things first. She's done so well, and only 2 weeks old!
The next step will be starting our daytime routines approximately the same time each morning to allow her schedule to regulate itself, and she's basically taken to the routine so well and so naturally, I can't see why anyone would have a problem with BabyWise! We're about 2.5 hrs between feedings during the day, and about 4 hours at night, and I'd recommend it to anyone!