On Botching Babywise

Before Charlotte arrived, my friend, Kara, recommended that we read Babywise. Her baby was born in July, and their family found a lot of success with the sleep philosophy. Eager to get everyone in our house to sleep through the night as quickly as possible, I read the book during my last weeks of pregnancy and began implementing Babywise when Charlotte was born.

I’ve since found that Babywise isn’t just about getting Charlotte to sleep through the night. It’s an entire lifestyle for our baby. It’s gotten her on a predictable schedule, turned her into a mostly great napper, and we believe, has contributed to her overall happy disposition.

Almost two months in though, I realized I was doing Babywise wrong. The theory sets you up on an eat/wake/sleep cycle, and we had successfully mastered that. However, I couldn’t get Charlotte to sleep through the night, which the experts draw at being five to six hours straight between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. At seven weeks, Charlotte was sleeping five or six, and sometimes seven, hours at night. However, she kept waking up at 4 a.m., and after several unsuccessful attempts to let her cry herself back to sleep at this time, I got the Babywise book back out.

It didn’t take long to realize what I had done wrong. The book provides a sample schedule and divides the feedings as follows: Early morning, Mid-morning, Afternoon, Mid-afternoon, Early evening, Mid-evening, Late evening, and finally, Middle of the night.

According to Babywise, the mid-evening feeding time is the bedtime feeding, and you are SUPPOSED to wake your child up for the late evening feeding. After that feeding is complete, it’s back to bed and time to let your baby sleep for as long as possible until that early morning feeding.

Well, for eight weeks, I had been letting Charlotte sleep as long as possible after the mid-evening feeding, which was why she was waking up at 4 a.m. and not going back to sleep. She truly was hungry. So for the past two-ish weeks, I have been waking Charlotte up between 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. and introducing the late evening feeding. Sometimes it’s successful, and she sleeps until morning.

But sometimes, it’s not. She is SO TIRED when I “wake her up” and doesn’t get a full feeding. As a result, she’s waking up at 4 a.m. and needing to eat again.

So it’s been a rough few weeks around here. I’m feeling discouraged and also very bad that I’ve messed up what was, for a while, a good nighttime experience. But I was a little encouraged this morning when I read in Babywise that if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night at this point, just give her a few weeks and she’ll get there. Hopefully, for us, this is the case. Because I’m running out of problem-solving scenarios.

With all that being said, I can’t recommend Babywise highly enough. Just do yourself a favor and don’t read it in the final weeks of your pregnancy when your brain is basically toast.

Ryan and I have often said that we want video of trying to wake Charlotte up, so I finally took one. Ten years down the road, I’m sure we’ll have a very similar video. Oh…and Babywise encourages waking a sleeping baby — as mean as it may seem (Mom).

Waking Charlotte from Ryan Randolph on Vimeo.

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