Chronicling Babywise - Weeks 8 through (what are we up to now?) 14

Wow, I haven't blogged in a while, and I haven't written about Babywise with Moses in an even longer amount of time. Here's how our last couple months have gone.

Interruptions, Inconsistency, and the Return of the Growth Spurt
Basically, just about the time Moses would start to sleep 7-8 hours at night, something would happen to throw him off of it (the Call to Prayer & beating drums for Ramadan at 4am, vacation, and --most recently-- the three-month growth spurt). Each of those times, he would JUST hit the 7 or 8 hour mark at night between feedings and then the noises would wake him consistently, or the vacation lifestyle would make his feedings less than consistent, or the three month growth spurt made him more hungry and need to feed more often... and we'd be back to going 5-6 hours at night, with one nighttime feeding.

But now, we're there...
ANYWAY, this week, we finally have hit 7-8 hours at night consistently, and it is a breath of fresh air. He is by FAR the oldest child of mine to consistently sleep through the night, but really, when I read about those who are still regularly getting up with much, much older kids, I guess three months ain't so bad. :)

And as I've said before, it's all been with cheerfulness and contentment... no crying it out, no unmet needs. Joyful sleep for everyone, that's my motto! :)

So that's the basic update.

What I Learned
What I've learned this time around, with Moses, is twofold:
(1) that evaluation is KEY! When Moses was waking up every night at 4am, I kept thinking "what is WRONG?" Duh. It took me a couple weeks to figure out it was the every-morning-at-4am Call to Prayer (we live in Turkey). But something in my brain didn't connect the two until that time of evaluating what was happening. Maybe it's the post-pregnancy brain fog, LOL.

Then, when we got back from vacation, I thought "OK, NOW it's going to come together and he'll be sleeping through the night within a couple days now that I can be consistent again", but it DIDN'T happen! That pushed me again towards evaluation. I realized -- "OH, we're just now at the 3-month mark-- time for another growth spurt!" (Click here to read about nursing & growth spurts.) Instead of giving in to thinking, "this doesn't work" and letting it all go downhill, or throwing it out and thinking, "this won't work for him, I guess", I was able to intentionally push through that time and keep it steady each day, knowing that once the growth spurt was finished, we'd likely "get there." And that's the second thing I learned--

(2) that it's worth it to press on. For the first time, I felt a very small niggling of what some friends have communicated- "what if this doesn't work?" (because our four other children slept through the night at 5 & 1/2 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, and I think 8 or 10 weeks)... but because we kept pressing on, evaluating what was happening, and being careful to get Moses the food he needs regularly during the day, he's still, despite inconsistency on my part and unavoidable environmental interruptions, sleeping through the night contentedly by 14 weeks. Not too bad.

And even with that, I was only getting up one time at night to feed, which, again, isn't too bad for a new little guy.

All that to say, it's been a slightly different experience for me, in a large part due to weird interruptions and the way life has gone these last few weeks. But I wouldn't change a thing. Even with it taking a little longer for him to go all night long, waking up one time wasn't so bad... he is so precious and pleasant, and ultimately, consistency and knowing what to expect is good for all of us. Life is not a scheduled experience for every human being, but even people in the remotest tribes have routines, and Babywise helps our family achieve a familiar, comforting routine, with consistent sleep for everyone.

Here's a recent picture... the absolutely genuine smiles on the kiddos' faces are due to the fact that my husband set the timer and then hurdled a side table and some floor pillows to get to the couch on time. :)
This is the last time I intend to write about our experience Babywise this go-round, unless something changes or happens worth writing about. I hope these (mostly) weekly write-ups have been helpful for any and everyone-- whether you're considering using Babywise for your baby, using it now and needing encouragement, or have always heard bad things about it and maybe can see now that it's not a rigid horrible system as some people describe it. Whatever the case, I've written these things out for encouragement and information, and I'm happy to dialogue via e-mail or in the comments box! Many blessings to you and your family!

[Here are links to this whole Babywise series: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Weeks 6 & 7, Weeks 8-14]


Megan at My Heart, My Home said...

Jess, that is an awesome family photo of all of you :) Christmas-card worthy! ;) Thanks for chronicling all of your Babywise. I'm not sure if I did it exactly right with DS, but he eventually slept through the night at 5 months. I wonder how differently it plays out with BF vs. formula? We were using formula, so I'm not sure. Anyways, next time around, I'll use my experience and your tips to try it again. Blessings to your sweet little family!

Elle said...

I find this post intriguing. I have followed everything the way you have and all three of my kids never slept through the night before a yr. My youngest is 18 months and he finally stopped waking more than twice a night. and before you think "well I bet she didn't try xyz... or did such and such the wrong way!" I guarantee you I did it exactly as you did. not a thing different.

I know you are a fan of babywise...and so many people are hugely against it. I really do think it's because the advice works from some really really well...and doesn't for others. To those of us who do exactly the routine you have described and have NO success from it whatsoever it leaves us feeling like failures. I'm sure you can understand that kind of pressure that puts on a mom who is already sleep deprived. Much as you though to yourself when your son wasn't sleeping through as quickly as you had hoped "what is wrong!?!" that is what those of us who haven't had the same easy experience as you have feel like. But when for months it doesn't come and doesn't come... you just fall deeper into guilt and frustration. eventually you tear up the book (with all of it's promised) and chuck it on the window, snuggle your baby into your lap nurse and you both FINALLY get some much needed sleep... and never tell a soul the truth about your "failure" as a mother.

It is absolutely wonderful that God has blessed you with children who formed easily to easily to the routine you set up for them! What a blessing! But, perhaps this will give you better insight to why some people don't like the method. and some have sheer hatred for it.

Being up at night with a baby is hard. it truly is. It is mentally and emotionally draining in a way that doesn't even begin to compare to the physical exhaustion. But there are worst things. and God blessed the hearts of mothers whom have children who wake often. The gentle times soothing a baby, the extra time to pray... and even the intense fatigue all come with various blessings. As with all struggles we are blessed with various little blessings we never would have gotten to experience otherwise.

The most important thing that a other can do it meet the needs of her baby. Some babies sleep early and some don't. Neither is wrong. Each baby has it's own bodily biological needs and thankfully a mother to meet them.

I have enjoyed your chronicling. you are the FIRST mother I have ever met who has had success with the method - so it was very interesting to read about! Thank you so much for sharing :)

pippasmum said...

Thanks for sharing this, I have found it interesting. I had heard all of the horror stories about Babywise and based on what you are saying, it is very different from what I have heard. I have tried to put some of what you have said into practice with my little guy (four months old today). He is still not going through the night but he has started to have two hour naps in the day and only wakes once to feed - to me, that's a miracle compared to what my daughter was like and she was 18 months before she slept through the night.
Thank you for letting us take this journey with you. You have a beautiful family!

Anonymous said...


I really appreciated your weekly updates about Babywise. I had never heard of it (good or bad) but I am really interested in trying it with my baby due in Feb. A return to productive sleep is a big goal of mine! :)

Thanks, Kristi

And the family photo is adorable!!!

Eva said...

Thanks so much for these posts. I have heard such critical commentary of Babywise, yet you certainly rbi g a new perspective. I will examine it more when the next baby comes along.

Jess said...

I'm sorry for the pain and guilt you've felt based on this one issue. Clearly, there's still a wound there in your heart, and that makes me sad.

That said, just having taken a cursory look at your blog, based on what you've shared there just in the past few weeks, I find some significant differences-- you have some medical issues with your kiddos (which makes some things a whole different ballgame, as you no doubt understand more than I), you talk about having done cry it out (which I've never done to teach a baby to sleep), you were 22 with a two year old & living from one rock concert to the next (whereas I was a 23 year old with my first baby and was home pretty much all the time 24/7 with the opportunity to nurse with consistency, do naptimes at home, etc.). I say all this to say, several times you defensively state that you absolutely did everything exactly the way I do, and just after having read your blog, that seems at least moderately impossible.

I don't say all this to judge or add guilt, because honestly, it sounds like you've gone through quite a personal transformation in the past few years. Rather, I write this in response to you because you've painted quite a sad and one-sided perspective here, but even just the tidbits I happened to read on your own blog say something significantly different.

I wrote what I did in this post to offer grace to others, but also to encourage those who are self-doubting to press on, and that perhaps if things aren't quite as consistent, etc., that even still, it is worth it to take the big-picture look at your life and evaluate what might be interfering with consistency, etc.

I also noticed that you're a breastfeeding advocate, and that's something we can definitely agree on! I hope any mom who reads here will be encouraged to press on in breastfeeding, and to meet her kids needs as best she can.

As for the comments on Babywise, I've addressed them previously, in many other posts. I think many people think Babywise is rigid, treat it that way, feel guilt because they don't flex with their baby's needs, and then throw it all out in frustration and guilt. I also think of many things that haven't "worked" for me (baby swings, baby gates, cooking rice in a pot, and regularly wearing makeup), but I don't go around to other blogs and bash people who do those things, or bash those things themselves. I don't feel obligated to leave a comment everytime someone else says it worked for them. I believe we're all responsible for our choices, and for our own children, and everyone ought to exercise common sense and reason and do all things by love as they evaluate what to do with their own children.

Many blessings to you,

Jessica B. said...

Thanks for sharing. I benefitted from it as it came right before my 3rd was born. She's 4 weeks old now and we're having a ton of fun! I did end up rereading Babywise and I'm thankful I did... but I really appreciated your review of Moses' sleep.
And the photos- too precious!

Ruth said...

I love your new family picture. Beautiful family!

Mama Hen said...

What a wonderful picture! Such sweet smiles.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you've had good experiences. Maybe I'm just lucky in that I need less sleep than the average person, but getting my babies to sleep long stretches at night hasn't been a big priority for me. Although both my kids were big night-wakers, I consider them both "easy" babies in that I almost always could nurse them right back down with minimal disruption. During the day, they rarely cried and were fun to be around.

Many things about parenting small children can be difficult, and I think our culture puts too much emphasis on how long babies are sleeping through the night. In some other cultures it's considered normal for babies to wake, and mothers don't feel like failures if their babies have that sleep pattern.

My kids were also late potty-trainers, which was fine with me. I understand why some moms go to a lot of trouble to potty train early, or even do elimination communication (no diaper method), but for me that wasn't a priority and wasn't how I wanted to spend my energy.

I guess I just want to support the mothers out there who think, "Do I really need to work so hard to get my babies to sleep through the night?" If that's important to you, maybe, but it doesn't have to be important to you.

Laurie B

Cat said...

It's good to read your posts and know you're getting some rest. I'm also on baby #5 and he is not yet sleeping through the night. He was doing about 7 hours at a stretch at 3 months but then had an ear infection and has not ever gotten back to consistently sleeping that long again. :(

Here's my situation and question: With our first three children, we did Babywise and also had our children sleeping through the night fairly consistently early on (6-8 weeks). They were nursed when hungry and all was well. With #4, we sort of drifted away from Babywise and did some co-sleeping the first few months. In part, because my husband was scheduled to deploy when the baby was 2 months and he wanted to soak up all he could, and also in part because after he deployed, I continued to let the baby sleep with me. At 6 months, he was creeping/rolling/wiggling too much and I was worried about safety, so put him in his crib in his own room and he immediately began sleeping through the night though he had not previously done so. Now, with #5, we know he is our last (due to health concerns from a chronic health condition) and have also done more co-sleeping and such, not really conscientiously attempting Babywise methods. He's still in our room in an Arm's Reach Cosleeper but about to outgrow that. He will not have his own room, so we've been reluctant to move him in with his 2.5 yo brother. We'll probably have to soon, though, as we have nowhere else to put him!

Anyway, my Babywise babies all self-weaned by just after their first birthdays. #4 (non-Babywise), nursed longer, till about 15 months, then self-weaned. I would really like this baby to nurse longer, at least until 18-24 months. In your experience, I was wondering how long your babies have nursed? I'm wondering if there is any connection between the Babywise method and earlier weaning, but this is simply based on my experience with my first four. If there isn't a connection, I'd probably go ahead and work on Babywise methods at this point, if that makes sense.

Tanya B said...

I have 6 children and never heard of Babywise before. How did I miss this?? From what I understand, it makes perfect sense. My youngest is 13 months old and wakes OFTEN at night. We got into the (bad?) habit of bringing her into bed with us so I could nurse and sleep. So now I do. Nurse and sleep, then nurse then sleep, then nurse.... you get the picture. And recently I nursed her at every peep because my husband was working crazy hours and needed his sleep, so I nursed her to keep her from waking him. So now I have a nurse-monster. =) Is there any hope to get her to sleep through the night soon after all these months of bad habits? What do you suggest from a Babywise perspective?

Jamie Jo said...

I like the new look of your blog, and I LOVE your new family photo. Hang in there with the scheduling. I used a similar system with my kiddos way before Babywise was developed, and I'm a believer.

Miracle said...

This is my first visit to your blog, I clicked on it when I saw BabyWise. I used BabyWise with all 4 babies now, with great success, and I love it. I just wanted to comment on what one of the people above me said about, should it really be that much work to get your baby to sleep through the night? Actually, in my experience, it is not work at all. You aren't forcing them to do anything, you wait until they naturally, on their own, sleep through the night. The only work I've found is keeping them awake for a while after they've eaten when they're really little. People talk about the guilt that Babywise heaps on and I think, properly implemented, there should be no guilt at all. But I also think sometimes there's guilt heaped on from the other side, that if you don't run and nurse your baby every time they make a sound, want your baby to sleep with you, keep your baby strapped to your hip every second of the day, and completely revolve your life around your baby's every whim, that you're a bad mom. I think there is a freedom for some of these moms to say, its okay for you to teach your baby from the beginning that the world does not revolve around him/her. That does NOT in any way mean that the baby's needs are not met. But you are the mom, and you can help them to regulate sleep and eat patterns so that they get good healthy amounts of sleep. I think so many of our behavior problems of kids today can be linked to sleep and nutrition. Sorry, I could go on about this forever. I'll stop now.:)

Oh, and to the mom dealing with the 13 month old, in my experience, at this age, you may have to let him/her cry it out to sleep. At this age a baby is definately old enough and able to sleep through the night without eating, but they won't do it "naturally" since they weren't trained to by now. But, the good news, is that it usually only takes a few nights before they get the message.

Mary said...

Hey Jess! Love to see you posting updates about Babywise--I'm a huge fan, as you may remember! ;O) My children all slept through the night by 8-10 weeks thanks to this way of life...10-12 hours every night--thankfully NO calls to Ramadan at 4 am here in my little country sanctuary! Loved this and am going to direct my niece over here for a read--she is expecting her first and excitedly preparing and planning to do Babywise!

Keep up the great work!


Jess said...

I DO remember, and thought of you several times while writing this series. :) Now that Ramadan is good and over, Moses is doing 10 hours or so at night... so nice!

Hope you all are doing well! And I hope this series is helpful for your niece too.

Jess said...

Interesting about your using formula/sleeping through the night later. i'd always heard that babies that use formula can sleep through the night sooner because their tummies take longer to digest the formula, and thus, they feel "full" longer. Course, no one can do formula exclusively and breastfeeding exclusively with the same baby, to tell us precisely what "normal" is... but anyway, I wanted to comment back to you- sorry I'm just now doing so. What a lousy blogger I am! :)