Thursday, April 9, 2015

BFBN: when you can't start as you mean to go on

Today, I'm over at Emily's blog writing about how I've become a bit more relaxed about certain areas of Babywise as I added a second child.  Elaine is here talking about that same idea - that you can't always follow the book perfectly with every child.  Specifically, she discusses the topic of "Start as you mean to go on," which is one of the first things the book tells you to do.  She is an experienced mom and I know you'll love what she has to say.

Start as you mean to go on.

Anyone who is even slightly familiar with Babywise has probably heard this statement. If you choose to implement Babywise with your baby starting as you mean to go on does make the implementation of Babywise so much easier.

If you would like to have a 9 month old sleeping in their own bed for naps, then it would be wise to begin, when the baby is a newborn, to lay baby down in his crib for naps. This certainly doesn’t mean you can never hold your newborn to sleep, but you want to keep “start as you mean to go on” in your mind so you can begin establishing eating and sleeping patterns for your newborn that will continue on into his babyhood and childhood.

Start as you mean to go on is a very wise statement but what if you can’t start as you mean to go on from the very beginning?

We adopted our youngest child seven months ago and he was born with medical conditions that left him with severe stomach pains after eating. I simply could not start as I meant to go with him because of the amount of pain he was in. There was no laying him down for naps. He was held the majority of the time during his first 2-3 months. I feared what this meant as far as being able to implement Babywise with him! Having two other children I needed to know that one day I would be able to lay him down for naps and know that he would get the sleep he needed without intervention from me!

The worst of his issues and pain subsided by the time he was around 3-4 months old. He started napping in his Rock N Play consistently at that time and was sleeping through the night (with a dreamfeed) just before turning 4 months old. How did we accomplish that despite not being able to start as I meant to go from the beginning? Here is how:

1. Start as you mean to go as much as you can…even if it is not much at all! I would always first try to lay my son down for his naps in his Rock N Play because that was my ultimate goal. During the roughest period, 90% of the time, he would not stay in the Rock N Play for the duration of the nap and I would end up holding him. At least we had tried and we could try again next nap!

2. Don’t worry about “spoiling”. A baby that is truly in pain and dealing with medical issues needs help sleeping. Holding my son while he was in pain did not “spoil” him. There was a season he needed to be held and then once he was past the worst of his pain he transitioned to sleeping on his own with basically no issue. There was some minimal sleep training involved when he was waking at the 45 minute mark but it was nothing like I had thought it would be.

3. Keep up with the basics of Babywise. If you can’t do anything else, try to keep baby on a 2-3 hour feeding schedule. I knew if I got my son’s feeding schedule in place it would help regulate every thing else. From birth until about 3 months of age, I just focused on feeding him every 3 hours and that was it! I also stuck to an Eat-Play-Sleep cycle as much as possible because I knew if I could establish that, once the pain was no longer a factor, we would be able to fall into a more predictable schedule.

During the first 3-4 months of my son’s life that was all I did as far as Babywise goes…and it was enough! Once his health issues subsided and he was no longer in constant pain, he was able to fall into the predictable feeding and sleeping routine that comes from implementing Babywise!

Elaine blogs at Faithfully Infertile.

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