Now that my daughter is 7 months old, it is a great time to share my Babywise schedule review!
I have two children and before I had my firstborn I researched all kinds of schedules for baby feeding and sleeping. There was so much out there that I became overwhelmed, so instead of choosing a schedule, I decided not to follow any.
Sounds like a great plan, right?! 🙂
Well, not only did I not follow any schedule, I also didn’t get a full night’s sleep for over a year! I was exhausted and told myself that I didn’t ever want to do that again.
When we were expecting our second child, I knew that I had to find some sort of sleep and feeding schedule because not doing anything didn’t work.
At that point in my life, I had already been using flexible routines and schedules as a stay at home mom. So I knew how life-changing and powerful routines were.
A friend of mine suggested I read On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep* by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. (also known as Babywise)
What I Liked about Babywise:
The Babywise Schedule teaches you how to care for your baby’s needs.
As I read through the book, I learned SO much more than just a schedule to follow.
The authors shared two different families: one that followed the Babywise method and one that didn’t. The one that didn’t follow the Babywise method was a pretty accurate description of me with my firstborn.
It was basically everything that I did wrong. Ha!
Throughout the book I had light bulb moments, “Oh, that’s what I did wrong. No wonder he wouldn’t sleep!”
Not only did I learn what I did wrong the first time around, I also learned how to interpret my baby’s needs.
I had always heard of people who could tell what a baby needed based on their cries, but I could never figure out how. Well, now I know with my 7 month old.
The Babywise method encourages parents to follow a flexible daily routine which helps moms know what to expect. That way when the baby cries, mom knows what is next in the routine and why the baby is crying.
This is a game changer!
The Babywise schedule teaches parents to be proactive instead of reactive.
I was reactive with my firstborn. The moment he started crying, I would jump to his side and try to get him to stop crying but not really know what to do.
- I would rock him.
- I would feed him.
- I would offer a toy or pacifier.
I tried EVERYTHING I could possibly think of to make him stop crying because I didn’t know why he was crying!
If I had been following the Babywise schedule, I would have been able to think through where we were at in the routine and had a better idea of what he really needed.
I could honestly go on and on about what I learned about babies and their needs, but I’ll leave that to Babywise!
Baby actually sleeps with the Babywise Schedule.
When I put the Babywise routine into practice with my second born, it was like a miracle happened!
My baby was sleeping 10-12 hours at night by 3 months, and people were amazed. Honestly, some people didn’t believe me. (Which the book said would happen)
Now at 7 months she sleeps anywhere between 9-12 hours which means Momma sleeps too!
There are different stages that occur as the baby grows, and each time we transitioned into the next stage, my daughter’s sleeping and eating behaviors “magically” changed just like the book said they would.
If you want to get a quick break down of the stages, download the free Babywise Cheat Sheet printable, but please read the book.
But I’m glad it was real because my baby was sleeping, I was sleeping, my baby was happy, and I was a confident mom.
When we get off schedule because of sickness, traveling, or a change in routine, it shows. My daughter doesn’t sleep as well. However, when we get back to our flexible routine, she and I both sleep all through the night and it is amazing!
What I didn’t Like about the Babywise Book:
The book format is a little dry.
Now, I must say that I loved the message of the book and the Babywise method of parenting, but I do not love the format of the book AT ALL.
There is a lot of statistics shared in the book and it can be hard to read through especially if you are just looking for practical tips.
There are different sleep and feeding stages that the baby goes through, and I ended up creating my own Babywise Cheat Sheet for easy reference because it was hard to keep straight in the book.
You can get the free Babywise cheat sheet printable that I used, but PLEASE READ THE BOOK.
I needed more practical examples.
There weren’t many example schedules in the book which would have been super helpful. I ended up having to look at some blogs for ideas and to help clarify some of the ideas that were discussed in the book.
Check out How to Start Babywise at The Journey of Parenthood for some good tips and links to example schedules.
I also share a lot more detail about our bedtime routine for toddlers in this post: Simple One Year Old Bedtime Routine.
Let’s address the Babywise Schedule Criticism:
Babywise Failure to Thrive
I’ve read from many people online that Babywise leads to Failure to Thrive and that babies are denied feedings and left to cry for long periods of time with the Babywise method.
I never once read in the book that babies should not be fed if they are hungry.
In fact, the author often reminded us that this is a FLEXIBLE schedule. He also said that you need to pay attention to the babies cues to know what your baby needs.
He described in depth the signs for hunger and said that the baby should be fed early on when those signs are shown NOT when the baby is extremely hungry just to follow a schedule.
When the parent is following the cues of a baby, I just don’t see how a baby would become dehydrated or starved.
Babywise cry it out
Let’s set the record straight. Never does the author say to just leave a crying baby.
Babywise gives you the tools to understand why a baby is crying and to read the baby’s cues. Sometimes older babies (not newborns) need to cry a little before falling asleep.
YOU will know what that cry sounds like.
I made the mistake of rocking my firstborn to sleep every single time he went to bed. Even when he was asleep, he would cry as soon as I laid him in his crib. I would spend hours up at night just holding him.
I was exhausted.
But with the Babywise routine, you put the baby to bed while the baby is sleepy but not asleep. Sometimes that means there is a little crying while baby gets used to this.
But it should only last for a short while, and soon the baby will get the sleep they need.
Babies cry when they need things. If all of their needs have been met like feeding, holding, playing, but they are sleepy, babies will cry.
Babywise says when baby cries before going to sleep, the parent should check on the baby but not pick them up because this trains the baby to be picked up instead of falling asleep on it’s own.
The author recommends check on the baby every 15 minutes while the crying continues, and never let them cry longer than 45 minutes. But usually the baby will fall asleep before this.
Letting the baby cry is ONLY when the baby needs sleep. Never does he say to just ignore a crying baby.
He says to assess the situation before just jumping in.
I will say, while using the Babywise schedule, I never let my baby cry for long periods of time. I used my intuition.
That is something the book recommended over and over again. Use your intuition!
Is the Babywise Schedule Right for you?
I recommend this book, but with some caution.
It is a lot to consume. In fact, I ended up skimming a good bit of the beginning of the book and not even reading some of the chapters that didn’t relate to me.
There are 13 chapters and I would say that there were only 5 chapters that I found the most helpful and needed.
If you do decide to read this book, you will probably want to skim some parts and definitely underline the important stuff. I bookmarked a few sections and referred to them often during the first 6 months as my baby transitioned to different stages.
I also took notes from other websites that shared example routines and specific ideas for bedtime routines.
However, I do not recommend this book if you do not like to read.
There is a LOT to read in Babywise* and it may be overwhelming and even a bit confusing if you are not used to reading long books with lots of details.
If you are looking for a no fluff, get to the point, give me specific details kind of book, then I would stay away from this book.
If you don’t decide to read this book and follow the Babywise schedule, I highly recommend finding something else. There are so many books and methods out there about baby feeding and sleeping.
The bottom line is flexible routines and schedules will help both you and the baby thrive, so find one that works for you even if it’s not Babywise.