Now that my daughter is 7 months old, it is a great time to share my Babywise book review!
I have two children and before I had my firstborn I researched all kinds of methods and routines for baby feeding and sleeping. There was so much out there that I became overwhelmed, so instead of choosing a method to use, I decided not to follow any.
Sounds like a great plan, right?! 🙂
Well, not only did I not follow any routine, 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 routine because not doing anything didn’t work. At that point in my life, I had already been following routines and adding flexible structure to my days. 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)
The Pros to Babywise
As I read through the book, I learned SO much.
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 would have 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, 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.
Babywise encourages the parents to follow a flexible 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.
The book teaches parents to be proactive instead of reactive.
With my first born I jumped to his side the moment he started crying and immediately reacted. I rocked him. I fed him. I tried everything I could think of to make him stop crying because I didn’t know why he was crying.
If I had been following a routine, 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 the book!
The Cons to Babywise
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 cheat sheet for free in my Free Printable Resource Library when you sign up for my email newsletter.
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.
However, when I put the Babywise method into practice, it was like a miracle had 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.
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, get the cheat sheet in my resource library.
It honestly didn’t feel real!
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!
Is the Babywise Book 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 are not much of a reader.
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 this method, I highly recommend finding something else. There are so many books and methods out there about baby feeding and sleeping and I think the bottom line is follow a routine.
P. S. I do want to mention that I read some criticism of this book based on the “cry it out” method and meticulously following the clock for feeding.
As I read this book, I felt like the authors had a balanced approach to following the clock but also being assertive to the baby’s needs. Babywise repeatedly said that this is a flexible routine. Flexible is key!
As far as crying it out, the book teaches you why a baby cries and what to do when the baby cries. It does not say to just let the baby cry for no reason. When you follow the schedule, you start to interpret the cries and know which ones say, ” I need you!” and which ones say, “I need sleep.”
Babywise, when followed correctly, is an incredible gift and resource to parents! Don’t forget to get your Babywise Cheat Sheet!