When I was pregnant with Kanan, I just gobbled up anything and everything I could read that would prepare me for my pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. These included What to Expect When Your Expecting, Great Expectations, Happiest Baby on the Block, Baby 411, and the contraversial Baby Wise. I’m a very organized person and things make sense to me when there is a logical pattern or steps involved in how they work and I can see visually how everything flows. I’ve kept a planner since I was in the 7th grade if that helps you understand me a bit more–with planning, I know what to expect and I can control my environment if I know the patterns and steps. So when Babywise told me that I could get my child to fit a schedule that I set and as a result also get him to sleep through the night by 8 weeks, I was dead set on following through with the author’s directions. When I told my friends and family members who have had kids what my plan was, they all smiled this knowing smile and said “that’s nice,” as if I was setting myself up for disappointment. But I kept telling myself that it would work because it had to. There were steps right? There were patterns and a framework. It HAD to work. Well I followed the book minus letting the baby cry it out and after 10 weeks of stress and anxiety over the fact that my child was not conforming to the steps and patterns I had set up, nor was he sleeping through the night despite my attempts at following the routine, I decided yesterday to throw the book out and let Kanan decide what those patterns and steps would be with a little guidance on my part.
Right when I decided to stop it, an instant weight lifted from my shoulders that I didn’t realize was there because of the constant anxiousness I have been holding about all the flaws in our day. But there were reasons I was anxious. When Kanan was on my schedule (or wasn’t), I could only get him to nap for 45 mintues most of the time and stay up for no longer than one and a half hours before he got fussy. The day never flowed the same as the day before or the day after even if I set a first morning feeding. He often woke up early for naps or wouldn’t nap at all despite his dreadful fatigue and all day, I would spend playing catch up. Sometimes when he woke up tired and fussy from his short nap and he would eat, he would then want to fall asleep when the book instructed me to make sure he stayed awake after a feeding and not go to sleep. And so with my attempts to keep him awake, he just became overtired and further fueled his inability to settle himself down and just sleep like he needed. Kanan seemed to always do what I didn’t want him to do when it came to the schedule and so I was always irritated by that fact. I’ve already got a hint of his teenage years–he won’t like a schedule and he’ll want to do the opposite of what I ask…..great (insert sarcastic smile here 🙂 )
The climax started to rise over the last 2-3 weeks when more problems started to rise (right around his week 7 growth spurt). These included much more difficulty with getting Kanan to sleep and stay asleep. Much more fussiness on his part. And then a disruption in his night sleep which hadn’t happend before. He started waking twice in the night again a couple of times.
Today has been the second day of doing it Kanan’s way. Needless to say that just today, he has had two wakeful periods that lasted 2 hours before he was ready for a nap and there was no fussiness in either one. He took two 2-hour naps and two 45 minute naps today. He was ready for bed naturally by 730 pm and went to sleep for the night at 8pm. He ate all of his needed feedings every 2-3 1/2 hours. Sometimes he slept afterward and sometimes he didn’t. Kanan didn’t get crying fussy until he told me it was time for bed around 730 tonight and one time today for a few minutes when I didn’t pick up his hunger cues, but luckily I carry the breast with me, so that was quickly remedied. 🙂
We will see tonight how his schedule affects his night sleep. But because he had such long stetches of wakefulness, some sunshine today, lots of stimulation from visiting family members, and some decent rest (a well rested baby in the day is a well rested baby at night they say) I would bet that he sleeps well.
So to all you friends and family members out there who also did the Babywise thing and either had it work or didn’t. I am saying loud and proud that Babywise isn’t for Kanan as much as it was for me. But I am quickly learning that it is not about me anymore. So I’m letting my type A personality relax into the shape of a B and I’m letting go. So goodbye Babywise. Goodbye and good riddance.