There are lots of sleep training methods out there, but in my experience, none rave about the success of their method more than the Babywise moms.
The theory of Babywise is amazing because it all but promises to have your baby sleeping through the night by 12 weeks! For a mom like me who’s had babies that continue to wake up at night up until a year old, that sounds incredible.
So I set out to investigate the Babywise method and share what I can about it. The big disclaimer here is that I haven’t actually used the Babywise method yet, but I liked what I read in the book enough that I plan to use it for my next baby.
What is a babywise mom?
A babywise mom is a mom who has adopted the Babywise method for helping her baby to get enough rest! Many new moms struggle with babies who don’t sleep or nap well and who want to nurse what feels like constantly. Babywise promises to solve those problems by helping your baby learn to get into a great routine so that you, the Babywise mom, and your baby know what to expect every day.
What is the babywise schedule?
The main idea of the Babywise method is that a baby’s routine should fall into an eat, wake, and sleep pattern. The authors suggest that a baby will nurse best when they are well-rested, and a baby will be better rested when they nurse well and have a full tummy!
Two of the main goals of a Babywise mom are:
- To avoid having a baby who snacks, grazes, or cluster feeds. In order for a baby to sleep well, it’s important for them to get a full feeding each time they nurse. This will help their bodies settle into a regular rhythm of eating and sleeping well, rather than getting hungry every few minutes because they were too tired and didn’t eat well at the last feeding.
- To avoid a baby who is dependent on nursing or bottle feeding in order to fall asleep. It’s important for babies to learn to put themselves to sleep in order to nap and sleep well at night. Otherwise, if they wake up in the night, they’ll need you to come to the rescue in order to fall asleep again. This can drive both mom and baby crazy!
If you can accomplish both of those things, you should be able to help your baby sleep well at an early age!
When should a babywise mom start sleep training?
One of the things I love about Babywise is that you start right away – at birth! Babywise moms don’t have to power through the first few months of their baby’s life with no sleep. You get to take action right away to help your baby learn to sleep well.
Babywise gives you the power to help your baby get the rest she needs from the very beginning. Sleep is too important to wait until your baby is three or four or six months old to start working on it. Babies need good sleep in order to develop well, and you’ll be a better mom if you can get the rest you need as well.
How do I start Babywise?
From the first day your baby is born, you’re working on helping them get a full feeding each time they nurse. That helps them to sleep better at nap time, and in turn that helps them nurse well at the next feeding because they are well-rested. Eventually, that routine will help them sleep through the night. Everything about a baby’s routine is connected, and you want to work towards establishing that routine from the very beginning.
Is there a babywise app?
There is a Babywise app, but I don’t really recommend it. It’s called the Babywise Nap App. It costs $1.99, and it does not have great reviews. If you’re interested in using an app to help sleep train your baby, there are other options that out there that would serve you better!
Does Babywise encourage moms to use cry it out?
Babies have different cries for different reasons. Babywise encourages you to learn what the different cries your baby has mean and learn to respond appropriately.
A high-pitched wail probably means that your baby is in pain and she needs your help. Another cry might mean she’s dirty and needs a change. The Babywise mom is encouraged to respond when her baby truly needs something.
But Babywise recognizes that a little bit of fussing in bed when you know she’s had a full feeding and a clean diaper isn’t a reason to rush in and rescue your baby. A little crying is part of the process of learning to sleep on her own, and it won’t harm her.
In fact, there’s some research that shows that parents who respond immediately to their baby’s every cry actually reduce their baby’s ability to problem solve later in life.
Do breastfed babies get into a routine?
Yes! It’s commonly that breastfed babies don’t sleep as well as babies who are formula fed. While breastfed infants can be more prone to cluster feeding, breastfed and formula fed babies can do equally well with Babywise.
As long as you focus on helping baby to get a full feeding each time you nurse, a breastfed baby is totally capable of settling into a routine quite nicely!
Is babywise good or bad?
I would hesitate to say whether Babywise is good or bad. Sleep training is mostly about figuring out what works for your family and your baby.
Babywise experts say that over 95% of babies will sleep through the night by the age of 12 weeks, regardless of breastfeeding or formula feeding. That sounds pretty good to me.
The AAP has stated in the past that they think Babywise methods could be linked to failure to thrive and poor milk supply.
I think most criticisms of Babywise come from people who don’t understand the main premise of what Babywise is all about or who use the method improperly.
It’s not primarily a “cry it out” method of sleep training like many people think. The system encourages Babywise moms not to rush in and soothe your child every time they make a little whimper, but they never suggest letting a baby cry for more than a few minutes.
It’s also not a strict scheduling method with no room for flexibility. Quite the opposite. Babywise is actually a great happy medium between strict scheduling and attachment style parenting of feeding your baby whenever they want for any reason. They encourage establishing a good rhythm of eat, play, sleep, but understand that sometimes babies have growth spurts or get overtired or any number of other things that can go wrong.
Babywise allows you to take care of your baby when she needs you, but also provides solutions to help you get back on track after an unexpected event comes up.
Why is it so controversial to be a Babywise mom?
A lot of people, particularly those who believe in attachment parenting, believe that any form of scheduling or sleep training is bad. They think you should always rush to feed your baby if they cry or comfort them at the slightest whimper.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things about attachment parenting that I’m on board with. I love babywearing, for example.
But when you always respond instantly to their cries whether they need something or not, the baby never learns to eat well or sleep well on their own. As a result, they are often sleep deprived and unhappy much of the time. Mom is stressed out and exhausted as well from dealing with a baby who constantly needs her.
But a little crying is not bad for babies. It’s actually a good thing for them to experience a some crying in order to learn to sleep well. By sleep training with Babywise, you give your baby (and yourself!) the gift of sleep, and that’s incredibly important to everyone’s well-being.
Which sleep training method is best?
Who’s to say? Sleep training is mostly about finding out what works for your baby and your family. Babywise isn’t necessarily better or worse than other methods, like Happiest Baby or Ferber.
One thing I don’t recommend is reading up on a bunch of different methods and trying to follow them all at once. The advice of each method will contradict one another and you and your baby will both wind up utterly frustrated and confused.
Sure, do your research ahead of time on the different methods and try to figure out what sleep method makes the most sense to you and is what you think would work for your family. But once you’ve chosen, stick to it and don’t get caught up in advice from other sources.
Do your best to follow the method you choose as closely as you can. Many people will give a half-hearted attempt at sleep training, and then give up and blame the method when their baby doesn’t sleep well. You have to be consistent and committed to your sleep training method in order to get results.
For example, one of the foundational principles of Babywise is that the first feeding of the day should be at the same time every day. It’s super tempting to leave a sleeping baby alone and wait until they wake up naturally. But if you do that, that first feeding will be at a different time each day. That will throw off the schedule for the whole day, and your baby will never settle into a regular rhythm. You won’t get the results that you’re hoping for!
So whatever method you choose, commit to it and be willing to do the hard things. You won’t regret it!As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.