Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baby Whisperer: getting started

With Keaton, I didn't really start the Baby Whisperer method until he was about 2 months old. Before that, I was pretty frustrated. When you first bring them home from the hospital, all they do is sleep. Crying almost always means hunger, so as he grew and start to cry for other reasons, I was conditioned to think it was always hunger. I overfed him, which led to him spitting up, me having over-supply, and it was a vicious cycle. Another danger that can happen is something called "snacking", where they eat so often, that they never really take a full feed, and that becomes a vicious cycle as well. 

After reading the book, I realized that every other time he cried, he was tired, NOT hungry. I swaddled him, rocked him, or whatever helped him to settle down at those times, and my life became SO much easier. The goal, by about 1-2 months, is to have baby on a 3 hour routine, where they eat, have some awake time, then sleep. When they wake again, you feed them. If I had to put it in a step by step list, it would be:
1) start feeding baby when he wakes
2) work to keep him awake during the feeding so he gets full (eating often puts them to sleep those first couple of months)
3) work to keep him awake AFTER he eats. At least just change his diaper. The first few weeks, that's all he'll be able to handle. Mine could handle about an hour of awake time at 1 month & about 1.5 hrs at 2 months. That INCLUDES eating time though!
4) as soon as he shows signs of being tired, get him in a position to be able to fall asleep easily. If that's your arms the first couple of months, that's fine (even though BW would say to ALWAYS put them in their bed). If that's swaddling or in a swing, fine. The key is to try to not make one way of falling to sleep (besides on their own in bed) a HABIT past about 6 weeks. Try to vary it up. Also, try not to soothe more than what they need. Turn the swing off or put them down as soon as they fall asleep, and then try to work up to doing it when they're drowsy but not fully asleep yet. You don't want them relying too much on a method of falling asleep that will be difficult for you to keep up as they get older.

I don't think Grant would have been able to do this until just recently, at 1 month old. He was eating every 2 hours no matter what I tried. So I just fed him and waited until he was older. It will come when they're ready. But I noticed the problem when he was staying awake through one cycle and then sleeping the next. So it looked like this- eat, awake (2 hrs), eat, sleep (2 hrs). That isn't a terrible schedule, but I realized 2 hrs of being awake is probably way too long for a baby this age, and he was getting OVER tired. When I started really focusing on that 3rd step and then the 4th, he started sleeping MORE, AND he's now all the sudden going 3 hours between feeds! Finally! Baby Whisperer really does work. :)

For more info:
The website.

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