Inside: If you are researching babywise and want to know whether to pull the trigger, learn exactly what Babywise and Toddlerwise focus on and how to implement.
Babywise Book Review
Babywise is a method for training your children to sleep well and to sleep well early.
I have used this method for five children. It works.
It really works.
In fact, I have bought this book for every pregnant friend who’d read it since I have used it.
This book outlines a basic eat, wake, sleep cycle so that by 3 months your baby is sleeping 10-12 hours a night uninterrupted. Sound pie in the sky?
Trust me, it isn’t. Buying this book will be one of the best parenting decisions you’ll make. The basic method involves feeding your baby every 2.5 to 3 hours with a full feed.
You’ll then play with the baby for a short time and put the baby to sleep. According to Babywise, the key is to put the baby to sleep in the crib drowsy but awake.
What Babywise Says About Crying
Babies may cry initially to help put themselves to sleep, but by 3 months will go to sleep without crying and will wake up happily. Well rested children play better, learn better and are generally better behaved.
By having your child follow a flexible routine they will receive the benefits of order and structure and the results will be obvious.
Read: 8 Reasons You Have A Whiny Baby
Other Information In The Babywise Book
The authors say that other parents will comment “your child is so sweet” and “your child is so well behaved.”
First time parents will often hear “wait until your second child…”. But having good children is not a coincidence, it is the result of your effort and discipline.
The authors state that baby wise mothers consistently hear how “lucky” they are. It has proven true in my case.
There is a lot more to the book and the benefits are outlined as well as contrasted to other methods of parenting, particularly on demand feeding.
Read: Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
My Early Experience With Babywise
My experience with Babywise coincides with the book very closely. By 3 months both children were sleeping through the night and napping well.
My 16 month old still naps two long naps a day and 12 hours at night, from 7:45pm to 7:45am. I put her down for a nap at the time of my choosing and she sleeps well and wakes up happy.
I put her down in the evenings and she sleeps soundly all night.
She is sweet spirited, well behaved, and other parents always comment on how calm and content she is.
My son, only 3 months, goes down for a nap at a time of my choosing without making a peep about 85% of the time.
He sleeps from 11 to 8 and feeds and naps at regular intervals throughout the day. He is peaceful and content.
I recommend this book if you desire to run an ordered home. My daughter is 16 months and my son is 3 months and nap times, bedtimes, and wake times are predictable and routine.
I am well rested, they are well rested and our house is peaceful.
Go here for tons of information, testimonials, questions, tips and advice on the Babywise method.
Babywise II Book Review
This follows the Babywise series and focuses on babies and toddlers ages approximately 10 to 18 months.
In short, it gives parenting tips on discipline, teaching “no”, instiling manners, and how not to frustrate yourself and your children by granting freedoms they are not yet able to manage.
Very interesting. Very helpful.
Salient points for those of you wondering whether to bite the bullet and buy.
Main Points Included In Babywise II
1) Provides a discipline strategy to foster first time obedience. There is a practical 3 step process on how to teach your baby to obey. Spoiler: it ain’t counting to 3.
2) Manners. Manners training, believe it or not, can begin in the high chair. The book discusses common high chair behaviors that, when used as opportunities for training, provide a platform for teaching your baby to do what is expected of them.
It says that mothers don’t need to pull out the ole inflatable-pool-under-the-high-chair routine to keep the house clean, but must simply teach manners using the 3 step discipline process.
I’ve tried it. It works.
3) Parenting inside the funnel. To shorten a few pages into a few sentences, this concept means granting your child freedoms based on their proven levels of self-control.
- Freedoms greater than level of self-control = developmental confusion
- Freedoms less than self-control = developmental frustration
- Lastly, freedoms equal to self-control = developmental harmony
4) Childishness verses foolishness. This is a very good concept to grab hold of. When a child touches your hot cup of coffee because he doesn’t know any better he’s childish. Childishness requires instruction and training.
When a child touches your hot cup of coffee after you’ve repeatedly told him not to, he’s foolish. Foolishness requires discipline.
5) Credit card parenting. Credit card parenting in action says “I don’t want to bother with that behavior now, we’ll deal with it later.”
This is putting off training until after a bad habit has already been ingrained in the child. Like a credit card, you’ll still have to pay (train), but you’ll do it with interest.
I won’t give any more away, but I heartily suggest this book for any mother who wants to feel more informed.
It will help provide a strategy that will allow for consistent and repetitious training by you so your baby knows what to expect and can act accordingly.
Toddlerwise Book Review
I’ve talked Babywise until everyone is gagging, I know. That’s why I decided to talk Toddlerwise. A respite from your gagging but still giving you good stuff to swallow.
This book is from the same ‘wise’ family and authors but for the young toddlers. The book is good. Really good.
If you are neurotic like me – let’s hope you aren’t – then it can become a bit daunting if you think you must tackle every single thing during the day in perfect order all the time.
If you let go of that and realize, hey, it’s right to shoot high and it’s right to hold a high standard, but it’s necessary to do your best and then let the rest go.
Is Toddlerwise Legalistic?
I’ve heard some say Toddlerwise is legalistic and, if taken to the letter of the law without the right heart, parts definitely read that way.
However, I think it’s been helpful for us and has given me a lot of security and comfort knowing I have a strategy and plan for the things toddler-dom brings along.
Highlights worth noting.
(1) Structuring the day.
This section is intimidating at first, seeing the different types of activities to put into your toddler’s day. But it becomes like second nature.
It basically comes down to …
- a) time you spend with them
- b) time they spend alone
- c) time they spend alone with their siblings
- d) time everyone spends freely together.
In the mornings the kids have independent time while I get the house together and the day in order.
After the afternoon naps while I’m trying to cook I put them both in one of their rooms to play alone together. It’s really just about giving specific times to specific general activities so that the house and day runs smoothly.
(2) Mealtime guidelines.
My daughter used to eat huge amounts of food and now since becoming a toddler, eats like a bird.
Toddlerwise suggests serving them with small amounts of food and drink, only refilling and giving more when they are finished.
This helps prevent wasted food and lots of food power struggles since many times they don’t want to eat because they simply aren’t hungry and the food on their plate that will go to waste is taunting us.
(3) Reasoning well.
Chapter 5 talks about using reason to make parenting decisions. We often read that a certain way works and get it into our heads that we have to do that.
Instead, we need to have some basic strategies in place and then use our reason to make wise decisions. If we are trying one form of discipline that doesn’t work, we can simply choose another strategy and see how that goes.
(4) Disciplinary tools.
The book gives great examples of behavior correction options.
Isolation (time out, essentially), redirection (distracting them, substituting their activity for an acceptable one, or putting them onto another activity), natural consequences (if they throw their plate on the floor, they are done with dinner), loss of privilege (one action leads to the removal of another), and naptime (sometimes they are behaving badly because they are simply tired).
(5) General encouragement.
This book gives clarity and order to the sometime chaotic job of raising children.
It shows that what might seem like a high expectation – i.e., requiring your child to sit with their hands in their lap at the dinner table after they’ve finished eating – is in fact a realistic goal that can be met with patience and some training.
I’m inspired not to get beat down when my toddlers display a strong will. A strong will is going to serve them well when it’s directed in the proper direction.
All in all, just like the other -wise series books, Babywise and Babywise II, it introduces you to many different possible ways of doing things and has given me many helpful tools that have served me well thus far!
Wow, I am stunned that anybody would recommend the babywise book, which is linked to dehydration and failure to thrive by the American Academy of Pedeatrics
The book essentially teaches you to starve a newborn baby, by not feeding them when THEY are hungry, just at the specified times that YOU have decided upon. It sounds like you had children to fit in around your life and your needs and do not choose to consider their needs.
Rachel Norman says
Anne-Marie, if you read the Babywise book it says numerous numerous numerous times that you ALWAYS feed your baby when they are hungry. Always! I try to abide by a routine and schedule but ALWAYS feed my babies when hungry and they’ve all been super healthy and not a one of the would have been considered skinny. Ha!
I’m glad your children did not suffer physically from the advice in the babywise book, but other babies have. The fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics felt a need to issue a warning about the book should let you know that this is a serious issue and aught to give you pause in recomending this dangerous parenting advice. When we know better we should do better.
Ha! Giving your child a schedule is the great blessing to give them, in my opinion. Any child who has suffered because of Babywise probably a) did not actually read the book, but followed it based on a small amount of knowledge and b) had parents who were not feeding them enough or giving them attention throughout the day. I personally waited on crying it out until my son was old enough to not need any night feedings (about 3-4 months old, and we started with short increments of about 5 minutes), but I did implement a napping and feeding schedule from day one. I started with a 3 hour Wake-Eat-Sleep routine and went from there. If my son was hungry after an hour or two, I would feed him and start over. After a week or two, the 3 hour routine was down and he easily adjusted to each routine after that. I will say that when I had to return to work, things got crazy. Scheduling does not work very well when both parents work and you have to depend on someone outside of your home to help them have healthy sleep associations and patterns. I have a couple different family members watch him, which is great, I’d rather that than daycare, but with each person comes a slightly different way of doing things and with that there have been times where he has gone weeks without taking naps (which effects night sleep). I end up getting strict about scheduling, and after a few weeks things settle back down, but it is a constant struggle keeping everyone on the same page, and I don’t want to be that mom that checks in every few hours with “did they nap yet? Well they need to nap. Did he eat at this time? Well now he won’t nap until this time.” etc.
Anyways, besides times where he decides to rebel against sleep from lack of consistency, he has slept through the night since he was 3 months old. He is now a happy, healthy, 27lb 18 month old boy that is super well-behaved. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have an aunt that never put her daughter on a schedule and is strongly against CIO. Her daughter never once slept through the night until she was 8 years (YEARS!) old and now at 12, she still doesn’t sleep through the night consistently. She is a beautiful, healthy girl, but she also struggles with high anxiety and struggles in school.
Rachel Norman says
I agree that Babywise says FEED THE BABY FEED THE BABY. I love schedules :)
I had 8 babies. My first baby was cranky due to a low milk supply which I had with all of my children though I tried to nurse them all. A friend gave me babywise and he was the best baby ever. All my babies benefitted from baby wise and ALL were good babies and Thrived! None were dehydrated or starved! That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard. It was nice to hear a lone Christian voice telling us not to demand feed. Our God s a God of order!
Sharon Tucker says
God is a God of order. Families function well on order. Dr. Mindell of the Sleep Institute and Dr. Ferber of Harvard & Boston Childrens Hospital attest to the fact babies love order, they relish predictable schedules, and their brains record and learn best on schedules.
This AAP rumor has been erroneously spread for 20 years. The AAP has NEVER warned against or even mentioned Babywise. One rogue doctor who studied in Mexico named Matthew Aney wrote his own personal opinion in 1998. Because he published his opinion in a small abstract magazine called the AAP News, critics of Babywise have pretended and attempted to mislead others since 1998 that Aneys opinion was some formal startement by the AAP. It was not. In the AAP News a month later Aney was completely refuted by 6 medical professionals and pediatricians. That AAP rumor is so tired. Just look on the AAP site for yourself, they have an internal search engine.
Babywise is today the #1 baby sleep guide on earth. Look on Amazon for yourself. Babywise outsells Sears and all attachment parenting books by 500%. And it has been around for 25 years and word of mouth from one mom to another continues to share the success from one family to another.
If you are a new mom, I recommend you observe 3 Babywise families and 3 attachment parenting families. You decide who looks rested, content, and happy and who looks exhausted, tired, and cranky. Choose the method that provides the results you desire. It is a no-brainer!!
Lisa Thompson says
Babywise is incredible. Babies love schedules.
I’m interested if you have any advice on starting s but late in the game for using the Babywise method? My daughter is 7 weeks but I just read the book and I’ve realized I’ve instilled some bad habits for sleeping and eating with her. I struggle right now with short bursts of sleeping and eating throughout the night as well as fussiness during the day, and very short naps (no longer than 45 minutes.) any advice you have on how to start the Babywise method now would be greatly appreciated!!
Rachel Norman says
Blakeley, just take my free sleep series course down at the bottom of the post and that’ll get you on the right footing. It’s never too late and the habits aren’t really bad unless your baby is super exhausted. If so, you are always able to do some tweaks and have a happy baby! :)
Xavier Moreau says
Babywise will work some kids and not with others. It unfortunately took hold in a generation of control freaks. Parenting is about putting someone else first for a while. And babywise entangles parental rules or expectations with developmental progress, ignoring what issues parents might bring into that new partnership, insecurities and all. If you develop good listening skills with your child, you will go a long way in helping her or him find who they are and turn into the best version of themselves. Embrace those new vulnerabilities parenting force upon you and enjoy the journey.
Rachel Norman says
Great insights, thank you so much!