This post contains affiliate links.
I’m going to start this off by saying up front that I am a Baby Wise mom so if you came here looking for reasons to hate the book or method, you’re in the wrong place. There are plenty of bad reviews on Amazon if that’s what you’re seeking.
However, I have read many of those reviews and feel like the overwhelming majority of them were by mama’s who didn’t implement the “common sense” part of the method. Details below.
Baby Wise is a guideline that truly does give your infant the gift of nighttime sleep. To be clear, I’m referring to the original Babywise book titled On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep. Here’s my honest review:
The book itself
… is a fairly easy read. I devoured the first 5 chapters before I had even given birth. I was preparing ahead of time because I knew I had to go back to work at 8 weeks and needed to have my baby in a good sleep routine, for both our sanities.
After Ev was born I re-read chapter 5 at least twice and referenced other parts of the book many many times, for troubleshooting naps and night wakings.
… is eat, wake, sleep. In exactly that order! Yes it is that simple. Of course there are days and sometimes weeks where things get mixed up and you make adjustments for whatever is happening in your life.
But if you take the time to develop early eating and sleeping patterns, you will thank yourself a million times over when you have a happy predictable baby, are not sleep deprived, and everyone’s asking you how you do it.
The first 3 weeks of Ev’s life I didn’t try to schedule anything, I just had it in the back of my mind that Babywise was the plan we were going to start soon. Around 3 or 4 weeks she started to be more alert at times so it was then that I started a lazy version of the “eat, wake, sleep” cycle. I fed her right when she woke up, kept her awake for a tiny bit and then let her sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I say lazy version because the Baby Wise book suggests a 2 1/2 to 3 hour cycle between feedings but as a breastfeeding newborn Ev was hungry closer to every 2 hours. Either way, I followed the method and soon enough she was on a 3 hour “eat, wake, sleep” cycle.
This is one of those common sense issues that got a heap of criticism from others… some people can’t handle the idea that the book says 3 hours but their baby doesn’t make it that long between feedings.
For Pete’s sake ladies, if your baby is hungry, feed him!! Eventually… the baby falls into the cycle, if you stick with it. Nothing happens over night.
Around 7-8 weeks is when she started sleeping through the night, from 10 to 6… but it wasn’t until she was close to 14 weeks old that she could make it the full 3 hours between feedings during the day.
All that being said, of course there were still days and even weeks when she would wake up in the night to eat (growth spurts) but probably 90% of the time she slept through the night from 7 weeks.
Yes, seriously. Happy baby, well rested mama!
Between 4 and 5 months we dropped the dream feed (covered in the book) so she was sleeping from 7:30 pm to 6:30 am.
There was a period of time shortly after dropping the dream feed that she began waking once or twice to eat at night again. I figured it was a growth spurt but after about 2 weeks she was still doing it. I recognized that she was waking out of habit now, not truly out of hunger, so we had to cry it out a couple (only 2) nights to break the habit. She went right back to sleeping all night. The book covers this too!
She’s now 11 months old and sleeping from 7:30 pm to 6:30 am and takes 2 naps during the day, sometimes even a short third nap.
I have reluctantly accepted the fact that she’s an early riser, but it’s ok because she wakes happy and alert and she plays with toys while I get ready for work.
Now Ev is old enough that we can easily change the schedule to accommodate life’s activities. She has developed the necessary patterns to be able to easily adapt to changes as needed. This is what I call complete success.
The best part is that it’s all so predictable. I’m not dragging my screaming, overtired, hungry baby through Target… because I know when my baby will need to eat and have a nap. Knowing that makes it a thousand times easier to plan my day.
Following Babywise gave us the framework necessary to develop healthy predictable patterns and learn my babies needs and preferences without doubt.
The book is full of other useful information aside from scheduling, including case studies and statistics on things such as the IQ’s of children who had good sleep patterns as infants vs children who did not have good sleep patterns as infants. It’s very thorough.
The only word of caution I write about Baby Wise (aside from the common sense factor) is that it is very much pro-breastfeeding. That didn’t bother me one bit since I breastfed my baby, but please don’t let it discourage you if you’re a formula mama. The concept works just as well for both, and the book even states so, in depth. Fed is best!
I have recommended Baby Wise to practically everyone I know with a baby or expecting one. If you’re still wondering if you should try it, comment your concerns below. I will answer openly and honestly.