Wising Up!

While I was on bedrest I managed to devour every baby magazine I could get my grubby paws on and poured over several pregnancy books.  But do you think I read much about baby routines?  Of course not!  I read a dry book about basic (well duh! type) baby care, but not much about routines and schedules for the day.  As a school psychologist I know a good deal about elementary aged children and I know that routines are key, but I am no baby expert.

When everyone trickled home, we kept them on the NICU schedule of feeding every three hours at 12 am, 3 am, 6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, and 6 pm, and 9 pm so we had eight feeds per day.  This was totally exhausting!  After feeds during the day, we kept them in the living room in various contraptions that propped them up to prevent reflux and/ or lulled them to sleep.  At night, we’d put them all in their beds with SIDS monitors and the baby monitor on so we could keep tabs on everyone.  While this worked for our tiny preemies, they began to outgrow this routine rather quickly.  One night we woke up at about 3 am and panicked when we realized we didn’t feed anyone at midnight.  We successfully dropped the midnight feed.  This was great!

As the babies grew, they started going closer to four hour feeds in the daytime, which was nice.  However, I soon figured out that if they went four hours all day long, they never went more than four hours at night.  Now this mama wanted more than three hours of consecutive sleep at night, so  intervention was in order.  I vaguely remembered an email sent to me before delivery from a fellow quad mama about how to get them to sleep through the night using Babywise.  I pulled it up for reference and realized that we 1. needed to keep them on a three hour feed schedule in the day to keep them sustained through the night 2. needed to turn our baby monitors off.  Say what?  Turn the baby monitor off???  We did!  The thing is baby monitors pick up EVERY little movement and grunt all night long.  I would find myself stumbling out of bed at 4:00-5:00 am to feed one baby that was grunting and waking three sleeping babies up to keep them on the same schedule.  Also, when we turned the monitors off, we realized we CAN hear when they cry and if a SIDS monitor alarms.  Even with implementing these things, we continued to wake every morning at 5:00 am and this just wasn’t working.  So, I picked up a copy of Babywise at Half Price Books to learn the whole program for myself.

I read it cover to cover last Tuesday and began full implementation on Thursday.  I quickly realized that Harper’s circadian rhythm was “stuck” to wake at about 5:00 am and he wasn’t really hungry.  When he’d wake up, bleary eyed me would heat four bottles and wake the other three to feed.  I knew that if he could sleep until 5:00 am, that 6:00 wasn’t too lofty of a goal.  So, I set the expectation to feed starting at 6:00 or later.  After three days of convincing Harper to go back to sleep, he finally agreed.  I am proud to say all four have slept from 11 pm to 7:30 am!  I don’t mean we fed them at 11 either, they SLEPT from 11 pm to 7:30 am.  That is a FULL night’s sleep for us!
We have a few other kinks of Babywise to work out, but sleeping a full night is absolute

ly fantastic.  The Babywise theory is that babies have a cycle of feed-wake-sleep and they move through these cycles in that order all day long.  Also, babies must sleep in their cribs in their rooms anytime they go into sleep cycles, not contraptions.  (We still rely upon the Rock ‘n’ Plays for sleep because they keep the babies upright helping prevent reflux spells.)  This teaches them to fall asleep independently.   If they get these cycles out of order, things get disrupted for them.  Right now we are struggling to keep them awake for the entire feed and to stay awake before a nap.  They tend to fall asleep too soon and wake long before it is time to feed.   Right now, Rylin is particularly upset with the new routine.  She prefers to eat in her sleep and during “playtime” then wakes up like a banshee about an hour before the next feed.   I am sticking with it in hopes that we will teach the babies where and how to sleep so everyone is more rested.  Here’s to wisin’ up!

hugs!

Amber

Cue the pictures of sleeping babies-

Rylin

Harper

Sydney

Sydney

Mason

Hmmm…..looks like Rylin fell asleep during tummy time!

Rylin’s looking a bit more alert here.

Maybe Harper and Mason can keep each other awake.

Sydney is awake this round!

And we lost another one to tummy time fatigue…

13 thoughts on “Wising Up!

  1. Yay for a full night sleep!! I am so with you on turning monitors off. You will like them once they are older and you want to know if they are sleeping without going into their room because that definantly ends nap time! I am going to reread baby wise because we are sleeping from 9 to 2 but I want more! I think it’s me just being strong and I need to up volume during the day but I have two that just spit it back at me and two that will just refuse to eat more even with all sorts of tricks. We have the same thing happen at tummy time….seldom do they even try lifting their heads. Will have try the boppy trick to see if they will stay awake “hanging” over it.

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    • I bet yours will start going past 2 soon especially if you increase volume. We are just a few weeks older so I’m sure that makes a difference. Ours did it before I wised up. It was breaking the 5 am wake up that was the real trick to a full night’s sleep. You will feel so good when they sleep! I started using the monitor in the day already so I can figure out who is crying without going in. It is nice for that and I will LOVE it when they are older for sure.

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  2. Omg, tummy time fatigue is hilarious!! I read baby wise too and we are hoping out works for us too. We started implementing it now and sometimes it works great and other times we struggle to get the kids to take a nap. But i think having a full night sleep sounds amazing and i can’t wait until they are sleeping through the night!!

    Congrats on your full night of sleep!!

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    • Yeah, Babywise is hit and miss for us now. The evening nap is the hardest. The girls fuss on and off pretty much the whole time and it’s brutal. I am hoping that persistence will pay off and that as they get older “wake” time will improve. Here’s to you getting a full night’s sleep!

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  3. Babywise works! All of my kiddos (including my now 3-year-old triplets) slept 6 hours straight by 6-8 weeks and we then stretched it to 12 hours by the time they were 3-4 months. The key really is the daytime volume of food and then maintaining that sleep-eat-play pattern during the day. 🙂

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    • Oh, that 12 hours sounds like a dream! We are sticking it out for that. Good to know you got it to work with triplets. They say multiples don’t wake each other up, but I think mine do.

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  4. OOOOHHHH, I am SO jealous! We need to get cracking with the Babywise seriously, because we had a few nights in a row where we had several howling and Andy figured it was just easier for one of us to take the night and morning feed and the other do the middle night feed… But they can go all night long, especially if yours can!! Thanks for motivating me to crack the Babywise whip on our night routine again, Amber!!! And very cute pics of all kiddos 🙂

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  5. Girl you’re doing awesome!! That’s so great y’all are getting some sleep. Just keep pushing the babies a little farther every time, even making them wait an extra 15 minutes will help. Or at least that’s what we did and eventually they started falling back asleep on their own. Trystan woke at 6am this morning, but wasn’t officially “crying” and upset. So I muted the monitor (it auto-mutes for 10 min then comes back on) and didn’t wake up again until 7:30 to the babies stirring. We fed them at 8 and it’s been great! In my own opinion, being consistent and sticking to your guns has made the biggest difference for us. i had to realize that it won’t starve the babies if they eat an hour later than when they first started making noise or whatever. It’s phenomenal to get sleep these nights now. And tummy time will pick up soon, too—ours slept through most of it for what seemed like the longest time, but if you leave ’em down long enough they’ll wake up, get agitated and start moving around. My do their best work on tummy time when they’re getting pissed off, lol!

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  6. I’m so glad for you! We also used some concepts from Babywise and had(have) great sleepers! My only additional advice would be that if you have one baby that wakes earlier than the rest that you don’t need to keep waking the others if they are still asleep. Oliver woke up a couple hours earlier than the girls for several months but then he would go right back to sleep and the three of them would wake up together a couple hours later. If you feel up to seeing what happens and possibly having a day that gets off-schedule, you could try it the next time just one wakes up and maybe they will surprise you!

    And the photos are so great! I just noticed Sydney’s hemangioma for the first time, it looks just like Quinn’s, only in a different place. We call it her polka dot. 🙂

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    • I noticed Quinn’s polka dot too. I like that nick name for it. Sydney has three! One on her head, shoulder blade and knee. I guess she got the lions share of birth marks.

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