Baby Wise & Baby Led Weaning

June 23, 2015

I know both of these topics can bring some interesting comments, Baby Wise gets a bad rap. In all honesty though, that viral "I hate BW" post that floated around Facebook was kind of garbage. I'm not sure the writer even read the book.

At the same time though, scheduling isn't for everyone. My mother and sister didn't schedule. My mom was a Le Leche League lady all the way, and honestly that book and my own mother's knowledge of nursing have helped me tremendously.

But demand nursing isn't for me for a few reasons. I'm a religious scheduler, right this very minutes I have my cleaning, blog, and weekly schedule right next to me in my overly organized planner. On our fridge is [this] print out of our meal plan.

Scheduling is comforting to me.

So before you bite my head off over it, hear me out. This post is mainly intended to help someone else in my current mothering situation. Not to spike controversy. I just had to dig and read and read for a couple of weeks to find the answer I was looking for and I hope this eventually helps someone else out.

So with all of that said, we'd followed Baby Wise (BW) down to nearly a T, minus the Cry It Out. I haven't been able to bring myself to CIO. Granted he's had to in the car, and once when I was in the shower, but in general we haven't had a huge need for it.

H tends to understand the sleep routine and doesn't usually fight me too much. As long as I set him down when he's nice and drowsy he will rustle around to get comfy and then he stays out until he is honestly done with his nap.

That may change, and the second child may be different; but right now we haven't implemented CIO.

The schedule though, we've been on those since day 2 and a few days after we got home we started waking him up at our "start the day" time of 6 AM. It's really worked great for us, and he usually wakes up within 10 minutes of the next feed and is very well adjusted to the schedule.

Baby Wise actually suggests demand feeding the first month, but there's too much mental stress tied to it for me. Granted we did a few cluster feeds when he was hungry, and it took maybe a good month to really have him on the schedule like clockwork (where you could tell his little metabolism was set to eating at those times - I had to wake up that newborn a few times to get him to eat because he slept so much).

Now this is where I ran into a problem, at this point in the game Baby Wise suggests starting purees. That's nothing odd, your doctor will likely say the same thing about your 4 month old baby.

I however want to do Baby Led Weaning, which I'll really get into in another post as a book review, and you don't introduce solids until 5 1/2 - 6 months.

Now at 16 weeks you begin Merge 5 in Baby Wise where you drop a day feed because the infant is now taking solids.

I tried and tried to do this merge, but it wouldn't work. After a lot of reading I figured out why.

At the beginning of last week I started trying to implement it, even though it didn't seem right to drop a feed with us not starting solids until the end of August at 5 1/2 months. His naps were terrible, he was all out of whack in general... and then I did my usual 3am Google fest during the night feed and finally, FINALLY, found a BW blog that mentioned that you don't move from Merge 4 to Merge 5 until the baby has started solids.

You aren't supposed to move to the 5th schedule (merge) in Baby Wise until the child starts solids. 

Finally my question was answered! 

I'd been scanning blogs for two months trying to figure out how to merge my love of schedules with the demand feed Baby Led Weaning book. Simply telling me the baby will drop milk feedings on his own when I have this child down to the clock so much so that he wakes within 5-10 minutes of the next feed time (until he's exhausted) was a little scary. 

So in case you're wondering - if you follow the Baby Wise schedule don't move onto the 5th Merge (feed schedule) until you've started solids. So somewhere around 27-28 weeks we will start solids and it is completely possible that we will shorten the time BW suggests for the 5th Merge and then move onto the 6th since that Merge occurs around 28 weeks. 

But I'll be sure to blog about how that is going when the time comes, because like I said I haven't found a single blog that did the BW scheduling and then introduced food to their infant the BLW way. I'll also be sure to use this space to journal how BLW goes, I have high hopes for it and considering how fiercely independent our nearly 4 month old is already showing to be I think it will work well for him. (I've also found a few products that I think will work great for BLW)

In case you're wondering what our schedule looks like now, and how it will look until H is about 27 weeks old (because remember we aren't introducing purees and we are going straight to solids) here it is ::

6am - feed
-straight back to sleep without wake time
8:30am - feed
9:30-10am ish - put down for nap
-this is a shorter nap usually and he wakes up early
11:30am - feed
12:30pm - go down for nap
-longest nap of the day and he doesn't usually wake up until time to eat again
2:30pm - feed
3:30- 4pm go down for a nap
5:00pm - feed
-stay awake until next feed or cat nap (he has a little witching hour at this point so we will go outside, take a bath, or just wear him in the carrier where he will cat nap while I clean the kitchen in the evening)
7:30 - 8pm - feed, depends on how fussy and tired he is as to whether or not we eat before 8. 
- read book, sing, and go down for the night
3:30 am - feed (I don't wake him up at night, this is just the time he wakes up like clockwork to eat)

Now a little bit more about how BW is going for us in case you're feeding your baby at 3AM and curious:

Baby Wise talks a lot about Dream Feeds, after he got to be about 1 1/2 months old I quit doing them. I've experimented with Dream Feeds with Harrison and they don't make a difference with when he gets up to eat at night. 

Initially he was waking up at midnight and 4am to eat, when I would Dream Feed he was still waking up at those times. Eventually he merged those two feeds himself to 3:30am, to which I tried Dream Feeding again in hopes of having him sleep through the night. 

It didn't happen. 

I just got less sleep because I woke up a sleeping baby to nurse for what took double the usual time to eat when he's actually motivated to eat at night. Then he still work up at 3:30am. 

So I've pretty much nixed the concept of DF-ing with this child. If he eats at 8pm he will maybe rustle around once and I can pop the paci in and he will immediately go back down and not stir again until time to eat at 3:30am. 

Which means more sleep for both of us. 

Maybe the next kid will be a Dream Feed baby, and maybe yours is... this particular one just views it as a snack between the last evening feed and the 3:30am ritual feeding he insists upon having every night. 

Oh and I'll be 100% honest with you before I quit rambling for the day. Baby Wise swears you can have your child sleeping through the night by two months, but if you read the what even the BW bloggers say... many of them don't have their babies sleeping through the night. Exclusively breastfed babies tend to hold onto one night feed for a long time (trust me I've looked this up a million times hoping it just wasn't true) because breast milk is just easier to digest. 

Yes, formula fed babies will more likely sleep through the night. But it's because it takes longer to digest, not because it's better for them. I'm not hating on formula, some people don't have a choice or they just prefer it, but it isn't an option for me. So therefore I just have to accept that we will be waking up once a night to eat until we start solids, more than likely. 

Hopefully this helped someone else out there who is in my boat and wants to dip in both the scheduling and demand feed pool that is BLW. 

If you have any experience with the two I'd love your input on how it went for you and your child.