Friday, June 10, 2011

Baby Whisperer

I like routines.  Actually, I can honestly say, I thrive on them.  I firmly believe most people do (even those who say they don't like predictability).  At school, everything that happens in my classroom is a routine that I explicitly teach, we practice, and we follow all year long.  Routines make me happy and they allow my students to feel relaxed and understand what to expect when they walk in the room.  I firmly believe that 90% of my classroom management is based on routines taught and they eliminate a ton of discipline problems that could occur.

I think it is perfectly natural that my child should be on a routine.  He'll know what to expect, feel relaxed and confident on what's coming, and, I'm assuming, a happier baby overall. Also, as he grows, I'd hope that a routine would help in other ways too.  As I was reading around on the Internet about the different "sleep training" methods, it was a pretty obvious choice for me to "pick" the Baby Whisperer (Tracy Hogg) because Andrew already naturally followed this routine so the E and A were pretty stinkin' easy (no pun intended) to follow.

In The Baby Whisperer words, "A structured routine is not the same thing as a schedule.  A schedule is about time slots whereas EASY is about keeping up the same daily pattern--eating, activity, sleeping--and repeating the pattern every day.  We're not trying to control children, we're guiding them.  The way humans learn--or other species, for that matter--is doing something over and over, which is what a structured routine reinforces."

Andrew is a pretty easy baby; however, I thought that he didn't like sleeping unless he's being held.  Between Dave and I, we spent many nights sleeping in the recliner with the baby on our chest.  Going to sleep was also becoming more and more of a challenge.  He would get really fussy, need to be swaddled, held tightly while holding the pacifier in his mouth, rocked, and patted on his bottom to fall asleep--this process was frustrating and would take anywhere from 10-45 minutes for each nap and in the middle of the night.  Then, as you went to put him down, more often than not, his eyes would pop open and he'd be wide awake again.  We (or maybe just me?) had two goals: 1)sleep longer hours during the night and 2) go down for naps/nighttime without a huge ordeal or needing to be held.

Anyway, Baby Whisperer (as I mentioned in his two month post) has been a wonderful experience so far.  As she suggested, I've been keeping a log of when we do each part of the EASY routine and how much he eats/sleeps during the day.  She makes it pretty clear that sleeping and eating well during the day directly impacts how he sleeps at night.  We've gotten so much better at sleeping this week and I'm sure a huge part of it is that we have a clear and repetitive routine for nap time and nighttime taken straight from her book.

Nap Routine:
After playing for awhile, Andrew starts yawning.  After 3-4 yawns we start this routine.
1. Change diaper
2. Swaddle
3. Hold upright in dim room (no bouncing, rocking, jiggling, etc) for 5 minutes.  If he starts crying (which is almost always does), firmly pat his back in a tick-tock patter and say "shhhh" into his ear (sounding like a faucet turning on).  Mommy likes this time too because it is "cuddling time."
4. After 5 minutes, into the crib he goes on his side and continue patting his back and "shhhh"ing if he's still awake.  Continue this until he relaxes and goes into deep sleep. 

Nighttime Routine:
"Tank up" feed 2 hours apart in the evening, after second feeding we start this routine
1. Bath time
2. Gentle massage and sleeper on
3. Read book
4-5. Follow steps 3-4 from above
6. Around 11 pm, dreamfeed (in hopes he'll sleep until 5)
*Also, if Andrew wakes up before 4 am, I know he isn't hungry, so we follow the routine steps 3 and 4 to put him right back to sleep.

Eventually we should be able to do the first few steps and lay him down drowsy without needing to continue patting/shhhhing. The time he has to be patted/shhhhed in his crib has already dropped dramatically from 20 minutes to anywhere from none to 5 minutes.


  1. This is quite impressive. Walker has zero routine because I am trying to keep up with Mary and her schedule. Not to mention Walker is very bothered by her noise. What do they say to do if baby cries during step 4? Or even step 3?

  2. Or if they fall asleep while eating?

  3. Good routine. It's crazy how some babies can adjust to certain "normal" routines and it takes investigating into other routines for some babies. Good job Jenn!