Babywise vs. Baby Whisperer: Which Is Best For Your Baby?

 
Babywise vs Baby Whisperer

It’s a baby sleep book smackdown, parents!

Today, we’re taking a look at two very popular baby sleep books: On Becoming Babyswise, by Gary Ezzo and Robert Buckman, and Secrets of a Baby Whisperer, by Tracy Hogg. We’ll examine the similarities and difference between the two books, but most importantly, we’ll provide the info you need to determine which parts of each book might be helpful to you (and which parts you may want to ignore!).

Babywise vs. Baby Whisperer

If you’ve dabbled at all in the world of baby sleep books (and if you’re a Baby Sleep Site® reader, we’re betting you have!), then you are no doubt at least somewhat familiar with these two books. Here’s the rundown:

Babywise has been reprinted several times, and it’s changed a bit from its early days as a book that provided a religious slant on baby sleep – but to this day, it remains incredibly popular. The authors of Babywise are proponents of what they call ‘PDF’ (parent-directed feeding), and encourage parents to implement a fairly clock-based schedule right from birth, in an effort to get baby sleeping through the night by about 4 months of age.

Baby Whisperer is similar, in some ways – it urges parents to carve out sleep-friendly routines, and the book attempts to educate parents as to how they can understand their babies cries, so that they offer the right thing at the right time (i.e. so that mom and dad don’t offer food when baby is crying for a nap).

A Look At Babywise and Baby Whisperer Schedules and Routines

The hallmark of each book is the emphasis on helping your baby ease into a predictable daily schedule or routine at a fairly early age.

Babywise promotes an ‘Eat-Play-Sleep’ schedule — with this schedule, your baby wakes and feeds, then engages in an activity (shaking a rattle, reading a book, tummy time, etc.) before finally going down for the next nap. Parents are urged to put their babies down drowsy, but awake. The Babywise authors do encourage parents to be mindful of the clock when it comes to the Eat-Play-Sleep schedule – parents are urged to encourage their babies to go at least 2 hours between feedings in the first few weeks after birth, and then gradually to push for 3 hours and eventually 4 hours between feedings. The authors believe that by intentionally spacing out feedings, and not feeding round the clock, parents can encourage babies to consolidate their feedings, and eventually sleep through the night at a few months old.

Baby Whisperer, interestingly enough, lays out a very similar routine – Hogg calls it an E.A.S.Y. routine: Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time. Basically, baby wakes and eats, engages in an activity, goes down for the next nap, and then you get some (much-needed!!) “you time”, in which to unwind (and hopefully take a nap – goodness knows you need one, right?). So on the surface, it looks quite a bit like Babywise – but when you really get into the book, Hogg makes it clear that the E.A.S.Y. routine is just that – a routine. It’s not meant to be a strict, time-driven schedule. Hogg is clear that one day may look different from another, in terms of the timing of feedings and naps. The routine is less about clocking your baby’s day, and more about gently shaping it in a way that will, over time, develop healthy sleeping habits (and eventually, a more clock-based schedule). Hogg is also very clear that, while parents do need to help direct baby’s day, they also need to watch baby’s cues closely, and use those to drive the routine.

Babywise vs. Baby Whisperer: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

So, what’s the take-away? In our opinion, it’s this: the best parts of both of these books is the Eat-Play-Sleep (or E.A.S.Y, depending on your preference) part. These two routines are basically the same (although cheers to Tracy Hogg, for putting the ‘You Time’ bit in hers – only a fellow mom would think to do that!), and the beauty of both of them is that they will go a long way towards preventing your baby from forming unwanted sleep associations. Because your baby is engaging in an activity before nap time, you’ll put your baby down at least slightly awake for naps. This is better, from a sleep coaching standpoint, than feeding your baby to sleep before every nap, and thus forming a strong sleep association that may create sleep problems down the road. Regardless of your situation, or your parenting philosophy, this kind of baby routine has universal appeal.

HOW you implement this routine will vary, though. Some parents love the timed nature of the Babywise approach, and are big fans of the parent-directed approach. These parents tend to gravitate to (and generally have success with) a Babywise approach. Other parents like the idea of having a flexible routine that allows plenty of wiggle room, and that prioritizes baby’s cues. Those parents may find a lot to love in the Baby Whisperer approach.

As for our take – as you probably know by now, we’re big fans of letting YOU make choices about your baby’s sleep. However, if you pressed us for our advice, we’d say this: we really like the flexibility of the Baby Whisperer approach for newborns and young babies. Tracy Hogg is a proponent of gentle methods that are suitable for newborns and young infants, but are also effective in establishing great sleep habits. We don’t love the Babywise approach for newborns – it tends to be too rigid for most young babies, and it’s not breastfeeding-friendly for babies with smaller stomach capacities, or for moms who don’t produce a lot of breastmilk.

That said, the Babywise approach can work well for babies who are very regular and predictable, particularly if baby is formula-fed. We have and parents tell us that Babywise worked perfectly for their babies.

In the end, it always comes down to honoring your parenting philosophy AND your baby’s temperament. Both of these approaches can work – but if they don’t work for you, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, or that your baby is somehow “broken” – it just means you need a different approach!

Baby Sleep Help That Will Work For You And Your Baby…Guaranteed!

Sure, you could read these baby sleep books (in addition to the hundreds of other baby books out there) – or, you could let us do the work for you. Our team of highly-trained, caring sleep consultants has worked with thousands of families like yours – they know exactly how to account for your baby’s temperament and your parenting philosophy while still ensuring that you have Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will teach your baby positive sleeping habits and move your whole family towards sleeping through the night.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Babywise? Baby Whisperer? Both? Neither? You know how much we value your opinion – tell us what you think of these two books!

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

Helping Your Baby With Reflux (GERD) Sleep Better

 
Baby Infant Reflux GERD Sleep Tips
 

GERD may be its official name, but most of parents simply call it reflux (or perhaps acid reflux). And if you have an infant with reflux at home, then you know first-hand what sleepless feels like, don’t you?

We work with so many families who have a baby with reflux, so we’ve learned a thing or two about how to help alleviate infant reflux symptoms, and to help babies with reflux sleep soundly.

Keep reading for all details!

Symptoms of Infant Reflux/GERD

First, we should really look at what the most common symptoms of baby reflux and GERD are. Common symptoms* include:

  1. Spitting and vomiting
  2. Constant hiccups
  3. Feeding disturbances
  4. Chronic irritability
  5. Discomfort when lying on the back
  6. Sleep disturbance
  7. Chronic cough and/or congestion

*from the book Colic Solved, by Bryan Vartabedian – an excellent resource if you have a colicky baby with reflux at home!

So many parents we work with suspect their infants might have acid reflux, but haven’t checked with their healthcare providers yet. If your baby has the reflux symptoms listed above, make an appointment with your healthcare provider and take steps toward treatment. Some healthcare providers prefer to wait for symptoms to subside or improve, while others prefer to start medication sooner rather than later. Either way, you will want to plan a course of action with your healthcare provider before you start to work on improving sleep.

Also, remember that while spitting up is considered a classic sign of reflux, there is such a thing as “silent reflux”. If your baby seems fussy and uncomfortable after eating (especially if you lay him down after eating), or if you hear lots of tummy gurgling after your baby eats, silent reflux may be to blame.

Why Baby Reflux/GERD Interferes With Sleep

Speaking of sleep – why exactly does baby reflux interfere with sleep? Simply put, babies with GERD are in fairly constant pain and discomfort. The stomach acid that comes up repeatedly after feedings can seriously irritate the lining of your baby’s throat, and cause a feeling of constant heartburn.

What’s more, laying your baby flat on her back to sleep (which is the safest way for babies to sleep, in order to reduce the risk of SIDS) tends to make the symptoms of reflux and GERD even worse. So really, the best and safest sleep position for your baby is also one of the worst positions for her acid reflux!

No wonder, then, that baby reflux and GERD causes disturbed sleep! Babies with reflux tend to have trouble sleeping through the night and taking long, restorative naps, since their discomfort makes it hard for them to stay asleep.

How To Help Your Infant With Reflux/GERD Sleep Better

Keep in mind that the majority of newborns and young babies have occasional bouts of reflux – some spitting up here and there, or a bit of tummy pain is very normal for newborns, as the sphincter muscles that keep stomach contents down aren’t well-developed. Most babies outgrow their reflux symptoms as they mature. However, babies with severe reflux, or GERD, may struggle with reflux symptoms for months on end, and be extremely uncomfortable after feedings.

If your baby is young (3 months old or younger), or if your baby’s reflux symptoms are fairly mild, there’s a lot you can do to alleviate the problem at home, without medication. Those steps include:

  • Keeping a log of your baby’s feeding times, as well as periods of discomfort. This will help you cross-reference when reflux symptoms appear in comparison with when baby ate last, and that may help you see patterns that you can address.
  • Holding or sitting your baby slightly upright after feedings, for 20 or 30 minutes. You don’t want to hold your baby completely upright, but rather, you want your baby to rest at a reclined angle (think 30 or 45 degrees) until the formula or breastmilk she just drank is digested. If you lay her down flat right after a feeding, there’s a good chance that much of that meal will come right back up.
  • Consider using a wedge under your baby’s crib mattress, to help elevate her upper body. We like this one, from Dex Baby. If your baby is wiggly, and prone to sliding down off the wedge, you can use a product like the Baby Stay Asleep to help position your baby on the wedge, and prevent her from wiggling off.
  • Comfort your baby often, but try to begin weaning away from sleep associations as your baby grows. It’s so natural to want to comfort a baby who’s in pain – and that’s what you should be doing! Especially in the first few months of your baby’s life, you can’t possibly spoil her, so do whatever you need to in order to help her feel calm and cared for. Yes, things like rocking your baby to sleep, or holding her while she sleeps, may become sleep associations you have to undo later, but in the newborn stage, we recommend that you do whatever you have to do in order to get sleep – and that goes for caring for your baby with reflux, too!

    However, as your baby gets older, and passes the 4 month sleep regression, it’s time to start gently weaning your baby away from any sleep associations, like rocking to sleep, or sleeping in the infant swing. Remember, the reflux will eventually resolve itself, but the habits your baby develops may stick around, so do your best to begin gently undoing them as your baby grows.

  • Sleep Training A Baby With Reflux or GERD

    It’s one thing to manage your baby’s reflux, but what about when you’re sleep training? Well, for starters, we strongly recommend that you see a healthcare provider and get your baby’s reflux under control before attempting to sleep train. Again, minor reflux usually resolves itself as your baby grows, but more GERD often requires medication.

    Once your baby’s reflux is being treated, you can sleep train with confidence. We usually recommend that when you are working on sleep training, you’ll want to move the last feeding of the night to an early point in the bedtime routine, since you’ll need to hold your baby semi-upright for 20 or 30 minutes before laying him down for bed. You’ll also need to do the same for middle-of-the-night feedings, too – just be careful that as you hold and rock your baby, you don’t rock him to sleep!

    You’ll also want to be realistic in your feeding expectations, if your baby has reflux. Remember, babies with reflux need to eat smaller, more frequent meals. So it may not be realistic for you to expect a 5 month old baby with reflux to sleep 10 straight hours through the night! Instead, plan for more frequent feedings – and plan to night wean a bit later than average, as well. We often find that babies with reflux continue needing night feedings longer.

    Personalized Sleep Help That Takes Your Baby’s Health Into Account

    Sleep coaching a baby with reflux can be truly tough…you have to walk the tightrope of helping your baby feel comfortable and alleviate her pain, while also working to avoid any negative sleep associations that will mess with your sleep coaching plans.

    So why not let us help? Our team of highly-trained, caring sleep consultants has worked with thousands of families like yours – they know exactly how to account for your baby’s reflux and GERD while still ensuring that you have Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will teach your baby positive sleeping habits and move your whole family towards sleeping through the night.
     
    Browse our list of consultation package options here.
     

    Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

    Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

    Has reflux or GERD affected your baby’s sleep? What about sleep training? How have you coped? We love your stories and tips – let’s hear ‘em!

     
    bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
     
     
     
    bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

     

    bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

     

    Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

QUICK TIP: Why Your Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib (And 3 Tips To Help)

 
Baby Won't Sleep In Crib

“Oh, sure, my baby sleeps – just not in the crib.”

Sound familiar? So many of our Baby Sleep Site® families tell us their babies sleep beautifully in moms arms, in the baby sling, in the stroller, in the carseat, in the swing…but NOT in the crib. And since crib sleep is what many parents are working towards, this can be quite a problem!

Why Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib

If you think about it, it makes sense, right? Your arms are so warm and snuggly (and they smell like you!) In the sling, baby is is pressed right up against you. And the car seat, stroller, and swing – they move, just like your baby did when she was in your womb. Simply put, babies prefer to be held snugly and gently rocked, because that’s exactly what they had for 9 months during your pregnancy.

But the crib? It’s flat, it’s stationary, and it’s decidedly un-snuggly (especially if you follow safe sleep guidelines, and don’t allow soft objects or loose blankets in the crib). No wonder, then, that baby would much prefer to sleep on you, or in a snuggly, moving contraption, like the swing.

3 Tips To Help Baby Sleep In The Crib

How can you gently encourage your baby to sleep in the crib? Try the following tips:

  1. Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! If you’re not already, try swaddling your baby for sleep. Swaddling can help baby feel more secure, since the swaddle sort of feels like moms arms, or like the coziness of the sling or baby swing. If your baby is too bit (or too old) to be swaddled tightly in a blanket, try a Zipadee-Zip – it offers more range of movement, and it zips closed (and is therefore super-secure – good for older babies), but it still provides the snuggly security that comes with swaddling
  2. Eliminate movement slowly. If your baby’s particular sleep association has to do with movement (rocking in your arms, or in the baby swing, for example), start by eliminating the movement. For example, if your baby will sleep only in the swing, continue putting your baby in the swing at sleep times, but gradually phase out the swinging. This sleep training technique is known as “fading”. Once your baby has learned to sleep without movement, you can switch to putting baby to sleep in the crib.
  3. Put baby to bed drowsy, but awake. Once you have gotten your baby used to sleeping without movement, and without being held in your arms or in the sling, it’s time to try putting your baby down in the crib drowsy, but awake. This is key – your baby needs to know she is falling asleep; this is an important step on the road to sleeping through the night. You can help your baby become drowsy, but then be sure she’s at least slightly awake when you put her down in the crib. You can gradually work towards baby being fully awake when she goes down for naps and at bedtime.

The beauty of these tips is that they are suitable for babies of any age. They’re so gentle, you can even use them to help a newborn sleep!

Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib? We Can Help!

Teaching your baby to sleep independently, in the crib, can be a monumental task. That’s why we offer personalized help from a team of highly-trained sleep consultants. When you connect with a consultant, she’ll create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family that will guide you through every step of teaching your baby to fall asleep independently (which is the first step on the road to sleeping through the night).

 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepNeed help encouraging your newborn to sleep better, and to sleep longer stretches at night and during the day? Check out Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, the latest e-Book from The Baby Sleep Site®. Essential Keys lays out everything you need to know about helping your baby to sleep better right from the start. It also includes information on feeding (both breast and bottle), baby communication, bonding with baby, daily routines, sample sleep schedules, and more.
 

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

QUICK TIP: Dream Feed Dos and Don’ts

 
Dream Feed Tips

In some cases, a dream feed can be a great way to “top off” your baby at night, before you go to bed, and guarantee yourself an extra-long stretch of sleep during the night. But in other cases, a dream feed is simply a sleep crutch that doesn’t actually improve sleep (and certainly doesn’t promote sleeping through the night) and tends to cause more problems than it solves.

But how can you know whether or not a dream feed is a good idea for your baby? We have dream feed dos and don’ts for you in today’s article – read on for details!

Dream Feed DOs

A dream feed can be a true blessing and a great tool when used in the following scenarios:

  • A dream feed an work well for babies who are younger than 6 months.
  • A dream feed is especially great for newborns (provided you don’t wake your newborn up too much during the feed!)
  • A dream feed can be good for breastfeeding moms who have supply problems and need to nurse more frequently, or for breastfeeding moms who also work outside the home.
  • A dream feed works well for babies who are able to wake up enough to feed, but not so much that they’re fully awake.

Dream Feed DON’TS

A dream feed isn’t a silver bullet solution to sleep problems, however. A dream feed usually won’t work well in the following situations:

  • A dream feed doesn’t usually work well for babies who are older than 9 months (because by this age, most babies don’t need any night feedings and are ready for night weaning).
  • A dream feed won’t work well for babies who are extra-alert and perceptive; you run the risk of waking them too much when you wake them for the dream feed.
  • A dream feed will do nothing to fix a persistent sleep association. If your baby consistently wakes shortly after the dream feed, it’s likely you have a sleep problem on your hands that involves more than simple hunger.

Will A Dream Feed Help Your Baby Sleep?

So, will a dream feed help your baby? That depends on a lot of unique factors, as I mentioned earlier, but here’s the main thing to remember: if your baby is breastfeeding, is not super-alert and responds well to being slightly roused at night, and is under 6 months old, then a dream feed may be worth trying, as a tool to improve sleep. But if your baby is over 6 months old, and if your baby usually wakes shortly after the dream feed, then it may be time to identify your baby’s sleep associations, and to start working on sleep training.

Baby Sleep Help From The Baby Sleep Site®

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

Does a dream feed help your baby sleep? Why or why not? Share your dream feed stories and questions with us!

Newborns Sleeping Through The Night? What About Breastfeeding?

 
Newborn Sleep Through The Night

Did you catch all the controversy a few weeks ago over the latest baby sleep book? The book in question is called The Newborn Sleep Book: A Simple, Proven Method For Training Your New Baby To Sleep Through The Night. The two authors who wrote it allege that by using their method (called “the Jassey Way”), you can start training your newborn baby to give up night feedings and sleep 8 hours or more each night, starting from about a week after birth. They boast an impressive 90% success rate among families who use their techniques.

That means 90% of families had newborn babies who were sleeping 8+ hours at night, and not waking to feed during nighttime hours.

To some people, that might sound awesome; to me, it sounds pretty scary.

Why The Jasseys’ Method Is Not Breastfeeding Friendly (Not Even A Little Bit)

The implications of this sleep training method are pretty unsettling – parents are supposed to start weaning their newborns from night feedings as early as three weeks after birth, and “distracting” their hungry newborns as a way to phase out middle-of-the-night feeds. Parents are also supposed to try and stretch all daytime feeds to four hours apart; the Jasseys allege that this “resets” a baby’s hunger receptors.

Riiiiiiight.

But aside from the awful mental picture of a parent “distracting” a very hungry newborn baby (makes me angry just thinking about it!), I was immediately struck by how anti-breastfeeding this is. Yes, we all want babies who sleep well, but not at the expense of breastfeeding and bonding. As many of us moms know, in order to breastfeed successfully, it is absolutely critical that you breastfeed often – like every 1-3 hours often! And feeding your baby on demand is crucial in the early days after birth. So how do those well-established breastfeeding best practices line up with the Jasseys’ method?

Here’s what I found, after reading the book: the Jasseys do instruct moms to nurse often in the first few weeks (3-4) after birth, in order to get their milk supply well-established. They go on to explain that after the first few weeks, you can begin spreading out and then dropping night feedings, and stretching daytime feedings to 4 hour intervals.

Sounds great, right? Except that it certainly won’t work this way for every family. Here’s the truth – according to Miriam (who is one of our sleep consultants and, remember, also a registered nurse and an IBCLC- certified lactation consultant), going 4 hours between feedings all day long, and then working towards reduced night feedings when baby is just 4 weeks old, will absolutely decrease breast milk supply for the majority of moms and babies, even if breastfeeding is well-established.

Here’s some math, to help illustrate:

Most breastfed newborns need 20-30 oz of breast milk per day (25-35 oz for 4+ months). If your baby is supposed to eat every 4 hours, day and night, that leaves room for six feedings in a 24-hour period. Except, according to The Jassey Way, you are also striving for 8+ hours at night without feeding, so that means fewer than six feedings. In order to consume 25 oz in, say, five feedings, that means a newborn would need to eat 5 oz of breast milk at each feeding, and that mom would need to be able to produce and store this much or more in her breasts between feedings.

But this “perfect” scenario is far from standard. Truth is, breast milk production and storage capacity varies GREATLY from mom to mom. Plenty of moms produce less than 5 total ounces within the space of a few hours – some moms produce more like 1-3 ounces between feedings. Moms with lower milk storage capacities simply have to nurse more frequently, in order to keep supply up, and in order to ensure that their babies are getting enough breast milk each day.

What’s more, while 4-5 ounces per feeding may be an average number, there are babies who consume more like 2 or 3 ounces per feeding, because that’s what their appetites (and tummy size) can handle. Babies with reflux, for example, have to eat small, frequent meals. There is simply no way to force a baby who’s a light eater, or who has reflux, to take in more breast milk at each feeding (my own son never took more than 4 oz, even when he was 9+ months old!).

Now, put those two together – a mom who produces less than 5 ounces, and a baby who consumes less than 5 ounces – and add in the forced 4-hour feeding intervals and early night weaning , and what do you get?

Most likely, you get a mom whose milk supply slowly begins to fail. What’s worse, she probably won’t have a sleeping baby to show for it, either!

While newborns can have ONE 4 or 5-hour stretch in a 24-hour period between feedings, that’s about all that most newborns and their moms can handle – ONE. Multiple long stretches, combined with dropped night feedings, will damage breast milk supply in the first few months after birth, for most moms.

What About Formula-Fed Babies? Will The Jassey Way Work For Babies Who Are Exclusively Formula-Fed?

But what about families who choose to formula-feed? It’s possible that many formula-fed babies may do well with the Jasseys’ approach. Formula-fed babies typically can go longer between feeds, even from a very young age, than can breastfed babies. What’s more, formula-fed babies tend to drop their night feedings faster than breastfed babies – in my experience, many 6-month old babies who are exclusively formula-fed can to go 8 hours or more without feeding. This is simply due to the fact that formula is harder for baby’s tummy to digest, and so it tends to stay in baby’s system longer, making baby feel fuller for longer periods of time. (Side note: this does NOT mean that feeding your baby formula will solve his sleep problems. To solve persistent sleep problems, you need to look at all the reasons a baby may wake, not just hunger).

But What About the Jasseys’ 90% Success Rate?

So, how do we reconcile the fact that the Jassey Way is not breastfeeding friendly at all with the fact that the doctors boast a 90% success rate?

First – I am convinced that many of the Jasseys’ patients, who tried and stuck to this sleep coaching method, did not exclusively breastfeed (or, at least, they didn’t exclusively breastfeed for long). I very much doubt that parents who were committed to exclusively breastfeeding lasted very long with this approach. Alternatively, I’ve had a lot of clients tell me straight-up that they simply ignored their doctor’s advice when it came to sleep training.

Second – I’m also convinced that this method no doubt DOES work, in the sense that it teaches newborns how to sleep through the night from a very early age. However, I don’t see that as a victory. It’s true that you can teach a baby to change their natural eating habits, and to sleep for long stretches at a very early age, but just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. The truth is, human beings are incredibly adaptable; you can teach them to do all kinds of things, and humans can adapt and survive in a variety of conditions and situations. So it’s certainly true that newborns can adapt to this method of eating and sleeping. But surviving is not the same as thriving. What’s more, your primary goal during the newborn stage should NOT be 8 consecutive hours of night sleep, and long stretches between daytime feeding – it should be to care for your newborn in the best and safest way possible. Teaching a baby to sleep through the night has its place, but that just isn’t a realistic goal for a newborn. (And if you know me, you know that I am all about small, realistic goals for improving baby sleep!)

The Jasseys’ Approach DOES NOT Represent Sleep Training In General

I want to end with this: remember that the new Jassey sleep coaching book in no way represents sleep training in general. I’ve seen countless negative responses to the Jasseys’ book, but so many of those responses dismiss and criticize sleep training as a whole, as if what the Jasseys propose in the book IS sleep training.

This is simply not true. What’s true is that sleep training is a spectrum – on the one side, you have harsher methods, like cry-it-out, Babywise, and what the Jasseys outline in their new book. On the other hand, you have very gentle methods, like the Pick-Up-Put-Down method, or the Fading method. And, of course, there’s lots and lots in between. If you view sleep more like a journey, with the start being on fully dependent on you and the destination being fully independent, that journey can be weeks, months, or years long. YOU set the pace based on your present goals! We work with families who want to continue co-sleeping as well as families who want their toddler in a big boy bed. The range is vast and “success” is personal.

What I hope you’ll take away from this article is that while the Jassey approach should, in my opinion, be avoided (ESPECIALLY if you want to exclusively breastfeed – RUN from this method, in that case!!), sleep training itself is not bad. In fact, it’s a lifesaver for many families (our parent stories prove that!). But it has to be done carefully and safely, at the right time, with appropriate and healthy goals that are respectful of baby’s development, and using methods that align with your parenting philosophy. After reading the Jasseys’ new book, I don’t believe it fits that description. My team’s approach to sleep training, however, does.

Your turn – have you heard much about this new baby sleep book? What are your thoughts? We want to hear your opinions on this!

 
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Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

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