Infant Routines at Our Home – Part 1

Addie asked: I was wondering where you fall on the baby wise-demand feeding continuum. What is your secret to finding a routine, but still following your intuition to hold them when they are upset? How do you care for your home, your children, and your health?

There are two different camps when it comes to infant routines and the basics of parenting, and both have led to confusion, frustration, and contention among friends and family. Some have defined the attachment approach to be the truly biblical manner of parenting because it demonstrates God’s love for his children with the practices of demand feeding, co-sleeping, infant wearing, etc. While others have said that adopting a schedule (the baby wise, scheduled feedings, cry-it out camp) is important to training your children to understand authority in their lives and good routine helps them thrive and grow while helping to establish that the child is not the center of the world. I don’t believe it is right to say one way is right and the other way is wrong…or that one way is more biblical than the other. This is certainly a liberty issue and we have freedom in Christ to determine the best pattern for our family structures. I am here today to share where the Lord has led us…a balance between the two

I have one wonderful mother who falls on the scheduling side, and one wonderful mother-in-law who falls on the attachment parenting/co-sleeping side, so both my husband and I have experienced being raised by these two different camps. And you know what? There honestly is no difference between us in our levels of security, strength of relationship with our parents, or any thing else. We both grew up fully secure in our parent’s love and both family’s were happy with the routines they adopted. Although I was taught to cry it out in learning how to go to sleep, I did not feel in any way deprived from my parent’s love and affection (in fact, I am extremely blessed with a close relationship with my parents).

I say this because I want to assure every new mother out there that there is complete grace for your situation to adopt what you feel led to practice. Don’t feel guilty if you chose a more flexible on demand approach. Don’t feel guilty if you throw in the towel on co-sleeping because its stressing your marriage, as there are plenty of more opportunities to invest in your child’s well-being, physiological development, and bonding then just sleeping together with them. Adopting either of these practices will not make you a better parent. And you need not feel like a failure if either/or does not work for your family.

I love many of the ideas of attachment parenting. I love the vision of bonding with baby by being closely knitted to them through breastfeeding. I adore wearing my baby on me throughout the day with baby wraps and carriers, and cuddling up with their sweet little heads close to my heart. But I don’t practice co-sleeping, and I don’t practice demand feeding 100% of the time.

I also love many of the ideas of Baby Wise and scheduling (my mom gave me a copy of My First 300 Babies which also helped encourage a scheduled feeding/sleeping approach). I love a good simple routine. I love knowing approximately when baby will sleep and when he/she will be awake. I love having a simple plan for our feedings, so that the other responsibilities in life would fall into place. This mommy believes in the importance of sleep so she can care for her family and household to the best of her abilities. My babies are joyful and happy when they have good regular nap and bed times.

But, I don’t believe these practices are more biblical or look down on anyone who chooses another option. We are called to strive for the unity of the body, to love one another, to support and encourage each other.

So what have we chosen to do? First off, we have chosen not to practice co-sleeping.

We function on these principles…

Our marriage is our first priority.

Above all, we want to preserve the marriage bed as a sacred place for my husband and I. We want our children to understand that our marriage is a priority. When children become center stage, it is too easy for a marriage to lack growth because no time is spent together. We believe our children need to understand that there are boundaries. We need privacy to build our marriage in our communication and sexual interaction. The last thing we need is the fear of waking a child.

“Children are not more important than God – or our husbands. For their own well-being and the well-being of your marriage, children must understand that they come after your spouse. They need to know they fit into a secure place within an established set of relationships.” -Jean Fleming

Sleep is a priority for my health and emotional/physical well-being.

I have experienced the harm of being sleep-deprived for extended periods of time when I battled insomnia for 1 1/2 years. In order to be a wife and mother that is alive and well and can effectively manage the responsibilities under my care, I need to strive to get a reasonable amount of sleep each night. Yes, it may be interrupted by little ones, but with a routine and separate bed situation, they are able to start sleeping through the night far earlier. I have also found that they sleep longer and more contentedly in their own sleeping environment. Our little ones have learned to sleep through the night naturally at 6-7 weeks in their own beds, which I am extremely thankful for.

Ultimately, in making the decision whether or not to co-sleep, please make sure you prayerfully discuss it with your husband to make sure you are on the same page. The last thing you would want to do is cause a divide in your marriage because he thinks otherwise. Remember to honor your husbands for the well being of your family.

Where Do Our Babies Sleep?

So, for about the first few week or so, baby will be snuggled in with us in bed as Mommy recovers, but will transition to a moses style bassinet by 2 weeks. We then have the baby nearby in our room with until they around about 2-3 months old (and normally sleeping through the night by this point). Then our babies sleep in our closet until they grow out of the bassinet and are consistently sleeping through the night (around 10 months to 1 year).  This way we have a bit more privacy, but I can easily hear if the baby awakes and needs assistance. By 1 year old, we transition them to a crib and place them together in the same room with our other children.

More to come…

COMMENT POLICY: As this can be a controversial subject, please keep your comments considerate. We do not desire any argument or debate here. We are simply seeking to help those readers who have asked.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

136 Responses to Infant Routines at Our Home – Part 1

  1. Termite inspection August 16, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks so much for an informative blog. I’ve been searching for this kind of information for a long time now.

  2. Addie May 11, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Thank you. We tried scheduling our first son, and it never worked with him. When we decided to feed or second on demand, he fell into a schedule quite naturally. We expected to be caring for our third newborn at this point, but she was still born full term at the end of January, so in the midst of our grieving, at the exhortation of godly friends, are trying to “make the most” of this time without an infant to get a better grasp on parenting and homemaking routines. I really appreciate your insight on this. I find so much encouragement and support in your writing.

  3. Raia April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    You’re right that this is a contentious issue amoungs parents. I disagree that co-sleeping necessariy interferes with intamacy. The fear of waking a sleeping baby is there no matter if the baby is in the same room or not.

    My 18-month old daughter has sleep mostly in our bed since birth. Around 9 months we started moving her into her crib once she was asleep and then, when she wakes up to nurse, she comes in bed with us for the rest of the night. We have become more creative about finding time for “mommy and daddy alone time” but really, anyone with kids does : ).

    Sleep is also very important to me to function at my job outside the home and inside. We chose to co-sleep in part because it gave me the chance for more sleep, not less. My daughter sleeps longer and better when she is near us. In fact there are studies that show nursing, co-sleeping mothers actually get more and better sleep than those with babies who sleep in another room. (see for more info).

    As a working-outside-the-home mom, I find schedules for my daugher very difficult to maintain, as she is in a different environment during the week vs the weekend. She’s with a sitter 3 days a week, daycare 2 days a week and with me/ my husband 2 days a week. In all situations she falls asleep differently, stays asleep for different periods of time and sleeps at different times of day. Perhaps if I was her sole caregiver I could maintain a schedule like you mention, but it won’t work for us if I work : ).

    I agree that each family needs to find what works for best for it to function.

  4. Lee Ann April 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I personally believe each child is different. With my first I did not breast feed partly because of health issues, mostly mine and some of his. I co-slept in some way with all three of them. The first in the same bed the other two in the same room in a bassinet. All three of my children slept through the night around one month old. The first time it happened I jumped out of bed and grabbed him thinking something was wrong. My daughter pretty much put herself on a schedule, and has been that way for the past 12 years(personality wise). She woke at 6 am changed, feed, bath, dressed, played, fed, nap by 8:30-9.00 am. Up at 11 am change, feed, play/outings, feed, afternoon nap by 2-2:30. Up by 4 change, feed, family time feed bed by 8 pm. She dictated this schedule, at first she woke around 11pm and 3am for another feeding and change, but as she grew older she missed the 3am feedings. My two boys were far different than that! Feedings at random sleeping when ever. You have to learn how to roll with the punches. No one way is right for everyone. Trust yourself. Mothers, in my opinion, know in their heart what is best for their children. The oldest one had health problems and I had to figure out what was best for us all. Sleeping in our bed was the right thing for us. It allowed for taking care of his issues and getting rest for all involved. He is now almost 18 and a well adjusted young man.

  5. Kristen in NH April 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I had 3 children in 4 years. One of my top priorities as a stay-at-home mom was to get everybody to nap at the same time. To aid the process I played the same CD* evey afternoon at nap time (gentle instrumental). I wasn’t strict with the exact time, but tried to plan any outings or naps so the children would wake by 3:00, that way not up too late at night.

    They layed down to rest /nap every afternoon until 6 years old. Little ones slept, “big” kids could look at books on their bed for an hour then quietly get up (when the CD was over) if they wanted to. Sounds simple, but the routine worked- all in the same room. I could rest (pregnant or tired), work with homeschooling needing full concentration, return calls or power clean. Our home was very peaceful, not just becuse of naps but because well rested children are a joy to be around.

    Now they’re teenagers. We joke that the CD still makes them sleepy…although now pumped through an iPod and earphones occasionally :-) Young Moms—stick to it—napping is an investment that pays ever mamber of the family profound returns. (*Winter Solstice by Windham Artists)

  6. Emily March 29, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    I just wanted to point out that you do co-sleep, Lindsay. ;) According to James McKenna, the leading researcher on Mother-Infant sleep, room sharing is a form of co-sleeping. Bed-sharing is what most people think of when someone says co-sleeping.

    I agree you need to find what works for you.

    For those interested in co-sleeping (and you may be surprised about the benfits when you don’t even share a bed) google James McKenna mother infant sleep. :) AMazing research!

    Plus, for those that bed share, great science about how to do it safely and the benefits.

    God Bless!

    • Jen Salowitz January 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

      As an API leader, I appreciate your mention of Dr. McKenna’s research! I love to see other people encouraged to read his incredible work!

  7. BeccaM March 27, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    I agree with just about everything you said! We did about the same with our first (and so far only)… co-slept in bed part or all of the night the first few weeks, then began gradually shifting to more and more of the night in the side car bassinet. At 5 months, I moved him to a crib at the side of the bed, and then he moved to his own room (across the hall) at 10 1/2 months. We didn’t do crying before naps really before 8 – 9 months, and then only when he was really tired and I KNEW he needed to go down. We just took things gradually and tried to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit would have us do, and I had to learn to stop being so anxious and fretting about every detail! They have rough days, teething or developmental phases, etc, but babies eventually sleep better than they did the first few months. It’s just a matter of time, patience and gently setting the ground rules for healthy sleep patterns.

  8. Catherine March 27, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    You know, I hear of all these women whose cycles didn’t or don’t return for months after thier baby is born….. I was not one of those women lol. With both of my babies I had the normal after birth bleeding for about 2 1/2 weeks and then stopped and got my normal cycle 27 days late. Even though I exclussively breast fed both … ds for nine months and dd for eighteen months …. I was always regular and never missed or was late. I have always secretly envied those women who are cycle free for months ;)

  9. Natalie March 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Re: fertility & breastfeeding…

    “Exclusive breastfeeding (by itself) is 98-99.5% effective in preventing pregnancy as long as all of the following conditions are met:
    01. Your baby is less than six months old
    02. Your menstrual periods have not yet returned
    03. Baby is breastfeeding on cue (both day & night), and gets nothing but breastmilk or only token amounts of other foods.”

    ” If you practice ecological breastfeeding:
    Chance of pregnancy is practically zero during the first three months, less than 2% between 3 and 6 months, and about 6% after 6 months (assuming mom’s menstrual periods have not yet returned).

    The average time for the return of menstrual periods is 14.6 months.”

    Ecological breastfeeding defined: “keeping baby close, breastfeeding on cue (day and night), using breastfeeding to comfort your baby, breastfeeding in a lying-down position for naps and at night, using no bottles or pacifiers.”

    While I am not seeking to make anyone feel that they must do ecological nursing, if you are not practicing any method of child spacing, like us, it may be wise to understand the consequences of differing methods.

  10. Christie March 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    I’m writing this with a gentle spirit … sleeping through the night doesn’t necessarily mean the parent’s methods mean *anything!*

    We’ve tried many things with our four children, and honestly our babies don’t sleep through the night unless they are at least one year old, and even then, two of ours didn’t sleep through the night until they weaned at around 18 months.

    I’m only saying this to reduce guilty feelings in moms who think maybe another method might be the key to sleeping. It might, but it might not, and if it doesn’t work, moms don’t need to feel that they’ve been doing something wrong.

  11. Ariana March 25, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Great post thank you! My first baby was raised on the schedule/crib method while my second baby was raised with the attachment parenting/co-sleeping approach. Both little boys are different today. However, I’d say the parenting method chosen was a result of their personalities – rather than say their personalities are a result of the parenting method chosen. Although I will say that it wasn’t until I caved and tried the cry-it-out-method with my second that I was finally able to sleep through the night at 15 months!! Now that we have a newborn in the house, I struggle with the decision – which one is best? I think I’m with you – the answer lies somewhere in between. Thank you for this post – this is very helpful as I figure out what is best for our new baby!

  12. Mrs. M March 25, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    You promote natural living… co sleeping promotes night nursing. Night nursing is known to keep ovulation/cycles away. This is a very natural way to space and prevent pregnancy. Just a thought, not a criticism.

    • Lindsay March 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      This is certainly a generalization though. I have only one friend who has practiced demand feeding that actually did not have cycles between children and were spaced nicely. I personally have nursed my babies as needed, including night nursing when they wake up, and my cycles have always started around 4 months. A lot of people say this is the natural way to go and yes, it may work for some…but certainly not all.

      • Mrs. M March 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

        I can’t imagine that I’m much different then others or maybe I am..LOL! With all 6 of my children, my cycles did not return until night nursing was cut out or they were completely weaned. The longest I have gone without a period is just over 2 years…after we cut out night nursing. She was eating 3 meals a day, had snacks and didn’t nurse much during the day usually just to take a nap. Even with my oldest (he’s 18 now) who I didn’t EBF, my cycles did not return until he completely weaned from BF at 7 months.

      • BeccaM March 27, 2012 at 6:11 am #

        Same here… I demand fed, sometimes every 45 – 1 hr during the day and several times at night (and co slept earlier the first month) and my cycle started up at 3 1/2 months PP. Everyone is different.

        • erin a. March 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

          Exactly the same for me. Cycle return at 3 1/2 month. nursing on demand.
          We lost our first baby at birth, so I obviously wasn’t nursing after that. My cycle returned at 3 1/2 months. I was fertile at 6 months, exactly the same as when I was nursing exclusively & on demand post the birth of my other 4 children.

  13. Grace March 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    I’m surprised that you expect your babies to sleep through the night so early while you are nursing. I too have struggled with low milk supply and have found it important to nurse during the night to help establish/maintain a good milk supply.

  14. anne March 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I think you approached this topic in such a kind, thoughtful and Christ-like way – I really appreciate that!! Excellent job : )

    Personally, we tend towards routine/sleep than feed on demand/no crying etc. However I am now a breastfeeding peer counselor and know it is VERY important for breastfeeding moms to understand growth spurts and cluster feeding. Your body needs that extra stimulation to keep up with the baby’s growth – it is not spoiling them to respond by putting them to the breast every time!! I realize with my first baby I thought I needed to make her stretch to “3 hours” and in hindsight realize she was not getting enough. Not responding to your baby at these times could compromise their health/growth. ALSO I recently attended a perinatal conference that focused on the invaluable benefits of a baby remaining close to it’s mother in the first weeks. Dr. Nils Bergman – it was fascinating.

  15. April March 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    I very much enjoy your blog. I’ve always been glad you had NOT mentioned this issue much. I prefer not to share blogs with friends when I believe sleeping advice will cause moms to have a low milk supply. The first six weeks are crucial to establishing a good supply, and schedule feeding at that early age does much to weaken supply even if it appears supply is fine AT THAT MOMENT. Long-term supply is established in the first six weeks.

    I do not oppose flexible routines after 12 weeks but I think they need to be VERY, VERY flexible depending on mom’s milk capacity and the baby’s ability to nurse effectively.

    Babies who have reflux need to eat smaller, more frequent meals. BW would be a nightmare for such a baby. Perhaps that’s what bothers me so much about the tone in BW….it does not seem to mention that individual mom/baby combos have individual needs.

    Since you did not maintain a full supply with your first two children, I wonder how much was due to your choice of encouraging sleep over night nursing…….I’m glad you seem more flexible as you add children to your family.

    • anne March 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      I totally agree – I wish I knew all of this with both my babies!! I thought they were supposed to “last longer” before feedings – had no idea how milk supply worked.

    • Christie March 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

      “Milk capacity” — great term. I do wonder if some moms have more capacity, thus more milk for baby to take in one nursing session.

  16. Sarah March 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this. I feel like a failure when I try to adhere to either school of thought. We are somewhere in between the two as well. We have a loose schedule, but rarely is it the same 2 days in a row. We follow the eat-play-sleep routine of babywise. No co-sleeping, but no crying it out either. Some baby wearing which sometimes results in a nap on me. I tend to over-stress about things, and this post gave me some reassurance that I really don’t need to!

  17. TheCrunchyGemini March 22, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    lol we kind of ended up doing the opposite of this.. we coslept a bit the first week just because it felt natural to have her fall asleep on my chest at night.. but then LO was in a bassinet right next to me up until the 4 month mark.. the past few weeks though we have started co-sleeping as she was waking up EVERY SINGLE HOUR and I just couldn’t do it anymore. Now we both sleep better. Luckily my husband does not mind. Everyone has to find what works for them though! :)

    • TheCrunchyGemini March 22, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      I also just CANNOT do a schedule or even a routine or a bedtime lol
      2 days a week she’s with grandma while I work
      3 days a week I’m working at home with her
      2 days a week are weekends and daddy is home
      I couldn’t find a schedule that would work with all of that variety even if I wanted to – and I don’t – which is funny because I’m typically a very control-freak type person but when it comes to her I just chill.

      I do have an app that you log feeding times, etc. and when it’s been at least 1.5 hours of awake time and she’s fussy I swaddle her up and lay her next to me on the couch or bed so she can nap. She’s a very happy & easygoing baby and can fall asleep anywhere and through any loud noises.

      Sometimes I wish I had the typical “put baby to bed at 7pm and they sleep through the night to 7am” life but for the most part I would never actually want that. And sometimes I’M not even home until 7pm let alone my husband. My favorite time of day is the evening with the 3 of us hanging out on the couch watching TV and eating dinner together. She is with us all the time. :)

      It’s all about finding what fits best into your life & family.

      • Sarah March 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

        Haha. This sounds like our week exactly!

  18. Sandy March 22, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I really enjoyed this post! So nice to hear a common sense view point about this for a change! I am so sick of people criticising one another, or stickly so rigidly to one plan or lifestyle that it leaves no room for creativity or alteration. I don’t go by any one method personally, I just do whatever my baby seems to enjoy that my husband and I can work with. So far its working great, and I am finding motherhood to be a real joy. :)

  19. Kjersti March 22, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Thank you so much for refering to both methods as good! In one of my mom facebook groups recently, there was a debate about whether or not you should do one or the other. And it left both parties feeling judged and wondering if they were doing something wrong.
    I am a firm believer that when it comes to babies, you have to go with your gut, what you are comfortable with and what works for you, your family, and your babies.
    I personally love the idea of cosleeping and baby wearing. But, I CANNOT sleep with a baby next to me. I have a hard enough time with them just in the room. I have been blessed with very good mommy ears. ;)
    I also thrive on a routine. Not a schedule… but just having a routine helps my day go SO much better. I still nurse when she’s hungry and lay her down when she’s tired, but just knowing when to expect those things helps me better plan my day. Which means I am calmer and a better mommy and wife. : )

    • lauren March 23, 2012 at 12:51 am #

      I think I wrote your post Kjersti. :o ) I love the idea of co-sleeping as well in many ways, but I can not sleep with a baby in my room either. I have tried so many times. Also- the routine helps with unnecessary but common anxiety/tension about the tasks of the day ahead. I think having an idea of what to expect. Also– I tell my friends so often to listen to your mommy instincts…its huge. We were created as moms for a reason–and our wisdom from God must be accessed frequently. It’s so easy to get insecure with what we really feel like we need to do with OUR family, when we are seeing what other ppl are doing with theres. Why do we look to the left or the right?? Walk on with our path—learn from others—but enjoy where we are and what God has showed us!!
      We just recently welcomed our son home through adoption (our 3rd child) and I am revisiting all these things AGAIN. You’d think i’d have it down the third time around. But….I dont!! My husband and I are just in open talks about it, and being willing to adapt to the situations at hand. It really is a neat place to be. One of the biggest things to me is to enjoy iour sweet boy—and that is a challenge for every parent that we MUST stay fixed on. This time is so precious and so short. It is such a gift and I dont want my stress to block out all my joy! Do what is best for your baby in the context of your family unit…and don’t over think everything!! :o )

  20. Adica March 22, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    I really like that you listed the priorities that help guide you in your parenting, such as the need to preserve your marriage and need for sleep and privacy, etc. This is an important thing that is often overlooked in parenting guides. I always worry about the parents who live as though their children are the center of their world to the point that they ignore every other personal and relationship need in lieu of their children’s wants and desires. That is not healthy for the parents or the marriage. Children, most of all, need fully functioning parents who are secure in their own personal and marital health.

  21. Sharon March 22, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    I’m not usually one to comment on blogs, but I wanted to thank you for this post. I have a five week old, and while he is not my first, he is my first by birth and I’ve struggled between the two camps as we are working through learning to breastfeed and sleep. This was so freeing to read. Thanks!

  22. Lori March 22, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    I am in almost complete agreement with your view on this. I am always so saddened when moms in each camp get angry about at the opposing views.
    I have a question for you. My LO is almost 6 months old and he still sleeps in our room. I have his crib set up in there because he moves too much to be in a bassinet. I really don’t like this arrangement. My older son is 2.5 and has his own room. So my question is how do you transition your babies to sleeping together? I know you said around a year so I have a little while to go I suppose. I was just wondering what has worked for you.

    • Bridie March 22, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      I’m not Lindsay but in my experience the answers to the following questions would help determine how I went about putting my children in together:
      How well does your baby sleep? Through the night or still up alot?
      What about your 2.5yo? Is he a light sleeper whos liable to be up every time the baby is up?
      I suspect Lindsay waits til a year old because baby would then be consistently sleeping to the same pattern as the older child/ren. That definitely makes it easier but its doable even with a disturbed LO if your older child is a heavy sleeper. Our 2 oldest went in together within 6 months which was abit of an experiment as our second baby was extremely high-maintenance, cried alot and was very disturbed at night. They’ve ended up sharing for over 18 months very successfully, though alot of that had to do with our oldest being a really great sleeper and very low-maintenance.
      We decided not to stagger their bedtime so we had them in bed at the same time which worked well for us but you can try putting them to bed half an hour apart from each other with whoever goes to sleep faster and is less likely to wake up with disturbance going down first.
      We kept a lamp with an extremely dim setting in the room with a nursing chair so that I could have abit of light when I needed to settle/feed baby without it being too bright.
      As with all other parenting decisions, its a case of working out what specifically is going to work for you and your children. If it doesn’t work out right now then you can always put baby back in your room and try again later ;)

  23. Jen March 22, 2012 at 4:26 am #

    I started out with attachment parenting with my first, and discovered babywise by my third, (I have 4 now). I have found in my experience that what works best for the parents is best for all, keeping into consideration each child’s differences. For us it is a combination of both, and may change from time to time. Appreciate your blog!

  24. stacy March 22, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. Appreciate the non judgment.
    Very happy to read your little one is sleeping in your closet. Ours is too (five months) it seemed like the best solution. Although we are planning to move him into little sisters room soon.

  25. Amber-Lee March 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Alisha, I thought I would let you get a kick out of this: I had a client whose first two children were NINE MONTHS AND TWO WEEKS apart. When I learned this, my response to her was “That is so unhygienic!” She had the first one unplanned, but wanted all her children to be close in age. This child( she was 16) knew more about timing and the ovulation cycle than any married, quiverfull woman I’ve ever met!

  26. Krista March 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    I think you did a great job with this post. I know that some people don’t agree with your principles on co-sleeping, but they are YOUR principles, so it really shouldn’t matter. If co-sleeping doesn’t help you grow in intimacy with your husband then you are making the right decision for your family. I am the same way. Sharing a bed with my children would be a disaster. It just doesn’t work that way for us because of our own personalities, their personalities, and the desires we have for how our family structure works. I don’t care if everyone else was co-sleeping, I still wouldn’t do it unless it was a necessity. We lived in a small apartment and our baby slept in our kitchen for her first year of life because I could not sleep with her in the room with me and she would constantly wake if she was in our room as well. I am glad that you are willing to share what you do and I think you should feel no condemnation or guilt for doing so. Thanks for your continued transparency and excellent resources on this blog!

    • lyss March 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      A baby sleeping in a closet or a kitchen sounds so funny, but we’ve been there, too! :) Closets were not big enough, but in our 1 bedroom apartment, one child’s crib was in the living room, and the other was in the kitchen! Praise the Lord for portable travel cribs! Not ideal, but we did what we had to do. I am a light sleeper, and our kids are not good sleepers, so separating everyone was a necessity for us at the time.

      Our kids now share a bedroom, but still don’t sleep well at ages 2 1/2 and 4. Sigh. I’m really thinking the lack of routine and late nights are causing them to cry alot at night. Anyone else with poor sleeping toddlers have any advice?

  27. Carrie March 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I think that something was left out, that really all things are up in the air until you find out what kind of baby you have! I am not a babywise fan but I also feel like it is great if it matches your personality. I did wear my first a lot vut I never coslept and she was in her own room by 4 months, we did cry it out around 8 months. She had sleep issues, only sleeping 6 hours total and that was not all at once. Cry it out worked for her and our family. My youngest is different. She arrived screaming at the top of her lungs and did not stop until she was 8 months. She slept for only 20 min at a time until she was 3 months old and after that I never got more then 2 hours at a time. We have recently found out that her reflux that we started treating at 4 months is very severe and she is 15 months. I regret depriving her of medicine until she was 4 months. The medicine was never a magic cure, she still screamed. I had so many plans about trying to schedule her a bit so that I could spend more time with my oldest. It did not happen. I was so crazy from the constant screaming that I honestly contemplated returning to work early ( I am blessed to be able to take a year off from my teaching job). The only thng that stopped the screaming were trips to local gardens that we belonged to, she loved the fresh air. I admit that I abused that and we went out when it was far too cold but she stopped screaming and I was able to spend quiet time with my oldest. I have since gone back to work ( am likely able to stay home permanently in June) and she is thriving in our church daycare but she is still high maintenance at home. I said that I would make sure she slept through the night by the time I went back to work. I have been back 4 months and despite many tries at cry it out, massage, wearing her down, feeding her extra at night….. she has only slept through the night 1 x. Really she told us what needed to happen. She does not rule our house but her personality did not fit with what I had planned. We will see where she takes us now.

    • Mili April 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      Just an encouragement for you Carrie. I think my firstborn daughter may have a similar personality as your child without the reflux issues. She is 3 now and sleeping much better. We have always coslept and we are slowly getting her used to sleeping on her own. Books by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka related to the spirited child have been helpful. We have tried tons of things to get her to sleep and almost nothing works consistently. We have made slow steady gains following whatever works for us at the time and ensuring that she feels safe and comfortable falling asleep.Slowly, we have made great progress from when we started. She now sleeps through the night and also takes one nap a day almost daily which is a new thing:) Friends who loved us and did not judge our methods were our lifesavers.

  28. Marci March 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Further to that comment – I do agree with you that both rest and intimacy with our husbands is important. I don’t think cosleeping inhibits intimacy for all couples, but I think you’re right that – if it does – we need to be sensative to both our husbands and our own needs for intimacy and rest and use room arrangements or sleep training methods that will ensure that we nurture that God-given sexual, intimate side he wants us to enjoy!

  29. Marci March 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I would like to point out that, while Babywise works for some parents, it is very important to ensure that it is the very best fit for you baby, both for his or her developmental stage and otherwise. I was very concerned to learn of Christian doctors who have noticed an increase in “failure to thrive” amonst some stauch babywise parents. So this is not just something that is being noticed amongst secular doctors, which means that the backlash against it is not just ‘anti Christian sentiment.’

    I have some friends who do babywise, but they do it with a good dose of common sense, so it works quite well for your families. But after hearing some Christian doctors reveal that babywise precipitated problems for their patients, I started reading on the internet, and came accross this link, amongst others:

    So overall, I would just encourage any new mommy planning to use a sleep training method to ensure that she does it in a way that is not going to result in her child having “failure to thrive.” I think its the new, young mother who may be most likely to follow this book to the “T”, and unfortunately, there is misinformation in this book, which is pointed out in this article. I did read the Babywise book, and this article doesn’t misrepresent it.

    I think any sleep training method can work, but I think it’s important that moms ensure that they implement any sleep training tools in a way that is unlikely to cause dehydration or failure to thrive.

    Be Blessed

  30. Julie March 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    I, too am like Jenny in tryin to raise awareness that it is possible to have a “sacred marriage” without a physical space of a bed. We are in the co-sleeping camp because I need my sleep to function the next day. As a breast feeding momma, reaching across the bed to pull a baby to me to feed reduces the amount of time I need to bed awake each night. Yet my my marriage thrives because my children see my marriage as a priority in other ways, like choosing to spend time with my hubby instead of friends when he is available, not allowing them to interrupt (except emeregencies) our “debriefing” time when my husband first comes home, asking his opinion on matters before others ect. “Sacred marriage” is the relationship for us, not a selected physical space.

    Finally to those who fear safety of co-sleeping, please do your research and just exactly who FUNDS the research. Years ago the scarey “research” came out about the “extreme danger” of co-sleeping that was funded by a crib manufactor…. Hmmm Counties where co-sleeping is common have fewer cases of infant deaths. Baby die in cribs all the time here yet we continue to use them. Yes some precautions need to be taken as mentioned but co-sleeping/bed sharing is perfectly safe. No-no’s=alcohol, certain medicines, fluffy bedding .. These are the biggies. Good luck with your mommy decision.

  31. Jennifer March 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Thank you so much for your balanced and thoughtful post on this touchy subject! I think it is so important for new moms to find what works best for them, and not to receive any condemnation. I wanted to use the Babywise approach and do scheduling, because that is what so many of the experienced moms at my church used (as well as my own mom).

    As it turned out, my son did not adapt well to a schedule at all. He was so fussy and kept me up all night. He started sleeping in bed with my husband and I, and slept very peacefully, except for short nursing breaks throughout the night. Then, I decided to start feeding on demand, and suddenly I had a happy baby!

    I struggled with a lot of guilt for allowing my child to determine the schedule, and fear that he would stay in our bed forever (yikes!)

    But God was so gracious. My son worked out his own nursing routine after a few months, and was happy and content in between nursing sessions. And when he was about 6 months old, he transitioned to sleeping in his own crib, and he sleeps through the night wonderfully : )

    I want all new (and soon-to-be) moms to know that there is no one right way to raise a child. The important things are to obey God’s laws and do everything in agreement with your husband. Thanks again for this great article Lindsay!

  32. Christie March 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks Lindsey for this post. I am due any day now with #4 and it has been 7 1/2 yrs. since my last. Your discussion of the two types and the middle ground really help me put this in perspective. I used the original Arm’s Reach Co Sleeper with my first 3 children which connects right to the parent’s bed. I recently purchased a new one and saw that they have two kinds a mini and original version. This arrangement worked great for us in the past especially with breast feeding. I transitioned my first to a crib in his own room much sooner because we scheduled and bottle fed ( I had to stop for surgery/medication reasons). The other two I kept in the co sleeper longer for breastfeeding convenience. I will utilize the co sleeper again but to home school 3 children I will definitely use a schedule for feeding. Thanks Lindsey for the 2 1/2 hr. idea. I used a wrap for my 2nd and 3rd child and will do so again with this one. I also bought an Ergo carrier for my children to use to carry the baby since they are 11, 9, 7 so we won’t lug that car carrier around. My 3rd had physical developmental delay from being carried too much (we lived with extended family) and she never had tummy time or crawled. We will not make that mistake this time as all 3 have gone through Little Giants Steps’ developmental program ( here in TX for not crawling. We are committed to make sure this baby is mobile. Blessings to all~Christie

  33. Laura March 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    So enjoyed reading this — we’re expecting our first in June and are going back and forth on co-sleeping. Both my husband and I are fine with the decision to do so (crib would be attached to my side of bed), particularly because we both thought it’ll make night-time feedings much easier. So, my question for you — while your little ones were in the bassinet, did you feel nursing was slightly harder than if the baby had been right beside you? Did they woke up “more” before you did/have a harder time going back to sleep?

    Curious because we’ve also just talked about setting the crib up in our room on its own. It isn’t that big of deal but I do want to find the method that would work best for us… and help me in making sure my marriage remains my first priority (thank you so much for the reminders!!). So any thoughts you had (Lindsey or anyone else!) would be much appreciated!

    • Robyn March 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Hi Laura,
      I used an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper with my two daughters (now ages 2 1/2 yrs and 9 months). They usually started the night in the co-sleeper and often during night feedings I would fall asleep and the baby would end up sleeping the rest of night in our bed….but if I was still awake I would gently move the baby back to the co-sleeper, trying not to wake her…mainly because I get a much better sleep without a baby in my bed. Having the baby within “arm’s reach” is very convenient – more so than just having a crib set up in your bedroom – you’d still have to get up out of bed in that case, and I don’t know about you, but I’m lazy. We used that method for about the first 4 months, then transitioned to crib in next room. It’s great because the baby has his/her own space, and you and your husband still have your own space.
      Hope that helps. It’s hard to know beforehand what will work for you, your husband, and baby. Just be willing to be flexible – you’ll likely have to do some tweaking here and there. And sometimes you just have to wing it! (and that’s ok)
      Congratulations! And enjoy that new baby. :)

  34. Jordan Carlson March 21, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Thanks for sharing this! I realized really early on as a mama that I was going to have to get thick skin —

    I felt so judged by some friends for not using cloth diapers – when I live in an apartment with no laundry hook ups and coin-op machines running $1.25 per wash/dry and it would have been a real pain to do them. But I hope that for those who choose different parenting styles and methods for managing the infant months I can be helpful, loving and encouraging, even if they choose different methods than me!

  35. Ami March 21, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    I have done Babywise with all 3 of mine and I’m definitely doing it with my 4th, coming soon.

    I demand fed for about the first week or two, trying hard to keep sleepy babies awake for a long feeding each time. After that we got into the Babywise routine with feedings beginning every 2 1/2 hours and I found that I WAS demand feeding. They were hungry approximately at scheduled mealtime, and not in between.

    I think following many Babywise principles helped us all get good sleep and helped me have an adequate milk supply. And the examples in the book show the flexibility of this parenting style for different personalities.

  36. Jaimi March 21, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    I definitely appreciate your thoughts here, and it’s a great effort to dispel some of the tension between the two philosophies. It is so important to empower married couples to remember that God comes first, their marriage next AND THEN the children. Very key! Although it sounds good to tell moms adopt what you feel led to practice,” it is developmentally inappropriate to let a baby ‘cry it out’ prior to their developing object permanence, and this is not until 6-9 months in most cases. To ignore this, is to ignore a major step in development that can lead to insecurity and no attachment (i.e. not feeling connected) to parents. It stems from dual working parent households, and I can completely understand that a schedule has to be created when both parents work otherwise productivity at the job would falter, but it is also important that we are being factual about what is best. I believe we need all kinds of moms and dads: working and staying home, but there are still best practices and sometimes they go against what we want to acknowledge.