Hey guys! I shared on my insta stories a few weeks ago that I was going to start nap training my 5 month old. She was normally a wonderful sleeper (lucky us!), but her naps had taken a nose dive and it was starting to affect her nighttime sleep. I used the e.a.s.y. method with M when he was a baby and found it to be really effective.
I’m not going to lie, sleep training sucks and it’s so hard to do but it’s so worth it in the end. The basics of the e.a.s.y. method are this:
e – eat
a – active time
s – sleep
y – you time
This method runs in 3 hour cycles and the first few days it’s important to stick to it and not have naps anywhere but in the babe’s bed. So 1 1/2 hours awake, and 1 1/2 hours of sleep.
^^ this girl and this onesie *all the heart eyes*
I was feeling ambitious and decided to try and break all of Lo’s sleep crutches while nap training. Lo used a soother, swaddle and I nursed her to sleep (because it’s my fave… sigh). But all of those things meant that Lo didn’t know how to soothe herself to sleep, which was why she was waking up after napping only a few minutes.
A little bit about baby’s sleep…
During nap time, babies sleep two sleep cycles, which gives them a full nap. Each sleep cycle is 45 minutes long and they usually wake slightly when nearing the end of it. If the babe doesn’t know how to fall back asleep on their own, they wake up and nap time is over. Nap time and night time sleep are two totally different things. You can have a babe sleep great during the day and awful at night, and vice versa. Day time sleep and night time sleep are controlled by different parts of the brain too, so they are treated differently as well, however, sleep begets sleep. If baby isn’t sleeping well during the day and not getting enough, they usually won’t sleep well at night. A baby that is overtired has a hard time calming down and is too wired and over stimulated to fall asleep properly. The less sleep a baby gets, the less they sleep, basically lol.
I read so many articles on sleep when M was a baby. He didn’t sleep ever (it felt like lol) and I read and read all night long, so that ^ info is ingrained in my brain haha.
Back to nap training Lo, she struggled the first few days with naps. I had a hard time getting her to sleep the full 90 minutes (2 sleep cycles), but she made huge improvements in falling asleep on her own. She would only cry for a minute or so by the second day (the first day was like 30-40 minutes of crying before each nap). Regarding the sleep crutches, not swaddling was a disaster. She just can’t not wake herself up, so I half swaddled instead, and left one arm out. This way she can get used to a bit of movement with her one arm, but still have the secure swaddled feeling which has worked out great for her.
I have still been feeding her before sleeping (woops!) and can’t get her to eat enough after waking so she’s not wanting milk before naps. You guys, I’m so weak haha! I can’t quit this! I also had her ditch the soother, and it was a struggle that first day but now it’s not an issue. That was actually the main thing that I wanted to get rid of.
So, the first day was tough and Lo had horrible naps and each nap took a long time for her to fall asleep. By the second day there was a huge improvement and Lo was falling asleep on her own after a few minutes of fussing. Nighttime sleep has been great again too. I found that she loves to be swaddled still, so I keep one arm out for her during naps, like I mentioned, and a full swaddle at night. Soothers are now out of the picture for sleeping and while I don’t nurse her to sleep anymore, I do feed her before naps still. Not sure what to do about that one, but as long as she’s napping well, I’m not too worried about it.
I should also mention that after laying the babe down, you leave the room and if they start crying (and they will the first bit), you let them cry for no longer than 10 minutes (I started off doing only 5 minutes – do whatever works for you, but stick with it), then go in and rub their tummy, shush them softly, or whatever, just no picking up. Then once they stop crying, you leave the room. Repeat this for up until 45 minutes – 1 hour, then take baby out if they are still not sleeping and take an hour break before trying again. This is the hardest thing ever and the worst part of nap training. There will be tears (and baby will cry too, hah). But they really do learn quickly how to soothe themselves to sleep. The first try is always the hardest and every nap after that is better and better.
Now, a few weeks in, Lo doesn’t cry when I lay her down. She knows it’s time for sleep and after she nurses, we sing a song and cuddle for a minute, then I lay her down in her bed and while I’m doing up her swaddle she will already turn her head to the side ready to fall asleep. She’s much happier and sleeping great, and that means that I’m much happier (and sleeping great haha).
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