Today we have a guest post by THE Babywise Mom on how to establish Babywise Naps. When I was a first started Babywise (which totally saved my sanity and you can read about my experience here), we got night time sleep figured out fairly quickly.
But daytime sleep? That was a completely different story.
I had no clue how long the morning nap should be, or at how many weeks we should transition to the
Talk about overwhelming! But it doesn’t have to be! That’s why I asked Val to guest post on how to successfully set up naps for a Babywise schedule.
Guest post by Valerie Plowman.
Post contains affiliate links.
If you have a baby who does not sleep well, chances are you have turned to family, friends, and the internet for ideas on how to get some sleep. In all likelihood, somewhere in that search, the Babywise method has come up.
On Becoming Babywise is amazing for so many things when it comes to parenting. The prominent help Babywise provides is with sleep.
Sleep seems like it should be super intuitive and easy. We all sleep. We all need to sleep. It shouldn’t be difficult to get a baby to sleep. But it is! Sure, some babies just naturally sleep great no matter what, but most do not without some sort of guidance.
Babywise is a fantastic resource to get baby on a great nap schedule. Here are 6 steps you need to take to get baby taking solid naps when following Babywise.
Teach Baby to Sleep Independently
There is a sleep transition that happens about every 45 minutes for babies. If you want baby to consistently make it through the transition and take a nap that is longer than 45 minutes, you need to teach baby to be able to fall asleep independently.
You can read all about Sleep Training According to Babywise here.
There are many ways to do sleep training. You have methods that are gentle to extinction sleep training.
I prefer gentle sleep training. You can read all about the way we did gentle sleep training in this post.
The important thing to know is that it doesn’t matter how you teach your little one how to sleep independently. The end result is what matters.
Need help getting started with Babywise? See my post on How to Do Babywise which includes a video!
Time Naps Correctly
You will not have consistently great Babywise naps unless you time the naps correctly. That means your baby wake time length needs to be the right length. If it is too long or too short, your baby will not consistently take a 1.5-2.5 hour long nap.
Wake time length changes pretty constantly. Younger babies have shorter waketime lengths than older babies.
Feeding times always count toward waketime length. Wake time starts when your baby wakes up and ends when you put baby in the crib.
Figuring out how to time this is very overwhelming. I have a post to walk you through it all in Optimal Waketime Lengths.
Follow the Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle
Babywise success comes through the eat wake sleep cycle. Baby gets up, eats, has wake time (or play time), then goes to sleep.
This means baby is not being nursed to sleep. That enables baby to be kept awake through the feeding. As you feed baby, you really work to keep him awake so that he takes a full feeding. You are not going straight to nap after feeding, so you do not mind keeping baby awake.
Your baby then has time awake. There is time to learn and take in the world around her. This helps her need to sleep on a brain level and not just a physical level. Babies need a lot of sleep because they are physically growing so much, but the brain requires sleep to process the information it has learned. Having this time awake helps baby’s body need some sleep.
Establish a Solid Sleep Routine
Since you are going to sleep time from being awake, you really want a nice sleep routine to help baby transition into sleep mode.
A sleep routine does not need to be long. It does not need to be elaborate. It just needs to be consistent and effective and helping baby move to sleep mode.
A nap routine can include turning the lights down, reading a story, swaddling baby, and singing a lullaby. See my sample nap routines here to get lots of ideas on what to include in a nap routine.
Set the Room Up for Sleep Success
Pay attention to what helps your little one sleep best. Does your baby need a sound machine? Does your baby sleep better with the blinds or curtains closed? What temperature is best for your little one?
I always find it helpful to take notes when I am deciding what is best for my baby. Keeping track of what I did plus the results really helps me look at something over a segmented length of time and say, “Oh look, my baby actually tends to take much longer naps with the blinds closed. I think I will close them from now on.”
Have a Consistent Daily Schedule
This step is kind of a “chicken or the egg” sort of step. In order to have great naps for your little one, you need your days to be consistent. The body will get tired at the same times each day if the body is sleeping at the same times each day.
It can be difficult, however, to get the daily schedule to be consistent without naps being solid. So work on these two things simultaneously. Work on getting the naps down while still working on having a consistent daily schedule.
Start your day at the same time each morning. End each day with bedtime being consistent each night. Do your best to keep your days as similar to each other as possible.
Babywise Naps: Conclusion
These six steps can help you really nail down your naps so baby is taking great naps. Babywise is a fabulous parenting method to have great naps for your baby. So many people turn to Babywise for the sleep success you can have with it. Babywise is not easy. It looks simple on paper, but it does take consistency, effort, and work. It is all so worth it though! Your little one can be taking great naps in no time.
Need more help establishing great naps? Get my eBook The Babywise Mom Nap Guide: Establishing Successful Naps from Birth through the Preschool Years.
Valerie is the mother to four and blogs at www.Babywisemom.com. Follow her blog for all things parenting.