Of all the things that I really love about having a great community both on here and on social is that when I need help or a suggestion, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience chiming in when I ask!
I recently shared that I’ve been struggling with Emily’s lack of napping and occasional nighttime sleep disruptions on Instastories. I thought it may help to expound more on those two topics and also share a bit more about why I asked for help.
Emily has truly been a great night sleeper for months now. And she’s only 5 months old. She started going 5-6 hours at only a few weeks old and since then has only increased her night sleeping. Her naps, though, have been consistently short (about 20 minutes) and sporadic. She would also fight going to sleep with all of her sweet little soul and spirit. It was such a frustrating thing because as her mom I knew she was tired but she just couldn’t easily fall asleep or stay asleep for naps. The day would spiral downhill and she’d be pretty irritable by the end of the night.
I know that even babies who nap well in the day can still be irritable at night. It’s kind of just a baby thing.
With the boys, Justin and I were diligent about getting them on a pretty predictable routine at an early age. I was probably a little too rigid with their schedule but I was pretty stressed out as a new mom. Even though there were difficulties in getting them on a schedule, it paid off in the best ways. They were happy, they knew what to expect, and we (the parents) were happy as well. Putting them down for nap became as easy as placing them in the crib, walking away, and they would fall asleep without making a peep* on their own.
For some reason I have been resistant to trying to get Emily on a routine. I don’t know if it’s a “last baby” thing or what. Finally, I reached a point where I couldn’t keep doing this daily mystery game of “are you tired? no? not yet? maybe? should we try a nap? you don’t seem tired. are you tired?” It wasn’t working for Emily, nor Justin and I.
So in an exhausted moment I asked for help from other moms to try to resolve Emily’s nap issues.
I got so many helpful messages and I wanted to share them here in case you are in the same boat, or will be in the future.
Many people recommended Taking Cara Babies. She has a ton of information on her Instagram account and also offers some classes through her website all about sleep tips. I’ve learned a lot by just following her on Instagram which I’ve been doing for about a month or so.
I received a ton of recommendations for the Moms on Call book or scheduling app. I have the book and read most of it, but I downloaded the app shortly after I heard from so many readers that love it. The app suggests a routine that may work based on your baby’s age. I started following it as closely as I could and Emily took the best morning nap of her life on the first day. At the time I’m writing this we’ve been using the schedule for 4 days and she’s already making massive, MASSIVE improvements with her naps. Some are still short, but she’s going down easier and seems to be happier in the day since she’s not as exhausted as she was before.
I received a lot of recommendations for various websites where you can speak directly to a sleep consultant and they will tailor a plan that works for your lifestyle and your baby’s temperament and age. I decided to try following the Moms on Call schedule (again, it’s a goal not a set in stone timeline of how her day actually is right now) first and if that doesn’t work for her then resort to speaking with a sleep consultant.
After scrolling through message after message I realized an important thing. Every mom tries their best with the method they think will work best for their baby. There are so many methods of teaching a baby to sleep just like there are different parenting methods. It’s kind of great that we have so many resources available to find something that works for each family, isn’t it?
If you have a baby that isn’t napping well, or isn’t sleeping through the night, I hope you are able to find something that works for you and the baby very soon. To me, that’s the hardest part of a baby–figuring out SLEEP! It’s one of those things that gets better with time so it takes every single ounce of your patience until the baby has figured it out.
*eventually. We helped soothe them to sleep until they could do it on their own.