Tag Archives: baby sleep schedule

Daylight Savings and Baby/Toddler Sleep – 2 Tips To Help Your Child Adjust To The Time Change

How Daylight Savings Time Affects Baby and Toddler Sleep

Daylight Savings tends to be a big topic here at The Baby Sleep Site®; we start getting e-mails in the Helpdesk up to a month before it ends, asking for suggestions on how to help babies and toddlers ‘fall back’ and adjust to the time change.

After working with many, many, many families to adjust to new time change schedules, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make the transition a smooth one.

And that’s what we are talking about today! We’re presenting two strategies for surviving the daylight savings time change.

2 Options For Surviving Daylight Savings

  1. Do nothing. If your baby’s is fairly adaptable to change, and is not sensitive to overtiredness, then you can simply do nothing, take the time change in stride. This means sticking to your baby or toddler’s normal schedule as best you can. The exception to that would be the morning wake-up time; that will likely be earlier for a few days, or maybe a week. For example, if your baby normally wakes at 7 a.m., then after the time change, she will probably wake closer to 6 a.m. However, keep naps and bedtime close to their usual times. You can bump them up a bit if your baby or toddler seems really exhausted, but remember, this is a short-term solution. You don’t want to do this long-term, or you will create a long-term schedule change.

    This is also a good option for babies and toddlers who are waking up and going to bed too late. If this is the case, and if you would like your child’s wake time, naps, and bedtimes to be a bit earlier than they currently are, consider yourself lucky — the end of daylight savings will shift your child’s schedule backwards by an hour!

  2. Tweak your child’s schedule ahead of time. If your baby is already waking up too early in the morning, in relation to your ideal family schedule, we recommend doing some preemptive work ahead of time to ease the transition. Moving your baby’s schedule isn’t always easy, but in the next week or two, you can successfully move your baby’s schedule forward by an hour and then move it again, if necessary, to achieve your family’s ideal schedule.

    For example, if your baby is waking at 5 a.m., and you’d like her to wake at 6 a.m. or later, you can move her schedule forward one hour to 6 a.m., wait for the time to change (where she will be waking at 5 a.m. once again) and then move her schedule forward again. This works best when your baby is at least 8 months old, but some 6 month old schedules can be moved as well. Younger babies generally will adjust naturally within a few days to two weeks as long as you don’t strictly stick to the earlier schedule (a young baby’s sleep is already highly disorganized).

If you are interested, our Shifting Schedules e-Book outlines detailed steps (with examples) to moving your baby’s schedule. Available exclusively to Baby Sleep Site® members, it deals with managing early-morning wake up times, as well as late bedtimes. It also provides tips and insights that are useful for tackling the time change. It even includes a case study that follows one family’s schedule shift as they worked one-on-one with Nicole. Members have the option to download and print a copy of the e-book at no cost.

Reminders About How Daylight Savings Affects Bedtime

Keep in mind that late bedtimes equal overtiredness. And overtiredness equals restless nights for babies and toddlers, and even earlier morning wake-up times. So watch your baby’s bedtime carefully, and make it earlier, if needed (for a few days, at least – while your baby adjusts). Here’s an example, to help you visualize this point: if your baby normally goes to bed at 7 p.m., after the time change, 6 p.m. will ‘feel’ like 7 p.m., since it WAS 7 p.m. just a few days ago. So if your baby seems sleepy around 6 p.m., respect that, and put him to bed a little early (maybe at 6:15 or 6:30). This shouldn’t be a long-term strategy, of course (few families want a bedtime that early!) But it’s a good short-term strategy.

Prepare For The Time Change Like A Pro, With Our Resources!

The end of Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner – we’ll be “falling back” before we know it! If you’re too tired or overwhelmed to do a bunch of reading and to create your own DST prep plan, let us do the work for you. You can connect with one of our caring, expert sleep consultants today, and she’ll send you your very own Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will walk you through every step of DST prep. It will also outline the steps you need to follow to improve your baby or toddler’s overall sleeping habits.

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.

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! Even better – as a member, you have access to our #1 Daylight Savings preparation resource, our Shift Your Child’s Schedule e-book. This e-book is the perfect tool for helping you gently shift your child’s schedule in order to accommodate the time change – and member can download and print a copy of the book! And don’t forget that as a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant, which is perfect if you have truly tough, pressing DST questions that require expert help. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!


How are you planning for the end of Daylight Saving’s Time? How do you anticipate it will affect your baby or toddler’s schedule? Let’s put our heads together and share some tips and advice!

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2 Quick Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

2 Tips To Make Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

You don’t have to have school-aged kids at home to enjoy back-to-school season! But we here at The Baby Sleep Site® know that back-to-school season can be tough – if you have older kids, you have to work on reeling in your summertime schedule and get more serious with bedtime and morning wake-time, for example. (Hint – for help on getting your older kiddos ready for school, you can read our 3 tips for implementing a back-to-school sleep schedule.)

And many of our moms of babies and toddlers tell us that fall is the season when daycare schedules shift – babies “graduate” to different rooms as they get older, and that can translate into different nap schedules. Sometimes, that’s just fine – but often, it’s very challenging! Generally, we find that daycares tend to decrease naps a bit faster than we usually recommend (for instance, most 12 months olds are placed in the toddler room, and are only given one afternoon nap, but we usually recommend that parents try to hold on to two naps until 15-18 months of age). And the timing of daycare naps is very fixed – not starting nap time early if your little one woke up earlier than usual!

So, what to do? You can’t change the daycare schedule, usually – so how can you make the new daycare schedule work for your baby or toddler without sacrificing sleep?

We’ve got two tips designed to help you do just that. Keep reading, and get the details you need to keep the new daycare schedule from creating sleepless nights and missed naps in your house!

2 Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

  1. Calculate how much wake time the daycare’s nap schedule demands, and then compare that with how much you know your baby or toddler can tolerate. In our experience, daycares often expect a bit more wake-time from babies and toddlers than is age-appropriate (not always true, of course – but we see this happen quite a bit with clients). For instance, if the daycare schedule leaves 5 hours of wake-time between morning drop-off and the afternoon nap, but your baby can only manage 4 in the morning, then you’ll need to accommodate for that by changing bedtime, or re-arranging other parts of your daytime schedule.
  2. Try to prepare your baby for the new daycare schedule early. If you know that daycare will soon change your baby or toddler’s daytime nap schedule, try to get a head-start. Begin slowly moving towards the daycare schedule at home, by gradually shifting nap times until they match the daycare’s. This can help to gradually acclimate your baby to what’s coming, and might help ward-off over tiredness.

Finally, remember to take heart – this will be a short-lived trial! Your baby or toddler will eventually adjust to the daycare schedule just fine. :) Until then, though, if you’re going crazy trying to make the daycare schedule work for your little one, you could always consider connecting with one of our caring and compassionate sleep consultants! They will create a custom schedule that will work for your whole family – and for your daycare provider!
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.

You can also check out our special members-only article, 5 MORE Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work, for extra do-it-yourself scheduling and sleep coaching tips.

Are you facing daycare schedule challenges? Ask your questions, and we’ll answer! Have tips? Share them with your fellow parents!

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.

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QUICK SLEEP TIP: When To Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine

When To Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine

The word ‘rigid’ tends to have pretty negative connotations, doesn’t it? A rigid routine, for example, seems so inflexible, so set in stone, so…well, so rigid! We get that, and we never direct our consultation clients to adopt rigid schedules and routines if they just aren’t comfortable with that.

That said, though, there are times when we encourage parents to try adopting more rigid sleep schedules and routines – specifically, more rigid bedtime routines. Read on to learn why!

Quick Sleep Tip: Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine For Your Baby or Toddler

While it’s true that some kiddos are just fine with bedtime routines that change a bit from night to night, and that happen at different times each evening, that is not true for every child. It’s all about temperament, remember? :) Nicole’s oldest son is proof of that:

“My boys need routine and predictability, especially my older one, who inspired The Baby Sleep Site ®. My oldest has always been slow to adapt to changes. It was hard to even go on errands when he was a baby, because he’d start crying a lot due to the stops/starts. He hated all the inconsistency! The same is true for inconsistency in our sleep routines. When we are running late on bedtime, I used to try skipping the bedtime story (which would save a whopping 5-10 minutes or so), and then it takes my boys 30+ minutes longer to fall asleep! It’s not worth it to me to vary the routine that much, even if we are running late. Of course, now that they’re older, it’s okay to mix up the steps a bit (brushing teeth before PJ, or vice versa), but it needed to be the same every night when they were younger.”

So, here’s our quick tip: if bedtime is a problem for your family right now, try implementing a rigid bedtime routine. What do I mean by rigid? Simple – with a rigid bedtime routine, everything step in the routine happens in exactly the same order each night, and each step takes almost exactly the same amount of time (you don’t want to try and get the timing down to the second, obviously, but you get the idea – don’t spend 3 minutes on the bedtime story one night and 15 minutes on it the next ;) ). Sometimes, clients find that this kind of structure is EXACTLY what their baby or toddler needed in order to start sleeping better, and to fall asleep faster at bedtime. Specifically, this is true for clients who themselves have more laid-back personalities and aren’t very clock-oriented, but whose babies or toddlers are more inflexible and crave consistency.

How long will it take to see results?? Well, it will take your child a few days to get used to the routine, and to learn that the routine signals bedtime. And then it will take additional time for the routine to feel habitual. So don’t rush this process – give it time to take effect.

Will this work? Well, for babies who need consistency in their bedtime routines but aren’t getting it – probably yes. What about kids who don’t need so much consistency, and don’t mind changes? Honestly, having a more consistent routine won’t hurt them – it just may not produce noticeable changes in sleep. And remember, if you have bigger sleep issues, like strong sleep associations that are interfering with sleeping through the night, this tip won’t solve those. But, in some cases, this quick tip can help eliminate bedtime drama and reduce the time it takes your baby or toddler to fall asleep.

Try it and let us know what you think!

One-on-One, Personalized Help For Sleep Setbacks

Need sleep help for your baby or toddler? We’ve got a whole team dedicated to offering you the one-on-one support you need to make a meaningful difference in your child’s sleep. Sleep training may be one of the best decisions you ever make for yourself and for your family – so why not start today? Our trained sleep consultants are standing by, ready to help you get started. Your consultant will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you and your family, and walk you through every step of implementation.

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.

What do you think – would this tip work for your baby or toddler? What tips do you have for overcoming sleep setbacks? Let’s get the conversation going!

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_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.


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.

bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!

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10 Must-Know Baby and Toddler Nap Facts. (#7 May Surprise You!)

Baby Toddler Naps

We’ve written quite a bit about baby and toddler naps here on the blog, so if you’ve been following our site for awhile, you’ve had the chance to read a lot of baby and toddler nap tips and tidbits. But, some of you are new moms or new to The Baby Sleep Site® and we strive to educate all of our parents on the importance of good sleep and how to achieve it!

Today, we’re presenting you with 10 must-know facts about your baby’s or toddler’s naps. Think of it as your nap “cheat sheet”. ;)

10 Things You Need To Know About Baby and Toddler Naps

  1. The first nap of the day is the most important. This isn’t to say that other naps aren’t also important. But the first nap of the day tends to be the most restorative, setting the tone for the day, and it’s generally the one that produces the best sleep for babies and young toddlers.
  2. Most babies don’t transition to one nap at 12 months; most transition to one nap between 15-18 months. There seems to be a prevailing opinion out there that at the one year mark, babies should suddenly transition from two naps to one. And some will, with no problem. But we’re here to tell you that making the 2-to-1 nap transition at 12 months isn’t the norm for most babies. In fact, most babies aren’t ready to move to one nap a day until 15-18 months.
  3. Most 6 month old babies aren’t ready for just 2 naps per day; most still need 3 (or even 4). Just as there’s a misconception that all 12 month old babies are ready to transition to one nap per day, there’s also a misconception that 6 month old babies are ready to transition to just 2 naps each day. We think this misconception is at least party due to a recommendation that Weissbluth makes in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. In the book, Weissbluth states that only 16% of babies need a third nap after 5 months. Keep in mind this statistic came from a study of a limited number of children.

    We are not discounting Weissbluth’s studies, but we do take it with a grain of salt, since all babies vary in their ability (particularly mood-wise) to stay awake for long periods of time. In our extensive work with families, we’ve found that far more than 16% of babies appear to need 3 naps at 6, 7, even 8 months of age. Therefore, we usually tell parents not to rush into a 2 nap schedule with their 6 month old babies. Doing that increases the chances that their 6 month olds will become overtired, which will in turn affect their night sleep. We’ve found it’s better to stick to a 3 nap schedule (or even a 4 nap schedule) and then gradually transition to a 2 nap schedule around 8 months.

  4. Your child’s nap needs will change greatly between birth and 18 months. Greatly. This just makes sense if you think about it — newborns nap pretty much constantly during the day, while an 18 month old needs just 1 nap. That’s a lot of change during a relatively short period of time!

    So, how many naps does your baby or toddler need in the first 18 months of life? You can read this article for detailed information, but here’s the short version:

    *1-3 MONTHS – 4-5 naps per day, depending on how long his naps are and how long he can stay up between naps.

    *3-4 MONTHS – 4 naps.

    *5-8 MONTHS – probably 3 naps (though some will need 4 until after 7 months). A few babies will only have 2 naps at a very young age, but those naps are usually long.

    *9-15 MONTHS – 2 naps. Some babies will transition to 1 nap at 12 months, but that’s not common.

    *15-18 MONTHS – 1-2 naps. The transition from 2 naps to 1 usually happens in this window of time.

    *18 MONTHS-4 YEARS – 1 nap. The age to transition away from all napping varies a lot, from 2 to 5+ years old, but the average age is between 3 and 4 years old.

  5. Nicole’s Note:
    “But, of course, my son was very NON-textbook. He had 4 naps until 7 months old, because he simply could not stay awake longer than 1 hour 15 to 30 minutes without turning into Senor Cranky Pants! It was simply NOT fun to even try. So, I rolled with it and he stayed home all day pretty much until he seemed to change overnight, taking 3 naps at 7 1/2 months old. He then dropped to two naps a short month later at 8 1/2 months. It happened so fast! He also transitioned to one nap early and away from napping early. I would never have guessed that based on our first 7 months. So, if your baby is struggling with staying awake for long periods, he’s not alone and it could change fast for you, too! :)”

  6. If your baby or toddler sleeps well at night, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll nap well during the day. Remember, nap sleep is different than night sleep. Naps happen during daylight hours, when the sun’s up and when it tends to be noisy and busy. External factors like that can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap well. And many families struggle with keeping a consistent daily nap routine in place — because life tends to get in the way! That, too, can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap consistently. Contrast that with nights — it’s dark, it’s (usually) quiet, and everyone is (usually) at home. That at least partly explains why many babies and toddlers who sleep just fine at night struggle with their naps.
  7. On-the-go, “moving” naps aren’t as restorative as naps that happen at home, in bed. This might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s true — naps that happen “on the go” (in a moving car, for example, or in a moving stroller or shopping cart) aren’t as restorative as naps that happen on a non-moving surface (like a bed). They aren’t as long, for one thing, and during a “moving” nap, your baby’s or toddler’s sleep won’t be as deep. The occasional on-the-go nap isn’t a big deal, of course; sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. But if the majority of your baby’s or toddler’s naps are happening in the car, or in a stroller, you may need to rethink your daytime routines and schedule.
  8. It’s possible for your baby or toddler to nap too much. Yes, we realize that this particular “problem” doesn’t plague most of you. ;) But it’s true; some babies and toddlers nap too much, and it negatively affects their nighttime sleep. How much nap time sleep is too much? You can check out this article for details, but here’s a fast breakdown:

    *INFANT STAGE (birth – 4 months) — newborns will sleep 14-18 total hours during the day. To maximize nighttime sleep, limit naps to two hours, and try to keep your baby awake for 30 minutes between naps. (Need help with newborn sleep? Take a look at our newborn e-Book.)

    *BABY STAGE (4-12 months) – babies need 13-15 total hours of sleep during the day. 2-4 of these hours should be naps (depending on how much sleep your baby is getting at night.)

    *TODDLER STAGE (12 months – 3 or 4 years) – 1-3 hours of total naptime is considered normal and healthy.

  9. Educate yourself on when common nap transitions occur, and how to manage them. Nap transitions are likely to occur at the following times:

    *3-4 MONTHS – baby transitions from 5 naps to 4.
    *5-6 MONTHS – baby transitions from 4 naps to 3.
    *8-9 MONTHS – baby transitions from 3 naps to 2.
    *15-18 MONTHS – toddler transitions from 2 naps to 1.

    As for how to handle these nap transitions? We have loads of resources on that very topic in our Members Area – keep reading for details!

  10. If a nap just isn’t happening, know when to give up and try again later. We end up dispensing this advice quite often to our consultation clients who we are working on nap training: don’t waste too much time trying to make a nap happen. No sense in spending 3 hours trying to force an afternoon nap to happen — at that point, you’re probably closer to bedtime than you are to naptime!
  11. When your toddler is finally done taking naps, consider replacing nap time with “rest time”. It’s always a little sad when your toddler finally ages out of his naps. Gone are those one or two hours of peace, when mom or dad could get some work done, catch up on chores, or take a nap themselves! However, the end of nap time doesn’t have to mean the end of your afternoon peace and quiet. Simply replace nap time with rest time.

BONUS NAP TIP: We like you so much, we’re squeezing in a bonus tip for you! This one deals with short naps, an all-too-common problems for the parents in our Baby Sleep Site® community. The fact is, short naps are normal for newborns and young babies, but by about 6 months of age, most babies are able to take longer naps. Want all the details on why short naps happen, and how to fix the problem? Check out this article on short baby naps.


Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! ;-)

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!

Don’t feel up to working on your baby or toddler’s nap challenges on your own? While our Members Area is great for DIY moms who prefer to tackle sleep challenges on their own, we know that other moms much prefer to go straight to one-on-one help. Well, good news – we offer that, and you can start getting the personal help you need TODAY!

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!

Are you struggling with any of these 10 points? Have nap questions to ask, or nap tips to share? We want to hear from you!

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Five: What You Need To Know About Nap Training


New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.


BOOT CAMP, PART FIVE: What You Need To Know About Nap Training

What You Need To Know About Nap Training

Boot campers, if you are hanging in there and sticking with Sleep Training Boot Camp, then I have just one thing to say to you – YOU ROCK! I know it probably hasn’t always been easy, and that the last few weeks have likely been at least a little tiring and tough. Remember, you can always ask your consultant (aka your boot camp coach!) for follow-up help. You can also just vent via e-mail, if that helps – clients do it all the time, and our consultants don’t mind it a bit! They’re happy to provide a listening and sympathetic ear. ;-)

Today, we’re changing tacks a little, and focusing on a specific component of your child’s sleep: naps. Why, you ask? Because naps are a different animal, in many ways – and for many parents, sleep coaching for naps proves to be different (and sometimes tougher) than sleep coaching for nights.

So, today, we’re looking at what you need to know about nap training. As usual, we’ll hear from Vikki about what nap training was like for her, and hear her tips for how to stay the course with naps. Read on, boot campers!

A Personal Account of Nap Training – Vikki’s Nap Coaching Story

The Meldrums 2013_4-4My daughter Lyla never went down easy at bedtime, but naps were another story. Lyla loved her crib. She was a superstar napper! Best in town! We’d read a book and she’d fall asleep on me in minutes. I’d put her chubby baby body in her crib and have an hour or so to do what I wanted. It was heaven. Bliss. Nirvana. Especially because, as you may remember from my last post about sticking with sleep training, Lyla brawled with sleep like a prizefighter, so we were getting no sleep overnight.

As Lyla got older and her objections to bedtime got worse and worse, her naps went to the dark side. By ten months, we were aiming for two 60-minute naps a day. I was spending hours trying to get her to sleep FOR EACH HOUR-LONG NAP. The effort did not match the outcome. Lyla wanted nothing to do with sleep, day or night.

By the time I contacted The Baby Sleep Site®, Lyla was beyond exhausted all the time. I was frustrated that I couldn’t help my baby sleep. And I was tired. So very, very tired. No one in my house was happy.

My consultant Jen suggested we work on bedtime and overnights first, and then work on naps, as overnight sleep and nap sleep are controlled by different parts of the brain. Made sense to me! I just wanted to get Lyla some peaceful rest at SOME point in a 24-hour period! As I mentioned last time, it took about a week to see progress at bedtime, and a little longer on overnights, but things did start to get better. What was crazy, though, was that naps were getting worse. Lyla’s objection to naptime was so severe that we’d skip naps because she fought so hard for so long at each one. As you’ve probably experienced, skipping naps can lead to an overtired baby and really tough bedtimes. At least it did for us. We were getting to a really good place at bedtime and Lyla even started sleeping through the night a few nights a week. I didn’t want to risk losing the progress we made at night so I knew I had to make a change at naptime.

Even though we were only about halfway through the nighttime part of the Personalized Sleep Plan™, I started working on naps. I incorporated what my consultant outlined for an approach and actually utilized some of the overnight tactics for naps. And, eureka! We had daytime sleep. Because we were getting into a rhythm at night, Lyla understood better what we were asking her to do during the day. She would still object a bit, but understand that she had to go to sleep.

Nap Training: Get Support, and Find What Works For You

The Meldrums 2013_4-18I think the key for naps is finding what works for you AND your baby. Your sleep training solution needs to be fluid enough that you can augment it when necessary, and supported enough that when you do, you have help and feedback. I knew I needed to make a change, and my consultant Jen worked with me to figure out how to implement it. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help – you don’t have to be alone on this sleep mission.

I know at times it seems like nothing is going to help baby sleep at naptime. But it will. Today, Lyla is fifteen months old, and I have a (still) chubby baby girl who has retuned to her previous title as the best napper in town. It didn’t happen overnight, and we still have hiccups, but I try to find what works.

We still have sleep struggles, and I think we always will, as sleep is not high on Lyla’s list of priorities. But when I think of how we went from a baby who couldn’t calm down enough to sleep day or night to a little lady who lies down and goes right to sleep most of the time, I get teary (read: I sob with joy).

To all you sleepless mamas out there: this sleep thing is hard. Hard on them. Hard on you. But believe, my fellow sleepy mommies, that there is a solution to helping your baby sleep during naps. Develop a game plan, but don’t be afraid to make changes while you’re on the field. Oh – and get help from a consultant! And don’t forget – you can do this! Naps will happen! You just have to find what works for you and baby. And you will.

Nap Training Resources That You Need To Succeed

Now, in the interest of helping you along in your nap coaching, we wanted to give you all the information we could about baby and toddler naps. Knowledge is power, after all! So if nap training is proving difficult, and you feel like you need additional help, we invite you to check out these resources:

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftOf course, you may not relish the idea of reading a whole lot of nap articles right now – especially considering that sleep training may be leaving you pretty wiped out! If you’d rather have all the nap info you need condensed into one easy-to-read, instantly-downloadable resource, you may want to check out Mastering Naps and Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules, along with a wealth of napping tips and techniques, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a fantastic resource for parents who want to continue working on naps themselves, but want an abundance of information to help them along the way. And don’t forget that right now, for a limited time, Mastering Naps and Schedules is 15% off!

Finally, don’t forget – you don’t have to do this alone. You don’t! We are here to help! Our team of kind, compassionate, expert sleep consultants is ready and waiting to help you and your child get the sleep you need. With the help of one of our sweet and supportive “drill sergeants”, You CAN conquer sleep training boot camp! ;)

First, check out our sleep consulting packages and see which one looks like a good fit for you.

Browse the list of sleep consulting packages here.

Then, create your Helpdesk account, fill out and upload your Family Sleep History Form, connect with your consultant, and that’s it! You’ll have the expert help and caring support you need to conquer sleep training boot camp once and for all!

Naps are tough – but we’re here to help! Have questions about nap training? Ask then, and we’ll answer! Any nap coaching tips to offer? We LOVE hearing from you – share your wisdom with us!


<--Boot Camp Part Four: Staying Consistent During Sleep Training

Boot Camp Part Six: Handling Sleep Setbacks –>

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Four: Staying Consistent During Sleep Training


New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.


BOOT CAMP, PART FOUR: Staying Consistent During Sleep Training

Staying Consistent With Sleep Training

Welcome back, boot campers! Well, here we are, halfway through sleep training boot camp. How are you doing? Are you sticking with it? I know that, at this point, after a week of sleep training and using your sleep training plan, you may be starting to feel worn out. Exhausted. Maybe discouraged. In fact, some of you may feel like giving up completely (or at least making massive changes to your sleep plan!)

Vikki and I knew that many of you would be feeling this way right around now, and as we discussed it, Vikki mentioned that she remembered feeling this way herself, when she was working on sleep training her daughter Lyla. And given that Vikki knows exactly how it feels to be discouraged in sleep training, and to want to give up, I thought it would be best if she talked to you today about staying consistent. Vikki also let me know that she had a little secret – the key to consistency, for her, was finding her inspiration.

What is ‘find your inspiration’ all about? Read on and find out how finding your inspiration can help you stay focused and committed.

Take it away, Vikki!

Staying Consistent With Sleep Training – Vikki’s Sleep Coaching Story

The Meldrums 2013_4-9It’s 9:30p. I have been trying to get my ten-month old, Lyla, to sleep for more than two hours. These hours, added to the time it took to get her down for her two naps today, means I have been in her room working on sleep for more total hours than I had slept the night before. Boo. Hiss.

I consulted my Personalized Sleep Plan™ before starting bedtime to give me some support. I knew what to do. But here I was again – night 20 million of Lyla not sleeping. I was seconds from offering her the breast just to get her go to sleep.

I was frustrated. I was impatient. I was exhausted.

I was on day four of the Personalized Sleep Plan™. The details were all there. What was not there, yet, was my baby’s understanding of what I was asking her to do. What I was always asking her to do. SLEEP!

My husband always says to take three deep breaths when I feel overwhelmed. Somewhere between breaths two and three, I had an epiphany. I have to give Lyla better than this version of me. I was not being the gentle, loving mom I know I am. Lack of sleep and the inability to get my child to sleep had started to change the way I was responding to this beautiful little nugget. I am human. I was at my breaking point.

One of the things my consultant, Jen, helped me realize is that my baby doesn’t know how to sleep on her own. Others may. Mine, not so much. Much like working with her on walking or using a spoon, I had to teach Lyla about sleep. I had to help her learn to sleep on her own.

My Lyla is what The Baby Sleep Site® calls “persistent”. That’s the polite word for extremely strong willed. Although, I think every baby that can’t or doesn’t want to sleep seems to have the will of Superman.

So, I finished my breaths. I worked through the steps of the Plan. I got Lyla to sleep. It took three hours that night. But it was a few minutes less than the night before and I gobbled that small victory up like a hunk of cake. But it wasn’t enough to make me feel like there was progress. I collapsed into a messy heap of tears and asked God, the dog, the lamp – anything that would listen – that she find peace so that she might start to see sleep as something to look forward to and not something that made her scream and scream. And scream.

Defining Your Goals, and Finding Your Inspiration

The next morning, I walked into Lyla’s room to check on her and just watched her sleep for a minute. It was beautiful. That vision was my goal. I was going to help my baby always find this snuggle of serenity.

As bedtime rolled around on day five of my Personalized Sleep Plan™, I felt like a cliff diver. I was full of adrenalin. Excited. Nervous. Ready. I was going to work the steps and get my baby to sleep. As she reared up for a big cry when I put her into bed, I stood at the side of her crib and realized something. This crib would eventually convert into her toddler bed, then to her full-sized bed. This crib side I’ve stood at for hours wooing her to sleep was the same place I would stand years from now begging my child, my pre-teen, my teenager to get up. And all at once, I knew that this was JUST FOR RIGHT NOW. These fits about sleep, these sleepless nights, the tears she and I both cried from exhaustion, was so just right now. This, too, shall pass.

I was committed to figuring out how to give her better tools to sleep and I had help in the consultants. We could do this. WE WOULD DO THIS.

And we did. It took a few nights, but Lyla started doing better. She still objected vocally and loudly to having to go to bed, but she found peace much more quickly. As I followed the plan’s goals for each night, Lyla found more and more peace. I watched her learn. It was amazing.

Jen advised that we stick to our plan for at least a week (if not two) before making any changes, because it usually takes at least that long to start seeing the effects of recommended changes. I am so glad we did.

The Meldrums 2013_4-27 So, my fellow mommas fighting the good sleep fight, YOU CAN DO THIS. Find your inspiration. Find the thing that will help you get through, because as you look for a solution that helps baby learn to sleep, you’ll need it. And it’s there! For me, realizing that this sleep saga is temporary, and that my baby would learn if I kept teaching her gave me the strength to go on.

Plus, I had support. We stuck with the Personalized Sleep Plan™. Based on it, and with help from Jen, we created “Lyla’s Sleep Rules”, which we follow every night. They helped us be consistent. Lyla got the same actions and reactions from both my husband and I. The rules evolved as Lyla continued to challenge us with her sleepless ways, but having them in place help her know what to expect, and for my husband and I, it kept us on track with how to deal with her.

Remember: You can do this. Find your inspiration to keep going. If nothing else, let it be that the payoff to sticking with sleep training is worth it – your baby or toddler will know how to sleep, making him/her more happy and healthy. And you will finally get some sleep, too!

You Don’t Have To Do This Alone…We Can Help!

Personalized ConsultationVikki had Jen acting has her boot camp coach – Jen created a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that was tailored to the Meldrum family’s needs and schedule, and was oriented around Lyla’s unique personality and temperament. Having Jen in her corner was key to Vikki’s sleep training success – yes, she and her husband put in a ton of hard work, but having Jen there to help coach them along was vital!

You can have your own Baby Sleep Site consultant in your corner, acting as your Boot Camp Coach, too. Simply purchase one of our consultation packages to get started. (And remember, they’re currently on sale!) Then, connect with one of our expert consultants, and get started! Your consultant will create your Personalized Sleep Plan™, and – most importantly – she’ll support you every step of the way. Vikki had Jen to coach her through this process; having your own sleep consultant is just what YOU need to conquer sleep training boot camp!

You can do it, boot campers – don’t give up! Keep going! And remember, you’re not alone. Have questions, or just need some encouragement? Let us know in the comments section, and we’ll answer! Have tips to share? We want to hear ‘em!


<--Boot Camp Part Three: Creating & Implementing Your Sleep Training Plan

Boot Camp Part Five: What You Need To Know About Nap Training –>

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Three: Creating And Implementing Your Sleep Training Plan


New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.


BOOT CAMP, PART THREE: Creating and Implementing Your Sleep Training Plan

How To Create A Sleep Training Plan

Welcome back to sleep training boot camp, readers! Can you believe were already at Part 3 of our month-long boot camp?

Now that you have done all the prep work necessary for sleep training (by doing the 5 things you need to do before sleep coaching, and by making any necessary feeding and scheduling changes – and possibly filling out the Family History Form), it’s time to actually create your sleep training plan, and then get started with sleep coaching!

Today, we’ll look at these two components separately – how to create your sleep training plan, and then how to start implementing it.

Creating Your Sleep Training Plan

There’s no one way to create a sleep training plan – your approach to sleep coaching can be as unique as you are! But after spending 5+ years refining our own Personalized Sleep Plan, which we create for all our clients, we know a thing or two about what makes a sleep coaching plan successful.

When you go about creating your own sleep coaching plan, use these tips to ensure that your plan sets up you and your baby or toddler for success:

  • Implement ‘mini-steps’ if you want to minimize crying. Mini-steps help you break down sleep coaching into very small, very manageable steps. So instead of making a BIG leap, like, say, from rocking all the way to sleep to putting baby down wide awaken the crib, break that down into smaller mini-steps.
  • Don’t work on naps and nights at the same time. A small percentage of our families find it’s actually better for them to work on naps and nights at the same time, but for the majority, it’s just too overwhelming. Instead, break them into separate components.
  • Create the plan with your baby/toddler AND WITH YOURSELF in mind. Obviously, your child should be the focus of your sleep coaching plan. And it’s key to account for your little one’s temperament. But remember, the plan that works is the plan that YOU can commit to and feel good about. So keep that in mind as you make your plan – choose a method that you feel good about, keep the amount of work you have to do reasonable, and watch the timelines to be sure they’re reasonable, too.
  • Speaking of timelines…plan for a healthy pace to your sleep coaching. Don’t plan to move too fast (you can’t overcome major sleep associations in 3 or 4 days!), but you don’t want to inch along a snail’s pace, either – you shouldn’t be sleep training for months! For most families, 2-4 weeks is adequate time to make big improvements in sleep.
  • Include a basic day-by-day portion of your plan. We include this in most of our Personalized Sleep Plans™, and our clients tell us it’s so helpful. Basically, your day-by-day tells you what specific actions you should take each day (and each night).Creating a day-by-day schedule means you are creating concrete, actionable steps for your sleep coaching, and that can really help you stay consistent even when you’re tired and frustrated.

Implementing Your Sleep Training Plan

When it comes to actually implementing your plan, keep the following things in mind:

  • There is never a perfect time to start sleep training, but as best you can, clear your schedule for a few days after you start coaching. And, if you’re married or have a close support network around, considering soliciting some help for those first few days.
  • Working on night waking can be exhausting, so try to carve out time for yourself to take a nap, to sleep in mornings – anything you can do to catch up on your sleep. And remember that your baby or toddler may need the same – when you’re working on night wakings, do what you can to be sure your little one takes adequate naps.

Let Us Make Your Plan For You!

Personalized ConsultationYou can make your own sleep plan – we offer resources specifically designed to help you do that (many of our e-book packages include a ‘How To Make Your Own Sleep Plan’ workbook!) But the fact is that parents who hire a Baby Sleep Site consultant to create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for them have higher rates of success than those who attempt to go it alone. Why? Because our consultants bring years of experience and insight to your consultation – they have worked with literally thousands of families! All that experience combines to create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that is guaranteed to equal sleep training success.

How can you get your own Personalized Sleep Plan™? Simple – first, you’ll need to purchase one of our consultation packages (Remember, they’re currently on sale!) Next, you will receive login credentials to our Sleep Helpdesk – from there you will fill out your Family History Form, upload it to the Helpdesk, connect with your consultant, and get started! Once your consultant has reviewed your history, she will create your plan, and then send it over with implementation instructions. It’s that easy! Once you’ve tried out the plan at home, you can email your consultant any time to ask follow-up questions, or to request changes to your plan.

Still not sure if a Personalized Sleep Plan would be right for you? Here’s what Vikki had to say about her plan:

BSS Headshot 1“When I first got the plan I felt two things. First, I felt a sense of relief. I had help, and help that made sense. I had spoken to doctors, nurses, other moms, everyone I could think of. Everyone said, “Oh, she’ll sleep when she’s tired”. But she didn’t. I have tears now just thinking about how bad I felt and how tired she was. Then, I got the plan. I had a blueprint to help us get to a better place.

I also felt a lot of ‘a-ha’ moments as I read through my plan. There were answers to the questions of ‘why’ I had so often. I had heard before that you can give baby a lovely, but I didn’t know why. The plan explained that. I had read about other techniques that Jen (my consultant) referenced in the plan, but she gave me the why. I knew not only what we were going to do but why we were going to do it. That was HUGE for me. I am a very why-oriented person.”

Makes a lot of sense, right? What Vikki (and the rest of us here at The Baby Sleep Site®) want you to know is this: for many of you reading this, a Personalized Sleep Plan™ is all you need to conquer sleep training boot camp, and to solve your little one’s sleep problems once and for all. Even if you don’t feel like you need a consultant tobss_ebook_3stepsystem_left-1 help you, you probably will want all the sleep coaching info you can get your hands on to help you through this process. Well, our e-Books (which are currently 15% off!) provide just that. The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep is a great choice – it includes all the basics you need to sleep train successfully, and the Silver package includes downloadable instructions about how to make your own sleep training plan!

No matter how you decide to approach Boot Camp Part #3, remember that this step is critical – you need to create a solid plan and then implement it well. You have about a week before we get into Part #4, so use this time to make and then use your plan. Next week, we’ll talk about what to do if things don’t go exactly according to plan. ;) But between now and then, remember – we are here to help!

This is a big step, so if you have questions, ask away, and we’ll offer some help! For those of you who have sleep trained before – share your tips!


<--Boot Camp Part Two: Making Feeding & Schedule Changes (Plus A Bonus Step!)

Boot Camp Part Four: Staying Consistent With Sleep Training –>

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Two: Making Feeding & Schedule Changes (Plus An Optional Bonus Step!)


New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.

BOOT CAMP, PART TWO: Making Feeding and Schedule Changes (Plus an Optional Bonus Step)

How Small Changes Can Make A Big Sleep Difference

A few days ago, we talked about how important it is to prepare before sleep training. Today’s boot camp article offers another preparation tip – now that you have (hopefully!) done the 5 things you need to do before sleep training, the next step is to take a long, hard look at your baby or toddler’s current feeding and sleep schedule.

Why? Simple – because in our years of working with families, we have found that sometimes, making adjustments to feeding, and to the sleep schedule, makes a big impact on sleep. In fact, some parents have discovered that simply adding in one or two extra daytime feedings, or shifting the timing of naps, eliminates their need to sleep train at all!

We’re not promising that will be true for you, of course, but at the very least, if you have a schedule issue or feeding problem, making the change now will allow a few days for your baby or toddler to adjust before you start sleep coaching, which is a good thing.

So, let’s take these two things separately…


Take a good look at how much your baby or toddler is eating, and then compare that to the recommended averages found on our baby feeding chart. If your little one isn’t taking in enough breastmilk, formula, and/or solid food, then up the amounts.

Also, think about when your baby or toddler is eating. Is there a loooooong stretch between your toddler’s last meal of the day and bedtime? Maybe offer a bedtime snack. Or try cluster-feeding your baby close to bedtime – offer a series of shorter, smaller feeds before bed. Has your baby gotten into a pattern of eating frequently at night and not much during the day? See if you can begin to gradually shift some of those feeds to daylight hours.


The timing of your child’s naps is what matters here, as well as the morning wake time and bed time. Remember, bedtime shouldn’t be too late, as that can make sleep problems even worse. See our (printable!) baby and toddler bedtime by age chart for help with this. Keep an eye on morning wake time, too – as best you can, try not to get your baby up for the day before about 6 or maybe 6:30 a.m.

Naps are key, too – particularly naps that happen late in the day. If your baby’s last “nap” of the day isn’t over until 6:30 p.m., that’s a problem! It’s going to push bedtime way too late. Watch the length of your baby or toddler’s naps, too – while the last nap of the day can be a short, 30 minute catnap at certain stages (and when you’re nearing a nap transition), a truly restorative nap should be about an hour or longer. (Of course, if short and inconsistent naps are part of the reason why you’re sleep coaching, then don’t stress over this too much; make whatever small changes you can, but know that we’ll get into real nap training in another week or so).

Work on making small changes to the feeding and sleep schedule now, and over the weekend. That will set you up for Boot Camp Part #3, when we’ll make (and implement!) our sleep coaching plans. As you work on this step, some resources that will no doubt really help you are our sample sleep and feeding schedules by age. Use the sample schedule for your child’s age as a template.

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftOr, even better, consider picking up a copy of Mastering Naps and Schedules – it has over 45 sample schedules by age, so you will have plenty of scheduling resources to draw from. And don’t forget that right now, Mastering Naps & Schedules is 15% off – so grab a discounted copy today, and get to work on making those feeding and scheduling changes this weekend!
Of course, at any point, if you feel like you need additional help with anything here (whether that’s the kind of additional do-it-yourself resources you’ll find in our e-Books, or personalized help that comes with a one-on-one sleep consultation), you can visit our Boot Camp Essentials page and grab your boot camp essentials at a 15% discount. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone – we are here to help you conquer sleep training boot camp!

BONUS PART 2: Fill out the Family History Form

You don’t necessarily have to do this part, if you don’t have time, but we think it’ll be really helpful in planning for sleep coaching.

Now, I know what you may be thinking – “What on earth is a Family History Form??” Great question! ;) The Family History Form is a form that we ask all our consultation clients to fill out prior to starting their consultations. It allows us to get all the background information before our consultants create the Personalized Sleep Plans™ for each family.

BUT, filling out the Family History Form isn’t just for our consultation clients – it’s an exercise that can benefit ANY family who’s struggling with sleep. We have heard from lots of readers over the years who have told us that filling out the form helped them so much in the sleep coaching process.

Why? Because the form helps you:

  • …identify your baby or toddler’s specific sleep associations.
  • …summarize the history of your baby or toddler’s sleep issues (when they started, how long they have lasted, if/when they got worse, etc.)
  • …outline what sleep training (if any) you have tried already. It’s key to use your past sleep training experience when creating your sleep training plan (more on that soon), so this step of the form is a vital one.
  • …summarize your child’s current sleep and feeding schedule.
  • …identify your child’s feeding habits and schedule considerations.
  • …pin down your baby or toddler’s temperament.
  • …summarize your own parenting philosophy (which will have a big impact on the kind of sleep coaching methods you include in your sleep plan).
  • …identify your sleep coaching expectations.

Many parents have told us that filling out the form is therapeutic. Some have even told us that, by filling out the form, they were able to clearly see and understand their sleep situation for the first time – there’s just something about putting the facts (and your feelings!) down on paper.

Here’s what Vikki, your “boot camp encourager”, had to say about what filling out the Family History Form was like for her:

BSS Headshot 2“Filling out the form put a voice to our problems. I made lots of notes on Lyla’s sleep and issues around sleep on my own, but filling out the form made it a narrative. It gave me a comprehensive story to look at and problem solve. It also forced me to think through things that I thought were little or insignificant and how they might be impacting Lyla’s ability to self sooth and learn to sleep on her own. It was an excellent exercise and I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with sleep issues with their little one.”

And here’s something else to consider – even if you don’t plan to do a personalized consultation with a Baby Sleep Site consultant now, if you change your mind in the next few weeks, you’ll have your Family History Form all filled out and ready to go. Win! :)

So, if you have time this weekend, after working on implementing feeding and schedule changes – sit down and take a little time to fill out the Family History Form. Then, save it – you’ll need the info in it to tackle boot camp part #3!

Download a PDF copy of the Family History Form HERE. Or, click this link to automatically download a Word version of the form – great if you want to type your info right into the field provided.

Don’t forget that, while you can definitely tackle sleep training boot camp all by yourself, you don’t have to. If you’d like your own personal (but friendly!) drill sergeant, to guide you through this process, we can help with that! We also have a variety of e-Books designed to give you even more resources to help you along in your boot camp journey. And the best part – our e-Books and our consultations are currently 15% off!! So be sure to stop by and pick up your boot camp essentials today.

LOTS to do this weekend! Have any feeding or schedule questions? Ask away, and we’ll answer! Have tips for our readers about feeding and schedule changes, or about the Family History Form? Share them – we love hearing from you!


<--Boot Camp Part One: 5 Things To Do Before You Sleep Train

Boot Camp Part Three: Creating & Implementing Your Sleep Training Plan –>

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3 Signs Your Baby or Toddler Nap Expectations Are Unreasonable

Are Your Baby or Toddler Nap Expectations Unreasonable?

We all want our babies and toddlers to take long, restorative naps at regular times each day, right? Judging by how popular our nap articles are with all of you, I’m betting you answered ‘Yes!’ to that question!

But here’s something to consider – are the expectations you have for your baby or toddler’s naps unreasonable? How can you be sure that your nap expectations are reasonable, and are in keeping with what your baby or toddler is capable of? Sometimes, when we work with parents who say they are struggling with naps, it turns out that the problem has more to do with mom and dad’s nap expectations, and less to do with their little ones’ napping habits!

3 Signs Your Nap Expectations Are Unreasonable

1. The amount of nap sleep you expect from your baby or toddler far exceeds the average sleep totals that are appropriate for her age.

Think about how much sleep your baby or toddler typically gets at night. Now, think about how much nap time sleep you expect from your little one each day. Add those two numbers together, and then compare them to the following average sleep amounts in a 24-hour period:

  • Newborns: 15-18 total hours of sleep
  • 1-4 Months: 14-16 total hours of sleep
  • 5-8 Months: 13-15 total hours of sleep
  • 9-10 Months: 12-15 total hours of sleep
  • 11 Months-3 Years: 12-14 total hours of sleep
  • 3-5 Years: 11-13 total hours of sleep

How do your totals look? Keep in mind by the time your baby is 4 or 5 months old, the majority of her sleep should be happening at night, and by the time your baby is 6 months old, he will need just a few hours worth of nap sleep during the day.

2. You expect too many naps from your baby or toddler, given his age, and/or you expect the naps themselves to be too long

A baby’s nap needs change A LOT in the first year, so it’s understandable that we parents sometimes have a hard time keeping up with exactly how many naps our babies need, and how long those naps should be. It’s possible that you are expecting too many naps from your baby, or that you are expecting naps that are too long for her age. Take a look at the list below, and compare these totals with your expectations:

  • Newborns: Newborns take many short naps throughout the course of a day. Your newborn will spend more time asleep than she will awake, which is normal.
  • 1-3 Months: Your baby will take 4-5 naps per day, and each of those naps will usually be about an hour long (give or take 15 minutes or so). Shorter catnaps are considered normal at this age.
  • 4-5 Months: Your baby will take 3-4 naps per day. The length of each nap varies, but each nap should be between 45 minutes and 90 minutes long. At this age, your baby needs about 3-4 total hours of nap sleep per day.
  • 6-8 Months: Your baby will take 2-3 naps per day, and each of those naps should be about an hour long.
  • 9-15(or 16/17) Months: Your baby or toddler will take 2 naps per day (although some toddlers transition to 1 nap around 12 months, we usually recommend that parents try to stick with 2 naps until 15-18 months). Each nap should be at least an hour long – preferably longer. At this age, your baby or toddler needs 2-3 total hours of nap sleep per day.
  • 16 (or 17/18) Months-3 Years: Your toddler will nap once per day (although some toddlers give up their naps before age 3, the average age to drop the afternoon nap is between 3 and 4 years old). Your toddler’s afternoon nap should be 1-3 hours long.
  • 3-5 Years: Your toddler will likely drop the nap at this point. When that transition happens, you can institute an afternoon ‘rest’ hour in place of the nap.

3. Your expectations about nap timing don’t line up with your child’s morning wake-up and bedtime, or with the average wake time totals for her age.

Along with number and length, the timing of your baby or toddler’s naps matter too – this is important to remember. Be sure that you aren’t squeezing your little one’s naps too close together, and failing to leave enough wake time in between. And make sure you time your little one’s naps around the morning wake-up and evening bedtimes – these two fixed points in your child’s schedule will help ‘set’ the rest of the nap times.

Use the following wake time averages to help you time up your child’s naps with morning wake-up time and bedtime:

  • Newborn-2 Months: Wake times should be kept short at this age – between 45 and 90 minutes, generally.
  • 3-4 Months: Babies this age can usually stay awake for about 1-2 hours between naps.
  • 5-8 Months: The average wake time for babies this age is about 2-3 hours.
  • 9-10 Months: At this age, most babies can stay awake for about 3 hours between naps.
  • 11-15 Months: Most babies and toddlers this age have wake times of between 3-4 hours.
  • 15 Months-3 Years: At this age, toddlers can generally stay awake for about 5 hours.
  • 3-5 Years: Most toddlers and preschoolers at this age, who have dropped their afternoon naps, can stay awake for 11-12 straight hours during the day.

How To Create A Reasonable Nap Schedule That Will Work For Your Baby or Toddler

Whew – that’s a lot of information to digest, isn’t it? Don’t feel overwhelmed, though; you don’t have to take all of those numbers and create a nap schedule from scratch. You can take a look at our sample baby and toddler sleep and feeding schedules for guidance. Many parents tell us they use our sample schedules as templates, to create a custom schedule for their own children.

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftYou may also want to consider picking up a copy of our napping e-Book, Mastering Naps & Schedules. This e-Book is stuffed full of napping tips and strategies, and it contains over 45 sample schedules by age. The sample schedules in this e-Book are more specific and comprehensive than the sample schedules we offer on the site, so if you are really struggling with naps, Mastering Naps & Schedules may be a great solution for you!

Of course, if you want a personalized touch, and would prefer to have someone create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that would include a nap schedule – we offer that, too! We can put you in touch with one of our expert sleep consultants today; she will read through your family’s sleep history and use it to create a sleep plan that’s customized to meet your child’s unique needs and to fit with your parenting goals and philosophies.
Click here to see all our personalized consultation packages.
Once you purchase, you will immediately receive access to the Helpdesk, and you can set up your account, fill out your Family Sleep History form, submit it to a consultant, and get started on the journey to better sleep!

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.
bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transWant FREE nap help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as your baby or toddler’s next nap. So download now, and learn why your little one is struggling with naps – and what you can do about it.
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

Longer, better naps are just a click away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep right now!

Not sure if your nap expectations are reasonable or not? Ask your questions below, and we’ll answer! Have nap tips and advice for other parents? Please share!

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How To Put Your Baby on an Eat-Play-Sleep Routine – A Guest Post From Stephanie Parker

Readers, we have a treat for you today! Stephanie Parker, owner and creator of the Zipadee-Zip and mom to two cutie-patootie kiddos, is sharing some scheduling tips with us today.

Specifically, Stephanie shares some of the benefits of creating a flexible schedule, as well as tips on how to create a basic eat-play-sleep schedule that will work for even the youngest of babies.

And that’s not all – Stephanie has graciously offered to give away a ZipadeeZip to two Baby Sleep Site readers. Be sure to enter the giveaway via the widget at the end of the post!

But first – a little background info. :) Readers, meet Stephanie!

Meet Stephanie, Creator of the Zipadee-Zip

Stephanie's FamilyOur family’s little business and the invention of the Zipadee-Zip all began when our daughter stopped sleeping so the topic of sleep is an issue that is very close to my heart. Parents that come across sleepingbaby.com assume that because I invented a product that helped our little girl sleep and own a website called ‘Sleeping Baby,’ that I am some sort of sleep guru… oh how I wish that were true! I’m a mom just like you and I’m figuring it out as I go and doing the best that I can to make sure my little ones and my customer’s little ones grow up healthy and happy… and well rested!

I don’t have all the answers, and (as Nicole says) what works for one baby may not work on another. Babies have a way of keeping you on your toes like that! Our daughter Charlotte, and our newborn little boy Maverick, could not be more different if they tried! So in this article, I’d like to focus on the one thing that has worked for both of my children and many of the customers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Today I’m going to tackle the subject of scheduling.

First, I’ll address why a schedule can be so helpful and then I’ll cover what putting a baby on a schedule looks like.

The Benefits of Creating a Flexible Schedule

  • A Schedule Helps You Get to Know Your Baby. The reason I say “flexible” is because, although I think it’s good to have a set time when a baby eats, is awake, and sleeps, it’s even more important to listen to your little one and their needs and be willing to deviate from that schedule if necessary.
  • A Schedule Helps You Learn Your Baby’s Language. Having a schedule will help you distinguish what your little one needs when they need it. If they are crying when it’s not typical for them to cry based on the schedule you’ve established, it will help you determine that something may be affecting your little one (whether it be a growth spurt, sickness, teething, etc.). A schedule will also help you learn your baby’s different cries. A baby has a different cry for when they are hungry, in pain, or tired and understanding those cries helps you meet the needs of your little one more effectively and quickly.
  • A Schedule Can Help Teach Your Baby How to Read Time. A schedule can help establish your little one’s metabolism. A baby doesn’t know how to read time so creating regular times when your little one eats, is awake, and sleeps will allow them to thrive in all of those aspects because their metabolism will start to tell them when it’s time for those things. The sooner you can establish this flexible routine, the sooner your little one will learn to sleep through the night and take longer naps,.
  • A Schedule Might Just Make You a More Effective Parent and Spouse. A routine helps provide parents with some sanity! Part of successful parenting is having the energy to be parent… and more importantly… the patience! It’s been said that a mother may lose up to 350 hours of sleep during a baby’s first year of life resulting in irritability, confused thinking, and added stress. If you can roughly predict, based on your little one’s schedule, when and how long they will sleep, eat and be awake, you can try to get rest while they are sleeping. A schedule can also help you plan grocery trips or outings with less worry that your baby will get fussy because they are hungry or tired. When you are well-rested, it gives you more energy to play and be present with your little ones! More importantly, rest makes it much easier to find patience and calm with your significant other. Making your relationship with your partner a priority directly affects your little ones, so being able to have a set time when you can put back into your relationship by being able to go on date nights can make all the difference in the world!

Eat, Play, Sleep: A Gentle Routine That Works For Babies Of All Ages

Now that I’ve addressed the importance of a schedule, I’ll talk about what a schedule looks like in the day to day life of your little one. In my humble opinion, a baby’s routine should consist of eating, being awake, and sleeping…in that order.


Whether you breast or bottle feed, it’s important that your little one is getting a full feeding every time they feed, even from birth. This will make it easier for them to establish their metabolism or their internal clock which will result in them more quickly understanding when it’s time to eat, sleep and be awake. If you breast feed, it’s especially important to make sure your baby gets a full feeding so they are able to take advantage of your hind-milk. While some babies are efficient eaters and can take in a full feeding in 5-10 minutes, other babies need longer to eat. This is especially true for newborns and young babies.

Shorter and consequently more frequent meals can be exhausting for momma, but it might also result in a baby not getting a good nap due to their need to wake early to feed. Our little boy falls asleep at the breast which is natural for most newborns. As a result, I have to either tickle his little feet or use a damp rag (not cold but room temp) to keep him awake so he gets a full 30 minute feeding. With a full tummy, babies often are able to take longer, sounder naps.

Nicole’s Note: Remember that during the newborn stage, short feeds are normal – newborns often cluster-feed in the evening, for example.


Unknown-1It is so tempting to nurse or feed your little one to sleep. We’ve all seen that “milk drunk” look and it sure does make it easier to put a baby down for a nap! I would, however, encourage moms to keep their little ones awake after feedings, except the one right before bedtime and after any middle-of-the-night feeds. By doing this, it will teach your baby learn to fall asleep on their own without the help of the breast or bottle. The earlier you can instill self-soothing skills, the better. This will also reap dividends down the line when feedings become less frequent and are eventually replaced with more solid foods. The fewer sleep associations you have to wean your baby off of, the better.

When your baby is done eating, wake her up if necessary and engage and play with her and give her some exercise in the form of tummy time or time in the exersaucer. This will allow a baby to exert some energy which will encourage sounder sleep when nap time rolls around. When your little one starts showing signs they are getting tired after having been awake for a while, that is when you want to lay them down for a nap. Never put a baby down to sleep when they are over tired…that can actually work against you and prevent a baby from falling asleep. Having a schedule will allow you to more easily recognize your baby’s tired cues, like fussiness or rubbing of the eyes.


If you have established a regular and consistent feeding and wake time routine or schedule, putting your baby down for a nap will prove to be much easier because your little one will learn to expect it. Try to create a soothing environment by darkening the room, turning a sound machine on or swaddling your baby…and if they are past the swaddling phase, zip them up in a Zipadee-Zip! These will become sleep signals which will help in the way of teaching your little one to self-soothe to sleep. I actually have customers whose babies will crawl to or walk to their Zipadee-Zip as a sign they are ready to be put down for a nap!

Make sure your little one’s naps are long enough. If your baby is waking up at that 30-45 minute mark or earlier, help them learn that it’s not time to wake up yet and encourage them to go back to sleep by doing things like rubbing their tummy and making the “Shhh” sound loudly or other methods that work well to soothe your little one (every baby has different preferred soothing methods). Try to avoid picking them up when they wake prematurely so that they don’t think it’s time to get up. If a baby is taking short cat naps, they may not be getting the restful sleep they need to make it through the day, which will result in a baby becoming cranky and exhausted. Try to push for at least an hour nap, if possible.

Nicole’s Note: 30 minute cat-naps are okay when your baby is going through a nap transition – in those cases, the last nap will usually be a 30-minute catnap, until your baby or toddler transitions away from it altogether. Also, remember that as your baby gets older and takes fewer naps, the naps themselves should become longer. A toddler who takes just one afternoon nap, for example, should sleep for at least an hour – some will sleep for 2 or even 3 hours!

One Last Tip: Focus On Being A Great Mom, NOT A “Perfect” One!

So that in a nut shell is my take on scheduling: feed, wake/play, sleep. As you can see, one aspect of a routine has a direct effect on the other parts of your baby’s routine, so it’s important to take that into consideration. Having a schedule for my son and daughter was a life-saver!

For anyone who is struggling with establishing a good schedule or routine, my best advice is to pick something that works for you and be as consistent as you can with it. Babies love and rely on consistency as it helps them discover their new world in a more manageable way. Don’t beat yourself up if your baby is struggling to adapt to a schedule or routine. It can take a couple weeks of consistent feeds, wake times and naps for your little one to get into the swing of things. Take one day at a time and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Be a mommy first and a time keeper second. Don’t forget to enjoy those little moments… even the moments of sheer exhaustion. When I’m exhausted and don’t know if I can go another moment, I’m reminded that one day my little ones won’t always need me to kiss their booboos, rock them to sleep or put that pacifier back in for the thousandth time. My hope for all you sweet moms, regardless of what schedule or routine you put in place, is that you understand that there is no way to be the perfect mom but there are a million ways to be a great one!

Enter To Win A ZipadeeZip!

Unknown-2Two Baby Sleep Site readers will win a ZipadeeZip in their choice of fabrics. Different from traditional wearable blankets, the ZipadeeZip is uniquely designed to help baby feel snug and secure while still having some freedom of movement. Many parents invest in a ZipadeeZip to help wean their babies from swaddling, but then keep using it due to its many other benefits: it keeps baby’s hands warm at night (and away from germs!), it’s easy to use with the car seat or with a baby carrier, etc. Due to shipping constraints, this giveaway is available to U.S. entrants only.

This giveaway is open from today until Thursday, May 22nd at 11:59 p.m. EST. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

AND, readers, don’t forget to head on over to the ZipadeeZip blog, to read our guest post, 5 Tips To Help Your Baby Learn to Self-Soothe And Sleep, and enter to win a 3-Step System Silver Package!

Stephanie Parker, Creator of ZipadeeZipStephanie is the wife to her best friend and husband, Brett and the mom of two little ones, Charlotte and Maverick. She grew up in Illinois and has fostered her love for anything creative since she was little, ranging from musical theater, to languages, to art and now designing prints for her Zipadee-Zips! Through all of the triumphs and trials she has experienced in her life, one thing has remained constant: her faith in God. The knowledge that all of her gifts come from above has given her the drive and motivation to make the most of them. She considers it an honor a privilege to own this little business and help parents and babies get the rest they need and deserve.

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