Does the E.A.S.Y. schedule make sleep more difficult for your baby?

Is the Eat Play Sleep Method EASY?If you’re a new mom there’s no doubt you’ve heard about the mythical “E.A.S.Y. schedule.” You know, the one where your baby Eats, has Active playtime, Sleeps for 2 hours, and You use their naptime to catch up on laundry, respond to emails and chat with your friends on Facebook? Yes, we’ve all heard about this so-called ideal daily routine that involves a peacefully sleeping baby and loads of “your time.” But, how many of us have actually been successful in implementing it and how many more of us are suffering needlessly trying our hardest to make it work and FAILING?

Many of the families we work with at The Baby Sleep Site report trying to get their baby on this E.A.S.Y./eat- play-sleep routine and being unsuccessful. I tried it, too, when my first child was a baby. It sounds perfect, right!? But, I believe there are some very inherent flaws with this idea:

  1.  While the E.A.S.Y. routine might be OK for a newborn with very short awake times and frequent naps, it often spells D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R. for older babies who need to eat before and after every nap.
  2.  Breastfed infants often need to eat more often than every 3 hours.
  3.  Limiting milk/formula during the day equates to MORE feedings at night.
  4.  Breastfeeding moms may suffer from low milk supply as a result of going too long between feedings.
  5.  Young babies do not eat or sleep on a true “schedule.” It is normal and expected for every day to look different the first 6 months of your baby’s life.

While we do promote implementing a daily routine including a nap and bedtime routine with your baby early on here at The Baby Sleep Site, we like to help the families we work with set realistic goals for their baby’s sleeping/feeding patterns. Books such as Baby Whisperer and On Becoming BabyWise have been criticized for misguiding parents’ expectations and in some cases, setting them up to “fail.”

The truth is: The E.A.S.Y. schedule can hinder breastfeeding and can actually make your baby sleep worse! Babies who go to sleep on an empty tummy tend to take shorter naps and fight going to sleep because they are hungry. Limiting daytime feedings can also mean your baby will need to wake up more often at night to feed. It makes sense.

If you have been trying to implement the eat-play-sleep schedule and are finding it impossible to achieve, you are NOT alone! If your baby is waking prematurely from naps, waking every hour at night or too early in the morning, this E.A.S.Y. schedule might be to blame! It’s best to feed your baby on-demand or approximately 30 minutes before each nap, possibly after the nap, and approximately 30 minutes before bedtime. Full babies are sleepy babies. 😉

Need help creating a baby-friendly schedule? Use our free schedule generator app to create a customized schedule for your baby or contact our team of expert Sleep Consultants to help you find the right schedule for YOUR baby!

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9 thoughts on “Does the E.A.S.Y. schedule make sleep more difficult for your baby?”

  1. Phew, I was starting to get majorly stressed about my LO’s weight/feedings, and I think the feed/play/feed/sleep may help with that.We’ve been doing EASY for about 3 mo, and while he took to it great, he’s never napped more than 30min, and the last 5wks or so has increased his night feedings. Is the assumption with the feed 30min before nap that the feeding is taking 30min and is putting them to sleep or should they be woken up before being put down? Thank you for the insight!

    • Hi @Stefanie – Thank you for writing to us, and we’re happy to hear that our information has been helpful and hope that adding more feeds to your schedule really helps!! Feedings will take different lengths of time for each baby, so your baby may be done in 15 minutes, which is fine! In any case, we recommend waking baby if he falls asleep during a feed, or at least partially waking baby before you put them down for a nap. This way, he’ll be learning to fall asleep independently, and will hopefully nap better!
      Good luck Stefanie, and please contact us if you need assistance at any time!

  2. Yes. Thank you! Finally someone said it. I have been wondering if e.a.s.y. routine is just more like impossible. Putting a baby to sleep after 2 hours of activity without feeding her first. Good luck with that!
    My baby is like clockwork, but she has to have her eating and snuggly time before sleep. Her longest nap during lunchtime is almost 3 hours.

  3. I’ve been using EASY and it works great for me! LO doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night and it gives me a mental break knowing a nap time is coming. I do feed a little bit more just before nap time, though.

    • @Elle, thanks for sharing what’s been working for you! I’m glad to hear you are all sleeping well!

  4. I have follow EASY plan from day one and my baby is a horrible sleeper and eater too. Now she refuses to eat before sleep or if she is sleepy. How can i get if of that habit of easy and starting to help her go to bed with a full stomach .

    • @Quynh – Thank you for reading and for sharing. The EASY schedule is definitely a popular one and, sometimes, an effective one. We’re sorry to hear that things haven’t gone well for you by using it. The key to changing a child’s schedule is to be consistent with whatever you’re trying to change it to. If you’d like more support with that, one of our lovely sleep consultants can help you make a personalized schedule just for you and your child. You can read more about our ladies here: Hang in there, Quynh!

  5. I found the babywise method fantastic. My boys slept through the night by 8 weeks of age (9 hour sleeps) they were very happy contented babies. I had twins and they came home from the SCN on a very similar schedule.

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