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BOOT CAMP, PART FIVE: 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
My 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
I 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 returned 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 our special nap-focused e-book, Mastering Naps & 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. Your purchase will include helpful bonuses too! It’s a fantastic deal!
Or, if you’re just feeling too overwhelmed (or perhaps too exhausted) to do this on your own, remember – you don’t have to. 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.
Then, login to your Helpdesk account, fill out your child profile, and complete your Sleep History form to 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!
<–Boot Camp Part Four: Staying Consistent During Sleep Training
Boot Camp Part Six: Handling Sleep Setbacks –>