Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
No Longer ‘Nap-Trapped’
May 27, 2024

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

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A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

Blog Posts 15, based on the United States of America Department of the Army Field Manual: Holistic Healing and Fitness, describe what really matters for your child’s sleep. If sleep is an important enough topic for national defense than surely sleep should be considered a serious topic for parenting!

Blog 191No Longer ‘Nap-Trapped’

From thread in Blog Post 59

We did full extinction training starting on a Friday night as recommended so my husband could be there that weekend to help. We put him to bed at the normal time, 6:30, with our normal nighttime routine- feeding about 30 minutes before, then a massage, change clothes/put on sleep sack, song, book, and gave him a big hug and told him that we love him very much and it’s time to learn how go to sleep by himself now.

Then, we went outside where we can’t hear him and turned the sound off of the monitor and distracted ourselves. We actually had my best friend in town that night, she was leaving the following morning, but we all decided to go ahead and do the first night with her here to be able to do it on a Friday (she has small children so she understands) and I’m glad we had the extra person to keep us distracted. He cried for 30 minutes, just like he does in the car, and then fell asleep. We can’t hear him in our room thankfully and we kept the sound off the monitor all night long, but my friend could hear him which made me feel more comfortable and he only woke up twice and cried for about 5 minutes each time. He slept until 7am the next morning!

The next day I had to leave for a few hours and my husband handled the first two naps. Things were difficult, as expected. He laid him down for his first nap at the normal time (1.5 hours after wake up) and did the routine of a fresh diaper, song, sleep sack, and then just placed him in the crib. He cried for about 15 minutes before falling asleep. He woke up after 30 minutes (what he always does, even with the contact naps) and cried for 30 minutes before going back to sleep for another 30 minutes. The same thing happened for the next two naps. Then, bedtime came, and he cried for 15 minutes, but slept until 7 again!

The next day, the same thing happened with the short naps, but he fell asleep within 15 minutes after re-waking from his naps and he fell asleep within 5 minutes at bedtime!

It’s been 9 days now and he’s been doing phenomenally at night. Only crying for about 3 minutes and then waking up a few times with a quick little vocalization and then immediately going back to sleep!

Naps are still a process, but honestly, I’ll take a few minutes of crying vs sitting in the dark in a recliner all day holding him. It was getting very depressing, and I have so much freedom now and am really enjoying our time together, compared to when I was rushing to try to get anything done while he’s awake because what should have been my free time was spent nap-trapped!

He’s usually able to fall asleep within 5-10 minutes and has slept for up to an hour or more in one session a few times but does often still wake up after about 30 minutes and take 10-15 min to get back to sleep.

It’s, of course, extremely difficult to hear your baby cry, but I just kept reminding myself, just like in the car when he’s wailing… he is safe, he is full, he is dry, he doesn’t need anything. He’s just not happy right now and that’s ok. This is a skill we are teaching him, and crying is his only way to communicate, but it doesn’t mean anything is wrong.

I was, of course, a little nervous at first and had some anxiety the first day as we were preparing to start the training, but I’m so thankful that we went through with it. He’s shown us that it’s what he needs! He was done with the Snoo and done with the transitional swaddles and done being held! He’s a very tall boy – was in 9-month clothes at 3 months- and think he craved the space in addition to the freedom of sleeping without our help as he’s sleeping so much better at night and he sleeps in a T shape now with his arms all the way out wide.

He wakes up as happy as a clam, smiling ear to ear and cooing- not ever crying- both in the morning and even after a nap where he spent 30 minutes crying in the middle of it, so we know he’s doing great! For those of you that have been debating sleep training, just do it! It’s a gift for your entire family… your baby, your spouse, and yourself!

Yuri and Amira Melnichenko

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