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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nap Training | Our cure for "Colic"

Emma has not been an easy baby from the very beginning.  There are so many things I could talk about (and may some other time) but for now I will just talk about one thing.  Colic.  The thing about colic that is so maddening (at least to Austin and me) is that there is no cure.  There is nothing that can be done to fix it.  You try a gazillion things and yet your baby still cries at the drop of a hat.  Or the second that you stop bouncing, singing, and basically doing everything possible to distract her (in our case.)  We read that the colic should be gone sometime between 3-6 months.  3 months hit and she was still very collicky.  4 months hit and things got really bad.  Emma got to where she was impossible to keep happy.  I can't tell you how many times we were literally dancing in front of her like crazy people just to keep her from crying for that moment.  It was hard.  Like really hard. And then about two weeks ago everything changed for us.  So why not talk about it, right?  

We started nap training.  We had to gain back some sanity and the first step was to teach her how to nap without us holding her.  This quickly turned into her sleeping for much longer periods of time and then all of the sudden she was a HAPPY BABY!  She now smiles and laughs and then will lay and look at things.  Or play with a toy.  Or do something that is just normal and not cry.  For us this has literally been life changing.  I know that it could be a weird timing thing or some sort of coincidence that she grew out of her colic at the same time we started this, but the difference started at the first day of nap training so I can't help but think this is the main thing that has helped us. (Disclaimer: obviously I'm not a doctor or anything of the sort, but I can't help but share because I wish I had done this earlier.)

Here is our process: 

-At the first sign of crankiness, it's time for a nap.  
It doesn't matter if she's only been up for 30 minutes or if it's been an hour and a half.  If she gets to the point where nothing is making her happy except for going to extreme lengths to keep her entertained, it's time for a nap.

-Take her back into her room, turn her noisemaker on, let her have her paci, and change her diaper. 
This is the routine that we are trying to keep so that she knows it's time for a nap.

-See if she wants to eat any more, then lay her down.  
We make sure that she has had a good amount of milk recently so she is full and happy and will hopefully sleep for a while.

-Let her have her paci again, pat her and give her a kiss and tell her goodnight.  
At the beginning we didn't even make it this far before she was screaming.  Now after doing this for a while she sometimes just goes to sleep and sometimes she still cries.

-Leave the room, but make sure to come back and check on her.  
I know a lot of people only check on their babies every 15 minutes or so when nap training, but we are softies and check on her every 2-3 minutes.  When you come back to check on them you are letting them know that you still exist, which is a good thing for a baby to know!  I set a timer because those 3 minutes can seriously feel like an hour when your baby is freaking out.  After the timer goes off, I go to check on her but the second she ramps up again I give her another kiss and leave the room.

-Repeat!  Until she's fully asleep.  

The first time Emma did cry super hard, and still does sometimes.  That part is absolutely heartbreaking, but she is always better after so I know that we are doing the right thing in our case.  What we thought of as colic this whole time seemed to be mostly an overtired, overstimulated baby.  Now that she is learning how to sleep we are living in a new world. 

To all the colic mommas (and other mommas, because being a parent is HARD) keep fighting the good fight!  And know it's not forever, even when it seems like it.


  1. I'm so glad you shared this! Congrats on getting Emma to sleep! Hunter and I have debated sleep training with James (now 3 months). I have read countless websites and books. We love him so much, but he always wants to be held (he cries when you're not holding him) and won't sleep unless he's in someone's arms.

    It. Is. Exhausting!

    So I feel your pain when it comes to baby sleep problems.

    I'm glad to hear it worked for your family and that Emma is now a happy baby! We may just have to break down (I'm such a softie when it comes to him) and give it a try!

    1. That is seriously so hard! It sounds like we have really similar situations. It's incredible how tiring it can be. We still are having ups and downs with her nighttime sleeping (mostly due to teething) but the nap situation has made a world of difference! Especially since we are two work-from-home parents, haha! It is so hard because it breaks your heart when they cry, but for us it was/is so worth it!