I never knew how precious sleep would be after welcoming my first-born son. The constant night wakings, the short naps, the naps that necessitated me holding him. . . However, I was able to solve many of my baby’s sleep problems with sleep training. The only difficulty that remained was the inability to lengthen my son’s naps. His naps were always a predictable 36 minutes long, no matter how hard I tried to get him to sleep just a bit longer – until Huckleberry offered to help.
As I have previously written, Huckleberry is a free sleep tracking app that has a premium feature that can help you and your loved one sleep better. Let me tell you how using Huckleberry Premium improved my baby’s naps (and my sanity!)
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Huckleberry. However, all views and data are 100% my own. Furthermore, any analysis and sleep plans shared are personalized based on my baby’s questionnaire and his unique sleep habits. You should not implement any sleep training without consulting your child’s physician, first.
What is Huckleberry Premium?
Huckleberry is a free baby sleep-tracking app that you can use to track your baby’s sleep, feeding, and poops. While new, Huckleberry is most known for their “Sweet Spot,” which predicts optimal nap & bedtimes. However, they also have a fantastic premium subscription.
With Huckleberry Premium, you subscribe to get personalized sleep plans for your baby. It is like having a certified sleep consultant in your pocket!
About a month ago, I shared my experience going through the sleep analysis questionnaire for the second time in my baby’s life (check it out here). Seven days later, I received my personalized sleep analysis and plan.
Download Huckleberry to try HERE.
Baby G’s Customized Sleep Analysis
I used Huckleberry Premium’s sleep analyses twice. The first time was when he was two months old. The second and most recent time was during the tail-end of the four month sleep regression. While I was able to sleep train my baby, he only took short naps that left both of us exhausted!
Huckleberry started off Baby G’s sleep analysis program with a comprehensive sleep profile. Basically, they reaffirmed that we were going in the right direction and mentioned that we “have made a lot of progress” since our last sleep analysis at 2 months old.
My analysis did say that my baby sleeps well at his age – which did make me pause for a moment because I felt that his short naps created a lot of strain on this new SAHM (Stay at Home Mommy). I wanted his naps to lengthen from 30-40 minutes to at least an hour so I could have some “me time”, again.
However, they did mention a few techniques that we would be practicing in order to solve my baby’s sleep problem – which was short naps.
The Sleep Schedule for my 4.5 month old.
Huckleberry then offered us two schedules – one for a 3-nap day and another for a 4-nap day. This is because depending on the length of naps my baby was taking, he may need one schedule over the other.
Both of these schedules focused on age-appropriate wake windows and have two things in common. This was a consistent wake-up time and bed-time. They also let me know that it was appropriate for my 4 month old to nap for 3.5-4.5 hours during the day, with the first two naps eventually lengthening as he approaches 6 months of age.
When we started their sleep program, our wake windows were 1.75 / 2 / 2.25 / 2.5 for a 3-nap day, with each forward-slash indicating nap time. (It is interesting to note what they ended up being a month later!)
Baby G’s Comprehensive Sleep Plan
Huckleberry Premium makes their sleep plans really easy to follow. They break it down through weeks and have activities nested within each week. When I first used Huckleberry Premium when Baby G was 2 months old, our plan extended through 8 weeks. At 4 months, the plan was only 3 weeks.
Week one was all about laying down the foundation for better naps for my four month old. Therefore, there were some activities that weren’t quite applicable, but that’s okay! When you do click on each activity, Huckleberry gives you the why and how, with a helpful FAQ to help troubleshoot anything you may have questions on!
Adjust the sleep schedule
They suggested adjusting my baby’s sleep schedule since he was getting a sufficient amount of sleep for his age. While this was true, my baby’s naps were still quite unpredictable and short. So, they recommended keeping a morning rising time that was consistent within 30 minutes and “guarding” his nap & bed-times to ensure that my baby’s circadian rhythm was optimized for better sleep.
This made sense to me, as sometimes he would wake from 7am to 815am. (And who am I to tell him to wake up when I love sleeping in, myself?) However, I got better with making sure he woke within a 30 minute window. If my baby was getting close to an 8am wakeup, I would slowly decrease the level of his Hatch Rest Sound Machine to allow him to wake up naturally, but on time.
Some examples of the FAQ for this activity were “What if he takes too long to fall asleep” or “What if I’m out all day and we can’t get a nap in at home?” Their answers are realistic and 100% practical – we don’t want to be stuck in a dark nursery all day!
Extend the Short Naps
Huckleberry gave us three options to start to try to lengthen my baby’s short naps. I decided to try each method for at least a few days.
One example of their recommended techniques is the delayed response. This means that I would allow my child a few minutes to fuss and allow him to practice putting himself to sleep for a period of time. If he was unable to, we would start the next wake window.
Another option was to go in and nudge him about 10 minutes before he would stir. This method would reset his sleep cycle and allow him to continue sleeping. I had very inconsistent results with this, although there were a few times that it lengthened his nap to 65-70 minutes!
Two Other Activities to Help Extend My Baby’s Naps
There were two other activities that were recommended. The first was increasing day calories. I chose to “skip” this activity, as I already practiced offering my baby milk every 2-3 hours, even if he isn’t fussing.
The other recommended activity was “checking the environment.” I thought I had this one down pat with the blackout curtains and sound machine. However, I increased the volume of his sound machine just a touch more and I turned his fan to a faster setting. Both of these seemed to help make the environment more conducive to more restful naps for baby.
Weeks 2 & 3
Huckleberry offered several other activities in order to improve my baby’s naps. These were activities to be completed once we laid down the foundation in the first week.
How I used Huckleberry Premium
I took my time with Huckleberry’s recommendations. I knew that lengthening my baby’s short naps would be a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore, I would try a technique for a few days and if it didn’t seem to work, I would try another technique. If you would like to see a short recap, I highlighted our nap training on my instagram stories.
I will admit there were good days and bad days. There were also days where I would still lay with him for his final nap just to get us through to a 7pm bedtime. However, it took the full three weeks to see results.
A month ago, Baby G needed three to four 25-42 minute naps a day. His last nap of the day always necessitated a contact nap just to make it to a bed time between 7 and 8 pm. Our wake windows went from 1.75 hours to 2.5 hours as the day went on.
For the past week, we have had a consistent wake up time between 730 and 8am. Our first nap is a consistent 2.15 hours after wakeup and now lasts 1.5 to 2 hours! The rest of my baby’s naps are much more age-appropriate, too!
There are still naps that I choose to let him contact nap, but it is no longer necessary like it was a month ago. I personally no longer feel frustrated or “trapped” with choosing between eating, cleaning, or having a personal activity in the 30 minutes my baby would give me.
My baby wakes up happy & rejuvenated and I feel more peaceful knowing that I get the “me time” I’ve needed – nearly six months postpartum!
I did Manually Adjust Our Wake Windows
I make sure to log all sleep details when my baby goes to bed. This means whether he was upset before his nap or if I had to wake him from his nap. This generally helps Huckleberry’s Sweet Spot lengthen his wake windows.
However, I did have to manually tweak his wake windows myself after I realized they might have been too short for my child. So, for a week, I was writing what his wake windows might be and tracked when I laid him down, how long it took for him to fall asleep, etc for optimal sleep.
Once I lengthened his wake windows to 2 hours and 5 minutes – 2.5 hours, his naps started lengthening. Now, these were still really similar to Huckleberry’s Sweet Spot – which recommended starting with a 2 hour wake window from wakeup until first nap.
Would I recommend Huckleberry Premium?
Yes, I would. When comparing the screenshots of my Huckleberry sleep tracking from a month ago until now, the difference is stark. At the beginning of the month, there was no seeming rhyme or reason to my baby’s naps. Baby G’s nap schedule was all over the place and his naps were short – unless I held him.
Now, at nearly six months old, my son has three naps a day – two longer naps and one cat nap. This is exactly what is developmentally appropriate. My baby gets through the day well-rested and happy. I get to clean, work on my blog, and nap myself – because he is sleeping safely in his own crib.
You might be skeptical because my child wakes 1-2 times a night. While he is over the 80th percentile for weight, I have chosen to follow my baby’s cues for night weaning. If you would prefer to work on getting your baby to sleep through the night, I’m sure Huckleberry has strategies for you.
Huckleberry Premium is Affordable
Huckleberry Premium is an affordable monthly subscription that can help you every step of your child’s sleep journey. When I asked for an analysis at two months old, they focused on my primary problem first, and then had subsequent activities to fix his other sleep issues. At nearly six months, there is much less for my child to fix – which is great!
You can choose how many months you do or do not want to opt into. And, at the time of this writing, it’s half the price of a manicure – while providing you the luxury of better sleep.
Huckleberry Premium is Adjustable
However, if you work on what the analysis suggests and your child’s sleep pattern suddenly changes – you can ask for another analysis!
Because of this I would most certainly recommend utilizing Huckleberry Premium starting about two months in. This is because you are starting to get out of the cluster-feeding of the newborn phase and can start creating a solid foundation for your child’s sleep. As your newborn “awakens” (aka has FOMO about everything), their sleep analyses can help you further until you nail the perfect sleep schedule.
Solve Your Baby’s Sleep Problems
I am a firm believer in doing the research you need in order to best take care of your baby. I have read several books, plenty of blogs, and even paid over $70 for a course that recommended unsafe sleep practices. With that in mind, if you have a tenaciously bad sleeper, Huckleberry will help take the second-guessing of how to help your loved one sleep with their personalized plans.
Download Huckleberry today, if only for their Sweet Spot nap & bedtime predictor. It’s free! If you choose to try out Huckleberry’s Premium Subscription, I am sure you will be confident in the results.