Motherhood, Parenting, Parenting, Postpartum

Eat Play Sleep Method – 2023 Complete Guide

eat play sleep method baby having tummy time

Many mothers during the first 12 hours of the day practice the eat play sleep method to help train their babies to self-soothe themselves and follow a specific eat play sleep routine. There are so many benefits of following this routine, and the eat, wake, sleep routine actually works in creating a balanced life at home. 

The eat, wake, sleep method can give many mothers more time for themselves to practice self-care and regain their health physically and mentally. If you want to know more about the eat-wake-sleep method, keep reading. 

In this post, I will discuss the following.

  • What is the Eat Play Sleep method?
  • Why is the Eat Play Sleep schedule important?
  • Eat Play Sleep Bedtime Routine
  • When Not to Use Eat, Play, Sleep Method


This post is for informational purposes only. This post may also contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you purchase something at no additional cost to you.

eat play sleep method baby having tummy time

What is the Eat Play Sleep method?

The Eat Play Sleep method is also known as the Eat Wake Sleep Method. It is a routine that helps organize your baby’s life including his/her naps and feedings. With this method, your baby will eat first, then play, and then sleep. The routine keeps repeating throughout the day.


The eating period involves you feeding your baby by breastfeeding or by bottles. If you are breastfeeding your child, you should try to encourage your child to take full feedings each time. You can do this by making sure he/she is not sleepy when drinking.

If the baby is drowsy, he/she will most likely take a small feed and want more throughout the day. This can destroy your baby’s routine and your daily schedule. Try to establish breastfeeding quickly and take your time when feeding your child. If you are feeding your child formula, make sure you know how many ounces should your baby eat. 

The more you feed your baby in one sitting, the less they will want to eat all day long. This could drive moms crazy. So, do not make the mistake of short feedings.

Play / Wake

After feeding your baby, you should not put them to sleep. Instead, it is play time or wake time for your child. You can start this time by introducing tummy time to your child. Tummy time is essential for babies because it helps their necks and arms become stronger. This in return helps them crawl in the future.

You could also read books to your child. Keep in mind, you should not keep them awake longer than their wake time. Each age group has a certain wake-time window. By following the wake time, babies will take longer naps. Also, you should keep in mind that babies shouldn’t be overstimulated during playtime. Keep the activities simple. Here is more detail on babies’ wake time according to age.

  • Newborn to 1.5 Months: 30 to 45 minutes
  • 7 to 10 weeks: 45 to 60 minutes
  • 11 weeks to 3.5 months: 1 to 1.5 hours
  • 3.5 to 5 months: 2 hours
  • 5 to 7 months: 2.5 to 3 hours
  • 8 to 13 months: 3 to 4 hours
  • 13 months and older:  5 to 6 hours


You may think that you have to feed your baby before he/she sleeps. This is false and it is not recommended. If you feed your child before sleep, your baby may develop an attachment to the milk. The baby may start to think that he/she can’t go to sleep without it. Children need to learn how to self-soothe themselves to sleep. Sleeping independently is a major skill they need to learn and trust me it will make your life easier.

You should place your baby in a crib after playtime is over. Make sure the baby is sleeping in a safe sleep place. You can turn on a white noise machine. Having a baby on a schedule is very important. 

Why is Eat Play Sleep so important?

The eat-play-sleep method is important because it gives the mom freedom, decreases the chances of needing to break bad habits, creates a flexible routine for both mom and baby, promotes better night sleep, and creates a similar bedtime routine. 

Fewer Sleep Props

The eat-play-sleep method teaches your baby to sleep without the need for feeding. Therefore, there would be fewer sleep props. 

How does it feel to have a baby you could put in the crib to sleep without the need for rocking or feeding? It gives the mom much more mom to do things she likes to do. 

Better Night Sleep

According to the department of health, babies wake up several times during the night. If you feed the baby right before sleeping, the baby would want you every time he/she wakes up. 

By following the eat, play, sleep routine, your children will learn to self-soothe themselves back to sleep. This would promote better sleep for you and your child. 

Many popular sleep books like The Baby Whisperer and Babywise use this method. It is easy and simple. You just need to be consistent.

Freedom for Mom

By following the eat-wake-sleep method, you are freer to do what you want. Babies can cage a mother at home if they are very dependent on their mothers. The eat, play, sleep routine would help teach babies how to be more independent at a very young age. Breastfeeding mothers struggle with their mental health, and being able to have a little time for themselves can be a world of a difference. 

Flexible Routine

The eat play sleep method is very flexible. Every mom knows that some days could be chaotic, and during those times, they need a flexible routine. By slightly adjusting the times for eating, sleeping and playing, your child will not be affected.  

No Need for Breaking Bad Habits

Every first-time mom knows that it is so hard to break a bad routine like sleeping with a bottle, sleeping without rocking, and much more. By using the eat-play-sleep method early on, you could prevent the need for breaking bad habits. 

Many mothers find the most difficulty in weaning night feeds. By following this method, this problem would never arise from the start. You should begin the eat play sleep method when your baby is around 2 months old because that is when they start to play. By starting that early, you wouldn’t need to break any habbits.

Eat, Play, Sleep Bedtime Routine

During the day, make sure you never feed the baby right before bed to prevent establishing a bad habit. In the first 12 hrs of wake time, feed your baby, then play with the baby, and then put him/her to sleep. 

During the 12 hrs at night, feed your baby and then put them to sleep without talking to them. If you are weaning the baby at night, make sure you give the baby a full feeding, then put their pajamas on, and then put them in the crib. 

Some problems may ariuse. Your baby may take shorter naps than usual and this could mess up the routine. However, if your baby is not crying a lot when they wake up, you could leave them in the crib until there naptime ends. 

When Not to Use Eat, Play, Sleep Method

eat play sleep routine

The eat, play, sleep method cannot be used all the time. You should throw the eat, play, sleep routine out of the window when any of the following applies. 

Growth spurt:

Babies go through many growth spurts. They usually occur at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 moths and 6 months. The growth spurts may happen before or after the typical times. During growth spurts, babies tend to eat way more than they usually do. Let them feed as much as they want. After the growth spurt is over, your child would fall back into the routine quickly.


Do not try to follow any schedule when your baby is sick. Honestly, no schedule will work during those days. Just cuddle your baby, feed them as much as they want, and help them go to sleep. A few days would not ruin anything. 


During the newborn phase, nothing will work. Your child will want to sleep all day long, and when they wake up they will just want to feed. Do not use the eat, play, sleep method until they are two months old. 

Middle of the Night Feeds:

You should use the eat, wake, sleep method only during the first 12 hrs of wake time. At night, you should not play with your baby. Just feed them and put them back to sleep. Many babies wake up for night feeds or dreams feeds. 

In Conclusion

baby playing during play time eat play sleep method

Following the eat, play, sleep method will help you and your family have a better home environment. Everyone will be less stressed, your baby will be more independent, and you will have more time to care for yourself. A mother’s mental health is very important, and following the eat, wake, sleep method could decrease the overwhelming life that comes with having a baby.

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