Sleep Training: The Nap
Think sleep training is cruel and unusual punishment? Think you should never let your baby cry? Then maybe it’s best not to read this post. ☺
Up until Monday of this week, our current sleep patterns consisted of Theo sleeping mostly through the night, (he gets up once between 1 and 2 am to eat), and then taking 2–4 naps during the day. He sleeps great in his crib at night. During the day is another story. Some naps are in his car seat, most are in my arms.
I’m looking forward to the time when he sleeps through the whole night, but 10–12 hours of sleep with only one waking period isn’t bad in my book, so I’ll work his sleeping through the night later.
This week though, we are addressing the nap. I haven’t read any whole books on sleep training, I’m mostly trusting my gut and doing a few google searches when I have questions like — how long should a baby that isn’t falling asleep stay in bed while attempting a nap? (Answer I used: if baby hasn’t fallen asleep in 1 hour, you can get them up.)
This might not be the best week to be undertaking this endeavor. I’m a little under the weather and though it seems like Theo is escaping my sickness this time, it’s hard to tell. His cry is a little hoarse sometimes… It also seems like we’ve had something scheduled each day which makes keeping the nap schedule difficult. As of now (Wednesday night), it feels like I haven’t seen much progress and that things are worse. He seems to be sleep deprived which doesn’t improve his chances for napping well. (The longer his naps, the better his future sleep for that day and night.)
Monday, the plan was to follow his tired cues and then put him down for naps. His naps totaled 1 hr and 30 minutes for the whole day. I quickly decided that a schedule would be better for all of us.
I did a bit of googling and found that babies between 3 and 4 months should nap for 3–4 hours each day. The suggested schedules said to do a nap at 8 am, another nap at 11, and a third nap at 3. Then bedtime around 7. The other key — the 8 am and 11 am naps MUST be in their crib. The 3 pm nap can be in the car seat or a stroller.
Tuesday, I followed the nap schedule — sort of. Theo woke up at 7:30 and we had to drive Justin to work in the morning and didn’t get home from doing that til 8:15. And then Theo still needed to eat. So he went down around 8:40. He talked and didn’t cry, but we had to leave for PT at 9:30, so he never fell asleep. After PT he was exhausted, and fell asleep in his car seat on the way home. (Breaking the crib rule…) He woke back up after only 30 minutes. I fed him and then tried putting him into his crib to nap a bit more. After talking for 25 min, he cried for the remaining hour until I got him up from his bed. And then we had to leave for the vet. He ended up doing another mini nap in his carseat at the vet. So… day 2 with minimal naps.
Wednesday, I cancelled all our plans and planned to focus solely on the naps. I put him in bed for his first nap at 9. He talked for 10 minutes, cried for 15 and then fell asleep. For 20 minutes. He woke up wimpering and I gave him a couple minutes hoping that he would go back to sleep, but nope. Sigh… I got him up and it was time for him to eat and he promptly fell back asleep for a half hour nursing in my arms. I put him down for his second nap at noon. He talked to himself for 20 minutes and then the crying started again. Everytime I went in to check on him (every 10 minutes), he would stop crying and look up at me with a huge grin. Little stinker; he’s so cute. Almost an hour in, he still wasn’t sleeping and his crying had escalated. I called Justin to consult with him and we decided I would get him up. It took a little while for him to calm down in my arms, and then he promptly fell asleep in my arms for a little more than an hour. Oh sweet Theo. Later in the day, he took a 25 min mini nap in his car seat on the way to pick up Justin from work.
So maybe tomorrow will be the day we turn the corner? A girl can dream! For now, I’ll just be grateful for the rest I get at night.