Friday, May 8, 2009

Can You Teach a Baby to Nap?

We are very lucky to have a champion sleeper for a baby. Lydia very rarely wakes up more than once a night, usually giving us at least one stretch of 5-6 hrs. of uninterrupted sleep. We have established a set bedtime routine for her that she seems to respond to. Robin carries her upstairs, changes her diaper, wipes her face, neck, and hands (if it's not bath night), and puts her in her onesie. He swaddles her while I get set to nurse, and then I nurse her and rock her to sleep. Maybe it's coincidence, but in the past few weeks, she noticeably mellows out pretty fast once she hits that changing table, and she has been falling asleep so well that I usually only have to rock her for 15-20 minutes. (We refer to this as the 15 minute rule. We always rock her for fifteen minutes after she appears to be sleeping well enough that we could put her down. This usually allows for a few early startles that would normally wake her up and cause her to cry, but if we are holding her, she goes back to sleep pretty quickly without the tears.)

Napping is another story. She has seemed to establish a general nap schedule, at least in the morning, and usually drifts to sleep around 9:30 or 10. The problem is, this is never in her crib, and the sleep does not last for very long. Instead, she drifts in and out of sleep and tends to fuss if I am not right next to her. 

As a result, this week I am going to try a little project. In the mornings, I am going to try to teach Lydia how to nap. When she starts getting sleepy, I will do a miniature version of her bedtime routine and put her down in her crib. We'll treat it like bedtime, so if she wakes up, I'll try to rock her back to sleep. If this seems to work, I'll introduce the same thing in the afternoon. 

We'll see how this goes.


  1. Yes,you can teach a baby how to sleep! When Brenna was a newborn she didn't nap during the day, and I really needed some time to myself. I started with 10 minutes. I put her in her crib for 10 minutes every day and decided that she could either cry or sleep for that time but I wouldn't pick her up for 10 minutes. I increased the time each day and she was napping well in no time! When you do your bedtime routine with rocking her, be aware that you're not letting her learn HOW to get herself to sleep. She needs to learn that so that when she wakes up she can get herself back to sleep. How about trying to rock her a bit, then lay her down, pat her until she's relaxed, then let her do the rest. I think sooooo many sleep problems with babies started with putting them AFTER they'd fallen asleep.

    Love having the photos everyday - hope you don't mine my advice.
    Kisses to Lydia ~ (Great-auntie)Theresa

  2. Nothing is more precious than holding a sleeping baby! Rocking a baby to sleep is so
    awesome!I did it with my first one!
    AND I CREATED A MONSTER that didn't know what a crib was for and didn't want to be in when he woke up and found himself there.
    Contrary to what people think,in my opinion, rockers were not intended to rock babies to sleep but to help stressed out adults relax!!!!
    My second child was put in the crib wide awake so that he would know what it was and
    he put himself to sleep at night and for naps. He often napped up to 4 hours at a time especially during growth spurts.
    He is also more independant as an adult than his older sibling. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!