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.