Monday, May 13, 2013

Mommy Mondays: Nap-ercise

Once you become a mom, you become obsessed with sleep in all forms.  How much, how long, how often.  Today we're going to talk about naps.

As I've said before, in the beginning, sleep is about survival.  You do what works.   For us, that meant for the first 3 months, naps required a human mattress. 

Thatbaby wasn't particular about who he slept on, or what they were doing.  He was just as happy in the carrier or in arms.  But try to move him anywhere else? No go.  Sleep in a carrier or swing?  Never happened.

And for a while, this worked out fine for us.  But eventually I figured he'd be starting daycare.  And I didn't see them letting him sleep on them.  So at 3 months I decided to start working on getting him in the crib.  I know I'm not the only one who has gone through this situation, so I thought I'd share how I did it.  It was a long process - about 5 weeks.

Week 1:  I've told you guys how much I love The Boppy, it's so much more than just a nursing tool.  For us, it was a sleep aid also.  I laid it right beside me on the couch and let Thatbaby fall asleep on me.  Then I, ever so slowly, rolled him onto the boppy, its arms supporting him the way mine would.

Week 2: After a week of this, Thatbaby appeared to be alright staying asleep on something other than a warm body.  Now it was time to get him to fall asleep on something other than a warm body.  So at nap time, I would lay him in the boppy, lying beside it, holding both his little hands in mine.  And I would sing him a lullaby.  I still had to lie beside him, but by the end of the week, he was falling asleep and staying asleep - not on me!

Week 3: We started the move into the crib.  We swaddled Thatbaby at night, when he had no problem sleeping in his crib.  With a very strong morro reflex, moving him into the crib without swaddling guaranteed a wake-up.  So when moving him into the crib for naps, we introduced a daytime swaddle.  I would swaddle him, turn on his white noise Sleep Sheep, and sit in the glider with him, singing a lullaby.  He'd be asleep by the end of the song, and I'd transfer him into the crib.

Weeks 4-5: This was the hardest part of the transition, getting Thatbaby to fall asleep on his own in his crib.  Mine was never a "drowsy but awake" kid.  At least for the first 4 months.  But over the course of 2 weeks, he turned into a kid who could go from wide awake to asleep on his own.  First I'd swaddle, then turn on the sleep sheep and lay him in the crib.  Then I'd turn on his Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse.  It plays music for 7 minutes, and Thatbaby would watch the tummy light up, listen to the music, and fall fast asleep.

*Disclaimer 1:  This process, as I stated, took 5 weeks.  Which meant Thatbaby started napping in his crib right around 4 months.  JUST in time for the "4 month wakeful" to kick in - a period marked by a disturbance in infant sleep.  So right as I got Thatbaby into the crib for naps, his naps shortened from 90 minutes to (wait for it....) 20 minutes!  They built back up over the next few weeks and at 5 months he was back to his regular napping.

*Disclaimer 2: This system worked fantastically until we had to stop swaddling.  At which time, I could no longer just put Thatbaby in his crib and he'd fall asleep.  So we returned to the third step, rocking and then lying him in his crib.  Which is still the way we do things at home.  At daycare, he has no problem putting himself to sleep, but at home he likes the cuddling.


  1. He's adorable - love the very early one of him napping on you. I miss the delicious days of smelling my baby's sweet head.

    Now, if I were to smell his head - I'd probably be breathing in dirt, cat food, soot (he likes the fireplace, ugh) and any number of food items that I didn't manage to wipe off him.

  2. I love how you shared this whole process! I feel like too often people just throw their hands up at this kind of thing but you guys really stuck with it!

  3. I don't recall having any transition to the crib. I can remember the exact amount of time before our youngest son decided that sleeping through the night was a good idea...5-months/2 days. Now, I am in a new phase, a son with a learners permit.


  4. Any tips on weaning baby from the swaddle? That's where we're having the most problems. Btw I can't believe how much his hair has lightened up since he was born!