Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Naps save the day. They allow you to get things done and have time to yourself. They are your sanity some days. :) If your baby isn't napping well or napping at all, it can be pretty frustrating and exhausting.
I feel pretty confident in diagnosing nap problems with Duke now. To start, the basic things are always taken care of when I put him down for a nap - he's been fed, burped, changed, and had his waketime. Here are the most common issues I've run into with naps:
What if he cries when I put him down?
That means he's tired and he wants to nap. At about 3 months, he pretty much stopped crying. Now at 5 months, it would be really odd if he cried. I put him down and he goes to sleep.
What if he wakes up after 45 minutes?
This is what Babywise calls the 45-minute intruder. The sleep cycle is changing and most of the time, it doesn't phase Duke. But sometimes, he will stir or make some noise. I let it go because he'll fall back asleep. If it persists for 15 minutes (which is rare), I get him up.
I've heard a lot of moms say, "My baby only takes 45 minute naps and I can't get him to nap longer." If Duke wakes up at 45 minutes and does not fall back asleep after 15 minutes, I know his waketime needs to be adjusted. He was most likely up too long before his nap, making him overstimulated and overtired. So, if you're noticing a trend of short naps, try putting your baby down earlier. You may be surprised!
One other thing that may make naps shorter is a growth spurt. At Duke's growth spurts, he will usually take shorter naps and want to eat more often. There is a difference between the cries at 45 minutes if that is the case. I can tell if it's a "Oops, I woke up and I'm fussy because I want attention" cry or a "I'm really hungry! Feed me!" cry.
To swaddle or not to swaddle?
We swaddled with the Swaddle Me wraps. We actually still use them, but we leave Duke's arms out now that he's older and can roll over. Swaddling really worked for us but I also know that some parents say it doesn't work for their child. So, trial and error is your best bet for this.
What if it's time to eat and he's still asleep?
I wake him. Some people firmly believe in not waking a sleeping baby. But with Babywise, if I didn't wake Duke, we would have no schedule. It would all be dependent on when he wakes from naps. At 5 months, if he's slept for 1.5 hours, I wake him to eat. It keeps us all on track and that way, we know what to expect.
What about sleep props?
Sleep props are anything that help your baby fall asleep (pacifiers, rocking, noise makers, etc.). This is all a personal preference thing. Babywise discourages the use of sleep props. For us, when it's time to sleep, we put Duke down in his crib, awake and alert, and walk out of the room. At first, it was hard because we had to let him cry it out. Now, we lay him down and he hardly makes a peep. It has all paid off! It is really freeing knowing that he can go to sleep without a specific prop or environment. Of course, everyone does things differently. Do what works for you. This works for us.