Have you struggled with getting your little one down for a nap? This is a battle I have fought since Baby N. was about three months old. He used to go down for a nap just fine – I would lay him in his crib all swaddled and sleeping then graduated to letting him self-soothing. Something happened around three months of life that caused him to suddenly hate nap time – specifically sleeping on his own. Now, a lot of parents choose to sleep with their little ones either by carrying them or laying next to them. Some choose to let their baby cry it out. Others are somewhere in between. I really need nap time to get things done or have some quiet time to myself. Therefore, the idea of napping in a crib really appealed to my lifestyle. We also nap on the go in the carrier, stroller, or carseat. However, the majority of naps take place at home in his crib.
Every time I laid Baby N. in his crib for nap time he would scream bloody murder. It would take up to an hour and a half to get him to sleep. I was bouncing, rocking, swinging, swaying, walking, shushing, swaddling, not swaddling, nursing, not nursing, and etc. Nothing seemed to work. I knew he was tired because he had been rubbing his eyes and ears. He also gets tired after being awake for an hour and a half. He usually sleeps for about 45 minutes at a time.
To get Baby N. to sleep in his crib and eventually teach him to self soothe himself to sleep.
Laying Baby N. in a swing was the most effective, but my goal was to try to get him to sleep in his crib. Therefore, bouncing on a yoga ball was the most effective. He would fall asleep in 10-15 minutes without crying, then I would lay him in the crib once he was asleep. However, I started nannying and couldn’t afford this kind of time. I needed him to fall asleep quicker. After doing some research I learned that some parents nurse their babies to sleep while laying next to them, so I tried this one afternoon. Baby N. nursed very well for about 10 minutes, I burped him, and then layer next to him on the bed….he passed out in ONE MINUTE. Eventually he learned this was the routine and didn’t need the close body contact to fall asleep. After the nurse and burp, he would focus his attention on a teddy bear or pillow falling asleep on his own. I realized that I might be able to escape after the nurse and burp. I was wrong, he still needed me there. This was our routine for about two months.
This was my process. Some days I feel guilty doing number 4, so I tend to do #2 or #3 depending on the day. Also, if #4 doesn’t work, then I’ll take Baby N. out of the crib to bounce on the yoga ball until he’s asleep.
- Nurse, burp, bounce on yoga ball, lay in crib asleep. (20-30 minutes)
- Nurse, burp, lay next to him on a bed. (10-15 minutes)
- Nurse, burp, bounce on the yoga ball, lay in crib awake (5-15 minutes)
- Nurse, burp, lay in crib awake (5 minutes for me and 5-15 for Baby N. to fall asleep)
I can now leave Baby N. after nursing and burping to fall asleep on his own in the crib! He will sleep 45-90 minutes at a time. It actually happened by accident one evening when I had laid him in bed after our bedtime routine. I was in a hurry to go out for the night, so I was doing my hair in the bathroom. I didn’t hear one peep from Baby N., so I went to check on him and he was sound asleep!
Most naps he is able to fall asleep if I lay him in his crib, but there are still times when he needs me to lay next to him in a bed or bounce him on the yoga ball. However, 80% of the time he is self soothing himself to sleep! Success! I’m sure we have a ways to go from here, but I hope he has learned to like nap time at least.
As a mom, you just need to follow your intuition – you know what to do…you just have to do it. Do your own research and find some ideas to try. If it sort of works and you feel like you’re making progress then stick to it – even if it means trying it out for a month or more!
Do you have any suggestions or advice to add?
Photo courtesy of Sweetie Photo.