The winner of Friday’s giveaway is… Lada! Congrats Lada and thanks to everyone for entering – you guys are awesome!
Catching forty winks baby-style.
When you were pregnant, you heard nightmares about co-sleeping preschoolers and swore you’d never let your babe into your bed. But now… it’s just oh. so. easy. Letting her snuggle in, and letting her latch on, means you’re able to get some shut-eye and don’t feel like such a zombiemom. It’s still early days, but are you already making mistakes you’ll regret?
Whatever works until you have the energy to work it out.
Alex was nursed to sleep in our family bed for the better part of seven months. He was also a stroller-napping pro… we trekked many miles through one cold Ottawa winter before spring finally sprung and we finally figured out how to get more sleep. While pregnant with Jack, I read A LOT about baby sleep. I was determined to avoid the nipple pacifier and all-night-noshing-buffet. Here’s what worked for Jack for the first coupla months:
- Swaddling à la Harvey Karp and this burrito-wrap diagram taken from this book. My two summer babies hated the swaddle, but Jack LOVED it.
- Shhhhing with the help of a white noise machine.
- Cocooning in our mac-daddy swing. I almost never turned it on because it made a clicking noise and the motion actually seemed to wake him up. But that was cool because I didn’t want him to get used to swinging/rocking/motioning-to-sleep.
- A pacifier. But then that led to more night-wakings so I cursed it and said buh-bye.
- Tickling his toes, blowing on his face, and asking Alex to use his outdoor voice to keep Jack awake while I nursed. I also fed him after waking to thwart the milk/sleep habit before it began.
- My sling/arms/boobs. We cuddled. We bonded. We got the rest we needed. I resisted nursing to sleep whenever possible but sometimes a mama’s gotta do what a mama’s gotta do.
I also slept in the same room as Jack for eight weeks or so, which was critical. Our evening routine was nursing a full-on meal, a little bit of playtime, a bath, and then PJ’s and sleepsack while lullabying in his dimly lit room. The white noise went on, he nursed again while I read a story or two, then I put him in his crib milkdazed but oh so slightly awake, turned out the light, crossed my fingers and tiptoed away. Nope, it didn’t always work, but I was surprised at how often it did. After a baby-free hour or three, I’d creep back into his room to hit the hay myself. On a good night I nursed him the two or three times he woke up and then put him back in his crib after a quick diaper change – only if he REALLY needed one! On rough nights he ended up in bed with me.
From two-to-four months, I worked on carving out his nap routine. Naps were about one to one and a half hours after waking, and I always tried to get ‘er done in the crib. Jack was most agreeable in the morning, so most days his first nap was the only one where he cribbed it solo. By four months he usually did two naps in his crib but the third one was still a hit or a miss… and usually a miss. Our babies never loved that third nap, so it was almost always a stroller/sling cat nap. I was eager for them to drop it at six months and we never looked back.
Below is a breakdown of Jack’s sleep patterns over the years. We weren’t on the dot, but I thought writing ‘-ish’ after each timestamp was just a little overkill. Being the
nerd Excel superstar that I am, I also put this in chart format over on our Support page.
7:00am Wake up (crying)
9:00am Nap #1 (1-1.5 hours… if I was lucky!)
12:30pm Nap #2 (1-1.5 hours)
4:30pm Nap #3 (~30-45 minutes)
9:00pm Bedtime (less daytime napping meant a slightly earlier bedtime)
7:00am Wake up (occasionally not crying)
9:30am Nap #1 (~1.5 hours)
1:30pm Nap #2 (~1.5 hours)
7:00am Wake up (singing/playing/crying)
9:30am Nap #1 (1.25-1.5 hours)*
1:30pm Nap #2 (1-1.25 hours)*
*We had to wake Jack so his combined naps didn’t exceed 2.5 hours. Or we had to accept a 5am wake-up call the next day.
7:30am Wake up (calling mama/dada and giggling as we opened the door)
1:00pm Nap (1. 5-2.5 hours depending on age: the older the shorter)
7:30am Wake up (racing into our room)
1:00pm Quiet time (1 hour… if I was lucky!)
At almost eighteen months, Lola’s following almost exactly in Jack’s footsteps. We sorted out Alex’s naps when he was around fifteen months, but it took a while before he would sleep for longer than forty-five minutes. Our boys both started afternoon JK at age four, which meant so long quiet time! Alex’s bedtime is 8:30pm, and because of the sharing-a-room-factor, Jack often goes to bed slightly later than his body clock would like, so he tends to sneak in a weekend car/couch nap. It’s all good as long as we wake him before he oversleeps.
It’s smart to have a plan but remember to stay flexible. Fussing while she falls asleep is okay for an older baby, but definitely not for a youngling. Those newbie cuddle-naps will be a thing of the past before you know it and you’ll never look back wishing that you’d snuggled less. Or that you’d smelled her less.
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