Posts Tagged ‘nap’

Do We Need a Daily Routine?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

During my baby’s first year, one of the most common topics of conversation was about how she was sleeping.  Friends/family/moms in mom groups/strangers in the grocery line all seemed really interested in how she was sleeping.  Once we had established a daily routine, my response was much more positive to the dreaded sleep question. Routines are needed because they let your baby what to expect next, according to Babycenter.  When babies can anticipate what happens next, it provides comfort to them and helps them sleep better. Experts say that routines can be established as early as 2 months or as old as 6 months old, depending on your (and your baby’s) personality.

My first daughter was a snacker. She liked to nurse for short amounts of time every hour or two all day, every day up until she was about six months old. At about 6 months, we started to establish a routine with her, encouraging her to eat more during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night. My younger daughter was content to nurse for long amounts of time, less frequently. We worked out our routine around 4 months. Establishing a routine earlier with my second daughter also benefited my first because we returned to many of our activities that we did before the baby was born.

There is a wide range of philosophies about establishing routines, ranging from the parents setting the routines to basing the daily routine on the baby’s natural schedule and everything in between. For me, and my children, building a routine around their natural schedules worked best.  However, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I have flexibility with our days.

I found that using time intervals–instead of basing the routine off the clock–created a routine that was flexible but still offered my babies the comfort about what was coming up next.  Juniper was the most happy with about 3-3.5 hoursbetween waking and going back to sleep.  When she was about 6 months old, Juniper’s routine would begin with her waking up for the day.  I would feed her breakfast, play with her and do tummy time while her big sister was eating breakfast, get the three of us dressed, then about 2.5 hours after she initially woke up, I would nurse her for about a half an hour to forty-five minutes until she fell asleep for nap.  During her naptime, Lily and I would do one of her classes or another activity (like going for a walk or to the playground).  I would let Juniper sleep as long as she wanted, and then we would start the routine over (meal of solids, play/activity, nurse, nap) again, this would fit into about 3/3.5 hours.  At this point, Juniper was taking two naps a day and going to bed around 6/6:30 at night.  Because we were not tied to the clock, if Juniper wanted to nurse an extra time or take an extra nap, our entire day was not thrown off.

Setting a routine doesn’t have to be a struggle to have your baby follow a schedule based on the clock.  Setting a routine based on a pattern during a rough time interval offers your baby predictability and meets her needs based on her natural schedule with the flexibility that she needs day to day.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

Crib Climbers

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

IMG_0593The first time my son lifted a leg over the rail of his crib, my heart panicked.  I was hoping that the day would never come and that he would want to sleep in a crib forever.  I just wasn’t ready, but is anyone ever ready?

I tried not to react, but was nervous none the less. Nervous that he would fall out in the middle of the night or even scarier, never nap again.  It was an exciting challenge to him. He couldn’t wait to get to the other side and worked so hard to find out what it would be like to get there all by himself. The first time he fell out, I’m not sure who it scared more, me or him.  I heard a loud thud and then a cry. Luckily, the only thing that got hurt was his ego. That first fall took the mystery out of the adventure for him and bought me some time before his next attempt.

Putting a sleep sack on him in bed is the other thing that prevented him from making a climb again for a few months. I often wondered if it was because he couldn’t see his feet or legs that he may have forgotten that climbing was an option. Whatever it was, that sleep sack did the trick. When he figured out how to unzip and take off the sleep sack, I took the next step and put it on him backwards before putting him in his crib. That worked for a while, too, until I couldn’t find a sleep sack large enough for my growing toddler.

The reality is that many toddlers are curious and take on the challenge of the climb, while some never take the plunge.  Some people lower the crib mattress to the floor,  some people add extra padding to the floor outside of the crib, and some people jump to transition to a toddler bed.

My son transitioned to a toddler bed very well. My 17-month-old daughter keeps us on our toes all day long, but has yet made the move to climb. I’m hoping that her short little legs will buy us time.

Sarah Cole is a writer and a stay-at-home mom of two busy toddlers who keeps her on her toes all day long.

 

Surviving a Baby Who Doesn’t Sleep

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Surviving a Baby who Doesn't SleepYou’re tired. You’re so tired. You’re so tired and before now you never knew exactly how tired a person could feel. You’ve got 3, 4, 5 books on baby sleep piled on your nightstand. You wish coffee worked better than it does.

You’ve got a new swaddle blanket on the way (even though you already have three other types), along with a noise machine and a pacifier that maybe, just maybe, your baby won’t spit out at night. You’d do just about anything for naptime to last longer than 30 minutes at a time and you aren’t really sure how many times you were up with baby last night. It’s all a blur. Sound familiar?

You, my friend, have a rotten sleeper. You don’t have a “bad” baby, as the question “Is she a good baby, sleeping well at night?” would seem to imply. You have a child who, for whatever reason, has a very short sleep cycle, has trouble returning to sleep, and needs the comfort of her parents a bit more than average. Welcome to the club. We’re a small, select group, but we’ve been there and we feel your pain.

Soon, if not already, you’ll hear from friends with babies the same age that their children are starting to sleep at night in longer stretches. You’ll see Facebook statuses about what other moms accomplish during naptime (their kid sleeps 3 hours, of course!). Well-meaning strangers and loved ones will start asking about how your child is sleeping. Should you choose to reveal the truth, you’re opening the flood gates of “Oh, poor thing. My boy was always a fantastic sleeper, right from the start. Have you tried X,Y,Z? I’ve heard that’s what you need to do.” Then there’s the pity face, that sad look they throw at you that clearly conveys the fact that they’re glad it’s you, not them, that has been up for the past 6 (12, 18, 24?) months straight.

Well, I’m here to offer solidarity, not pity. We must stay strong in the face of tiny nighttime terrorists! We must not feel guilt when we order a triple shot espresso every. Single. Morning. We must not worry that we’ve been in the same shirt for most of the week! We need to be open and honest about how crappy nights at our homes are, if for no other reason than to find kindred souls who know our pain!

I’m not going to offer tips. If, like me, you really do have a rotten sleeper, you’ve already tried most of the methods you’re comfortable trying. Co-sleeping? Tried it. Swaddling? Tried it. White noise, warm sheets, rocking/bouncing, boobs/no boobs (or bottles)? Tried it, tried it, tried it, and tried it! Sometimes something will work for a while, until it doesn’t. All you can do it keep trying, keeping going, keep loving that baby.

Lean on your partner, if that’s an option. Lean on your friends, your family, and your community. Be honest about how tired you are and if people ask if they can help, let them.* Do what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t. Yes, this may mean that the dishes don’t get done because you just want to sit and space in front of the computer in the hour you have before you anticipate the next wake up. That’s ok! You’ll get no judgement from me. I’m just over here, working on my third coffee, sending you rotten sleeper survivor support through the internet.

*On a serious note, sleep deprivation is a very serious thing. If you need more help than a laugh from a blog can give, get it. Don’t let your partner find you sobbing incoherently on the nursery floor. I’ve been there. If you can split up night duty, make sure you do.

Kate Cunha is the mom of a rotten sleeper, who, at nearly 3 years old, is finally mostly sleeping through the night. Mostly.