Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sleep Training Part 1: Naps

Sleep, baby, sleep!
So, I am not really traditional when it comes to sleep training at all. My son is almost 5 months old and still sleeps in a Rock and Play in our bedroom for naps and at night. He seems that he might be teething too which is a whole different issue. Overall I tend to lean toward a baby-led schedule but it just doesn't seem to be working out for him as well as I'd hoped. We have been stuck in a rut with sleep and my poor baby is tired after just an hour or so of awake time. I definitely want him to be happier and not so sleepy during the day. Even though I try to follow his cues as best I can, he's been all over the place and I think that trying a little bit more structure may work out well for us.

I have not yet read any books but by following some guidelines from a few different websites we are on our way to transitioning him to his own room, in his crib. I would really like our sleep "training" to be well under way by the time he is 6 months old. Here are my goals for part 1, which will focus on naps.

Step 1: Move Rock and Play into his bedroom for all naps (we started this yesterday)

Step 2: Create a consistent nap schedule. One source tells me that at almost 5 months he should be having 3 naps but I think that he might need a 4th until I can get him to nap for longer periods of time. When we are at 3 naps I'd like to be as close as possible to naps at 9, 12, and 3 with about 2 hours of awake time in between naps.

Step 3: Avoid nursing to sleep for naps (I've been so bad about this recently) and work toward putting down drowsy as often as possible.

Step 4: Encourage naps to be 45 minutes (don't go get him early even if he is awake, unless he's crying, so that he has the chance to learn to fall back to sleep). Right now his naps are almost always 30 minutes but have sometimes been 40 minutes and once in a blue moon he's taken a 1-2 hour nap. Eventually encourage 1 hour naps or longer.

Step 5: Once he is comfortable sleeping in his own room, start using the crib instead of the Rock and Play.

I think sometime during our nap training phase we'll work on bedtime as well. Bedtime is an interesting animal and nursing to sleep has been my right hand but I'm not sure if that is for the best. I suppose we will figure out something that works for us! With impending teething I don't want to be too stringent with a time frame because there is no telling if we'll be up for 2 and a half hours in the middle of the night again or something....