This fourth born baby of ours has given me a run for my money when it comes to sleep. The 45 minute nap, or "short nap", or not-long-enough-for-me-to-even-catch-up-on-laundry-much-less-my-sanity nap, is one of the most dreaded things with a newborn. At least it has been for me.
LK was my perfect, textbook Babywise baby, perfect sleeper and never took short naps. She was a dreamy first baby when it came to sleep.
We experienced this a little bit with Shepherd when he was 2 months old and it lasted two weeks, and the swing cured it for him. He would wake up at the 40 minute mark, would fuss for about 15 minutes but couldn't put himself back to sleep, and I would put him in his swing and he would fall back asleep for the rest of his nap. After that amount of time, he started falling back asleep on his own within a few minutes and eventually stopped waking up at all.
With Fischer, letting him cry it out worked perfectly for him. He would wake up around the 45 minute mark, would cry for maybe 10 minutes and then be back asleep. Literally crying one minute and out the next. This happened sporadically throughout his infancy.
And then there's Archer. My little fourth-born baby. He has been my chronic 45-minute napper. I tried so many things and nothing was working. The only thing he wanted was to snuggle and rock. He would cry unproductively in his crib, he would cry in the swing. So I would rock him and he would fall back asleep and I would lay him back down and he would wake immediately.
As is the issue with most 45 minute nappers, I knew the problem was that he wasn't good at self-soothing yet. And part of me was ok with that. I know he is my last to get to snuggle and rock, but there comes a point when you have to remember to make decisions based on the good of the WHOLE family, not just one member. This is the #1 reason why Kyle and I love Babywise. It helps keep the whole family in mind and doesn't just revolve around 1 member.
In both of our defense, Archer was born at a busy time of year and on the brink of moving our whole family halfway across the country. (There has to be grace for people who move. That's what I decided. Grace on me the mom, grace on him the snuggly baby.)He also was the first baby to sleep in our room. I tried to be as consistent as I could, but it was definitely less than more. Finally, after moving and getting settled, I was able to really work on things and figure out a game plan that eventually worked.
Here is how we conquered Archer's 45 minute nap:
1. Stay consistent with feeding times.
One thing that kept tripping me up was trying to stay too closely to Eat-Wake-Sleep cycle. Now, obviously if you follow BW, you know this is the meat of the system. But what was happening with Arch is he ended up snacking because he would wake up too soon and would root when I would rock him. Because he wasn't getting his full feedings, I absolutely think this contributed to his sleep problems. So I decided and wrote down what times he would eat. So for the first couple weeks of this, our schedule looked a lot like Eat-Wake-Sleep-Wake cycle.
2. Pay attention to awake times.
One of the best-known "tricks" with the short nap is to remember that more sleep = more sleep. Most of the time a baby is over-stimulated and that contributes to the short nap. So when we were trying to figure things out, I tried shortening his awake time because this had worked in the past for me and I know this principle to be true. Sleep begets sleep. But it back-fired big time with this one. I figured out that Archer is the rare kind who needed longer awake times to really get tired before sleeping.I extended his awake times instead of shortened them and it made a huge difference.
3. Set a specific "nap-time" routine and stick with it.
I think babies pick-up on sleep cues so it's important to set some and stick with them. This should be as close to the same as night-time routines as possible. We follow the 4 -S's from the Tracy Hogg and "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems". (If you'd like a good summary, read Valerie's post about it here). What this looks like for us is we turn out the lights and turn on a noise maker. Archer is still in a woombie sleep sack, so we zip him up in that. We rock him and sing one stanza of his lullaby, and then sit still with him for a few minutes. He typically squirms a little bit and then stills. I put him down awake with his passy (yeah... we totally use it even though its a sleep prop!). And then we shush-pat if needed. Most of the time, this fourth S isn't needed or it isn't needed until about 10 minutes after we put him down.
4. Do the same thing for a long time.
I think when we are in the throws of sleepless insanity we are so desperate for a fix all that we end of trying a million different things and nothing works. I wonder if one of the reasons is that in the middle of trying a million things we lose any consistency. I think this was true for me with Archer. So after we moved and he was in his own room, I started doing the above things and I stuck with those same three things as closely as I could. It took close to two weeks, but I can finally say we have conquered the 45 minute nap. Some times it is just a little over an hour at a time or sometimes it is the full 2 hours but it isn't the consistently short nap he had made a habit of!
- Monday: Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
- Tuesday: Shea at The Moses Home
- Tuesday: Stephanie at Giving It Grace
- Wednesday: Brooke at Apffel a Day
- Wednesday: Kimberly at Team Cartwright
- Thursday: Carrie at Wiley Adventures
- Thursday: Emily at The Journey of Parenthood
- Friday: Claire at My Devising
- Friday: Elaine at Faithfully Infertile