Lately, Ava has become a non-napper. When she was younger and I stayed home with her she napped a couple times a day, everyday. Then I had to start back at work and she had to go to daycare. When she first started attending daycare it was just her and two other babies. During this time she still napped. Now the daycare has 8 babies…that’s right EIGHT!! And Ava doesn’t nap at all! She goes all day without at nap. My mind has been going crazy lately as to why she isn’t napping and I have had mixed feelings about it.
My first thought was she is a baby, she needs to nap. How does a baby go all day without napping?
My second thought was, well maybe that’s just her. Maybe she’s just not a napper and we shouldn’t force her to be one. She sleeps through the night so it’s ok if she doesn’t nap.
My third thought and how I am feeling right now is that she NEEDS to nap. She is only 7 months old and babies whether they sleep through the night or not they need naps throughout the day. In fact I read that sometimes not being able to nap during the day can cause a baby to wake up throughout the night due to restlessness.
I was on spring break last week and worked on getting Ava on a napping schedule. It was very hard but by the end of the week she was taking naps. But now she is back at daycare. I went to pick her up early and they said she took her morning nap but wouldn’t nap in the afternoon. I guess one nap is a start and is better than none. I think what happens is they will rock her to sleep, put her in the crib, and then two minutes later she starts crying and instead of trying to sooth her and get her back to sleep they take her out of her crib. Now this is just my assumptions and I could be completely wrong. But I have a feeling with so many babies (including newborn twins) it is a lot of work for them to teach her how to sooth herself and get herself back to sleep. The joys of daycare. I know that they love Ava and do their best to take very good care of her, but I also know that no one will love her like I do and that a room filled with 8 babies can be overwhelming. So that’s where I am at right now.
Lately my mornings consist of a curling iron in one hand and my phone in the other scrolling Pinterest for ways to get your baby to nap. I have two and half months left until summertime and then I can work really hard to get Ava on a schedule again and back to taking naps. For now, I am going to encourage Ava’s teachers to sooth her in the crib and get her to the point where she is putting herself to sleep. When I pick her up from daycare I can try and get her to take an afternoon nap. Here are some things that I have discovered so far in my “Pinterest” research and from talking to other fellow mamas out there...
Creating Bad Habits
Teaching Your Child to Put Themselves to Sleep
My Game Plan: I figured the best thing I can do right now is teach Ava how to put herself to sleep. I believe this will benefit her, us, and daycare. Maybe she will get to a point that even if she wakes up two minutes after they put her down she could still get herself back to sleep.
Step # 1. Watch for baby’s sleep signs- yawning, rubbing eyes, slower motions, appears disinterested or fussy. As soon as you notice some of these signs and you see the timing is right for a nap, start with a step #2.
Step #2. Establish a good wind-down routine- It is important for babies to have quiet time before they sleep. Younger babies usually need less time to wind down than older babies. Wind down can be 5-10 minutes and it’s important to be consistent with this. Eventually your child will understand that sleep time is right around the corner. Wind-down can be anything that calms your baby. Some examples are reading a calm story, singing a song, carrying or rocking in your arms for a little bit, etc.
Step #3. Introduce a lovey- A lovey is a transitional object that your baby will associate their sleep with. It can be a small stuffed toy, or a special security blanket. You can start introducing lovey as early as 4 months of age. They suggest giving it to your baby only when it’s time to sleep. At first your child won’t understand what is it for, but over time they will get the idea. Ava is 7 months old and I have currently introduced this to her. She is slowly getting the hang of it.
Step #4. Put baby in crib awake:
(This is the one that we are currently working on having the patience for. It's easier said than done.)
Research and other mamas say that if you have followed all the above steps, by the time you put your baby down in a crib, they should be calm and ready to sleep . However, if your like me and got into the habit of rocking or nursing her to sleep, most of the time, don’t expect your baby to respond well to this step. If she starts crying, get close to her ear, whisper long shhhhh sounds and rhythmically but lightly pat her on her back. If crying escalates, you can pick up the baby, calm her down and lay back into her crib. Repeat the previous step if baby is still crying. When the baby starts to calm down in her crib, you can keep shushing-patting, but as soon as you notice baby start to fall asleep, stop shushing. You want her to fall asleep on her own and not become dependent on shush-pat.
Now Let's Be Real
These are the steps that I am going to start trying. I know the key to this being successful is consistency. Right now my goal is to keep doing the best that I can at home, ask the daycare what methods they use to try and get Ava to nap and encourage them to try some things that have worked at home. I will keep you posted on our progress.
I have no judgement towards anyone and the way they put their children to sleep. I strongly believe that every family has to do what is BEST for THEIR family!
Have you experienced something similar? What are some things you have tried with your little one to try and get them to nap better? Any suggestions, tips, tricks, or advice you could share?