One of the things most expectant and new parents (no matter if it’s your first, second or fifth baby) are consumed with is that wonderful, restful period at night for both parent and baby…sleep time! And I’m no different. When it came to sleep, I always considered us to be lucky with Punkin’ Bear because I knew she was more an exception to the rule than the she was the rule…she napped very well and slept through the night by the time she was 3 months. And since the addition of LadyBug to our family, it’s reaffirmed that we indeed had some strokes of luck with Punkin’ Bear’s sleeping habits.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve been very fortunate with LadyBug’s nighttime sleeping schedule. She goes to sleep around 6:30pm every night, wakes up for a middle of the night “refuel” and goes right back to sleep until around 6am. Not bad! But what is a little different this time around is her napping schedule. Or, rather, her lack of a napping schedule. Our little Bug is so incredibly alert during the day that she just doesn’t seem interested in napping. At first I was amazed because everyone tells you how much babies like to sleep during their early months (plus this wasn’t the experience I had known previously with Bear). But now I like to think it’s just that beautiful joie de vivre she has in discovering her world which is keeping her from dozing off throughout the day. She fills her days reaching for toys, giggling, cooing and trying to master the art of the back-to-tummy-roll. I really can’t blame her for not wanting to sleep with some many new things to explore.
But, the parent in me knows it’s important that she at least have some restful periods throughout the day. So over the past 4 months my husband and I have been working on creating a bagful of “tricks” that seem to work quite well. And since, as they say, knowing is half the battle, I figured I’d share the tricks that have worked for us (really in the hopes that you would then share some with me!)
1.Keep stimulation to a minimum- this may seem obvious to some, but for us, it was something that we overlooked simply because Punkin’ Bear was able to sleep any time, any place. It didn’t occur to us that this may not be the case for all of our children. Now we know to keep noises low, draw the shades, and keep surrounding activity low. (Well, as low as you can in household that has a pre-schooler)
2.Insert background noise– On a related point to the one above, we’ve found that using a sound machine, a ceiling fan or even an air purifier, for a constant stream of white noise helps Bug “zone in” and be less disrupted by everything else going on in our house.
3.Go with the notion of motion– the age-old parental instinct is to rock your baby to sleep – and for good reason…it works! But if your arms are full or, as in our case, our little one starts getting a little heavier, sometimes we have to find other ways to get that soothing motion. We’ve tried a gentle bounce in her bouncer and the sweetpeace which is perfect for simulating you’re own rocking motion. When we’re on the go, a good old ride in the car works well (assuming her big sister isn’t feeling so inclined to recite the ABC’s to her) or a walk in the stroller, keeping the visor down so she’s not over stimulated by everything going on around her. And one of my most recent discoveries is using a baby sling – it’s great for keeping her close and warm ,which in our case has worked out to be a sure fire recipe for a few Z’s.
4.Keep an eye out for patterns – In the beginning, I never really thought to look for indications of when it was time for Bug to nap. I just presumed she would fall asleep when she was so inclined like her big sister did. But once I became in tune with her rhythm, I realized that she does have a general sleep pattern. For example, like clock work, she’ll fall asleep exactly 1 ½ hours after she wakes up in the morning – but the key is, I have to keep an eye on the clock and use a combination of the methods above to help her get to sleep. Otherwise, she’ll just keep going and going and going.
Obviously I’m no expert on “sleep solutions” (just a tired mom of 2!) – these are simply the things we’ve tried and that have worked for us. I’d love to hear about anything you may have tried that works for your non-napper!