Naptime; When 2 Becomes 1

Ah naptime…the bane of my existence as a mom. Too much, too little, too early, too late…it’s a tricky negotiation that leaves me anxiety-ridden most of the time. Nothing has proved more complicated than transitioning Charlotte from two naps to one. So many of you have asked for Charlotte’s nap schedule, so here’s the breakdown!

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Charlotte’s sleep sack is from a wonderful local-Montreal company called Aiden & Aston. They make beautiful organic children’s clothing!

Around 11 months, she started fighting her afternoon nap. I would put her down at 1pm, like normal, and it would take her 2 hours to fall asleep. Then, she’d nap for so long that I would have to wake her so as to not interfere with her night sleep (around 4pm). The next day, it’d be a crapshoot…she’d either skip her morning nap all together, or catnap. Then skip the afternoon nap, or take forever to fall asleep. I knew it wasn’t teething (no signs), so I started capping the morning nap. Charlotte usually sleept 2 hours in the morning and then 1.5 in the afternoon, so I started to shorten the morning nap so that I could lengthen the afternoon one. By 12 months, she was sleeping an hour in the morning and 1.5 in the afternoon. But still, the morning nap was on-again-off-again.

The recommendation is to keep trying for 2 naps a day until baby is 15 months, but my child gave me all the signs that she was ready to try to switch to 1. I asked friends, sleep consultants and the internet and most moms conceeded that they just followed their child’s lead. And if she was showing more than a few signs that she was rejecting the morning nap, to try giving it up and see what happened.

So eventually, I took a leap of faith and gave up the first nap. It was a rocky few days! Charlotte usually wakes at 6:30-7am and couldn’t be awake longer than 5 hours. Her nap would start at 11am and last about 3 hours, then I’d compensate with an early bedtime. I gradually pushed back naptime to 11:15, then 11:30, then 11:45, 12:00, etc., until we got to 12:30. I find she’ll nap longer when I put her down at 12:30, at 1PM she’s overtired. Who knew 30 mins can make all the difference?!

There are days where napping doesn’t go as planned. Charlotte is cutting 2 molars and 2 canines at the same time, so her napping (and night sleep) has been all over the place! When she wakes up at 5:30am, I will put her down for a nap at 9am, but I’ll cap it at an hour. And even then, I don’t do it every day because the extra nap affects her night sleep. She’ll wake up in the middle of the night and it’ll take hours for her to fall back asleep. Not good!

By 14 months, she’s doing one 2-3 hour nap, 5 days out of the week. This makes me so happy because she’s starting daycare at the end of August and her schedule mirrors the daycare’s. I’m hoping it’ll allow for an easier transition for all once she starts. I LOVE the 1-nap-a-day schedule! It gave us so much more freedom in our day, and guaranteed that she’d sleep for at least 2 hours. This was WAY better than staring endlessly at the baby monitor, praying that she’d just lie down and relax. And having big chunks of time to myself is also enormously helpful to my self-care. I can eat, nap, blog, do a load of laundry, even read, while she sleeps. It’s made the summer very enjoyable.

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REAL TALK: When did your child transition to 1-nap-a-day? Was it easy or difficult to get them on a new schedule? Let me know in the comments below!

 

No Rest for the Wicked

I am sleep obsessed. I find myself dreaming about a king size bed, with silky, white sheets, mountains of pillows, and a heavy, warm duvet. I spend my whole day wondering when I will get back to bed, how many hours of sleep I will get, and how rested I will feel the next morning.

Alas, sleep has eluded me for the last 2 1/2 months, which has only deepened my obsession. Now I obsess over my baby’s sleep. When to put her down, when to wake her up, how many minutes she’s napping, how many hours she’s sleeping. In the wee hours of the morning, I’ve googled countless ways on how to get your baby to sleep longer and have ordered hundreds of dollars of books. I now understand why they use sleep deprivation as a torture technique…

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Charlotte at 9 days old enjoy a joint nap after feeding.

After we brought Charlotte home from the hospital and got into our rhythm, I thanked my lucky stars that she wasn’t a colicky or reflux baby. Like most newborns, she was very sleepy and very hungry. Every 2 hours she wanted a snack, followed by a long nap. I thought naively, “Yay! My baby loves to sleep, this will be a breeze!” FALSE. Babies lull you into a false sense of security before they quickly change into zombie demons that refuse to sleep, no matter how hard you try.

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The irony of this picture amuses me

After complaining to nearly everyone I knew, many suggested that I pick up “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr Harvey Karp. One of the most-trusted pediatricians and child development experts, Dr Karp developed the 5 S’s to help calm babies and get them to sleep longer. He claims that babies are born 3 months too early and experience a 4th trimester from 0-3 months. During this time, calming womb-like sensations will quiet a baby and get them to relax. These include Swaddling, Side-Stomach Position, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking. I found that using a combo of these techniques, I was able to get Charlotte to sleep and to stay asleep!

My little one seemed to have mutant strength when I attempted to swaddle her and no matter what I put her in, Charlotte would burst out. As a newborn, I decided to try the SwaddleMe Pods. With it’s simple zip-up closure, it provides a cozy womb-like feeling which is ideal for newborns. I lovingly referred to this as a baby condom. After about 6 weeks, Charlotte was getting a bit big for them and I switched to the Aden and Anais Easy Swaddle, a 100% cotton muslin with simple, adjustable snaps. The combination of swaddling with lying her on her side or holding her on her side with her stomach against mine relaxes her immediately.

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SwaddleMe Pods
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Aden & Anais Easy Swaddle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems counterintuitive, but babies sleep better with lots of noise! In your womb, they are constantly bombarded with noise like blood rushing through your veins and your heartbeat. Using a sound machine that has white noise reminds your baby of your cozy womb and will quiet them (I also found the vacuum and static on the TV to be quite useful!) I like the Skip Hop Nightlight Soother since you can set it on continuous and play soothing noises all night long. Once I turn it on, it’s Charlotte’s cue to sleep and she’ll close her eyes #babygenius!

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Skip Hop Nightlight Soother, Moonlight and Melodies

Nap times have always been hit or miss. Charlotte is so darn sociable that she gets FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when she closes her eyes, especially during the day. The only way to get her to nap is to put her in her swing. The movement reminds babies of the constant motion in the womb. From the start, Charlotte loved the 4moms Rockaroo Swing (thanks work friends for buying this!) She would do 2-3 hour naps in it and wake up happy as can be.

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4moms Rockaroo Swing

And finally, sucking. My lactation consultant was adamant to not introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding was established, around 6 weeks. YA RIGHT! Have you ever experienced the magic of the pacifier? A screaming infant will go from inconsolable to calm in an instant. I gave in around the 3 week mark when Charlotte’s screams were ear shattering. I liked the Philps Avent Orthodonic Pacifier because it can be used right side up or upside down – particularly helpful when you’re reaching in the backseat to plug it back in your baby’s mouth.

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Philps Avent Orthodonic Pacifier

The combination of these S’s has helped me immensely! But by far, my most favorite technique of getting Charlotte to sleep is what I call the “off button.” Did you know that if you stroke down ababy’s forehead to the tip of their nose, they will close their eyes? It’s a biological reflex and SUPER helpful when your little one keeps popping their eyes open. #THEMOREYOUKNOW

Wishing you sweet dreams!

 

Want to share your sleep story or comisserate over sleep deprivation? Send me your thoughts in the comments below!