Achieving A Balanced Naptime Routine With Baby
What is the best way to achieve a balanced naptime routine? The reason I ask is because I’ve been a fan of your work, and loved the recent video with Hayden on co-sleeping and attachment parenting. I’ve been doing that so far with my now 1-month-old, but hubby wants me to start getting her ready to put herself down for a nap so when daycare takes over in Feb, so they have an easy transition without me there. This is my second child, but I’m no further ahead with her than my son when he was this small.
I’ve held my 1-month-old a lot and I know that’s not wrong, but how am I supposed to get her to put herself asleep for naptime? I can read about 80% of all her cues, so I know when she’s in need of a nap. I’ve attempted a rocker a handful of times to 0 success. Now I wonder if I haven’t messed up something by not doing that from the get-go.
My instinct says to tell hubby to talk to the hand, but now I’m just so horribly conflicted and frustrated on this! She only wakes anywhere from 3 – 5x a night for feeding, so nighttime isn’t the big issue. Am I right in that I’m pushing too much too soon? Should I try in another month? I’m about ready to have an emotional breakdown! My 5-year-old is home from school and her naptimes are tanking!
Thanks for your kind words of admiration for our work and thank you for your question. An important part of your question is: “I’m about ready to have an emotional breakdown”. Our 7th “Baby B” (see website for more on what the other B’s are) is: Balance – What a baby needs most is a happy, rested mother. Another important point in your situation is that your baby is only one month old. Seldom are one-month-olds ready to “put themselves to sleep” through a naptime routine, and are naturally resistant (and wisely so) to the usual “Let them cry it out” sleep training methods.
“Mother Knows Best!”
In your situation, we offer the adage Mother Knows Best! Follow your intuition to find a naptime routine that you believe is right for you and your baby. You will find, on our website, step-by-step tips to help your baby sleep longer for naptime and nighttime.
Mom Needs Rest Too
When your older child, age 5, is around for naptime, help him find a way to have “quiet time” with some books or quiet games (or even resort to a quiet video) while you and the baby settle down for a nap to help create a naptime routine. You need the rest just as much as your baby does, and that can be part of how your younger one continues to have a routine of at least two naps a day.
Baby Carrier for Naptime
Consider using a baby carrier for one of her nap times if that seems practical for you and if you can plan to ask the daycare people to have that as an option for her naps. Check out our Babywearing tips on our website.
Focus on the Priority
For the part of your question about getting your baby girl to settle for others (daycare is looming in February), you have nearly 3 months to get her to that point. And you have nearly 3 months to enjoy this close, high-touch relationship with your baby as one of the most important windows for attachment/connection in her life. Both factors have priority, of course, but the second one is paramount.
So, in view of that, when your hubby is home practice what Bill calls “The Hand-off” (it’s football season): You breastfeed your baby until she is almost but not fully asleep, then hand her off to Daddy for him to do the finishing touches to father her off to sleep, using the Neck Nestle and other father nursing tips you will find on our website and in The Baby Sleep Book.
Written By: Martha Sears, R.N
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”