Friday, September 16, 2011

Routine Series: Nap Time

I read once that you should work to establish a bedtime routine first, then just make your nap time routine a shorter version of that. That's pretty much what we've done. (Read about our bedtime routine here.) It took Gavrel significantly longer to settle into napping than he did to sleep through the night. It probably didn't help that we moved right before he turned three months old, so he had to get re-used to just about everything.

He's finally (usually) taking good naps now, though. Here's how we get there:

  • Diaper change. Yes, I always do this. You may remember we were having leaking problems when he sleeps on his tummy. Our new hemp inserts at night and folding our regular inserts differently for naps has mostly taken care of that problem, except on rare occasions. So, I always change his diaper before a nap, whether he needs it or not because the inserts are actually folded differently for sleeping.
  • Nursing. Again, I'm already grieving giving this up. Seriously some of my favorite time with my little Monkey Man.
  • Closing the curtains. Gav has floor-length brown micro-suede curtains that really help darken the room during the day. He can sleep without the dark, I just think he sleep a little more soundly.
  • Lots of kisses! I've also started telling him every time I put him down (even at bedtime), "I love you, Gavrel Lagersen Addington." I realized that I probably call him Monkey Man, Little Man, and Sweet Boy more than I ever call him by his name. Poor guy will be five or six and telling people his name is Monkey.
Then, just like bedtime, I lay him in his bed and walk out and close the door. I remind you, this took more time to learn than going to bed, but he's really good now with some practice. 

Gavrel is really fantastic at putting himself to sleep (again - he wasn't always this way. Reflux ruined all the good habits we tried to start and left us beginning from scratch at about three months old - so don't be discouraged!).  That's a good thing, but the downside I've discovered is that he doesn't want to be rocked or cuddled to sleep even when I would love to do so. For all the nights I felt ragged because he would only sleep snuggled to my chest, sometimes I wish he would still fall asleep there just once in a while. 

So if you're in the middle of trying to teach this, just remind yourself that there are good sides to both coins. :-)

Happy mommy-ing!

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