Here's the deal (which I have already stated)... my son's naps are CRAP! I can count on two hands the amount of times he has slept past 45 minutes in his 8 months of life. I thought I was ok with his 30 minute naps, until last week. I decided it's just not enough for him. So I decided to do something about it.
The first change I made was to create and implement a naptime routine. Some of you probably gasped at the thought that I haven't had a naptime routine in place for the past 8 months. To be honest, I have tried. When he was younger we used to swaddle him for every nap and bedtime. It was his happy place, to be swaddled. So I considered that a short "routine". I figured he would know it was naptime when I swaddled him. Well, we stopped swaddling him at 6.5 months and since then it has been sort of a quick walk him to the crib and say sleep tight and walk away, type routine. But now, I'm serious about this routine for naps thing. Our routine now consists of sitting in the rocking chair, reading him a story and then rocking him until he is on the verge of sleep. Then set him down in the crib and hope he falls asleep right away. If not, I figure I did all I can do, now he just has to get himself to sleep (which, yes, sometimes means crying himself to sleep).
The real challenge has been what to do when he wakes up after 30 minutes. I contemplated letting him cry it out until he falls asleep again. This makes me cringe. When we were sleep training him at 6.5 months I tried this and I felt like a terrible mother. He would wake up and cry for over an hour. I mean hard crying. Then IF he got himself back to sleep it would not be a peaceful sleep with the deep breaths he would take from crying so hard. So I resolved to not do that anymore. Then I heard a mother in a forum tell me that she would rock her baby to sleep after that initial wake-up. So that's what I'm trying for now. I pick him up out of the crib and rock him until he is asleep again. I haven't been successful in transferring him back to the crib. But I have been successful in getting him to sleep another hour! So I guess I will take success in little strides.
Please share your experience with this if you have naptrained your high needs baby. What worked for you and what didn't work for you?