Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nap Training

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?


  1. My son is 7 months old and we tried the "no cry sleep solution" at 4.5 months old because he, too, only took 30 minute naps and woke up between 10-20 times a night (no exaggeration) needing to be rocked back to sleep. I physically can't do CIO. It's really weird but since my son was born, his crying sends me into a serious depression. My doc was actually really worried about me and my son is major high needs so we have a lot of screaming/crying (well, we did the first 4.5 months). So, we needed to try something and that book came highly recommended. I read it, tracked his schedule, implemented a plan and things started to change. His 30-40 minute naps started lasting over 2 hours. I had to rock him after his initial wake up and then hold him in my arms. He'd wake up again 30-40 minutes later and then I'd have to rock him until he finally woke up. It was really hard work but the book says if they start sleeping better during the day, they'll sleep better at night. After a week of quality naps, I saw no improvement in the nighttime sleep. In fact, I noticed it started getting worse!! Because I was rocking him so much during his daytime sleep, he started wanting to get rocked during his nighttime sleep. Gone were the nights of rocking him and setting him down. As soon as we even moved to set him down, the crying/wailing began. After two nights of my poor baby literally only sleeping 1-2 hours and me close to serious crazy, I called the Pediatrician. Of course their answer was CIO. I said, yes, he cried for 10 hours last night and that was IN my arms, how long do I have to let him cry? They said, just keep it up. Tried it the next night and my guy cried ALL NIGHT LONG! I became convinced something was wrong with him medically and called the Ped again. My doc wasn't available but they said come on in. The Ped we saw was a pregnant Mom of two and had gone through a similar situation with her son. She was so compassionate and kind. She gave him a script for a new reflux med and told me to keep coming back until we figured this out. Love her (and switched so she's out regular Ped now). That night, my son was still exhausted from lack of sleep but once again the crying started, even while we rocked him in our arms! I was at my wits end but remembered reading that babies expect to wake up in the same state as when they fall asleep (this wasn't in the no cry sleep solution book). So, I reasoned by rocking him, he was startled when he woke up no longer rocking. I told my husband, no more rocking him to sleep! I put in ear plugs, brought my son into bed with me, offered him the boob and let him cry. At first he thought it was cuddle/playtime. Then after 20 minutes he figured out we wouldn't be doing anything else so he fussed, nursed for 40 minutes. Then the scream cry began. Luckily it only lasted 20 minutes and then he passed out. He woke up 40 minutes later, cried another 15 and then slept for 3 hours. He woke up twice mire during the night but cried less than 5 minutes each time before falling asleep. We did this two more nights and for naps too and by night 3 we had no crying, just fussing. From that point on, he wouldn't even fuss (unless teething was rearing it's ugly head). Now, we nap and sleep in bed together. He naps 1.5-2.5 hours and sleeps 12 hours every night. Co-sleeping has saved my sanity. I also enjoy my son so much more now! I love watching him sleep and cuddling. We've even gotten to the point where he rolls over and sleeps independently and then I can go hang out with hubby or do other things and watch him through the video monitor.

    So, that's my experience with my high needs child. I find he and our routines are always ever changing though ;)

  2. Oh my gosh Aimee! That sounds like quite a story! Sometimes I think that God gave me this baby so I can have so many stories to tell... once I can laugh about it 20 years from now. I know that so many people are against CIO, but I have heard so many times that they have no other option but to try it out and it seems to work if you can stick to it! I'm so glad to hear your story. I have thought about co-sleeping for naps... it may come to that too. I will try anything! Today I tried a nap extention where I made him stay in his crib for an hour. He woke up around 25 minutes in and I just left him in the crib and he groaned and fussed for about 10 minutes and eventually went back to sleep for another 40 minutes. It was a small success. When I've done it in the past he has cried as long as 1 hour! That was not good.