Ever since we brought my youngest son, Mark, home from the hospital, it has been a challenge to get him to fall asleep. My husband and I have felt exhausted, frustrated, – the works!- when it comes to this.
As I mentioned in previous posts, I am reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Acting on the information from this book has made a huge difference. Simply, we are beginning the going-to-sleep process as soon as Mark starts to appear tired. I have realized that if he is in his bouncy seat, baby gym, etc., and is acting unhappy in any way, it almost certainly means that he is either hungry or tired. It’s pretty easy to figure out if he’s hungry, which also means it’s easy to figure out if he’s getting tired.
The time spent crying has decreased by 90% (for both Mark and his parents – ha!). At bedtime, he spends 15-30 minutes in his crib, soothing himself and getting progessively sleepier. We have to make brief “visits” to help calm him down, and sometimess see if he will take his bottle (his favorite way to calm down), but all in all he is doing most of the soothing and falling asleep by himself. This is a vast improvement over what a normal bedtime used to be (lots of crying from Mark. The naptime process has improved in a similar fashion.
My next challenge is to figure out how to meet Mark’s sleep needs while also coping with other aspects of life. He still takes several short naps (most days has naps are between 30 minutes – 60 minutes each) and has a 1-2 hour interval between waking up and falling asleep for his next nap. When you take into account the 15 minutes or so that it takes to properly soothe him into his nap, that doesn’t leave much time for things like errands.
Another challenge is that Adam has preschool two mornings per week. As long as Mark is still in his infant car seat (carrier), we can manage some naps on the go. With any luck, by the time Mark needs to move into the next type of car seat, he will have transitioned to one morning nap and one afternoon nap.