Mommy & Baby: Naptime
During the first two months of life, if your baby isn?t napping well, trying cutting back on her waketime by 15 minute increments. If your baby is overstimulated, she will become hyper-vigilant and fight off sleep as exhaustion overtakes her. The best way to prevent this is to make sure you?re not keeping her up past her normal ?sleepy cues? of yawning, rubbing her eyes, and dozing.
Sleeping is sometimes a struggle for parents who have been programmed to think that crying will harm their children. Short periods of crying and fussiness (15-20 minutes) will not harm your child, make her lose brain cells, or make her bipolar at age 30. She will learn to self-quiet and fall asleep on her own, but only if you encourage this skill. It is imperative that babies learn to fall asleep on their own in their cribs so they can self-comfort when they wake in the middle of the night.
Keeping in mind that stable sleep patterns are rooted in stable feeding patterns, let?s look at the different stages of your baby?s life:
? Newborn: newborn babies sleep 16-20 hours per day, including naps between feedings. When your baby has eaten and been awake a short while after feeding, put her down before she?s hyperstimulated.
? Two months: at 8 weeks and beyond, you should start to permit your baby to self-soothe at naptimes and bedtime. She may cry when you put her down. It?s okay?don?t let her cry interminably, but set a timer and go in and check on her after 10 or 15 minutes. Don?t pick her up, but pat her bum or rub her back, whispering ?sleepy time? and other soothing words.
? 3-6 months: sometime in this time frame, your baby will drop her 3rd nap of the day; typically it?s the late afternoon nap. You may experience some extreme fussiness as she drops it?she might want to snooze, but if you want her to go to bed when you say, you?ll find she sleeps better if you encourage her to stay awake from her early afternoon nap to bedtime.
? 16+ months: between 16 & 20 months, the morning nap is dropped and a longer (and sometimes earlier) afternoon nap ensues. Your baby should be sleeping 10-12 hours at night with a 2-3 hour afternoon nap at this point.
Rules about Naps
1. Mom, and not baby, decides when the nap starts.
2. Mom, and not baby, decides when the nap ends.
3. After 4 months of age, if your baby wakes up crying, it?s because she hasn?t had enough sleep.
She might be poopy, have an arm stuck in a crib slat, or have turned over and not be able to get back. Help her out and encourage her to doze back off. Babies that are well-rested will wake up cooing and happy, letting you know they?ve had enough sleep.
About the Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a baby and parenting expert specializing new mothers and single parent issues. Visit http://www.babyhelp411.com/ for more information on how to raising healthy, happy children.