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Nap time is so important. Not just for moms but babies too!
It is pretty crazy that a nap can dictate an entire day but man….does it ever.
I was miserable until my little miss finally got her schedule down. This girl is completely different than her older brother. Back in the day when he was a baby, I made the schedule and he went a long with it. Easy peezy baby, laid back, cool and collected, down for anything, didn’t even know he was there half the time.
13 years later here comes little miss with her own agenda. I am not going to lie, it took me a while to figure out what the #$%^ was going on. Once she was about 3 months, we were able to get in sync, I went with it and we are still going strong these days. (Disclaimer: as with any strong-willed child I realize this can change at any moment)
The hard thing about babies and schedules is that they change so fast….. and all. the. time!
The Number One Rule
Which makes this actually simple number one rule hard to maintain.
The number one success factor to nap time is……… (drum roll) ……. Consistency!
Do NOT give up! No matter what. Sometimes these things take time to stick. Usually by the time they stick then…. OH surprise, your baby has grown and changed and requires a different schedule. Honestly though, if you have been able to establish a consistent schedule then as your baby grows then it just requires minor and gradual tweaking as the baby goes through phases and matures into different age groups.
Below is an example of our schedule and please note; if you are a softy some of these tips are not for the weak of heart. Don’t be scared!
Example of our Daily Schedule (age 1):
She has risen!
I start hearing her playing around her crib and babbling so I head in for a diaper change and we head for the kitchen. Usually while I am gathering my thoughts and trying to make my body and mind function on the same page, I get her some milk in a sippy and throw out some cheerios. This gives me a minute to figure out what I am going to make her. She eats and then we clean up. (Examples of food approved for the baby led weaning we follow will be in another blog post.) Then off to get dressed.
Playtime!! Solo play and mommy involved playing and learning. I will turn on some educational baby show in the background since she loves music. Sometimes she pays attention sometimes she doesn’t. Closer to 10 am I will throw in a quick snack.
She naps! Give or take a half hour, sometimes shorter sometimes longer. Mommy got to rejuvenate…which usually means shower, write, clean house, throw in a load of laundry, take care of calls, emails, Facebook, Etc. Etc. and get ready for round 2!
You guessed it- more playtime! If the weather cooperates, we go outside for a bit. Come in and have a snack.
Teenage brother gets home. She’s in awe. He says “hey” and after that sentimental moment she goes down for her 2nd and final nap for the day. This helps me give some undivided attention to the teenager now.
She is up. I give her a sippy and start making dinner.
We eat dinner
Every other night, as long as she is not disgusting, at this time we do bath time.
Sippy cup of milk, sometimes I warm it. Then I let her pick a book or two and we read. Then brush teeth.
The grand finale! The moment we all have been waiting for… Bedtime! Humidifier on. Nightlight in. Radio or white noise machine on (this inexpensive one from Amazon did the trick for us). Sometimes I just have to say bedtime and she will run to her room. I give her the binky, we say prayers, and I lay her down cover her up and tell her goodnight and pull her door almost shut. Ta da! Done.
We did it!
And now run.
Working Out The Kinks
One of the most critical discoveries we made was that we could not let her fall asleep before we laid her down. Guaranteed every time she would wake up 30 minutes later screaming. It made all the difference when we made this discovery. We started to notice she would stay asleep when we laid her down awake and let her put herself to sleep.
There have been times in the last several months to where she will cry and scream out of the blue when I lay her down, and usually I have found, this is when she is teething or something is bothering her. I will go in there after a minute or so and reassure her, lay her back down and pat her and try to go again.
If it happens again next time, I may pick her up but not talking and we do not leave the room. On a rare occasion if something was really bothering her and nothing else worked, I would go to my dark bedroom and lay down and lay her on my chest and that seemed to calm her. After about an hour I was able to take her back to her bed for the night.
More often than not, I hear her fuss and let out a cry here or there through the night and as long as it doesn’t continue, I trust her to settle herself back to sleep. Sometimes I may have to go in there and help her find her pacifier and pop that in and she is good to go.
We have the Baby Einstein aquarium attached to her crib and it has been a huge LIFESAVER! With the power switch turned on she can hit the star at the bottom and turn it on herself.
It seems to comfort her. She turns it on everyday either when she is trying to go to sleep or after she has woke up. It has different settings that you can switch it to so it will just play music if you feel the screen is too bright.
Plus the hand remote that you can use to shut it off without actually having to take the risk of walking in to shut it off. We all know babies have many similarities to ticking time bombs, and I would hate for you guys to risk your life.
Best advice is to follow your gut.
You know your baby better than anyone else and if there has been extreme crying for 20 minutes or more then by all means go comfort that precious baby!
Just continue to try every single day and eventually your little one will catch on and feel secure. Your baby has to trust that you are still there and they are safe. Babies and kids of any age all thrive better with consistency and structure.
Of course, this schedule changes up a bit when we go out but whatever time we get home we just jump back in to where we would normally be at that time.
If you need any further tips or tricks don’t hesitate to ask. Now that I have had success with 2 kids that are years….heck a decade a part, I feel confident that this same schedule can work for most babies.