Ning Hao bitches.
I’ve been slightly busy duct taping raviolis and bagels to my waist. No? That’s now how that works? Seems like it would just save time. Regardless, here I am, fat and happy. It’s really amazing what 12 soft pretzels can do for your mood.
Many of you have been asking me here and there about some baby black magic. I’m hesitant to share my secrets because 1) they are secrets and 2) sometimes I pretend I’m a cast member of Pretty Little Liars and give the pretend camera side eye all day. But because I’m the nicest most prettiest britney spears on the internet, I’m going to tell you about
The one question I get over and over is HOW did I finally get G to take longer and regular naps. I will answer this for you my friends. However, know this: My answer will probably not apply to you. Because I googled this question no less than 45 times a week to find the answer. I read hundreds of posts on babycenter.com about naps, I read 5 books on getting your baby to sleep, and no luck. Finally after a solid 5 months of the child napping ON us or in bed with us, we struck gold.
Most of you know that it ripped my gut out to use the Ferber method on G. As a proud hippie, this is frowned upon in the tie dye society. But you know what? I don’t care. We decided however, we were only using this method to end the co-sleeping business and get G into the crib. Once he was comfortable in his crib, no more crying it out. And yet, I still can brag about our success with naps. Are you shitting yourself in anticipation yet?
One book we read early on and the general hippie consensus tells you to follow your baby’s sleep cues and put them to sleep AS SOON as you see a yawn or a drowsy eye or a drunk head bob. I’m here to tell you that that is bullshit pie. That may work for a teeny tiny baby, but it’s not going to get you past the dreaded 30 minute cat nap that every mother with a magazine and the internet dreads. We were cat nap slaves. I HATED THE CAT NAP. And it’s also a terrible name for a nap as my cats sleep all the damn day.
But after reading the Ferber book, we had a new goal. 2 naps a day. This was a seemingly impossible goal as G seemed to be tired every 2 hours. And so he was napping for 30 minutes every 2 hours. But it wasn’t quality sleep and he was a crank ass because of it. How on earth were we going to go from 4-5 naps a day to just 2?
1) Make it a freaking baby party
It took time. G was so used to his frequent naps that he would doze off in the middle of play time. It took a lot of HEY LOOK AT THIS AWESOME THING. HEY LETS GO OUTSIDE AND DANCE AROUND. HEY LETS GO IN THE POOL. Once we distracted him, he woke up enough and made it a little bit longer. It took maybe 2 weeks to get him to the desired 930am nap and 2pm nap. But day by day he was getting used to being awake longer and actually enjoying it and was much happier. He could play longer, he wasn’t groggy and he was TA DAAAH
SLEEPING LONGER! KLDJFAKSJF;AKSDJF;LK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Most seasoned moms know that the key to wearing a kid out is lots of brain busting activity. So right around 5 months, we were busy. We had lots of play time and we had a solid routine and that routine carried over into our naps. This is another key to the nap success.
2) Do the same shit over and over
Be consistent. So before every nap, G and I would read a story, change our diaper, put on socks, put on the sound machine, close the curtains (so it’s absurdly dark), nurse, he gets Ghost Dog, and it’s sleep city.
G sleeps for an hour in the morning and about 2 hours in the afternoon.
3) The schedule is more important than the air in the air
Here’s another key factor. Be consistent in your schedule. LIVE BY THE GODDAMN SCHEDULE.
G wakes up at 7am, naps at 930-1030am, 2pm and asleep by 8pm. NO MATTER WHAT. This means in the morning if he’s not awake at 7, we wake him up. This means if he tries to sleep past 1030am, I wake him up. The 2pm nap he can sleep as long as his little heart desires. I’ve found that the long afternoon nap is much more important than the morning one for his mood and our sanity. The wake up hurts your skin when you have to do it. You want to watch just 15 minutes more of RHONY, but you MUST STICK TO THE SCHEDULE.
4) The car and the cat naps are in cahoots
Now, people ask me, So how do you ever leave the house? Here is the drawback my friends. If your kid is like mine and sneaks car naps, he won’t nap for his long naps in the crib. And he’ll be pissy. So for the most part, we avoid car rides longer than 15 minutes, especially close to nap time. After the 2nd nap of the day though, it’s free game and that’s car time.
You just have to accept that you’re either going to have a pissy child who cat naps and go wherever you want, whenever you want. Or a happy child, with long naps and not so much car time. Both choices are kind of sucky, but you have a baby now. DEAL WITH IT.
5) If all else fails, implore the suck (that’s what she said)
Finally, if the kid wakes up in the middle of the nap and you know he needs to sleep longer. I’ve had success with nursing him in the dark and sticking him right back in the crib. Now that we’re a pacifier family (if you can get your kid to take one DO IT), he’ll take that and go right back to sleep)
So, to recap.
1) Stretch the awake time
2) Have a routine
3) Stick to the schedule
4) Avoid the car around naps
5) Nurse or Paci back to sleep
And you my friend, will be the proud owner of a long napping baby. But like I said, every baby is different. (I don’t know why, they should all be programmed the same). So this might not work for you. But try it and tell me what happens.
If it works, you owe me boots