Crib Notes

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I've mentioned before that Nora is a great sleeper. We are very, very lucky (so far, anyway), and we know it. We're grateful. We have no right to complain.

But the thing is that Nora is kind of particular about where she sleeps.

Up until now, we've been doing whatever works. We figured she was young enough that we weren't really setting bad "habits," and hell... when you have a newborn, you just kinda go with the flow.

So recently, we've been putting her to bed (swaddled) between 7:30-8:15 p.m. When I say "to bed," I mean that we put her in the Fisher Price Rock 'n' Play in our room. She'll sleep in there by herself until we go to bed between 10-11 p.m. Before our bedtime, sometimes we'll hear her fuss a little and we'll have to go in there and place her binky back into her mouth, or give her a little jiggle to settle her, but she generally goes right back to sleep without issue.

Then, she usually wakes sometime between 5-6 a.m. for a feeding. I reach over, pull her out of her bed, lay her in our bed next to me, nurse her, burp her, then put her back into her own bed. Then she'll continue to sleep until 8-9 a.m.

Heaven, I tell you. Heaven. But believe me, I keep waiting for this to end. I hope it doesn't, but I just feel like it's too good to be true.

For naps, she has been taking a really solid morning nap--like 2-3 hours. Most of the time, I recognize the signs that she's getting drowsy, and I put her in her vibrating bouncy seat or her swing to help her nod off completely. Once she's sleeping, I turn off the vibration or the swing and let her continue to nap in whichever seat she is in.

In the afternoon, she's less reliable. She'll definitely sleep, but the amounts of time vary and they'll generally be shorter in nature, like "cat naps." And she kind of sleeps wherever--bouncy seat, swing, car seat, on my chest, in the boppy, etc.

You're probably asking yourself, What is the problem?

Well, the problem is that she will NOT sleep in her crib. And given that I'm going back to work in a few weeks and she'll be napping in a pack 'n' play at the sitter's, I figure I really need to try to get her adjusted so that she'll still be able to get her naps in.

I think the problem is that the Rock 'n' Play, the bouncy, the swing, the car seat... all of them kind of "cuddle" her in a way. They make her feel cradled and cozy, almost like she is being held. The crib is flat and firm and BIG.

Over the past few weeks, I've made a few half-ass attempts at getting her to nap in her crib, but I was kind of casual about it and took whatever I could get. The longest stretch she ever went was 35 minutes. Not exactly a quality nap.

On Monday this week, I decided to give this some serious effort. I've been attempting to get her to take her morning naps in the crib. And, well, let's just say that the morning naps are no longer very solid. And Mommy barely has time to shower. Or do anything, really. (The house is a freakin' mess.)

Sleep training is hard, y'all.

On Monday, she actually slept in there for 50 minutes straight, which I thought was awesome for Day 1. Tuesday and this morning have not gone as well. For instance--right now, she has been in the crib for 30 minutes and I've already gone in there three times to "shush-pat" her back to sleep.

And because she's not napping as well, she's been crankier than usual. She's missing out on some of the sleep that she needs, and I feel like I really need to help her so that she can get this transition out of the way before I go back to work. And my hope is that if we reach success with naps in the crib, it'll then be easier to transition her to the crib for nighttime sleep as well. (Which we definitely plan to do before she hits 4 months--we're thinking maybe around Christmastime?)

So, I know. I know that when it comes to a 9-week-old baby, we kind of have it made. I'm feeling kind of ballsy even asking for any advice on the sleep subject. But does anyone have any suggestions for successful napping in the crib? How did you make the transition with your baby?

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child has been helpful for many things, but I don't find that it really provides methods to help out with some of the challenges. I did some Googling and found some explanation of The Baby Whisperer method, so I started trying that today. We'll see if I have any success with it. In the meantime, if you have experience with this, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Edited to add: I just don't know how persistent I'm supposed to be. It's now been a total of 56 minutes in her crib, and I've had to go in there another time to shush-pat her back to sleep. So her longest stretch of sleep for this 56-minute "nap" has probably been 15 minutes. Do I keep going and letting her sleep at these ridiculously short intervals, or am I supposed to give up at some point and do whatever I need to do to give her some solid sleep (swing, bouncy, holding her, etc.)?

Another update: At the 60-minute mark, she started screaming again. So that last stretch of sleep was like 4-5 minutes. I decided to give up and pull her out of the crib, because let's face it, we're not getting anywhere with this. And she is still exhausted. I have her with me now and she can barely keep her eyes open. What gives? :(


Rachel November 17, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

Join the club! We have the same problem. Our little boy will be 3 months old next Tuesday and he still sleeps in the bassinet part of the pack-and-play. I think he likes the 'snuggly' feeling of it. However, our babysitter has NO PROBLEM getting him to nap in the bottom part of the pack-and-play or the crib. The longest he's ever lasted in his crib at our house is about 2 hours! I'm going to have to figure out something soon because his legs are going to be hanging over the end of the bassinet before I know it! :) I would love to read a follow-up post if you have any successes!

Shauna November 17, 2010 at 11:58 AM  

Do you have her swaddled? That might make the crib seem more snuggly and less...I don't know....vast?

Heather November 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

Rachel--Good to know I'm not alone! Let me know if you discover something that works for you, too!

Shauna--Yes, she is swaddled. I should've mentioned that; it's an important detail!

Anonymous,  November 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

Definitely not a pro with this since my baby a little bit younger than Nora. He has slept in his crib at night since the beginning. Getting him to nap in there during the day was a little more difficult. There were two things that I was swaddle for naps and bedtime. The other was that I folded a blanket and put it under the mattress in the crib to elevate the mattress a little. When a baby is in a seat, swing, boppy, or the rock and play their head is elevated slightly. Maybe Nora just needs to have her head elevated a little bit.

If you rock Nora to sleep and then place her in her crib sound asleep, does she wake? If not, maybe try that to start the transition.

I also put my son in the crib when he is awake to "play". I turn on the mobile or stand over the crib and talk to him to make him happy and feel safe. You just need to teach her that the crib is a safe place too. Now there are times that I have put him in the crib wide awake to "play" while I finish getting ready for the day and when I go in to get him (5-10 minutes later) he is sound asleep.

I would keep being persistent. You don't want a baby that is overtired because she isn't getting naps when you go back to work. You will already be exhausted from returning to work.

Good luck. Sorry for such a long comment. I hope you are successful without too much trouble

Eric's Mommy November 17, 2010 at 12:27 PM  

When Eric was born (I'm thinking back 8 years now) he didn't have a crib yet, it was back ordered. He also didn't have his own room yet, it hadn't been built. We had a nice bassinet next to our bed and I figured he would sleep in that.....wrong. He HATED it so he ended up in our bed. By the time his crib came he was used to being in bed with us. The crib was at the foot of our bed and he didn't really like it, so if he woke up in the middle of the night and wouldn't go back to sleep he would end up back in our bed. His room wasn't built until he was 2 or 3 I think.

Katie P,  November 17, 2010 at 12:45 PM  

My son will be 3 in January and we used both the crib and co-slept with him until he was a year old. My suggestion to you is to do what works and let your sitter transition her to nap. She will most likely have no problems because Nora will be starting a completely new routine.

We didn't practice bottles or anything and Carter took them like a champ from the sitter immediately (I went back to work at 12 weeks). No fussing, no issues. Same with naps. (For the record, I rocked and nursed him to sleep until he was a year old and sitter never did either and he napped fine. At 16 months old, we also successfully transitioned him out of the rock/nurse routine without CIO! We practiced a few methods from a book and tailored it to what would work for him and our family. It was really easy on all of us!)

Infants this age are a lot more flexible than we give them credit for - I think she'll be as flexible as you'll allow her to be. :)

Amy November 17, 2010 at 1:47 PM  

My middle child was like that time I worked and so I took his bouncy seat to the sitter. You may try buying an extra so you can take it with Nora to the sitter.

Anonymous,  November 17, 2010 at 2:22 PM  

Have you tried any of the sleep positioners for infants? My friend was having the same problem with her 3 month old son, and using a positioner did the trick!

basebell6 November 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

my son made the transition to crib with no problems for night time but WILL NOT NAP THERE. period. heck he wont nap anywhere. i'm currently in the middle of reading the 5th sleep book i got from the library. LOL. good luck! i think sleep is the number one debated topic (cry VS no cry) and the number one cause of headaches for parents!!

Anonymous,  November 17, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

She might surprise you. My 4.5-month old was (and remains) a horrible napper for me. She will not be put down in her crib during the day for more than 30-45 fact, she won't stay asleep much longer than that regardless of where she is. :P I was a nervous wreck in the days leading up to her first day of daycare, but she has been a FABULOUS napper for them. Seriously, she was sleeping upwards of 4-5 hours a day (broken into a couple naps) when she first started, in her crib. Crazy!

You're doing the right thing by helping to ease her transition, but she'll likely act differently in an entirely new environment (your provider's home). She -- and YOU -- will be just fine!

~Kristen M.

Catherine November 17, 2010 at 3:45 PM  

I have no idea as I am not due for another week and a half, but NEED to know - did you have the book Healthy Sleep prior to having Nora? Just wondering if you implemented these methods and that is what has produced such an awesome night time sleeper, of if you were just lucky. I'd LOVE to have your schedule. Especially with nursing as I hear babies don't sleep as well with nursing. Please give me your tips!

Kristin November 17, 2010 at 4:17 PM  

We have a really good sleeper, too, and she's never napped as well in the crib as she sleeps in it (she sleeps about 8-10 hours at night). She just prefers to nap elsewhere - the bouncy seat is one of her favorite nap locations. A mommy in my baby group had read that if you roll up two towels and stuff them under the crib sheet, it can make the baby feel "nestled" like they do in a RNP or car seat (if that image makes sense at all).

amybyrd November 17, 2010 at 4:57 PM  

It took us a good 2 weeks to nap train Elle to the crib. I would go in and comfort several times before giving up. One thing we did at night whether she was in our bed, in the pack n play, or in her crib was put her semi propped up in the boppy--it cuddled her and she slept great. I know its not meant for sleep but it trained her to the crib and then we transitioned out of it.

Lyzz November 17, 2010 at 5:03 PM  

Gosh we're dealing with this ourselves. Like you I'm going back to work in 2 weeks and we really wanted her to sleep in her crib as she is 3.5 months already. However, she'd sleep so well anywhere else but the crib, which she fusses throughout the night. We're still trying to figure things out and have been going at it cold turkey for 2 weeks now. We even went so far as to pack up the bassinet so that we're not tempted to put her in it. Good luck.

jenn November 17, 2010 at 5:46 PM  

Well, I don't have a baby but I am wondering if there is anyway you can make the crib seem not as big to her. I know that you aren't supposed to put "stuff" in with babies but there must be something...

DerMom November 17, 2010 at 6:19 PM  

My daughter still won't nap in her crib for longer than 20 minutes. She's 15 months old. I hope you have better luck than we did. Thankfully at 8 weeks she was sleeping there at night after being propped by a Boppy for a month or so. I know, huge no-no.

Anonymous,  November 17, 2010 at 6:27 PM  

This might be breaking some kind of baby rules but my niece wouldn't sleep in her crib either and they thought it was too big like you're saying. They made a pallet in a laundry basket and her sleep in that and it worked like a charm!

Nicole November 17, 2010 at 8:56 PM  

My sister-in-law told me that kids don't get on a nap routine or nap in their cribs until around 6mos old. And that totally rang true with us. Up until then, Avery was very sporadic with when and where she slept. I tried the crib and she wouldn't sleep in it. Then around 6mos old, it just clicked one day and it's been fine since. We did however start her in the crib at bedtime on day 1 so we never had to deal with that transition.

Heather November 19, 2010 at 9:29 PM  

Lots of comments and input on this post, and it's all very appreciated! Thank you to everyone who weighed in.

Catherine--No, we didn't have the book before Nora was born. I didn't start reading it until she was around seven weeks, and even then it was just to kind of clarify some things and learn more about sleep habits. It doesn't really give you instructions on what to do, per se, it just helps you understand why infants do the things they do in terms of sleep. I don't think we did anything special to get Nora to be a good sleeper (knock on wood), I think we have just been very, very lucky. Honestly, she's been sleeping through the night pretty consistently since she was just a couple of weeks old. I believe that's pretty rare, so we are counting our lucky stars. Annnd now we are terrified to have a second child someday, haha!

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