Sleeping & Napping
Sleeping/Napping Sleeping and napping for a newborn have been quite a challenge for a variety of reasons. Again, understanding the “I’m tired cry” or the “I am starting to fuss” cry” are key but not always easy to determine. The swaddle. The swaddle has been amazing for our son. First we used a full swaddle but now he has graduated to a Halo sleep sack. This sleep sack has velcrow for the top to keep his arms nice and snug and the bottom half from about his hips to his feet is similar to a sleeping bag. He is free to kick and move his legs but the top half is tight to prevent waking himself up with the startle reflex. He can use this type of swaddle until he begins to roll over. When this happens, we will use a Halo sleep sack without the swaddle feature. This is basically like a vest top with the same sleeping bag type bottom (all one piece). The Dockatot Deluxe (0-8 months). The Dockatot has been an incredible tool for sleep. It is expensive but my husband and I highly recommend it. It basically looks like a boogie board in a way, a rectangle with one end being rounded. That is the base and around the sides of this oval type doackatot is a tight rim or bumper. I know that bumpers are not allowed in a crib but this is not necessarily a bumper. If you go to the Dockatot website, it states that it is not used for sleep but we know many people who have used it. This is just our opinion of course. At first, we had the Dockatot inbetween us in bed which was convenient but each time my husband or I got out of bed to use the bathroom, it would wiggle him awake. We then graduated to the Dockatot in the pack & play next to our bed. This worked for a month and a half or so but again, the noises this kid makes kept me up all night. We recently graduated him to the Dockatot in his crib, in his own room, and have been using a baby monitor (I can provide the make and model if you are interested). This monitor has no camera or video feature but the sound is very clear and has not interfered with any other electronics in the house, and let me tell you, being married to an I.T guy, we have lots of those. When putting our son to sleep, we would lower him into the Dockatot but he would always wake up. We’ve found that if you hold him away from your body for a few seconds then gently and very slowly lower him, he does not feel as if he is falling and therefore usually stays asleep. When he wakes, we gently rub his arms or his stomach to let him know we are there. After a few seconds of this, we lift him out of the Dockatot. This allows him time to adjust to us and to understand that he is going to be picked up. Just think of someone abruptly grabbing you when you just woke up. Napping has been a struggle because knowing when he should or wants to nap is difficult. Just this week, he has fallen asleep on me more times that I can count and this is usually after a fussy period where nothing makes him stop crying or feel better. Ensuring that your child has adequate naps is huge because otherwise it will backfire and he will become overtired. Let me tell you, an overtired child is not easy to put to sleep because he is so worked up. Today, I knew my son was tired so I brought him upstairs, swaddled him and rocked in the glider for a few minutes while singing twinkle twinkle. He fought me at first by wiggling and whining but after a minute or so, he settled in and fell asleep. Mother knows best, well, I like to think I do. Also, keeping your baby awake during parts of the day to make sure they sleep at night is not recommended. It really does not work, I promise. As mentioned in a previous post, the pacifier is both your friend and your enemy. Our son is smart, just in the past week or so, he tilts his head towards the side of the Dockatot and pushes the tab that is on the outside of the pacifier to the side of the Dockatot so that it stays in his mouth until he sleeps. When he does fall asleep, we play the “swipe the paci” game. It doesn’t matter if you can see or not because his room is dark. I take my finger and swipe both sides of his head and feel for it. When I find it, I grab it and put it on his changing pad next to him. He has not woken up from this yet. The reason for this is that if we do not grab it, when he wiggles, it will lodge under his neck and keep in awake all night. I’m sure I will have more tips and tricks for you in the future about sleeping or napping. The next post will be about feeding because it is such an important and complicated topic to cover.