Sleep Issues – An Unconventional Method

I started the 90 minute sleep cycle (NAPS) at about 3 months but I have friends with older babies (about 10 mo old) who have done this and it has helped them as well.  I have found by putting him down now is harder as he gets older but the more naps or the better quality naps he gets on a regular basis makes for much better sleep at night for our little guy.  It is harder to tell his sleepy cues now because he wants to play all the time.  So for his afternoon nap he goes in awake now and can put himself to sleep.

My unconventional method that has seemed to work flawlessly now that the little guy is a little older.  I have been doing this since he was about 6 months old and could crawl.  He has always had his little Fisher Price(FP) Aquarium on the side of his crib, he loves it.  I have a baby mirror in one corner, a hanging octopus toy he can play with the legs and turn on the music by pulling the string, he has a lovey, a plush cloth book, sock monkey(the one with the embroidered eyes & mouth) and his Leap Frog(LF) dog scout where he can push the paws and belly and it plays music, sings songs and talks to him.  Seems like a lot of distraction from sleep, doesn’t it?  I wanted to make the crib a place he was comfortable in for sleep not just the boring quiet place that seems like punishment. (drastic wording but I don’t know how a baby really looks at naptime)

He used to fight me tooth and nail when it came to naps in his crib until he saw there were some fun things in there.  I get him right when I see the first little cue he does put him in there and turn on the bedtime music on the paw of his LF Scout.  He usually will lay right down no fuss.  Occasionally he will fuss as I turn around to walk out but then he is fine in a few moments.  I always do lights out and curtain shut(his room doesn’t have a door).  Sometimes he will sit up and play for 5-30 minutes and then passes out.  On a rare occasion he will play for an hour and then want to get out no real nap but he had quiet time in his room.  I wanted to make it a point to give him that “quiet time” in hopes that when we get to the toddler years he can have his lights out quiet time without a fuss.

I am sure every sleep tech would have my head for suggesting play in the crib until he falls asleep but he sleeps all night now.  And most nights if he wakes up he will play for a little bit and then go right back to sleep without ever calling out or crying to be “saved” (as we call it) from the crib.  I would say about once or twice a month, usually around teething or growing he wants me to sleep with him on the floor.  Well, that is how I have learned I can get sleep and he can get to feel the comfort of sleeping next to mommy.  He was a co-sleeper for the first 4 months of his life because of a post c-section complication I had, so I think that is why some nights he wants to cuddle with me.

We did ferber at night and a little bit of the baby sleep solution.  In reality, I didn’t find that one system worked better solely by itself but a blend of programs worked.  I picked out the parts that worked for us and melded them into something that worked for bed time.  We do the same thing every night, diaper change, read a book, bottle, rock/burp(yup still burping at a year old), lullaby and then lay him down in his crib (minus the LF Scout that makes noise).  I truly think we just got lucky to have a good sleeper, but it took a lot of time getting patterns down.

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