At his 3 month check up, I spoke to my pediatrician about his sleep habits, and in turn, she handed me a tattered edged book. She told me that she had used it for her sons, and that many of the families she treated had found success with it.
I took the book home, and read it in one afternoon while bobbing a fussy baby on my knee.
It proposed paying attention to when your baby wakes, and paying attention to sleepy cues around 80 minutes after waking. By nature, we are all primed for rest in 90 minute intervals. Adults can go from cycle to cycle without needing rest, while babies may skip one or two cycles, but could be ready at say, the 180 or 270 mark.
The next morning, I was a slave to the clock. I noted when Sal woke, and sure enough, 75 minutes later he was yawning, stretching and fiending for milk. I swaddled him, popped a bottle in and off he went to sleep right at the 90 minute mark. His first week of doing this, his naps only lasted twenty minutes or so, but they eventually became longer to the point that he took an hour nap around 8:00a and then an afternoon nap around 1:30p.
With Carla, I've been lazy. She is now almost 5 months old and I have yet to schedule anything for her. She goes to bed after Sal, usually around 7:30-8:00 and sleeps til 7:15a. Sleeping through the night has been good enough for me.
But now, I'm starting to feel guilty. Sal isn't getting the one on one time he deserves (and needs). Carla isn't sleeping much at all during the day, unless we are out and about and she naps in the ergo or in the stroller. I know babies need sleep, and in discussing it with NZ, I've decided to try the 90 minute method again. It would be nice to get her on a regular napping schedule even if it means I may miss out on coffee morning or play dates for a month while we sleep train. Eventually, I think she will take her first nap around 9:00, and hopefully again in the afternoon while Sal rests.
I started training her this past Monday. Day one was a success. Three naps and a decent bedtime.
Tuesday was equally as successful.
Wednesday, however, was a shitstorm. I didn't pay attention to when she first woke, and then was trying to read signs of readiness all morning. There was a lot of screaming on Tuesday. A lot. Carla, Sal...and almost myself. She never did nap on Tuesday morning, so when I laid Sal down in my room to rest after lunch, I gave it a go with her. I fed her, then "sacked" her (the art of putting a halo sleepsack on) and put her down. Again, screaming. Sweating. She was a hot mess. After twenty minutes of listening to her, as well as Sal who was yelling from my room, " She crying. Cah crying. You hurt her!" instead of laying peacefully reading his books. I admit it. I gave up. I gave in. I grabbed Carla and we went in my room to get Sal. This was all of 1:30 pm. Waaaaay to early for a drink, and a long way off til NZ would be getting home.
About to lose my head, I put her in my ergo, Sal in the stroller and just started doing laps around our compound. It was over 80 degrees and humid. Not exactly walking weather. Within minutes, both were out. I rolled Sal back into the house, and spent the next hour glued by sweat to Carla until she woke up.
Today is Thursday.
You can bet I watched the clock this morning.
Carla woke at 6:40a. I sacked her and started feeding at 8:00a. By ten after, she was out cold. Two hours and twenty glorious minutes of sleep. We were out and about during the next 90 minute cycle so she skipped that one. It's now nearing 1:30 and she's almost asleep again.
I know there will be hiccups along the way, but I feel like progress is being made towards a better organized day. When my kids nap, they have happier afternoons, and that makes me happy.
*i received no compensation for this post. It's simply a book that helped our family that I thought may be of use to my readers.