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The In-Arms Sleeper's Conversion To An In Bed Sleeper - Update #1

Okay. So my last post on baby sleep happened around a week ago. Since then, I've logged E's sleep and I've also seen (with much delight) how she's "consolidating" her sleep as promised by Dr. Weissbluth.

The Sleep Logs

Over the last week, I've been logging her daytime sleep in the attempt to convert her from a sneaky in-arms cat napper (30 mins every 60 to 90 mins) to a big girl who takes big naps in her big bed. My husband made me a Google Spreadsheet that I could update on my phone to log sleep start and end times, and also measure the time from when she last awoke to when she went back to sleep.

This helped me gauge the times when she gets really sleepy. As of now - she gets really sleepy about an hour after she wakes up (around 8 AM) and then 11:15 AM (yeah, it's that precise) and then around 5 PM (her shortest nap and she doesn't really want to nap but I insist because otherwise it's a nightmare getting her to go to sleep at bedtime).

The logs also showed me how much of a difference having a nap-time routine and a consistent sleeping place helps with her sleep. Over the last week, she has gone from sleeping in my arms exclusively to sleeping mostly on the bed. Now, she only naps for about 10 minutes in my arms before I put her down on the bed and then nurse her back to sleep (I know I'll have to wean her from this soon but getting her to fall asleep on the bed is HUGE! Besides, the point of sleep training is to show baby that sleep is good).

The Morning Nap

For her morning nap, I wear her in a soft carrier (Mamas & Papas Flo wrap) and take her dog-walking with me. This exposes her to the morning sun PLUS gives her the rocking motion currently needed to put her to sleep. By the end of the 30-minute walk, E is asleep. I continue to wear her in the carrier while I grab coffee and breakfast.

At the start of week 12, she slept for just 30 mins like this. Today, she slept for 50 mins. I will have to eventually get her to sleep in the bed for her morning nap but I like wearing her in the mornings and having her close to me especially after she sleeps for 12 hours by herself in bed. 

The house is also quite busy in the mornings, what with the husband scooting off to work, and the cook and the cleaner working noisily. She currently sleeps best in the wrap when it's busy in the house so I'm not going to change anything about this nap until she either: 

  • tells me she wants to sleep on the bed; or 
  • she gives up morning naps; or 
  • I get tired of wearing her (never)

The Mid-Morning Nap

Her mid-morning nap is still a little strange - she has a bath a little after the morning nap but is oddly charged by the bath so she fights being put to sleep immediately. However, she gets sleepy quickly post-bath and I have to watch her carefully to make sure she's asleep by 11:15 AM. If I miss getting her asleep by this time, she fights sleep and gets overtired and will then only sleep an hour later - in this hour she will bitch and moan and whine and put me in a very bad mood.

At the start of week 12, she kept waking up each time I put her on the bed and this was when I decided to see if nursing her in bed will help her fall asleep for this nap. Until now, I had avoided nursing her in bed mostly because I didn't know how to. 

Now, at the start of week 13, the mid-morning nap routine is something like this: a little time in the sun post-bath followed by a quiet diaper change, small massage (sometimes she cries because she knows a nap is going to follow) then some shushing and rocking (maybe even some pacing). I don't know why she fights this nap even though it's her most important and longest (therefore my most important) nap.

She falls asleep in ten minutes and then I quietly transfer her to bed; she awakens and starts fussing; I quickly yank the boob out and she starts nursing. Once she's had her fill, she continues to comfort nurse for some more time. I use this time to either catch up on sleep or catch up on news. By noon, she has either pooped or pulled off, both of which awaken her and I again quietly lift her, change her diaper, nurse her at the nursing station and then quietly put her back in bed. This time, she's drowsy but awake and she quickly settles herself to sleep like she does at night and will sleep till 3 PM.

This nap is also the hardest to measure because when we started out, she wouldn't nap for more than an hour... that quickly turned into 2 hours, then 3 and today, she slept for 4 and a half hours since I first put her down at 11 AM. I'm desperately hoping that this is going to be her normal mid-morning nap.

The Evening Nap

She wakes up refreshed and cheerful from her mid-morning nap and plays happily by herself on one of her two play mats (reviews to follow). This is when I show her off to her doting grandparents/great grandparents and we catch up on tummy time and the like. After about 90 minutes of play, she gets tired and some experimentation on my part has revealed that skipping a nap at this time, even if it is 5 PM makes bedtime excruciating.

So, it's back to the bedroom for a quiet diaper change, some virgin coconut oil on her bum, and some light shushing and rocking while she falls asleep in my arms. I don't put her down for this nap if it's past 5 PM because I just need her to be asleep for 15 to 20 minutes to take the "edge" off, as it were. So once she's asleep, I take her with me to the living room and let her sleep in my arms till she naturally wakes up in less than 30 minutes. If, however, it's only 4 PM, I put her down and again, nurse her back to sleep for around an hour.


My guess is that she's still consolidating daytime sleep which is why I'm seeing a lengthening of her morning and mid-morning naps. The evening nap is the trickiest because until her mid-morning nap crystallises, I'll be unable to plan our evenings and basically, take a call each day regarding when and how this nap ought to be taken.

Baby sleep is not something I spent too much worrying about before. I didn't even think it was a subject that needed to be worried about until now. While Dr. Weissbluth's book helped me understand the importance of baby sleep, it was Pantley's book that gave me the idea to log baby's sleep and formulate a routine around baby's natural biorhythm.

My goal for E's months 3 to 6 is to get her to anticipate and love falling asleep by herself. In a perfect world, this would happen in her crib but I don't care if she's still sleeping on our bed at end of month 6 as long as she's falling asleep by herself.