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As a mom to a four month old and a ten year old, I certainly do. But then, nothing would ever get done. So how about getting the kiddos to nap.

My son was so much easier when he was an infant. He'd fall asleep anywhere. Seriously. He'd fall asleep while in his exersaucer.

Addison, well, she's a whole new ball game. But, I've pretty much got her figured out. The key is to look for their tired cues.

If you're watching closely, most babies (if not all) start out with the following:

  • Droopy eyelids
  • Quieter/less vocal
  • Sucking less/weaker
  • Yawning
  • Slower motions/less active

At those times, start your nap-time/bedtime routine. You don't always want to put the baby down when they are already asleep. Getting them started on self-soothing will help as they get older (do you really want to be rocking that ten-year-old to sleep at nights? *giggle*). And though you may be thinking that you want your baby to sleep whenever s/he wants, a routine will truly make everyone's life much easier.

If you've missed the early cues, you may be headed into some nasty territory, which can include:

  • Fussiness
  • Irritability
  • Crankiness
  • Rubbing eyes

I've hit those cues myself and it's torture. They are too tired to go to sleep but not too tired to be so cranky that even "The Momma" can't soothe them. NOT fun.

What works for us when this happens (and I know I've hit that point when Addison starts rubbing her head/eyes on me ferociously) is the binky (which she is not a fan of, except in these moments) and walking and rocking.

If you've got a really fussy baby, you can talk to your pediatrician about gripe water. It's an herbal supplement that helps with relief of colic, hiccups and tummy discomfort. It contains ginger and fennel. (I was told not to use the one with activated charcoal - but I didn't see one with that.) And, word of advice if you do use it and don't want to waste an entire bottle—it needs to be refrigerated after opening. Lesson learned. The hard way. :)

We've now got a sort of nap schedule and it works well for us. She just turned 18 weeks and she sleeps through the night (98% of the time). She goes down at 9:30pm and gets up at about 7:30am. She's then up until about 11:30am/12pm. It's at that time that I start looking for nap cues. I've trained myself to look for the cues rather than wait on the baby. At first sign she goes right into her swing (where she naps during the day) and is out within a few minutes. It helps to make things quieter (luckily my son is in school). I will admit that she is excellent with sleeping through noise though. If you've got an only child, don't do what we did with our son. We would get so quiet with him that he needed quiet to sleep. Now that Addison is here and the house is pure bedlam at times, she sleeps through it all. Even the 95 pound dog barking at the passing UPS truck. ;)

The one nap habit I'm trying to break is feeding the bottle to get her to sleep. I don't want to associate the two. Of course there are times where she falls asleep while eating. That's fine. But I don't want to throw food at her whenever it's nap time.

What are some of your nap time routines? Have you tried anything that sounded great but turned out to be a big flop? Any products you've bought that were a waste? Share below!

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Comment by Alix Hayes on October 27, 2011 at 5:01pm
if we don't do the same routine for naps as we do for 'bed,' i think my 14mo-old notices...he helps us turn off all the lights in the house, watches as mommy preps the bottle (we're starting to wean tho)...sound machine least 2 books read, blanket on lap, pillow ready to go under his head....and NITE NITE time for naps! (works 99% of the time for us, for months!)


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