Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dropping the 4th nap

I feel so silly that it didn't occur to us sooner, but dropping the 4th nap has made our nighttime routine so much better!  She used to have a nap about 2 - 1.5 hours before her final bedtime.  We needed it, without it she would get overtired and she was just very unhappy during her bath and nighttime routine.  But then when she turned about 5 months we began to have problems going to bed at night (it would take about 40 minutes).  And waking through the night too, but I now realize that those are probably unrelated.

And after reading/skimming through 3 different sleep books, and talking to some fellow moms, I began to realize that Cupcake probably wasn't very sleepy at the end of the day.  She was tired, because she'd been "up" for 12 hours, but she wasn't "sleepy" because it had only been 1.5 hours since she woke up from her last nap.  And this was a problem.  So we dropped the last nap, and moved her 3rd nap to about an hour later.  Ha ha, I say this as if she actually follows her baby-led nap schedule, but at least now I have a better idea of what I'm aiming for.

The first couple of days it was tough to keep her up at the end of the day, since she was getting fussy.  But she quickly got used to the idea.  Now she takes her  last nap at 6 pm, wakes at 7 pm and is up until she goes to bed between 9:30 - 10 pm.  She's great at her bath, super active, and as we dry her, do massage and put on pajamas, she gets a bit cranky, so I nurse her.  She's happy again, and we read a couple of books.  And by the time the books are done she's pretty tired, and it's been taking Nate no longer than 10 minutes or so to put her to bed.  It's lovely.  No crying, minimal fussing, and by 10 she's usually out and we have 2 whole hours to ourselves to spend together.  Yes, we're night owls, I don't even get tired before 11:30 and if I try to go to bed before midnight I just sit awake for a long long time. 

I'm just glad we realized that her sleep needs were shifting.  And thanks to all our sleep info, I feel like we are a bit more in control of her naps.  Right now, for example, she's napping in her crib again, after pretty much refusing to do it for a week there.  It's so nice to have some time off.

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