I've finally made peace with my baby's sleep habits

Oh, naps. Naps have pretty much been the bane of my existence since my little one was born in late May. In fact, obsessing over them has actually kept me up at night. Should I rock my son to sleep, leave him to fall asleep on his own, nurse him to sleep, let him cry it out? Dueling philosophies aside, infants need sleep, and they need a lot more than what they get at night.


I'll admit, I haven't read a ton of books on infant sleep, but I've done my fair share of Internet searching over the past 11 weeks. My son is an active baby, and sleep does not come easily to him. Out of an exhausted desperation that developed when he was just a couple of weeks old, we've been doing a modified sort of sleep training, but every few weeks I find myself reassessing and doubting my decisions. Last night was one of those nights. Even though Abel slept in his crib for over five hours before waking up to nurse, I got significantly less sleep. The culprit? I Googled "infant naps" before going to bed, which had my mind reeling for at least an hour after the baby was fast asleep.

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We've definitely fallen into a neat little routine, but we use sleep props. Abel sleeps in his swing or bouncy seat for almost every nap during the day. By the time he was about four weeks old, we discovered that these things work, and we stuck with it. But apparently that means he's not getting good quality sleep, because the motion doesn't allow him to get enough non-REM sleep. Ay! Now what? Do I keep trying to find different ways to put him down or do I stay the course with what we're doing until it no longer works?

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To be honest, I have no clue. I go through periods of feeling like the worst mom in the world, because either a) I don't cuddle and comfort him to sleep for every nap or b) I'm not teaching him good sleep habits by not letting him learn to put himself to sleep in his own bed.

But the reality is, every baby is different and none of the "experts" know my son--he is happy, content, and thriving, despite the fact that he doesn't fit into the perfect nap mold.  And as he approaches the three-month mark, I'm coming to realize that I could spend hours upon hours debating with myself over naps, or I can spend that time enjoying my little man.

In terms of naps, what was your baby's experience like? Should I do anything to help my little guy fall asleep during the day?

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: child rearing  sleep  naps