Posted on Leave a comment

Going, Going, Almost Gone! Transitioning from 2 Naps to 1

Many people say that the first year is the hardest, but does it ever get ‘easier’?!

Spoiler alert. NOPE! ha.

Just when you think you’ve got it all down pat, your kiddo is going to throw another transition in and send you through a loop. Your children will continue to change in all kinds of ways because they are simply not done growing. It is hard but.. at least it is interesting?! ha.

Getting down to 1 nap tends to be a bit of a difficult transition. For most children, this could happen anytime between 12 and 18 months, and it may take upwards of a month to get this new routine into place. The average age most children transition is 15 months from my experience.

As with all changes, your child must be ready for this one too. You may notice a period where you are stuck in limbo as 2 naps feels like too much but 1 is not quite enough. You will have to be patient and flexible as your well-loved super routine nap schedule, starts to look like the hot mess express!

What are some signs your child may be ready?

  • They are getting 10.5 to 12 hours of consolidated sleep each night

  • Your child is playing through their nap time or is taking a very long time to fall asleep

  • Their morning nap is getting longer, and they are resistant to a second nap

  • They are taking a shorter morning nap and seem very content until a later afternoon nap.

Any or all of these things should be happening majority of the time (i.e. more than 4 days in a week) before you try to make the switch. One-offs happen, so don’t jump too quickly into this transition. Moving too quickly to one nap can add more challenges to your overnight sleep. Super long awake windows during the day.. an unbalanced day essentially.. tends to lead to long wide awake periods overnight as well, and it is something to move into with cautious optimism.

For those with their little ones in daycare, talk with your provider about their nap schedule; make sure you work with them to determine a routine that works for YOUR child, not just one of convenience.

If your child is ready to transition down to 1 nap, here are some steps to follow:

  • You can begin by capping your child’s morning nap to protect two naps as long as possible. Some of my clients will have their baby nap for 1 hour, 45 mins, or even just 30 mins in the morning to ensure their child still takes a decent nap in the afternoon. This can help prolong the transition until your child is a little older; which usually makes this transition a bit easier to make.

If it is clear the nap needs to go, even after some careful capping experimentations..

  • For the first 2 days, start with a morning nap around 11 a.m. If this nap is short, try to encourage them back to sleep or offer a second short nap later in the afternoon (an emergency plan-B nap in the carseat for example).

  • On days 3 and 4, push the morning nap a little later, maybe 11:15-ish.

  • On days 5 and 6, push the morning nap a little later again, maybe 11:30-ish.

  • Continue gradually moving the nap later each day until you reach an early afternoon time between 12 – 12:30 p.m.

Most children will continue to take 1 nap per day until they are well into their preschool years. This nap tends to stay around 12:30 – 2:30/3:00 pm for quite a long time, with 5 – 6 hour awake windows on either side of this nap each day.

Many kiddos reject their nap around age 2 for a little while.. this is totally normal, and a few skipped naps does not necessarily mean your child is done napping! Continue to offer quiet time, rest time, and honour your child’s need for mid-day sleep most days of the week, and you are likely to see the nap return sooner than later.

I hope this helps! And as always, if you do need more focused or 1:1 support as you make your way through this transition, I would be happy to help you. Reach out to lara@heavyeyeshappyhearts.com.

XO

Lara

Posted on

Will daycare get my baby to nap?

I see this question almost every day on many mom forums I am a part of.

I hear this question every week.

Will they be able to get my baby to nap?

Mom is going back to work. She has used the best, most divine, crème de la crème, of baby sleep tools to get her baby to sleep for naps. Yup. Her boobs. And their time together is coming to an end. Fear sets in.

Mom: “HOW ON EARTH WILL THEY GET HER TO NAP?!”

Me: “They will.”

Mom: “THEY WILL GET HER TO NAP?!”

Me: “Yes. Yes they will get her to nap.”

Have you ever visited a childcare centre at nap time? Probably not. I mean – why would you unless this is your field of study. But let me tell you – that is some sleep wizardry at its finest. 10 Babies. 10 Cribs. And somehow, at the end of the day, you go to pick that baby up and beside their name you see written the time in which they very much napped, and you can say, wow. They friggen napped! They somehow cast a spell and my baby slept. My baby slept outside her bed. Outside her crib. And she didn’t fall asleep on my boob. Yes. Why yes, she did.

Our babies have a different set of expectations for sleep built around all of their different care providers. Yes they have one way they know how to go to sleep for you, but this does not mean that they will not develop a new language in going to sleep for someone else. They very much will.

Give it time…

At first it won’t be all sunshine and roses. But the sleep fairy will visit. Your baby will achieve some daytime rest. And everything will be right in the world when you come to pick that baby up and indulge in the few hours you have together before bedtime.

Getting inside our child’s mind is always the best place to start. We know our babies think first with the right side of their brain – the side of the brain that allows for feeling, instinct, and intuition to be their guide. So our children do have to take some time to adjust to their new surroundings. They have to get to know the new space. And they have to form a relationship with the people who are going to be putting them down to sleep.

Take even the best of daytime nappers and put them in daycare and you will see some of their sleep unravel.

First they have to form safety and security in their new surroundings. They have to get to know their new sleep space. They have to see it as a safe haven. A place they trust. A place that they can make the vulnerable transition from awake to asleep in; and then return themselves to sleep after partial awakenings at nap time after this healthy relationship with their new abode is established.

Add other babies into this mix. And yeah – it’s pretty much a party! There is lots to look at. Unfamiliar sites, sounds, scents, and new touches. But ultimately, you have chosen this childcare centre for a reason. You had the “good vibes”, you got the “feelings”, and somehow you trusted you could leave your baby all day with these people to watch and care for him.

On a personal note…

My own son transitioned to his childcare centre a couple of months ago. At home – this kid is probably the best napper on the block. In fact – he sleeps better for nap than he does for nighttime sleep if I am being perfectly honest. He sleeps from 9:30 – 11:00 am most days, and then again from 2:00 – 3:30 pm. I rely on those naps to work, check-in with clients, meal prep. You name it. I do it. I am a total nap-time hustler.

But he goes to daycare 3 days per week, and truth be told, he always naps there. I don’t know what they do. I don’t know how they get him to sleep in a room with 9 other children. I mean. I could know. (They have a webcam). But truth be told, that webcam is just gonna stress me out. I would much rather find out at pick-up time that my baby did not nap all day than worry about it when I am trying to get some work done.

I send him with his blankie. I tell them the timing that works well for us at home. And I try to show at drop-off and pick-up that I trust the people I have chosen to care for him, and that they are people who are capable of putting him to sleep. I don’t know if they rock him. I don’t know if they rub his back. And I don’t know if they play lullabies or white noise in the background.

Because at the end of the day. He naps. He doesn’t nap like he does at home. Nope. Not yet. This morning he napped from 9:35 am – 10:15 am, and in the afternoon he napped from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm. But, we survived the rest of the day. We enjoyed each other as much as we could, even though he was fussy around dinner time, and then he went to bed a little earlier than he normally would.

I know there is a learning curve here. This is a big transition in his life. A big transition in my life. And it is going to take some time for all of us to get the hang of it.

But what I do know is early childhood educators have been getting babies to nap since the beginning of time, and so.. I really do leave it in the hands of the “experts” each day and hope for the best. I know they care very much about my son, would rather spend time with a rested infant than an overtired infant each day, and so, they will find a way that works for them.

And if you are finding your baby actually naps BETTER at daycare than they do at home… well… that is a whole other blog post in the works! Ha.

XO

Lara

Thank you as always to my beautiful photographer Stacie-Lynn.

Posted on 2 Comments

Is it time to stop nursing at bedtime?

Nursing your baby to sleep can be a beautiful, joyous time. You know your baby is going down in a peaceful comforted state. Everything is right in the world. And with their warm-cuddly body snuggled in, it can feel like a dream.

But not every family experiences the same relationship with nursing to sleep. Some women feel a bit claustrophobic – knowing they are the only one who is able to put baby to sleep.  Other times it is not going as planned. What used to take 10 minutes is now taking an hour or two, and mom and dad are considering that it might be time for a change. And some babies outright refuse – showing another preferred way of going to sleep after their tummies are full!

Ending the nursing to sleep relationship is a HUGE decision to make. It is really not black and white, as so many people might make it out to be. When a family works with me and they are considering ending this way of putting their child to sleep, these are some of the questions I ask them to reflect on.

Through reflection, conversation with friends, family, and especially your partner, my hope is that you will decide if it is the right time to make a change or not.

1.     What do you love about nursing to sleep?

2.     How do you feel majority of the time you are nursing your baby at night?

3.     Are you the only one who can put your child to sleep at night? How does that make you feel?

4.     Are you getting the rest you need to be the type of parent you wish to be?

5.     Is there a part of nursing your child to sleep that you don’t enjoy?

6.     Are there people in your life who are supportive of nursing your child to sleep? Of your breastfeeding journey?

7.     Is there pressure from your partner, friends, or family, to stop nursing your baby at night?

8.     What is your number one reason, or motivation, for no longer nursing your baby to sleep at night, or in the middle of the night?

9.     Are there parts of nursing in the middle of the night that you sincerely enjoy?

10. What do you wish your nighttime sleep looked like?

11. What is the feeling that would come up for you if you woke up tomorrow and could no longer nurse your baby to sleep?

12. If your baby rejected nursing at bedtime, or in the middle of the night as a result of changes you initiated – how would this make you feel?

Just because you’re weaning nursing to sleep at bedtime does not mean you need to end nursing in the middle of the night, wean daytime nursing sessions, or even stop nursing to sleep at nap time. There are many different ways that you can go about this transition, in order to make it a success for both you, and your entire family. And honestly, if you need more support on weaning breastfeeding a great person to reach out to is a board certified lactation consultant, or a breastfeeding educator. If you’d like a referral, I know a couple of great ones worth talking to.

XO

Lara

Thank you to Stacie-Lynn Photography for the beautiful photo featured here.