Having a hard time navigating the world of naps? When your baby has a hard time falling to sleep for his naps or is starting to wake up early from them, try these quick fixes to help steer him to “SleepyVille!”
#1: Wait 15 minutes before you go in to the nursery.
This is your first and most useful fix to teach your baby how to fall asleep on his own. Our 15-Minute Rule is based on the idea that even the easiest of babies will predictably cry, whimper, or whine during the 5-20 minutes while they’re transitioning between sleep cycles. If you rush in, you don’t allow your baby the opportunity to fall back to sleep on his own. By rushing in, you also prevent your baby from learning the essential skill of self-soothing. So, set your timer and “hurry up to wait!”
#2: Change your baby’s diaper and re-swaddle him.
If your baby is still crying after the 15-minute mark, go into the nursery, turn on the light, pick him up, change his diaper, and re-swaddle him. Burping him is also a good idea as sometimes gas could be the issue, especially if he’s waking up close to when you put him down.
#3: Place him back in the crib on his back and gently rub his side.
Gently rub or pat his side or forehead while saying some soothing phrases to him like “It’s nap time” “It’s okay, Sweetie” “You’re just falling asleep” and “I love you very much.” Do this for about two minutes.
#4: Check the nursery for anything that might be preventing him from falling to sleep or waking him up.
You want to check that:
– the nursery’s temperature is cool enough (read our Baby Temperaturespost)
-the nightlite isn’t too bright
– the volume on his sound machine isn’t set too low
– a pet wasn’t accidentally left in his room
– the nursery is dark enough so buying and installing black-out curtain liners is a must-do!
– sudden, loud noises aren’t waking your baby (like a dog barking outside his window)
#5: Turn on the soother, turn off the lights, and close the door on your way out.
Turn on his crib soother machine (which you should have permanently set to last between 15-18 minutes), turn off the lights (leaving on a low night lite) leave the room, and close the door. He will most likely continue to cry, but you need to leave at this point. It’s heartbreaking for you but remember, you’re doing what’s best for your baby – you’re teaching him how to sleep and that is a precious gift! Give him a few minutes (3-5) to fall back to sleep. If your baby is still really crying after that time, start the 15-minute timer again and repeat the process – but the second (and/or third) time you go in, do not change his diaper or take him out of the crib. If you need to re-swaddle him, do it in the crib. Say soothing phrases to him for a couple of minutes and leave again. Repeat the process up to three times total. If the third time doesn’t do the trick, feed him early and then catch him up to the schedule gradually during the day.
Related Posts: Baby Temperatures, Nursery Organization Must-Haves, PPB Schedule Birth-3 Weeks, Crib Essentials, Swaddling, Baby’s Nightcap, Waking Your Baby to Feed, The 15-Minute Rule, Sleeping Milestones, Crib Soothers, Sound Machine Magic, Swaddling, Why Use Our PPB Schedules, How to Become a Practical Parent