Alex Chiri's Blog

Day naps

routinedadopstoolstheboobsleep

Depending on your child's age, they might need 1, 2 or 3 naps during the day. When I write this, my daughter is about 11 months old and she has been on 2 naps for a while: a morning one and another one in the afternoon.

When she would do the naps with her mom, she would lay in her arms and she would fall asleep accompanied by her best friend, #theboob. For obvious reasons, I could not exactly do the same. It is also not recommended to try to do things exactly as the mother used to do it, because this might make the child believe you are replacing the mother and increase the separation anxiety which usually kicks in around this age.

So here's the option that worked for me.

Welcome to my morning office

When she was very little, I used to take her for a nap in her trolley or on a carrier on me. As she has grown, the carrier can be less comfortable for the both of us, so the trolley seemed like a much better option.

Put this option to test and with some trial and error, I managed to facilitate her morning nap in the trolley. She would sleep in it for anything between 40 minutes to 2 hours. The recommendation is to sleep at least 60 minutes in each nap and no longer than 3 hours total duration of day naps.

I would walk around with the trolley in parks around our home for about 3 hours and Stockholmers are very lucky to have plenty of green areas pretty much wherever you would live in or around the city.

I would walk 5000 miles

Even just the morning walk would send my step counter into a frenzy, so thought that maybe it would be good to find a different option for the afternoon nap.

Remember what I said about not doing exactly what the mother would do? Well, I tried it anyway. And it failed miserably. I would hold her in my arms and sing to her and she would cry so hard that you would think I am torturing her (maybe I was, with my singing 😄). So I needed something else or I had to take a tour of the park in the afternoon as well.

Someone told me about how their husband put their kids to sleep by waltzing with them in his arms. While waltzing or dancing is not really my strong suit, I thought it's worth a try. But I chose American Pie (the Don McLean version, of course) instead of a waltz. First time I played it on my phone low in the background until the rhythm starts faster and then turned it off. Finally, I dropped the music on the phone altogether and just sang the refrain on repeat while moving around the room in a sort of chaotic but gentle way. And it worked! She fell asleep in minutes! 🎉

(On further reflection regarding the movement I do to help her fall asleep, I think the most it helps when gently swinging her sideways while she is in my arms, because this makes her eyes moving up and down, closing and opening and it helps her fall asleep.)

But now comes the second part of the problem: I cannot hold her in my arms for 1.5 hours, not even for 30 minutes, she is growing and I am not very sporty, to put it mildly.

So after some attempts and a bit of waiting for her to go into deep sleep, I managed to lay down with her on me on a mattress. All good, but she didn't sleep too long in this position and she would have the tendency to try to get up in her sleep and cry...

After several days of this routine, I noticed she is more relaxed with me so I thought to try to put her directly on the mattress next to me and surprise, although she moaned a bit, she continued sleeping, some day even for 2 hours (probably compensating for the shorter morning nap that day).

And this is where I am at now. Next step is to put her into her bed instead, but every time I tried to do that she awoke and started crying, so I will be patient and go with this approach for a while before trying again.

Learnings, tips, tools

1.

One of the most important things for getting this to work, was having a stable routine for the day, regardless if it's weekend or week day. That implies that I should not try to put her to sleep too early, but especially to not put her to sleep too late. Not more than 4 hours should pass between sleeps, because after that the child might get overtired and restless and frustrated because of that.

It's good to do the same things before sleep. For example, I read to her the same book before the afternoon nap and I sing the same songs when I put her to sleep: The Lion Sleeps Tonight in the morning and American Pie in the afternoon. Interesting thing is that the moment I start singing she also starts making sounds and we read that this is how they help fall asleep themselves, so she knows that it is time to sleep, she anticipates it.

I will dedicate a post on our daily #routine, it is very important in my view.

2.

A very useful #tools for us to keep track of #sleep and not miss her optimal bed times is the Huckleberry app. Their accuracy is sometimes scary, where my daughter would fall asleep very close to their suggested time, even if I tried to put her to sleep at an earlier time. I'm pretty sure there are many other similar apps out there, I suggest you check one of them out, it's good to not have to make all kind of calculations in your head to determine the best time. Plus the sleep log can be useful to find patterns and correlations between sleep times and other things.

3.

Maybe some of you wonder what kind of tools I use during the morning nap/walk, so here is a short list:

I even tried buying an umbrella holder, but Vistas handle is too thick for the holder. Considering something like this, definitely an eye grabber, but I would be dry and would have my hands free 🤣