Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Napping on the run?

Most of the reason that Owen is such a good sleeper compared to Will is that he came to us that way. I’m convinced of that. But it also helps that this time around I found a book that helped me, not to put Owen on a sleep schedule, but to respect his rhythms. Back to “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Marc Weissbluth’s survey of sleep research suggests that babies until 3 or 4 months have a one- to two-hour awake window. That means no matter when they nap, once they’ve been up for an hour you start watching for sleepy signs and soothe them back to sleep sometime before two hours has passed since they were last asleep. I recognize now that I kept Will up too much, and let him get overtired and wired.

And now when I lose track of Owen’s sleep and miss a nap window, I can expect a certain wide-open-eyes-surrounded-by-a-hint-of-red look that means it won’t be so easy to get him back down. We’re at 10 weeks now and the establishment of the morning nap is looming (just this week he seems to already be sleeping for long stretches beginning around 9 a.m.) And I’m wondering about how and whether to follow Weissbluth’s advice about respecting babies' naptimes and generally having them nap in the same stationary place. I can foresee myself letting Owen have his morning nap in the car seat three mornings a week, after he falls asleep on the ride to drop Will of at school (he tends to wake up when he gets moved from car seat to bassinet). And on the days when Will doesn’t go to school, I know I’ll often be tempted to take Will and poor upright-napping Owen on a walk to the park in the mammoth double stroller. Hopefully Owen will be flexible enough to catch his zzzs on the run without getting his whole sleep schedule messed up.

How have you more experienced mothers of 2 (and 3 and 4 and 5) managed naptimes with multiple kids and multiple agendas?

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