How to get your Baby in a Sleep Routine - Naps
Asleep in her Crib
Nap Time in the Early Months
If there's one thing I would change about my parenting in the early months (there are many!), it's this: to put her in a routine sooner!
I am all for nursing on demand, but there's a way to do it with some structure to help the child sleep better in the long-run.
I was so worried about her sleeping in those first three-ish months and I read a lot of books on the subject of infant sleeping habits including The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg and The No Cry Nap Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. They both emphasized how very important sleep is for your little one. I often wondered if it's so necessary, why won't my baby just sleep?! I'm thinking all or most parents wonder the same thing during the "zombie months".
So here's my suggestion: just try this routine out and keep trying. You don't need to be completely strict with it if you're just starting out, but it could help your little one and YOU get some sleep.
In the Baby Whisperer, Hogg outlines a great routine using the initials E.A.S.Y. - how awesome is that?! Here's what it means:
E - Eat
A - Activity
S - Sleep
Y - time for You
[The following is a combination of advice I got from the books I read and my own tactics / experiences. Good luck!] So when she or he wakes up in the morning, nurse or bottle-feed. Then do a lively activity. For some activity ideas for babies, check out this hub. When s/he starts showing signs of sleepiness, do some kind of nap time routine - we turn off [most of] the lights, sit in the glider and read a story. Then put your baby in the crib. It is crucial that at this point s/he is awake, but drowsy. (<-- that's the ideal and I know it is much easier said than done!)
It's okay if s/he doesn't sleep during "nap time" in these first tries. Go in and soothe but keep putting him/her in the crib until nap time is over (about an hour and a half total). Then feed the little one, do an activity and repeat.
Naps might take a while to achieve, but once the child is napping, your life is so much easier (believe me - I know)! This is when you get You Time (the Y in E.A.S.Y.)!