A reader has been following our posts about infant sleeping and asks:
Now what about daytime naps? Ever since 7 days old she sleeps in a crib and “sleeps through the night” (3-4 hours at first and now 8.5 hours at 11 weeks). But she will not sleep in her crib for naps. She got 1.5 hours today in an ergo carrier, 3 a couple days ago in a swing, but no consistent success. I’m told my baby is too young and in a couple weeks will be old enough to sleep longer in a crib. Everyday we try the crib, then I just end up with an overtired baby until I put her in the ergo.
From the day you bring your full-term, healthy baby home from the hospital, she is not too young to do all her sleeping in a crib. You spent a lot of money for that crib! You prepared her bedroom — fresh paint, maybe, and baby decorations! That’s where your baby should sleep.
The Ergo carrier must be really hard for you when she is sleeping, and it violates a major rule (OK, my rule) of infant sleep: Never hold a sleeping baby (grandparents are exempted!). Newborns and young infants can quickly develop a sleep association with being held (or being rocked) to sleep. Once an association is made, it will be hard for them to adjust. They won’t be very happy having to learn how to go to sleep and stay asleep all over again. Lots of crying and sleepless nights may follow.
As for naps, I’d suggest placing her in her crib for every nap. She won’t be happy at first but she’ll adjust. And, she’ll adjust faster if you make the change now, at 3 months of age, rather than waiting until she is older. Be consistent and stick to your routine, just like you’re doing at night. She’ll cry a little, but I suspect she’ll figure it all out pretty quickly.
One last thought about sleep: If your baby or young child wakes up happy, they’ve had enough sleep.