My four month old sleeps well in her cot at night but usually refuses to do so during her day sleeps, preferring the pram. I’m concerned her preference for sleeping in the pram during the day may lead to her preferring the pram for her night sleep as well. What are your thoughts on this Nicole? Marie

It is unlikely that she will prefer sleeping in the pram during the night as well as she sleeps in her cot at night.  It is certainly good that she is flexible with both, however if you feel that she is too reliant on the pram during the day then you need to start mixing it up on her.

By that I mean put her in her cot for her first day sleep, the one around 8/9am.  The earlier one before this which is around 6/6.30am is only a feed and then straight back down for more sleep, as it’s like an extension of the night sleep.

Try not to have her overtired for this sleep, so aim for an awake time including feeding, cuddle, nappy etc of about 1 hour and as the tireder she is, the longer it will take her to go to sleep.

So at the 8/9amish one, put her in her cot for this one as this is when she is at her most refreshed and able to apply and learn new skills.  Just like us we are much better at learning in the morning than late in the afternoon as we tire.  Try not to rescue her from  this sleep and put her back to her pram, as this only reinforces to her brain that she needs the pram to sleep during the day.  You and I know she can sleep in either.

If you need too, I often suggest to parents to actually put the pram into their baby’s room so that the room is the same.  That way she will cue the room, the sounds and colours etc of the room into her sleep which is a big step.  Also use the same steps and process that you do for the pram for the cot, include, wraps, or sleeping bags etc. (make sure they are lightweight for this weather) Be sure not to rock or move the pram as it could well be this movement that she has cued in.

If she doesn’t sleep all that well, that’s ok at this point as she is changing her expectations.  For her next sleep, again about 60mins after being up, place her to sleep in her pram.  Continue this for the rest of the day.  Do this pattern for a few days then change the pattern again, I suggest one sleep in her cot the first, then alternate pram, cot, pram, cot.  Mixing the pattern starts to mix the cues in her brain and start to make her associate a number of different things with sleep.  Continue until she starts to apply day sleep to the cot.  It really should only take about 4 weeks or so to change this for her.  If you have any difficulties be sure to get some good advice on how what the next step should be.  The last day sleep, late in the afternoon will be the hardest for her to change, so expect this to take the longest, or go and do your exercise at this point, if it’s cool and shady enough.

Related Articles:

Introduction to Sleep Aids

Overstimulation and babies

What are my babies tired signs

Needs Help Falling Asleep

Understanding Sleep and Babies

Nicole Pierotti

Written by Nicole Pierotti

© Copyright 2012. No reprinting or publishing without permission from writer. For permission or further information contact nicole@babysmiles.com.au.

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