Q&A: Should I be concerened that my baby, who is co-sleeping with us, is not getting enough sleep?
We are a co-sleeping, AP style family. Owen, our first baby, is 7 months old. I don't feel that he's getting enough sleep. He naps for about two hours a day (in the swing at daycare). At home we have to walk him to sleep. He only wants to be in his crib if he's playing. How do we get him to stay asleep or just be able to soothe himself back to sleep at night and for naps? Can we skip the crib and just move him to a mattress on the floor in a baby-proofed room?
To address your concern about whether Owen is getting enough sleep, the “average” 6-month-old sleeps 10 and a half hours at night and takes naps totaling three and a half hours, for a total sleep time of 14 hours per day. By nine months, these numbers change to 11 hours a night, three hours a day. You will know whether he’s getting enough sleep by observing his behavior. A 7-month old baby who isn’t sleeping enough is cranky.
It sounds like Owen is demanding what he is used to—contact with you as he drifts off to sleep. Yet, if he continues to learn that this is what to expect, it will get harder to ‘teach’ him to go from sleepy to asleep by himself.
The trick is to slowly change his expectations. First, put him down while he’s sleepy, but maintain touch until he is asleep. Next maintain voice contact as he gets used to less help from you. At some point, he’ll awaken and cry, but backtracking to holding him again defeats the purpose. If he is not sick and his other needs are met, go back to the last type of contact that was working.