How To Parent Defiant Children Before Nap Time
Most infants really like routines. That does not mean that you have to watch your clock and pay attention to minutes, but if your son tends to "like" to nap (when he is successful) in the afternoon, having a regular afternoon routine will be helpful.
That would be a time when you would want to avoid errands, visits, appointments and visitors. If for some reason you miss a day (and are out for the afternoon, for example) you might find that it takes 2-3 days for your infant to "settle back in" to the regular routine.
Taking time out.
Some infants are incredibly sensitive to parent stress levels. One solution that has been successful for some parents (especially those without other small children) is taking a nap WITH your child in the afternoon. No, you can't get your housework done, but you can use the rest too.
Then at 8 or 9 pm after your son gets to bed you still might have energy left to do of the things you need to do to take care of you. All over the world parents sleep with their parents. Our culture has had a problem with that, but you might feel like it could work for you. This is a great example of examining the situation and putting your techniques of how to parent to work.
Falling asleep while nursing:
Some kids fall asleep nursing and can stay asleep. Others will rarely stay asleep. Just because he appears "zonked" does not mean that he is in a stable sleep pattern. Some kids will stay asleep after nursing if they are not moved and if they still have the opportunity to suck. You could try nursing him in your bed (or even on a quilt or soft rug on the floor) and slip a small pacifier in when you stop nursing.
Remember to surround him (ahead of time so you won't wake him up when you leave) with barriers so he won't roll off the bed. This technique will NOT work when he gets strong enough to move around, though you may find by then that he has gotten better at falling asleep by himself.
Nap time environment.
Not all kids need the dark to sleep. You tried making his room really dark which did not seem to work. You could try leaving the curtains open or putting on a quiet tape of soothing music. What you are looking for is not what works for all kids (because there is no answer to that) but what might work for your son in particular.
Crying it out:
Some people advocate just picking a nap time, setting up a routine and letting him cry it out. It works for some people. For other families it just creates more stress because the parents don't feel good about it.
Those who choose crying it out, believe that even infants have the ability to self-soothe. If you do decide to let him cry it out, do it with confidence and be consistent. Many parents who have tried this with confidence and consistency find it takes about three days. Inconsistency is just torture for both parent and child.
You have to be the judge for you. I am not convinced that at 5 1/2 months that all infants are developmentally capable of getting to sleep in the middle of an exciting day without more assistance. Some kids clearly are. Trust your intuition here and experiment. What works for you as a parent AND for your infant? Only you know.
During this time.... do try to remember that this will go away. No matter what you do (or don't do) it will get better. Remember to take care of yourself (take time out, get exercise) and to enjoy your infant when he is not tired. Know that you can help your child see light and that your techniques of how to parent will influence your children directly.
by: Dr. Jane Nelsen