What do I have to do to get my 4mo to nap in the day? Please help!

(21 Posts)
LKirk Thu 22-Nov-12 21:09:57

My beautiful DD is 4 months old and is a terrible daytime napper...even as a tiny newborn she would be awake all day until she passed out with exhaustion.

Things have got a little better since the very early weeks but she will still only sleep for a max of 20mins in the cot or pram (morning nap only...can't get her to have a nap in cot/pram more than once a day). I've been getting around it in the past few weeks because she'll sleep for 2-3 hours in the sling. However, my back is really beginning to suffer now...I can't keep taking her out for walks of 2-3 hours in the sling every day, she's getting too heavy for me...and it's getting really cold!

I am desperate to tackle her issue with napping in the cot but she's not having any of it. Today I tried for 50mins to get her to have a morning nap...she eventually gave up but woke less than 20mins later. For her late afternoon nap I tried for an hour and she didn't even close her eyes, she just cried and cried (I stayed with her...patting and stroking and resting my hand on her). Eventually I gave up cos it was getting too close to her actual bedtime. I don't think it's overtiredness cos she had a good 2.5 hours sleep in the sling at lunchtime and it's definitely not because she's not tired enough. And the irony is that when I put her down to bed in the evening she goes with minimal fuss and is asleep within a few mins. I don't understand it...the only difference at bedtime is that I give her a bath before putting down. Everything else I do the same as bedtime.

People always comment that she's extremely alert and interested in everything going on around her. And it's true, if there's something to look at she stares at it for ages absolutely fascinated. In her bedroom I've tried to black it out as much as I possibly can but in the day there always a very small crack of light that creeps in making some animals on her cot bumper just about visible. So when I put her down in the cot, she'll be tired and ready for sleep but then she'll stare at these animals for AGES...turning her head over and over again to look at every single one of them repeatedly and getting increasingly animated. So then I think perhaps she's getting overstimulated and that's stopping her sleeping...but how do you stop a baby that is stimulated by every little thing going on around her getting overstimulated??? I somehow need to block out the world for her so she can get some rest but I can't. It's driving me insane.

Can anyone suggest anything that I could try? Or are there any really good books you've read on naptime problems (night time sleep isn't an issue at all...she's a great sleeper at night) that might help.

SminkoPinko Thu 22-Nov-12 21:15:00

Have you tried walking her around in the pram? found that doing this for a few days at the same time each day helped my daughter eventually expect a sleep about then and I could stop the walking and she would sleep with it not in motion in the hall but i could rock it a bit to get her back off if she stirred too early.

Fairylea Thu 22-Nov-12 21:15:42

Errmmm no suggestions I'm afraid but both my two have never been daytime nappers ... my 5 month old ds has once stayed awake for a record 12 hours! He now sleeps for 20 mins twice a day and that's it... he does sleep well at night though. I think some babies just need less sleep than others!

To be honest I'd try not to worry too much
.. if I settled ds for 50 mins before he slept I'd assume he wasn't tired and give up. I gave up trying to put him in his cot during the day and instead let him either nap in his bouncy chair or on his sheepskin rug on the floor. I just try not to get myself worked up about it. I'd love a baby that napped for 2 hours in the middle of the day but dd is now 9 years old and was exactly the same so I just don't think I make nappy babies !

I have started to use the bouncy chair for my same age DD who is getting heavier and heavier! I dim the lights and turn the TV off and just bounce her gently and it really helps when I can't walk and sing/ rock/BF any more because my back hurts. You said the bath calms her, have you thought about trying baby massage? It might help her to unwind in a similar kind of way. If you go to a class they will show you the massage strokes that you can use at home.

LKirk Thu 22-Nov-12 21:56:43

Fairylea, I do think that some babies need less sleep than others, but I can see that she is knackered and desperate to sleep. If she was ok on very little naptime then I wouldn't try to force her to sleep longer, but she would be screaming the house down if it wasn't for me taking her out in the sling. Is your DS ok on just two 20min naps a day? My DD would be beyond inconsolable.

FYI, I don't generally try for up to an hour to get her to have a sleep...I've just been on a bit of a mission this week to tackle it! In vain it would seem!

SminkoPinko, I do often take her out in the pram but very rarely does she fall asleep. She really doesn't like it very much...or not to sleep in anyway. But I know what you mean that they begin to expect a sleep after a while...I think that's where we are with me taking her out in the sling. I think she almost expects it now and got so used to sleeping in the sling she won't sleep anywhere else!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Thu 22-Nov-12 22:00:54

At about that age with ds1 I read The Baby Whisperer.

I'm not big into routines, but that book helped me to be able to spot the signs when he was getting tired, and get him to bed before he went past it.

It was revolutionary for me!

LKirk Thu 22-Nov-12 22:01:57

Thanks Gailthegoldfish. I'll try the bouncy chair...maybe the rocking rhythm might help. I did really want to do baby massage class with her but just can't find one that would fit in with my week. My DS is 4yo and is at pre-school till 3pm...for some reason ALL the massage classes I can find in my area start at or after 2.30. Really annoying as I would have loved to. I did it with my DS when he was a baby but have forgotten it all now!

olddogs Thu 22-Nov-12 22:03:36

one of my lo likes having a sheet over her head! i watch her like a hawk, but she seems to pull it over her face and suck on a corner.

I think I have handouts with info about how to do the strokes from the massage classes I went to, I can scan and email them if you want to PM me your email address. Might help you to remember what to do?

Fairylea Thu 22-Nov-12 23:07:43

Definitely try the bouncy chair.

Bonus being when they are asleep in it you can creep off and do things smile

And then creep back and they think you've been there the whole time !

Yep my ds is fine on two very short naps but he's decided that bedtime is 4.30pm (!!) And if we try and keep him up longer he won't settle right away ... then he sleeps through till 5-6am amazingly. He's just constantly awake and hyper all bloody day long ! Sigh.

I put dds buggy into a darkened room and after 1.5hrs awake gave her a drink of.milk and put her down in her buggy with teddy and dummy. I rocked d the buggy in the dark and once she sounded like she was drifting (breathing heavier etc) id leave.

After 35/40mins (if I wanted her to have a long sleep) I would sneak in and rock her some.more (shifts them.out of one sleep cycle and rocks them into another apparently) and she would do 1.5hrs.

Apparently a 30min or less sleep means they are too tired when they go down, a 45 min nap means they arent tired enough when they go.down.

Its weird science

gingercats Thu 22-Nov-12 23:21:38

I feel your pain... Beautiful DD really struggles to nap % gets cranky & exhausted as a result. For months I walked around with her in the sling at nap times. I found structure really helpful, ie nap @ 9am, 12pm & 3pm. She learnt to expect this & so when I took her out in the pram at these times she just got it one day. Now we can take her out for 10mibs or so & she'll stay asleep in the pram for as long as she needs, usually max 30mins twice a day.
Does DC sleep in the car? My DD can occasionally be put down into a pretend car seat that moves as if driving, once deeply asleep in arms. Sorry if repeated others advice, didn't have time to read all posts. Also white noise (sound of rain my fav) is great.

gingercats Thu 22-Nov-12 23:24:48

Also, try earlier bedtime & try to get her to have a big drink b4 nap time.

gingercats Thu 22-Nov-12 23:30:39

Sorry I keep remembering advice I was given that worked! Bath her earlier im the day, before you want her to nap, then go for a long walk in the pram, she may just be tired enough to sleep. For a while I bathed DD in the morning& b4 bed.

mummybare Brazil Thu 22-Nov-12 23:46:28

I second the Baby Whisperer, and check out the web forum here - it's an amazing resource for help with babies' sleep.

I also second everything GoldPlated said. It's very weird and very true.

Good luck, OP, around 4 months is when it all started to fall into place for us, so I am very optimistic for you! smile

LKirk Fri 23-Nov-12 20:23:14

Wow, so many replies...thank you. And there's some really brilliant suggestions that I will definitely try. I am going to see if giving her a short bath and massage before her lunchtime nap helps at all.

And Goldplated, I thought what you suggested about shifting them out of one sleep and helping them into the next sleep cycle was really interesting and something that could really help her. I actually tried that today (but after 20mins cos that's when she usually wakes) and just patted and stroked her (she was in cot) as she started to stir to try and help her into the next cycle. It kind of worked for a bit and she did 30mins which feels like a mini-victory! She was then woken by big brother clattering around outside so perhaps she could have gone a bit longer.

But the fact is that this time yesterday I felt like there was nothing I hadn't tried. Now I have loads of new suggestions that gives me hope that one day my gorgeous little girl will 'get it'.

Thank you.

nocakeformeplease Fri 23-Nov-12 21:07:38

No advise I'm afraid, DD was just the same, I gave up trying to get her to sleep in her cot. And then one day (when she was around 6 months) I'd just had enough of walking he around for 45 mins just to get her to sleep for 30 mins so decided to give the cot a try again never thinking for a second it would work. She grumbled for around 10 mins and than slept for an hour and a half smile. She did the same the next day and the next. She now sleeps 2 hours every morning and an hour in the afternoon.

Sometimes i think they just do it when they are ready. I'm sure your gorgeous girl will surprise you very soon - I'll keep my fingers crossed for you

nocakeformeplease Fri 23-Nov-12 21:07:57

Advice not advise of course!

teacher123 Sat 24-Nov-12 18:04:10

I posted this about 3 months ago, and suddenly DS (now 7mo) cracked it. I looked in Gina Ford for when his naps should be and always took him for a walk/out in the car at those times. At the same time I was also encouraging self settling at bedtime, by leaving him awake. So once he'd got into the routine of having a nap at 9.30 and 1pm, I then started attempting one per day in the cot. It actually worked surprisingly quickly. I also did a mini bedtime routine and used to bf him before his naps like at bedtime. Since weaning I have stopped doing that, and now put him down for two naps a day awake, in his cot. Most of the time he settles without fuss. I had to walk him around for hours every day for four months whilst he was waking every two hours overnight, I was a wreck. It will happen, I promise!

boredbuthappy Sat 24-Nov-12 22:39:44

Haven't read through each post fully, so sorry if this is repeat info, but how we got around this problem was to get ds to sleep better during the day was with a strict routine. First nap 1.5-2 hours after waking up in the morning, second nap 3 hours after waking from first nap, then bed 4-4.5 hours after waking from second nap. the length of the naps varied, but I could usually get one long (1-2 hours) out of him for one nap in the day. Also, feeding was also on a strict schedule. Bottle on waking, then every 3 hours (i think at that age, although I may have stretch it to 4 hours by then...can't remember). It takes time, but like any human, if you start taking a nap the same time every day, you need one at that time every day. I used to take him for walks in the pram if he was particularly difficult to settle, or for a drive, but normally had to rock him to sleep at that age.

Hope baby sleeps for you soon! I know the bliss naptime can be for a mum!

LKirk Sun 25-Nov-12 23:40:52

Thank you so much everyone and all the happy ending stories have given me hope! I seems to remember DS going through this too but I do think he 'got it' a bit earlier than DD is and that's all I have to compare with. But all babies are different and she just needs a bit longer.

Boredbuthappy, you're right naptimes are bliss for mums, but more than anything I else, I want that time - a solid couple of hours - to spend one-on-one with DS (he's 4) on the days that he's home with me too. I really miss that quality time just with him :-)

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