sending myself mental stressing about DS's naps....please someone tell me this is ok??

(19 Posts)
BotBotticelli Wed 08-May-13 14:00:15

DS is now 5mo and is still only taking catnaps. He usually sleeps for 20-30 mins at a time (in his buggy, in the cot, in the car....whatever we do he always wakes up after 30 mins).

Because they are so short and sporadic they happen at different times every day, and he is usually only awake for around 90 mins-2 hours max in between them, then he is a miserable tired mess, and it's often hard to get him down for another nap.

I feel like a terrible failure that I cannot get him to take naps at the same time each day, and that he doesn't have 'a nice long nap in the early afternoon' like all those goddamn books say, which I read whilst pregnant and now wish I really bloody hadn't sad Our life is completely chaotic and unpredictable as a result and if he misses one of these catnaps for some reason, ie, if we're out and about and he ends up being awake for over 2 hours, he becomes a screaming inconsolable mess.

I am getting myself into a real state obsessing about this every day and feel like I am not enjoying being his mum very much cos I am so stressed about his daytime sleep all the time. I do silly things like drive aimlessly around for 40 mins on the way back from a baby group 10 minsutes away, cos if he has fallen asleep in the car I don't want to wake him up when we get home, cos then he will be a screamy mess.

I am being treated (CBT counselling) for PND which is kinda helping a bit but I just feel like everything is all over the place with DS at the moment, I am rearranging whole days round his need for little catnaps and feel like it's just better to stay in the flat the whole time sad

Can anyone reassure me that I am not missing something/doing something wrong?? My gut feeling is that DS is just like this and there's not much I can do to fix it. Also, he has just had 2 little bottom teeth pop through and in the last few days to coincide with this, he has been impossible to settle in his cot or buggy during the day and has ended up sleeping in my arms, which we've not really done since he was a newborn....is this cos he is feeling sore and needs extra comfort do you think?

MortifiedAdams Wed 08-May-13 14:03:15

My dd is 17mo.and has only in the last.month began doing that one afternoon nap thing. 90mins is spot on for awake time at that age, and I would time dd and make a point of putting her down after 90mins awake time.

They really only do 45min naps at that age so if I were you id focus on that - put him down (or in the buggy for a walk etc), 90mins aftet he woke and do it every time. A 30min nap is an 'overtired' nap.

NervyWervy Wed 08-May-13 14:10:42

You'll have to do with me while you wait for the sleep experts!
My dd was very similar. I put a lot of effort in at around 4-5months old to get her to nap upstairs in her cot. It took ages and lts of perseverance. I Think some babies are just easier than others. If I had my time again I would do a 'routine' that would work wherever I happened to be. A muslin or soft toy placed over her eyes a little bit to snuggle into, sing a little song and stroke her hair for a bit. i'd probably do that until she fell asleep then gradually reduce the hair stroking etc. I remember being astonished that it took me 40 mins to get her to take a nap for 30 mins and wondering if it was worth it. It was! The naos get longer and the time taken to make the nap happen gets shorter...it all just takes a lt of effort to start with. The first nap of the day is always the easiest to make them 'do' so Id stay in for that one, but the others do it out and about.
At the moment though since your ds is teething, i would calpol/ teething granules if he looks at all grouchy and snuggle more than usual. You will get there, youre doing nothing wrong, its just harder work than it looks like it should be! Good luck
,

okthen Wed 08-May-13 14:41:37

I was exactly the same with dc1. She was a cat napper from birth until she suddenly started taking 2h naps aged 18m. I obsessed, shush-patted, didn't leave house etc. nothing made a difference. What a waste of time!

With dc2 I swore I'd be different and not stress. And I managed it... Because he was a fan of looong naps. Until he hit 6m and now suddenly he's more of a cat napper than dd was, and I am stressing hmm

It's so hard to 'go with the flow'! But I should know from experience that it achieves nothing.

Ps fwiw I don't think it affects night time sleep, if you are worried about that. Dc2 was an awful night sleeper who took long naps, and is now a half-decent night sleeper who takes crap naps. Dc1 always took crap naps, and her night time sleep ranges from terrible to excellent depending on the phase she was going through.

lazzaroo Wed 08-May-13 14:53:58

Try not to stress. In my experience this is normal! Am now on my 2nd catnapper. We do the sleep every 2 hours thing where possible. And she doesn't self settle so sleeps indoors in pushchair or in car while out.

It caused me no end of stress with my first as, like you say, the 2 hour lunchtime nap just never happened in this house. Doesn't seem likely this time round either! I used to do pointless driving too! And walked crazy miles in all weathers! Lots of people do...they just don't admit it until after the event!

Nicknamefail Wed 08-May-13 18:03:25

My dd only does 30mins, now 7mo. I have done everything I can think if but it doesn't work. I also do lots of aimless driving to try and keep a nap going. I read a lot about this and it is very common so although frustrating, don't worry. Just try to plan it so dc doesn't miss them. The only saving grace is that since dd had started to wean, the catnap timings have become predictable, and I hope that will happen for you too. It is hard though. My sympathies. Enjoy that dc will nap in the cot though, dd needs boob car or pram!

NothingsLeft Wed 08-May-13 19:00:55

I feel for you. I had similar issues with PND, nap stress and a terrible sleeper.

40-45mins is average for this age, so you are not far off and its brilliant that he naps anywhere, be pleased about that smile

Extending your journey to accommodate a nap is totally normal. Women all over the world are walking aimlessly, sitting in cars outside their homes, taking pointless drives etc. you are definitely not alone!

In terms of a plan, I agree with the first poster. I would try every 90mins, which I know is a pain if you're out, and just persist with it. I remember reading on here to respect their need for sleep, which I think is very true. I consistently over estimated how long DS could stay awake for.

I also had CBT as I was obsessed with sleep and after shed loads a few sessions felt much more relaxed.

NothingsLeft Wed 08-May-13 19:07:05

I will just add that part of my PND was the adjustment to living my life in such short time frames (1.5hrs or whatever age they are). You can't get anything done before the next lot of feeding, sleep, nappy whatever needs doing. It's a MASSIVE adjustment. Be kind to yourself smile

Helsbelscm Wed 08-May-13 19:39:47

Just to say your post has made me feel so much better! My DD's naps are exactly the same (apart from won't do cot) & have been sending myself a bit mad stressing about it! Glad I am not alone!

MidLine Wed 08-May-13 20:18:08

...and this is why I love and waste spend so much time on Mumsnet because you realize that there are people in exactly the same boat as you even when it feels like all your RL friends have perfect napping, sleeping through the night angels although I think a lot of them lie as well lazzaroo

I have a 6mo DD who thankfully is happy, smiley, content for the vast majority of the time so am blessed in that respect but she is also very inconsistent with her sleep (random times, random lengths, random number a day) and, depending on how tired I am, I also obsess about how this is affecting her and for some reason it is sleep that worries me even more than feeding, other behavior etc (although I am probably just over anxious about everything!). Like OP says, I do seem to spend my whole day trying to juggle feeds, solids, sleep and I do feel it takes the edge off the whole motherhood experience a bit because this obsession clouds my thoughts even when we're having a really good day (most days). I worry that when we're at baby classes etc she's not really enjoying them as she's too tired which is completely illogical as, as i said, she's usually really happy. She doesn't fall asleep spontaneously either (to the point where I can't even get my head round ever being able to just put her down in a cot for a nap) so I rock her in her pram in the day and feed to sleep at night but because of this I'm always fretting about timings and how long to leave it before rocking etc. currently I aim for 2 -2.5 hrs but today she refused and went 5 hours between naps! shock

Sorry, I know this doesn't really help, except for you to know that others are going through it too!

KatAndKit Wed 08-May-13 20:32:06

I feel like I am a slave to the nap routine. early waking from nap is often the result of overtiredness. DS, 12m, woke after 30 mins from both his naps today as a result of being up in the night with teething and then up for the day at 6am. Once he woke up I strapped him right into his car seat and went off driving both times. Since he was still tired he went back to sleep within half an hour and got a second sleep in. What I do is go and get a coffee from the McDonalds drive through and sit drinking it in the car park with a magazine until he wakes up again. Some days I go on all sorts of long pointless drives. You are definitely not alone. I would try getting him down a little earlier than you are currently doing - perhaps go for a walk when he has been awake an hour and a quarter and he should nod off during the walk hopefully and get a slightly longer nap. As a general rule, less than 45 minutes is not ideal but I had a 30 minute catnapper too and sometimes there is not much you can do about it. The naps will get longer as he gets older and has fewer naps per day.
Don't read the books. Burn them. The books made me miserable when I compared the ideal baby day to what I was experiencing at the time.

BotBotticelli Thu 09-May-13 08:19:55

Thank you so much for the reassurance ladies. It really good to know I am not alone - especially with the pointless driving and endless walking. I was starting to feel like my life was turning absurd!

I am going to really try to chill out about the nap thing if I can - and if I end up having him nap in my arms for 35 mins a couple of times a day, that's not the end of the world is it??

Unfortunately we live in a second floor flat with no lift so I can't just wheel the buggy into the hall if he falls asleep on a walk (buggy lives downstairs in the car).

As an aside his night sleep has been pretty good until this week, when he ha started waking around 5am (today: 0430) and seems to need to be cuddled in order to sleep, which is most unlike him - he has always been good at sleeping on his own.

He does have 2 tiny teeth stumps just poking their heads above his gums at the bottom which appeared a couple of days ago...so could this be why? Do babies generally need lots of cuddles in the wee hours when they have a tooth coming through??

teacher123 Thu 09-May-13 08:53:37

With teething all bets are off to be honest! We've found that ibuprofen works best for tooth pain, and those teething granules from boots are pretty good too.

I have PND and anxiety about DS's naps, and have been on antidepressants for about 2 months now. It is getting better, and now DS is a bit older (1yo) if he misses a nap it's not the end of the world, and I'm gradually beginning to be able to chill a little bit. But I have had full on panic attacks about him not settling for naps, so I feel your pain.

Sounds like you're doing brilliantly x

NothingsLeft Thu 09-May-13 09:42:57

teacher I feel you pain. I had the exact same thing. DS is also a year and just has the one nap...it's such a relief!

Op enjoy the cuddle sleeps. They don't go them for long. I struggle to get DS to sleep in the buggy sometimes, me we thought if say that!

Nicknamefail Thu 09-May-13 10:39:36

OP I live in a flat with no lift too, it is a pain isn't it. At least it is summer now (sort of) so the endless walking isn't as bad.
I expect that teeth are the reason for extra cuddles.
Agree with previous poster about overestimating the length of time a baby can stay awake.
I would also say 30 is a short nap, but I disagree that this is always over tiredness, my dd now has a nap 90 mins after waking (7mo) and this was is the same as the rest, 30 mins. Some (many?) just are short sleepers. When she is well rested she goes to sleep more easily though.
You do sound like you are doing well coping with a stressful situation, keep going.

Pascha Thu 09-May-13 10:46:20

I quite enjoy the pointless drive really. The opportunity for both children to be asleep at the same time for a significant period is just too good to miss.

HandMini Thu 09-May-13 10:51:51

Poor you. It's miserable. My DD1 was the same.

Just on the practical side have you tried swaddling, white noise and dummies. I found all three of these things were a massive help.

One tip from NCSS is to wait outside the door and when you hear baby stirring from his shirt nap, sneak in quick and quiet and do whatever it takes to get him back to sleep ASAP - quick breastfeed, bottle, dummy, rocking, bouncing. I tried this with DD2 (stuck in dummy and rocked her cradle) and it did seem to train her to sleep longer than 45 mins.

Startail Thu 09-May-13 11:03:43

DD2 never had a routine for naps as we had to fetch her pesky big sister for nursery at the only time she'd have gone down.

She just had long relaxed BFs, but never slept in the day. Unlike DD1 she didn't even really nap in the buggy or car. Doze a bit not fall asleep.

She's not one for sitting still, not hyper active silly, just watch TV while playing with playmobil. Go and bounce on the trampoline on getting in from school kind of not sit still.

Where as long nap taking DD1 sits still to watch TV and reads quiet for hours.

MidLine Thu 09-May-13 12:17:49

I just think its so sad that we've been driven to such anxious states and to the point of needing therapy by napping! I think it may just go to show that these so called sleep experts are really doing us an injustice with their "baby should be sleeping x amount at this time of day" crap. What if we'd never read any books or had the Internet, we'd never know that our babies were "not napping enough" and I think the fact that so many of us have "problem" sleepers goes to show that all babies are just different and maybe there is no right or wrong amount?
I understand when it's obvious that they need sleep as theyre grumpy and crying but sometimes I struggle with putting dd down when she seems fine after 2 hours or whatever just because we're told this is their capacity iykwim but I still do it! I also question why I get sooo stressed about it, what's the worst that can happen? A meltdown which won't last forever? I know this is prob the case but I still can't get it out of my head that she'll be irreversibly damaged by not sleeping confused. What a strange beast motherhood is!

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