is there any chance that the daytime nap orthodoxies aren't true for every baby? DD's naps are great and STILL bad at night. Help!!!

(23 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 08:38:17

With persistence I have now got DD (9m) onto a great daytime nap routine, according to all the sleep experts.

DESPITE waking at 5.30am (awful) I have been managing to keep her going until a morning nap at 9.30. Then, in order to comply with what I have read, I try to make sure she doesn't have any longer than 1 hour or 1 hour 15, which sometimes means waking her as she is so tired from the early morning wake-up...

Then it's a pm nap at about 1.30 until 3, sometimes she will wake halfway through that but is still sleepy so I get her back to sleep, in which case she would go until about 3.15 or 3.30.

Wind-down from 6.15pm ish, bed at 7 or 7.15, depending how tired she is (or from 6.45 if she is really knackered but usually it's 7ish)

So why is this not working???!!! She is still a bad night-time sleeper and a dreadful early waker.

She wakes once for a feed in the night any time from 11 to 2am, also stirring at 10ish, 4, and then waking for good at 5.15 or 5.30. I am beyond exhausted and it's affecting every aspect of my life, I have to work now too and my job is a creative one where I need to be reasonably functional - I am a zombie.

Am just starting to wonder if some of the sleep orthodoxies (good daytime naps, early bedtime etc) don't apply to every baby?

Has anyone had success with doing the opposite of this?!

My mum (admittedly an old-fashioned view) is saying she thinks maybe DD is having too much daytime sleep and that this means she doesn't need as much in the night. (She is averaging 2.5 to 3 hours in daytime). I know the general view now is that good daytime naps help as they dont' get overtired. But maybe some babies just need less sleep in total and I am screwing up the nights by encouraging her to nap in the day as I have done.

Also re early bedtime... I know people say the earlier the bedtime the less chance of early waking etc, again due to over-tiredness. But I am starting to wonder if putting DD to bed at 8 instead of 7pm would mean she would sleep an hour longer - until 6.30am rather than 5.30am.

Though Lord only knows how I'd keep her awake til 8 as she is shattered by 6.30pm.

But is she tired because her nights are so bad? And if I sorted out the nights, would she then need less daytime sleep, and sleep better still at night...? It's an awful chicken and egg situation.

Plus I'm terrified of doing anything that might make this worse, I can barely cope as it is sad

Can anyone give any advice?

YomAsalYomBasal Mon 09-Dec-13 08:43:37

I would really stop trying to comply with what you have read and instead go with your baby's natural routine. That morning nap sounds too short to me. I would not be waking her!

ThisIsMeNow Mon 09-Dec-13 08:51:34

I wouldn't be waking from the morning nap either. Can't remember for sure but I think dd had 3 naps at that age? She's 18mo and only recently gone from a morning nap to an afternoon nap. She didn't drop from 3 to 2 naps until nearly 12mo and from 2 to 1 at about 15mo I think. Don't worry if 'routine' changes even day to day. Sometimes it takes a few days for them to sort out a new sleeping pattern.
I always found dd would sleep worse at night if she hadn't had enough sleep in the day.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 08:52:12

Yom, I agree I should be trying to go with her routine... It just varies ALL the time, hence why I started trying to listen to the so-called experts sad I am just so tired I can't think straight myself. Sorry, it's been a crappy time and I'm having a real pity party at the moment, I just don't know what to do any more.

Trouble is that everyone has a different view as well - plenty of people, like you, say that the morning nap should be long, and others say it should be short... I've had no success improving DD's sleep with any of it!

Don't like waking her, it feels wrong... But I do worry that she is 'catching up' on night sleep in the daytime. Seeing as I can't possibly sleep in the daytime when she does, all this means is that I am a wreck all day.

Am adamant I won't do CC but am open to pretty much everything else right now.

Flisspaps Mon 09-Dec-13 08:54:15

At that age my two napped at about 10, for as long as they needed.

DS (21m) goes down at about 10.30 now and can sleep for 2-3 hours.

Put the books away, let DD sleep when she needs to. But a 5.30am waking for you is just mean wink

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 08:55:53

ThisIsMe thank you, I am so grateful for the advice!!!

Any thoughts at all on what to do about timing of morning nap? (should add i know i sound a bit of a rigid control freak re timings, I'm not at all and am baby-led in every other area, I just don't know how to cope with all the sleep deprivation). Thanks to her early wake-up she is exhausted from about 8am but if she naps at this time she wakes again at 9ish and then is very tired again by lunchtime... therefore she has a post-lunch nap at about 12.30, wakes at 2 and then WILL NOT NAP at all, which means she is hysterical with tiredness by 6pm...

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 08:58:40

Fliss thanks so much!

10am nap for as long as she wanted would be hunky-dory with me... but there is no chance of that thanks to the early wake-up, as I say she is ready to nap again by 8am.

Hence why I have tried to push her morning nap to 9.30...

even if I don't wake her from that, the situation is still the same... all-night stirring followed by early wake-up.

basically the early waking is effing it all up as she is just so tired from that and I can never work out what her natural rhythm is, she is always running on empty.

am getting in a pickle!!!

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 09:02:54

Oh, I should also add I have boldly ignored the books ;) and started bringing DD into bed at 5.30am to try to get her back to sleep, which does sometimes work. I don't know how I'd cope every day otherwise. BUT I do worry that this is now WHY she is waking - the habit of a nice morning cuddle (which I have to say I do quite enjoy too, it's a hell of a lot better than hanging over the side of the cot trying to get her back to sleep). Could this be contributing to the early wake-up?

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 09:04:28

Her early waking could be due to hunger if she still seems tired - have you tried giving her a bigger tea or a filling snack before bed, something like cereal? Or you could bring her morning nap forward, give her some kind of snack/easy breakfast on waking, then go back to bed with her until 8 or so.

I do think it's pretty normal for them to wake up once in the night at 9m - what's the stirring about? Is that needing a feed or is she able to be resettled without? Do you have a partner who can do one or both of those? Possibly both - if you went to bed earlier, about 9.30, he could do the 10pm when he comes to bed, you can do the middle of the night feed and go back to sleep, he does 4am, you get up at 5.30. If no partner, you could try co-sleeping or putting her back in your room so she can see you which might help reassure her.

Alternatively does she go back to sleep if you bring her into bed at 5.15am?

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 09:05:38

Are you breast or bottle feeding?

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 09:10:55

Bertie - all good questions!! Trouble is, we've tried all of them and some of them aren't options...
We do give her a pre-bed snack of porridge... Have tried feeding her when she wakes at 5.30 but she isn't v hungry for milk and either way the act of feeding her at that hour just wakes her up even more and then there's no chance of getting her back to sleep at all...

The stirring could easily be teething... she is really suffering with it (I gather there are some babies who don't suffer and others who are in agony - we are in the latter camp) and sometimes it is wanting a dummy, I am trying to wean her off dummies but it hasn't happened yet. She can be re-settled instantly with a dummy but it's still a wake-up for me and yet more broken sleep...

Partner can't do any night feeds, he is hearing-impaired so doesn't hear her waking which means I would need to wake up to get him to wake up anyway and then I am awake anyway IYSWIM.

She sometimes does go back to sleep getting into bed with me at 5.15... sometimes not... If she does she will sleep til 7am and even then she doesn't blaze through a huge feed so I don't think it can be hunger waking her at 5.15ish...

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 09:11:25

Bertie - bottle feeding... thanks so much for the advice btw!!!!!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 09:17:50

Could try the dreaded night-time milk?! If you haven't already.

Could DP set an alarm, a vibrating type one, to go and give her a dream feed at 10pmish? (Or do it before he goes to bed).

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 09:21:43

Bertie - been using the dreaded night-time milk since 6m smile

Tried the dream feed a few months back but it still meant she was waking at 3ish anyway... Mind you, maybe that would mean she didn't wake at 4 and then 5.30... perhaps that's our solution? I don't like the idea of a dream feed in many ways as the only time of night she sleeps peacefully is from 7 til about 11.30 and feel like it's a bit mean to stir her and fill her up with milk then... I guess it's worth a try again though. Ad I say, when things are bad I kind of dread making any changes in case it gets worse, but maybe I need to be radical!!!

tobiasfunke Mon 09-Dec-13 09:28:37

The early waking thing is really common. When my DS was between about 10 m and 2 yrs we had early waking every morning between 5.30 and 6.30 ish. We just had to adjust our sleep at the other end to cope with it. We didn't really have much of a life as sleep was way more important. I came looking for advice and the consensus was as long as they weren't cold, or hungry or had too much light coming into the room it's just the way it was.

DS was also a bad sleeper. He had only one 20 minute nap a day but he still woke 3 times a night at least at that age. Nothing I could do seemed to 'fix' him. In the end ( at about 13 months and after I was just so mentally tired) we put a double bed in his room with his cot and at the first wakening we took him into the bed with him in his sleeping bag and basically if he woke up in the night he would cuddle and go back to sleep. Rather than making a rod for my own back as my MIL would have it, it seemed to sort of train him to go back to sleep when he woke up. Anything to get through a night not too exhausted.

It is hell and you have my sympathies.

Andcake Mon 09-Dec-13 09:37:44

Agree with tobias
My ds is/was a bad sleeper and really naps didn't help nighttime sleep even when i thought I had got it right!
In fact self settling hasn't helped night time sleep either.
One thing that does help is when he wakes from around 3.30-5 am is just picking him up and cuddling into me in our bed - will then sleep until anywhere between 7-9.
I love it when he does to nearly 9 at the weekend ;-) he is now 15 months. and remember keep everything really boring- if to exciting he just wakes up and wants to play.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 09-Dec-13 10:06:29

To be honest, her nighttime pattern sounds normal to me. At that age, mine were going to bed at 7pm ish, then they woke for a breastfeed at 12.30, 3.30 and 5.30. Sometimes they'd go back to sleep again until 7am, sometimes not.

We adapted to their routine. I went to bed at 7pm ish with them and so got a long stretch of sleep in before midnight, at least a couple of nights a week. Eventually you get used to having the long stretch early and then dozing on and off later in the night.

I always let them sleep when they liked, for as long as they liked, in the day. Now they are three I don't let them sleep for more than about 3 hours in the day, and wake them if it gets to 4pm and they're still asleep. They slept whenever, wherever until they were over two.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 09-Dec-13 13:14:32

Thanks everyone!
Yep, I think maybe the only option is to carry on getting her out of bed and cuddling in my bed at that hour... only trouble is that sometimes if I don't get in there fast enough (she doesn't cry, she just burbles and I don't always hear it for a bit) she gets wiiiiiiiiide awake and then gets into bed with me all ready to play. No matter how boring I keep it, it's still an hour ish then before she's back to sleep.
I already go to bed at 8pm myself... can't do that for much longer though as I do need to get some work done in the evenings (self-employed)
In a way it's good to hear that getting it all 'right' doesn't necc help as I think that way I can give myself a bit of a mental break and stop trying to fix it. Is very demoralising when you keep trying to improve things and it doesn't happen.

tobiasfunke Wed 11-Dec-13 12:21:59

I'd agree with your last post. Once I realised it wasn't me and it was just the way DS was it was much easier to deal with rather than look for solutions all the time. Just do what you can to get through it. It does get better slowly and when DS got past 2 he turned into a fantastic sleeper whilst other people who had babies who slept well started getting problems. Swings and roundabouts etc.

I remember well the mad dash to get into DS before he became wide awake and the sinking feeling when he was standing there looking at me that we would have exactly 1 hour 50 minutes of 'chat'before he went back to sleep.

Shatteredmamma1 Thu 12-Dec-13 06:36:33

Ah emeraldgirl I remember you from a
few weeks ago when we were having the
same issues... Sorry it's not better even
though you've taken all the advice!! We
are still having very variable nights too but
yours do sound bad. I agree bring her
into bed with you if it helps you get rest.
Can someone do a night a week for you?
Or could you get a vibrating alarm so your
DP can do some nights? wine

Gumps Thu 12-Dec-13 06:54:29

My dd had a dummy and we got a sleepy tot from JoJoMaman. It's basically a bunny toy with Velcro at all 4 corners. I attached a dummy to each corner and from around 6 months she learnt to find it herself in her cot and plug herself back in.
Might help with the little wake ups when she wants her dummy?
I have 3 dcs and all of their sleep patterns are different. Ds1 was an angel and I thought it was because I was a brilliant mum and had put him on a great routine. Ds2 soon proved me wrong about thatgrin. I fought him for about 6 months on day sleep as he woke everyday at 4am and was up for the day but of course wanted to be back in bed by 9am when ds1 was ready to go out. I didn't win I'm afraid but eventually it got later and later.
No sleep is awful. I was desperate for a quick fix but there just wasn't one. We coped by doing a day on each.

CoteDAzur Thu 12-Dec-13 07:02:27

You could cross your fingers and wait for her to sleep through on her own (which can easily take another year) or you can stop night feeds and teach her to sleep through the night. It will take several painful nights but then she will sleep better, need less naps in the daytime, eat more in the day, etc.

At 9 months, she doesn't physically need to feed in the night. It is a question of habit - she is used to having meals at those hours so wakes up for them. Change those meal times, and she will sleep better after protesting loudly about this change for several nights.

CoteDAzur Thu 12-Dec-13 07:06:18

As for early morning wake-up times - I'd tackle sleeping through before this, but you just have to ignore her for 15 mins or so when she wakes up, then gradually push this time later.

I don't believe the "make them sleep earlier so they wake up later" stuff, either. DD used to sleep 9 PM/9 AM at that age. She started waking up at 5:30 for a while beforehand, but we were not prepared to get up at that time so just gradually pushed it to 7 AM through benign neglect grin

Don't just accept that this is how you have to live now. There are things you can do to improve your DD 's sleep.

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