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napping routines? I don't want to be a prisoner in my own home!

(15 Posts)
munkeychops Thu 25-Aug-11 09:46:43

Hi people, I hope that I am posting this in the right place …

My LO is 8 weeks old now, and she has naturally developed a routine that I have ‘tapped into’. For instance, she tends to want day feeds every three hours so if she isn’t asleep at these times I now just offer her a bottle. This is really useful when out and about as I can gauge when she is going to become hungry and get myself somewhere suitable, like a coffee shop, to feed her before she starts having a melt down. In terms of routine, I am also trying to bath her after her last bottle at roughly the same time every night.

This is all going well, the last few nights she has gone down to bed at 8pm and slept through to 7am (waking for two feeds in the middle, but always going straight back down ).

However, I am a bit clueless about the whole napping thing. I have read some stuff that has suggested these too need to be scheduled and I would really prefer not to have a rigid structure with these if it isn’t necessary. I like to get out most days for an hour or two (into town, meet a friend etc) and I am a bit concerned that the kind of napping routine I have read about would totally tie me to the house. I read that babies should nap in their cot like they would at night, but given the advice also says that at LO’s age, she should be having 3 naps a day, does this really mean I have to be at home for the vast majority of them (which, after feeding and getting out the door would in reality leave no time to get anywhere before the next one anyway!)

I hope this doesn’t sound selfish and I really would never put my own needs in front of those of my daughter, but getting out and about is quite important to me. I really feel that it stops me from feeling isolated and prevents PND.

Megan is currently napping but I kind of leave her to fall asleep as and when she wants and there is no real pattern, when she does it can be anything between 20mins and 2 hours. If I can clearly see she is tired, I will remove any stimuli that might be distracting her but that is about it. I am not putting her in her cot when she day sleeps as am concerned that I will get in a position where this is the only place she will then nap and I won’t be able to leave the house ever.

So I guess my questions are –

- Do you schedule your naps or have a more relaxed approach? Do you actively encourage your LO’s into their naps or are just aware when they generally put themselves into a nap?
- What do you do when out and about? Is this a problem?

Sorry for the long post!!

An0therName Thu 25-Aug-11 09:58:12

at this age I would be quite relaxed about it -my DS2 like to have quite long morning nap but would have in the pram or car seat if we were out and about
when DCs got older -maybe 4 months plus - then I would try and schedule the day a bit round naps more - so maybe drive somewhere a bit early and sit in the car while they napped - or go out after nap etc -
I think its good if DC can nap in places other than their cot but it really depends on the baby- but my DS2 sleeps much longer in his cot but is more flexaible about timing of naps -y -DS1 would only nap in his pushchair but had to have fixed timings

I totally agree about getting out and about is vital - do try some baby groups as well as its nice to meet people with babies the same age as yours

Dulra Thu 25-Aug-11 10:00:42

Hi mumkeychops congrats on your new baby.
Sounds like she is doing great for 8 weeks. On the nappying routine I think you need to do what suits you best. I found with dd1 I was like you did not want to stay in the house so I would go for long walks and dd1 would generally nap in her pram when I was out, she was having about 3 naps a day at 8 weeks. One at about 9ish, one at 12ish and one at 4ish. When she got to about 4 months or so I found she started only needing 2 naps one about 9ish and one at 12ish. At this stage I generally went out in the mornings so she napped in pram and the lunchtime nap she generally napped in cot.

On dd2 I was busy with toddler and housework more so it suited me for dd2 to nap more in cot then out and about. As I said whatever suits you best as long as she is getting enough sleep during the day (at 8 weeks about 3 hours of daytime sleep, not necessarily altogether) I don't think it matters where they nap

nearlytherenow Thu 25-Aug-11 10:01:35

All babies are different, but I think what is important as they get bigger (8 weeks is still very tiny!) is to make sure that your baby does get enough daytime sleep. Daytime sleep affects nightime sleep, and if your baby starts to get overtired through the day, she is likely to also start sleeping less well at night.

My ideal has always been a very loose routine and a baby who will sleep out and about. This didn't really work with DS1 - by 6 months I had to impose a fairly set routine, and make sure that at least his lunchtime nap was in his cot most days (this did restrict my social life!). DS2 is a bit better, and will sleep in a buggy / the car / a sling fairly well, so with him I try to time trips out for when I think he'll need a nap (but also try to get him to nap in his cot a bit - I find it useful for him to be able to sleep in lots of different places). I do actively encourage naps - it's easier to get my children to take a nap before they are screaming with exhaustion, so I try to pre-empt it.

As she gets older your are likely to find that she gets herself into a sort of routine and you know when naps are likely to be (e.g. one morning, one lunchtime and one late afternoon, or a long morning and a long afternoon nap). You might also find that you need to put her somewhere quieter to sleep - both of mine have needed this from fairly early - not a darkened bedroom necessarily, but i found that there was only a short period during which either would take a nap in the livingroom with everyone clattering around them. If we're out I have a shade-a-babe which I pop over the buggy (a blanket over the pram would also work, although make sure that air circulation is ok).

8 weeks is still very tiny though, if she's happy through the day and sleeping at night I personally would just leave her to find her own routine - it will probably become apparent over the next couple of months what works for her and for you.

HotChip Thu 25-Aug-11 10:07:19

Wow, she's doing great for 8 weeks, we didn't have DD's night time sleep routine sorted till she was about 6 months, as she always had an awake time between 10-1am.

It sounds like you are doing all the right things to help her. I would just carry on as you are, as I think at that age their sleep needs vary hugely from day to day.

I agree that gettting out is important for you both. Now DD is 9 months, she has morning and afternoon naps but we've always let her sleep when we're out and about and tried to make sure she doesn't sleep after 4.30pm.

yellowsubmarine41 Thu 25-Aug-11 10:17:09

Don't believe everything that you read in childcare books!

You can organise your day so that she naps in her buggy whilst you're out; there's absolutely no reason that babies 'should' nap in their cots.

Also, they change continually. She'll become more wakeful in a few weeks, and you'll have to re-jig things. This is because babies change continually not because you've not done something that you 'should' have done.

Do make the most of the stage when they're so portable and just fit in. It really doesn't last long, and it's a great opportunity to catch up with/make friends, shop, go to the cinema etc.

munkeychops Thu 25-Aug-11 13:17:10

Thanks for the replies everyone - think I am maybe getting too caught up on the books/routine advice, and normally I am such a chilled person!

She seems fairly happy and well rested so I guess why am I worry about something that isn't a problem at the moment.

When you say I can organise for naps to be in her buggy whilst out, what exactly do you mean? Sorry, this is my first kid and I am a bit clueless. Do you just mean make sure she is in her buggy so can fall asleep when she naturally would? Or somehow encourage the nap? and if so, how?

An0therName Thu 25-Aug-11 14:25:58

if my DCs were ready for a nap a quick push around would send them off - I am guessing that is what yellowsubmarine means -

eightyone Thu 25-Aug-11 15:40:38

I'm doing similar to you. I want my 7 week old to be able to sleep in a variety of places for his daytime naps (pram, swing, bouncer, playmat, cot) for as long as possible until outgrows this early baby stage for simliar reasons to you.

I have found that he does sleep longer when we do go out though so I also try to get out when he is due for a nap and has been a bit restless. Today for instance he hasnt napped well at all as we didnt go out, he is finally sleeping at the moment and if he does wake up I will feed him and then take him out in his pram to try to extend his nap for longer now that the weather has improved.

yellowsubmarine41 Thu 25-Aug-11 16:18:31

Arrange to meet a friend for lunch knowing that she'll probably doze off on the day and may stay asleep during.

Make sure she's fed before you go out, so that she falls asleep whilst you're pushing her.

If she's starting to get tired when you're planning to go out shortly, put her in her buggy so that she call fall asleep there and you can just go when you're ready.

ThePippy Thu 25-Aug-11 17:07:13

I don't disagree with yellow because that is it seems the "norm" for most babies, but just wanted to state that not all babies will oblige with the sleeping in a pushchair thing. I had a wonderful image in my head before my DD was born of doing just this, so I could be out and about having long walks to get my figure back or meeting friends etc, but no matter how much I tried she was just way too easily stimulated and unless in a cot in a quiet room with the lights off and curtains closed would just get more and more tired and scream louder with her eyes very much wide open. It was very restricting, but in the end the stress of being out with a tired screaming baby was worse than being stuck indoors, so I gave in to it and did the right thing by her.

So I used to get really frustrated at people telling me to "take her for a walk in the pushchair - the movement will have her straight to sleep" because I knew it wouldn't, and I have seen times when out shopping with various coats and blankets hung over the pushchair in desperate measures to try and block the stimulation out - none of this worked.

She has never changed to be honest, and even at 2yrs will happily have (and needs) a 2-3hrs mid day nap if we are at home, but if we are out we are lucky to get 30 mins from her and then you can be sure the rest if the day and bath and bedtime will be a nightmare as she will be over tired.

Anyway, hopefully your DC will be the "norm" but know that if they aren't, the bit where you are tied down does go by really fast. Good luck either way.

RitaMorgan Thu 25-Aug-11 17:13:06

When ds was very little he just slept wherever/whenever - never bothered putting him in his cot during the day.

By about 4-5 months he was more predictable, and generally needed to go back to sleep after being awake for 3 hours - so I'd either put him in his cot if we were at home, or time it so I was out with the buggy/sling when he was likely to sleep (eg. knowing he'd probably want to nap at 10am I'd arrange to meet a friend for coffee at 10.30 so he'd fall asleep on the way).

This worked well until about 10 months, and then he started prefering to sleep in his cot at home. He can't drop off in the buggy now, and although he will sleep in the sling he's a bit more bulky. So I am stuck at home for 2-3 hours every afternoon!

ginortea Thu 25-Aug-11 20:13:50

At eight weeks, mine would sleep whenever the books suggested he shouldn't, and scream whenever he was 'supposed' to be asleep! It sounds like you're doing a FANTASTIC job, well done. Next time round, I'll be far, far less structured in my approach to both napping and feeding until at least around three months, or whenever their 'awake' time shows signs of being more alert and interactive. Then, I really do believe that a bit of structure is helpful and comforting to them.

RedHotPokers Thu 25-Aug-11 20:19:15

I think nap scheduling (if you want to call it that!) is only an issue once the number of naps starts decreasing. So whilst baby is still having about 4 naps a day, I don't think it matters where they have them. Chances are they will be having at least one or two at home, when you can use the moses basket. At other times, baby can just sleep in car, pram or sling.

I only found naps restricting once my DCs were just having one a day, and then it was carnage if they missed it or only had a brief snooze!

Sounds to me like you are doing well - don't overthink it!

trixie123 Fri 26-Aug-11 13:53:50

as others have said, babies vary so much there is no one "right" way on any of this. my two nap pretty well wherever but the older they get the more you do have to reduce stimulation / light etc. my 4 mo dd has decided she likes a muslin over her eyes to sleep. It is very important to get out and about and I also liked to have the flexibility but as they get older you have to trade off social things against the better day you'll have overall if your LO gets their nap. One of my friends and I couldn't meet for about three months because the babies' nap times just didn't allow it!

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