Napping advice needed for new mummy(15 Posts)
I'm new to being a mum and also mumsnet, so feeling fairly clueless, so hoping other mums may have some advice! So I'm not really sure the best way to approach DD napping. She is 5 weeks old and seems to resist napping, then we get to the dreaded over tired state. I'm unclear on whether its best to take her upstairs in the dark and try and settle her, like its night time or for her just to nap wherever. Ie. downstairs or out and about. I have read its important to fill the house with light and noise during to day to help DD identify day and night. Also if I get her used to settling upstairs in the dark then how will I ever leave the house?! Getting her to sleep is hard and once I put her down she wakes instantly, so generally were in a pickle! Sorry for the rambling message but any suggestions would be a big help! Xx
Will she sleep in your arms or in a sling? I wouldn't worry too much about getting her down to sleep right now- sounds like she just wants to be close to you. Or maybe she will nap in her pram? Then you can leave the house!
I used to get myself, baby and changing bag ready each morning then when baby started first sleepy signs (1-1.5 hrs after waking at that age?) I'd bung her in the pram and walk. And walk. When she finally fell asleep I would park up in a cafe with a book while she slept. Or head home and park her in the hall and nap on the couch.
Agree at this stage she just wants to be close to you so sling also good, or let her sleep on you/feed to sleep. You can gradually bring in settling in cot etc when she's a bit older. I tried that early on too and we were both miserable, hence the endless walking!
Ignore all the books about settling them upstairs/downstairs/not after a feed/getting them used to noise and light etc etc. This advice is for the mythical perfect baby who is born knowing that they should sleep when put into crib. Most aren't like that and need feeding/motion/cuddles to go to sleep especially when tiny.
At this age, just get your baby to nap however you possibly can. Getting the right amount of sleep in and avoiding overtiredness, and getting the baby used to having regular naps, is WAY more important than where or how they nap. Honestly.
like whenwill I first tried the whole self settling
bollocks malarkey and dd got horribly overtired. I then switched to using the pram for naps - sent dd off without fail (though when she was overtired it often took a long walk before she would drop off). Then as she got less overtired and better at staying asleep, I could just walk round the block and come home and she'd stay asleep with the pram parked in the hall. Pram also good for nap extension as you can rock back to sleep if they wake after 30 min. It was fairly easy to move from pram to cot naps.
I commuted with my DH from West Sussex to Pall Mall every week day from when DD was 2 1/2 weeks old to 3 months - approx a 3 hour round trip morning and evening. Whilst this may sound like insanity DD slept in her pram, I got exercise and we both and much needed time out of the house!! She rarely slept for long during the day at home.
I think quite a lot of mumsnetters seem to be quite opposed to the idea of putting babies down to sleep in their cot or moses basket, but I did/do with my two babas. And I am a very loving mother!
I really wanted them to love their bed and be able to go to sleep without me rocking/pushing/holding them/having them sleep on me for hours - and I also wanted that time to do things. So as soon as I saw they were getting sleepy (which at that age is usually after one hour), I swaddle, put a little soft muslin near them and give them a dummy. Then rubbed their back, sang soft lullabies, held their hand. Also if you gently stroke down from the top of their nose to the tip they often close their eyes and then just don't open them again! Or you can kiss their eyelids and the same thing happens. I also always put them on their sides, bolstered with two rolled up towels.
It takes a little while, but they soon get used to it. And my three month old now naps two hours in the morning, three in the mid-afternoon and an hour in the latish afternoon. And I don't have to rub or sing. I just put her down, give her a kiss and leave. She LOVES her cot. And it frees me up to play with my toddler, or just relax! She also sleeps in her pram, in the car and in a sling if I go for a walk. It's really the catching them at the right time - at three months she's now tired after an hour and a half. Then giving them their queues - for me a muslin and a dummy and putting her in her grobag (used to be a swaddle).
I also never rushed when she cried. I always gave her a little time to see if she nodded back off by herself (they often wake after the first sleep cycle of 45 minutes). So I'd leave her for five minutes or so and listen. And if she wasn't really crying - ie just making a bit of noise - I'd leave her for a bit longer. I think (though I'm no expert!) that that taught her to drift back off to sleep on her own.
lifesobeautiful I tried that too, of course I did. It didn't work. You were lucky and got one of the few babies it worked for. Quite likely your baby would have been a great sleeper whatever you did.
I'm not opposed to it if it works. I'm opposed to the way that Gina Ford makes it sound like it should work for everyone, which it certainly doesn't - resulting in lots of overtired babies and miserable parents.
Yes minipie totally agree. I don't dislike Gina Ford or judge the mums that use her - really believe we all need to do what works for us and I know some mums she's really helped - but it seems GF doesn't really tell you what to do if her routines don't work for you. Which leaves mums feeling stressed and at a loss! I've never stuck to hard and fast routines personally - mostly because I like my days to be spontaneous!
I just always stuck to two things - putting them down awake when tired (after an hour or an hour and a half) and feeding mostly every three hours (although my second baby is a cluster feeder in the evenings so have just had to go with her patterns!) But I did REALLY persist with the putting down. It took my second till she was about 10 weeks for her to really easily go down. But yes, I probably have been lucky. And just because my little one goes down well at the moment doesn't mean she won't have days or weeks when she doesn't want to! Very unpredictable these tiny things. Just when you thing they're in a pattern they turn everything on its head!
Oh and apart from at night, OP I never used blackout blinds or tried to achieve total silence during the day - because I felt she then wouldn't be able to sleep easily elsewhere (eg at a hotel or someone else's house) - and also because I didn't want to have to tell my toddler to be quiet all the time.
Sometimes if I'm having people over during the day, or my toddlers friends, I use a white noise app on my ipad in her room to keep background noise to a minimum and not disturb her too much. In fact I use it sometimes in pubs/restaurants for the same reason. White noise apps are great! And in fact I know a few people who use them to calm their babies at most naps.
It doesn't matter what you do but it does matter that you're consistent. Chopping and changing is recipe for disaster. So pick one approach and stick with it. At 5 weeks they can stay in a moses basket pretty much anywhere in the house - I had my babies in a quiet part of the house but close by at that age. My advice is to introduce a sleep cue. Some people choose to use rocking or holding, others use a special swaddling wrap, or a white noise app. Whatever you do the most important thing is consistency. Notice they're tired (about 1 hour after a feed - don't let them feed to sleep) and follow your same old 'bedtime' steps. Use the bedtime steps over and over and over and over, same thing every time.
You're going to get lots of conflicting and confusing advice on the internet, btw. And lots of guilt-inducing stuff about how you're a terrible mama if you don't hold your baby all of the time. My advice is to choose a baby book, whichever one you want, read it, stick to it and completely ignore whatever anyone else tells you to do.
Thanks very much to you all for your tips nd advice, lots of things for us to try. Thanks all for taking th time to reply, much appreciated x
With dd2 I didn't have much choice about having to let her have naps out and about, in the buggy or carseat, as ds1 was in nursery which alternated between mornings one week and afternoons the next, and then with the shopping / playdates / swimming etc on top of that she just had to cope with being ported about! She managed fine with that and just slept in the car or in the buggy or, if we were at home, she would nap in her little activity chair. As time went by and she became a few months old, I did start putting her down in her cot for one nap a day, and the other she would have on the go. She settled fine in her cot but I found the Fisher Price lullaby seahorse a godsend, which plays 5 minutes of soothing lullabies and glows softly and then fades out quietly so as not to wake sleeping baby. She is now 11mo and always goes to bed with Seahorsey, I just put her down, pop him on and leave her cuddling him. Helps a lot when you want to visit relatives or go on holiday too to have a lullaby toy which makes a travel cot feel more familiar.
At five weeks, try settling her down after 45mins awake. I know it seems such a short time but it works! Swaddle and down into a basket or pram (give it a bit.of a push if needs).
Repeat ad nauseum.
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