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Day time naps - help please

(23 Posts)
Taler Mon 17-Mar-14 09:20:09

My 4.5 month old DD always fights her day time naps. She is so obviously tired and I am 100% sure, no question, she is clearly wanting to sleep but fights it.

I have, until now, let her lead me and when I see the tired signs I act on them.

I am finding things sooooo hard as feel I am complelty wasting my time by acting on them when ultimately after around 20/30 mins on average of going in and out putting the dummy back in, hand on chest, shhh-ing etc I give up as although she will TRY to go to sleep by turning her head to the side, hand on face (her sleep position), she will then turn to face me, smile and start kicking happily!?!

So I'll bring he out put her on her play mat and she generally always seems content.


I am sooooo confused and really haven't a clue what to do - do I ignore the tired signs and never put her down for a nap?????

She sleeps well a night but she's only 4 months old! Surely a 4 month old needs day time naps even if they sleep at night ???????

purplebaubles Mon 17-Mar-14 09:22:46

Sounds overtired to me!

How many naps are you talking?

At that age, DD was still going down every 2 hours. You need to put down awake and let her cry if necessary (no doubt will get flamed for this!), going back in every 5 mins to check on her.

Bridezilla3521 Mon 17-Mar-14 09:28:48

I could've written your post when my DD was that age!! Does she still sleep in your room or on her own? At this age, this was when I put her Moses basket in her cot in her own room (just at daytime until she moved fully at just short of 6 months). I always had to stay with her until she was asleep but with the move into her own room I could spend 10 mins max getting her to sleep (ok there is the odd occasion but that's by the by!)

Taler Mon 17-Mar-14 09:47:51

Purplebaubles - thank u!!!! I know I would also get slated for it but agree this is what I should maybe try as so far she knows that every time I cry mummy comes. And whilst I of course want her to feel secure, safe and comforted by me, I also want her to learn to self settle. Plus in her tiny life myself and my husband have so far preempted her cries, almost as if we're afraid of her crying (which isn't the case), but surely she needs to learn, even at this young age, that mummy won't always come running but that nothing terrible will happen if she doesn't.

She doesn't have a set number of day time naps. Her feed cycles are 4 hourly (from start of 1 feed to start of the next) and generally she would have 1 nap in one of those 4 hourly cycles, occasionally 2. But all of them having shown the tired cues before hand.

Taler Mon 17-Mar-14 09:51:17

Bridezilla3521 - she does still sleep in our room at night in her Moses basket. Her day time naps are in the second bedroom (just how it's worked out).

We are planning for her to go into her own room in a few weeks (but need to complete some DIY first).

Nareno Mon 17-Mar-14 10:33:33

Some babies cant nap seperate from mum until older, so you could perhaps try nursing, carrying in a sling, or rocking to sleep, then tip toeing away. I know this goes against all that no cry sleep solution stuff, but it is very much in line with evolution and attachment theory.. If parents left their babies to sleep independently in the wild, theyd be eaten by some passing tiger. Babies have evolved to sense when parents sneak off, and to demand their return, its life or death stuff in evolutionary terms. In time, they grow out of it. Im writing this with my 6 m ds sleeping across my lap as he refusec to have his mid morning nap in his cosleeper today, its nice he wants to be so close. Probably more diffcult if u got other kiddies tho.

WillSingForCake Mon 17-Mar-14 12:07:05

My DD was the same, but eventually I used to just leave her & she'd fall asleep after about 5 mins of crying. I know some people disagree with doing this, but she was a far happier baby once she started napping, so felt I was doing the right thing.

ZuleikaD Mon 17-Mar-14 14:25:43

4.5m is too young to learn to self-settle - they don't learn that until about 10-11m. Before that they nearly always need help to sleep (called 'parenting to sleep'). You can leave them to cry, of course, but that doesn't actually teach them anything, and yes they will give up crying and go to sleep in silent misery eventually, but that doesn't mean they're self-settling. At this point she needs to KNOW that if she needs you you will be there. She is not self-aware so she's not manipulating you, she doesn't know she's separate from you. Don't damage that bond you've built up so far.

At 4-5months she can probably comfortably do 90 minutes awake then 40 asleep, so I wouldn't wait for 'signs' but put her down after 90 minutes. Feed or rock her to sleep. Otherwise she'll never get into any sort of rhythm.

purplebaubles Mon 17-Mar-14 14:28:58

ZulekidaD What a load of rubbish! DD was self settling from about 12 weeks old. No problem at all.

OP - try putting her down after 2 hours. I followed this religiously, and quickly got into a good routine. (it was actually someone on mn who said two hours was the golden rule!)

Taler Mon 17-Mar-14 14:49:04

Is that 2 hours after feeding or 2 hours after waking from her last nap?

Ginnytonic82 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:53:21

No good advice as my 22 week old Ds is exactly the same! He gets so grumpy shows all the sleepy signs, but when I try to rock him to help him sleep he cries, then starts laughing!!!!!

ZuleikaD Mon 17-Mar-14 17:25:47

It's not rubbish - a baby who's been left to cry will certainly be quiet after two or three days when putting down for naps. That's not the same as self-settling. They cannot self-settle properly at 12 weeks.

ZuleikaD Mon 17-Mar-14 18:10:29

I also think it's worth mentioning that this:

"*mummy won't always come running but that nothing terrible will happen if she doesn't.*"

exhibits a fundamental misconception of what something 'terrible' might mean to a baby. Given that a baby has no concept of object permanence and its worst nightmare is that its mother will abandon it, when mummy doesn't come to help, the baby's worst nightmare is literally coming true. I can't think of anything more terrible than my worst nightmare coming true.

WillSingForCake Mon 17-Mar-14 18:32:54

They cannot self-settle properly at 12 weeks

This is untrue. Some babies can't, some can. Certainly many of the babies I've cared for (ex-nanny) have been put down awake from a very early age & have gone to sleep without crying, feeding, rocking etc.

Taler Mon 17-Mar-14 18:54:59

I agree too that some babies CAN self settle easily, others need take more time. Plus I think it's incredibly harsh to talk about leaving her as being her worst nightmare. How do u know?!?

I of course acknowledge that with a baby it's all very primitive in terms of their needs and also acknowledge that she does need me. But there is nothing wrong with a baby learning to self settle. I have friends whose babies self settle and they seem perfectly content.

purplebaubles Tue 18-Mar-14 13:43:06

2 hours from when they've last got up. ie. keep them awake for 2 hours ish then put back down.

minipie Tue 18-Mar-14 18:52:45

I was still taking DD for a walk in the pram to get her to sleep at that age. Not ideal but better than overtireness and more effective than trying to settle her in her cot. Didn't seem to affect her ability to sleep in her cot at night. Worth a try?

Taler Tue 18-Mar-14 18:54:51

Thank you. Yes we are out walking very often. Partly for this reason and partly coz its good for me too to get some fresh air!

But not always possible if, for example, raining.

trolleycoin Thu 20-Mar-14 11:54:45

Agree with Nareno. My DS would fight day time naps like you wouldn't believe. He needed to be next to me, DH or DM to snuggle and be gently rocked for what sometimes seemed like an eternity and drift off. We tried putting him down to nap without one of us many a time, but it just didn't work so in the end we just accepted this was his mad little way. Incidently, my DN (3 days younger than DS) will sleep anywhere, on her own, regardless of noise from when she was born.

Then one day, aged just over 2, DS said that he wanted his nap in his own room. I asked if he was sure and he said yes. So that is what we did. He slept for 1.5 hrs on his own in his cot. We were gobsmacked. So a lesson there for me is that all kids are different and they'll do it when they are ready.

AnMum Thu 20-Mar-14 12:08:31

Babies can certainly self settle before 10m!!!! If that was true, I wouldn't have had 2!! OP, DS2 is exact same age and cries for 5 minutes before every nap. Then settles himself and wakes up a much happier baby.

puntasticusername Thu 20-Mar-14 13:47:27

Man, people talk some rubbish about self settling.

DS2 is just three months old. He's been self-settling pretty much since birth. Not every time, but he could do it. The trick was to watch him closely, learn his tired signs, do some soothing to get him nice and drowsy and at the right time, put him down and give him the chance to get himself off to sleep. If it didn't work (generally because I was too slow and he tipped over into over tiredness, or he had wind), no big deal - I just picked him up and comforted him, got him to sleep by whatever means, and we tried again next time. Over time, he's learning beautifully. He now doesn't usually cry when put down to sleep (as long as I've got it right and he's full, clean, tired and not in pain etc), he just has a little chat to himself for a minute, sucks his fat little fist and dozes off perfectly peacefully.

This won't work for all babies, though - some are more sensitive, some need more help, and of course some parents prefer to soothe to sleep in the early days and leave self settling until later. Which is all fine - do whatever works for you!

OP, you're doing exactly the right things in watching your DD for tired signs and putting her down when you think she needs to sleep. At 4 months, she's now a social animal and will fight sleep in favour of your company. Respect her need to sleep and leave her alone to do it, the same way you respect her need to eat or have her nappy changed.

I'd strongly suggest establishing a solid pre-nap routine. Babies learn through repetition and association. Keeping things the same gives her the best chance to learn quickly. It doesn't have to be exactly the same as your bedtime routine, but may be similar.

Maximum of 2 hours awake is a good rule of thumb at this age. That's a maximum, though, it won't always be that long.

And I'd strongly recommend reading Dr Marc Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. The dude is a god. A GOD.

Taler Fri 21-Mar-14 17:39:45

Thank you puntasticusername - good advice smile

puntasticusername Fri 21-Mar-14 17:48:18

Np - G'luck!

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