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Napping on me, not self settling - your experiences?(29 Posts)
My nearly 5 month old has always been difficult to get to sleep and I have had to walk, pat and shush, and use white noise to send her to sleep. I can sometimes transfer her to a bouncer seat once she is completely out, where she will nap for about 30 mins but if I want her to have a decent sleep (1hr plus) she needs to be on me or my husband.
Her night sleep is amazing - although we have to work to get her to sleep and keep her asleep for the first couple of hours, she sleeps through on her own in her sleepyhead until 6 or 7 am and has done for about 6 weeks now.
I am finding her daytime naps quite stressful because I keep reading so much about the importance of self settling and not napping on us and how by not teaching her that now we are setting ourselves up for awful sleep problems later! But then some people say that sleep is developmental and if we just keep doing what we are doing eventually she will self settle and sleep in her cot on her own for naps and at night time.
We tried pick up put down last night and after the second pick up she was hysterically crying for about fifteen minutes like we'd tried to chuck her out the window or something!
So what I wondered was whether any of you found the developmental theory to be true? Or have you found it really crucial to try to teach self settling and sleeping away from you?
Me and my friend have babies same age and we too talk about this often as we nurse our babies during the day and they wont be put down. I mentioned this to my health visitor and she said you cannot spoil a baby and she wouldnt recommend a routine until 1 year. We both have bed time routines but very loose.
Until my baby goes in his own room ar 6 months I will continue to let him sleep on me. I put him down in his basket today and he slept 30 mins. He is now a blubbering over tired mess. Once he goes in his own room I will then attempt to do the self settling etc but again very loosely.
Personally I think all babies will eventually be able to self settled eventually with little intervention.
As long as you and hubby are happy to nurse baby then I'd continue to do so.
And yes the development is more important to me than self settling. If it means rocking my baby to sleep until over 1 year old but his development is perfect then I will do so xx
My 5 1/2 month old use to be the exact same until a few weeks ago.
She would only nap if she was on me and would never nap longer than half an hour.
I'm not sure what's changed, but she went down for a nap at 10 and is still sleeping in her bed.
She also would wake up as soon as I put her down in her next2me at night time, now I can put her down after her feed and she'll fall asleep on her own.
I bought her a comforter and I wore it to make it smell of me which has seemed to help and I put her down before she gets over tired, which is normally around 2 hours after waking from nap. I also make sure the room where she's napping is pitch black too. This has seemed to help. Not sure if it's her age where she's maybe grown out of it? Or what I've done has helped.
I put her down in her cot drowsy but awake and just lie next to her until she goes off. She did moan for a few times at the start of doing this, now she moans that I'm still holding her and is quiet when I put her in her bed!
Sorry this probably isn't much help but I'm hoping it gives you a bit of hope that it might get better! X
Are you happy aside from your worries that you aren’t teaching her something that you should be?
I fed DD to sleep, held her for the majority of naps when she was tiny (sometimes she’d sleep on a walk in pram, or in car seat). It worked really well for me, and I actually felt it was really flexible - my DD could nap anywhere that I was, we weren’t constrained by strict timetables And having to be near the cot etc.
My only worry was if I was depriving her of something she NEEDED to learn. I’d read all sorts of things about self settling and about “creating a rod for my back”, or 7 year olds unable to sleep on their own and parents never being able to have an evening out....
I never did do sleep training/cry it out. I continued to feed her to sleep for as long as I felt it worked well for us - we could have friends downstairs being noisy over dinner/board game/whatever and she’d still go straight to sleep. She was over 2 when we stopped the bedtime feed. It worked for me, and I was happy that I could get her to sleep anywhere in any conditions. But when I was ready to stop, it was no trouble at all! We read some books about Nightweaning, and then one day I told her she was a big girl now and didn’t need milk any more. No tears, no sadness, no difficulty.
It also didn’t make her completely dependent on me. Toddlers are perfectly capable of learning different routines for different people. My DH would snuggle up on the sofa with her and she’d nap on his chest. My DMum took her out in the pram and then could park her up in the garden for a couple of hours. I wondered how she’d manage at nursery - no issue at all! The first day her key workers cuddled her to sleep at nap time, the second day she lay down on her mat when all the other kids did.
My DD is 3 now. After DH does bedtime stories, I go in and sing a couple of lullaby’s with her, say goodnight and give her a kiss. She’s awake when I leave, chats to her teddy for a few minutes and I think is usual asleep within about 10 minutes. Unless there is a loud noise or she’s too hot and wants the window open, there’s not a peep from her till morning. It’s not been difficult to get here, there have never been tears.
If you’re looking to make a quick change, then I’d say some kind of sleep training is for you. But you don’t have to do it if you’re happy right now. Wait until you’re unhappy, and maybe you’ll never get to that stage - we never did!
@Laylor you sound so confident! I wish I felt like that. It is annoying that she has to sleep on us because it means I can only do things if they fit around her nap times, because like yours my little girl will be a crying unhappy baby if she misses a nap. I sometimes wonder if I'm making things harder for myself by fighting what she so clearly wants though!
I'm really not confident at all. I've struggled massively since he was born. I started reading the internet every day for routines and what other people did. I even bought the little ones sleep program. I was comparing my baby to my friends. I really wasnt enjoying my baby because of all the above
My husband one day said enough was enough so we stopped everything. Fed on demand napped on demand etc and hes like a different baby. His bed time sleeping is still hit and miss but I think that's because we disrupt each other but hes much happier and I love spending all the time with him and regret the first few months
My health visitor asked me these questions.
Do you nap same time every day
Do you stay awake same amount of time every day
Do you feed same time every day
Do you feed the same amount every day.
I answered no to them all so I wouldnt expect my baby to do that either. Honestly go with the flow and I bet your baby girl will surprise you. Yes its annoying not being able to do anything so I boufht a joie rocker. The top bit comes off so when hes awake I drag him around the house with me and he just okay or watches me.
If you need anymore info feel free to ask or PM.
I'm sure your an absolute excellent mum. Xx
@Donut93 that is helpful, thank you- I have seen people say that things just seemed to change on their own around six months. That makes sense to me because that's how my daughter sleeps through at night at the moment, one day she just did it it!
@crazychemist yes that's exactly what I'm worried about - that not teaching her anything is going to backfire on us later on.
I also don't love having her nap on me because there's things I'd rather be doing... But I don't hate it so could put up with it a while longer.
It's great that it helped you feel flexible. I definitely don't find that, DD is so eager for stimulation she will rarely wind down at all when out about. She sits in her pram kicking her legs making happy whooping noises
All 4 of mine napped on me for pretty much every nap they ever had.
Now I have 4 dc who sleep well and are very confident and independent.
Just do what makes your life easier now.
@Laylor that's such a comforting message, thank you! Yes I wonder if I would enjoy our time more if I just relaxed and went with the flow. It's unfortunately not my style at all so that's probably why I'm struggling!
Those questions made me nervous until I read the point you were making!!
Bless you. Dont put so much pressure on yourself. Shes still only very little. Xx
@SprogletsMum that sounds good!! When and how did they decide to stop napping on you?
Stop reading books/websites. Honestly it will stress you out so much when what you are experiencing is perfectly normal and if the night sleep is good.... don't worry about the day, IME!! They absolutely get there by themselves.
Most of the sleep websites are written enticingly with promises of something which is highly unrealistic, because they want you to be tempted enough to buy their book, "package" or "programme" (usually a downloadable version of a book they haven't bothered to put into ebook form because they can charge more by not calling it an ebook) or sleep consultation service. They are written to make you feel guilty because feeling guilty makes you feel you "should" do something about it but you "can't" on your own hence you buy their service. It's really predatory IMO. All new parents feel like they are out of their depth and have no idea what they are doing.
The English-language online stuff is also heavily skewed/marketed towards US parents who are struggling on 6 weeks (or less!) of maternity leave so are generally working FT while trying to deal with normal infant sleep behaviour - of course they want a golden bullet.
Hi @BoomyBooms! Sorry it is so stressful. DS2 is nearly 8 months old and I could have written your post at the start of lockdown. I was supposed to have a sleep consultant and did have a phonecall with her but then she had to cancel our session. One thing she said on the phone was really useful, and that was to just, somehiw, get the baby to have enough sleep and sort out the specifics of where later on.
What I decided after that was ti accept that the baby was going to nap on me or in the sling, and realised that even though it was inconvenient, it was better than a miserable.baby.
Things I have found useful are the Huckleberry app which predicts optimum nap times - helps time the naps so the baby isn't over tired.
In terms of developmental things - I found over time that DS became accustomed to his cot and decided it wasn't being abandoned. Now he plays in it in the morning before I get him up. He has a collection of Jellycat toys that he likes. It took time - lots of holding him until he was so so fast asleep (lift the arm and if it "flops" down they are sparko) and gently moving into the cot. Now he drops off the boob and I plonk him in the cot.
DS has most of his naps in the cot too which helps, and the room is very dark, and has a fan on.
Sorry to ramble - I guess what I am saying is that I tried sleep training, but what really worked was being very consistent with bedtime, lots of reassurance, and now DS trusts that the wolves won't get him. Sleep training was so stressful!
Mine self settled for naps and bedtime in his cot at 5 months old.
However, he didn't sleep through the night until 14 months and didn't nap for longer than 45 minutes until 11 months. So self settling isn't the be all and end all.
I am extremely grateful I don't have any fussy bedtime or naptimes though - I literally put him in the cot, close the blind, put on the white noise and close the door. He falls asleep in 10 minutes. I have a strong routine and stick to doing the same things at the same time.
Do what works for you and your daughter rather than things that you've read you should be doing.
I don’t often post but saw your title and had to reply. My little boy is 2 year 8 months. He doesn’t nap anymore and at bedtime he settles himself to sleep no problem. This is something he decided he wanted to do from about 2 years old, before that all naps were on me and he used to fall asleep beside me on my bed at bedtime and I’d move him to his cot. Everyone told me I was making a rod for my own back. I wasn’t and you’re not either. As long as you’re happy, enjoy those cuddles, let your baby nap on you for as long as you want them to and cuddle them to sleep at night if you/they want to. It’s a lovely time and you really can’t spoil a baby with cuddles.
Like I say my little boy now self settles at night but he is still the most cuddly little boy, he loves a snuggle and a hug. Enjoy it
I personally don't think self settling is a thing you can teach. My ds1 loved his cot and would go to sleep easily from birth. Ds2 would only nap on me and I co sleep with him at night.
DS2 is 9 months and he still naps on me. If I put him in his crib he's up within half an hour.
It actually works better than with DS1 who would only nap in his crib. I was borderline obsessed with his napping, desperate for him to go down so I could have a cup of tea or sort the laundry. Now, the second DS2 starts showing that he's tired, usually by rubbing his eyes, I'll make a cup of tea, grab a snack and hunker down on the sofa or tuck us up in bed for a nap.
If we are out and about, he just snuggles in to me for a nap. I was trying to give him one nap a day at least in the crib and letting him settle on his own, but the struggle to go down would last longer than the nap so I just gave up.
He settles absolutely fine at night, and sleeps for 7/8 hours before waking for a bottle, there's just too much going on for him during the day to self settle.
Self settling will come, every baby is so different and take different amounts of time to get in to a good sleep routine. Honestly, enjoy the snugs. As long as your baby is well rested, it's absolutely fine.
I don't know about OP but you've helped me and made me feel so much better. X
I absolutely should just stop reading all of this stuff and stop worrying myself, and deal with any problems if they happen. You're all so right. It's an industry like any other isn't it. Perhaps my baby isn't such an awful sleeper and im just expecting too much from her!
I agree with your sleep consultant Lynn, surely enough sleep is the priority. She didn't get enough yesterday so we were up at 5.30 this morning. I know that's not bad really but when she has enough sleep she will go until 7! I think my priority is just making sure she has enough.
Costa that's interesting!
Dragonfly thank you for posting, it is really helpful to hear all these stories about these little ones just coming to it in their own time.
Billy thank you for your story too! I really hope my little girl will be the same. I've tried getting her to sleep in the cot in the day but she just hates it. Doesn't seem worth the stress any more!
@BoomyBooms she'll have her day naps in the cot when she's ready and it's great that she'll sleep in there at night. She's just not ready yet for whatever reason. DS2's third nap of the day is often in the sling/buggy so I plan my exercise around that! You might find she sleeps better when she gets more mobile and tires herself out too! Good luck, try not to worry. My oldest was a total demon as a baby, up every 45 mins in the night at 7 months wanting boob. Absolute sleep champion now!
Oh my gosh... How you coped with that I can't imagine!! She definitely can't wait to be mobile so yes hopefully she will. Thank you so much for sharing.
In fact thank you everyone for taking the time to reply and reassure me! I sent the thread to DH and we have agreed not to sleep train. It stresses us all out and that certainly brings its own risks. So for the foreseeable you'll find me planted on the sofa scrolling through Mumsnet, with a hopefully happy baby!
I’m reading this thinking “you’re getting decent chunks of nighttime sleep, don’t mess with it!” though I know it’s not that easy - it’s just that I had an up-every-45-minutes one all night until 15mo, so you focus on what you found hard. My first napped on me or in the sling for most of his first year. From about 7mo he started to go into his cot for progressively longer naps, but I wouldn’t take any notice of that because there’s no guarantee yours will.
That’s a really good point about the American market for sleep training, @BertieBotts. I follow a lot of Reddit subs on parenting and babies which are the same - babies in their own room from the first week, parents desperate for a magic sleep solution.
I have found this thread really useful, thank you to all who have posted. It is so easy to get obsessed with sleep. I am currently observing my 5 month old on his play mat whilst I hide in the corner of the room with a coffee after being up every 90 minutes last night and feeding back to sleep each time because I couldn’t deal with the screaming. I often worry that this will ruin him because I’m too tired to think clearly
@BoomyBooms glad you’re feeling a bit more chilled. Everyone says that 4-8 months is the best part of babyhood, and it probably is, but we need to take a step back and recognise that
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