This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
DD keeps fighting sleep(19 Posts)
DD is 6mo but has been fighting sleep on a daily basis for a couple of months at least. I'm not expecting her to get into any sort of routine, but when she begins to show signs of tiredness, I do everything I can to let her sleep. It's a constant cycle of her refusing, getting overtired, and then still continuing to fight every single opportunity of a daytime nap. If I'm lucky, she'll get one 15 minute in during lunchtime, and then stays grumpy the rest of the day from tiredness until she finally falls asleep around 9/10pm. It's exhausting for both of us and I can't get anything done because she'll start screaming if I leave her alone. Any tips?
Swaddling, either total or under the arms
Really loud white noise
Completely dark room
Go for a drive in the car at nap time
Put the washing machine on spin cycle and put her in a moses basket (or something similar) right next to it
Put her in a sling facing inwards and go for a walk
Help her learn to self settle using one of the many techniques described online, aged 6 months she will have control of her hands and so will be able to suck her thumb which is what most babies start to use to self sooth
@SeaToSki thank you for the tips. I've tried a few of them but anything that involves noise is a no no since even me breathing too loudly can put her off. She also can't stand her legs being covered so I'll try swaddling under the arms but that might also be a no no. She does calm down when we go for walks so I'll just have to deal with the inconsistent weather if it helps her to sleep. One thing that does help is stripping her down to her nappy and having the fan on, but I worry about her getting cold if I do this all the time.
The two of you must be absolutely knackered.
6 months is the perfect time to put a routine in place. You can start tomorrow!! Something like this
7am wake and milk
8am Porridge for brekkie (if she is having brekkie)
9.15-10 nap in the cot
11.30 lunch purée veggies and fruit compote or banana
12.30-2.30 nap in cot
4.45-5pm nap in buggy or sling
5pm purée veggies
She should be in a sleeping bag, they are the safest thing. As it’s warm I would put her in a short sleeve vest and 1 tog bag. Her room should be dark for daytime naps and fully blacked out for night time sleep.
If she is noise sensitive, you might find that really loud white noise actually helps. For some reason it seems to turn off their ability to hear in a strange way. Maybe that is why the fan helps as it is a type of white noise. You could try the fan, but dont aim it right at her, point it at the floor and crank it up to max. If its just circulating air in the room it wont cool her that much
@GenevaMaybe we have a routine but if I'm lucky she'll have an 11am nap and then nothing else until she falls asleep at night!
@SeaToSki I'm trying that now and it seems to calming her a bit. Maybe the single loud noise helps with her focus, otherwise she's too busy looking everywhere and it keeps her awake.
What are you actually doing to get her to nap?
At that age, DS napped on me, or in sling/ pushchair or not at all. Boob was usually involved as well
How is she fed?
How desperate are you for her to sleep now vs. having a schedule and really pushing independent sleep?
At this age, I chose not to push independent sleep as I was just desperate to get some rest and get a routine sorted so that DD was used to sleeping at certain times, regardless of how she was going to sleep. So I would feed/cuddle/pop in pram/take for a drive, whatever helped her to settle. That got he into a routine fairly quickly and avoided the dreaded overtired! It also helped keep things flexible, as then if we had something on I had lots of options (walk, drive, cuddle) depending on what coincided with nap time. We saved cot naps/indecent napping for later on.
@Harrysmummy246 she's exclusively breastfeeding, and I am guilty of feeding her to sleep. But in the past month she's changed her feeding so that she'll drink for a couple of minutes but more frequently rather than longer feeds which led to her napping easier. Her sleeping next to me/on me and then letting her nap on the bed always worked for me, and still does when she does nap.
@crazychemist I'm not pushing for independent sleep at all tbh, I didn't do it for my DS and he became an independent sleeper on his own, so I'm happy to do the same for DD.
I don't really have a routine for putting her to sleep per se, but I do have a couple of things I do that I know help her settle at least. If she's wearing leggings or socks, I'll take those off, if it's warm enough then I'll take her babygro off as well, she definitely calms down when she's left free in her nappy. I'll put the fan on, close the curtains and walk with her to soothe her, then settle her in bed with me for a feed. If it's evening time then I'll read her a couple of stories. I don't get the chance to take her out often since I'm epileptic and need DH with me if something happens.
If she’s only having one nap, then I’d guess that she’s chronically overtired and that’s why she’s fighting sleep. She should be having 2 to 3 naps a day. Geneva’s schedule is a good structure. I’d work hard to achieve something similar and I’ll be you see a difference.
Some babies are not great at showing signs of tiredness especially if they are overtired (=running on adrenaline).
For these babies following a loose routine can be really useful. Try getting her down for her first nap around 2 hours after she woke up, rather than waiting for signs of tiredness.
NB for overtired babies who fight sleep, they are unlikely to settle without help (feed to sleep, rock, buggy, sling etc). IMO getting the right amount of sleep is more important than self settling, you can worry about that later.
Even Gina ford agrees that at the beginning you just rock or walk to sleep at the right times to set your baby’s clock and combat chronic overtiredness. Then you work on self settling once the baby has got the hang of the timings and is rested.
One nap at 11am is nowhere near enough for either of you. If you’re not a routine person then that’s fine but the one I suggested is basically enough sleep to ensure your baby is rested in the day but tired enough to sleep well at night.
There's this amazing app called Huckleberry, it magically predicts all your baby's nap times which means you can start getting them down before they show tired signs, some babies don't show them until they are already overtired and then it's too late.
Don't bother filling in the questionnaire unless you want to pay the subscription, the nap prediction works even on the free version.
I would look up how many naps they are meant to have at that age - I've forgotten sorry! And set the app to that.
Feeding to sleep is nothing to be guilty about. If that's what works, do it
FWIW, It stopped settling DS actually to sleep by 12 months apart from through the night. I missed it then!
@BertieBotts I'll download the app and see if it works 😁
Her day before she stopped napping as much was:
Waking up between 7-8am (still the same)
First nap between 10-11am
Second nap between 1-2pm
Third nap between 5-6pm
And then she'd fall asleep for the night around 8pm
I still try to stick to this but it snowballs when she misses one nap and then ends up tired for a longer period of time.
I'm going to try some methods mentioned above and will let you know if any of them stick thank you for the suggestions and advice!
Mine needed an early nap in the morning at that stage - never made any sense to me but by about an hour after getting up was clearly shattered. If we missed that first nap for whatever reason it was game over for the day. She could manage a much longer awake period in the afternoon than in the morning.
My DC1 was like this. He would often wake up at the slightest sound, like the click of doing up my nursing bra, and take ages to resettle. I would take him for walks for hours in the pram and he would just drop off, then a car would drive past too loudly or the traffic light beeping noise would go off or I'd pause to cross the road and he'd notice the change in tempo and he'd wake up again. Some babies really just fight and fight sleep. Sympathy to you OP, I really know how exhausting and frustrating it can be.
I had a little chair that vibrated that (sometimes) helped. I'd put DC in it in the kitchen while I was washing up or whatever. DC could see me, so knew he wasn't on his own but because I was facing away and wasn't engaging he would eventually fall asleep.
He would also sleep really well after baby sensory class (falling asleep in the car afterwards). Difficult in the current climate as no baby groups are on at the moment due to covid, but you could maybe try to recreate with Baby Club on iplayer, some bubbles and maybe a slow disco light type thing, then put in vibro-chair for the ride home.
Good luck 💐
Feeding to sleep is biologically normal. But if it stops working for you or results in a baby who wakes constantly looking for his/her sleep prop then it’s time to consider other options.
Please login first.