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Talk to me about naps(15 Posts)
Hi all- there’s so much advice about wake windows, recommended amount of sleep etc etc that I find myself worrying that I’m doing it all wrong. It’s hard to just go with your gut when there’s information overload. I wonder how my parents managed without all of this pseudoscience?! Do any of you NOT worry about wake windows etc and just go with the flow and how has that played out?
When DS was 4 months he stopped falling to sleep anywhere and everywhere and started fighting it. Before then i never had much thought about naps. He doesnt give any signs to say hes tired - only when hes overtired and has a meltdown. I started reading up on advised awake times etc and now at nearly 7 months old, after 2 hours of awake time i put him down for a nap. Its the perfect window where he is tired enough to go to sleep, but not over tired or under tired. Just do what works best for your baby. When he was younger the advisory was 1.5hr awake time but it was too early for him and i would spend half an hour trying to get him to sleep
I’ve been reading The Gentle Sleep Book recently.... and it points out that most of those guidelines were based on opinion and not research. When scientists collected data on baby sleep patterns at different ages, the average wasn’t all that close to the recommendations, and very very few babies had the amount of sleep that is suggested they need in a 24 hr window. There was also massive variation in how that sleep is spread over 24 hours.
My DD was a catnapper from day 1. Initially I didn’t think anything of it. When I met up with NCT groups I thought it was odd that some of their babies seemed to sleep so much.... by 6 weeks old mine had never had more than a 30 minute stretch during the day and never more than 2 hours at night (and frequently very much less!). When she started settling into a nap routine at about 3 months it didn’t even vaguely resemble recommendations! But you can’t force someone to stay asleep..... Despite trying every possible thing under the sun, she never took a nap over 30 mins until she was 15 months old. It worked fine for her. Then one day it was like a switch flipped and she started taking a 2 hr nap and then a 1 hr one later in the day. Honestly, there was no chance of getting her onto a “typical schedule”! Things worked best when I watched her cues. If she looked tired, I’d offer her a nap (cuddle and feed somewhere quiet, or feed then into pram Or sling for a walk). If she was tired, she’d respond to the routine and go to sleep.
I’ve got 2 month old twins now. So far, have ignored all guidelines. They are nothing like DD was at this age, and commonly sleep for a 2 hour block (not always, and sometimes they have to be cuddled to achieve this in the daytime when it’s noisy). Different babies, different sleep patterns. Reading what is typical gives you a bit of an idea of when you might like to set the stage for a nap, but I find following their cues works much better and is less stressful.
I haven’t seen the programme schedule but stumbled across the Intuitive Baby Sleep Programme and the Possum Programme which is very much what you’re asking. From what I can gather, it’s about recognising when your individual baby is tired, not set nap times or awake windows. The theory is that a baby who is fed, clean, mentally stimulated when awake and genuinely tired, will fall asleep without fuss. It doesn’t worry about overtired.
With my first baby, he was VERY sensitive to being overtired. He would get in a mess, scream and struggle to then sleep. A nap schedule with strict awake windows worked very well for him and, while I was slave to the naps, it was much better than the screamy alternative. He would never have just fallen asleep when tired. That said, I do think I spent too much time worrying when I nap went awry, convinced I’d just ruined the entire day and night! So looking back, I’d have definitely had a plan but been more relaxed when it didn’t go smoothly because, well babies are unpredictable.
Second baby is now 9 weeks old, sleeps exclusively on me and can only be awake about an hour. Waiting to see what sort of baby he turns out to be around 3/4 months and whether he can go with the flow (as I’d appreciate more flexibility around the older child) or if he’s another one who needs structure.
Plenty of people take the “baby will sleep when it’s tired” approach, but I do think the success of that is partly dependant on the individual baby’s sleep needs and sensitivity to overtiredness.
Don’t tie yourself in knots over it. Just experiment a bit and see what works for you and your baby.
Yes! I agree! I've worried myself silly that I don't have a strict schedule of naps and feel like a failure when I hear about other people's routines. My 4 month old won't go down for naps... I've tried. I've very occasionally been successful but she'll only sleep for 30 mins max. She usually will fall asleep on me after a feed or will sleep in the sling and need constant movement. Otherwise she won't get enough sleep and will be overtired. She does have a rough schedule but obviously not set in stone as I can't put her down at set times.
I still do occasionally stress when i see others succeeding at routines and being able to put their babies down but then I try and remind myself that I'm responding to my baby's needs and doing the best I can. I do think there's a lot of pressure to get sleep 'right' when really all babies are different.
I've had so many of the same worries as you! Lots of our antenatal group seem to be following all sorts of routines and we aren't really.
Our baby (first baby) is 15 weeks old and so far we have no real routine apart from get up between 7-8am and putting her to bed around 8-8:30pm. Then we aim for 3 naps but these can be at different times depending on how long the previous naps have lasted, aiming for anywhere between 3-5.5 hours sleep over the course of the day depending on what we can achieve, but overall I want our baby to fit in with what we need to do rather than stressing a lot about whether she is asleep at the correct time...it was making me too anxious! I also thought about what I would do if she was my second baby and had to fit in with an older child who needed to do stuff. I think our generation almost have information overload from the internet, apps and books and it's quite overwhelming to know what to do!
Ps I think you need to do whatever makes you and your baby happiest and most relaxed, if that's a strict routine then that's ok, if that's flexibility then that's ok too
One of the best, and hardest, things I did for mine when they were babies was to support them getting all the sleep they wanted. If that meant helping them link deep cycles by latching then back on through the night, walking circuits of the park, or asserting myself against family members that we would meet when it suited the baby, so be it. It's for such a short period of our lives. Normal sleep patterns and having your needs met are good for developing brains.
Have you tried the huckleberry app? It takes the stress out of the whole process I find. Adjusts awake windows for age, length of the last nap etc. I always find it to be pretty much spot on and has been since DS was tiny (he’s now 7 months)
I second huckleberry. It changed my life. My child finally started sleeping during the day.
My DD is 10 months. I have a rough idea that she needs a nap 2-3 hours after she wakes up and another one to finish 3-4 hours before bed time. Also I notice if she has a short morning nap she'll need a longer afternoon one etc. But that's about it. I've worked out these timings just by trial and error and at some point I know she'll go to one nap. This allows for quite a lot of flexibility and also happy for her to nap in the car, pram etc.
Just do the little ones routines they are very good.
I never worried about wake qindows etc, just went with what DD wanted, let her sleep whenever she wanted, or i would try to put her down at various points in the day if i needes her to sleep.
However, i did more of a routine with breastfeeding from the start -went with 3 hourly then up to 4 hourly.
Agree with the previous posters who recommended huckleberry! We have found it to be scarily accurate. There's times when I've gone against it because he seems tired so I've put him in the cot 45 mins before the "sweet spot" and it's ended with a 45 minute screaming crying battle! It did upset me a little to begin with that an algorithm knew better than my own instinct but I've got over that now I've seen the success!
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