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Early Waking, No Naps, But Sleeping Through(ish...) - any advice?

(12 Posts)
InFlames Wed 18-May-11 12:02:52

My 22 week old DS has, on the one hand, fantastic sleep. And I am immensely grateful for that.

His pattern is this:

4-5am - wake up. Fully awake and wanting to party. Often not hungry til 5.30-6.
9am - 10 min nap
12ish - 30 min nap, if we're lucky!
3ish - 10 min nap
6.30-7ish - bath, milk, cuddle and more or less self settles, provided he has thumb in and muslin to hand, plus teddy (he really likes his comforts!)

2 bits of advice wanted really:

- Is is not napping enough? Shows no signs of over tiredness really til about 5pm, and only sometimes. But worried he should be sleeping more??

- Any advice on getting him to sleep slightly later in the morning? Even 6am would be good :-) Not keen on controlled crying at this stage as he's too little I think (though not averse to it when older).

Thinking also that maybe this is just his pattern and that's ok, but HV (at work, not his own - we rarely see her....) did death stare 'brain development / needs to nap for longer' kind of chat...which has knocked my confidence a bit.

Thanks :-)

Teapot13 Wed 18-May-11 13:52:32

I think the answer to both your questions is that the baby needs more sleep. Daytime naps are probably where the biggest deficit is. I think he is getting considerably less sleep than a child his age usually needs. I would aim for 2 good long naps (like 1-1.5 hours) and the third can be a catnap. I would also think he needs more like 11-12 hours at night.

I had a similar situation when my PFB was this age. I didn't understand that she was exhausted because she was so sunny. Then I read a lot of books on sleep (No Cry series, Dr. Weissbluth). It really helped me to learn how sleep cycles and different levels of sleep work. (For example, a nap needs to be at least one complete sleep cycle -- about 45 minutes.) Once I knew what to do I got her into a good routine and she gets a lot of good sleep.

I notice you are putting him down for his naps after very long periods of wakefulness. I would expect him to need his nap 1.5-3 hours after a waking, rather than 4-5 hours. My guess would be that he is so overtired that he can't settle into a long, deep sleep. Does he jerk awake crying, or do you slowly notice soft sounds of cooing as he wakes up? When it's the latter, I know DD is rested.

It's scary to increase daytime sleep because a lot of people think the baby will sleep less at night. Usually the opposite is true, but if you're worried start it on the weekend or at a time you have backup.

Sorry this is so long -- I just felt so much frustration that I didn't know this. It isn't intuitive, because babies need so much more sleep than adults, and it would have been easier to do it right from the start. My last tip is to solve the problem now -- it will only get harder to fix, and in our case DD's lack of proper naps caused her to have newborn-style wakings when she was around 6 months.

If you try to get him into a routine of more sleep and he still sleeps the same amount, then you might just conclude that that's how he is. But I would not conclude that till you try more sleep.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Teapot13 Wed 18-May-11 13:54:01

Meant to also say it looks like you have a good bedtime routine with self-settling -- that is brilliant. With some help he should be able to use these skills for his naps!

InFlames Wed 18-May-11 18:15:38

Thanks for the advice. I think we'll try settling him into his cot for daytime using same nighttime routine :-)

WorrisomeHeart Thu 19-May-11 13:07:22


My almost 7mth old DS was exactly the same as yours, right down to the early wakings! However, over the last week he has been napping longer and longer and being much easier to get to sleep for the nap. The only thing that has changed is that I'm putting him into his gro-bag for his naps as well as his nighttime sleep - I really think it's helped him figure out that it's snooze time. Yesterday he had a 1.5hour nap at midday, which is just unheard of in our house, I barely knew what to do with myself! I agree that if you have a good nighttime settling routine, it's worth trying during the day too. It hasn't made too much of a dent in his early waking yet - although when he woke at 4.30am this morning he went back to sleep until 5am, and that's fine by me! (Well not really, but beggars can't be choosers!)

Good luck!

WorrisomeHeart Thu 19-May-11 13:09:15

Meant to say - with yesterday's 1.5 hour nap, he woke briefly after the first 30 mins, but I resettled him with rocking and shhhing and he went back through for the next hour. I'm hoping that he'll end up going through that 1.5 hour by himself and I won't need to actively manage it soon.

InFlames Thu 19-May-11 18:51:55

Thanks for the advice- def thinking that mimicking night routine is the way to go :-) will let you know how we get on- good lick with your sleep too!

kirrinIsland Thu 19-May-11 19:14:46

My DD used to hardly sleep in the day but now she has at least one nap of 1.5 hours or so and we're working on another one. She also wakes after half an hour but if you catch her in time you can resettle her and she'll do another hour. For this reason I always have the monitor on, even if I'm only in the next room, so I hear her as soon as she stirs and can get in there quick! Seems to be working so far.....

InFlames Thu 19-May-11 19:59:42

I do wonder if actually we're letting him wake after a brief period- also good tip that one :-)

ShushBaby Fri 20-May-11 21:24:52

The grobag tip helped me too, and generally doing 'sleepy time' routine at nap time. I have to say, though, that my dd was not a keen/long napper practically from birth, and was a horrifically early riser for MONTHS, once she started sleeping through, but was generally very happy and chirpy. I believed that she must be overtired, simply going on how much sleep she was getting, but looking back I'm not sure that she was. I think it might just have been 'her'. And she doesn't seem to be lacking in the brain development department fwiw.

Now she is 15mo and will often have one 60-90 min nap or two 30 mins. Whatever she fancies really. And since she has started walking- oh miracles!- she generally sleeps until after 6am, and even til 7.30am one glorious day last week. We tried EVERYTHING to get her to wake up later but in the end, it just happened when she was ready (after many wearying months...). I wish I hadn't got so stressed about it.

It may not be a popular view but I'd say that if your lo is sleeping through the night, he clearly knows how to self settle etc. So maybe this is just how he's programmed for now. For some babies the 12 hours at night/2 hour long nap thing just isn't their bag (though as I say, thank the lord we're now getting 11-12 hours at night, something I never thought I'd say!)

However, I also know the vital importance of having some downtime while baby is napping and LOVE it when dd has a long nap, so I would recommend some gentle 'reprogramming'! The nap routine worked quite well for me, and also sticking some white noise on and rocking her in the pram.

Zimm Sat 21-May-11 18:15:57

Oh poppycocks to your HV - loads of babies don't nap well. It's not ideal, it's much better if they do but hey presto - their brains develop just fine. And I know I might get flamed for this as it's anecdotal 'evidence' but I myself screamed from 11am to 2/3am with no sleep (I was later discovered at age 1 to have been in pain due a medical condition) every day from about 3 months to one year and I have 2 degrees, top of class exam results etc. Not boasting or saying babies don't need sleep - but HV's need to accept that some can manage without it even if the mummies can't!!

having said that a non-napper is hard work, I have one. had some success with shush-pat and no cry nap solution, I would recommend that book.

InFlames Thu 02-Jun-11 14:07:22

Thanks, will have a look. He is having an extra half hour after some milk at 5am.... I'm now more chilled about it though :-)

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