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anyone have advice for baby whisperer routine where nap times don't work?

(21 Posts)
nello Fri 27-May-11 21:33:55

I have started following the EASY cycle of the baby whisperer and am finding it really useful as before I was struggling with knowing when to feed/sleep etc etc and my LO was more often than not falling asleep on me following a feed, but only for a few minutes and so not getting any proper naps in the day and getting really overtired by the evening.

We have moved easily into this EASY cycle, but the sleep element of it is really causing difficulties. DD is 3 montsh and can easily go for 3 hours between feeds, and so the cycle should set to 3 hours, however because she needs to nap after only being up for 1 hour 15 mins and then can only nap for 45 minutes (very difficult to resettle her after this) she is awake again 2 hours after her last feed.....but then I am meant to move onto her next feed which means i'm feeding her before she is actually hungry. If i wait another hour until she is hungry she is then getting tired and ready for another nap and so the feeding is very close to her next sleep.....

This might sound crazy to anyone not reading the baby whisperer (!!) but has anyone else followed her cycle and encountered similar difficulties. The solution seems to be increasing DD's nap to the suggest 1 hour - 1.5hours but that seems very unlikely at the moment.

I know many people think routines are daft at this age, but i have been really struggling with naps and this has been a great way for me to understand when DD is tired so please don't tell me just to ignore the baby whisperer becuase on many levels I am finding it very useful!!

Thanks v much!!

mewkins Fri 27-May-11 22:21:42

Yes the same problems. Dd now 11mths and broadly speaking now follows gina forde as seems to need far less sleep than the bw recommends. Found the bw very good for pupd technique at night but is fairly common for it not to work well for didnt for us til dd hit 6months! check out the bw forums as they offer good advice. I would stay to stick with it but resort to getting to sleep as best you can for naps for the next few months

nello Fri 27-May-11 23:01:08

thanks mewkins can i ask how you find the gina forde easier? I looked at it and thought it seemed very demanding in terms of expecting your baby to sleep at a prescribed time. I liked the way the BW seemed to be more follow your baby's lead except that it doesn't work when your baby doesn't nap for as along as she wants you to. I think this would be the same problem with GF wouldn't it? you recommend GF for young babies or is there a certain age that you would recommend switching over?

argh! this all hurts my head! thanks!!

sedgiebaby Sat 28-May-11 12:42:35

The 45 minute nap, is this because she can't self settle? and/or do you go in when baby wakes at 45 mins? See what happens if you dont (let her have a whine, I don't mean upset crying)

This is what happened with my dd in any case, once I was able to get baby to self settle and once I stopped rushing in at the 40 minute thing, naps got longer.

Like mewkins though from about 4 months I followed GF for naps but still did easy and a 4 hourly feeding schedule. If baby sleeps nearly 12 hours at night, then 2 to 2.5 hours in the day seems fine.

Iggly Sat 28-May-11 12:48:31

I'd drop the BW routine and try and get your own one going. I had a similar issue with DS and in the end worked something out which worked for him (can't remember details). However by 3/4 months it all changed then again at 6 months. Wasn't until 9 months where putting him down for set times worked as opposed to following sleeping cues (something to do with body clocks changing then) that his routine stuck for any length of time. Now at 20 months he still has a lunch nap at a similar time since 10 months or so.

cocoachannel Sat 28-May-11 15:56:53

We've been trying to implement EASY and despite trying the BW's techniques to extend her naps our three month old only sleeps for 45 mins at a time during the day. She wakes up happy though but is cranky at the end of the day. She also sleeps 12 hours at night (not straight through..I wish!). Buried in 'the BW solves all your problems' it says that some babies will not extend naps and if happy on waking this is fine. What she doesn't explain though is how to adapt feeds to the shorter naps!

I've decided stressing about getting her to nap longer is making things harder and to follow our own pattern encouraging her to self settle, which seems to be going okay even if there's only five mins of A time before S!

coraltoes Sat 28-May-11 18:29:29

I would have thought you use the feeds as the structure, and where the naps are shorter, you fill the remaining time til the next feed with some calm activity, maybe taking, singing, sitting in the garden or wriggling on a mat. That way she won't get cranky for a feed before she is due one because of boredom. My 3 month old does a big nap at lunch but just 45 mins in morning and again in afternoon. I know she isn't due a feed for over an hour after her waking time, so I fill the slots with some fun, or a walk, or a read...if i leave her she starts to whine for food before she really wants it (I know this as she then barely drinks Anything or guzzled and vomits the lot back up. I find the BW framework useful bu tweak it to suit us.

Good luck

sweetuphoria Sat 28-May-11 19:04:46

I agree with coraltoes.

It took me a few months to get DD to sleep for longer stretches than 45 minutes and the only way that worked in the end was giving her a dummy. I eventually got her to where she was having 3 decent naps and a cat nap each day at 3mo then it dropped to 2 decent naps and a catnap at 4mo.

She is now nearly 5mo and I have realised that she prefers to have a shorter nap in the morning (1 hour max), longer one early afternoon (about 2 hours) then cat nap early evening. This is more like gina fords routine so we have kind of fallen into a mixture of BW and GF which I think is the best way to do things.

NotYourPrincess Sat 28-May-11 20:06:48

Take BW and GF with a pinch of salt. DD wouldn't do EASY until 8 months old. Until then, it was AESY. Mostly without the A. And the Y.

I let her get into her own routine. It was hard and at times I did doubt myself (and DD), but in the end I'm really glad I stuck to my guns and let her do what was best for her.

nello Sun 29-May-11 00:26:34


I'm still struggling to get my head around this!!

sweetuphoria / sedgiebaby can you explain how it is possible tot combine the naps from GF to the structure of the BW (if this is what you mean). Did you do:
EAS (short nap)
EAS (long nap)
EAS (short nap)
If so, how did you manage to get the long nap in the middle? I am kind of doing this as i take her out in the sling in the middle nap (about 11am) for a couple of hours and she normally will sleep for the full time in this and then getting 45 mins in the cot at a 9am nap and a 1/1.30pm nap, before a short catnap about 5pm. But there is no chance that I could get her to take 2 hours in her cot.

Sedgiebaby No, she does not self settle and often wakes from 45 min naps crying really hard so i think she is still tired and not able to put herself to sleep. I haven't had much luck with self settling, but if i am honest i am not really sure how to go about it. Can you make any suggestions? At the moment I cuddle/bounce her to sleep and then put her down in the cot. Although she does manage to self settle in the night it seems as she only wakes once.

Iggly How would you suggest getting your own routine going? Do you worry about feeding before sleeping, or do you just feed when you need to feed and let her sleep when she needs to seeing the two entirely separate from each other?

Coraltoes I agree that the feeds should stay when they are needed, but this means that i end up with feeding before a sleep, as she wakes from a nap early, deesn't need to feed for another hour but then as she is awake for an hour (even if doing calm activities), and she can only really stay up 1 hour 20 mins before sleepy cues, i am then finding myself feeding directly before she wants to nap. Do you think this is ok becuase I have been trying to break the feed to sleep habit that we had gotten into.

Sorry!! such a long post, but am finding this really helpful. thank you!!

nello Sun 29-May-11 00:27:39

sweetuphoria / sedgiebaby does GF feed before the middle nap to try and get this longer 2 hours?

sweetuphoria Sun 29-May-11 08:01:19

nello I only managed to combine the BW / GF when my DD was 4 months old because it was only at this point that she had learnt to self settle. When she was 3mo like your LO I was doing the same as you (trying to get her to take longer naps). I had some success with shush/pat but the thing that worked more than anything was giving her a dummy (although I didn't really want to at first), also I still swaddle her if we are at home (this is a great sleep cue).

I came to realise that she slept better at night if she had a short morning nap and a longer afternoon one so I kept the feeding schedule of BW and just tweaked her naps so now its something like this:
7am feed
8.30-9am (put down for a nap - but only let her have an hour max)
11am feed
11.30-12.00 (put down for a nap for 2hrs)
3pm feed
3.30-4pm (put down for 45 min nap).

GF says to put down for naps at exact times but I am more following DDs cues (and also she becomes very overtired if she goes more than 2hrs between naps) but just making sure she has the longer one in the afternoon and that she doesn't fall asleep straight after a feed.

Hope this helps.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Sun 29-May-11 08:10:01

I used nw but only as a guide don't stress and remember the baby hasn't read the book wink. She will fall into a routine eventually. Are you keeping nite of feeds and naps etc it really helped me to see patterns forming.

sedgiebaby Sun 29-May-11 08:18:56

Hi Nello. Yes I did much as you say, but this was once I'd tackled the problem of her self setting.

I like the EASY because it avoids the feed-to-sleep which got me in trouble at around 3 months, I had started to feed to sleep because she had a cold/growth spurt. I think it is easy for babies to get used to having a full belly and/or rely on sucking to become drowsy and drop off, next thing you know its short naps and then waking more at night as they need your help to get off again. This is my experience in anyc ase. I found the BW book 'solves all your problems' helpful as it says a lot about 45 minute naps, also the BW site. There are different reasons and different ways of tackling it... also some suggestion of not putting baby down too soon (not tired enough = short naps) or wait too long (overtiredness can also equal short naps) or it can be an inability to self settle or both!

I found everything improved once she could self settle. To tackle it I stopped feeding to sleep and used shush pat, gradually putting her down more and more 'awake', most the time we can just put her down wide awake but relaxed and she goes off on her own. Still though once in a while she is overtired and I have to shush pat her in my arms then when she is sleepy enough lower her to her bed and continue once she is in her cot until she's completely off. You could try this to extend her naps in the cot - that is what i did, it didn't work right away though, about two weeks as I recall but dd was 18wks when I tackled it - suddenly she was napping beautifully and I had to get her up to stay on the GF nap routine which sounds mad, but she did start to sleep through the night for it so I carried on with it.

Seeing as your dc is only 3 months, have you tried white noise? I also think Slumber Bears sound like a good idea, I only heard of them recently and have never tried them though. As your dc sleeps well at night you probably will not have too much trouble. HTH

mewkins Sun 29-May-11 10:04:30

hiya, the switch to gf was because dd seemed to only need a shortish morning nap. If she has an hour and a half like the bw says then she will start waking mega early. I dont follow gf for the split feeds and stuff though. The bw is great in the early months though. I would say at around 6 months is when we slotted into gf timings....does that help? extending naps always tricky I think... bw forums have reallyuseful stuff on adapting pupd for your baby's personality.

bozemum Sun 29-May-11 14:04:51

I'd recommend dropping BW for now. You'll drive yourself mad trying to get it to fit. Which I just don't think it does for little ones. I have been there done that. Everything fell into place by the time he was 9 months or so. All BW did was make me feel inadequate cos we weren't on the 'recommended' routine.
Just enjoy being with your baby and let him fall asleep in buggy/sling etc for now.
my ds only did 30 min naps until he was about 8 months. no matter what I did to try and change this. He is now 20 months and currently napping for 2hrs+ in the day.
Good luck with whatever you do. Just remember all babys are different and some just don't do what the books say they should do!

nello Sun 29-May-11 14:24:53

Thanks so much, going to re-read all of this to try and digest a bit more.

sedgiebaby Do you mean your DD was 18wks when you tackled self settling. I have to go back to work for 6 weeks on Mondau sad before having a year off so my DD will be about 18 weeks before I will have a good stretch of time to focus on this. Do you think this is ok, or too late? Should I get my mum (who is looking after her whilst I'm at work) to start trying self settling? Feel a bit guilty asking this of my mum!!

mewkins Mon 30-May-11 07:56:47

Hiya, we started on the self settling at 14wks but think we should have waited a bit longer as it started being much more effective around the 5 to 6 month mark. Bozemum is right- dont stress too much over what the books say, it will fall into place sooner or later!x

Georgimama Mon 30-May-11 08:16:05

Put GF and Babywhisperer and any other book which attempts to tell you what structure your baby should be following in the bin. Follow your baby's cues. Remember this too shall pass.

cocoachannel Mon 30-May-11 12:59:23

Great advice- thank you all (& to nello for starting the thread!). Particularly pertinent as I am reading this on a 'Y' time wink after spending an hour trying to settle DD for her nap...

nello Tue 31-May-11 12:08:33

Thanks again! Great mewkins, i think i will put off the self settling until i'm finished at work. She'll be 4.5 months then so hopefully entering into a stage where it'll be easier for her. We'll just the manage the napping as we can over the next weeks, accepting the 45 minute cot naps and getting a long one in using the sling in the middle of the day

Cocoachannel i think the fact that we seem to be having exactly the same problem with the EASY and our babies being the same age does tell us that it is most likely a developmental thing....their naps WILL lengthen when they are ready!!

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