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12 week baby nap problems

(20 Posts)
clarabella1980 Fri 23-Nov-12 18:13:31

Hi all,

I was just wondering if anyone could give me any advice? My LO is 12 weeks old and my first baby. He is a great sleeper at night, he goes to bed around 7.30, usually wakes once at around 4am, then sleeps again until 7.30-8am. Since he was around 8 weeks I've been able to put him down sleepy but awake after his bath and last feed (he's breastfed), and he'll drift off with no fussing; likewise he is usually asleep by the time I finish his night feed & goes back down easily. I know I'm very lucky. But day times are becoming increasingly difficult as I struggle to get him to nap.

He will sleep well in the car and the sling, and sometimes this is fine. But as soon as the car engine stops, or I move him out the sling, he wakes up. I can't even get him to sleep in my arms anymore, like I used to when he was little. He sometimes falls asleep when feeding if he's really tired, but only for a few minutes. If I try to put him down sleepy but awake, he cries within minutes, and quickly gets himself into a frenzy very quickly. If I breastfeed him to sleep then put him down, he will usually sleep but often only for 20-40 mins. I wouldn't mind, but by the afternoon he is clearly tired, crying, red eyed etc. I often end up using the sling or a car journey to get him to rest. I've been known to park up with the engine running for an hour so he can sleep! Today he has slept 45 mins all day, and is so unhappy. :-(

I think I need to do some form of sleep training, but don't know where to start. Is he old enough to cry it out? Does it even work for naps? I have known him to cry for over an hour in the daytime when I've been trying to settle him (I've never left him - this has been while rocking/soothing him etc). If he cries for an hour or more, how has that achieved anything if I just want him to nap for an hour or so? Am I being cruel to even consider it?


mummybare Fri 23-Nov-12 19:13:22

I totally sympathise - DD was exactly the same. She is 6.5mo now and a great napper so never fear, there's light at the end of the tunnel!

Personally I wouldn't do CIO or CC - their sleep undergoes so many changes in this month or two that it seems both overly stressful for everyone and probably a bit pointless to be honest. Around 3-4 months is when they start sleeping in cycles, so their sleep may be disturbed for a while, but when it settles down, with any luck, they may sleep for a bit longer.

I would say just try to do what works and get through it while trying to be consistent and having half an eye on where you want to get to. For us that was being able to put DD down and for her to self settle. But for a little while all that worked was her lying on me sucking her dummy while I rocked in the rocking chair and sang to her. Fine. I did that for a while to get her out of her overtired cycle, then started putting her down when she was fast asleep so she'd wake up in her cot. Then I put her down gradually more awake, still singing. I now put her down wide awake and she drifts off.

I did a lot of resettling at the 45 minute mark(after one sleep cycle) and went through a lot of trial and error before I worked out what timings worked for her, but the Baby Whisperer forum was really helpful at deciphering what her nap lengths etc were telling me. (Am on the phone so can't link but I'm pretty sure it's the first hit on Google.)

Good luck, OP. smile

clarabella1980 Fri 23-Nov-12 19:45:01

Thanks for the reply! This is going to sound stupid but how do you resettle after the 45 minute mark? If I do get him to sleep in his Moses basket (usually by breastfeeding him to sleep in a darkened room!) he sometimes sleeps but does usually wake up at around the 40-45 minute mark, still grouchy, but he wakes himself into a full frenzy quite fast. Would you pick him up and feed him again (I don't like the idea of this, don't really like feeding him to sleep tbh as he ends up feeding when he wakes up too, and snack feeding the whole time) or just rock/soothe him for a bit? I'm not sure i could get him to sleep that way. Unfortunately he won't take a dummy, typical male will only accept the real thing!

mummybare Fri 23-Nov-12 23:15:46

Hehe, well fair play to him for that! grin

As for resettling, you could try shh/pat (pretty much as it sounds, a long shhhh going past his ear and slow rhythmic patting) - you can do it while he's in his basket if he's drowsy or pick him up if he's agitated. I should say, though, this never really worked for us unless DD was pretty drowsy already. Or you could try gently stroking his forehead downwards, which encourages them to close their eyes.

The best thing I tried was to hold baby's arms firmly as it gets to the time they would normally wake. They actually jolt out of the first cycle sometimes and it's this that wakes them, so if you are firmly holding them still at just the right moment you can stop them. (This, weirdly, really works, but is pretty hard to time it right without giving yourself arm-ache!)

You could also try 'wake to sleep', which is basically partially waking them up about 5 minutes before they would normally wake so that they rouse slightly without waking. Sometimes they will then sleep for longer and the idea is that they eventually learn to pass into the next sleep cycle without fully waking. (Who knows if there's any truth in that. It worked a few times with DD, but by no means every time I tried it and I've no idea whether she would have grown out of the 45 minute naps anyway or not. Still it's another thing to try.)

I hope at least one of those has a positive effect! If I think of anything else I'll let you know.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 25-Nov-12 13:04:24

I second the baby whisper forum and found this really useful when I was having similar issues with DS at that age. It is hard work having to go out for naps all the time.

I would start with the first nap as its the easiest. It took a while but he now self settles really well for the morning & lunch nap. The late afternoon one is the hardest & I take him out in the buggy for that one.

clarabella1980 Sun 25-Nov-12 17:37:24

Thank you! That's I interesting reading. I'm struggling so much with this! I can't even get my head around the fact that there are babies out there who self settle! Today went like this: woke up at 8 am. Fed, got him dressed, cheery. Started to yawn & whinge 9.30. Put him down awake. Cried. Picked him up, fed him (even though knew he wasn't really hungry). Fell asleep feeding. Put down. Slept 30 mins. Cried. Tried to settled back down. Fell asleep while being held. Put down. Woke up within 5 minutes, cried. Took for walk in pram. Fell asleep for 30 mins. Returned to house. Woke as soon as we came in the front door. Cried. Fed again. This is all before 11.30... The rest of my days carry on this way! He is grumpy, red faced and tired now. Thank god it's bedtime soon. He is so clearly overtired, I don't even know where to start fixing this! x

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 25-Nov-12 18:37:40

I wouldn't stress too much as he is still very little. I exhausted myself trying to get DS to self settle before he was ready & wish I hadn't. If you can get one nap down, you know they can do it. They won't do it all the time as they never do anything all the time. smile

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 25-Nov-12 18:39:29

Would also add 1.5 hours awake time tops at this age. May be try putting him down earlier? With DS once I see a yawn I know I've missed the 'sleep window'.

clarabella1980 Sun 25-Nov-12 19:57:38

How do you settle your baby to sleep? I would quite like to move away from breastfeeding to sleep as I wonder if that's partly why he wakes after his 1st sleep cycle - because he's associating feeding with going to sleep? And to be honest, it still only works occasionally! Half the time I can't get him to sleep whatever I do.

I also wonder if you're right that I'm leaving it too long. I usually start trying to settle him when he starts to whinge - and he's usually been yawning for a few minutes before this point. That said, sometimes he's yawning as soon as he wakes up, which is confusing!

helsybells Mon 26-Nov-12 06:10:49

I am watching your thread with great interest as my 10 week old is very similar! You are not alone!! Our HV recommended a sling as she was colicky and has reflux. Now she too will only nap there or in the car and it's never quality sleep or long enough.,She gets overtired and cranky like your LO and cries if put down in cot.

We have been lent a baby Amby hammock which is supposed to make them feel like they are being carried. It just seems to overstimulate my LO sad I wonder if it could be worth a try for you but would be an expensive thing to find it didn't work.maybe have a google though?

Also there is a good book called "the no cry sleep solution" which is excellent but I think says hang fire til about 12 weeks so I'm doing so... It's all about avoiding the extreme methods but tailoring a solution to meet your needs by analysing how your baby sleeps. It is aimed more at sleeping through which we both don't need it for but it also applies to naps. I read it early on so am about to revisit.

I am in two minds as to whether to just go with how she is or try to "fix" it. I wonder if she will sort herself out naturally as she has with sleeping through or if I will still be here in another 3 months.

Part of me thinks its all about routine, once something is embedded like your bedtime routine it really works. But if you haven't done something from the start how the h*ll do you change it without serious pain!!??

Finally my mum says I was just like this too and looking at the bigger picture I am healthy. I do sleep pretty well in general (though can suffer sleeplessness when stressed) so it clearly didn't do me too much harm!!

Sorry for long post hope it offers some sympathy and sorry I can't be more constructive! Feel free to PM me if you need someone to sound off or buddy up with to look at solutions - it sounds like we have fairly similar little monkeys!! grin

clarabella1980 Mon 26-Nov-12 14:53:41

Hi Helsybells,

It's not just me then! It's difficult isn't it - most people say "He's sleeping at night; what are you complaining about?". And I know he's doing amazingly at night, and I'm really grateful for that, but days aren't easy when he's grumpy and overtired all day, and I can't put him down! He will also sleep well in a sling or the car, and also in his pram (but only when moving). Today hasn't been a problem because we've been out, so he slept in the car, then in the pram. I'm currently seeing if he'll nod off in the swing (a recent Ebay purchase!). Fingers crossed. White noise also seems to help him sometimes, so I've got that on too.

I've bought the "No Cry Nap Solution", which I've started to read, and has some helpful tips; but I'm still a bit unconvinced. Still, it's worth a try!

I know what you mean about seeing if he grows out of it, but I just worry - I met someone recently who had to push their toddler around the block for naps every day, I don't want to still be doing this when he's 3! If I'm honest I wouldn't mind pushing him around the block if he would nod off and stay asleep, it's just that he always, without fail, wakes up as soon as we come in the front door. My Mum has suggested parking the pram in the back garden (we have an enclosed garden and the side gate is padlocked as we have a dog) - but a) it's december and b) I know that's what they did in the 70's, but it feels very irresponsible with all the worries about child abduction etc (even though I think it's highly unlikely to happen in our back garden!)

Anyway, that's a bit of a rambling reply, but stay in touch and let me know how you get on with your LO.


helsybells Tue 27-Nov-12 17:42:21

Hey Clarabella

Your post yesterday inspired me to redouble my efforts to get LO to nap. So i reviewed all my "material" on baby sleeps ie no cry book, baby whisperer book and forum etc.

So I put together a little technique which I largely winged but built it around a baby whisperer 3ish hour routine. And I've had some success so thought is share what I did - obv no two babies are the same bit thought I'd share in case it helps you.

First I built a schedule acc baby whisperer starting at LOs wake up time of 5 am, so eating at 5,8,11 etc.

Once feed done I did nappy change and some play time. As soon as she started to get ratty/yawny/cry in play time I put her in the sling with dummy to let her start to drift off. Once her eyes were half shut I v carefully unhitched the sling and put her in the hammock I mentioned before. I daren't totally unravel her from sling (babasling) so laid her on it in hammock. Then added blankets to make cosy and rocked. I heard somewhere about stroking downwards on forehead (towards eyes) helps them to shut eyes and sleep so tried it and worked quite well. Between this There was a lot of dummy replacement and gentle shushing but after about 15/20 mins she was definitely asleep. P.s. only relaxed dummy if she's rooting for it or its waking hr not to have it in.

I think it's best to make sure you pick a day when you are staying at home all day so you can repeat repeat repeat same little routine.

I think one of my main probs is I didn't realise how much sleep they can take - it seemed like she was hardly awake all day!

Today it has worked again even though we went out. I pit her down then moved to car seat when time came. main problem today is her flailing her arms keeping her from dropping off so I've been pinning them down or tucking under covers a lot. I might try to swaddle tomoz but it has made her grumpy in the past and worried transferring from sling, swaddling, them into hammock may wake her up too much.

I guess the key has been making sure she is half but not fully asleep on sling so she sort of sees she's been moved to hammock but is too drowsy to protest much and putting into sling as soon as she gets yawny irritable etc. it barely feels like 20 mins activity time once she's fed but it seems to be working touch wood fingers crossed cross my heart etc etc. If she woke early and wanted feeding I have fed her then stuck to same routine at new time. She seems to have been dropping off quicker and getting better at it the more we repeat.

Also I have the hammock in living room, minimal daylight. Then gradually add tv, lights Etc if I want to once she's properly asleep. I think a lot of her problem is fear of being left alone so sticking to this for now and maybe after a week of so might try to relocate to nursery if going well...

I feel a bit bad having bemoaned how she never sleeps on prev post but thought I'd share with you in case any of it us any help whatsoever.

I felt like I just needed hand holding through a process before so hope this might help In some way do get in touch if you want to ask anything. I really hope you get there soon is so awful when they won't settle. Hug.

helsybells Tue 27-Nov-12 17:49:36

Also just to add... First few times she kept almost waking up every 5/10 mins so as soon as I heard her stir I rushed back and rocked shushed stroked forehead as necessary and now I think she's more confident is not doing that so much.

clarabella1980 Tue 27-Nov-12 18:33:19

Hi helsybell,

Wow! Well done! That's brilliant!

DS has slept well today, but that's because he had his jabs. He was like this after the first one, they seem to knock him out for a few hours. Or maybe he's just exhausted from the crying sad.

We don't have a hammock but his crib does rock so I could maybe try that? Or rocking him in his pram? I couldn't do your trick with the sling though as we have a Moby stretchy wrap sling, and lifting him out/removing it would definitely wake him up.

I actually haven't got a day all week that I'm at home all day, but I'm going to keep working on his morning naps (it tends to be lunchtime that I'm going out so he can have that nap in the car or pram).

Thanks for the help/input, I really appreciate it


helsybells Wed 28-Nov-12 07:16:28

Hey Clarabella

I found this article all about "unputdownable" babies. It starts off with checking for medical reasons why baby won't go down. My baby has reflux and I upped her medication the other day which could possibly be why she's accepted an independent nap!

Have a look

I often work with problem horses and so many times its simply pain that's causing a horse to be difficult so why not babies??

Really interesting read.

clarabella1980 Wed 28-Nov-12 10:52:43

That's interesting reading. I think I came across this article before, in the first few weeks when he wouldn't sleep anywhere except when attached to me, and was feeding for hours at a stretch & sleeping on the boob. Interestingly, he did have a tongue tie, which we had snipped at 5 weeks old (I was never sore but he was ravenously hungry & failing to gain weight, despite the round-the-clock feeding). Within a few days of the op, his feeding and sleeping had both settled down massively & he started to gain weight.

I don't think he can have reflux, he's rarely colicky and he sleeps well at night. But maybe the tongue tie was part of it initially.

This morning I decided to put him down for a nap without breastfeeding him to sleep. So I made the room dark, put him in his sleeping bag and shhh-patted him for about 10 minutes, until he was really drowsy. Then I put him in his crib. He sucked his fingers for a few minutes then went to sleep! He still only napped for about 45 minutes but I'm pleased that he napped without me feeding him to sleep!

clarabella1980 Wed 28-Nov-12 12:12:10

Well, I tried again for a second nap, using the same method. Big fat fail this time! He cried and fell asleep on my shoulder while shhh-patting. Put him down, he woke up and started crying immediately. Picked him up, repeated process (past experience suggests his crying goes for 0-60 very quickly when tired - he doesn't self settle). Fell asleep again. Put him down, continued to shhhh-pat, he looked like he was asleep, so I left him. It's been 5 minutes and I can hear him awake. He's not crying yet, just grizzling, but it's building I think! Hmm. I can see myself driving round the bypass again to get him to nod off! We have Baby PEEP in an hour and he doesn't enjoy it when he's overtired (he LOVES it when he's not, plus I get free cups of tea grin so I keep going!). Hmm.

Well, day 1, one success, one failure. He can have his naps later on the move so they're not the end of the world. I'll try again tomorrow....

helsybells Fri 30-Nov-12 08:25:21

Hey Clarabella

Great news that you manages to get one nap out of him, that's brilliant!!

What is baby PEEP I've never heard of that one!!

I just found this thread which I'm watching closely
- just our bag!! wink

I had a useless day yesterday as she had her jabs. Got her down for a first nap in the morning but then after jabs I felt guilty so cuddled/carried her for her naps the rest of the day.

I am having trouble with flailing arms stoping her sleeping and also getting her to sleep through the "jolt" at the 40/45 minute mark. The baby whisperer forum have suggested she's up a bit too long and at her age from eyes open to eyes shut should only be 1h 15 - 1h 20 so I'm trying to work around that today.

How long is your LO taking between naps?? At 3 months I think the BW says about 1h20-25 so maybe your LO will go down better if you give that a try??

I'm off to my mums today so I can wash my hair While she looks after LO. i wonder if she'll sleep in her pram... We'll soon find out!!


SpanielFace Fri 30-Nov-12 20:54:58

He is usually up for about 1 hr 15-1 hr 30 in the morning, then naps 45 minutes (I can't get him to go past the 45 minute mark unless he's in the car/pram. Then about another hour, before he starts to get sleepy again. I usually struggle to get him down at this point, possibly because he's over-tired after the short nap? TBH often I go out for a walk with him in the sling - I have a dog who needs walking, so that suits us quite well.

The rest of the day is totally variable as I tend to go out somewhere most days - I find that if I spend the whole day in the house I start climbing the walls! So, we go into town, or go and see my Mum (who is about a 45 minute drive away), or go to a baby group, or do something. So his pattern depends on what we're doing. I don't think I could stick to the EASY routine religiously, for that reason! But we are starting to fall into a pattern of a 45 minute nap in his crib in the morning, about an hour around noon in the sling, and anything from 1-2 hours in the afternoon in the car or pram, starting at 2-3pm-ish.

I know what you mean about their jabs! My LO had his on Tuesday, I hate it.

Baby PEEP is a group at my local Sure Start centre. It's really fun, lots of sensory play - this week they had tinsel and christmas lights to look at - singing action songs, messy play for the older babies etc. PEEP stands for parents early education partnership (I just googled it!), which sounds really formal, but it's not like that at all - it's interactive play, basically. My LO loves it, he goes all wide eyed looking at the toys and the other babies, and he loves the singing.

grin at your Mum watching LO while you wash hair - I can relate to that! Luckily DS loves his crib mobile so that buys me 30 minutes in the morning!

SpanielFace Fri 30-Nov-12 20:56:25

Oh - I just remembered I changed my name yesterday - my friend is on here and didn't want her to recognise me by my username as I posted about some personal stuff. Hence the new name, sorry to confuse!

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