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Help! How to get 8 week old baby to nap during the day?!

(11 Posts)
NewMumSept2014 Sun 23-Nov-14 13:26:14

Hi,
I'm new to mumsnet and just wanted some advice.
My daughter (breastfed) is now just over 8 weeks old and has never been a good sleeper during the day. She will now go to sleep in her cot at night with little difficulty and will sleep from 9.30pm to about 7 or 7.30am, usually waking to feed once in between. She might be awake a couple of times overnight- wriggling about and making noises but will go over quite quickly with white noise.
My problem is that during the day she has never been able to sleep for more than about 30mins unless I'm holding her.
At the moment she usually sleeps for half an hour in the bouncer or cot in the morning, then I've been letting her sleep on me for an 1.5 to 2 hours over lunchtime, to avoid her getting too overtired.
She might then get a couple of catnaps in the afternoon up to about 6.30pm then be awake until bedtime routine starts around 8pm.
I'm keen to try and get her used to sleeping in the cot during the day to see if this helps her get longer naps but have just ended up with a very grumpy overtired baby by mid afternoon because she's only had catnaps all day.
I have tried all the usual stuff- swaddling, warming the sheets before I put her down, putting down a shirt that smells of me, white noise etc but still as soon as her head hits the cot she's awake and screaming. If I put her down awake it's 40 mins of crying and being settled before she'll go over.

Am I doing the wrong thing by letting her sleep on me?
I'm worried I'm getting her into bad habits that I'll have to break later on.
Is this sleep pattern normal and when does it tend to improve?
Should I persevere with making her sleep in the cot all the time and hope she soon learns to sleep for longer?
Thanks for any advice. Sorry for long post!

Peedie Sun 23-Nov-14 13:32:58

I would certainly focus on getting her to sleep somewhere other than on you, if only cos it means you can't do anything while she's on you! But then I was quite hard about getting mine to sleep in their cots from early on because I like routine and I craved a couple of hours to myself each day to get on with stuff or just to snooze! Everyone is different though and ultimately it's your choice - if you want her to sleep in the cot, try to get her to sleep in the cot. If you are happy with her sleeping on you, then do that. Do whatever works best for you and your baby!

Laquila Sun 23-Nov-14 13:35:50

A sling (such as a stretchy wrap) might be a good idea. But to be honest I wouldn't worry about her only sleeping on you at that age - she's still so tiny. My boy was similar and now sleeps happily in his cot, the car, the buggy etc.

FATEdestiny Sun 23-Nov-14 13:50:22

My daughter is also just over 8 weeks and is also breastfed. She is my 4th child, so I'm very chilled with her.

Basically, don't worry about the long term at this age, she is too young still. She will be capnapping throughout the day for many months yet, the 'big daytime nap' comes much later and it is then that you want to establish the cot for the nap.

Just focus on feeding and sleeping at the moment - however you can.

My daughter doesn't get into a deep sleep in the daytime either, especially afternoons. We use the bouncy chair and basically avoid moving from the sofa in front of the chair as much as possible. I can then rock the chair with my foot as soon as there is any murmur of waking up and so she goes back to sleep.

She rarely stays in a deep sleep but does at least doze through the day. Once she's older and awake more, then the deeper daytime sleeps will develop naturally.

mrsmugoo Sun 23-Nov-14 13:59:14

Unfortunately the 30 minute catnaps, while exhausting for you, are very normal and may be here to stay for some months yet. Mine didn't nap longer than 40 minutes until 6 months. I didn't do anything different, it's just a developmental thing.

He also did all his naps on me until almost 4 months - it bothered me at the time because I thought he "should" have been in his cot but with hindsight I should have embraced it more because having a baby snuggled asleep on you really is the loveliest thing and they only do it for such a short time!

I'd say just get snacks and tv remote to hand and ride it out.

Redling Sun 23-Nov-14 23:28:05

Your baby won't sleep better and longer in a cot, at that age the best sleep will be where she feels comforted and secure and that is on you. The newborn period (which you are still in) is about holding and sleeping, at least every hour at her age as she will be overtired if she goes longer. Set 'nap times' etc are for older babies. If you let her get over tired she will be harder to settle and more likely to wake. You need to let her sleep as much as possible however that is. Is there anything so pressing to do it can't wait until later? Training her can wait, she's tiny and just wants to sleep on her mother. It's tricky, and I would just pass DS to DH when he came in and run to wee and eat! But I already look back on those long afternoons of cuddles (he's only 13 weeks now!) and am so glad we had them. Enjoy your baby and don't worry about cot naps until later.

Redling Sun 23-Nov-14 23:30:01

And the more rested she is the easier she will be able to be put down. If you do more hours of her sleeping in you you might find she's able to go in the cot or whatever to sleep after a bit of time on you.

NewMumSept2014 Mon 24-Nov-14 07:50:40

Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm much happier knowing it's OK for her to be sleeping on me at this age. I'm definitely happy with her doing this (and yes, enjoying the cuddles) but when I read all the sleep training advice online I just felt like a bad mum! Thanks for all your help. X

Heatherbell1978 Mon 24-Nov-14 08:21:50

My LO is 13 weeks and only naps for 30-40 mins in the day. He goes down about 75 mins after he last woke. I used to get stressed trying to get him to nap longer until I realised that that was how he preferred it. I always put him down in his crib.

Redling Mon 24-Nov-14 08:57:35

I was feeling the same about my DS and daytime sleep, doesn't it feel by 8 weeks that's they have been here forever?! I've had to remember he's a tiny baby still and that all the advice on training is for older babies really. Also I was stressing that sometimes he slept for 30 mins and sometimes for 3 hours! I just try and give him the opportunity to sleep every hour or 90 mins he's been awake. I've scaled back what we do as I threw myself into baby groups and swimming etc and it meant he was awake too much. now I fit the day around him completely. He sleeps much better in the seat unit of the buggy then the carrycot so now he naps when out which helps as I used to feel bad shopping with him wide awake! I am very routine about the night (did bath, feed and bed between 7-8 from 7 weeks) so I work backwards from bedtime to make sure he sleeps at least 6 hours. I was shocked when I read that a 3 month baby still can only have 1-1.5 hours of awake time, but now I'm making him nap he's so much more chilled and he will go down after being picked up, dummy and a muzzy to snuggle. No tears or fuss and I cuddle for 5 mins then pop into pushchair or carrycot. When he's down to fewer naps I'll start with the cot but I don't fancy going up and downstairs at every noise right now when he's napping so much!

Doublethecuddles Mon 24-Nov-14 09:03:50

Have you tried taking her out for a walk in the buggy after lunch and letting her fall asleep? I did this mine from a few weeks old, the fresh air and movement of the buggy made them sleep. I was then fortunate I could come back and let them sleep outside. Getting myself outside for even 1/2 hour every day also did me the world of good and made me feel so much better. Mine nearly always did an afternoon nap outside.

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