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Very confused about awake times

(6 Posts)
Penguin13 Sun 31-May-15 07:40:01

My 5.5 month old DD seems to be transitioning from 4 naps to 3. Naps have been quite unpredictable lately and I have struggled to hit the sweet spot for awake times leading to a few overtired screaming fits. I finally seemed to have pinpointed her ideal awake time at around 1h50 after her first wake up and 2 hours between subsequent naps. She went down like a dream, no fussing and slept really well. Just 20 mins beyond 2 hours would result in a very very unhappy baby who was very hard to settle.

I had to go to a hen all day yesterday so DH was in charge. He is pretty good with understanding DD needs naps and making sure she has them but is a bit more relaxed about timings than me.

What has really confused me is that after a 40 min nap in the morning DH kept her up for a whole extra hour before next nap - so her awake time was 3 hours- and she was apparently totally fine. No tears, went down fine for nap, didn't sleep quite as long as ideal but 50 mins which is not at all unusual for DD.

I get that there are different factors that influence awake times and that babies change a lot but do awake times usually vary so much? I would normally expect DD to be pretty inconsolable and a nightmare to settle after that much extra time awake.

Would it make a difference that the day previous DD had her best ever days naps 2 x 1.5 hours and one 50 mins which is the first time ever since birth including as a newborn that she had had her recommended amount of day sleep?

I'm just worried how to know what time is best to put DD down for naps. Although I do watch for sleep cues she is generally very subtle so I tend to use the clock as a guide but combined with watching for tired signs so this has really unsettled me. Am I being ridiculous? If it wasn't for the times I had got it wrong and ended up rocking a screaming DD in my arms I would be less concerned.

Thanks in advance for any comments/advice.

grabaspoon Sun 31-May-15 12:59:14

At that stage I would be transistioning into 2 naps and it isn't unheard of to go 3 hours - maybe its the start of longer wake times.

I would start just by going on sleep cues rather than by the clock. I did this around this stage and was amazed at how less restrictive this was to our day.

katiegg Sun 31-May-15 15:12:16

My son is almost 6 months and his awake times can vary widely. Sometimes an hour and 15 minutes is his absolute limit and sometimes he can go three hours and not even seem remotely tired. I'm just going with it at the moment, he is having three, sometimes four naps a day which last for 30-45 minutes. He sleeps very well at night.1

Penguin13 Sun 31-May-15 15:47:16

Thank you for your responses. They do like to keep us on our toes these babies. Gosh it's quite hard to plan if you never know if they're going to need to be awake for 1 hour or three. I'd really like to get out and do more with DD but I worry about clashing with when she needs to nap which will be even more of a challenge if it's never remotely the same.

I thought three naps was relatively common for this age, particularly as like katiegg my DD generally woke around the 30 -45 minute mark until very recently. I also thought that 2- 2.5 hours was a more typical wake - time until 7 months or so but I guess there are always babies who won't fit into the neat boxes and quotas assigned to them!

I guess I will have to get better at reading DD's sleep cues but it's tricky as I find by the time they are obvious it's usually too late, which is how I ended up combining it with keeping an eye on awake times.

katiegg Sun 31-May-15 17:37:22

I think I am only just getting the hang of reading his sleep cues in the last couple of weeks, so don't beat yourself up about that. I've been known to get it epically wrong on occasion and ended up with an incredibly grumpy boy.

Will your dd sleep in the pram or car? I often plan a walk or a trip to Tescos around nap time as I know he'll sleep in the pram. Car is more difficult for us as he wakens almost as soon as we lift him out of the car.

I tend to count up how many hours sleep he has in a 24 hour period. It would be fairly usual for ds to sleep 12 hours at night, so to me it makes sense that he'll want more frequent, shorter naps throughout the day than two long naps.

Best advice I have been given was not to stress too much about their naps because as soon as you figure it out, they'll go and change it on you! Babies, eh?

Penguin13 Sun 31-May-15 20:04:05

Yeah she will sleep in her pram almost without fail if it's around the right time for a nap but will also almost without fail have a shorter, lighter sleep and wake 35 mins in so not ideal although ok in a pinch.

Ha yes you could be right on the best solution being not to stress!

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