Mum of 4 mo getting desperate, how can I help him to nap?!(7 Posts)
I'm really struggling with DS the last couple of weeks - he's 4 months old and until a few weeks ago he would fall asleep with cuddles, gentle rocking or feeding. OK, he would wake up whenever you put him down but I could just about cope with spending a few hours every day cuddling him on the sofa. However, the last couple of weeks he has really changed. I start trying to settle him after he has been awake around an hour to an hour and a half, so I don't think he's overtired at that point. However, no matter what I do I cannot help him get to sleep. The more I try, the louder he screams and cries. I know the point of a baby's cry is to make its mum take notice, but I can't bear it any more, it makes me so upset when he cries and I feel so helpless that I can't do anything to help him. If I put him in his cot he wimpers rather than screams, so I did this this morning and tried to let him self settle. However, after 5-10 mins the crying gets louder, I pick him up and cuddle him, which settles him for a couple of minutes and then the screaming starts again I feel like I've tried everything and he's just getting more and more tired and more upset and there's nothing I can do to help him sleep.
I don't understand as he is so much better at night - I start his bedtime routine at 6 and he is normally asleep by 6.45-7, which includes me putting him in his cot relaxed and he self settles. He wakes a few times over night but i think this is normal at his age and he settles again reasonably easily each time. So why can he not sleep during the day?? He is tired so definitely needs to and I feel like I'm spending the whole day fighting with him to try to help him sleep! I just don't know what to do
Sorry for the long rambling post but I'm struggling to think straight at this point. Any advice / hand-holding much appreciated.
Hmmm - dd is 4 months and is awake for about 2 hours between sleeps. Perhaps he isn't tired enough?
Could you take him out in his pram or in the car seat? You might find the motion soothes him to sleep.
The first 3 months of a baby's life, the newborn phase, are a time when it is easy to get baby to sleep. This may sound despairing to a FTM struggling with getting a newborn to sleep but it is generally speaking true. The newborn just needs a full tummy and will sleep.
The problems starts somewhere between 3 and 4 months old (many people call this the 4 month sleep regression - I believe it is just a normal developmental change) when it becomes more of a challenge to get baby to sleep. It is this age when parents need sleep triggers and methods of helping baby sooth to sleep.
A child will not have the emotional capacity to self-sooth to sleep (ie tired, lie down, close eyes, sleep) until school age. So until then it is the parents role to set up a few sleep props that help baby get to sleep and signal that it is time to go to sleep.
Most babies gain comfort from sucking so are soothed to sleep by breastfeeding or sucking on a dummy.
Movement will usually help bring sleep too - so being rocked, bounced, pushing in the pushchair or driven in a carseat.
Up to about 6 months old I consider the dummy and a bouncy chair essential Godsends for getting baby to sleep with little or no crying or distress.
Thanks for your responses. Today has actually been much better, although I'm not sure what I did differently so may well not be able to repeat it! I will try extending his awake time to about 2hrs and see how it goes over the next couple of days. Movement in the car or pram work eventually but they are not quick - I have done this a few times but I have to push the pram for around 25 minutes and then keep walking as he wakes as soon as I stop even if he should technically be in deep sleep, and the same with the car. So these techniques are ok occasionally but I can hardly do either for 1-2hours 3 times every day! He does have a bouncy chair but it's quite an upright one and he has never fallen asleep in it... He often sucks his thumb (or even my finger) to sleep, though, so we could give a dummy a go.
Thanks for the support, I will give the ideas a try and hope for the best!
Sorry, that was meant to say - I have to push the pram for 25 minutes before he falls asleep
I could have written your post as DD is 4 months old and we've had similar issues. Things do seem to have improved a bit in the last few weeks though.
I found that I needed to give her some time to wind down before going to sleep, rather than for instance putting her into her cot as soon as she started showing sleepy signs. So now I pick her up and walk around the house with her for 5 minutes or so singing quietly, so she knows she's going to nap soon. Then I turn some white noise on and put her in her cot with her dummy. I used to shush / pat (from the Baby Whisperer) her previously which worked well to stop the crying so maybe give that a go? After a couple of weeks of doing that I now find I can leave her to settle herself whilst I sit by her cot and I just shush her if she starts wimpering. She does have to get rid of every last drop of energy though before she can go to sleep - so she usually spends 20 minutes rolling round her cot quietly while I read sitting by the cot.
The problem we still have though is that she usually only sleeps for 30 minutes at a time, which I would desperately love to change but have no idea how!
Join the discussion
Please login first.