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Weaning 5mo off sling naps - help! My back is killing me!

(25 Posts)
Vanoose Wed 09-Sep-15 17:36:39

We have what many call a "high-needs baby" who also had colic from week 3 to week 15. He's almost 5 months now and, despite colic disappearing, he still needs 100% attention 100% of the time, needs to be held constantly and hates the car seat, pram and cot, or anywhere boring!

During colic days he really struggled to sleep and we finally cracked it, but now that colic is over he will still only nap in a sling whilst being bounced on the exercise ball with white noise playing full blast! I'm not sure if this is now a permanent habit picked up from colicky days, or whether this would have always been the case with his personality. It is possible to get him to sleep in the sling whilst walking around but without the other "fun bits" it's much harder and takes longer.

I'm very grateful he does nap, and I am typing here as I bounce so it's not impossible to get things done while he does so (!), but he is now 6.2KG and my back is really starting to suffer. I literally ache by the end of the day as he needs to nap every 1.5 hours! I'm wondering if and when there is an end in sight. Also when I go back to work how on earth will any childminder do this too?!

I was wondering if any other mums have managed to wean their little ones out of sling napping and if so how on earth did you do it?!

He will feed to sleep for his night time sleep nowadays, in a pitch black room with white noise after his evening bath - this is amazing. I have tried to replicate in the daytime but he is never hungry enough, whereas in the evening he will suckle for 45mins-ish then drop off.

Any ideas would be hugely gratefully received.

starfish12 Wed 09-Sep-15 18:35:02

Watching with interest as may well be in the same boat in a few weeks (my 12 week old is well over 6kg also and it's back breaking!!)

uppereastsidemom Wed 09-Sep-15 19:07:26

That reminds me of DD1 except I used to rock her rather than use a sling. To change things, I used to rock her extremely vigorously (over the edge of a thick rug grin) in the pram, with a blanket draped over the hood, and loud white noise on my phone. Then gradually she got used to sleeping in the pram with less intervention and around 6 months started nursery so had to lean how to sleep in a cot, but that took a few weeks of gradual retreat.

Piazzapiola Wed 09-Sep-15 20:26:35

DS2 only naps in sling and he's 10mo and almost 11kg.

I've recently started sleep training him so he now puts himself to sleep at bedtime (previously bfed or rocked) and I'm also night weaning him.

The no longer feeding to sleep has helped in that he now falls asleep in the car seat (previously screamed all the time for any journey) but yet to have a single pram nap ever.

We bed share but now he's crawling I need to get him into his cot hence the sleep training. Am doing a very gradual gentle gradual withdrawal.

Not sure what to suggest, but in the meantime get a decent sling, you shouldn't get back pain if it's the right kind of sling. What do you have and is there a sling library near you?

Vanoose Thu 10-Sep-15 09:32:44

Thanks all. I was thinking the next transition could be to pram naps as we can keep the movement and white noise as you say uppereastsidemom...

I use a Caboo Close sling... It's always comfy for the first part of the day then by nap 4 or 5 my shoulders just hurt and entire body has a dull ache!! I've also got a Baby Bjorn carrier which is easier on my back, but he won't sleep in that (it doesn't black out the light enough, and possibly not comfy enough).

Off to a sling library tomorrow, thanks for the recommendation!! Which sling do you use, Piazzapiola?

ifgrandmahadawilly Thu 10-Sep-15 09:44:45

There is a process called 'wearing down' where they go to sleep in the sling, then you sort of slide the sling off with them still in it while they are asleep and put them down in a cot. I saw it in one of the Dr Sears books.

If you keep them wrapped in the sling in this way, they don't notice the temperature change when you put them down (growbags are useful for this as well).

gubbinsy Thu 10-Sep-15 19:32:13

Oh I remember the caboo nap pain! DS was like this. We moved from sling to rocking in dark room then putting down - hit and miss for a while but probably took a week. The sleeping for more than 40 mins in cot took longer though!

Piazzapiola Fri 11-Sep-15 09:22:04

I think a 5mo would be getting rather big and heavy for a stretchy wrap like the caboo. I used a boba wrap til DS2 was 3mo then I used my Ergobaby.

I still use it and I also have a mei tai and a couple of woven wraps. I figured if he was only going to sleep on me I may as well embrace it and accessorise in style wink

I've never managed a successful transfer from sling to cot or anywhere but I know plenty of people who have so this would def be a place to start. Try timing it so baby is deep so after ten mins of falling sleep but before he reaches the next sleep cycle at 30mins

IHeartKingThistle Fri 11-Sep-15 09:34:52

Why does he need to nap every 1.5 hours at nearly 5 months? How long does he nap for? You must be exhausted, sounds like you've done great but you can't keep doing this!

That wasn't very helpful, sorry!

Vanoose Fri 11-Sep-15 11:01:29

Ah thanks all. Yes, I think I'll look into a more structured carrier like the Ergo and hope that he will still sleep in that, or at least a carrier which I can easily get him out of while he's sleeping into the cot - fingers crossed for the sling library today!! I have high hopes!!!

As for nap frequency, I thought this was fairly normal, but yes it does feel a lot. He will sleep for anything from 40mins to 1.5 hours during the day, so we end up with 4-5 day naps. In the mornings he is awake for an hour before he starts getting really cranky, as soon as I pop him in the sling he is asleep. In the afternoons he can go 1.5-2 hours between naps before the crankiness begins... should I be trying to stretch him longer do you think?

Vanoose Fri 11-Sep-15 11:03:16

@piazzapiola, sounds like you are a truly glamorous baby-wearer!

uppereastsidemom Fri 11-Sep-15 14:06:16

The Ergo has a hood for naps, also v handy for sunny or rainy weather! Consider getting the 360 version, although I'm not sure if that also has the hood. DD2 loves the ergo but I feel like she wants to look around more, so now have to invest again in the 360...

starfish12 Fri 11-Sep-15 18:51:20

360 has a hood...

PermetsTu Fri 11-Sep-15 19:02:57

Both of mine lived in the sling. DD didn't nap really but DS would nap in there, eat in there, play in there. Until he was 3, I just got used to wearing him as a bizarre accessory. He's 4 now and I still put him on my back in a wrap if we're hiking and he gets tired.

I ended up just going with it and changed the sling I used as they got bigger. I had a combination of coories when they were tiny, an ergo, two wraps and a ring sling for occasional use when older.

raisin3cookies Fri 11-Sep-15 19:07:16

In my experience, the sling makes all the difference. If you are happy to try out different types and carry on with naps as it is (sounds like he still needs to be near you anyway), I recommend something like a Tula. I was using a ring sling and then a homemade mai tei on my chunky baby, and struggling with her weight. When I wore her in a Tula, it's like the clouds parted and angels sang.. she was utterly weightless. Fab!

NannyOggsHedgehogs Fri 11-Sep-15 19:16:36

I would get an ergonomic buckle carrier (ergo isn't that big, consider something that has a toddler size like a tula, rose and rebellion or connecta) with good and learn to back carry. Could you walk by a busy main road to replicate the white noise? Once weaning is established It's much easier to get a routine in place and put sleepy signals in place at the same time each day - then they can't help but nod off at certain times!

IHeartKingThistle Fri 11-Sep-15 22:21:16

Sorry to be rude, but am I in a parallel universe here? The poor OP is stuck in an untenable sleep routine, bouncing on a ball with baby in a sling and white noise playing every 1.5 hours and she's getting endless posts about the benefits of various slings?

Sorry. I'm not being nasty. But surely the answer for this baby is gentle sleep training, not buying another sling to perpetuate the routine until he gets even heavier?

Sorry OP. You sound amazing. I've had two beers and I may be feeling rantier than usual blush

shoopshoopsong Fri 11-Sep-15 22:29:14

Unfortunately I don't have any advice about non sling naps as mine just decided for himself when he was a bit older and more independent that he wanted to sleep without me, but definitely agree you shouldn't be hurting and a more supportive sling will help in the meantime. You can look up your local sling library and sling meet in slingpages.co.uk and try some out, and also meet some other sling wearing parents that might have some ideas of sleep alternatives if they've been through similar things

PermetsTu Fri 11-Sep-15 22:40:02

IHeart, I think a lot of us are responding having been in the same situation. The op described her baby as follows: "he still needs 100% attention 100% of the time, needs to be held constantly and hates the car seat, pram and cot, or anywhere boring!" I've been there. I tried and tried and tried to do non-sling napping and it didn't work so I've talked about what worked for me.

Had the op said 'no I definitely don't want to think about pursuing the sling thing', the responses would have been different; I think that's different to what actually happened which was the op saying she was off to a sling library and thinking of trying a gradual transition.

It's more a conversation, a sympathetic response from people who also had a baby who needed to be held constantly and an exploring of options.

Transferring the baby in the sling IS the gentle sleep training you suggest. Anything above and beyond that probably didn't work for a lot of our 5 month old babies. In fact, at 5 months my DS started with severe and debilitating separation anxiety and there wasn't a single sleep training technique that cause anything other than vomiting, shaking and sweating.

The thread title will attract sling users and a lot of the op's problems can be solved by a better sling to start with. Her baby will only get heavier and she can't suddenly switch to no sling so the advice is good imo. The gentle sleep training can still occur.

IHeartKingThistle Fri 11-Sep-15 23:01:16

OK, I consider myself told! I can see everyone here is being supportive smile

NannyOggsHedgehogs Sat 12-Sep-15 07:54:48

The correct sling will alleviate the back ache so the op has the energy to focus on longer term solutions wink

Piazzapiola Sat 12-Sep-15 10:46:41

Yes, gentle sleep training is the answer but won't happen over night.

The correct sling will alleviate back pain over night.

mabythesea Sat 12-Sep-15 10:51:49

I find having the baby on your back much more comfortable than the front. Agree with whoever mentioned the Ergo being quite a small carrier and won't last as long as others - I often see people carrying toddlers in Ergos and it barely goes up to their armpits at the back or supports their legs.

If your baby likes motion have you tried a swing? I have a fisher price one and used to have it on the highest setting - also the motor is quite noisy so provides white noise. Then it's easy to gently wean from motion as you can just turn the setting down.

Vanoose Sun 13-Sep-15 16:10:59

Have got an Ergo to try from tomorrow so it's a start. I didn't realise there were so many soft structured carriers as options. The Tula looks amazing, they don't have it back in to try until the end of the month though so will give it a go.

We tried transferring from sling to cot today, not a success this time! He closed his eyes for a minute when down and then popped them open and gave me the most quizzical stare... hmm
"What on earth are you doing mummy?!"

Work in progress... But agreed, a comfy sling is going to make a huge difference and I do think he sleeps better being worn anyway (compared to his twitchy night sleep) so happy to continue that for now, knowing that he's getting a good quality snooze.

Thanks all flowers

nc231981 Tue 22-Dec-15 08:57:35

Hi, I've just stumbled upon this thread after desperately searching for some help with my situation! I have a 6 month old who has been extremely unsettled since birth and has struggled to sleep since day 1-only ever sleeping upright after rigorous movement and screaming (mostly on her part!) she now only naps in sling and only for me and DH. I was just wondering if you could give me update on your situation (& some hope?!) I have an elder child and a husband who works away so it's very difficult. She only naps when I'm constantly moving in silence 😫 Hope things have improved for you and you can give me some tips!

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