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Extending naps. .any advice.

(67 Posts)
FifiFerusha Tue 12-Jan-16 21:02:15

Apologies. .seems I am a serial poster on here oops.

Anyway, my DS is almost 6 months. He has started self settling for most naps and bedtimes and will only cry if there is an issue(hunger, lost blanky) etc...I am soo pleased. However he is still a short napper regardless(about 40 mins really). Sometimes he has randomly gone longer than this. I don't know why.

So, when he gets to the transition what do I do? I don't want to go in and settle him myself as he may get used to this and stop self settling. He is a distracted baby and will only really feed on wake up in his room so sometimes I will go in and feed him at transition and he may go back to sleep for another 10 mins or so. He seems to be ok with a mixture of feeding to sleep and self settling but has started to get annoyed with any shhing and stroking now. I would really like to get him on a 2,3 then 4 hour wake up routine but he just isn't ready as his short naps means I can just about get away with putting him down after about 1 hour 50 ish of being awake and he is asleep usually 20 mins later. Has anyone had success trying to manipulate nap extension or should I just go with the flow and see if it happens naturally?

Also, what about wake to sleep? Tried it once and he woke right up very angry.

Cheers x

Doboopedoo Wed 13-Jan-16 07:52:02

I have no advice but in a similar position so following for any answers - my little girl is same age and we're working on self settling for naps, she can do it but inevitably a short 25-35 minute sleep. She sleeps much longer on me, or in car or pram, and sleeps better at night if she's had decent don't want to mess with that too much!

Ilovecrumpets Wed 13-Jan-16 10:24:19

With my two DC they were short nappers until they were about 8/9 months for DC2 and a year for DC1. It was frustrating but they did grow out of it. With DC1 I did try lots of things but nothing worked, with DC2 I was consistent in trying for the nap in the cot after a set awake time ( eventually moving to a set nap time) and consistent in what I did to try and resettle doing at naps and tried to resettle for a set period of time but basically waited for him to grow out of it.

Having said that DC1 was never a big napper, and it wasn't until he dropped to one nap that we got a good sleep and, even then, never more than 1 1/2. DC2 is much better and takes longer naps, so some of it is inbuilt to! I also really regret all the hours spent trying to get DC1 to nap ( and stressing about it) to no avail, hence the more relaxed approach with DC2.

If he is taking 20 minutes to get to sleep from being put in his cot your timing might be slightly off though. As it is only 1 hr 50 you probably don't want to try earlier but maybe try even 10 minutes later and see what happens?

A really helpful website on sleep I found was It's American but has some great articles and lots of info on what is average re sleep expectations.

FifiFerusha Wed 13-Jan-16 19:44:56

Thank you. I am sort of hoping he will grow out of short napping. He just seems to really want to sleep for longer but he is very distracted and once something, anything happens, that's it, he is awake. The only thing that will extend his naps slightly is feeding but that isnt a solution. I am wondering if perhaps he has got into a routine of expecting a feed at wake ups. I would love to stop this but try as I may he just won't feed very well at other times. Sorry that is a feed thing but it is related to sleep.

Poor DS, he always has bags under his eyes by the end of the day. It is impossible to get him down for a catnap early evening but if I don't he will end with nearly over four hours awake time before bed. Really need him to take longer naps, poor thing sad

Any experiences of wake to sleep. Is it worth me trying again?

angelicjen Thu 14-Jan-16 02:21:33

I'm in the same position, although it's 35 minutes, and it drives me nuts. He's still tired when he wakes up but nothing I do helps him get into the next cycle. My extensive googling suggests its developmental and they will learn to do it in time.

FifiFerusha Fri 15-Jan-16 22:12:22

Anyone? Is it developmental? X

WineandDine Fri 15-Jan-16 22:30:28

Ive spent so much time over the last few months googling sleep and naps and like the previous poster am already starting to regret this. I can't help it! control freak What seems to be working for us is a blacked out nursery, white noise & perseverance with naps at roughly the same time each day so LO knows what to expect. We're still a bit all over the place tbh but starting to get a longer lunchtime nap. I've worked out that short naps for us means he's normally over tired. Perhaps keep a log of awake time vs nap length to see if there are any patterns or you can just go with the flow. I think of lot of this is developmental as you say. Wake to sleep never worked for us!

minipie Fri 15-Jan-16 22:39:04

Two ideas:

1) longer awake time. At 6 months if you put him down after 1hr50 he may well not be tired enough to sleep more than 40 mins.

2) Buggy. DD1 used to wake 30 mins into her post lunch nap even though she was definitely tired and would not go back to sleep. So, I did that nap in the buggy, then when she woke at 30 mins, I rocked/walked her till she went back to sleep. She'd then sleep for another 1-1.5hrs without waking confused I think she stopped doing the 30 min wake up at about 7.5 months?

BushyTailedPony Sat 16-Jan-16 20:34:37

With both of my DDs (one aged now 3 and the other 10months) they just did it themselves shortly after turning 6 months. DD1 started napping 10-12 and 2-4pm like clockwork and DD2 is around the same although more often just 1.5 hours a nap rather than two. A lot of things with babies - like learning to sit up, crawl and walk - sometimes just happen by themselves when the time is right.

With DD2 I did get a Ewan the sheep to help her self settle quicker as with a toddler around I didn't have quite the same time or energy to help her as much myself.

FifiFerusha Sun 24-Jan-16 22:05:02

So, this is what I have done.

Basically I have hidden in the room at the 25 min mark. He jolts at about 35 ish or so though so at first I put two hands on him, one on his chest and one over his legs and shhhh and he was literally jolting for about 20 mins, eyes open then close. Was there for ages but he did it. He slept for one hour and a half and he was such a happy baby because of it.

So I have been doing this for three days now and he now gets two one and a half hour naps( is this enough for a 6 mo). However some of the times, esp. The afternoon nap he needs a quick cuddle and rock and then put down with my hands resting on him. Am I creating bad habits? He just wouldn't go back to sleep otherwise. Also if I keep doing this for a couple of weeks will he just do it by himself or am I becoming the prop into the next sleep cycle. Basically will I have to do this forever as I feel like I spend my whole day in his room. Bet we all feel like that mind.

It might be also worth mentioning that since he has started napping longer he self settles better at the start of a nap. However none of this has affected his habitual 4 am wake up for a feed. He has a DF at 11 that he sometimes wakes for. He is On 3 meals a day now and loving it so should I try night weaning or Is he too young? Any advice welcome( and hope you are around FATE) x

FATEdestiny Sun 24-Jan-16 22:59:37

I'm here smile

Sounds perfect to me. Well done, that's a lot of thought and work gone into extending naps.

Two 1.5h naps is fine at 6 months old. It depends on the time of these naps but for a while DD needed an extra, shorter powernap at tea time in addition. But this was just during the transition to two nap days and was mainly because she woke 3pm and through to 7-8pm was a long time to manage at first.

Ideally work towards just needing firm hands to get LO back to sleep. If for now he needs a cuddle and rock in the afternoons then it's fine. I would just keep in mind the long-term view to gradually reduce the dependence on this. Cuddle for less time, move less during rocking. I recall a strange kind of cradled-but-still-lying-in-cot I did for a while. Whereby I would lean and bend right over the cot to cuddle, but without actually lifting baby out.

That he goes to sleep with just firm hand reassurance is great. That's fantastic progress and you will get there to withdraw this over time. It'll take some transition time but after a few weeks the two nap days will establish as longer sleeps, so he should learn not to wake during the nap.

4am feed might be hunger. I wouldn't have nightweaned that early (more like 9 months ish) since weaning is still being established. Don't forget that early weaning foods have fewer calories than milk, so milk intake is expected to be maintained at the same level as before weaning.

I did a lot of playing around with the DF as a means to reduce the need for night time feeds. If currently he's having a feed at 11pm and 4am - what would happen if he wasn't woken for a DF? He might go through until 2am and then through to morning. That has dropped one feed. Give it a few weeks to establish and then bring back the 11pm DF. Hopefully by then 1 night feed is established and he can manage 11pm-7am.

I hope that's helpful. Well done. I have followed your posts and threads and think you have made some fantastic progress in a relatively short time. Don't worry, you are on the right track here and it will work. flowers

FifiFerusha Sun 24-Jan-16 23:32:38

Thank you. That really means something, really, really, as it is soo easy to think ' I can't get it right'. We are all trying hard x I completely agree with the gradual withdrawal of help to get him through transition. This is kind of the process I went through from 9 weeks to make him Self settle ( took four or more month, so I am patient) so i feel like I understand how to do this and see if it works. I hope so.

Thank you FATE, you know I will will let you know how it is going x

Also, a couple of times I had been so tired that I fell asleep ( on sofa) when he hadn't woken for DF. He still woke up habitually at 4 am regardless. Just daren't not give it when I am awake, but am willing to play around with it as you say. I wondered whether if he doesn't wake for it then I should not give it, just out of curiousity, to see what happens.

My current issue though is that I need a 7 am wake up for two, hour and a half naps to work but in the week DS will wake up to DP s morning shower at 6. Have worked out that I need to be in his room ready to settle at this time otherwise I have no chance. I will just keep going with it. You get to a point where four to five hours sleep in a row is a present so shouldn't complain About anything else x

All fun and games smile x

Ps timing of naps if I can manipulate a 7 am WU are 9.30 until 11 ( school run previous so impossible otherwise) and then 13.30 until 3 if I am lucky. Bedtime 6.30. He just about makes that last awake time.

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Jan-16 09:56:57

Just a thought I had - do you have a sleep trigger in place? Something like a snuggle toy, blanket, muslin and/or dummy. Something that means signals comfort and security to the baby. It is useful to have something like this for longer-term.

It means when baby wakes in the night (which he will do even once sleeping thro - times when he's poorly and such) he has a means to gain that comfort and security to go back to sleep without you.

It is 6 to 9 months ish that I have usually introduced a comfort toy when feeding/sleeping, to go alongside the dummy.

FifiFerusha Mon 25-Jan-16 12:06:34

Yes, he has a blanky and a Muslin.He has started to self settle by rubbing either in his face, quite funny. I noticed at the morning nap that if it is in the right place when he squirms he settles quicker. Only had to use my hands for a couple of mins this morning but stayed in his room for ages and just watched to see what he did without too much intervention and he did well, got 1 hour 20, which is fine smile think this was probably just another one off as usually takes ages to get him through the jolts. how long did it take your DD to extend her nap independently?

onesteptotheleftofme Mon 25-Jan-16 12:20:26

Following for info!

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Jan-16 12:23:16

It was quite quick - maybe a week or so. This is very much a self-perpetuating change.

When he naps for longer, he will naturally stay awake longer between naps. That in turn means he'll be more tired at the next sleep time (after longer awake) so will sleep deeper in the next sleep - and so it continues.

Doboopedoo Mon 25-Jan-16 12:43:59

I've been following this post and you seem to have done a great job FiFi, I'm going to borrow some of your techniques to hopefully help my little one! It's always nice when someone updates on progress as well.

FATE, quick question about comforters etc while you are here - I've tried this with DD including putting in the groundwork of having it between me and her. However, every time she has a comfort blanket or small toy in crib it actually stops her sleeping-she's too busy playing and can't seem to put it down. Do some babies find them over stimulating and should I give up on it? She generally settles with sleeping bag, dark room and Ewan the sheep, but not always good at resettling herself, thank you! X

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Jan-16 13:06:07

How old is your LO Doboopedoo?

Up until 6 months I have not used comforters (SIDS risk - but I know others who use from birth). Then I have introduced from 6 months and it has taken until about 9 months for a special bond to develop with baby.

Having said that - My DC3 never had a comforter toy despite me trying to get him attached to one. He had a self-soothing thing he did without a snuggle thing (he was a hair twiddler). So they are all different.

It could be that your DD doesn't like the thing you have got for her as a comforter, you could try something else. I gave my DD a blankie/teddy snuggler, a simple soft rabbit and a taggy-labels snuggler and she 'chose' one by mostly using it.

What you mean by 'playing with it' differs with baby's age, but comforter toys are not meant to be entertaining. In time it will be held or repeatedly touched in the same way though. My DC2 used to "cut Ted's ear" (finger scissor action on his toy rabbits ear) and would pat Teds tummy. DC4 just smushes her comforter into her face when she's tired. Maybe as she's older she will start an action. Could it be that your DD is developing her comforting action she does with the comforter?

Doboopedoo Mon 25-Jan-16 13:34:13

(Sorry for the post hijack FiFi!)

She's 6 months next week FATE. We currently have a waking at night issue where she seems to think it's morning when it's only around 4am, so I resettle in cot but takes up to an hour of sssshing and tummy stroking so was trying anything to help speed it along....but the comfort toy definitely didn't do that. Every time age almost fell asleep the toy would hit the mattress and she's pick in up and start again!

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Jan-16 13:43:35

Yeah, she is a bit young for the comforter to be effective just yet. I would recommend starting to introduce a comforter now, so that it is effective in the future. But wouldn't expect it to have much of a soothing effect just yet.

I keep banging on about dummies - but that has proved the simplest, quickest and easiest way to teach independent settling. Otherwise, you have to just accept that you will be baby's source of comfort for now.

Doboopedoo Mon 25-Jan-16 13:56:08

I've seen you talk about dummies before - unfortunately her dummy was causing a problem at night (we've chatted before about this) as she needed constant replugging. She's got much better at settling herself through the night without it - we just currently have an issue with very early waking, which I've just put up a separate post about smile

KP86 Mon 25-Jan-16 14:09:07

Google Masada technique. It's a gentle sleep training method which works. DS went from one day nap being held at four months to three proper sleeps as well as being good overnight in 5 days.

It will help them to connect sleep cycles (one cycle being 40-45 mins for most babies).

Another way is to go in around the 35 minute mark and gently pat or put your hand on baby's back and help them feel secure and they might transition to next cycle without waking in between.

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Jan-16 14:38:43

Masada technique

Oh, that's the Pat Pat technique common in Australia. It's too much timed crying for my liking. I prefer methods involving no crying whatsoever. That's just me though. I like Pat Pat, but wouldn't generally suggest it for an under 12 month old because of the controlled crying element of leaving, timing then returning. The process of the patting pattern is very good though.

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Jan-16 14:41:46

needed constant replugging

Long before you have resolved this current sleep issue she could have learnt to use her dummy independently at night, when settling, at naptimes and to extend naps when waking still tired.

But I know we've had this discussion before so I will leave it smile

KP86 Mon 25-Jan-16 14:47:24

FATE, I'm from Aus and went to Masada for help. It made a world of difference, and, even if short term DS found it painful (which I don't believe he did; he took to the routine like a duck to water), any pain in that first week or two was well and truly outweighed by the fact that we now have a toddler who sleeps very, very well. Not sure DH would have survived the first six months without them.

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