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Struggling to create a sleep routine for 6mo

(4 Posts)
trebleclef101 Sat 06-Feb-16 14:28:18

My DD is now just over 6 months, and we've never really managed to get her into any sort of routine for sleep.

Her naps seem completely random, for example sometimes she will nap for 45 minutes, sometimes for 3 hours, it's impossible to predict.

Sometimes she goes to bed with no problems at 10pm, but she often doesn't go to bed until 12 - 1am, and can be very hard to get down to sleep. I assume she is already overtired by 10 but when we try to put her to bed earlier, she either refuses to go down at all, or wakes after 45 minutes and refuses to go back to sleep.

Any tips for making her sleep routine more consistent? For naps she can self settle with a dummy but at bedtime we follow the same routine and she just won't go to sleep.

Once she is actually asleep she is generally ok through the night with 2 wakings for feeding, and gets up for the day at between 9am and 10 am.

At the moment I feel like I am failing as a mum, I keep reading about all these other people who have their babies in a fixed routine and I just wonder how?!

FATEdestiny Sat 06-Feb-16 16:22:50

A routine often develops naturally, but does take some nudges of consistency from parents. For example setting bedtime to a set-time-frame helps. Not exact on-the-dot, but maybe saying that bedtime will always be, say between 7pm and 8pm.

This then works backwards. If you want baby to be going to bed at 7-8pm, then you don't want her napping after 3-4pm, otherwise she wont be tired enough to go to sleep. So the time you put her down for the afternoon nap ends up being done in a way that is mindful that you will wake her if she's not woken by a certain time

Being ridged with bedtime not only starts affecting daytime naps, it also starts regulating wake-up times. It is reasonable to expect 11-12h sleep at night, so a 7-8pm bedtime may lead to an expected wake up time of 6-8am.

A reasonable estimation for daytime naps at this age is 2-3-4:
- This means that baby is likely to be ready for a morning nap 2 hours after waking in the morning.
- Then will be ready for another nap 3 hours after waking from morning nap.
- Then will be ready for bed 4 hours after waking from afternoon nap

This is assuming 2 naps a day of around 1h-2h. All baby lead though, just with a little gentle nudging from parents.

trebleclef101 Sat 06-Feb-16 18:52:17

Thanks for the reply FATE

4 hours seems a long time for her to be up before bed time. She normally only manages about 2 hours before she shows the first signs of being tired (cranky, rubbing eyes).

It seems to be a fine line between tired enough to go to bed and not over tired and unable to sleep.

It's frustrating as she goes down ok for naps, just not at bedtime, so I guess our timing must be off one way or the other.

I've also always been reluctant to wake her from naps, again because I'm worried we'll end up with an overtired baby, but is this something that may be worth trying to stop her napping for 3 hours too late in the day?

FATEdestiny Sat 06-Feb-16 20:42:42

I wouldn't wake from naps unless I had to. I have school runs to fit in so often have to, but if you are not time constrained elsewhere, I would leave baby to sleep. With the exception of in the run-up to bedtime.

My DD also wouldn't manage 4 hours between one nap and the next at 6 months old, like a baby "should". So maybe you go for 3 nap days? We did this - naps around 9am, 12pm and 4pm - with bedtime 7-8pm and wake up 7-8am.

The point is not that you should be doing what my DD did. Or any other pre-prescribed routine. Just that your baby will have a natural routine all of her own and if you pay attention to it, you can start to notice and encourage her natural rhythms.

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