Help - my DD won't nap!

(5 Posts)
PlaidMaid Sun 10-Apr-16 20:08:05

Hi everyone - hoping for some advice!

My DD is three months old and has really struggled with daytime naps almost from the beginning. She just won't settle for them! Yesterday she had five 20 minute naps between 11am and when we put her to bed at 7.30pm, and today she's had four 30 minute naps sad it's just not enough for her and she's so tired and red eyed by the end of the day (not to mention whingy!)

At the moment the only decent nap she's having is the morning nap. She wakes and feeds (exclusively formula fed) between 7am and 8am, and will then be back down asleep by 9.15am at the latest, depending on what time she wakes. She will sleep for 45 minutes to an hour before she wakes up, and can usually be cajoled into sleeping for another hour or so (but with fairly frequent wakings and intermittent crying). After this nap, something is going wrong, because she just never goes down for her afternoon nap! I'll usually try and put her down anywhere between 12.30pm and 2pm depending on how the morning has gone. But she'll lightly doze for 20 minutes then wake up. She rubs her face a lot with her hands which I think may disturb her. We've tried swaddling and we successfully swaddle her at night, but she just struggles and fights it during the day and won't settle. She has a dummy, I've tried white noise, I've tried with the Sleepyhead and without, car seat, pram, Moses basket, crib - similar story everywhere.

She will usually have half an hour in the late afternoon (around 5pm), often in the pram when we go out for a walk. She doesn't nap in her pram for longer than around 40 minutes, and the same with the car seat. In fact she's often wide awake in the car until 20 or 30 minutes into a journey which I think is quite unusual! The one good thing is that she does sleep quite well at night - frequent wakings anytime from 1am but she goes down reasonably well in the evening and self settles even though she must be exhausted by then, which is a relief.

I've tried getting her up from her morning nap when she wakes after the first hour but that doesn't help - in fact she usually ends up inconsolable with tiredness and really struggling to settle afterwards. Even if I put her straight in the pram or the car seat she's awake and just ends up screaming after a while before flaking out for 20 minutes. She also doesn't deal with transition well - if the pram or the car stops, she's awake. We've been trying to do the EASY routine for a few weeks now (although with her it's more like E-A-S-A because her sleeps aren't long enough!) and although initially there was some minor improvement it's gone out of the window now.

Is there anything I should be doing differently to improve this situation for both of us?

Dweeby Mon 11-Apr-16 22:40:21

Would just like to say you are not alone! I have been struggling with the EASY routine as my DD (5 months but she has been like this for months) also only sleeps for around 20 mins so we need to fill out the hours between feeds with more activity!

I told my HV that DD only sleeps for 20 mins and she said "there's not a lot you can do about that I'm afraid". I have noticed that she has slept longer the past two days after playing in her jumperoo which I'm guessing tired her out, so maybe they just don't want a longer sleep? Either that or they have got into a habit of waking up after 20 mins and think they are done.

Sorry can't be of more help, but you are not alone smile

CityDweller Tue 12-Apr-16 20:13:24

Try shortening her awake times by a lot. Both of mine could only be awake max an hour at this age. So, about 50 mins after she wakes up from a nap, start putting her down again. It may be that she takes 6 short naps a day, for example. That's fine.

DS also did the rubbing face/ eyes thing. We had to swaddle him for naps and nighttime sleep until he was about 5 months old.

Does she nap better in a sling/ on you? If so, might be worth just camping out on the sofa for a few days and prioritising her naps to get past the over tiredness that it sounds like she's suffering from at the moment.

Her naps will start lengthening with time, eventually... DD was a terrible napper as a little baby - much as you describe (in addition, she'd only nap on me or DH). Gradually things improved - her naps got longer, she started napping in the cot, etc, and she eventually turned into a champion napper. So don't give up hope.

FifiFerusha Tue 12-Apr-16 22:00:48

Ditto citydweller, in every way, lots of short and frequent naps are normal when they are so little. Pal so avoid OT and get them to sleep however you can, there is plenty of time to sleep train. You are doing so well if she can settle for bed, well done and feel proud x I started to do EASY at a similar age, gave me something to go by. But guess what, DS didn't match the expectations really. . .always a short napper. The focus is just not to feed to sleep, that's it in a nutshell, so do that if you wish and don't worry about everything else around it. My DS has only just started to nap more than an hour and he is 9 mo so you can imagine how frustrated EASY made me feel.

At that age I spent my whole life getting my DS to sleep every hour/ hour twenty of being awake. Can't remember exactly but if it worked he was on four or five naps a day. .but that was haard work. It will change x x good luck x x

PlaidMaid Sun 17-Apr-16 21:36:52

Thank you so much for all your replies and apologies for my delayed response smile

I think I will try shortening the awake times and see if it helps. I'm not entirely sure it will because I've tried it before and it wasn't very successful. Even if I put her in the pram straight after a feed, so she's welcome to fall asleep anytime she likes, she still takes up to an hour to nod off for 20 minutes. But it's got to be worth another bash.

The odd thing is, she's been settling so well at night this week, even though on some days she's had a total of 1 hours sleep all afternoon. Which makes me think maybe she just doesn't need that much sleep during the day, as surely if she was very overtired she'd be a lot harder to settle at night?

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