Nap routine for 7.5 mo(14 Posts)
I'm struggling to work out what kind of nap times my 7.5 mo dd should be having. My problem is that she doesn't seem to give obvious tired cues, or not ones I can spot anyway, and I've read a load of contradictory advice.
Lots of people say the 234 routine works well, so first nap 2 hours after waking, 2nd nap 3 hours after waking and bedtime 4 hours after waking from 2nd nap. I like this in theory, but struggle to see how it would work if you get shortish naps. Dd will usually only sleep an hour in the morning, and maybe an hour 15 at lunchtime, which leaves a long stretch till bedtime, but not really enough time for another nap.
But I've also read that at 7 months ish she should be doing about 3 hours awake time between naps. So according to this she isn't tired enough for first nap, and overtired at bedtime.
So what to do?
What worked for you at this age?
I wouldn't move to two naps per day until both the following is happening most of the time:
- At least 11 hours sleep per night
- Naps naturally lengthen to around 2h (90m minimum)
If your babies naps are still an hour, I would maintain a 3 nap day. This may mean a bedtime and hour or so later, but only in the short term until baby reaches the point of being happy on 2 longer naps.
I'd add in a teatime powernap - and limit the length of this nap. For example:
9-10am nap (leave to sleep as long as needed)
12-1pm nap (leave to sleep as long as needed)
4-5pm nap (wake up after an hour)
Over time you will find the two main naps get longer. By maintaining the 2 hours awake time between naps, it will push the afternoon nap later so that the teatime nap is no longer needed - but bedtime moves forward (say to 7pm)
Thanks fate, good advice there.
Max nap time we manage at the moment is an hour and 10 mins so I think we're not ready for a 2 nap day yet.
Do you think i need to force the first nap at 2 hours after wake up? She doesn't seem tired then, and it's a real battle to get her to sleep.
I kind of do the 234 thing with DD2 who's nearly 8 months, although as she's an early riser it's usually more like 334. I wouldn't try and force a nap after 2 hours if she's very resistant. We generally have:
5-6am wake up
Sometimes I let her sleep longer in the morning and then she has a later, shorter nap in the afternoon. But I found that once I'd put her down at regular(ish) times for a week her body clock seemed to recognise when it was nap time, and she usually asleep pretty quickly now.
I'm not one for making sleep times a battle. Is your DD sleeping all night without waking? If so, it's not unreasonable to assume she is well rested in the morning and may prefer longer awake.
If she's waking in the night and not having a good block on uninterrupted sleep then the concern would be that what you see as 'doesn't appear tired' is in fact 'over-tired and wired' and she does need to be asleep sooner. You know your baby best though.
Metal head - glad to see I'm not the only one with a super early riser! I think I need to aim for something similar to you. I'm hoping that by sticking to fairly consistent times she will get the hang of the routine and it will make going down a bit easier ( fingers crossed! ).
Fate - we are very very far from sleeping through the night. on a good night she will do 6.30 / 7 till 11, then wake every 90 mins until around 5, after which time she will sometimes sleep till 6 or 7 , but only if carried in the sling ( just won't settle in the cot or in bed with me after this time). So I suspect you're right that she must be tired. I think I'll have to persevere with the battle at 2 hours in the morning, and hope that she starts to get into the routine. Thanks for the advice.
Ps fate - you seem very knowledgable, any ideas on what I can do about all the night waking and unsettled early morning?
Oh blimey gray, that sounds hard work. From what you describe, I'd suggest your LO is over tired and needs more sleep.
I take it you struggle to get her to go to sleep? That's probably your primary issue here. Once baby will go to sleep when tired, rather than fighting sleep, then both night times and nap times will become much more straight forward.
I fully realise this is much more easily said than done though.
I'm a massive dummy fan, it's the simplest way to independently settle a baby to sleep in the cot. The ideal that you are working towards is that baby goes from awake to asleep in the cot, on her own. It may take lots of gradual, little steps and a long time to get there though.
Hi fate - yep she definitely needs more sleep ( as do I ) ! Getting her down is always a battle. Although we have had a bit of improvement with being able to put her down awake at bedtime, sometimes during the night and occasionally for naps. She definitely fights it though, even when in the sling or buggy.
I had a feeling you were going to say dummy ( I see you a lot on these boards!) . We tried and tried , but she just wouldn't suck one. Do you think it's worth trying again at her age?
She's just gone down in her cot, after a good 30 mins of crying and fighting. So we've ended up with sleep about 2.15 after waking.
Well that was a disaster, she woke after 30 mins and was absolutely hysterical and inconsolable. Still obviously tired but just won't settle again, even in my arms.
I had a feeling you were going to say dummy ( I see you a lot on these boards!)
Lol. I make it my mission to dispel the MN negativity surrounding dummy use. There seems to be this unspoken guilt around using dummies - I intend to counter that at every given opportunity (as you can probably tell!)
To be honest though, you'll struggle with dummy introduction at 7.5 months. A friend mine finally "gave in"
incorrect inference that dummies are bad and gave her 8 month old a dummy in desperation (and worth noting her second child got a dummy from newborn - we all learn lessons from our first). Child did eventually accept the dummy but it was never really effective, unwelcome sleep habits being too ingrained by that age.
Some form of sleep training focusing on getting to sleep independently may help. I don't really like distressing sleep training before 12 months tho.
Maybe try introducing a comforter toy/teddy/blankie to provide independent comfort.
I don't think introducing a dummy at this age would work either, especially if you've already tried it in the past. DD2 took a dummy for about two weeks (from 2-4 weeks old) then blank out refused it despite my best efforts! DD1 loved hers and it worked brilliantly so I was dismayed that DD2 just wouldn't take it... however, she does love white noise, have you tried that? Until she moved into her own room we had it on pretty much constantly after the first night waking, now she just needs it for naps and to drop off at bedtime.
I certainly don't have a particular objection to a dummy. Although I was probably too late trying to introduce it (clueless first timer!) as I was happy with feeding to sleep and sling naps for the first few months. I agree I think it's too late now. Ho hum.
Re the comforter - fate - do you have any tips on getting her to like it?
She has a fluffy bunny which she sometimes holds or chews I the cot when she's going down, but I don't think she really gets it. I wear it down my top and try to hold it between us when feeding ( this is quite tricky as she finds it distracting, pulls off, flaps around, I drop it etc etc) . Anything else I can be doing?
Metal - yep good suggestion with the white noise. We have it on all night and all nap times. Started using it when she was tiny. No idea if it makes a difference, but it can't be hurting!
A particularly bad night last night, so I am sure she was tired before 2 hours of awake time. Tried to put her down at 1.45 and she cried and fought it for half an hour. Then woke up hysterical again after 30 mins. That's classic overtired isn't it? How can I get her more sleep so we can break this cycle? ?
Oh no, sounds awful.
The answer for short naps is to make them frequent.
We didn't move onto 3 nap days until naps were over an hour. Before that we just did routines based on awake time.
I'd suggest 90 mins awake between waking from one nap and being asleep for the next nap, stretching to 2h awake time as LO is less exhausted.
7.5 months is still little. Plus you're in that awkward early weaning time. She still needs all her milk feeds the same as before weaning, but you also have to try and fit in 3 "meals". I recall it feeling like going back to the newborn days when you spend all of the time baby is awake feeding her.
She will start having a more varied diet, bigger portions and all food groups soon, so milk intake will reduce. But for now fitting in milk feeds plus solids, plus working hard to get regular naps - it's all hard graft.
If you've just got 90 minutes between one nap and the next, it might mean some proper found upon waking, followed by a milk feed, then a clean up and nappy check, then straight back into half an hour spend getting baby to sleep.
And after just 30-45 mins baby waking up and it starting all over again! Fat chance of much socialising or going anywhere - good job it doesn't last forever!
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