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Getting baby to nap anywhere but on me!

(28 Posts)
EmW1987 Fri 13-Jan-17 20:43:51

Hi all,
My little girl will be 10 weeks old on Monday and I know it's still really young but she won't nap unless it's on me, being fed to sleep.
She's exclusively breastfed and everywhere I've seen they tell you to avoid being fed to sleep but that's our exact problem. Over the past couple of weeks she seems to be going in her Moses basket okay at night but I cannot get her to sleep during day anywhere unless she's being fed and falls asleep on me. I know this has been discussed on other threads and for some people isn't an issue however it's starting to take it's toll on me as it's often resulting in her taking a tiny snack to sleep so making her feeding pretty difficult.it also means that I can't get anything done (I know housework isn't important etc) but it means I'm sitting in the dark holding my daughter to sounds of the hoover on my phone during the day . I'll be going back to work in a few months (a long time in baby world I know) but have visions of her not napping or only falling asleep with exhaustion after crying when at nursery etc. I just want to avoid bad habits early on. She's never fallen asleep on a playmat or at a baby class like a lot of my friends babies instead she'll cry until she's picked up and then will eventually fall asleep on me, it also means it's very hard for my husband to take her for a short period of time because she's so reliant on me to sleep.
Any tips on how I can get out of this habit, any experience anyone else has will be massively helpful!

OohNoDooEy Fri 13-Jan-17 20:49:03

Couple of tips - avoid overtiredness by trying to get her to sleep after she's been awake for 90 minutes. If you wait til she looks tired, she's probably overtired and it'll be harder work

Only feed her when she wakes up

Get her to sleep by bouncing in the bouncer chair or putting in a basket/cot and shhing and patting the mattress. You're trying to replicate the sound of your heart. If she falls asleep not in your arms you don't have to put her down

NotWithoutMyMerkin Fri 13-Jan-17 20:53:50

My first was like this and would only sleep with a nipple in her mouth and would wake if I tried to put her down. The only other way we could get her to sleep was in a stretchy wrap sling - walking around. That way I could get stuff done while she slept and when she fell asleep I could sit down with a cup of tea

My second is different but that doesn't mean she's easy to get to sleep! In a way it's harder as she won't sleep on the boob. If you really want to make a change then you need to be consistent and persistent. Separate feeding from sleeping (look at the EASY method) so you feed when she wakes. When she's sleepy but tired put her down for sleep. Comfort her (shush/pat/sing/rock/cuddle) as needed. Use white noise and other sleep signals and tools e.g. Ewan/dummy). Be consistent (do it every time she sleeps) and persistent (keep trying - you need to really help them fall asleep and they're unlikely to find it easy at first if they're used to sleeping on the breast). However don't (imo) leave her to cry or get upset as that isn't conducive to sleep or forming positive sleep associations

FATEdestiny Fri 13-Jan-17 21:11:26

Try a dummy and having naps in a bouncy chair.

Coconut0il Fri 13-Jan-17 21:32:22

DS2, 17 months always naps on my lap but as you say I don't mind. We did have some luck when he was younger with a bouncy chair. I bounced it with my foot till he was sleeping. Sometimes I couldn't move away but it was a break from holding him.
DP gets him to sleep when I'm at work by pushing him back and forth in the pushchair. I've found with both mine they sleep differently for others when no milk is available.

EmW1987 Sat 14-Jan-17 08:42:20

Thanks everyone.
I think I need to start being a bit tougher and try and put her in her Moses basket after 90mins of being awake. Trouble is every time I've tried it she just ends up crying and getting overtired and then I end up giving in and feeding her to sleep @notwithoutmymerkin did you have success doing this with your children?
It's now at the point that my husband passes her to me everytime she needs a nap and it's so frustrating!

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 14-Jan-17 10:44:51

Yes, with my dd2. So feed when she wakes and change, then play. The minute she starts showing any tired signals (looking away, ear pulling, face rubbing, yawning) I take her up and put her in the cosleeper cot. I lie with her and we play a little bit for just a couple of minutes - a peaceful mobile, soft lights, a soft toy. Then I turn the lights off, Ewan on, star projector thing on, white noise on loudly and pat her to sleep. In reality for the first week getting her to sleep could take twenty or thirty minutes (and sometimes if I didn't get her to sleep before she was overtired I had to give in). So she would get upset and if I could I would calm her by shushing (quite loudly in her ear), talking to her, patting or rubbing or rocking her. If she was lying quietly I'll stroke her face, shush, pat etc. If she was upset and not calming I'd pick her up and calm her (rock, sing, cuddle) then put her back down. For the first week while its new to them they're upset/cross because they're tired and they "can't go to sleep" lying down. But you can help them learn - remember consistency and persistence. It takes a week for new habits to form imo. I hate babies crying and would never ever do cio/cc so I'm all about comforting her when she cries especially as I don't think crying is conducive to falling asleep. They need to be sleepy and calm and soothed into sleep (timing is everything - too tired and it won't work). It's hard, but it worked for us. The time it takes them to fall asleep then gets shorter and shorter.
Be aware of how long she is awake for - at ten weeks she probably will be ready for a nap 1 to 1.5 hours after she wakes. And sometimes sooner

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 14-Jan-17 10:49:26

Otherwise I'd say get a stretchy sling too. Your husband can wear it to walk her to sleep to give you a break, and it will be a lifesaver for months to come when you want to make dinner etc

littledinaco Sat 14-Jan-17 10:59:50

It won't last forever but while you're in this phase, a little tip might be to do your housework, etc while she's awake. You can take her from room to room on playmat/bouncy chair, etc and talk/sing to her while you get your jobs done, then you can sit down when she sleeps on you. I know they are all different and she might not entertain this idea but might be worth a try.

Also second the sling idea so your DH can maybe get her to sleep in the sling.

This may be completely untrue but I think that if you can get them used to having nice long restful sleeps on you then when they are only enough to sleep on their own/in pram etc then they will carry on sleeping good as that is what they are used to. That's what I found with mine anyway! All babies are different and you've just got to find what works best for you at each stage. Everything is a phase and as soon as you think you've cracked it, they go and change and something else becomes difficult!

munchkinmable Sat 14-Jan-17 12:04:19

Mine only napped on me until about 12 months, then she'd go in the pram. I used slings but mainly just used it as an excuse to sit and watch box sets

Honeybee79 Sat 14-Jan-17 16:21:04

Reading with interest as in a similar position to you op.

DD is only 7 wks so plenty of time to change, but during the day she will only sleep on me. She's better at night and will go down in her basket, so it's v much a daytime problem for us. She's also just awake a lot during the day generally. Tbh I don't mind that if she's happy and settled but when she does need to nap I could do with her doing it elsewhere so I can get a few bits done and catch up on sleep myself!

EmW1987 Wed 18-Jan-17 11:07:46

So I haven't wanted to jinx this but since Saturday we've managed to get her to nap in the basket during the day. @OohNoDooEy thanks for the tips. Once she wakes up in the morning I work out when I need to bring her up, regardless of when she looks tired. I have fed her before going in the basket but main thing is she's going in awake and settling herself to sleep. I do end up playing a YouTube clip of hoover noise and leaving that running while she's asleep and it seems to work. We've not quite cracked every nap, mornings are a lot easier but it's amazing the difference already! Thanks everyone!

OohNoDooEy Wed 18-Jan-17 13:29:32

Aah, that's amazing! I think naps are so important and getting them started young is great as it forms a healthy habit before they can literally stand up and shout about it. Well done baby!

I love this chart as a guide to awake times as she gets older too www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/02/average-sleep-charts-by-age.html

Kariana Wed 18-Jan-17 14:37:59

Just going on what you said about morning naps being easier I noticed this with my ds who is just a few weeks older. I worked out it was because he was getting progressively more tired as the day went on even with naps happening. The only thing that helped was increasing his nap around lunchtime to 2 hours, it took a while to establish and I don't always manage to do it but anything less doesn't seem to refresh him enough. The alternative is that you shorten the awake times in the afternoon in order to counteract the tiredness. How long are her naps generally?

EmW1987 Thu 19-Jan-17 09:20:56

Hey @Kariana her nap times vary so much. Yesterday was probably the best nap situation we had, she had a 45min nap as her first nap, then was up for an hour and half then managed a nap of 1.5 hours both these naps were in her basket. Then I took her out for a long walk and she slept for 2 hours in the pushchair. My husband then managed to put her down in her basket for another 45min nap at about 6:45pm-7:30. However last night she barely slept, she done 10-12, then woke again at 3, 5,6 and 7. The previous night she slept for 8hours and usually would go for about 6 hours before waking so I'm now wondering whether she napped too much yesterday?!

Kariana Thu 19-Jan-17 15:45:10

Yes it does sound like yesterday you had the other extreme and she napped too much. It's so hard to get the balance right isn't it?! On a good day my ds has a maximum of 4 hrs sleep in the day, usually 1hr am and pm plus two hours over lunchtime. He then goes to bed at 7pm. I remember at 10 weeks though we were still getting the 7pm bedtime established so it was more a nap that started at 7 and lasted 1.5hrs, then gradually increased in length until he was sleeping through to his 10pm feed. He's 14 weeks now and we generally get a long stretch of sleep after 10pm.

EmW1987 Thu 19-Jan-17 16:26:56

Yeah it's like a science isn't it! I find with our daughter she's often reluctant to nap after about 6 so we end up with a bedtime of 9:30ish. Yesterday was the first time she napped in the evening without fuss. How did you manage to get your one to nap for 2 hours at lunch? I can only seem to get her to nap for 45mins at a time unless we are in the pushchair! I find myself analysing each days nap!

Kariana Thu 19-Jan-17 17:13:29

It took some persistence and to be honest it doesn't always work even now. Today for example he pooed an hour into the nap and that was the end of that sleep!

Basically they want to wake after 45 minute because they've competed a sleep cycle. It's much more refreshing for them if they can sleep beyond that. Firstly I tried to make sure there was nothing to disturb him around the 45 minute mark and also I didn't go to him as soon as he made a noise, occasionally he would go back to sleep himself. If I did have to go to him I would try to creep up to his moses basket so he couldn't see me, then without talking just reinsert his dummy and turn on his white noise and rock the basket, basically I did everything I could to soothe him back to sleep so you would do whatever usually works for your daughter (patting, shushing, music or whatever) Sometimes it didn't work, but sometimes it did and gradually it started working more and more often. Eventually their body clock sets itself to expect to sleep for the two hours and then don't need the help to stay asleep (at least nowhere near as often). You have to be consistent though and do it everyday, I think it took about 2 weeks before we managed to crack it, but by the second week we were getting more hits than misses.

Another option is just to walk her in the pushchair everyday at the same time until her body clock sets (maybe a week if it worked everyday), but it would mean a two hour walk everyday! Plus you have to hope it transfers over to the basket at the end of the week!

EmW1987 Thu 19-Jan-17 17:35:58

Ahhh I'll have to try that - that can be my mission next week. Today she seems to have had 4 45min naps but still tired and I'm guessing that's because she's not getting that one longer sleep.
She's been doing such a good stint at night that I'm scared of changing anything but having her nap in the Moses basket means I can actually do some jobs and not have to eat my lunch one handed while balancing her head in my other hand while she sleeps!

OohNoDooEy Thu 19-Jan-17 21:23:54

4 short naps is really normal. She's about the age where you might put her to bed for the night at 7 now. The change in her routine might make her more ready for it but it means that the 6 hour stretch is often from 7-1 then a feed at 1, 4 & up at 7.

You can try the dream feed at this point by rousing her and sticking a boob/bottle in her mouth when you go to bed at 10/11/whenever. This helps some babies go all the way through or at least do a longer stint. It didn't work for me, ds just took another feed!

Sorry it's long but hope it helps

Kariana Fri 20-Jan-17 08:34:14

Yes naps in the Moses basket are a sanity saver!!

I read loads about people saying short naps are normal and of course they are normal and fine for many babies. It definitely doesn't work for my ds though and judging by lots of sleep threads I've seen it doesn't work for lots of other babies either. They're all different in the end. We had to work for longer naps but he's a much happier baby when he has them.

FATEdestiny Fri 20-Jan-17 12:01:34

It's always a good idea to attempt to resettle baby after every nap. Its A great habit yo get into. It helps baby to learn to sleep for longer - sometime it will work and sometimes it won't. It also teaches baby to wake slowly and gently, rather than shouting and waking to "get up" immediately.

When people say short naps are normal - it means that they will more often not be lengthened, than be lengthened. At least initially until the skill of linking sleep cycles is established.

Until naps lengthen, baby is going to be tired unless you make naps frequent. If baby has a day of no naps being successfully lengthened, I'd shorten awake times accordingly (so naps are more frequent).

Today she seems to have had 4 45min naps but still tired and I'm guessing that's because she's not getting that one longer sleep

A longer sleep would work. If your baby can't manage that yet then you could try 5 45 minute naps (or whatever works for your dc) instead.

EmW1987 Mon 23-Jan-17 10:39:49

Thanks everyone for your help. So far we aren't having much luck extending the naps. @FATEdestiny is there a rough age when linking the sleep cycles tends to happen?
So if I'm not able to extend any of the naps I'll try for 5 45 min naps - would an awake time of 1hour 15min be suitable so effectively we are in a 2 hour cycle (45min sleep then 1 hour 15min awake)?

FATEdestiny Mon 23-Jan-17 11:20:51

is there a rough age when linking the sleep cycles tends to happen

If you have the means to proactively teach baby to sleep longer (using a dummy and movement usually - bouncy chair or pushchair) I'd say 5-9 months.

If you leave baby to learn passively, in their own time, it's probably 7-12 months.

EmW1987 Mon 23-Jan-17 11:40:09

Ah thanks @FATEdestiny that's reassuring to know, I think I suffer from a case of expecting my daughter to know everything by now at the tender age of 11weeks!

Ill definitely be going for the dummy/bouncer chair approach. She doesn't really nap now unless she uses a dummy so guess it's a case of getting in before her sleep cycle finishes and putting it back in for her

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