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To nap or not to nap?

(8 Posts)
Bethan2 Wed 18-Jan-17 21:05:56

That is the question!

Hi all,

My 18wo DS has been cluster feeding from around 6pm until he goes to sleep around 10/11pm for weeks now. I'd love to have a bit of an evening - am absolutely exhausted from the constant feeding at the end of a long day! Also my dinnertime is stressful as I have to leave him to prepare and eat dinner (about 15 minutes) and he ends up getting upset as the mobile can only entertain him for so long! DH works long hours so is rarely around to help at this time. He does take DS for 3 nights a week though, which is fab, using my expressed milk.

The nap issue is I am unsure whether he should have a 3rd nap after 4pm. He's got pretty consistent in napping around 10/11 am and 2/3pm for around 1 1/2 hours.

We want him to fall asleep around 7pm, so we try to keep him awake after his pm nap (but don't always succeed and he sometimes has a 3rd brief nap).

However he rarely naps 3 times and this means he is awake for many hours until he finally has had enough milk and goes to sleep. This results in him getting overtired and he gets really cranky and upset as we keep him up through his tired periods 😐 (which I hate doing - feel like we are torturing him!).

Any ideas about what to do? Should we let him have a 3rd nap in case sleep begets sleep? Am concerned that if he does have another nap, he will fall asleep even later... One school of thought says keep him up and he should fall asleep for the night 4hours after his 2nd nap (we wish!) and another says do 3 naps a day 😐.

We've tried giving a bottle of BM and / formula which he ingests quicker than just bf but this hasn't made a difference and he still wants to feed until super late.

Any ideas? Sorry this is so long! Thanks for reading it 😊.

Best wishes,


MrsStinkey Wed 18-Jan-17 21:27:31

This book really helped me this time round with DD2 who has been a more troublesome sleeper than her sister. I'd recommend it to anyone. I didn't follow it to the letter but the advice on napping was really helpful and I still sometimes go back to it now if DD2 is haveibg an unsettled time. She's 1 now.

lornathewizzard Wed 18-Jan-17 21:29:56

When they're so young I think you should let them sleep when tired. My DS is 5.5mo (lost count of weeks!) and has 4 bottles during the day (formula) and naps between each one, then goes down after his bedtime bottle anytime between 7.30-8.30 ish. So for example today he fell asleep at 5.30 for maybe 40mins, then had a bottle at 7.15 then was asleep about 8.30. Still wakes for a bottle during the night.
Now I know there will be differences because you are BFing but my DS is a wreck if he's overtired

FATEdestiny Wed 18-Jan-17 22:10:55

More sleep = better sleep

At 18 weeks I would expect no longer than 60 minutes awake between waking from one nap and being asleep the next nap. 90 minutes at most.

Kariana Wed 18-Jan-17 22:15:00

He should definitely be on at least three naps a day, he really isn't getting enough sleep for his age. Based on what you say I'd be getting him to have an hour between 4 and 5, then aiming for bed at 7. He shouldn't be awake for longer than two hours at a time. It will take a few days to work but you'll soon see that the extra nap should stop the evening fussiness. Babies often want to feed and feed when they are overtired. It will take longer for the sleep at 7pm to become more than a nap and merge with the night time sleep, but keep persisting with it. It took 2 weeks for my ds to stop waking, but it gradually got later and later until it merged into his night time.

ThePants999 Thu 19-Jan-17 00:29:13

I'm so bewildered by the wide array of advice that's out there on this topic. We have the Sears' "baby sleep book", which I'd hoped would at least be CONSISTENT whether it's definitive or not... but at one point in the book it says "two or three two-hour naps" for 3-6 months, and at a later point in the same ruddy book it says "two naps a day, 1-1.5 hours each". Similar themes with different numbers can be found all over the web... then at the other end of the spectrum there's the "nap after an hour awake, 20-minute naps are fine" school of thought. Can some scientists please hurry up and study this properly and thoroughly debunk all the claims that are wrong...!

FATEdestiny Thu 19-Jan-17 08:12:29

at one point in the book it says "two or three two-hour naps" for 3-6 months, and at a later point in the same ruddy book it says "two naps a day, 1-1.5 hours each"

A baby of 3-6m sleeping solidly 12h at night without waking would want "two naps a day, 1-1.5 hours each"

A baby of 3-6m waking frequently at night is likely to have naturally shorter naps so would want a "nap after an hour awake, 20-minute naps are fine"

Both are correct.

General advice on those sorts of timings are universally consistant, regardless of the source.

What you need to remember is that the scale of "normal" is massively wide in the under 6 month bracket. You will have babies who've been sleeping through 12+ hour at night and can easily link sleep cycles. You will have babies unable to move from one sleep cycle into the next so wake at least hourly.

Both are normal. And everything in between.

That's why there can never be "one size fits all" advice.

Bethan2 Thu 19-Jan-17 14:27:49

Hi all,

Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately we had another rubbish night last night as he's had his 16 week injections today which will no doubt throw everything off, but we will try to put him down for more naps, regardless of the time of day and see if that makes a difference!

Thanks again,


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