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2 month old will not nap!

(17 Posts)
Babydreaming Wed 08-Feb-17 12:12:04

Hi,

I'm a 1st time mum with a 2 month old. He's been an awful sleeper from day 1 but we've now improved nighttime so he doesn't stay up for hours..wakes 4-5 times overnight still but it's a huge improvement!

During the day I spend about 6h of my time trying to get him to nap. He sends off the sleepy cues so I take him upstairs to his cot. If I put him down he becomes wide eyed and cries 5 min later continuously. I can rock him/nurse him to sleep but as soon as I put him down his eyes are wide open again. We battle it out for an hour or 2 each time and then finally he manages a 20 min nap..of which he has about 3 in daytime.

He will sleep when in a sling/held by me but I'm trying desperately to break that habit.

I've tried swaddle, white noise and I use a sleepyhead. I've tried dummy but he spits it out.

Any more ideas?! This can't go on...!

minipie Wed 08-Feb-17 12:24:52

Stick with the sling or take him for walks in the buggy.

At this age the most important thing is getting him to sleep enough. Don't worry about how he does it, just get the sleep in.

If they have slept enough, they settle much more easily and you don't get the "ping awake as soon as you put them down" thing as much.

If they haven't slept enough and get overtired you will find it harder and harder to get them to sleep and there will be more and more pinging awake. (Voice of very bitter experience)

Don't worry about the self settling thing until you're sure he's getting enough sleep (which is LOADS at that age - he should be asleep more than he's awake, even in the day). Once he's getting enough sleep regularly, you can try again (cautiously) with the self settling, but right now he sounds overtired and it won't work.

Sleep breeds sleep.

Babydreaming Wed 08-Feb-17 12:30:03

Mini pie that's what I've been doing for past month but mother in law and health visitor have told me I have to get him used to sleeping without me before he gets too heavy! I'm really not sure what the right thing to do is... I wish I had one of those babies that are really sleepy!

minipie Wed 08-Feb-17 12:52:56

I think you are doing the right thing.

Yes he is probably dependent on you to sleep (but this is very normal at this age). And yes in an ideal world he'd be able to go to sleep by himself as your MIL and HV say (but in reality this is pretty rare at this age).

I suspect the only way you are going to get him used to going to sleep without you is by sleep training. I would say 2 months is too young for most sleep training as it tends to involve some crying (though I suspect your HV and MIL may be quite old school and think it's fine).

If you're not happy to leave him to cry, you could either ride it out until he's older, i.e. keep assisting him to sleep for several months and then sleep train, or work on very very gentle sleep training methods eg the No Cry Sleep Solution.

Whatever you decide to do, getting the right amount of sleep for his age is the most important thing, as overtiredness always makes sleep and settling worse.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 08-Feb-17 12:56:44

You do not have to 'get him used' to sleeping off you. It's a developmental skill - you can't force independent sleep any more than you can force walking or talking.

DS1 would only nap on me or in the car until he dropped naps around 2.5 years old. He napped absolutely fine at nursery, but if I was around, he needed me, and there was no two ways about it. I tried everything, 'fought' with him my entire maternity leave, made us both upset, and left him under-slept because I thought he 'should' and was 'supposed' to nap in a cot or pram.

DS2 would only nap on me, in the sling or in the car until he was around 14mo, then napped better in his cot than anywhere else. What's more, I was able to truly enjoy the novelty of having a child nap off me, and be able to do other stuff! He's back to needing the car now, though, because he's on the verge of dropping naps altogether. I never fought with him for cot naps, by the way. I just let him have what he needed as a baby, and he has ended up being a far more independent sleeper as a toddler (day and night) than DS1 ever was.

You only have one baby. Don't spend the day fighting with naps. Your life will get so much easier and pleasanter if you just let your baby sleep on you. Line up snacks and Netflix for nap times, and life will get even pleasanter! You'll have a more put-downable baby when he's awake too, because he'll be well-slept and less likely to be grumpy. You can do boring housework then smile

minipie Wed 08-Feb-17 12:57:16

Just saw he has 3 x 20 min naps in the day. OK he is WAY overtired in that case, and that will be contributing to the night wakes and pinging awake. Even if you wanted to teach him to self settle, it wouldn't work at all when he's so overtired.

I recommend some loooong pram walks - you may find you need to walk for a while before he drops off, and keep walking to keep him asleep. Bundle up warm and get out at least twice a day for at least 1.5 hours each time. Or sling if you find it works better. Just increase his daytime sleep however you can! He should be sleeping at least 3-4 hours a day at that age.

bonnymnemonic Wed 08-Feb-17 13:35:09

Two months is way too young to expect him to settle himself. Just get him rested using whatever method works for now. Some babies are better at sleeping independently even at an early age, but it doesn't sound like yours is one of those few.

Five to seven months is considered the optimum age for sleep training.

Alternatively, how long is he asleep before you attempt to put him down? The first 20 minutes of sleep tends to be really light, which is why a baby will often wake if you move them just after they fall asleep. You could try putting him down 25 minutes or so after he goes to sleep, but you may find he only sleeps a further 20 minutes or so.

Good luck!

Babydreaming Wed 08-Feb-17 16:17:15

Thanks everyone. After your advice I've given in to the sling again and he's finally having a bit of sleep! Been asleep for last 90 mins. Maybe I'll try again in a few weeks as hoping he will get over it eventually.

minipie Wed 08-Feb-17 17:03:31

Yay! Keep doing that and you will all be happier, honestly. No problem in trying again in a few weeks, just never push it to the point where he's overtired as it's counterproductive.

I found once DD was a few months (4 months iirc) she would self settle ok for her morning nap and then the other naps would be using the buggy. Eventually she settled at those naps too. So if you do want to try again, suggest you try at the morning nap only - someone told me the morning nap is always the easiest to get them to settle as they are unlikely to be overtired.

savagehk Wed 08-Feb-17 17:06:59

Do what feels right for you and feel free to ignore unhelpful advice from MIL/HV. Spending 6hrs of your day to get a baby to sleep is not anyone's idea of fun.

Will he nap in a pram?

FraterculaArctica Wed 08-Feb-17 17:14:50

Lower your expectations, even with regard to trying again 'in a few weeks'. DD is almost 6 mo and will still only manage very short naps unless in sling/in car/ nipple reinserted frequently (I'm currently standing rocking to keep her asleep in the sling). I'm not even thinking about trying to encourage self settling before 8-9 months, more likely a year. What your MIL and HV are not saying is that getting them to sleep by just 'putting them down' involves a lot of distress for the baby. Many people, myself included, wouldn't inflict this on such a tiny baby.

I had a similar issue with ds1 - I had this misguided belief that, when he nodded off, I should put him in his basket and leave him to sleep whilst I Got On With Things.

He did not agree with this approach, and would wake up within 10 minutes of me putting him down - but if I sat down and cuddled him, he'd sleep for ages.

I just wish I could go back and clatter my younger self around the ears and say 'For god's sake woman, sit down and cuddle the baby - the housework will wait!!'

Also - whisper it quietly - mothers-in-law and health visitors are not always right.......

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 08-Feb-17 17:39:35

<waves Green & Blacks wrappers at Fratercula>

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 08-Feb-17 17:41:45

And what SDTG said. You will never look back and regret cuddling your baby. You will regret not doing it - I wish I could go back and tell my DS1-self the same thing as SDTG. I enjoyed the baby stage SO much more with DS2 because I just let him sleep on me while I watched crappy TV and ate cake.

FraterculaArctica Wed 08-Feb-17 17:56:11

Elphaba wishing I'd got some for myself too to cope with a week of 2 under 3s alone while DH is on the far side of the world.

OP believe me and Elphaba. Coffee and chocolate are the way forward.

teaandbiscuitsforme Wed 08-Feb-17 18:30:47

The advice from the HV is shocking. At this stage, your baby needs as much sleep as you can possibly give him and he needs you to be as rested and calm as you can be to look after him. Therefore, he needs to nap in the easiest way possible for you- on you, nursing, co-sleeping, pram, sling, car, it really doesn't matter at this stage so long as he's asleep!

Please don't worry yourself about strict routines, breaking habits, self settling yet. Your baby is still tiny!

And ignore your MIL. She's not helpful.

NapQueen Wed 08-Feb-17 18:33:29

No way should a HV be advising to put him to sleep alone in his cot at 8 weeks. At that age he needs to be near you all the time. If that is on you then that's fine!

Swaddling helps too if you can swaddle and hold him and maybe warm the moses basket or whatever you have downstairs for him to sleep him her may transfer after 20mins sleep.

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