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Short naps help!

(12 Posts)
spacepoodle Thu 09-Feb-17 17:23:06

My baby has always been a terrible napper. I managed, with much perseverance, to get him into a good routine around 8 weeks old.

Since he was around 3 months old he has only napped for 30 minutes exactly. His morning nap will occasionally last 45 minutes. He has, less than a handful of times, napped for around an hour at lunchtime. 90% of the time I can set my watch by him - he'll be awake 30 minutes after going to sleep. Upon waking he is more often than not chatty and smiley.

He naps 4 or 5 times a day (every 1.5-2 hours) and it doesn't matter if he is in the cot, the pram (I have walked miles), the car, a bouncy chair or the swing - he has only napped for 30 minutes exactly. However... Now, at a few days off 5 months old, his naps seem to be getting even shorter! For example, he woke once after about 20 minutes and again after about 15 minutes.

Is it time to extend his waking time and expect him to extend his naps? Do babies one day suddenly drop a nap/extend them or do I need to do something? This is my first baby and I'm not sure what I should be doing, if anything!

I should add:
- he can self-settle and he does so at night.
- we use a dummy and white noise for naps.
- since he has been sleeping through (usually 10-12.5 hours) I have been feeding more regularly in the day to ensure he's getting enough milk. He has between 5oz and 8oz every 2-3 hours. He is around the 70 centile.

Any advice gratefully received!

user1474462227 Thu 09-Feb-17 21:15:46

My little one is now 8 months has only napped for 20mins at the most. He still naps for 20min. I guess that's enough for him. I wouldn't worry.
He has 2 naps in the morning and 2 naps in the afternoon. 5-5.30pm being his last nap for the day( 20min nap)
Bedtime at 7.30-8pm.
He can be grumpy when he wakes up from his naps. I think he wants to sleep extra but he's always had a short nap.

spacepoodle Fri 10-Feb-17 17:08:49

Thanks user.

After posting this yesterday he has today had:

- one 20 minute nap
- two 45/50 minute naps

And he has just started to fall asleep an hour after initially putting him in the swing with a dummy - usually a guaranteed way to get him to sleep. He is looking quite restless.

I wonder if he's ready to drop a nap as he's sleeping so well at night now. I just have no idea!

user1474462227 Fri 10-Feb-17 19:32:28

I think he would drop a nap naturally when he is ready and wants to. I too have no idea. I've also got an older son, 7yrs old, but I've forgotten all the routines and the stresses of being a mum to a baby,lol.

lelong Fri 10-Feb-17 20:14:56

Hi spacepoodle

I've had so much advice from mumsnet over the last couple of years i've just joined to hopefully share what little wisdom i've gleaned from being a first time mum with a 16 month old!

I know this is probably annoying, but the best advice i'd give you about day time naps is not to stress about it - particularly as your baby is sleeping AMAZINGLY well at night!

my baby was also a 30 minute napper until he was about 6/7 months old (plus a crap nighttime sleeper haha!), when he started to crawl (not sure if that had anything to do with it) and then he just extended his morning nap on his own, meaning he dropped down to 2 naps a day from 3. i tried everything but in the end he just did it on his own. next time i'll be so much more relaxed about it!

i should also say that of my nct group of 7, not one had a 'textbook' napper and many were 30 minute nappers. while the textbook nappers may exist, i really think they are the exception rather than the rule that baby sleep books make you believe!

that said, i think that at 5 months old, and particularly if he's starting to do a few slightly longer naps / it's getting harder to get him down for the last nap of the day, you could definitely drop that last nap and just put him to bed slightly earlier. you could also try stretching time between naps a bit and see what happens, although that doesn't always work if they end up getting overtired. when my baby (now toddler) started doing a very short last nap of the day and i had to really work to get him to sleep for it, i just got rid of it and it was fine.

there is genuinely light at the end of the tunnel - now at 16 months my toddler naps like a dream every day from 12 till 2. bliss.

good luck

Sillymummy81 Fri 10-Feb-17 20:27:54

Mine did this. Could set a clock by him. The worst thing for me was finding I had no real time for a break in the days as once he was down and id cleared up/made lunch/dinner, he'd be awake again! 40 minutes to the second when he was tiny and slept brilliantly at night). He dropped his naps without me doing anything- I followed his lead. Each time he dropped one the others stayed at 40 minutes. Dropped to two naps a day, still 40 minutes. Then at 11m dropped to one nap. Game changer! He napped for 1-3 hours- oh how i celebrated! (His night time sleep then went a bit tits up but I had a break in the day at least to recover!). He's now 2 and just dropping his daytime nap. (And has gone back to being a good night time sleeper finally!)
I honestly wouldn't worry. It sounds like he (and you) has found his own little awesome rhythm that works for him so I'd be tempted not to attempt to change anything and go with it. He'll let you know when and if he wants to change things. Sounds like you're doing great!

mellysam Fri 10-Feb-17 20:44:54

If your baby is sleeping through the night just stick with what you are doing - from a very jealous and exhausted mum wanting desperately for her babies to sleep through the night!

FATEdestiny Sat 11-Feb-17 14:24:27

Is it time to extend his waking time and expect him to extend his naps?

No. It works the other way around.

When baby starts napping longer, they will therefore want to stay awake longer (because their last nap was longer) and so naps naturally space further apart and therefore a nap is "dropped".

So you need to wait until naps extend until naps start to be dropped. If you do it the other way, you'll just end up with an exhausted, over tired baby having fewer short naps.

You can either
(a) wait it out
(b) actively extend naps

If you just wait, babies naturally start to extend their daytime naps naturally. You don't have to do anything, just ensure baby gets enough sleep (so keep short naps very frequent) until it happens.

I actively worked-on extending naps. So I would keep naps in a place that allows for rhythmic movement, until they are extended. So no cot naps for mine until naps were longer than 90 minutes.

I favoured the bouncy chair. But pushchsir, swing, rocket, pram - these all work the same. The dummy is also invaluable for this.

So I'd bounce baby to sleep with the dummy. Then park nysekf on the sofa with bouncy chair at my feet, and periodically bounce for a bit, still for a bit. As soon as I see the first tiny sign of baby stirring, immediately start bouncing. Reinsert dummy if needed, keep that rhythmic, gentle bouncing going. The idea is to move baby from one sleep cycle into the next.

Initially it may not work, baby may just wake up. But sometimes baby will stay asleep instead of waking when stirring (and you do a silent cheer).

Again initially you may be needed to continually bounce through that second sleep cycle to keep it going. But in time, you can start easing off the bouncing and baby will stay asleep.

Then once this resetting is really established, baby should stop waking at all between sleep cycles. That's when you have longer naps.

I started doing this resetting at 3 months and my youngest had extended her naps to 90 minutes plus by 5 months - so it took 2 months of actively forcing naps to extend.

Once I was getting two longer naps per day, that's when I moved daytime naps in to the cot.

LittleLionMansMummy Sat 11-Feb-17 19:49:08

How old is he? I thought they naturally began lengthening and consolidating naps between 4 and 5 months. That's what ds did and I seem to remember him hitting a 45 minute nap phase which eventually passed. I hope so anyway as dd is currently taking only very short naps, unless sleeping on me. She's 11 weeks. Ds is 6.

spacepoodle Sun 19-Feb-17 22:53:15

Thank you all for your responses. I'm aware we're lucky with him sleeping so well at night and I'm very grateful for that!

Motion combined with a dummy doesn't seem to help him resettle after a short nap. Although he does nap in his cot/pram or in the car it's only for 30 minutes, 45 at most. I've noticed he naps for longest on our bed - 2 hours yesterday! I guess for now I'll see what happens and just appreciate the nighttime sleep.

Turneeps Mon 20-Feb-17 07:25:23

My 45 min napper just changed at about 6-7 months old to start napping for 1.5 hours. Hopefully your wee one will grow into less but longer napa on her own. Especially when started solids and gettinget more active.

WowserBowser Mon 20-Feb-17 07:37:15

Dd is 4 months nearly. She is fairly similar. Short naps during the day. A longer one at lunch time. Appprox 11 hours at night.

I just let her get on with it. Ds who is 6 was similar and fell in to his own routine eventually.

I wouldn't cut down on naps, just enjoy the fact they sleep.

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