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Daytime naps all over the place plus crying in sleep

(10 Posts)
JumpSturdy Fri 24-Feb-17 16:35:51

Apologies in advance: long and boring, and I'm typing one-thumbed under napping baby!

She's six months, been sleeping through (roughly 10 to 7) for a few months. Fed to sleep at night, rarely in day. Since Christmas I've been aiming for naps after two hours awake, greatly reducing grouchiness. However, I had/have no idea how to get her to sleep for longer than 30 minutes, though she clearly needs it. If i put her down early she'd play about then get cross - not sleep earlier. The odd occasion I was late putting her down led to horrible overtired crotchetiness. So awake window seems right, but she'd get visibly more tired as the day went on, though still waking after 30 minutes. Very occasionally she would throw me a curve ball and sleep for three hours.

This past week these long naps have become more frequent (4 hours yesterday at which point I got nervous and woke her up!) She's also started a weird crying in her sleep. A couple of times at about 5am, once when going off at night, and then several times 40 or so minutes into a nap, she'll cry out for 10 minutes or so, but eyes closed, not properly awake. Nighttime she just drifted off again, the daytime I've done a dream feed and she's gone on to sleep for hours more.

I don't know where to go from here. The sleep-crying may just be a weird quirk and not last but I don't really know what to do about it. In general I feel like she's not getting enough daytime sleep, but don't know how to regularise her naps - should I be waking her from the new/infrequent long ones? How can I persuade her to stay down for longer than 30 minutes when that's obviously not enough? I never tried to instil much of a routine, just kept an eye on length of time awake and otherwise go with the flow but wondering if that was a mistake? What should I be doing to make sure she's getting enough? Should I be worried about the weird crying wake-ups - or the fact that she'll sleep half the day away if I feed her over those bouts? What's going on with this baby?!

Apologies again. Nervous first timer and terrified of breaking our magical nights!

FATEdestiny Fri 24-Feb-17 19:27:19

A 3 or 4 hour nap would suggest a really exhausted 6 month old baby. These lengths of naps are usually seen once you move your toddler to a single after-lunch nap. To have very long naps in a baby having multiple naps per day, it suggests the baby really, really needs her sleep (ie she is absolutely overtired knackered).

I would suggest that 2 hours awake time is too long, for your baby having 30 minute naps. 2 hours awake time would be about right for a baby having 2 or 3 60-90 minute naps per day. But 2 hours awake before and after a short 30 minute nap strikes me as a very long awake time.

With 30 minutes naps, I'd aim for about an hour awake time, 90m at most - but the shorter awake time the better. Maps will baturally extend in time. Until they do, just keeping baby awake more isn't a way to get more sleep - it will lead to less sleep.

There are things you can do to help lengthen naps. Primarily this involves resetting baby as quickly and effectively as possible from the first stir from sleep.

I found the most effective way to resettle was dummy in and movement. For this reason I kept naps in the bouncy chair until they extended.

Have you tried pushchair naps? They allow for movement to extend the nap. Or how about cosleeping and offering breast and cuddles to resettle?

The crying in her sleep - if she's resetting quickly and easily, I cannot see a problem

JumpSturdy Fri 24-Feb-17 20:27:04

Thank you! The sudden long naps do worry me! I can try the bouncy chair for naps, although I have been trying to get her to go down in her cot for daytime sleep because she's about to grow out of the Bednest so going to need to shift her there at night soon.

Will definitely try more frequent naps, but that does tend to mean it's quite a fight to get her to sleep. The ease with which she goes off at two hours may suggest she's actually overtired at this point, but persuading her to go off earlier isn't usually very successful!

JumpSturdy Sat 25-Feb-17 00:31:48

Holy crap. She's in the middle of another screaming bout. Eyes are closed, it keeps momentarily fading out but she's been going a good five minutes and it's horrible! It's not a little whimper, she's properly howling! Has anyone else ever had this?!

JumpSturdy Sat 25-Feb-17 00:32:37

Don't know how she hasn't woken herself up! sad

CrazyGreyhoundLady Sat 25-Feb-17 00:37:17

My 4 month old does this crying in her sleep, it's awful and I have no suggestions on how to stop it but I can sympathise and wanted to say you aren't alone.

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 09:46:19

It's not a little whimper, she's properly howling!

Cuddle her then?!

I would not leave by baby upset.

CrazyGreyhoundLady Sat 25-Feb-17 15:28:22

Cuddle her then?!
I would not leave by baby upset.

If she's asleep sadly this doesn't always work. Believe me OP is not necessarily ignoring the poor child! <<bitter voice of experience>>

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Feb-17 15:57:35

CrazyGreyhoundLady - I've already said that, in my first post (last paragraph).

However if my baby then continued to howl in a way that I felt was "horrible", if it upset me or made me feel uneasy, I wouldn't leave the child regardless of the circumstances.

What I was suggesting in my second post was that if the baby's distress made the op feel uncomfortable, she should not feel it would be wrong to pick her up or cuddle her.

CrazyGreyhoundLady Sat 25-Feb-17 22:08:44

Sorry. I meant she could quite easily be holding her daughter while she is crying. My DD does this screaming in her sleep and I sit there cuddling her when it starts but it still doesn't stop, often she won't wake up for a good while. I don't put her down till it does stop and she's calm but it still lasts 5-10 minutes.

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