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Nap times

(5 Posts)
ZooLife Tue 28-Feb-17 10:33:50

Just wondered when all your 6mth to 18mth olds take naps roughly? I have a 4 year old and can't remember much plus he was a really poor sleeper! Baby is 3mths now and just being following his lead to date but he doesn't seem to be staying alseep long now unless we are out. I don't want to get into only sleeping on the go with ds2 as ds1 only slept out and about never in cot and I can't do that with a 4yrold to see to. So any tips and rough times babies sleep through the ages 6-18mths? Also what's best way to get him to stay asleep in bassinet just now? Right now he's rocked or fed to sleep then into basket but wakes quite soon afterward. Should I be introducing a bedtime routine now...have a rough one of change of clothes and wash when ds1 going to bed but then ds2 seems to feed on and off all evening and not settle until we are going to bed later in evening.

FATEdestiny Tue 28-Feb-17 12:30:00

There are several stages of baby sleep. Different babies take different lengths of time to progress from one stage to another, but they all go trough the stages:

Passive Sleep

In the newborn weeks babies sleep freely and easily. Basically they spend most of their time in the default state of asleep, waking only when a need isn't met (hunger, for example). Baby night wake for only 30 minutes of so at a time.

Learning to sleep in cycles

Out of the newborn phase, babies sleep first develops into cycles with periods of light sleeping and deep sleeping. Naps are often short because of this. To avoid over tiredness, make them frequent - say 1h awake followed by a 30-45m nap, repeated all day - 7am until you go to bed.

Sleep also becomes active, not passive. So it requires actively trying to get to sleep and stay asleep. This is the stage when sleep aids are most needed. Make sleep as easy as possible so that baby gets used to sleeping easily and often. Sucking, movement, frequent feeds, your cuddles.

Some people call this phase a regression. It isn't, it's a perminant change. Babies who already have active "getting to sleep" methods may not notice this stage. Babies who are not given enough help to get to sleep may see this stage lasting several months.

Extending Naps - Linking Sleep Cycles

At some point babies learn to link sleep cycles when napping. So naps get longer and less frequent.

This is the time of 2 or 3 naps a day - usually a 1-2h am, 1-2h pm and 30-60m at teatime. Eventually dropping the teatime nap. This is also the stage to establish "bedtime", since even wake-ups reduce when linking sleep cycles. So baby should stay asleep once going yo sleep at night.

As an approximation this happens 5m-10m, but they are all different.

Lunchtime Nap

The drop to a single lunchtime nap averages at 18 months old, but can be anywhere in the 12-24 month range.

Dropping Lunchtime Nap

Anywhere from 2y to 4y old usually.

ZooLife Tue 28-Feb-17 13:15:26

Wow thanks FATE. That is a really helpful and detailed reply. It's something I had at back of my head but seeing it written out like that makes it much clearer. I guess we are just shifting into the learning to sleep in cycles phase (I much prefer that terminology to sleep regression!). So I should expect very short frequent napping at this stage which is a change from the long sleeps of newborn but before they can handle the extended naps? I think with my first son being a poor sleeper I've been worrying about it. Quite happy to help ds2 sleep (usual feed or rock in arms or obviously if outside in sling or pram) but have been stressing about setting up a pattern where those are the only ways he'll sleep ie that he won't self settle. Mainly because ds1 never did (still doesn't!) I just did whatever it took to get him to sleep (mainly feeding or car). In the evenings right now ds2 will nap on me but wake frequently to suck if I don't let him (usual do!) then he just wakes right up crying. If put into cot he's also wake within half he or so bit this is actually normal for his age?!

FATEdestiny Tue 28-Feb-17 13:51:47

You could consider a dummy? Once breastfeeding is established, the NHS recommend dummy use as part of a regular sleep routine because it lowers SIDS risk. Then baby can learn to sleep independently of you, comfort sucking on the dummy instead of the nipple.

Regarding extending naps, you can just wait for it to happen naturally. There are ways you can encourage it to happen sooner though. Its about having ways to resettle baby back to sleep in the first flutters of light sleeping, before waking from a sleep cycle.

I always used a bouncy chair and dummy for this. It allows for rhythmic movement and comfort sucking. Pushchair would work just as well. Or cosleeping with breast access.

The idea is that you keep the sleep trigger going at the first indication of moving out of a deep sleep - catching it before even stirring or waking. Its helpful if naps aren't in the cot for this phase, since resettling without moving/waking baby is harder in the cot.

So I would start gentle bounces in the bouncy chair, reinsert dummy if needed and increasing the tempo of movement. The idea being that you lull back to sleep.

Initially this mostly wont work, when baby moves into light sleeping they may well wake up. So less awake time until the next nap. But the more you do it, the more it works and so you get to the stage where baby is needing very little resettling between sleep cycles. Then no resettling at all.

That is the stage naps extend, you get over an hour from baby without any intervention. I kept naps in something that moved (bouncer at home, pushchair when out) until we got to this stage. Only once naps extended did I start establishing naps in the cot. For my youngest, that was 5 months old. Early because I'd almost been forcing the issue to teach her to extend naps - relentlessly bouncing to keep her asleep for as long as possible.

But as I said, if you are not a fan of active resettling, then you can just wait it out. Naps will extend naturally if you wait long enough. Until then, keep them frequent to avoid over tiredness.

ZooLife Tue 28-Feb-17 14:23:09

Thanks FATE I'll have think about all those suggestions and active resetting which I suppose is what I am doing by having him nap on me and providing breast as soon as he snuffles around for it. I'll give bouncer a good though too!

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