Nursery and napping(26 Posts)
5mo DS is starting nursery (unfortunately - I really don't want him to but we don't have much of a choice ) and I'm really worried about his sleep while he's there. He'll be in nursery 7am - 4pm and until now he has been a really good sleeper - he only naps on me but that's no problem, he sleeps brilliantly during the night and I've been so pleased as it's something I've worked really hard to maintain.
Yesterday was his first morning start at nursery, but he wasn't doing a full day. We had to wake him at 6. He usually wakes on his own at around 7:30 for a feed then naps again until about 9:30. He slept on the drive to nursery but woke up once he was there and had less than an hour's sleep from 7 - 1pm, when I picked him up.
Last night was the first ever night we've had screaming and crying before bed. I felt awful . I got him to sleep at about ten after half an hour of screaming and rocking. Afterwards he woke up screaming twice and me and DH went to bed at 10:30, after which he slept til morning.
Did he scream so much because he was overtired? He only ever usually cries when he's in pain, frightened or tired so I think that might be the case. He also seems to be going through a bit of a developmental leap just now so I imagine he needs even more sleep, though his new found excitement about everything he sees is making him less keen to take naps!
Today I picked him up again at about 1 after a 7am start and again he's only slept for about an hour while at nursery. Since he got home he's slept for about three hours, which is fine, but next week he starts full time and what if they can't get him to nap in the afternoon?
Basically I'm asking if there are any strategies for getting him to take more productive naps in nursery. I can send in his sleepyhead which might help - although it'll be a bit of a pain to cart it around, I don't mind doing so if it's worth it.
I'm so anxious about him going to nursery anyway and I could have cried myself last night as it felt as if I'd done something to hurt him
May I ask what your expectations were before he started? You say he sleeps great on you but did you think that would be able to continue that at nursery? I would have thought it would have been a good idea to encourage him to sleep in a cot.
You're right Snap8theCat, it would have been and that was why I bought the sleepyhead, but my maternity leave is so short that I wanted to cuddle him. Selfish I know and now I feel shit about it. To be fair the first few half days at nursery they had him sleeping in a cot so I thought it would be fine. Seems stupid now.
Ime how babies behave at nursery and how they behave at home is very different. It will take time but he will acclimatise to the new routine. Yes, some hard nights are to be expected until he settles.
I had only ever breastfed my baby to sleep (and she mostly slept on/with me) by the time I handed her over to nursery. I think you did the right thing by not trying to force him into a cot while you had him with you full time.
I agree with the above re: home and nursery routines being very different. He'll probably still want to cuddle with you when you're together on weekends/after work but will have no trouble after a bit of a transition sleeping in a cot at nursery.
Don't stress mamma.
My DS only napped on me and in the car or pushchair. I'd tried and failed to get him to take cot naps and when he started nursery at 10 months, I was worried how he would manage. Within a month he was napping on mats on the floor with all the other children, and continued to do so past his third birthday. It's only 1 experience but the nursery staff said the vast majority just adapt.
I was worried about the same thing before my son started nursery. They take a bit of time to settle into the new routine but I found my son would nap in a cot in nursery when he'd only ever napped on me before!
Give it a few days to settle down.
I only say it, not to be unkind but I have minded many children and the ones with great sleep habits at home continue to sleep well here and settle better because they are well rested. I have a little bit at the moment who isn't settling well because he's only catnapping with me and overtired and clingy the rest of the time. It really hard on everyone including me and when mum picks up and rolls her eyes at me because he hasn't slept very much I do get a little frustrated that she thinks I'm doing it on purpose. Of course I want him to sleep longer, it would make my life infinitely easier.
Did he scream so much because he was overtired?
Yes, that's exactly why he's finding it hard to settle at night.
It will settle down at nursery and I am sure his sleep at nursery will improve. But it may take some time.
In your position I would make some "needs must" changes. Things in place to make responding to him in the night easier with the expectation he'll need more reassurance from you in the night.
So I'd have the cot next to my bed.
I'd go to bed early myself
I'd set my expectations that nights will be broken
I'd set aside an hour or so dedicated attention when baby goes to bed, not trying to rush getting him to sleep.
Then do as much catch-up slerp as possible when he's at home with you.
Omg, you are not selfish for cuddling your baby. Enjoy them while they are young! Never ever feel you have to apologise for this.
All babies sleep better on their mums chests.
Transitioning to nursery is always hard, if he wasn't finding sleep difficult it would be something else. Am I right in saying he's only done two days? He won't sleep so well there at first, but believe me even if the next few weeks are hell, you'll all settle into a new routine by next month. Stop feeling guilty. You have and are continuing to do what's best for your baby.
Oh and by the way, nurseries are so used to this. My son was 1 when e started and had only ever been fed to sleep. His key worker and other staff found new ways, rubbing his cheek or rocking him gently to get him to sleep. Within a few weeks he was napping with all the other children.
Snap8 what do you mean exactly by "great sleep habits"? I am asking because my LO starts with the childminder in 6 weeks' time when he'll be nearly 1. At home we have our routine and he has 2 naps at regular times each day in his cot in a darkened room, with his music on and his cuddle pillow. I can't expect those conditions to be exactly replicated by the childminder though. He's not just a nod-off-anywhere sort of kid (or not with me, he isn't). So what's the most important thing do you think? TIA...
Thank you everyone, your replies have been so kind it's made me a bit fearful I think I'm finding the transition a lot tougher than the baby so far - he just seems so small, and I'm going to miss him so much. If the days weren't so long it wouldn't be so bad but there's nothing we can do.
SnotGoblin (love your username btw) I'll be very happy to cuddle him as much as he needs in the evenings and at weekends
WhatwouldRuthdo Thank you, I hope the same thing will happen with DS! On the first day I did wonder what mystical powers the nursery staff had used to get him to sleep in a cot at all!
AndWhat You're right, I need to relax and see how it goes... I might be panicking a bit after only a few days...
Snap8theCat I suppose we're all aiming for the same thing really! I know the nursery staff try really hard with him, he seems to love them and I took time to choose the nursery really carefully so I know they're good at what they do. Thanks for your reply
FateDestiny Your advice has been really helpful to me before so I'll be taking it again. You're right, we need to do some damage limitation until he settles. I'll do all those things!
Freezingwinter They do seem to be amazing with the babies at nursery, I don't know how they manage to be so calm Maybe I just need to trust them a bit more to do their jobs. He's only done two longish days - he's had a few visits for a couple of hours to get used to the place
while I sat anxiously in the parents' room. We've got the added complication of a trip to the U.K. over Easter so we also get to deal with a whole new time zone!!
Thanks again everyone, I do feel better. I'm normally pretty calm and rational but having a baby has turned me into an emotional wreck!!
It's ok, I remember this feeling so well. And my little one was much older than yours, and I was still a wreck. They seem so vulnerable and helpless don't they?! I'm sure your nursery is fantastic, in a few weeks I daresay you'll be a bit wobbly still but so much better! In the meantime ride out these next few weeks. I am almost certain if your baby only sleeps on you the nursery staff
Will do the same
Thank you It is horrible and I feel so guilty but he does seem very happy there - I know because I stayed for hours the first few visits just to check! It's nice to know that other mums have felt the same way as well. x
A quick update for anyone interested: he slept for about an hour again at nursery today, so when I picked him up at 1pm I put him straight to sleep and he napped for a total of three hours at home. He went down with much less fuss and bother tonight, no screaming (thankfully) and has been asleep for about an hour and a half.
When he's doing full days I'll try to get him to nap as soon as he comes home at 4 til about 5/5:30, then bed by 7ish for a 6am wake up.
Thank again for all the advice. Fingers crossed...
Don't make yourself feel bad, it's a big change for both of you, he'll be processing all the new, different and exciting but exhausting things, of course he'll be tired, and equally it's harder to relax somewhere less familiar. Sounds like you are doing a really lovely gradual settling in, which probably also means nursery are very attuned to ensuring he's super happy and settled there too, you probably find when he does longer days they will encourage him to nap after lunch, it seems usual near where we live that nursery staff get the small ones to sleep rubbing their backs and shhh'ing them off, you'll probably find he really quickly gets into that pattern and sleeps really well. Enjoy your snuggles, you absolutely are right to snuggle him as much as you like.
Sorry only just seen this milliepede
By great sleep habits I suppose I essentially mean, able to settle reasonable well without taking too much of an adults time away from others. I am more than happy to spend a few minutes patting/ reassuring/ checking a child and settling them down but it is impractical and unfair to other children to cuddle a child to sleep for prolonged periods of time for example. If a child is unable to sleep anywhere but a cot this will inhabit the outings and routine if other children. If a child must sleep at a certain time then again this can restrict the setting. If you have three children and they all have different schedules and can only sleep in a cot then you may have to accept your child will never leave the house! As a cm this is important to me but obviously less so for a nursery.
Aha! Got you, thanks Snap8. If only all babies were super easygoing nappers!!
redcaryellowcar I'm snuggling him as I type He slept much better at nursery today, so hopefully you're right that he's getting into a pattern. Thanks for your response!
My dd was like that, now she sleeps at nursery for a good 1-2 hours every day and goes down without any assistance. At home she still needs to be prammed to sleep
dinobum I can identify with that! I feel like I should go in and observe what the nursery nurses do as I've never been able to get him down in a cot!
I had my baby in an immaculate self-soothing, cot-sleeping nap routine. Then she started nursery and her sleep was absolutely horrendous for about 2 weeks then it all came right again.
So basically nursery will mess with sleep no matter what habits your baby is in as it's such a stimulating environment. But babies are very adaptable and will adjust. So please don't worry, you have to just grin & bear it through this little bit
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