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Tactics for weaning off sling naps

(16 Posts)
Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 16:45:40

DS is 14 weeks and generally a pretty good sleeper. Wakes for a feed 2-4 times a night and has 3 naps a day, about 1 hour in the morning, 1.5-2 hours at lunchtime and another hour in the afternoon. Awake for approx 1.5 hours between naps and longer at the end of the day before bed.

We've fallen in to the habit of all naps in the sling. This has been really convenient so far; we live on the 2nd floor with no lift so the buggy is a bit of a pain and having him in the sling means I can come and go as I please at naptimes. However I've reached a point where I'd like a break. I'd like to be able to nap when he does occasionally and just regain a bit of personal space.

I can just about force a nap in the car if I get him to sleep in the sling first and then transfer but it lasts max one sleep cycle and then he wakes up screaming and horribly upset. I've had some small success transferring him to the cot or bouncer for the last 10 mins or so of his nap but if I try earlier in his nap he wakes up early, tired and upset. If I try and start a nap in any of those places he cries, escalating quickly to screams, at which point I stop and put him in the sling. I tried a dummy a couple of times when he was 6-8 weeks old but he just looked at me like I'd shoved a wet fish in his mouth and spat it out.

Has anyone had any success gently weaning a baby off sling naps? Ideally I'd love him to be able to nap without movement so I could have a sleep myself but even a solid hour in the bouncer would be great. Any tactics to share with me?

Heirhelp Sun 19-Mar-17 16:57:54

Can you try cosleeping for naps?

Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 17:03:09

I've tried lying down with him and feeding to sleep. If I catch him at the right time, he'll get very sleepy but not quite asleep and stay suckling like that for maybe an hour. I do it when I'm desperate for a rest but he never reaches the point of being fully asleep and ends up grouchy for the rest of the day.

Tricksy little gremlin.

Heirhelp Sun 19-Mar-17 17:07:29

Babies are odd little gorgeous squishy little creatures. Maybe try sling transfer to bed and then into your arms?

Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 17:10:13

He is indeed odd gorgeous and squishy! That sounds worth a try, I'll have a go at that tomorrow morning.

Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 17:12:36

He's perfectly happy sleeping alone at night time. We have him in a co-sleeper cot so he's nearby by not touching and is very happy there. But in the day he wants contact. As you say, Heirhelp, odd little creatures

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Mar-17 17:13:12

I would suggest you give one nap a day to being "put down" to nap. But set your expectations that this nap is likely to be shorter and so baby will need to make up for the lost sleeping times during the rest of the day - either with an additional nap or lengthening the other naps.

If you do this as a routine, say the first nap of every day, baby will start getting used to being put down for naps but will still be getting enough sleep by catching up during other naps.

Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 17:20:55

That sounds sensible FATEdestiny. Assuming it will take some time for him to come around to my way of thinking, what's the best thing to do if he doesn't sleep when put down? When he gets tired and doesn't get a nap he gets really upset - should I try until the upset starts and then revert to the sling? Or just try and console him as best I can until next nap time? I do want to get him there and i can take a bit of protesting but not at the expense of really upsetting us both.

mimiholls Sun 19-Mar-17 19:13:25

How do you get him down to bed in the evening? I successfully transferred from sling naps to cot naps. This was after establishing a good bedtime routine and having dd settle down well in the cot at bedtime. Once I had that established for a month or so and I knew she could do it I started doing one nap a day the same in the cot. Now I can do all her naps in the cot if I choose to. Also as a transition between sling and cot I did naps in bouncy chair for a while. Would that be an option?
The reason I started with bedtime is because it took ages at first for her to settle in the cot, and I felt like I was spending all day trying to get her to nap by which time it was time for feed again etc. If you get him settling well in the cot at bedtime, naps in the cot should fall into place in the day too.

Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 19:31:01

Hi mimiholls. We've had him in a bedtime routine from about 7 weeks. He plays with DP for a while, then has a bath, in to pyjamas, feed in the dark in bed with the white noise (doing the feed right now!) and asleep by 8. It used to be feed to sleep every night. Just recently I've started being able to put him down very sleepy at the end of the feed and sit with him while he drifts off. That's still a bit hit and miss but it's starting to work more often than not. Sounds like of I keep working on that it might help with naps? Bouncy chair definitely an option. We have one he's happy sitting in while awake, I just can't quite convince him to fall asleep in there yet!

mimiholls Sun 19-Mar-17 19:36:58

That sounds really great, yes I think if you keep going with that at bedtime it will make naps a lot easier. Bouncy chair took a while for us but pop him in when you know hes getting tired and keep bouncing you should hopefully get there.

Quodlibet Sun 19-Mar-17 19:39:19

Mine was like this for quite a while - at one point he would only nap if you kept moving with the sling on too. He wouldn't tolerate the buggy at all at first.

However, without us having to force anything he slowly got used to the buggy and transitioned his naps to there. He now naps for a couple of hours at a time in there, which is probably much more helpful for us than it would be for you as I have a ground floor entrance and can bring him in and leave him to sleep while we get on with stuff. It isn't practical for me for him to nap in his cot as o have a toddler and we need to be able to be flexible and out of the house.

Tbh I think it's just persistence - pick where you want him to nap, and then put him down there every day. It might take a few cranky days to get him to twig but you'll get there in the end.

CottonSock Sun 19-Mar-17 19:40:21

I had to do this as my shoulders were suffering. Most naps taken on the move, otherwise at home in pram. She gave up the last nap of the day when I won't offer it in sling. Not been too bad really

GieryFas Sun 19-Mar-17 19:50:51

I had a swing (sideways rather than back to front) which was the first place other than me that both dds napped. It was the Fisher Price cradle swing, and something about that strong side to side motion seemed to be similar to being in the sling. They're expensive new and take up a lot of space, but we found one locally on eBay really cheap, and if you can do that it might be worth a go.

Otherwise, I'd try with the first nap of the day, if it doesn't work after a few minutes (I used to go to the loo and see if they'd stopped crying by the time I came out) then sling instead. I found that after a bit they did a brief cry but were asleep but the time I'd washed my hands. And the first nap, IME, is the easiest as they're not overtired.

Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 19:51:04

Oh yes, the movement! Some days it requires constant dancing, others I can stand still but he's definitely not a fan of me sitting down.

I guess its going to be a combination of persistence, routine and gentle encouragement as he gets older. In the meantime I'll just have to take it on faith that I'm not going to end up with a 6ft teenager strapped to my front every lunchtime in 15 years time grin

Triangularsquare Sun 19-Mar-17 19:53:54

Thanks GieryFas. If I'm not getting anywhere in a few weeks time I may investigate that swing

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