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Early waking and crap naps

(9 Posts)
mumofzach Fri 12-May-17 12:07:21

Sorry I know this has been done to death but I just need some clarity. I'm so confused.

My son is 4 months old today and I have always really struggled with naps. I can get him to sleep but it's always catnaps and always involves me either driving around with him in the car seat or rocking/walking in the pram. He doesn't respond to me cuddling him and just squirms so I don't even have that tool in my arsenal. He has never successfully slept on me! He is formula fed just to give as much info as possible.

This week we have started swimming and he did have epic 3 hour nap in the afternoon as well as usual 10am catnap. This is very unusual and to be honest I don't think it made much difference to his new trick of waking for the day earlier and earlier (5am this morning).

I know it's hard for anyone to advise as all babies are different but I was hoping if I put down a typical day below that someone more experienced may spot where I am going wrong.

5-6am - wake

8am - 10am - I try to get him to nap anytime between these times depending on his sleepy cues. I know this seems like a lot of awake time but if I try and put him down earlier he screams blue murder.
Nap duration is 30 mins

12pm - Nap (Duration 30 mins, 1 hour if I am very lucky)

3pm - 4pm - Nap (Duration 30 mins)

6:45am - 7pm - bedtime ( He will more or less sleep until 3am when he takes a small bottle 4oz)

He used to wake at 7am but this is now 5am.

I just am so confused, some ( friends, mums at baby group and HV) have advised me to accept that he doesn't need much sleep in the day as he sleeps well at night but according to most resources I have read, he should be napping every 2 hours.

I have tried getting him into a set routine but he fought it and it was making us both so stressed that I've tried to be more baby led.

I just feel I'm getting it so wrong and am a bit of a mess to be honest.
I just wonder whether his bedtime is too early and that is why he is waking so early and the naps aren't working?

I'm sorry for the long post, I didn't intend it to be when I started typing but it's just gone that way.

I don't for one minute anyone has the miracle solution but I guess it's just helped me to post this.


FATEdestiny Fri 12-May-17 13:56:51

some ( friends, mums at baby group and HV) have advised me to accept that he doesn't need much sleep in the day as he sleeps well at night

The ONLY person who you should be listening to this is your son.

Is he grumpy? Does he seem tired? Clinginess is another obvious tired sign. A well rested baby is likely to be content and happy to be put in the floor/playmat with some toys and be content to just play. First grumble or whinge to be picked up would be the first tired sign, to me.

So - through all of your post you talk about what you think your son should be doing. Nowhere can I find anything where you indicate your son actually does need more sleep.

Is he actually tired?

When he is ready for a sleep, does he go to sleep relatively easily/quickly?

mumofzach Fri 12-May-17 14:17:57

He is mostly content and happy during the day to be honest.
The only time he really cries is when I try and get him to sleep.

I try as hard as I can to read him and watch for cues but sometimes I get it so wrong. Like he'll yawn so I will try and settle him but he just won't go down.

I am starting to think that perhaps he may just be ok with his catnaps but then why the sudden early waking?

Thanks for responding FATE, I know you are very clued up on sleep issues and that your advice has helped many.

FATEdestiny Fri 12-May-17 14:30:11

Given the fact that your DS sleeps so well overnight, I would suggest the mostly likely reason for the early waking is calorific need.

By "calorific need" I don't actually mean hunger. I would use hunger to describe the "feed me now, I'm hungry" cry you get when baby demands a feed. I more mean that s deficit of calories over 24h will mean that any periods of lighter sleep can give rise to wake ups. Whereas a baby getting ample calories over 24h will find it easier to go from deep sleep into light sleep and back into a deep sleep as they progress through sleep cycles.

So come early morning, baby continues sleeping in cycles as they have all night, but by now calorie reserves are low. So the light sleeping phase is so light that baby wakes.

I would suggest more frequent daytime feeds to begin with. Make sure you offer bottles bigger that DS wilk drink, so there is always some left. But if you were offering 3 hourly, try 2 hourly. Or if it was every 3.5h, try 3 hourly or 2.5 hourly and so on.

You could also see what effects a dreamfeed has -- feeding when you go to bed. It might cut out the middle of the night feed but in your situation, it may not help the early wake up. You never know though, worth a try.

FATEdestiny Fri 12-May-17 14:42:05

Regarding naps, short naps are normal this age. 30-45 minute naps are fine.

You need to make them as frequent as baby needs. Waking early morning can be a sign of over tirdness, but more in older babies who are sleeping through.

The best time to get baby to sleep is at the Just-Tired point. When the very first sign comes and baby hasnt even reached "tired" yet. It's easiest to get a baby to sleep at just-tired. The more screaming that happens, the more over tired baby probably is.

So your best marker for working out the ideal awake length is now easy it is to get him to sleep.

I used rhythmic bouncing in the bouncy chair with a dummy for my children's daytime sleep at this age. Strapped into the bouncer at the first sign of a grumble and given dummy and id start bouncing. I would expect to spend 5-10 minutes getting baby to sleep this way - from fully awake to fully asleep. If it took mire than 15 minutes I'd know baby was over tired amd adjust the next awake time accordingly.

BabyMoonPie Fri 12-May-17 14:42:15

No advice OP but I'm following as I'm in the same situation. DD is 4 months today and has started waking earlier in the past week. She has never been a good napper but started sleeping well at night at about 9 weeks. I think DD is starting to teeth

mumofzach Fri 12-May-17 15:00:46

That does make sense FATE as my DS was very off his milk during the day last week and it's since then he has been waking much more. I will offer him more regular feeds and see if that helps him.

Thanks again for responding!

petalsinthegarden Fri 12-May-17 15:07:16

I'm in the same situation. My LO is 4 months and has always been a terrible napper but good at night (mostly).

Fate - such good advice smile

riddles26 Sat 13-May-17 14:13:00

Is your room pitch black? We have blackout curtains but my daughter started waking pre-5am a few weeks ago and refusing to go back to sleep. We found the small amount of light coming around the edge of the curtains was waking her. We have now velcroed blackout material to the window itself to stop every little bit of light and we are back to the usual 6.30-7am wakings

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