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Nap time help - 11 month old

(5 Posts)
GenevaJoey Thu 18-May-17 21:56:45

Up to about a month ago my baby was a wonderful napper and her night time sleep was also improving, as we were getting down to 1-2 wake-ups. She would go to bed awake and settle herself. I was feeling quite positive.

It suddenly all went to shit and she was waking up loads at night, and napping badly. I decided to do whatever it took to get nighttime sleep better and so encouraged naps in whatever way to stop her getting overtired. It has worked to an extent, and she's now back to 2 short wake ups and I'm trying to wean her from the first one.

The naps however are a different story. The only way I can get her to sleep is to feed her to sleep, or occasionally drive, though that's not worked in the last couple of days. If i feed her to sleep she wakes up after 20 minutes, and then I might be able to get her back to sleep by feeding her but then it doesn't last long again. She's not getting enough daytime sleep and I'm not getting enough time off. I'm feeling really down about it, as I'm trying to write job applications/do house work/do anything and it's just not happening.

I don't know what to do next and I'm really open to anything. I'm not against Cc or things like that, but I'm not sure it would work for naps. If I try to shush, and pat her she won't have any if it! If I leave her in her cot to settle she just stands up and cries? What do I do then? Leave her standing? Go in and lay her down? Then what -hold her down?

She has white noise and sleeps in a cool dark room. She has a cuddly giraffe she sucks. She settles herself with no problems at night. I just am feeling so down and frustrated that I can't see my way out of it.

FATEdestiny Fri 19-May-17 09:36:08

If I leave her in her cot to settle she just stands up and cries? What do I do then?

Leave her standing? Go in and lay her down? Then what -hold her down?

No. Yes. Yes, but in a kind, gentle way.

Sounds like the is due is method and place for going to sleep. Baby needs to go to sleep in the place they stay asleep and by 11 months, you could do with having alternate comfort mechanisms to replace movement comfort. I would work on establishing how amazing and lovely and great her comforter toy is.

Then work on in-cot settling. CC is not unreasonable at 11 months but is unlikely to help in your situation since baby eventually needs to learn the practicalities of how to go to sleep in her cot.

Many babies are like spaniels, they don't know how to switch off. It's not that they won't switch off and relax, it's just that some children don't know how to do this and it needs to be taught.

So she needs to learn that in order to go to sleep she needs to:
- Be in her cot
- Lie down
- Be still
- Be silent
- Close eyes
- Relax

If you did CC it would just teach her to keep going (crying) until sheer exhaustion causes her to give up. It's not actually teaching healthy sleep habits. Likewise shushing and patting is a lot of activity, it's noise and active movement, which isn't conducive to still and silent.

So you might need to be quite hands-on to physically teach her the practicalities of how to go to sleep.

It would be a good idea to routine the times of her naps at this age. Say 9am and 1pm. At sleep time make sure she's not hungry and has had a drink.

Put her in a cot and place your hand quite firmly on her chest/back. Spread your fingers wide to cover a big area on her body. The hand wants to be quite firm. Not pushing downwards but not gently laying there either. The idea is that she can feel the weight of your hand (your presence) even with her eyes closed when she goes to sleep.

Don't move the hand around, just hold it still. It is to reiterate the needs to lie down and be still in order to sleep. If having an especially wriggly day and legs are kicking too, it might need your send hand firmly over her hips/thighs too.

Lots of eye contact throughout. Positive, caring 'I'm here for you, I love you' look on your face throughout.

If baby then gets distressed, make eye contact, get baby looking at you. Lift and drop the fingers on your hand if needed, maybe a long, low, shhhhhhhhhhhh note. But mostly do it with eye contact. Anything things like "it's ok, mummy is here" is ok too. But these are all just while distressed.

The idea is that you use positive body language and physically holding baby to teach baby that luring still and quiet in her cot is ok. It may take a battle for the first few days, but she can and should learn this fairly easily.

Then keep the firm hand on her chest as she goes to sleep, stay still and silent, but positive and caring eye contact. Stay right through until she is asleep and then sneek out ninja style.

The mistake some parents make is sneeking out once the child relaxed and closes eyes, but before asleep. All this does is teach te child that they bed to not relax and close their eyes, because then you go away. If you always stay until asleep, you stop the baby's battle to stay awake.

Then, and this is longer term, work on reducing her dependence on your presence. So start lifting your hand but staying standing by the cot until asleep. Then lifting hand and waiting a step away from cot until asleep. And so on. But these are things for further down the line, when the basic skills of going to sleep are established.

GenevaJoey Fri 19-May-17 10:02:02

Thank you Fate, that's really helpful step by step advice. I think I am just so frustrated as she was doing it all herself a.month ago. She had a bad cold (and so did i) which coincided with massive progress in her movement etc, which means she now leaps up and bounces and shouts rather than just wriggling around and eventually putting her head down and sleeping. She's never going to go to sleep if she's standing up!

Might have to bit delayede the bullet and think about a stricter routine too. I've started going to playgroups in the morning which she loves but it does clash with nap time. Maybe I should cut down on that.

I will give what you say a go. I like the spaniel analogy. She is very much like that. Cheerful, lively, exhausting, and relentless... smile

FATEdestiny Fri 19-May-17 10:14:58

I think I am just so frustrated as she was doing it all herself a.month ago

It's really common to go through this phase when baby learns to pull to standing.

Until then, lying down to go to sleep was not an active choice, baby physically couldn't do much else. But now baby can pull to standing up. Doesn't mean that she should at bedtime, but she can. So this has never needed to be taught, until now.

If you are consistant, it shouldn't take long to establish.

GenevaJoey Sat 20-May-17 16:44:40

Ok,so we tried this today. I asked husband to be in charge of first nap, showed him your advice and asked him to try it. He did but she was fighting to stand so much, and getting so worked up about being restrained he gave up and let her fall asleep on him before transferring her to the cor. She woke after about half an hour but he cuddled her back to sleep and she slept for another half hour, so not very successful, but she got nearly an hour sleep.

I did the afternoon nap, and managed after about 25 minute of singing and gently holding her down to get her to sleep in cot. I was very pleased but she woke after half an hour again, crying. I tried to do the same to get her back to sleep but that didn't work and she was getting very angry so I ended up.feeeding her back to sleep..the transfer back k into cot wasnt very smooth but settled.her in the cot without trouble.

I will continue with trying to teach her to cot by doing as you suggest, but don't think holding her down when she is angry or upset is going to work, so think I need to work on getting her settled before she gets to that point, and hope she extends her sleep cycle. I will.ckntjnue to feed her back to sleep for the time being though, unless you have other suggestions?

I feel I have an idea of how to start solving problem though, which is a.lot.better than before! So thank you!

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