3 1/2 month old naps(7 Posts)
My 14 week old has never been much of a sleeper. In the last few weeks he's got much worse at napping - the things that used to work work less often, and even when he does fall asleep he often won't stay asleep longer than 20-30 minutes. He sleeps for about 8 hours in 3 chunks between 7pm and 5am, when he wakes up and wants to play; then I can usually (not always) get him to have a morning nap (he'll sleep for about 3 hours if he isn't disturbed at all) and after that it's a free for all.
I'll list the things I've tried and how well they work...
- Sling. Goes to sleep after some screaming 75% of the time. Wakes up after anything from 1 to 3 hours. Wakes up if taken out of sling.
- Car seat. Goes to sleep after some screaming 75% of the time. Works best if car is moving AND someone's sitting in the back putting his dummy back in and holding his hand. (Therefore needs 2 people!) Stays asleep for 10 min - 1 hour when car stopped but wakes up if he's taken out of his seat.
- Pram. Goes to sleep, sometimes without any screaming, 50% of the time. Wakes up if pram stops/ goes inside or if taken out of pram.
- Feed to sleep. He goes to sleep during about 50% of feeds but only stays asleep for 20 minutes or so and wakes up if he's moved.
- Vibrating bouncy chair doesn't work - he has a play for 10-30 minutes and then starts yelling.
- Putting him down in his cot/ pram/ sleepyhead doesn't work - he wakes up if he's asleep or sleepy, and either starts playing or yelling depending on his mood!
I've tried white noise alongside most of these and it hasn't seemed to make much difference. He will sleep better for people other than me - DH has a 100% success rate with the sling and when my mum or someone else has held him when he's fallen asleep, they've been able to put him in the sleepyhead without him waking up. But while I'm on ML getting someone else to put him down for every nap really isn't workable!
Have I missed anything obvious? Is it possible that he's getting enough sleep and that's why he doesn't want to nap? I've asked my HV and she said he would be getting enough sleep - but my friend's HV told her that her similarly aged baby needed 3 90 minute naps daily, lying on his back in a cot, and 12 hours night sleep - which has made me worry!
Any wisdom that anybody wants to share would be much appreciated!
Short naps are normal.
Sounds like the very long "morning nap" you refer to is part of the night sleep. So 12 hours night sleep in four sections - which is all good.
For the rest of the day, keep your naps frequent. 20-45 minute naps are fine, limit awake time between one nap and the next to 1h maximum (it might be as short as 40 minutes awake time at this age, depending on how tired).
Naps are most easily achieved in something that moves, as you have found - pram, sling, bouncer, car journey. And depending on how tired and if offered perpetual movement (and dummy) naps can sometimes be artificially lengthened. But the natural nap length is one sleep cycle.
Don't make naps a battle, they really don't need to be. Get baby back to sleep within an hour of waking. Pick your method and be relentless about it. If perpetual movemebt is needed to keep bany asleep, give perpetual movement. Don't try to move a sleeping baby, they need to stay asleep where they fall asleep.
Both my DC took about 6 months to really 'get' naps. Total catnappers.
Do you bounce the chair or just set the vibrations going? Just a thought - DD wouldn't drop off if vibrating but will if I bounce it with my foot.
Good point AgathaCrispie - I wouldn't actually use the vibration at all, much harder to wean off when older. Be utterly relentless about the foot bouncing. Sit on the sofa, bouncy chair at your feet and just keep on bouncing it steadily and rhythmically with your foot.
Thanks all - that's helpful. Now I know that 20-30 minutes is a full sleep cycle I'm much happier - somehow I'd got the impression it was 90 minutes.
How long should I persevere while he screams? I generally give up after half an hour and feed him again because I think if he's screamed for that long he's not going to go to sleep (and also I would rather not make him scream!!) But this sometimes means he's awake for 3+ hours...
How long should I persevere while he screams?
If he's tired, he needs to go to sleep. Giving up and waiting is of no use since he'll just be more tired the longer he stays awake.
That said, letting baby scream never has a place for such a young baby. If baby is screaming on and on then whatever you are doing to get baby to sleep isn't working and you need to do something else.
The screaming means "help me get to sleep RIGHT NOW!". Waiting 3+ hours to get baby to sleep is probably part of the problem and the reason baby screams.
It's not a sign baby isn't tired, it's a sign that baby needs more help to get to sleep than you are giving. If it continues, try something more. That might involve
- feeding to sleep
- establishing a dummy for comfort sucking
- a swaddle to calm baby down (if done regularly and from newborn)
- relentless bouncing in bouncy chair
- pushchair walk
- car journey (with the specific purpose of baby sleep)
- sling sway
- lying down together on your bed and cuddling up in the dark.
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