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Timing problems - 4.45am waking 10 month old ?still needs 3 naps?

(8 Posts)
Claiiire Sun 30-Jul-17 07:30:52


I have posted a couple of times before about sleep and naps. We are currently suffering with extremely early morning rising which leaves all of us ratty and overtired!

My 10 month old is a happy sweet little boy when he has slept well, but if he wakes up early from a nap (typically 30 mins at the moment) or from the night, he is clingy, whiney and just wants to BF. His sleepy cue is lunging for my boobs. He eats 3 full meals a day plus snacks and feeds 3-5 times a day generally after naps. We have recently sleep trained using CC because I was at my wits end; up 4-5 times a night BF him to sleep with less and less success. This has worked well and he goes to sleep with minimal grumbles between 7.00 and 7.15, waking once in the night. He is awake for the day at 4.45 but NOT happy. I tend to feed him at this time in an attempt to get him off for a bit longer, but at this time his sleep drive has gone to zero and we end up coming down bleary eyed to attempt some sort of play before breakfast.

I feel like letting him nap when he wants to is going to reinforce the earlywaking?

He naps in his buggy on the porch with a black out shade thing. I can't face the tears that would be involved in putting him in his cot just yet. We will do it, but after our holiday next week and when we have a more established plan re. timings.

My question is, how do I break out of the early morning wakings whilst attempting to keep nap times optimal?

I vaguely attempt the 2-3-4 thing which he can just about manage, but I'd say he's on the 'immature' end of the sleep durations and is really only just managing with 2 naps. If I try to put him down at 8-8.30 he sometimes only naps for 30 mins or so. He just went to sleep completely independently (normally I need to do a bit of gentle rocking) at 7am. It seems to be pot luck as to whether he makes it into the next sleep cycle. We still sometimes have a 10 min 'saviour' car nap at about 4.30 which gets us through til 6.30 when bedtime routine starts.

I feel we may need a bit of a schedule! We are going on holiday to France on Sunday and thought we might be able to use the hour time difference to our advantage in some way, maybe by pushing bedtime back a bit?

Any advice or help much appreciated!


FATEdestiny Sun 30-Jul-17 12:31:12

I wouldnt do anything until after your holiday.

234 gives a total awake time of 9 hours (2+3+4). If you have a 4.45am-7.15 daytime (14h30m), then 234 is only going to work if you have:

14h30m - 9h = 5h30m worth of naps per day. So two 2-3h naps

Evidently you are not having anywhere near this amount of daytime sleep, so 234 is not right for you.

As your title suggests, your baby still requires 3 naps a day. At least, it may be more.

I'd suggest you go for 2h awake time up until 4.30pm ish, then be flexible with bedtime to allow for a 3-4h awake time before bed.

So a 4.45am wake up gives a first nap at 6.45. Then it depends how long the naps ard through the day, you may have more naps or fewer.

Claiiire Tue 01-Aug-17 08:55:15

Thanks Fate. Sorry its taken so long to reply. We are in the throws of moving house and have no internet...

I was relieved to hear your advice to put him down every 2 hours as I really think thats still what he needs and when he naps the most reliably. I am wondering why he's still needing three / four naps at nearly 11 months though... any ideas? Perhaps the move has unsettled him and his teeth too.

He seems to be responding to the regularity of napping in the same place after a 2 hour period and extending his sleep time to around 40-50 minutes rather than the dreaded 30 minutes. He's still waking before 6 but I think he may be a child that only needs about 10 hours a night (Oh god!)

Any ideas for how and when to try and drop down to 2 naps? Or do I just follow his lead?

Thanks again.

FATEdestiny Tue 01-Aug-17 12:45:08

Try not to compare. It is harder for some babies to learn to link their sleep cycles in the day and so takes longer.

Making baby over-tired by stretching awake time further and further isn't the way to extend naps. The opposite in fact. A well-rested baby will be easier to get linking sleep cycles.

I kept 2 hours between naps right through to nearly 2 years old. Naps got longer, daytime awake time didn't (except for the awake time before bed, which always wants to be longer). So at 21 months old she was waking 7am, sleeping 9am and being woken at 11am, sleeping 1pm and being woken at 3pm.

The way to drop to 2 naps is to have longer naps, so that with your limited awake time there is no time in the day to have more than 2 naps. The way to get baby to have longer naps is to help baby learn to link sleep cycles.

The science: towards the end of one sleep cycle (about 30-45m) baby will enter a period of light sleeping. To stay asleep longer baby still has this light sleeping phase, but is lulled back into a deep sleep without waking and so has another sleep cycle.

In the light sleeping phase baby is much more easily woken up. If position has changed (say went to sleep in your arms and moved to cot once asleep) baby will become aware of this in the light sleeping phase and the resulting confusion will cause baby to wake.

Baby also has less 'pressure' to sleep, in that he's had a bit of sleep so the body is led desperate to sleep. Therefore in initially learning, you often have to help some children more than at other times to be able to stay asleep through cycles.

So your aim wants to be baby not waking up at the end of the sleep cycle. He will still go into a light sleep and may have a 'tell' that he's now light sleeping. Mine used to scrunch her face up and make a moan (not cry) noise. This wasn't her waking up, but I would know that if she wasn't lulled back into a deep sleep then she would wake fully within a few minutes.

Resettling once properly awake doesn't have much value, it's not likely to work. You need to catch and movement or noise before waking and lull back to sleep.

Some tips:
- go to sleep where he will stay asleep. Don't transfer once asleep
- going to sleep in something that moves can help (pushchair, rocker, a bit old for a bouncy chair now, but these are very useful for nap extending)
- moving the pushchair (or whatever) and reinserting dummy at the very first sign of baby entering a light sleep. Within seconds, so it means being right beside baby whiody sleeping.
- perpetual movement can do the above for you.
- if cosleeping for the nap, a hand on baby's chest, cuddle and shushing might help baby back into a deep sleep.
- likewise if napping in your arms, a little rock upon first moving into a light sleep can work.

Another approach, if you have a well established settling method that works is to disturb baby before they wake. So bring out of a deep sleep 5 or 10 minutes before you anticipate it to happen. Then immediately resettle back to deep sleep. It takes baby into the second sleep cycle in a more controlled way. You need a dependable settling method for this to work though.

The more you do this, the easier the resettle becomes until you don't need to do anything and baby stays asleep themself.

RumpledStiltskin Tue 01-Aug-17 15:27:21

I have no advice, but my DD often has 3 naps a day. Her nap length is erratic and she'll often only have two if she wakes at a reasonable hour and/or has at least one 'good' nap. But it's quite common, especially if she wakes early, for us to end up with 3 x 30 minutes. I get twitchy whenever I read about how she 'should' be on two longer naps now, but I just go with it. I've tried, but I can't make her stay asleep, and 2 x 30 minutes just isn't enough for her. I think it's like everything else - some of them are just slower to develop!

RumpledStiltskin Tue 01-Aug-17 15:28:18

She's also 10.5 months - should have said that!

Claiiire Tue 22-Aug-17 06:16:16


As predicted, the holiday threw everything into the air and he would only sleep latched on to me. ANYWAY, we are back to a 7pm bedtime, and sleeping through until 4 (when I can feed him and put him back down to self settle), or later. If he wakes up after 4.20 ish thats it, we're up. No matter how much I try to feed him to sleep / bring him in with us. On these days (which is most), we are following the 2/2.5hr wake time pattern and having 3 naps a day. This is fine for a 7pm bedtime, but he is a nightmare in the hour or so before bedtime as so tired and grizzly. My partner and I aren't much better.

Is there anything anyone can suggest for getting out of the early waking pattern? Moving bedtime? Denying the morning feed until 6 (5.30 even would be a start!) I am going back to work as an ITU nurse THIS WEEK and need to have my wits about me as you can imagine. Any advice greatly received as ever!

FATEdestiny Tue 22-Aug-17 12:29:33

Hope you had a good holiday!

Have you considered a wake > feed > resettle when you go to bed, say 11pm ish? It can some times act like a reset on the night. It does need you to fully wake baby up though, this might involve a nappy change if really difficult to rouse.

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