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fighting naps please help!

(18 Posts)
Vmama Thu 21-Jun-07 15:23:19

My 17wk DS has always hated sleeping in the day and even at his best he's only ever had 3 30min naps a day. He'll sleep fine in his pram/carseat but trying to get him to sleep in his cot is always a long battle.
It's our own fault as we got him used to falling asleep while we walked around with him.

Recently I've tried putting him in his cot just as he's dropping off so that he actually falls asleep in there. He's always been fine at night -we have a good routine but the daytime battles are doing me in.

Generally I have to walk him around til he's dropping off then put him down and as soon as his head hits the mattress he wakes up crying. I pick him up and soothe him then repeat and this usually takes 3 attempts til he falls asleep.

It's so frustrating as I can often spend an hour trying to get him to sleep then he only naps for 30 mins. I know he's tired cos he's yawning and rubbing his eyes or gets grumpy from tiredness and I know it's been a few hours since his last nap.

Can anyone tell me how to change this pattern? I've tried putting him in and shushing/singing him but he just lies there awake and eventualyl gets wound up. I think this has only ever worked twice.

I've just left him upstairs on his own but I can't leave him crying and don't want him to start hating his cot.

Mum says I never used to sleep in the day and I should just leave him be -he'll sleep when he really needs to etc but from what I've read babies need a certain amount of sleep in the day don't they?

any thoughts gratefully received!

nailpolish Thu 21-Jun-07 15:34:31

lots of children by thsi age dont need daytime naps

Vmama Thu 21-Jun-07 15:37:43

really? even when they're yawning, rubbing eyes and getting grumpy? what do you do with them then?

nailpolish Thu 21-Jun-07 15:43:51

i dont know cos my 2 still have naps

but id say just let him cosy down on the couch, mabye watch Finding Nemo dvd or whatever, at least itll give him a rest if not a sleep. he may well drop off, you could make a nice cup of tea and cosy in with him

compo Thu 21-Jun-07 15:45:42

naily -17 weeks not months. Don't think a 17 weeker would get much out of Finding Nemo

nailpolish Thu 21-Jun-07 15:47:55


oops, sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

must read properly next time

17wks - hmmmm <thinks> - id get a blanket and have a lie down the couch with him

cup of tea, phone and remote to hand. he will fall asleep

i used to do this

does he have a comfort blanket?

compo Thu 21-Jun-07 15:50:35

Does he sleep in the pushcahir or car seat? My dd is terrible for sleeping in the cot in the day so we go out and if she falls asleep sometimes I can leave her in the garden so she gets a bit more in the pushchair

Vmama Thu 21-Jun-07 17:26:46

yes he sleeps without fuss in car seat and pram and also if i'm out anywhere and just walk about with him.

i'm kicking myself cos i keep thinking i should have got him used to cot sleeps earlier but now im all confused -a) does he need to sleep in his cot during day b) what can i do to help him fall asleep by himself c) how much sleep does he actually need at this age?

I feel like it's really important for him to learn to fall asleep by himself but he does do it at night when he's in a routine and tired. Am annoyed with myself for not getting a better routine going earlier but i didn't want to become a slave to routine

amazonianwoman Thu 21-Jun-07 18:16:49

DS 14 wks exactly the same except he won't self settle at night either.

In answer to your Qs: a) it is worth perservering getting them in cot during the day - DD eventually used to have almost 3hrs in hers after lunch, whereas friends had to keep driving/pushing their toddlers to get them to sleep for just 45mins nap; c) I reckon they still need a good 2hr ish nap at this age, plus a shorter one of around an hour, plus maybe even a late afternoon catnap to tide them over before bedtime - all depends on how early they get up, nap timings etc

b) dunno cos I'm still trying myself! With DD I did gradual withdrawal starting at around 12wks (took about a month, from memory, don't like controlled crying as I think it fosters negative sleep/cot associations) But then DS isn't playing ball at all and I'm still spending half an hour getting him to sleep for half an hour . So not much help on this one...

Just read that baby whisperer reckons watch for 3 yawns, cuddle them then get them in cot before you miss the window of opportunity. Not worked here yet but I struggle to time it right cos I'm usually dealing with tantruming 3yr old

Vmama Thu 21-Jun-07 19:32:40

i think DS probably needs a bit of wind down time before plonking him in the cot so am going to try that from tomorrow. it's really getting me down to the point where I wondered if i had pnd but then i realise that it's just the daily battles to get him to sleep that get to me. The days when we're out and about I'm fine but I've built up a fear of getting him to sleep in the house during the day and i know it's something that has to change.

I hate the idea of CC and whenever I've tried to leave DS to cry for a few mins as people keep suggesting he just cries harder and harder til eventually he's almost choking and I can't bear it.

`i'm just so confused about the best way to help him.

MegBusset Thu 21-Jun-07 20:37:55

Vmama I don't know how you feel about using a dummy, but I;ve managed to get DS (17weeks) to nap in cot using one (sometimes that sucking-to-sleep association does come in handy after all!).

I do a mini bedtime routine, close the blinds, pop him in sleeping bag (having taken off trousers), lay him in cot, play lullaby toy thingy that we also play at bedtime, pop dummy in and sit by him shushing and patting til he falls asleep (I try to pull dummy out just before he falls asleep but this doesn't always work!).

He will still only nap 30 mins in the cot, but it is nice to then be able to have a lie down myself (or waste time on MN ), also it is better than pushing him round in the pram when it's raining or very hot!

Vmama Thu 21-Jun-07 21:18:23

Hi MegBusset

thanks for the suggestion -I'm not keen on using a dummy especially as we've made it this far without one but I am going to start trying to do something to wind him down before naps -think I'm expecting him to go straight from play to sleep and that's unfair. So will try something different tomorrow and see how we get on.

Does anyone think that some babies just need less sleep?

amazonianwoman Thu 21-Jun-07 21:42:07

Hugs Vmama, I really sympathise with you re stress of getting them to sleep, to the point where you wonder about PND. I had discussion around this with GP, as both my babies have been VERY hard work, but realised that any anti-ds would make me feel better but wouldn't sort out baby!

I really don't think that they need less sleep, I just think that some are more alert/wired/inquisitive/active & less laidback. I like to think they're intelligent, at least it makes me feel better They just find it harder to switch off than some babies.

You will crack it, you sound so determined and you've had some great suggestions. It will take time, you don't need to resort to CC if you don't want to, and you & baby will do it. The way I approached it with DD was to think of it like revising for my finals exams - it was going to take a few weeks, it would be a hard slog, but I'd get there in the end. Put aside a couple of weeks, stick motivational signs around the nursery, get some ready meals in, whatever makes life less stressful for this period.

Try cuddling him to sleep (or back to sleep after 30mins) for the 1st few days or week just to get him into a kind of routine; the 2nd week try cuddling him til he's almost asleep then put him in cot but hold/pat/stroke him til he's asleep; 3rd week sit next to cot; 4th week sit further away etc etc. It may not take that long but in my experience it does work

Of course I'm saying all this but can't summon up the energy to do it with DS at the mo because DD is draining all my energy!

I used dummy with DD and it definitely helped, if you pull it out when they fall asleep they may not become too attached, and even if you don't, as long as the dummy stays in the cot and is for sleeptime only, I don't think it's too bad a thing.

Good luck

Vmama Thu 21-Jun-07 22:01:38

thanks amazonian woman -the thing is he is fine during the day on very little sleep. At one point I did have quite a good routine of 3 30 mins naps going and that seemed plenty to get him through the day til nighttime. He's always slept quite well at night though it varies. Has never had any probems going to sleep at 7 and either wakes once in the night or sleeps through til between 5.30 and 7am.

He is a very alert/intelligent baby and everyone around me keeps telling me to just relax about the daytime sleeps and say he'll sleep when he wants to.

I've never established a good daytime sleep routine with him and he only sleeps easily when we're out somewhere but I'm determined to get out of this habit of carrying him to get him to sleep.

It's really hard though -I keep trying to break the habit and end up just sobbing with him screaming at me -it all feels too hard.

Does anyone agree with the 'he'll sleep when he's tired' school of thought?

lynniep Thu 21-Jun-07 22:01:38

My 15 wk ds isnt too good at daytime napping either. He seems to fight it despite being obviously kna*kered (eye rubbing, yawning, arching and fussing)
I can't get him to sleep in his hammock during the day, and until about a week and a half ago he would only fall asleep on walks or in the car.

Because we have such a nightime palaver, I was desperate to get him to nap at home rather than trudging the streets, just so I could have a lie down too. I gave up on the cot idea and now just put him down in his pram (we moved up to the 'big boy' pram at 12wks i.e not the carrycot any more). I rock him back and forth rapidly and sing to him and stick a dummy in. If he adopts the glazed stare - looking at me intently but not blinking much - then I'm generally optimistic he'll drop off. If he starts looking around at other things I've lost him and its unlikely he'll sleep.

This seems to work at least once a day - today he dropped off after 15 minutes of rocking which was great - he managed an hour and a half nap which is 3 times longer than he used to manage. I'm not sure if he's associating the pram with sleeping or not or it could be because he's in the 'sitting' position (although reclined) and he feels less exposed that way. Or it could be he's just getting older and changing his ways. Who knows?!

amazonianwoman Thu 21-Jun-07 22:15:31

I think I agree with the 'he'll sleep when he's tired' school of thought when they're quite a bit older, but think at this age they need help encouraging them into a sort of a routine (I don't mean a strict Gina Ford routine, just good quality regular naps) My children certainly just seem to get more wound up the more tired they get...

I'm just basing my thoughts on the fact that DD (just 3) is a still a MUCH better sleeper than any of her peer group, and has been since she started napping well at around 5mths.

Don't beat yourself up at the fact that he's got used to being carried around to sleep, everyone does it, it's instinct. It's only all the parenting books that make you feel bad about doing it, imho!

Dylsmum Thu 21-Jun-07 22:21:04

Hi there! My DS is a poor napper and night time sleeper, but i have noticed an improvement in his naps when i take the time to sit in his room and moniter him, by this i mean when he is asleep, keeping out of the way but for the first few days laying my hands on his chest and gently shushing as he begins to stir until he quietens down. I allowed him to wake naturally after 1.5 hrs, if he stayed asleep i encouraged waking by opening the blackout blinds. After 3 days I stopped the hands and shushing business and just watched as he stirred and resettled himself waking naturally after 1.5 - 2hrs (I folded laundry in the room to pass the time) After 2 further days I relied on him to sleep, which he has, but i must confess Today was the first day I left him! His afternoon nap and night time still needs work and I am frazzled but I though I would share with you my one sleep success story, hope this helps!

Dylsmum Thu 21-Jun-07 22:22:37

Should have said, My DS is 18 weeks.

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