Napping... Help!

(10 Posts)
Olive96 Thu 12-Nov-20 12:09:30

I'm hoping someone can offer some words of wisdom. My daughter is very nearly 4 months old (on the 19th) and we have absolutely no napping routine yet. I struggle to get her to sleep longer than 10 minutes anywhere that isn't on my chest during the day and the max she's ever gone is about half an hour.
Does anyone have any tips in terms of routine, how long she should be awake between naps etc.
She's a hit and miss sleeper at night but generally wakes up for 2 feeds (EBF) which I'm led to believe is normal (?). I'd love to be able to get her in to a napping routine so she's not getting overtired and so I have a little more flexibility during the day. Any tips?

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Thu 12-Nov-20 13:18:06

Expect to need to give baby significant help to go to sleep and stay asleep. There are two key things that help baby sleep better - sucking and movement.

If you're aiming for independant sleep then introduce a dummy for sucking and do naps in something that moves. A bouncy chair is ideal imo, or pushchair/pram.

If you're not interested in independant sleep then the way to achieve the same is breastfeeding to sleep instead of dummy and then rocking baby to sleep and letting baby sleep on your lap or use a sling.

The two achieve the same outcome - allowing for movement and comfort sucking to assist sleep. It's just one is dependant on you, the other aims towards independant sleep.

As for routine, the ideal around this age is a routine of repeating cycles, rather than a by-the-clock routine. Awake time wants to be approximately double nap length, give or take 15 minutes. Awake time to include a feed and any time it takes you to settle back to sleep for the next nap.

A reasonable cyclic routine would be:
- Wake
- Full Feed, remember to wind well
- Floor time, inc tummy time
- At first cry - cuddle, nappy check and back down for floor time.
- At second cry, take that as time to get ready for next nap. So...
- Top up feed and wind
- into bouncy chair with dummy
- Even tempo bouncing (ideally done with your foot while sitting on sofa) with dummy reinsert as required. Pushing back and forth on the spot in a pram also works. Be relentless and just keep going until asleep.
- Slow and stop bouncing over about 10 mins once asleep.
- Watch for first grimace (before a cry) and restart bounce to resettle back to sleep. May not work but it's a good habit to always try to resettle because over time it will work more often.

Wake ... and start again at the beginning. Repeating the cycle over and over again all day long.

Olive96 Thu 12-Nov-20 16:37:54

@FATEdestiny that's interesting. So when would be a reasonable age to expect her to nap alone, without the movement? She will sleep happily in her pram or on my chest but I was thinking more about her having naps in her cot?

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Thu 12-Nov-20 17:41:47

It's child dependant so try not to compare - some babies will settle with just a dummy in the cot from just a few weeks old, others might be many months older.

Certainly not 4 months, this marks a significant change in baby sleep (out of forth trimester and into 4 month sleep regression) and is widely recognised as the time when most help is needed. The key at this age is establishing if you want a path to independant sleep. If you start on the path of dependant sleep here, it becomes more difficult to move away from it as time goes on.

Naps without movement - have a plan in place and be mindful of it. Your aim at this age is to lengthen naps and movement and dummy help that. Once naps increase in length (>45 min) and less resetting is needed, then aim to slow down and reduce the amount of movement needed.

For example
- consistant movement until 10 mins after asleep
- Even tempo movement until calm then still during settling periods, restarting if upset then drilling again once calm
- Slow down the tempo and ferocity of the movement when moving, continue drilling once settled as above.
- Aim for a quick few seconds of no meant then left with dummy to comfort suck to sleep when still.
- then at this point move naps into the cot so that the settling is done with only dummy and no movement.

derbygirl23 Thu 12-Nov-20 19:53:05

My baby is four and half months old, we ‘sort of’ have a routine albeit it not the best one.

She basically has two hours awake time so after 1hr 50-55mins ish I will get her in the pram and either aggressively rock her in the hallway or get her out for a walk where she will normally fall asleep after 10/15 mins. She will then sleep for about 30-45 mins and I can leave her in the hallway or just keep walking around for some exercise. This will work out at 4 naps a day. Have tried napping in snuzpod but she will SCREAM so no chance of sleep. She is so moody without the naps so this is our best chance of getting her to sleep 😞 hoping one day she will have longer naps in her cot though but not sure how we will get there!

Betsyboo87 Thu 12-Nov-20 20:57:02

I have a 4mo and the pram is my go to for nap time. I aim to have wake times of no longer than 2hrs. It does mean three walks a day but DH usually does the first one before work which also gives me some time out. It also motivates me to get out when there isn’t much else to go out for! He’s a little and often feeder so I feed both before and after the nap. The rest of the time we usually spend on his playmat. He will sleep anywhere from 30mins to 2.5hrs. We live in an apt and don’t have carpets I just wheel him into whichever room I need to be in.

I would really like DS to nap in his cot but we’re working on his nighttime sleep at the moment (he still wakes 4/5 times per night) so I’d rather he napped properly even if it’s in the pram. He starts nursery in a couple of months though and secretly hoping they sort out the cot naps for me!

alwaysmarmiteontoast Thu 12-Nov-20 21:07:49

If it gives any of you hope, my 10 month old DS would only nap in the sling, car or occasionally pushchair until 7 months when he started to nap in his cot. He now does both naps in there, unless we’re out in the morning in which case he’ll sleep in the car or pushchair.
It will happen!


derbygirl23 Thu 12-Nov-20 21:57:35

@alwaysmarmiteontoast did you make any Changes to get your LO to nap in cot or did it happen naturally?

glasshalfsomething Thu 12-Nov-20 22:04:23

Hi @Olive96. I could have written your post 3 years ago.

My LO would only nap after BFing (30min) or a good 45 push in the pram.

At 6 months I cracked and done a co trolled crying (30 sec, 60 def 90 sec intervals) for her lunchtime nap. She cried for 35 min on day 1, 9 minute on day 2 and after than she went down for an hour in the opening and 90 min in the afternoon until she was ready to drop the nap.

Isn’t for everyone; and I wouldn’t have done it before 6 months. But it worked for us and there’s be no ill effects on her (3.5 now - sleeps all night, no terrors or issues).

Hope that can be of use?

alwaysmarmiteontoast Fri 13-Nov-20 22:01:14


*@alwaysmarmiteontoast* did you make any Changes to get your LO to nap in cot or did it happen naturally?

I did do some sleep training at 6 months so he was falling asleep independently at bedtime, then started working on cot naps about 3 weeks later in a similar way. He got on board with it pretty quickly.
Sleep training or not, I just don’t think he was ready for napping away from me any younger. I have quite a few friends with babies, some who chose to sleep train, some who didn’t and the majority have said the same.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in