6 month naps have become much shorter?!

(16 Posts)
SKA86 Tue 13-Apr-21 17:58:05

So my DS is 6 months today. For the past few days he won't nap more than 30 minutes. He doesn't usually nap for very long but used to do around 45 minutes, 3 times a day. I just don't understand why his naps have become so short? We are still in the 4 months sleep regression and I've tried so soooo hard to get him to self settled and basically his sleep is utterly horrendous and wakes up so frequently at night that we've just started to co sleep even though that hasn't made much difference.

He has got a slight cold but he's been like that for the past week. He dribbles a lot so could be teething although he's been like that for 2 months. He's also started rolling around A LOT in his cot and gets frustrated as he can't roll back. I don't know if it's a combination of these?

Had anyone been through similar and are there any success stories? Really looking for some positivity as me and DH are feeling ill from sleep deprivation and constantly snapping at each other.

Thank you x

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Thu 15-Apr-21 20:38:05

Has it got any better?

You could do with having naps in something that moves, so that you can extend the nap more easily.

SKA86 Thu 15-Apr-21 21:49:11

@FATEdestiny no, today it was even worse! His total say sleep was less than half of what it normally is! I'm so frustrated.

I want him to get used to sleeping in his cot for day and night sleep as I'm trying to sleep train him as he wakes all night and cannot self settle. That's why it's so stressful.

OP’s posts: |
Etherealhedgehog Thu 15-Apr-21 23:22:33

@SKA86 hi from the four month sleep regression thread! We are currently experiencing just this and I'm 90% sure that for us it's teething. We recently had a period of a few weeks of even worse than usual night sleep (still in the 'four month' regression, like you), alongside some weird digestive symptoms. Both of those things suddenly improved overnight, coinciding with the emergence of her first tooth. We had about five days of much better sleep then back to the rubbish sleep again (plus the weird digestive stuff, loads of drooling, moaning all day etc). And this time naps seem to have been affected as well - it's been 30-40 mins tops for days, and she had been doing one or two longer ones every day for at least a month now. I'm fairly sure/really hoping that tooth number two is about to emerge.

Tbh, I haven't found this insight very comforting though - seems she can sleep much better when she's not teething.... Only 19 teeth to go sad

(On a more practical note, she slept a bit better today when I timed a dose of calpol to shortly before naptime, so if there are other signs of teething pain it might be worth trying whatever is your teething remedy/painkiller of choice?)

SKA86 Thu 15-Apr-21 23:27:31

@Etherealhedgehog ahh I have been wondering if it's teething but also heard that teething always gets the blame for sleep issues so I was sceptical!

I was giving calpol daily for a little while but then stopped as I didn't want to rely on it. Honestly don't know what it could be but I guess it's better to have a reason for crap sleep as opposed to the generic sleep regression that no one seems to know how to get out of!

OP’s posts: |
Etherealhedgehog Fri 16-Apr-21 02:41:37

@SKA86 I'm sure that's not the only possible explanation - I guess it depends whether there are other signs. For us, the main thing seems to be a discontented moaning noise that she kept makes all day plus the usual drool/fingers in mouth, and moaning and sleep problems both seem helped by painkillers. It is so tricky though when you can't know for sure.

Also, to be clear, I don't think all her sleep problems are down to teething (sadly) - sleep was definitely better post-tooth but nowhere close to the 8 hr stretch she was doing pre-regression. But then I guess the good thing about never-ending regression is my bar just gets lower and lower!

FATEdestiny Fri 16-Apr-21 11:40:45


*@FATEdestiny* no, today it was even worse! His total say sleep was less than half of what it normally is! I'm so frustrated.

I want him to get used to sleeping in his cot for day and night sleep as I'm trying to sleep train him as he wakes all night and cannot self settle. That's why it's so stressful.

Sounds like you're trying to do everything all at once, and will likely end up achieving nothing.

So nights, you mention him not self settling and that you sometimes cosleep. So if you are working on nights (by giving baby less help to settle) then it's reasonable to expect that daytime naps become more important (As a way to catch up on missed sleep from frequent night wakes).

The key thing you need to teach baby so that they can link daytime sleep cycles is to go from fully awake to fully asleep in the place they stay asleep. This then follows that between one sleep cycles and the next, baby is not being picked up or disturbed but instead stays on the same surface for the resettle.

This is where going to sleep in something that moves helps. It allows you to teach baby to resettle into a second sleep cycle without moving or disturbing baby at all. You do this by moving the surface (ie bouncing the bouncer) not moving the baby.

When baby is very over tired, he is going to need tons more help to go to sleep. Tons mire help to stay asleep. And tons more help to link sleep cycles. So if your nights are already disturbed with frequent wakes, making your daytime naps harder will only spiral matters to become worse and worse.

Your baby likely needs tons of extra help for daytime naps. Primarily:
- sucking (dummy, feeding)
- movement (bouncing, rocking)
- Shushing or white noise
- Subdued environment


Tubbytele Fri 16-Apr-21 22:25:07

Sorry *@SKA86*, I don't want to hijack your thread but would like to ask @FATEdestiny based on what she suggested above about linking sleep cycles - hope that's ok?

I've tried getting my DS to sleep in the bouncer and pram but he is very alert in both of these, and will only fall asleep with me bouncing on exercise ball. I can then place him in the cot and like *@SKA86*, will sleep only for 30 mins. I've tried dummy but he refuses it since newborn, and have tried consistently. Atm I have resigned myself to resttling him every 30 mins using the exercise ball but if you do have other suggestions on how to link his sleep cycles then would massively appreciate it. Thanks.

FATEdestiny Sat 17-Apr-21 10:38:46

I've tried getting my DS to sleep in the bouncer and pram but he is very alert in both of these, and will only fall asleep with me bouncing on exercise ball. I can then place him in the cot

Getting baby to sleep in your arms and then putting down in the cot is never going to work in the long term. Baby needs to go to sleep where they stay asleep.

When you say baby won't sleep in pram/bouncer, I'd counter that with an assertion you are not trying for long enough and consistent enough.

I find pushchair walks can be stimulating and not always conducive to sleep because of this. But pushing a pushchair back/forth on the spot in the house is better.

Same with bouncer, remove all the lights and "play" things so it is just a reclined seat. Then sit it facing the sofa, sit on the sofa with the tv remote and a pot of tea. Then just watch a box set and ignore baby while constantly, even tempo bouncing with your foot.

Just. Keep. Going.

Then keep the bouncing going through eyes dropping, until asleep and keep going for a good 5-10 Mins after asleep. Then gradually slow down the tempo and stop (Or if overtired slow down the tempo but keep movement going throughout, to help baby stay asleep). Any kind of teeny tiny bit of movement, restart bouncing to extend the nap. Might just be a hand forming a fist, or mouth puckering, or arm/leg moving. Catch that tiny movement - it's the "tell" or moving from deep to light sleep, before waking. Lull back into deep sleep before waking up - that's how you link a sleep cycle. If baby goes from deep sleep to light sleep to awake (ie opens eyes or cries) it's too late to resettle.

Over time you find that baby needs less and less intervention to move from one sleep cycle yo the next. So while initially you might need to bounce for 10 mins after the "tell" to lull back yo a deep sleep, you can over time bounce with a lower and lower tempo and for less time until you just literally need to do 2 or 3 single bouncer after a tell. Then in the end no help is needed, baby just shuffles as the "tell" between cycles and goes back to a deep sleep without any intervention from you. Only then, once baby is linking cycles without any help, would I move naps to the cot upstairs

If you're going to sleep train for cot naps, then baby goes from fully awake to fully asleep in the cot, as the OP. Then you sit by the cot and watch for the "tell" that baby moves from deep to light sleep (before waking) and do your in-cot settling to get back to a deep sleep. That is usually patting and shushing. Dummy reinsert if possible. It's harder in the cot because it's static so you can't utilise movement to teach it, but it is doable. You may need to pay baby throughout the whole nap as a way to help lengthen the nap.

Tubbytele Sat 17-Apr-21 11:21:24

Thank you so much for this @FATEdestiny. Really appreciate the in depth reply. I'm going to try to do all naps in the bouncer today and to keep going. What would I then do for his night sleep, do I get him to sleep in bouncer and then move into cot for the night, or just focus the bouncer with naps and continue the exercise ball for the night until naps are sorted?

Tubbytele Sat 17-Apr-21 11:22:00

So sorry @SKA86 for hijacking your post!

SKA86 Sat 17-Apr-21 11:23:25

@Tubbytele no problem at all!! Of course I want everyone to have babies who sleep. Happy baby, happy mum smile

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Sat 17-Apr-21 12:01:19

@Tubbytele bouncers aren't safe for night sleep.

I would utilise the fact that the body's pressure to sleep is greater at night (So sleep cycles are longer and awake time minimal) to start teaching in-cot settling at night. Right from birth.

For this I would use a sidecar cot (one side removed from the full sized cot, butted up to your bed with matching matress heights). The fact that it's the "Big Cot", not a crib, means there is plenty of room for you to physically be in the cot to comfort baby.

This allows for the all important Baby goes to sleep where he stays asleep and is not moved once asleep. So at night my routine would be:

- Baby wakes (in sidecar cot)
- I move my torso into cot, cuddle close to baby. Reinsert dummy. All this done without opening my eyes or properly waking up. Often 10 mins of this will get baby back to sleep. So teaching baby to resettle without a feed.
- If not settles in 10 mins, I've had that 10 mins to come round and wake up. Now I'd feed...
- Sit up for a feed. Try to wake baby up for this and keep awake as much as possible to enable as big a feed as possible.
- Put baby upright on shoulder for wind. Again try yo keep baby awake with jiggling and winding.
- Put baby down in the cot to settle to sleep, hense avoid letting baby drop to sleep during feed or wind.
- Dummy in with active sucking to sooth and calm. My torso in the cot cuddled close to baby, my legs and bottom half in my bed under duvet.
- Once baby settled / asleep (Or when I next wake if I fall asleep in there) I extract myself from the cot back to my bed.
- Rince and repeat at every wake up.

By teaching baby to sleep in the cot (not in your arms) you are teaching independent sleep.

By teaching cot sleeping at night when pressure to sleep is greatest, it is establishing the cot for nap a once linking daytime sleep cycles.

By always trying to resettle before feeding, as long as your resettle method is effective you then it will work more often as time goes on, allowing for night weaning and linking night time sleep cycles... And sleeping through (!).

By using a sidecar cot, you're likely to respond more quickly because you don't need to wake up properly or open your eyes. This means you can catch baby in the transition to a light sleep (before waking up) and get back to a deep sleep without baby actually waking. This needs you to be right there to respond very quickly. If you have to get up or sit up to respond, chances of you getting to baby before waking are slim to none. Getting baby back to sleep once awake is infinitely more difficult than getting baby from light sleep (not awake) back to deep sleep.

I could think of loads more to write. But I feel my essay is already too long!

Tubbytele Sat 17-Apr-21 13:21:13

@FATEdestiny I'm happy to do the sidecar cot idea, even if it means moving the furniture in the room as we have a superking size bed so will need arranging. But I've never been able to successfully even cosleep with DS as he always cries and wants the bouncing with the exercise ball. How would I settle him in the cot using your above process but if he's crying and won't settle? Thank you massively and for the time you've taken to help this mama!

FATEdestiny Sat 17-Apr-21 13:47:31

Dummy is key for no-crying settling, in my experience. It is absolutely essential in my view. It's a physical impossibility to cry while simultaneously sucking.

So it boils down to either you get
(a) independant sleep with crying
(b) get independant sleep with a dummy, or
(c) baby's sleep is not independant (ie in your arms, feed to sleep etc) but without crying.

So to answer your question: How would I settle him in the cot using your above process but if he's crying and won't settle?

Without a dummy, baby is going to cry to sleep. You just have to keep going and try your best to sooth through it. Patting and shushing can help. And closeness. But there just will be crying, you have to just accept that and either power though or choose to not go for independent sleep. If you do power through, the amount and intensity if crying will reduce over time. You won't always be soothing a screaming baby for hours at a time. But you probably will be initially. Being consistent is important.

If you do use a dummy and baby is crying, look at ways to encourage active sucking ratger than dummy being passively in the mouth.

Finally, some babies are very hard work to get to accept a dummy and they are not quickly accepted by all and every baby. But (As you can probably tell from my post) I definately think it's worth the effort to get baby to take it.

Dummies are simply amazing for no crying, independant sleep. The only substitute for kind, gentle, no distress baby sleep is feeding to sleep and cosleeping. That's the opposite of independent sleep though.

However, 5 months plus is probably too late to get a dummy established if it isn't already. So it's probably a moot point. Worth a try in my view, but much less likely than getting a 1-3 month old to establish dummy use.

In which case, your first barrier to overcome if you want independant sleep is that baby will cry. Instead of aiming for baby not crying (and veering towards dependant attachment parenting methods), accept that baby will cry and comfort through the crying, instead of attempting to stop the crying.

Tubbytele Sat 17-Apr-21 14:24:50

Thank you so much @FATEdestiny, that makes sense. Really appreciate all your advice, suggestions and time taken to be so thorough in your replies. Thank you @SKA86 for letting me use your post, though I had no intention to but really appreciate it smile

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