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How important do you think a nap routine is?

(44 Posts)
SamJohnsMum Mon 13-Oct-08 12:41:16

I've posted quite a bit under 'sleep' recently, which may tell you all that my DS (4 months old) is not sleeping that well. I've read Gina Ford and William Sears and I am currently working my way through the baby whisperer. We have a good bedtime routine, I think, but naps are currently completely random and rather short (unless I cuddle him all the way through). We do lots of different things - mum and baby group, lunches with the NCT girlies etc - and I guess I'm being selfish because I don't want to stop doing anything because it conflicts with his nap routine and I'm hoping I could do something slightly different every day.

Anyway, my question to you all is: how important is it to have a fairly rigid nap routine?


castille Mon 13-Oct-08 12:49:08

Only important if you think it is, really.

At 4 months they can sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime, but the older they get the better they respond to a regular nap routine, IME.

They say sleep begets sleep too, so if you want him to sleep better at night, getting a regular nap routine going could help.

nowwearefour Mon 13-Oct-08 12:52:18

you will get so many different views posted on this subject- prob as many views as there are mums! I have found that my kids have benefitted from having a nap routine but i didnt manage to get either into anything half resembling one when they were as young as 4 months. by 1 year i reckon it is more important to have something more predictable established so they arent too tired to play/ eat/ settle at night etc but still part of that is for MY benefit rather than theirs- so if it doesnt suit you i am sure you will make sure he gets the sleep he needs one way or another. you have to be happy and i am sure you can do that and meet his needs too!

throckenholt Mon 13-Oct-08 12:54:21

depends on the child - but mine all worked better if I stuck to the 2 hour rule.

I used to do slot s- but tried to slot it in to the 2 hour window.

jojoisamum Mon 13-Oct-08 13:21:41

I am the opposite of you and try to stay home and therefore missing out on loads to try and get DS sleeping a bit more during the day but it isn't happening.

pigleychez Mon 13-Oct-08 14:11:53

My DD is 11 weeks old. She used to be such a fab sleeper and would sleep anywhere, anytime and through anything.

A few weeks ago she started fighting her sleep and only having about 30 mins at a time. She would wake grumpy as she was still tired. Trying to settle her off started the whole cycle again!

I started putting her upstairs in her basket for her naps as she settles herself within minutes and sleeps for hours! Brilliant!

I wondered how she would be when out and about but have found she settles and sleeps great as shes geting more sleep now IYKWIM.

Agree with Castille about sleep begets sleep

ches Tue 14-Oct-08 03:55:48

It really truly honestly depends on the child. Some kids fall into a Gina Ford schedule brilliantly because that suits them, others cannot be put onto a schedule at all. DS has always woken at a different time, napped different lengths at different times, etc. However, I will say we've always put his sleep needs first. If we wanted to go to the zoo but he fell asleep or was sleepy, then we stayed in and let him sleep, etc. Sounds like we gave up what we wanted to accommodate him, but actually overtired baby = hell for everyone.

daydreambeliever Tue 14-Oct-08 06:10:08

I didnt get DD into a good nap routine untl she was about 13 months, before that she did used to nap randomly and briefly, like after feeds.( She was breast fed for 9 months and did usually fall asleep after feeds.) I used to take her to baby groups etc in the mornings, and she would go to bed late-ish, 10 or so, which was fine with us cos DH could see lots of her. It felt like things were very flexible for days out, holidays etc. When she started walking at 13 months, she just semed more tired and thats when I decided we needed to know where we were with things, I wanted a good routine to stick to, and that seemed quite easy to establish, I sort of observed her (!) during the day to see when she was most tired and then we stuck to that time (midday after lunch) for her nap, which is anything from 1.5 to 3 hours long. She started to go to bed at eight. We then managed to get her to fall asleep on her own, instead of being cuddled to sleep and often coming into our bed in the night, by doing this supernanny sleep separation thing, which has worked brilliantly.

It might have been better if we'd had a good routine earlier, but then it was nice for us all to have a lot of freedom and flexibility, which I guess you can only do when youve just one baby.

I feel a lot more sane and relaxed right now for having a bit of time in the day when I know she will sleep, and her earlier bedtime. In a way I just took a bit of a defeatist attitude about it before then and said, well everyone I know seems to complain about their babies not napping/going to bed early and they waste loads of time going thru different books and theories, so sod it, lets just be passive about it and enjoy the ride. I do think it was nice to be passive about it when she was still a smaller baby.

I think there is room for a lot of flexibilitly with very young babies, you can take whichever approach suits you, its when your DD is a toddler that things will be more non-negotiable with napping and bedtimes.

SamJohnsMum Tue 14-Oct-08 09:33:10

This is really interesting - I was starting to feel like a really bad mother for not having my baby on a strict routine!

Daydreambeliever - that bit about wasting time going through different books and theories sounds just like me! I think you may be right and that I would be a lot more chilled out if I was a bit more passive about it all. Did your DD sleep well at night?

My DS still wakes up for a feed at about 10 and 2 and from then on can wake every hour or so, although I try not to feed him until 7 as I really don't think he's hungry.

It probably sounds really silly but I have difficulty knowing when he is tired, until he gets all overtired and fussy! Then it's a nightmare getting him to nap and I always resort to feeding him to sleep it seems. If his bedtime routine is normal, this doesn't seem to happen.

Anna8888 Tue 14-Oct-08 09:35:21

Only important if it matters to your life.

I was talking to another mother at school yesterday who is trying to settle her DS2 at the crèche. The crèche demands that he sleep from 11.30 am to 1 pm every day shock and rings her up to come and collect him if he refuses to sleep...

MadameOvary Tue 14-Oct-08 09:42:48

daydreambeliever you have given me hope! I find a relaxed approach works well with DD (7 months) and instead of freaking out about the lack of routine daily naps I try to spot when she's beginning to get tired at night and start to get her ready for bed, which at the moment is about 6pm.

A huge factor tho is how windy she is - she will sleep comparatively well if she's managed to get rid of excess gas.

SamJohnsMum Tue 14-Oct-08 09:47:31

Anna, that's awful - poor her!

Madameovary - I think my DS still suffers a lot from wind, too so I guess that probably affects him too. Mmm... More food for thought!

harpomarx Tue 14-Oct-08 09:48:53

Anna8888, that's bizarre!

do other children at the creche actually do this?

Becky77 Tue 14-Oct-08 09:52:15

I guess it really depends on you and your wants/needs... My DD is 17 weeks and since about 12 weeks I've been staying home to make sure she gets the long naps (rather than the 45 minute ones she was getting)... Now she sleeps completely through for 12 hours a night and has dropped her afternoon nap... but to do that she takes 2 long (1.5 - 2 hour) deep naps in a darkened room during the day.

All this means my social life is squashed down into 2 hours a day from 3-5pm... But I am hoping eventually I'll be able to be more flexible with it and maybe twice a week just go out whenever and hope she gets her sleep where she can. We'll see!

Becky77 Tue 14-Oct-08 09:56:31

Obviously you only have the luxury of being so nap indulgent with your first child... I do wonder what I'll do if/when baby number 2 comes along... I'm sure he/she will just have to catch sleep as and when!

ohdearwhatamess Tue 14-Oct-08 10:00:22

For mine (2.5yo, 8mo) a proper lunchtime nap is vital. Both are very grumpy in the afternoon if they don't have one or not for long enough, and we suffer the consequences that night and into the next day. I get grumpy too if they don't! We are all quite rountine-y people, and it suits us, but that wouldn't be the case for everyone.

I don't go anywhere between 12 and 2 if I can avoid it, and do miss out on some things, but I prefer it that way. There'll be plenty of time to do things at all times of day once they're a bit older anyway.

wastingmyeducation Tue 14-Oct-08 10:03:50

Beccky77, what time are these naps?


Becky77 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:12:29

they vary slightly depending on when exactly she woke up but usually from about 9 - 10.30am and 12.30 - 2.30pm. If she doesn't manage to sleep that long and is therefore awake before 2pm she'll usually need a short afternoon nap but it is tricky to get her to take it... I still take her for a walk every afternoon but sometimes a car ride is needed to get her to take a 15 minute nap before 4pm grin

Anna8888 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:14:31

Yes sad. A condition of remaining at the crèche is that children fit into the crèche's routine. So the crèche tells parents their timetable and asks parents to get their child into its routine.

Which is a bloody nightmare for a lot of families and children. Hence not everyone liking the crèche much...

2cats2many Tue 14-Oct-08 10:15:45

I love the fact that my dd sleeps when and where she wants. She usually manages 2 naps a day, but sometimes just has one.

Friends of mine have quite rigid nap routines and it ties them to the house at specific times of the day. I've never really fancied that....

Anna8888 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:17:59

Agree completely 2cats - rigid routines are a complete bind IMO. My DD used to sleep for hours in her buggy while I shopped/lunched in peace smile

Becky77 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:23:53

They may be a bind but it really depends on your baby... Mine has always been a sleepy girl and without lots of nap time would be in complete meltdown by 5pm... I wasn't prepared to risk that for the sake some me time... after all I'm off work to look after her not amuse myself... Just my take on it

ElmMum Tue 14-Oct-08 10:29:33

Interesting thread...I'm quite obsessed with naps nowadays (as opposed to being obsessed with feeding for the first 3 months!)

My DD is 4.5 months and sleeps 7.30pm til 6.30/7am at night, with a dream feed at 11pm.

Her naps are all a bit random and she needs plenty of winding down time to drop off for a nap. Any stimulation during the winding down phase (being in a cafe, people chatting to her, things to look at, loud buses going past) leads to sudden grizzly meltdown when she wants to! When I'm out and about I tend to forget/not notice the signs that she wants to wind down, so we have grizzly meltdown, whereas when I'm at home, she will often go into her spaced out winding down phase more obviously, so I take away any toys, pop in her dummy and tuck blanket over her.

I started trying to get her to nap in her cot during the day but it took so long to get her to sleep, then she'd only sleep for 30 mins, it didn't seem worth it. Plus I can't go anywhere if she can only nap in her cot, so now I tend to let her nap in her bouncy chair or in the pram.

Her natural pattern of naps seems to be...

(first feed of day 7.15am ish)
Starts winding down 8.30am
Asleep (with a bit of help) 9.00am
Naps for 45 mins

(2nd feed of the day 11am ish)
Starts winding down 11.45ish
Asleep (with a bit of help) 12pm
Sometimes only naps for 45 mins, sometimes goes for 2 hours - can't seem to find a reason why one or the other

(3rd feed of the day 3pm ish)
Then naps all get very random and short. She usually has a couple between the 3pm feed and the 6.30pm feed, but she's usually very grizzly before, often needs to be held and rocked to sleep after getting very agitated, and sometimes only naps for 15 mins!

Not sure if that's because by the afternoon I've stopped observing her as closely so miss the important signals or what, but afternoon are a bit of a nap disaster zone in our house.

(4th feed of the day 6.30/7pm ish)
Bath (if she's having one) 7pm ish
Bed by 7.30pm

I wouldn't worry about naps at all if she didn't get so upset when she wants to sleep but can't. It's the only time she really cries at all, and it's quite tragic sobbing she does, with tears and everything!

Becky77 Tue 14-Oct-08 13:34:33

@ ElmMum - I'm the same... from feeding to napping! Next it's back to feeding with weaning eh? grin

VeryHungryKatypillar Tue 14-Oct-08 15:45:23

Yeah, now why is it that they will nap for 30 mins, or 45 mins one day and 2 hours the next? That confuses me too.

I am fairly housebound with the whole nap thing, DD never takes a good nap when we're out and about. And I know that this is because I didn't get her used to falling asleep when we were out and about when she was younger. Now at 6 months she will only sleep in her cot.

If we ever have a DC2, please remind me to be more laidback!

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