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5 mo - having real problems with daytime naps, help me please!!

(14 Posts)
kateus Thu 12-Feb-09 21:36:21

DD is 5 months, sleeps okay at night but daytimes are horrendous.

If I put her in her cot for a nap (nice lullaby cd on, curtains drawn etc) she will start off calm and then proceed to scream her head off for at least 40 mins, sometimes over an hour until she exhausts herself into sleeping. I sit with her for about ten mins to try to get her to sleep but she tends to think its playtime, even though I try not to make eye contact or smile and I talk to her very quietly...after that I leave her and check on her every five mins or so, while she screams her ruddy head off. I end up either sitting there with the hairdryer on (it used to send her to sleep when she was newborn) or I just bury my head in a cushion until she stops. I really dread putting her down during the day, and a neighbour asked DH if she was okay because she hears her crying a lot...

I often resort to BFing her so she'll go to sleep, but then if I move her she's awake and bawling again, so I'm stuck. She's also getting used to this now, and I'm keen to stop it before it creates another problem.

If we go out, she just stays awake, so we're in a situation where I often end up having to stay at home to ensure she gets some sleep during the day. It also means we often have a really overtired little girl who's miserable as sin by early afternoon but just can't get into a good day time sleep pattern.

How can we help her sleep whether we're in or out, and how can she learn that she can get off to sleep without screaming the house down?

We're all a bit desperado here, please help us!

nappyaddict Fri 13-Feb-09 08:00:51

I find music actually overstimulated my DS and he couldn't get to sleep. We had one with rainforest sounds which was far more relaxing. Also have you tried blackout blinds and blackout curtains? Do you think she might still like to be swaddled? Would she take a dummy instead of BFing to sleep? Does she have a comforter? If not try stuffing a muslin down your bra overnight and giving it to her or spray some of your perfume on it if you wear it.

arthymum Fri 13-Feb-09 09:01:27

Hi kateus - has your DD always been like this or is it a recent thing? My DS has recently been through a horrendous no-napping phase at 5 months due to teething and growth spurt but seems to be coming out of it now three weeks later.

Blackout blinds are definitely a winner here. We also find that giving him one of his little toys helps - he tends to play with it for a few minutes and then nods off - I think it takes his mind off the fact that he maybe doesn't want to nap. Shushing and patting also works for us if all else fails but can be a bit over-stimulating for some.

Are you making sure she's not overtired when you put her down? DS is not usually up for longer than two hours or it all gets a bit tricky. And as soon as he rubs his eyes or yawns we take him straight for a nap. If he starts smiling and grinning at me when I go to soothe him, with him it often means he's already overtired and we're a bit doomed!

Does she sleep in her pushchair? For my own sanity I often time one of his naps for when I go for a walk. I think the fresh air helps too.

ChocOrange05 Fri 13-Feb-09 12:11:30

Kateus - My DS was really resisting his daytime naps and what I have found recently is that I need to put him in his cot before he even looks tired - if I wait till he looks tired (yawn, red eyes) then he starts crying as soon as I put him down. So now I go by the clock. He's awake at 10am after his morning nap and so I make sure he's in his cot by 11.45 with a 10 min light show on. Once the light show is finished he is still gurgling to himself for another 5-10 mins and sometimes has a short cry out but he's put himself to sleep now for the past week like this. He is 13 weeks BTW so your LO might be able to stay awake a bit longer - but I would play with timings of putting her down.

Getting him back to sleep after he wakes 1 hour in has not been cracked yet!

Arthy - pleased to see your DS is behaving himself too now!! wink

LeonieSoSleepy Fri 13-Feb-09 12:57:42

Message withdrawn

kateus Fri 13-Feb-09 22:32:09

Thank you so much for your advice, I will try it all!
She's always been tricky to get to sleep, but this is really starting to be a problem now and I want to nip it in the bud if I can.
Bizarrely, she's been quite good today and went down for a morning nap with no crying after I fed her, she must have known I'd dobbed her in to Mumsnet!
I'm going to make some curtains lined with blackout material for her room, so hopefully that will help. Otherwise it's Valium (for me, not her).

nappyaddict Sat 14-Feb-09 08:35:15

It's best if you use a combo of blackout blinds and curtains.

kateus Sat 14-Feb-09 10:29:58

We've already got a blackout blind, but light gets round the sides (??) so her room is darker during the day. The curtains will really help, particularly as the days get longer.

We tried a new tack yesterday, BFing her until she was drowsy and then putting her in the cot...worked like a dream twice with no crying, but she didn't sleep for very long.
The upside was that we were both much happier without the great performance we've been having lately.

I know I wanted to nip this daytime sleep problem in the bud, but I'm not sure whether this is making more problems by giving the boob/sleep associations, or just utilising the way she always drops off when being fed?

Honestly, I wish I'd never read any G Ford or Baby Whisperer books so I wouldn't have this little voice saying 'you're just making problems for yourself for the future' in my ear!

Choc, thanks for the tip about when to put her down, DH reckons it's 1h 45mins and she needs to be put to bed (he has more success getting her to sleep than me), so I'll be doing that when we're on our own.

What a marvellous lot you are xxx

nappyaddict Sat 14-Feb-09 10:33:46

Definitely never keep her up for more than 2 hours. Baby whisperer's EASY routine is quite good. You can take the main principals from it and adapt it into your own routine.

IMO feeding until drowsy is fine. She's still awake so she's still self settling off to sleep. It's feeding to sleep that can become a problem cos they don't learn how to get themselves off to sleep.

gagarin Sat 14-Feb-09 10:44:58

kateus - mine never napped for longer than 30 mins. And were crabby on and off all day, after 4pm. But then my firneds babies who slept longer during the day were also crabby on and off all day and a nightmare after 4pm!

Having just 30 mins dozes rather than long naps never did her any harm but I wasted so much time and energy trying to find exactly the right conditions for sleep. Looking back I was searching for a non-existant "on/off" button!

There are no "rules" on daytime naps. There is no "must" have a nap.

Some do some don't.

And IMO trying to develop a routine that will work for both when you are indoors at nap times and when you are out may well be unattainable.

There is a famous line in Penelope Leach (a pre-GF baby guru)that basically says "you've waited 9 months to meet and play with this baby - don't waste the next nine months waiting for her to go to sleep!"

Wise words....

kateus Sun 15-Feb-09 19:08:35

You're absolutely right, I think I thought that someone else would have cracked it and I'd be able to follow their tips. Of course I realise now that being at home and being out are going to be different and I guess she must get the sleep she needs but she's just so unpredictable...and I've looked everywhere for the off button and she definitely hasn't got one!
She's a smiley little love a lot of the time, so I'll take your advice and just enjoy her. Thanks so much for all your advice xxx

gagarin Mon 16-Feb-09 13:56:37

It's a horrible moment - realising that whatever you do there may not actually be a solution to whatever problem we're tackling sad.

And that all that tinkering with routines/blinds/meal times/walks/playtimes may be to no avail.

But I'm a glass half full person grin and can truely say that the minute I realised that my little darling was just being random (in yoofspeak) I could relax a bit more and start to just go with the flow!

Good luck - and hopefully one day she'll just fall into an ideal rotutine of her own accord!

HSMM Mon 16-Feb-09 14:06:11

My DD used to scream herself to sleep. She slept fine afterwards. It just seemed to be something she needed to do.

LibrasJusticeLeagueofBiscuits Mon 16-Feb-09 14:21:40

The only thing I have found for my DS is to put him in his pushchair, cover it so it is dark and then push him back and forth until he is asleep which takes about 5 minutes. If I put him in his cot all hell tends to break loose (don't know why, he sleeps quite happily in his cot at night). We are hoping that nursery get him to go in his cot and sleep during the day!

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