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Naps, bedtime, and routines

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ok mamas, DS has got me tied into so many knots about sleeping, I don't even know where to start.

He has very little routine. I thought he'd develop one if I just worked with his cues, but he's almost 9 months and still pretty unpredictable. Sometimes I can't get him to sleep no matter how tired he is. Sometimes he takes 3 short naps her day; sometimes he naps for 10 minutes in the morning and 3 h ours in the afternoon. His wake-up time in the morning is anywhere from 5:30 to 7. At night he's usually cranky and sleepy by 6, but nursing him to sleep is a nightly 2-hour affair.

He only usually naps for 45 minutes, max. Sometimes less. Then once every other week he'll randomly have a 2- or 3-hour nap (usually at the least convenient time).

He only falls asleep nursing or in the car during the day, which would be ok, except that he actually doesn't have a huge drive to nurse like my DD did. Sometimes he'll fill up his tummy and not want to nurse anymore, but he'll be really tired and not asleep. Back when he slept in the swing, I could often put him in the swing if he was like this and he'd go to sleep. But he's too big for the swing (age-wise and also physically!).

He is very distractable (normal for his age, I know) and thinks he's some awesome nursing acrobat. I can't nurse him in the rocker anymore because he spends all the time trying to flip himself off my lap. On the bed, he wants to roll onto his belly and get up on his hands and knees to nurse, only as soon as he gets latched on,t hen he wants to collapse and relax... only he can't have it both ways. He has tried every conceivable nursing position. If I try to force him to lay still when he's antsy, he arches his back and writhes around and turns red in the face and either cries pitifully or sceams, "Mom-mom-mom-mom!!" at me, like I'm torturing him.

He doesn't sleep in public, so putting him in a baby carrier or a stroller does no good.

He seems to do his best to only sleep when my DD is awake, and to be awake during her entire nap.

He is, at this very moment, sitting in the crib squealing at his toes, wide awake. We started bedtime and hour and forty-five minutes ago, and he was asleep twice, and twice he woke up. I tried to nurse him a third time and he was having NONE of that, he only wanted to flip over and roll off the bed.

I'm sleep deprived, I never get half the stuff that needs doing done, the house is a mess, and I'm lucky to get 20 minutes to myself most days. I seriously spend half the day trying to get him to sleep and I am at my wit's end.
post #2 of 6
I'm so sorry, you must be exhausted.

I'm no expert, but just a few ideas... will he nap in a sling at home? Will he relax and go to sleep if you lay down with him? Do you think he might be getting too warm while nursing? Maybe a cool fan would help?

My daughter sometimes gets so fidgety while nursing that she just loses focus, I had no idea what to do until my mom said "isn't that driving you crazy!?"... then she walked over, picked my daughter up, wrapped her tight in a light blanket, and put her back down. Mom knew what she was doing! Now that is the way I handle it when I just can't get her to relax enough to nurse. I don't put her to bed like that, but it does help to calm her down.

I hope things get better for you, you sound like a really great parent, he's lucky to have you.
post #3 of 6
What's working for my DD2, which goes against conventional wisdom, is to NOT try putting her to bed at the first signs of tiredness.

During the day she will start rubbing her eyes at 11:30 or 12, for example. If I try putting her down for a nap then, the process will be a 2 hour affair. Instead, we head to the park, come back at 1, and she's out like a light by 1:20.

Same at bedtime. She starts acting tired around 6. DH will often take her and the dog out for an hour, then I will do diaper, pjs, then we nurse and read books on the bed until she sleeps (well, really, it's until she gets very tired and tries to resist sleep by leaving the bedroom, then cries when I say "no it's bedtime", then consents to nurse one last time to sleep).

They can resist sleep so hard at this age. DD, when she is 99% asleep, will sit bolt upright in one last valiant attempt to still be awake. Her eyes are mostly closed, her head is swimming around b/c she's too tired to concentrate on holding it up, then she faceplants and gives in to sleep. Funny funny girl.
post #4 of 6
I feel like you have just described exactly what my life was like a few months ago. Exactly. It's like you had a hidden camera on us or something. It was rough!
post #5 of 6
This is my life too. Except I only have the one. Two must be so hard!
post #6 of 6
Wow... I don't know how you've done this for 9 months. Life with my DD was similar for about the first 10 weeks (as far as the crazy napping schedule goes). I never knew if she was going to nap for 15 minutes of 4 hours. Everyone just kept telling me to basically let her do what she wants... she knows what she needs... etc.

Well, I was going insane and I knew there had to be a better way. I decided to read several different books from several different parenting perspectives and take the information from each that I thought would work for us. I'll list some of the things I've found to be helpful:

We started the eat, wake, sleep schedule to see how she would do. Of course, if she acted hungry at any other time I would feed her, but I had several friends tell me this worked for them, so I thought I would try it. This routine helped us out in so many ways! First of all, she would eat better. Secondly, she began to put herself on a nap schedule. Since our routine was eat, awake, nap, she began to get tired and ready for naps around the same time each day so naps became less of a battle.

I also learned that babies sleep cycles are 45 minutes long and often they wake up at that 45 minute mark if they are overtired or if they went down for their nap too late. A baby that doesn't have good naps is often more difficult to get to sleep because they are chronically overtired. Being on a "schedule" also helps me know when she is likely tired vs. when she is hungry because eating and sleeping are more separated now.

Their internal clocks also kick in and if they usually nap around 10:00 every morning then they will go down easier.

I think at 9 months especially, it is ok for a baby to be on a "schedule." I put "schedule" in quotations marks because we are by no means "slaves" to this schedule and we don't even have specific times for eating or napping. We just follow the general eat, wake, sleep cycle. Yesterday we decided to skip her morning nap to go do something fun and she was fine! (She fell asleep the minute I put her in the car, but she wasn't fussy or anything).

Just because you are on some type of "schedule" doesn't mean you have to do CIO or any other harsh sleep training. We have never done anything like that. Also, I didn't do this for me... I did it for her. I know a lot of moms put their babies on schedules so that the baby can fit into their life the way they want them to. That's not why I did this. I read about how sleep is pretty much as important to their development as eating is, so I decided that I wanted to help her get as much sleep as she needed.

Anyway- I don't know if this is helpful to you but I wanted to share because I know how absolutely crazy that can feel and I know there is a stigma that can come with "schedules." As long as you are doing it in a loving way, not being super strict about it and not doing CIO with it, I think it is actually beneficial for your LO. I hope things will get better for both of you soon!
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