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Success with a schedule?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
DD and I have always been strictly baby-led. She's 5 months old now, rather high needs, has lots of trouble with naps, and I'm starting to think some more regularity might help her out. BUT - it seems that when I try anything resembling a schedule it just gets thwarted. We're usually good up through her first nap @ 9:30/10. Things are pretty regular from her last nap of the day (ending at about 4:30) until bedtime, too, and these are by far the most pleasant times of day for both of us. But I feel like things go completely haywire in between!! I thought I could anchor a schedule loosely around naps and bottles, but those are exactly the things that I can't seem to regulate. Perhaps she's just still too young? Anyone have any success scheduling a "spirited" five month old? How did you do it?
post #2 of 28
I found that a "schedule" just naturally evolved around 4 months. He napped around the same time, so I started making sure were home around those times. Our schedule is pretty flexible, though, and mostly based around time between naps (he gets tired 2-3 hours after he gets up). So he naps as long as he wants and stays up until he's tired. But it works out fairly regularly. The only real keystone is bedtime at 7pm, which has ripples down the rest of the schedule (last nap doesn't go past 5pm, which means it can't start later than 4:30pm, which means he should be up before 2:30pm, etc). But we keep it loose and make it work for him and our family.

On the flip side, we never really got DD into a "schedule". So I think some kids it just happens for, others it doesn't.
post #3 of 28
I feel exactly the same way, newmamalizzy! I feel such a lack of rhythm with my almost-6-month-old daughter. There is very little predictability with her eating and napping patterns through the day, so I never was able to reinforce what she was already doing. And when I've tried to impose a more rigid schedule ("ok, let's try napping at 11am...) it ends up that she's ridiculously tired 1 hour before this time so goes down then and throws everything off.

My DD is also very spirited, and I actually think a big part of it is this lack of good naps (and she's not very good at night either). She only does those 45-minute catnaps, and is rubbing her eyes again 10 minutes after she wakes up! But I have had *no* luck in extending them... only once in a blue moon will she do a longer nap, and it's been a long time since she's done one.

All that to say that I don't really have any advice but that we're in the same boat...
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ldogg View Post
And when I've tried to impose a more rigid schedule ("ok, let's try napping at 11am...) it ends up that she's ridiculously tired 1 hour before this time so goes down then and throws everything off.
I think we might have the same baby... Hopefully we'll get some good advice!
post #5 of 28
how about trying for a morning nap and an afternoon nap? then try to commit to do whatever it takes to make that happen- to help the baby to fall asleep and actually have that nap. you could try the first nap pretty early. So then it wouldn't have to be too rigid of a schedule but just know you are gong to try for two naps.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
how about trying for a morning nap and an afternoon nap? then try to commit to do whatever it takes to make that happen- to help the baby to fall asleep and actually have that nap. you could try the first nap pretty early. So then it wouldn't have to be too rigid of a schedule but just know you are gong to try for two naps.
I really like this idea in theory, but DD is a major micronapper and will only stay asleep longer than 40 minutes if she's at the absolute pinnacle of crazy baby exhaustion when she goes down. She really needs 4 of her short naps in a day but often doesn't have time to get to them all, since she fights sleep for so long. But then sometimes she throws me a curveball and falls asleep an hour after waking up... Maybe I should try setting nap times that stretch her limits of awake time so I can exhaust her into taking two long naps? She gets so upset when she's that tired, though...
post #7 of 28
I don't think you should try to exhaust her more to sleep. It sounds like she is plenty tired. I think you could try to look at it as teaching her how to fall asleep. And as far as how to do that I think it is figuring it out as you go- seeing what works. I think trying to get the baby to sleep before they are super exhausted is a better chance of sucess.
Also,you could try working on extending her naps. So let's say you want her nap to be 2hours- so give yourself as much time as you need- even an hour- to wind her down and get her to sleep. then if she wakes up 1/2 hour or 45 minutes later, do all you can to get her back to sleep, thinking- the nap isn't done yet.
As far as getting her to sleep- have you ever tried swaddling and/or using a swing?
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
I don't think you should try to exhaust her more to sleep. It sounds like she is plenty tired. I think you could try to look at it as teaching her how to fall asleep. And as far as how to do that I think it is figuring it out as you go- seeing what works. I think trying to get the baby to sleep before they are super exhausted is a better chance of sucess.
Also,you could try working on extending her naps. So let's say you want her nap to be 2hours- so give yourself as much time as you need- even an hour- to wind her down and get her to sleep. then if she wakes up 1/2 hour or 45 minutes later, do all you can to get her back to sleep, thinking- the nap isn't done yet.
As far as getting her to sleep- have you ever tried swaddling and/or using a swing?
We've tried soooo many ways to get her to sleep. Swaddling helps her to stay asleep UP TO 40 minutes, but not fall asleep or sleep longer, and she hates swings. I went through a few weeks where I was going CRAZY trying to get her down for naps, and eventually had to back off because I was getting so upset. Nowadays I can get her to sleep in her stroller or the car, or sometimes with a bottle relatively easily. Getting her to stay asleep....well I don't think I've ever managed it if she wasn't overexhausted to begin with. When we do try the "the nap isn't done yet" approach, I end up feeling so bad at the end of the day that we spent hours in the dark, or in a bucket seat or whatever having this battle with each other and never had time to play or have fun. On the other hand, I completely agree with you - nap extension is crucial to us having a more reasonable daily schedule, and to Bea being a contented baby.
post #9 of 28
I agree w/ a pp who said that some babies naturally fall into a sleep schedule and others not so much. I also think most babies go through phases of better sleep and more regular schedules, and then something will throw them off for awhile.
I've found the book The No-Cry Nap Solution to be pretty handy. For all the solutions she offers, she says consistency is key, and that it can take up to 3 weeks to set a new routine. So, patience is also important! One thing she suggests in that book which I find useful is a "Hush Hour": a daily rest where you set the stage for sleep, but do not expect it. Just make sure you and baby spend that hour being quiet and restful. If sleep happens, great, but if not then at least you've both gotten some rest. She also offers ideas if your baby won't even go down for a rest period. Great book!
post #10 of 28
yeah, I guess every baby is different in this regard! I wish you the best of luck with it- just keep trying to get the baby to sleep as much as you can. I know you are already doing that but I just hope you find a way that works for you! That's all th suggestions I have but I am sure other people have other ideas.
post #11 of 28
Yes! I would work hard to develop a schedule (or routine) -- but then also give yourself plenty of slack for the inevitable times baby doesn't cooperate (ie, those too-short naps!) From my experience, DD1 was very fussy, I tried to follow her cues, but she was really difficult through her first year of life. With DD2, I had no choice but to follow a more regular schedule because I was meeting the needs of 2 young kids... with DD3, I have made an effort to watch my baby AND the clock, and she has been my most delightful baby by far. Of course there are differences in temperament that affect how fussy/easy babies are... but I strongly believe that we need more routine to help them all cope better.

As for the micro-naps, can you set a "goal" for a morning nap and afternoon nap (time and length) and even if she doesn't stay asleep, continue the "naptime" with more soothing, quiet time, laying in bed with her, whatever works... I think this would have helped so much with DD1, she was so exhausted all the time because she wouldn't stay asleep, she really needed help to extend her rest periods so that she was fully rested.

HTH! I wish I had been more open to setting a schedule with my oldest!
post #12 of 28
I just re read your post about when she falls asleep an hour after waking up-
I actually got that tip from someone else on MDC- that often times little babies will want their first nap only an hour after waking up- so perhaps you could try that as a schedule, if you wanted to.
post #13 of 28
My DS was really high needs, never seemed to follow a predictable schedule (until closer to 10 months old) and always faught sleep.

Having BTDT, my suggestion to you is to develop a routine to your day, but feed her when she is hungry, and don't try to stress about the naps. We have a routine to our day now that developed when he was around a year old, and it has made a big difference in his sleep fighting much less and has really helped our days go smoothly.

We get out of the house in the morning. Either run errands, go to the park, go for a walk, play outside, whatever.. either way we are not usually at home in the mornings. Then we come home, have lunch, play quietly for a little bit and then naptime. After nap I usually do chores around the house, and then we have dinner, play with Daddy, books/quiet play, then bedtime. Everyday isn't exactly the same, and we aren't stringent on TIMES per say, but we do the same general things at the same general time of day. I think had I had more of a routine to MY day when DS was a young baby, he would have done much better.

A really good book to read is Sleepless in America. It is geared more towards toddlers/young children but has great advice for structuring your day to maximize sleep.
post #14 of 28
we dont have a schedule per se but we have a great routine going...we had nothing until 10 m/o and it was hell...then i started implementing nap after lunch and its working like charm bed at 8pm and she wakes up anywhere from 6:30am-8:30am but nap is always after her lunch (11ish) so she nurses to sleep in our bed and is usually passed out before 12.

Shes not SSTN but i dont expect her to...she just nurses though and goes to sleep shes not just up kwim?
post #15 of 28
we have a mini napper here too - but a lot of friends have told me they had a similar situation, but their babes developed a natural routine/ started napping better and longer around 6 months. I'm thinking I might be seeing some changes now (21 weeks) so we'll see... I'm trying to be less controlling about the nap situation (we have needed to get her 4-5 micronaps a day too, what a pain!) and do what I can to get her one really good afternoon nap per day. we'll see how that works.
other than that, bedtime is our only real routine, and I'm hoping everything else comes together naturally soon!
post #16 of 28
My babe developed his own schedule around 8 months--before that, we just carried him in the ergo when he started acting tired, and he would fall asleep while we were doing dishes, laundry etc. It will come, some babies just take longer than others to figure out their routines.
post #17 of 28
I started a schedule with my little one yesterday. Her sleep (and mine) had deteriorated to the point that we were both tired and cranky all the time. She is exhausted but doesn'tknow how to settle down to sleep, so I am keeping us in a quiet, dim room twice a day for 2 hours a day at set times. And bedtime is set at 7:30. It might take up to 4 weeks, but after months of sleep deprivation for the whole family (she wakes up between 3-8 times a night) I need to see if giving her a schedule might help her. It's all well and good to follow your baby if they can fall asleep when they need to, but I have not found it helpful to do that with DD because she cannot. She just goes until meltdown and fights sleep every minute to the point where when she does pass out, she is them jumping from sleep crying every 30 minutes. It's awful.

I'll let you know how it goes.
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tattooed Hand View Post
I started a schedule with my little one yesterday. Her sleep (and mine) had deteriorated to the point that we were both tired and cranky all the time. She is exhausted but doesn'tknow how to settle down to sleep, so I am keeping us in a quiet, dim room twice a day for 2 hours a day at set times. And bedtime is set at 7:30. It might take up to 4 weeks, but after months of sleep deprivation for the whole family (she wakes up between 3-8 times a night) I need to see if giving her a schedule might help her. It's all well and good to follow your baby if they can fall asleep when they need to, but I have not found it helpful to do that with DD because she cannot. She just goes until meltdown and fights sleep every minute to the point where when she does pass out, she is them jumping from sleep crying every 30 minutes. It's awful.

I'll let you know how it goes.
Please do! Actually, you gave me an idea... see my next post.
post #19 of 28
I've been trying to get my 4-mo old started on a schedule b/c we are having major night issues -- actually I'm the one with the issues of him not sleeping. I read that napping during the day leads to longer night sleeping, etc. So, we've been doing it for about a month and the day naps are getting much better. I work part time, so I only really have control over his morning naps, and then the weekends (the daycare I use can't really accomodate a "schedule" & lets him sleep when he's tired, which is OK with me). He wakes up around 7:00 or 7:30 and goes down for a morning nap between 8:30 and 9:30. His average nap time is about an hour at this point. Getting him to go down for a consistent afternoon nap is difficult, but I've found that if I lay down with him that he's more likely to fall asleep. I don't know if you have this option, but it seems to work.

I've been getting pretty obsessed with this whole sleep issue & have been reading WAY too many books on the subject. I really like the no-cry books. Her approach is very gentle and no CIO. That being said, all of the methods that I've read (I'll admit, some do incorporate a version of CIO), have a few things in common when it comes to establishing a routine. First, you have to be looking for the tired signs. They usually start around 2-3 hours of wake time. Then, you have to be consistent on getting them down for a nap & how you are handling their protests of that nap. Don't put them in the crib and sit with them one day/night and then bring them to bed the next. Also, patience is key. As much as I'd like to see DS sleeping through the night after one try of a method, I've realized that it's not going to happen. However, I can say that I am seeing progress. DS consistently gets a morning nap around 9, and then an afternoon nap between 1-3. Also, he's been going down easier at night, around 7:30. We're still working on the night-waking, but it's getting better.

Good luck. I'd check out the No-Cry Sleep (or Nap) Solution and Good Night, Sleep Tight by the Sleep Lady.
post #20 of 28
My little one is 3 months old, and we've started thinking about a schedule int he last couple of weeks. But, he is my 3rd, and I know that our family does better on some sort of routine.

At 6 months old, mine weretaking 3 naps a day, but their wake time was 5:30am (with bed of 7pm), so they really needed that extra nap. and mine are always ready for the first nap of the day 1 hour after awaking.
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