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Transitioning from Napping in arms to in bed

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I love that my 7 month old will nap in arms but she won't ever nap OUT of arms or sleep for that matter. I am torn between loving to spend this time together and missing being able to do something during her sleeping times. I have to go to bed sometime between 7:30 and 8 and stay there, she has a mommy radar and spooks if i leave.

I want to be able to gently transition her to being able to sleep without being in my arms. Everything I have read just says to put them down but then she screams and is up. Any helpful hints? Or does she just need to grow out of it on her own? I know I don't need to say this here but CIO is out of the question.
post #2 of 17
my baby is a lot younger than yours but we have the same problem. It's nice when you have nothing to do but hold them however, sometimes you might want your arms.

I have no advice just
post #3 of 17
My 5mo is working on this transition right now. At first I had to lie in bed with him for the entire nap, but I figured, since he was used to sleeping in arms, he needed my company to get used to this new nap routine. Then I started to try to slink away, but sure enough, he would wake up 10-20 minutes later. I got really good at BOLTING to the bedroom as soon as I heard him rustle on the monitor. That seemed to reassure him that I would be Right There as soon as he woke, even if I wasn't sleeping next to him. At the same time, he began self-soothing himself to sleep at night. I still fed him, of course, but sometimes he would still be awake, so I pretended to be asleep. He was able to fall back asleep on his own within a few minutes.

Lately, he seems to be able to transfer some of that self-soothing to his nap times as well. I still run for the bedroom if he rustles, but I wait at the door to see if he will wake or go back to sleep. More and more, he's going back to sleep on his own. So now, I nurse him to sleep, sneak away, and let him sleep for about an hour three times a day. Sometimes, he still wakes up after 20 minutes or so, but it's getting better.

My last word of advice is to take each transition s-l-o-w-l-y. My ds needs to be able to trust that mama is there so that he can securely integrate these new milestones. I believe sleeping well is as much a developmental milestone as emotional control. Both are much fuzzier achievements than being able to sit up, for example, and both seemed to be "mastered," not at a particular age necessarily, but only after some experience.
post #4 of 17
Two of mine never had a problem sleeping out of my arms. Unless they were sick. Sometimes they woiuld wake up too soon but I could nurse them back down and they would sleep longer.

But my ds was another story. No tricks or techniques worked. He either slept in my arms or didn't sleep. If I nursed him down and left him, he would wake up after 10 mins and if I wasn't right there, he would stay awake miserable and need 2 hours of soothing and walking and rocking etc, to get him back to sleep. Which was a nightmare of course.

So I just resigned myself to having him sleep on me, in bed at night, or for naps, in the sling or in my arms in the living room, where I could keep an eye on my 2 older kids. At one yr he outgrew this need and started sleeping for 2, two hour naps, in the bed and was that ever a relief.

When he was in the napping in arms phase, when he was little enough, I could do some chores with him in the sling. When he got too heavy for this I would do my chores when he was rested and happy, playing in his playpen, or sitting in the bouncy seat near me or being entertained by his big sisters, or when we had started solids, sitting in his highchair with a few finger foods.

All moms need to make the transisition to doing chores when baby is awake. Admittedly it is not as easy as doing them when baby/toddler is sleeping. But I was often grateful to rest when baby did.
post #5 of 17
I second the doing it slowly method. At first I had to lay down on my bed with her head still on my arm. This lasted a long time, maybe a month or more. Then I was able to lay her down next to me and now she seems to prefer sleeping that way. As far as sneaking away, most of the time I nap with her so its not an issue. However, I found that when I do need to sneak away I always wait until she is out of the lite sleep phase and into a really deep one and then I leave. she has stayed asleep for more then an hour whe I manage to sneak away at the right time.. Good luck,

post #6 of 17
My DD is a bit younger than yours and still definitely an in-arms napper, most of the time. Sometimes, when she is in a deep sleep, I will put her down next to me on the couch with her feet touching my leg. I sit and knit, and if she stirs, she seems comforted by feeling me there with her feet. We co-sleep, and at night when she stirs, she gives me a few gentle kicks to make sure I'm right there and then goes back into a deep sleep.

Maybe you could try something like that. Anyway, good luck with the transition!
post #7 of 17
good suggestions about gradual transitions above. Remember it is in the baby's instinctive best interest to sleep with mama. That is the safest place for baby to be & they know it!

Here's a couple things I did when DS was about that age that I think helped:
~a very dark room
~a warm fleece blanket to lie ds down on (already laid on the bed before rocking him to sleep)
~then, I would get myself on the bed with one leg out in front of me (sort of cross legged) & lie him against that leg, then slowing sit up, replacing my body warmth with another fleece blanket with my free arm & finally (!) slide my cradling arm out from under his head.

...and when he would still rouse, I would (still do) lie down & nurse him back out, which of course means the please-give-me-back-my-nipple-but-stay-asleep unlatching game. Or fall asleep myself, whichever comes 1st! Or sometimes a book under the pillows so you have something to do if you can't sleep.

I remember the 1st time he actually napped 1 hr straight in bed alone! I was amazed & thought oh how old he was getting!
post #8 of 17
My son napped in arms until he was about 10 months old! It was tough sometimes, but I was just so happy that he was sleeping at all! I would put my feet up and relax for that time. He was such a dreadful sleeper, so really, if he had a good nap in my arms I was all over it.

But, eventually I did work on getting him used to being put down. I would get him to sleep as usual, but about 15 minutes later I would lie down with him in bed. If he woke right up and wouldn't go back down, then I would lay off and quit trying- I just would have rather him sleep at all. Eventually he started staying down when I would try to lay him down. Now I get him to sleep in my arms and lie him down after he is out.Usually I will nurse him for a short time after I lie him down and that will help him settle in. Often he wakes about 45 minutes later and if I go to him quickly and nurse him back down, he will sleep for another 45.

I would just keep trying. Eventually she will be ready to be put down.
post #9 of 17
My dd still sleeps in my arms and she is a year old today. I try not to think about all the things I should be doing and just enjoy what I AM doing, which is usually playing on the Internet or reading while she sleeps. I've gotten pretty good at getting things done while she's awake.
post #10 of 17
Ds was like that. I guess you can try, but my guess is that your dd will sleep on her own when she is good and ready and not before. At age 10 months, one day I nursed ds to sleep in our bed, crept out, and miraculously he stayed asleep for a two-hour hap -- I didn't know what to do with myself! It was such a delicious feeling of freedom.

My advice -- be patient. This next phase is just around the corner. I remember thinking when he was a baby that there would come a time when he wouldn't want to sit on my lap at all, and that I should just enjoy it
post #11 of 17
It's reassuring to see so many other mamas dealing with the same situation as I am. My daughter is 8 months old and she still sleeps in my arms 95% of the time. I'm just incredulous when I hear other moms talk about how their babies sleep regularly for 1-2 hours at a time, a few times a day, and then go down for the night at 8 pm! Wow! What would I do with so much time?! My baby's gone through spurts when she's taken 1-2 hour naps in her crib, and one night she actually slept through the night in her crib. (I didn't sleep as well as I thought I would - I kept listening for her, and I missed her!) These events have always been idiosyncratic, though, not evidence of some developmental trend towards increasing sleep independence, as I first naively thought. I got a book called the No Cry Sleep Solution, and it has a lot of helpful tips for babies such as ours. I'm still reading through the book and haven't worked on any of the 'solutions' too systematically yet, so I can't report results, but I like the tone of the book and the types of suggestions seem reasonable - plus she has lots of vignettes from her own experiences and those of moms who tried her methods.

Liz, mama to Margaux
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you thank you all. I had read all of the wonderful suggestions and just forgot to post again.

Well DD went through a phase where she would nap out of arms for about a week, then she flipped out and is back in arms. I decided not to push it, I try every once in a while to put her down if it works great if not oh well. Its hard to face the decision to try to put them down and risk losing the nap or just to hold them and know they will sleep fine. Well is guess when i write it out is seems like an easy choice.

thanks for making me feel less strange, in Mainstream USA i am certainly the oddball with this one!
post #13 of 17
PapayaMom, my DD also just switched back to needing to nap in arms after being ok with independent napping for several weeks. I'm guessing it's teething? I know exactly what you mean about the risk of losing the nap. I try every couple of days but usually opt for the sure thing of napping-in-arms.

I secretly kind of like it because I love the snuggles plus it's a great excuse to sit and read for several hours a day. I've gotten through so many great books. "Sorry, honey, I couldn't do the dishes/sweep/get dinner started/etc. because the baby was napping and I couldn't lay her down."

I'm sure she'll transition back to napping on her own one day soon, but I'm in no hurry.
post #14 of 17
risk losing the nap...yep, definitely. dd is about 12 1/2 months old. she's slept in my arms for naps since birth. if i sneak her into the bed i get about a 20 minute nap versus 1 1/2-2 hours. my only grief is that i feel awful about 3 yo ds sitting watching pbs kids while dd sleeps in my arms in the a.m. i watch w/him and then in the p.m. i try to get a grandparent or dh to entertain him. or i drive both kiddo's around the coutryside. that's the only way ds will nap.
post #15 of 17
DD slept in arms (or right next to me) for naps until she gave them up (occasionaly in a car seat). DS did the same (which was harder since DD was there, too).

In retrospect while it was often annoying at the time I do not regret one minute of holding their baby selves. I wish I could do it again and will never get to
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by TiredX2
In retrospect while it was often annoying at the time I do not regret one minute of holding their baby selves. I wish I could do it again and will never get to

ds has to be really sick to sleep in my arms and it's one thing i regret about not doing when he was a babe--holding him more.
post #17 of 17
my 10 mo. old ds is asleep in my arms right now. often i lie down with him, but i've had so little on line time lately that here i am. mostly i love holding my sleeping babe, but it occasionally gets very frustrating... especially if i'm hungry and unable to prepare food because i'm holding him. :
it's too hard even to imagine him ever not wanting me to hold him, though it's inevitable, i know
my mom had a framed poem, the last lines of which i still remember:
"...so cobwebs be silent, dust go to sleep
i'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep"

well, now he's awake so i'm outta here
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