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#1 of 28 Old 09-15-2010, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 28 Old 09-15-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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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.

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#3 of 28 Old 09-15-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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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...
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#4 of 28 Old 09-15-2010, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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#5 of 28 Old 09-15-2010, 11:49 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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...
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#7 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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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?
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#8 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#9 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 03:34 AM
 
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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!

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#10 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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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.
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#11 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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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!

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#12 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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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.

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#14 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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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?

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#15 of 28 Old 09-16-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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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!
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#16 of 28 Old 09-17-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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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.
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#17 of 28 Old 09-17-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 28 Old 09-17-2010, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#19 of 28 Old 09-17-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 28 Old 09-17-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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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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#21 of 28 Old 09-18-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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It's very, very normal for a baby that age to wake up at around the 40 minute mark. If you nurse at all or if she takes a pacifier, what will often work is to go in the room a few minutes before she wakes up and nurse her or put the pacifier in her mouth. They hit a light sleep stage around that time and need help staying asleep. They're not really ready to wake up yet; they just don't know how to get back to sleep. If you can't nurse or do a pacifier, just try being there to pat her on the back or whatever it is she likes to fall asleep, but don't do it until you see she's starting to move around a little. That works for a lot of babies. Good luck.
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#22 of 28 Old 09-18-2010, 05:34 AM
 
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It's very, very normal for a baby that age to wake up at around the 40 minute mark. If you nurse at all or if she takes a pacifier, what will often work is to go in the room a few minutes before she wakes up and nurse her or put the pacifier in her mouth. They hit a light sleep stage around that time and need help staying asleep. They're not really ready to wake up yet; they just don't know how to get back to sleep. If you can't nurse or do a pacifier, just try being there to pat her on the back or whatever it is she likes to fall asleep, but don't do it until you see she's starting to move around a little. That works for a lot of babies. Good luck.
My DS also does the 3-4 micronaps per day thing. I feel lucky that he's relatively easy to get down for the nap, but it can be frustrating when he wakes up 30-40 minutes later. Every.single.time. I have tried this method of extending his naps (it's one of the ones in the No-Cry book), and it worked once, I was so happy! But the other few times I've tried it, I either got in there too late and he was already wide awake~ I think by the time he peeps and I hear it on the monitor, he's already quite awake ~or I actually woke him up by just sliding next to him and trying to get him to the breast! I suppose I need to actually go into the room and sit there and wait until he stirs and get to him at exactly the right moment. But really, it is a lot of work and time and would take awhile til it started happening w/out me to manipulate it, so I have stopped trying. I figure at this point I can manage with the mini-naps.
Have any of you had success with this method of extending naps?

Besides that the only way he'll ever sleep more than 40 minutes is if I and/or DH naps with him. I usually try to get down for one nap a day with him, and he's even slept up to two hours this way before!!!! But there are also times where we nap together and he still wakes up after 40 minutes. Oh well!

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#23 of 28 Old 09-19-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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I've read the No Cry sleep Solution and various other things. My DD is super high needs. Her sleep has deteriorated from about 5 months onwards. The good old days were the days of 4-5 hours of total nap time and 10 hours of sleep at night where she'd go down around 8, wake up 3 times before 6 or 7. Around 5 months something happened and she started waking up every 1-2 hours all night and sleeping more like 9 hours a night. The problem was her becoming mobile. She began crawling at 6 months and pulled herself up at 7 months and now at 9 months is even taking some unassisted steps. When she wakes up she rolls immediately into a sitting position and starts crawling. It's almost inadvertant. She does not know how to settle down to sleep, even when she is exhausted. It's been taking us 2-3 hours to get her to sleep, which sometimes wasn't happening until 10pm, after which she would wake every 1-2 hours, sometimes, not going back to sleep for 1-2 hours and up for the day at 6am. As a result she was cranky and clingy all day long and her naps shrank down to 1-2 hours of total nap time a day, waking up every 30 minutes.

The last 3 days I've been taking her upstairs to our quiet sleeping room (we moved apartments and kicked DH out to another room already to fix our sleep issues because I am near the point of collapse from sleep deprivation and no REM cycles) at set times and basically holding her down. It's gentle and in a loving craddle position where I sing our sleepytime song, shush her, rock her and nurse her as she wants, but I don't let her roll up. About half the time she'll let out a few screams, struggle a bit and then just nurse and pass out immediately. This struggle has been getting less and less and her sleep has been improving. She's slept around 7-7:30 pm both nights, until 7am, though still with at least 3 wake ups. This wouldn't be a big deal if one of those wakeups wasn't for at least an hour. As a family we've committed to trying this for 4 weeks though hopefully we'll see some positive changes soon.

We'd tried almost everything else in the No Cry sleep solution, but those books were almost not helpful because very little of it worked for our baby and I just spend months getting upset and frustrated. This seems to be what she needs to get to sleep.

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#24 of 28 Old 09-19-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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For my son, a schedule was absolutely necessary for his well being. I think around 5 months is when we really fell into a solid nap/eating/outing schedule, and at that point he was taking 3 naps a day. I followed his lead, but started paying very close attention to when he showed sleepy signs and would put him down for a nap as soon as I noticed he was tired. At that age, he would fall back asleep within 1-2 hours of first waking, then take another nap 2-3 hours after he woke, and another 3 or so hours after he awoke from his second nap. This meant I had to really be careful and couldn't just leave the house whenever, because he needed to be home to take a good nap. He was never a fall asleep in the car seat kind of baby. So I made sure our outings were quick at that age and always had him home, well fed, and comfy by the time he was ready for sleep.

But it's also relevant to mention that I held my son for every.single.nap from 4 months to 11 months. Around 4 months he stopped sleeping on his own, and if I put him down for a nap, he would wake within 30 minutes and be super cranky/fussy and overtired, then not nap well the next time. The only thing I found that worked (and I tried EVERYTHING) was holding him for his entire nap. I would get comfy in my recliner with a book and some crochet and my computer, and settle in for his nap time, or nap with him. It worked for me, and I credit the fact that I held him for all those naps as to why he's such a good sleeper now (he started STTN for 11-12 hours at 13 months and still goes down for 2 naps a day, very easily, without much assistance from me anymore). At least I think that's partly the reason he's such a good sleeper! And I know a lot of toddlers who never had good nap schedules and are now really, really difficult to put down for naps. I'm a huge advocate of instigating a flexible, baby-led schedule, and really think it helped my son

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#25 of 28 Old 09-19-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post
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...
Just my opinion, but I don't think this is a good idea. Waiting until a baby is overtired to put them down for a nap generally leads to less fitful sleep, a shorter nap, and a crankier baby. At 5 months, she's probably ready for her first nap within an hour or so of waking, so try that to start with. If her first nap is solid, then the rest of the day will be easier to fall into place. I remember being kind of like "why does my babe need to go back to sleep already, he just woke up!", but I read that the first nap at that age is generally an extension of night time sleep and really important that they go down shortly after waking. Try scheduling that nap for about an hour after she wakes each morning and see where that leads you.

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#26 of 28 Old 09-19-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by YayJennie View Post

But it's also relevant to mention that I held my son for every.single.nap from 4 months to 11 months. Around 4 months he stopped sleeping on his own, and if I put him down for a nap, he would wake within 30 minutes and be super cranky/fussy and overtired, then not nap well the next time. The only thing I found that worked (and I tried EVERYTHING) was holding him for his entire nap. I would get comfy in my recliner with a book and some crochet and my computer, and settle in for his nap time, or nap with him. It worked for me, and I credit the fact that I held him for all those naps as to why he's such a good sleeper now (he started STTN for 11-12 hours at 13 months and still goes down for 2 naps a day, very easily, without much assistance from me anymore). At least I think that's partly the reason he's such a good sleeper! And I know a lot of toddlers who never had good nap schedules and are now really, really difficult to put down for naps. I'm a huge advocate of instigating a flexible, baby-led schedule, and really think it helped my son
I had to hold Liam for every nap until he was ~4-5 months old, and then I had to lay down and nap with him until he was about 18 months old.. and that didn't help him become a good sleeper.. He is FINALLY a decent sleeper now at age 2 (sleeps 9 hours straight at night, and takes a 1.5 hour nap every afternoon) but that took me nightweaning and moving him to his own bed. Before that, he would wake every 1-2 hours all night long....

But, I agree, if your baby falls into a schedule on their own the way Wyatt did, definitely take advantage and follow that schedule!

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#27 of 28 Old 09-20-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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didn't read all responses, but did glance briefly and noticed that a few of you were mentioning that your baby wakes about 45 mins into the nap. I think that they come into a light phase of the sleep cycle during this time and they wake themselves if they have not yet learnt how to soothe themselves back to sleep, and especially if they are over tired.

I got some good advice on sleep cues and rhythms in the "sleep lady"book and it helped me to figure out how to help ds to get to sleep.

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#28 of 28 Old 09-20-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I've had both my kids on some sort of routine and it works really well for us.

Bedtime is set in stone at 7pm. That means upstairs at 6.40 (when there was one kid) for bath, diaper, nurse, bed. We were totally rigid about this for about 18 months and only disrupted it a few times and it was really good. We have a kid who sleeps 12 hours through the night and goes down without fuss and we don't have to parent her to sleep and haven't had to since she was about 2 mths old.

DS who is now 4.5 mths has recently started napping for longer. i find he goes in a 2 hour pattern - 2 hours up then a 2 hour nap. 2 naps per day and then a longer stretch of being awake before bed at 7pm.

I do my best to try and keep DS's routine set for now (I will disrupt the morning nap once or twice a week at most) because I want to really "program" him to sleep well. I know that sounds bad, but I think sleep is really important for development as well as everyone's sanity.

Both kids wake at about 7am for the day.

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