My DS is 7 months old. He sleeps in bed with us at night, and generally does fine (one or two brief wakings per night). For a few months, he has taken a nap at 9 AM and another one at 1 PM like clockwork. Goes down easy, and I usually have him sleep on the bed right next to me while I read or something.
This week he has gone crazy! It takes me one or two(!!!) hours to soothe him to sleep and a few times he has outright refused to nap. Yesterday I got him to take two naps by moving them each one hour later than usual. Today that worked for the AM nap, but here it is at 2:30 PM and he's wide awake.
I know nap fluctuations are normal, but how should I deal with this? Is it best to keep trying to get him down for two naps a day like before? Try for just one longer nap per day? Not worry about it and assume he'll crash when he's tired enough?
I struggle with naps in general, because left to my own devices, I tend to want to stick to a schedule more, but then my mom always tells me how she just was always on the go with me and my brother as babies, and that babies can just sleep when they're tired wherever they are.
Any nap wisdom/ranting/commiseration is appreciated!
I'm right there with you, which is why I was curious about peoples wind-down tactics. Mine even started getting mad at his mobile because he knows it means nap time, even if he's literally falling asleep in my arms. Just joining in to hear the advice.
Well, I'm not sure what you SHOULD do, but I don't believe that babies can just sleep when they're tired wherever they are. Some babies, perhaps. Certainly not mine! I think you'd know by now if yours could do that. I also think it sounds a bit young for a baby to switch to one long nap. Most babies that age can't make it more than 3 hours awake without a nap. Maybe you need to take a few days where you're just really vigilant about watching for your LO's tired signs. Sometimes babies are harder to put down when they're overtired, rather than under, so waiting an hour might not be the right approach. Is he the type of baby that falls asleep easily in the stroller? Maybe you could try taking him for a walk at a time before his normal nap time? If he falls asleep easily in the stroller, it may be a sign that you could move his naptime forwards rather than backwards. And if it doesn't work...well, at least you had a nice walk, right?
i agree that babies dont always fall asleep when they are tired, i have 9 month twins that are very different from each other, so it interesting to see them both navigate naps and their days in general. one thing it has really taught me is to stop listening to broad assumptions about anything.
but here are a few things that i noticed for both my babies, not assuming they hold true for all others, but at least i know it is more than just one.
the first nap comes way quicker than i thought it would, one would think that after a long nights sleep would be the time that they would spend the most amount of time awake and i found with both mine to the exact opposite. they go down 1 hour after they wake and have been like that since about 5 months and i do everything in my power to help that stay that way, if they stay up longer, even 1.5 hours, they start to go wild and the whole day goes downhill. and personally i do not encourage any loud high energy play before that morning nap, seems to help.
if i took being tired as a 1-10 scale, where 1 is the very first sign i catch of rubbing an eye or tugging an ear (or in the case of my son his eye region gets blotchy, how strange) and 10 is a melt down where they are so tired they cant fall asleep, yes i really believe it happens a lot to folks.
i found my babies go down best at a 3 or 4. if i do it too early and we are in a quiet room they can sometimes get a second wind from nursing and want to start babbling and looking around for something to do. (walks still work at a 1 because they just lay still till they get sleepier.) too late and they actually seem like they cant control themselves from kicking and fussing and it seems to me that they adrenaline or cortisol or something levels get out of wack, i dont really know what it is, but it does seem clear to me that is the in a brain chemistry thing at that point.
now here are a few ways they differ:
my boy show outward signs sooner, he gets spacey and kinda bummed out, and doesn't like to make eye contact, he will actually start playing games that involve him flopping his head down on you or a floor or whatever is handy. and when he is over tired he starts not liking to be touched, if im nursing him down overtired im usually get kicked a lot like he is kicking off his imaginary blankets, i just need to give him space (as much as is possible with my boob in his mouth!)
my girl can trick you, she gets super "happy" and play gets more intense, i often can miss it till she crosses the fine line from super into play to "argumentative" with just about everything (when she was very young she used to get very argumentative with her mobile, was funny a tad, but mostly taught me to take it away when she was too tired or a full out "fight" would ensue
and when she is over tired and being nursed down she often ha to be held down, i will wrap my arms around her waist or legs and hold them pretty darn tight, she always seems appreciative once she figures out she cant really move. we have sleep a good handful of nights spooned with my arm completely wrapping her waist, squeezing her whole body tight against mine, its her last ditch magic bullet
as for nap timing for us:
we wake at 8:30- 9ish
nap at 10 (or 1 hour after waking)
nap at 2or3
sleep at 7-9 depending on the rest of the day
they have been like this since 5 or 6 months though the amount of time they sleep for each nap has shifted back and forth. sometimes with milestones, like now she is about to crawl and apparently cant be bothered to waste precious practice time napping and he is cutting top teeth so has been sleeping very light and can get back to sleep when woken (i just had to separate them for naps for the first time ever because of this.)
So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!
I find the word, "argumentative" amusing.
When my little one is (insert something I haven't figured out yet), he'll start whining like he wants his bottle. Then, when he lays back in my arms and is given one, he sucks on it for 2-3 seconds, gets mad and pushes it or kicks it away.. then asks for it back, then kicks it away, it can be really challenging.
I wonder if this is similar?
Well, naps and night time sleep have been screwy a few days in a row now. I am just trying to give him good solid 'nap opportunities' for a morning and afternoon nap. A couple of days he's really fought it, so I just don't worry about it. Last night was INSANE! Down at 7, up at 8:30, back down at midnight (!!!) and then up for the day at 5:45. So I'm wrecked, but he took both his naps today! haha, I'll take what I can get. Maybe he's just growing a tooth or something.
I'm with you. My DD's nap schedule changes every six weeks or so. Her "sleep window" is ever-evolving. At 7 months, she went from 2 hours of awake time to 3.5. Have you tried changing the time of both naps? Experiment with different timeframes and see what works.
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. ~Dylan Thomas
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