Hello wise mamas and papas,
I am looking for some thoughts and advice on naps. My 4.5 month old dd has been taking 4 45 min naps a day. A book I read made me paranoid about letting her get overtired, so at the first sign of tiredness I try to whisk her away to soothe into dreamland. However, I am noticing that she is getting harder and harder to get to sleep. The past three days her first nap has only lasted 20 minutes. She also has recently (last few weeks) started waking 45 mins into her nighttime sleep and needs soothing back to sleep - sometimes this is accomplished easily, sometimes she ends up being awake up to 90 mins before she'll fall asleep again.
I'm wondering if I am trying to get her to sleep too quickly - before she's tired enough to sleep for a longer period. Perhaps I ought to drop one of her naps and space the three remaining so that there is more awake time between the naps? Does it sound like she would do better on three naps to you experienced parents? Especially, the waking up 45 mins into nighttime sleep one - have you guys experienced that with your LOs and seen it remedied by dropping the evening nap? Also, when you drop a nap, do the other naps typically get longer to compensate? I would love it if she'd sleep longer, but kinda think she's stuck in the one sleep cycle syndrome. If I hold her for naps, she will typically still wake at 45 mins, but will fall back asleep when she realizes she's being held.
oh goodness. i could have written that post. wow.
my 5 month old son is the exact same way. The very first "schedule" he ever really had -for long enough for it to count as one- was 4 45min naps a day. And the first one was/is always about an hour after waking in the morning! He's like clockwork. From the minute he's down, it's like 45 minutes to the second that he wakes up. I'm also the same as you in the sense that I don't wait for him to get cranky/exhausted. If he seems tired, I try to provide a good sleeping environment asap. If we're home, we go upstairs to our room. If we're out, he's in the carrier and i use the cover a soother, some extra bouncing etc.
AAAaaanyways, I've also wondered if I'm trying too hard too soon :) But I have no idea. Sometimes it takes a minute for him to go to sleep, other times it's a 45 minute battle. Sounds like our LOs wake up after that first sleep cycle, like you said.
I do have some hope though: the past couple weeks I've been fairly consistent with making his first nap longer by being ready as soon as he wakes up to nurse him/soothe him to keep him sleeping. This way, he sleeps for about 2 hrs. After about 10 days of that every morning, he just did it by himself two days in a row!! I was ready at 45 min. but he just kept on sleeping! The third day he needed help again so we'll see what happens this morning. I guess he just got used to sleeping for longer? That might help you.
As for night time, same same same over here to. He goes down and needs comforting back to sleep after that first cycle. he usually stays fairly sleepy though and after that it's a few hrs of solid sleep. i have no solution for that one.
He did recently drop his last nap of the day though, and then by bedtime he's overtired and requires more soothing (weird how that works!) and then I have to go back for more soothing after 45 minutes. I feel like he's in a transition time and just getting used to dropping that last nap.
Don't know if that helps at all but at least I can empathize :)
Thanks for the reply! It always is good to hear other babies are doing the same stuff as mine. Then it makes me feel less like it's something I'm doing wrong and more just normal baby-ness. ;-) Mine is the same way in that sometimes it takes 2 minutes to get her to sleep, others it ends up being a 45 minute crying match. :-( Which can't be good, because I don't see how that is soothing her to sleep.... She seems more focused on staying awake and crying than drifting off to sleep those times. Bleah.
Good advice on extending that first nap - I was wondering that too. I have been wondering If I started working to consistently extend the nap if she would learn to sleep through the 45 minute wake up and start to transition to the next sleep cycle. I'm glad it's worked for your LO. It seems like if I do get her past that 45 minute mark she will sleep soundly for much longer. It's just that dumb 45 minute mark that kills us.
Part of me wonders if it's just developmental and she'll learn to transition as she grows....
I am trying today with the three naps instead of 4. We'll see how that goes. I might end up moving her bedtime up if she is too tired in the evening. Usually she goes to sleep around 8pm. Of course, it's Saturday which means any "schedule" we have usually gets pretty wacky anyways.
yes, it's definitely normal babyness :)
so, just an update, he was back at a 45min nap yesterday but I perserveered and kept him napping for another hour (i call it my booby trap haha) but then this morning he did it by himself again! yay! I think i'm just going to be ready for anything for a while longer and be pleasently surprised when he sleeps longer on his own. I'll keep my expectations low :)
also, about bedtime: it's my one hard fast rule - 7pm is bed time. i am so easy going (totally baby-led) about how his daytimes go but i decided long ago that for my own sanity, i would need him to be done the day around 7. it's not ridiculously early but early enough that i can spend a couple hours baby-free to watch a movie, clean, talk to my husband etc. sometimes it takes an hour to get him to sleep and other times it's easy peasy, but i stick with it. i reeeeally want that consistency. of course, once in a while if we're visiting family or have some event we're going to we bring him and he's up later, but that's just life.