Yet another nap problem post! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Please give me any ideas you have on getting my DD (4 months) to nap longer. For the past three weeks she won't nap for more than 30 minutes at a time. Usually, though, her naps only last about 20 minutes. This wouldn't bother me if I thought it was enough for her, but it's obviously not. She's only happy for about 15 minutes after a nap, then gets extremely fussy and wants to nap again. This is really driving me nuts!
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#2 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 04:20 PM
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Hi there. I am new to but I have a 3 year old child and another on the way. We had lots of sleep problems with our first and I found that he has a 1 hour cycle that he usually wakes from and it was difficult to get him to sleep past the first cycle. I had success by going in and putting my hand lightly on his head or snuggling up very quietly and he would go back to sleep. Eventually he grew out of his sleep difficulties and started napping for 3 hours! I think sometimes it is just a growing into knowing how to sleep issue. I sympathize though since we were in the same boat worrying about sleep deprivation and such. If I can remember more of what we did I will add more.
Oh, it also made a big difference to make the room dark when he was young.
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#3 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 04:34 PM
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Can you nurse her back to sleep when she first wakes? Sometimes Ingrid will wake after 30 minutes, and I know she needs longer, so I just lie down and nurse her and she drifts off again. Also, she can sometimes put herself to sleep, so if she is not fussing, I often leave her alone to see if she will fall asleep again.

I think 20-30 minute naps can be fine sometimes, too. Obviously, Simi needs some longer ones, too, though...

mama to Ingrid (11/06) and Louisa (5/29/09):
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#4 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 04:53 PM
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Where is baby napping? If you're rocking/nursing to sleep in the living room, for example, with all that noise, are you trying to move her into a quiet room to nap? Perhaps just "slide her over" onto the couch and see if that keeps her sleeping. Sleeping position is a biggie too - most babies don't sleep well on their backs - it aggravates gas/reflux pains and can make the startle reflex worse... try the tummy if she's already not a tummy sleeper.

Good luck... this too shall pass!

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#5 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 07:46 PM
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My ds was the same way at that age... as with everything else though, his patterns quickly changed. Just when you think you can't take anymore of something, my experience has been that it gets better or evolves into something different (though sometimes equally frustrating

Ds now takes 3 30-45 minute naps per day and sleeps from 7:30pm to about 6:30am (with several night nursings of course) and is happy as a clam most of the day- but I assure you it is due to nothing I did, except patience and responding to his cues. Hang in there, she'll likely change her ways before you even have a chance to try

sarah, mama to e & j 8/08, and big brother 8/06
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#6 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 07:49 PM
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I just think the only thing you can really do is to just give up on caring about it. HOnestly, and as tough as it is, it's the only advice I think is worth it . They nap when they nap. Trying too hard just makes it really frustrating and stressfull. EVentually it passes, and their bodies can keep up with little napping. 30 minutes isn't too bad though. Only thing that ever kept mine sleeping *OK* was either: NUrsing laying down on our bed, roll away after they fall asleep, or just carrying on back and letting them nap.
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#7 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 09:21 PM
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Hey there, earthgirl! I know it is stressful, but it sounds pretty normal to me. The only time either of my kids napped/nap longer at this age were (1) in the stroller or sling outdoors or (2) nap nursing. Many babies tend to start settling more into longer, more regular naps around 6 months of age. Hang in there!
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#8 of 14 Old 04-03-2007, 10:55 PM
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I could have written your post when mine was that age. This is what I did (he was closer to 6 months when I did this):
I would rock/nurse whatever to sleep, hold him for awhile, then put him down in my bed (he is a cosleeper). Then I would stay in the room with him. At the first peep I would lay down and nurse him back to sleep. I would do this until he wouldn't go back to sleep anymore. I am sure you can imagine that I was on my laptop or reading quite a bit during this time. At 6 months he started swimming and that would make him tired so he started taking longer naps without needing to nurse. And from there it slowly got better. When he got to the point of sleeping at least an hour consistently I began to move him to his crib for naps (cuz he started to roll) but he was still a cosleeper at night. His crib is next to my bed so if he woke I would feed him and let him sleep in our bed. Now he takes 1-2 hour naps twice a day without eating and without me in the room. I am sure part of it is developmental but on the other hand I could tell he needed more sleep so I decided to take some action to encourage that and I think its helped. Sorry for the novel, hope it helps.
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#9 of 14 Old 04-04-2007, 02:03 PM
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For DD, we still had her swaddled at that age, and a white noise machine has really made sleeping and naps easier for us. She still occassionally does a 30-45 minute nap, but most days I can get a 1.5 hour-2 hour nap in for her. She's 6.5 months now.

Also, consistency really helped. It sucks to have to be home at a certain time everyday, but she's only this little for a short time.

Watch her for signs of sleepiness and try to get her to nap before she's really fussy/overtired - if she's wired, she won't make it -past that first sleep cycle stage of light sleep.
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#10 of 14 Old 04-04-2007, 03:10 PM
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When dd was that age, I just gave up trying to put her down for naps, as I found she would sleep better and longer on my lap after nursing. Yes, I felt trapped at first until I shifted my mindset, told myself to enjoy this tiny baby stage while I could, and prepared my nursing chair with laptop, water, snack, phone, etc nearby.
I also turn on the hairdryer for background noise, and eventually (by 6 mo) I could transfer her to the swing once she was in a good deep sleep.
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#11 of 14 Old 04-05-2007, 03:47 AM
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Both of my children had big sleep changes right around 4 months. When they're smaller than that, they sort of have that newborn thing where they'll just drop off anywhere, and for any random amount of time. But around 4 months, both of my kids started needing a nap "schedule,"(Not a clock-run schedule, but a baby-run schedule) in that they needed a nap when they had been awake for about two hours. My son was a flexible sleeper, and I could ususally get him to fall asleep in the sling or the frontpack. But my daughter could only fall asleep in her hammock or, if I was driving somewhere, in the car. If they got overtired, they would fuss while they were falling asleep, refuse to nurse, wiggle all around and need to be swaddled.

That stage of needing many short naps doesn't last very long. By six months or so, they both took a morning nap and an afternoon nap, and that was all it took to keep them happy.
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#12 of 14 Old 04-05-2007, 10:05 AM
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i just wanted to chime in with what everyone else was saying too--we went through the same thing around 4-5 mos. we also had restless sleep and a bit of excema so i quit dairy. and i got very serious about watching her for signs of sleepiness to get her to nap asap. i stayed at home to be able to have her nap in our bed, with white noise, swaddled, me lying next to her, etc. all that to say, i'm not sure if it made a difference or not....especially after reading everyone else's posts--i wonder if it's just a normal sleep thing some babies go through? anyway we're just past 6 mos now and things are MUCH better. no more fussy afternoons and she's sleeping 45 minutes or more twice a day, on her own.

hang in there. i'm so sympathetic just coming off of this myself. try to get a small amount of time for yourself. for us, this period lasted about a month and i didnt get any time to myself until the last week or so. just that one hour made all the difference for me.

good luck--i hope she moves through this quickly!!
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#13 of 14 Old 04-05-2007, 10:32 AM
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Just another one to chime in to say we had the same thing as you guys at that time.

Ds was so cranky and tired after short naps, I did what pps did and "nap nursed" him on my lap, often while I was at the computer on mdc! At the end of all that, he woke up happy.

Or, I would carry him in the sling, where he would usually nap for 1.5 hours.

I can't imagine carrying him for all naps these days (he's 12 months), but in some ways I miss the spare hours on the computer!

Things gradually got better for us too. These days, if ds has a short nap and wakes up still a bit tired and grumpy, and nursing won't work to help him back to sleep, I just carry him on my back for half an hour until he feels ready to play. By then he's usually happy as larry, and maybe he'll nap longer the next time.

Good luck! Hang in there.

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#14 of 14 Old 04-05-2007, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, everyone. I think I am leaning torwards acceptance. She may or may not go back to sleep after nursing, and although the lack of consistency is frustrating, it feels like there's not much I can do. She's just going to sleep however she sleeps. I'm glad to hear this sounds pretty normal!
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