My daughter doesn't nap - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 07-07-2008, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter (4 m. old) sleeps great at night in bed with me. I nurse her to sleep, or her dad bounces her to sleep, and she sleeps well throughout the night. The problem is that she doesn't take naps during the day, except for short periods of time after nursing she will sleep on my body. If I try to nurse her in bed during the day, she does not fully fall asleep, or if she does, the second I move away from her, she wakes up and starts fussing/ crying. She falls asleep on me (nursing) when I am walking or sitting, but if I try to put her down carefully, she wakes up immediately. She has been fussy and irritable during the day because she is not sleeping enough. I am also irritable because she is on me most of the day, other than when my partner is with her.

My pediatrician, who believes in attachment parenting, recently advised me to try nursing her and then laying her in bed and letting her cry and fuss some on her own. She said after 10 minutes she will learn to soothe herself to sleep, and it is an important developmental process for her to learn to self-soothe. She feels she is at the age where she should be ready to sleep on her own. We tried this a few times, however, no matter what we do to try to soothe her once we lay her down on the bed, she gets increasingly fussy and upset and does not fall asleep.

Also, she usually does not sleep well in the car, so driving her around and taking out the car seat while she is asleep is not really an option.
She falls asleep in the Ergo when we walk, when we nurse, and sometimes with her dad when he bounces her and sings to her.

I'm wondering if other moms out there have this same problem?
Does anyone have any suggestions for helping babies learn to nap on their own?
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#2 of 26 Old 07-07-2008, 11:00 PM
 
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Have you tried swaddling? I know she might be a little old for it but I still swaddle my four month old. I had a terrible time getting her to sleep, for naps and at night, until I started swaddling her at around 2.5 months.

Also, you can gradually transition into taking your nipple out of her mouth when she's half-asleep but relaxed. I read _The No-Cry Sleep Solution_ and it's a technique from the book that I've been trying: when my daughter is almost asleep, I gently delatch her and pull my boob away. Usually the first few times she says "Ah, ah" and roots around for it, and then I put it back in her mouth and wait a few more minutes. Eventually she'll let me take it out without protesting, and then I carefully roll away from her and get up. I think that taking it out and letting her have it back a few times helps her realize that just because it's not in her mouth this second doesn't mean it's gone for good. It's time-consuming but she is starting to nap longer.

Now if I could just get mine to sleep longer at night...!

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#3 of 26 Old 07-07-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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A tip that helped me transition from all in-arm-napping that I found in a book I wouldn't recommend for a baby so young...

The first nap of the day is the easiest to try to make a change, and you can expect that nap to happen anytime from 1-2 hours after baby wakes up. At that age, the first nap is like an extension of nighttime sleep, so baby is really ready for sleep! So whatever you try (and swaddling really helped us, too, from 2-12 mo's!), do it for a week or so with that first nap of the day, and then build from there!

ETA: Whether it's the best parenting choice or not, I do think there are some babies who will just fuss for a few minutes and go to sleep if put down in the right circumstances - my niece and nephew were both like that. But my DD would just get more and more upset, like your LO. Sleepless in America refers to it as a strong survival instinct, and as a matter of biological wiring. A blog I've found helpful at times, askmoxie, talks about there being babies who release tension by crying and babies who build tension while crying. Don't let a pediatrician talk you into doing something that doesn't fit who your baby is!

*** DH (wed 5/03), DD (6/07), and DS (8/11)
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#4 of 26 Old 07-08-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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The only way my ds willnap is in his swing. It makes us really sad since we want to be the ones to comfort him, but he won't stay asleep for longer than 10 minutes unless he's in that thing. We had it for a couple of months and never tried it sincewe wanted to be close to him, but one day out of frustration I pulled it out of the closet and he's been a great napper ever since.
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#5 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 04:03 PM
 
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My fourth child did not nap either -- it just wasn't what he did nor what he needed. He might sleep for 20 minutes here and there, but he never had a "nap-time" -- my three older children all had very nice nap times when they were babies/toddlers, but not the fourth. Not all children need a lot of sleep; if your child is healthy and growing well, don't worry about it.

If your child really NEEDS to sleep, the method of teaching them to self-sooth worked very well for us with our three older children -- we didn't do the "let them scream for 10 minutes" it was the method of having our nighttime or naptime routine, laying them down, leaving the room for two minutes, coming in to sooth for no more than 30 seconds (no picking up the baby) going out, coming back (if the child was still crying) in four minutes; again at six minutes; again at eight minutes, etc. The next day, we start at four minutes and do the "increased by two-minutes" intervals; the third day, we start off with six minutes and by the fifth to seventh day, there was no longer a need to go back in since the child would have learned how to put him/herself to sleep without us.

Good luck!
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#6 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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my ds doesnt nap. it sucks. I get 30 minutes here, 45 minutes there, he's tired and cranky by the end of the day. My dh just woke him up (after 20 min) by running the weed wacker right by the room we were in, even though he knew we were in there and that I was trying to get in a longer nap because we are going out tonight. I want to smack him in the head with the weed wacker and just got done yelling at him about it.
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#7 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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My ds was like that. Would only sleep while being held. I just set myself up with a glass of water, a snack, and a book and settled down in the recliner or in bed. He'd wake up after maybe 45 minutes and maybe nurse again and sleep for another 45 minutes. Of course that would be hard to do if you have toddlers.

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#8 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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Oh, another thing I forgot is my new nap rule I've come up with: if she wakes up crying, then she's not done napping. If she wakes up crying, I just immediately pop the boob back in her mouth and 9 times out of 10 she falls back asleep in seconds. She's just not able to fall back asleep on her own yet, so she wakes at every sleep cycle (every 30-45 minutes). But if I take a minute or two to nurse her back to sleep, then often she doesn't wake at the next cycle and she'll sleep for another two hours...for a total of a three-hour nap...!

My DD is four months too, so sleep is THE issue around our house right now!

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#9 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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My 4 month old little girl is the same way and always has been. This is what works for me and they work every single time, so maybe one might work for you.

1. I know you said you didn't really want her sleeping on your body, but have you tried putting her on a nursing pillow against your tummy? You can get stuff done on the computer that way. I work from home as a graphic designer and work time is nap time. I just put her on to nurse and work hands-free and she will sleep for up to 2 hours on the boppy in my lap.

2. Dr. Sears calls it "wearing them down." You walk around while rocking and nursing (and shushhing if you have to) until they fall completely asleep. You can tell they are completely asleep because they pop off the breast and won't wake when you jostle them or put them down. If you her down and she goes stiff or waves her arms, she's not fully asleep, so wait until she is.

3. Nurse baby down in your arms or side-lying in the bed until she falls completely asleep. Then take your pillow (must be yours because it will smell like you) and lay the pillow in front of your baby. Obviously you can't do this if you're going to leave her alone, but I always keep my baby near me when she sleeps. I don't put her in another room. My little girl will move her arms and legs out while napping to make sure I'm still there and if she feels nothing, she will wake herself up and cry. If I put the pillow in front of her, she can smell it and if her hands or legs bump it, she thinks it's me and keeps right on sleeping.

Good luck!

Mama to a bright 5 y/o girl dust.gif and a beautiful boy born 03/10/12 fly-by-nursing1.gif Loving unschooling, 2xuc.jpgfamilybed2.gif ecbaby2.gifand natural living in Hawaii.rainbow1284.gif
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#10 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lisavark View Post
Oh, another thing I forgot is my new nap rule I've come up with: if she wakes up crying, then she's not done napping. If she wakes up crying, I just immediately pop the boob back in her mouth and 9 times out of 10 she falls back asleep in seconds. She's just not able to fall back asleep on her own yet, so she wakes at every sleep cycle (every 30-45 minutes). But if I take a minute or two to nurse her back to sleep, then often she doesn't wake at the next cycle and she'll sleep for another two hours...for a total of a three-hour nap...!

My DD is four months too, so sleep is THE issue around our house right now!
That's my rule, too! If she wakes up crying I just pop the boob in and three or four minutes later, she's back to sleep again for another half hour.

Mama to a bright 5 y/o girl dust.gif and a beautiful boy born 03/10/12 fly-by-nursing1.gif Loving unschooling, 2xuc.jpgfamilybed2.gif ecbaby2.gifand natural living in Hawaii.rainbow1284.gif
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#11 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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My baby only takes cat naps too. I think as long as she gets a solid nights sleep then the cat naps are good enough. It would be nice to have a longer break though.

Me(33), Mama to a crazy DD (6), Wife to a wonderful mountain man(32) BF my babe for 2 years.
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#12 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 09:41 PM
 
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My little guy shares a birthday with your little girl. :.and he has the EXACT same sleep habits. Complete with the short, little catnaps..falling asleep in my arms or in the sling for short periods of time and waking up as soon as I move him or move away from him on the bed. He also sleeps great at night.

Today's sleep schedule was:

6:30 AM wake-up
8:00 40 minute nap in the sling while on a walk
11:15-12:45. nap in bed, with me nursing him down to sleep and then going and nursing 2 more times to put him back to sleep during that 1 1/2 hour nap (so really no more than 20 minutes at a time, without me going in to nurse again).
3:00-3:30 nap in sling while at the playground
6:30 falls asleep.
6:45 wake up and I go in to nurse him down to sleep again
8:00 wakes up and I go in to nurse him down to sleep again


Honestly, I don't really worry about the catnaps that much. I mean, personally I would rather he be fine (happy) wth 4-5 catnaps a day and an adjustable sleep schedule, then be on a reglar schedule of 2 (2-hour naps a day in his crib where I felt we had to be "home" for those naps.

Granted, longer blocks of time to get stuff done would be nice, but I wouldn't trade that for his current adaptability and shorter naps (therefore we never have to schedule going out aruond his naps or worry about outside activities conflicting with nap time).

I found with my other kids that sometime around 10-14 months they consolidated down to 1 nap a day in the afternoon and things became more regular and predictible. And, then we DID have to schedule around those naps and try to make sure (at least most of the time) to be home for them. Personally, I prefer our current freedom now.

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#13 of 26 Old 07-12-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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My DD is now 14 months old, and I am so glad to read these posts. I seriously thought my kid was the only one like this. She is my first and definitely not a good sleeper (much much better now, obviously) but wow- from 4-8 or 9 months old, she was exactly like this! Sleeping in the sling was key- I was going to suggest that too. I would nurse and rock her in the sling all at the same time, and then be able to put her down for at least a little bit. Good luck and hang in there... it does get better. My DD now puts herself to sleep, (and if she does fall asleep nursing, she lets me put her down!) :
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#14 of 26 Old 07-13-2008, 02:16 AM
 
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I would also recommend the No-Cry Sleep Solution book. Our girls also prefer to fall asleep and sleep on us - what baby wouldn't? What we started to do which is working to teach them how to fall asleep on their own, calmly: Put the babies down sleepy but still slightly awake. If they begin to fuss, comfort them. If they cry, we pick ours up and calm them. When they are calm, put them back down. Repeat, repeat, repeat as needed until they are asleep. We don't do any crying it out of any length here, b/c our babies easily work themselves into frenzies.
I hope you find something that works for you!

Mama to twin girls Adele and Nadia, born 5/2008
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#15 of 26 Old 07-13-2008, 09:16 PM
 
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My 3.5 month old sounds the same as your 4 monther- good night sleeper, impossible napper. I spend all my waking hours either trying to soothe this tiny, sometimes angry creature to sleep or trying to come up with a plan to try again tomorrow. I wish I could say I'm down with the schedule-free, cat-napping babe, but I can't, 'cause she's miserable.

I've been keeping a log of our activities- her sleepiness, then fussiness, then my attempts to solve it-- just trying to find patterns in her behaviour that I can capitalize on. I can tell pretty accurately from this when she SHOULD be napping and SHOULD be put to bed, but I can't actually get her to do it. I'm growing so tired of reading advice that neatly finishes "...then put the baby down". Excuse me? How? I can barely get her to be quiet as I stay right there, never mind walking away. Mine's more the wind-up-explode type than the eventually-soothe-self-to-sleep type, so she really needs aids. (Right now she'll only sleep after 20 mins active bouncy-chair, near the oven fan- nice and loud).

I'm in love with my new girl, but is 10 minutes every now and then for a shower asking too much?
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#16 of 26 Old 07-14-2008, 02:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate everyone's posts. Here I am, 9:30pm and my daughter is swaddled, sleeping on my lap. If I try to put her in bed right now, or even shift my position, I'm afraid she'll wake up.

I think what I've gotten from reading all of these posts, is that babies are all so different. It seems that some babies really can nap for 2 hours at a time, some can be laid down while drowsy and soothe themselves to sleep with only minimal shushing. Some babies fall into deep states of sleep during the day and can be moved and laid down without waking. Other babies only become increasingly upset when they are left to fall asleep on their own, and will only take lighter catnaps during the day.

I relate to what you wrote, Charlotte's mum, that it seems you spend all day strategizing about how to get your baby to nap. I am also trying a sleep log to see if there are consistent times that she tends to fall asleep. Yet, I am not sure what the next step would be after we find these patterns.

So here's the conflict...

My partner really wants to let her CIO. Our pediatrician, who is an advocate for attachment parenting, told us that she read all of the original attachment parenting research literature, and nowhere is it actually found that babies who CIO are less securely attached than babies who don't CIO. She has patients who report that after 3 days of CIO, their babies are able to sleep more regularly on their own, and this short period of struggle made everyone's lives much easier. She has other patients who were never able to get their babies on a regular nap schedule, who end up regretting it down the line, as their babies never acquired a regular sleep rhythm, and they cannot fall asleep on their own until at least 2 years old.

I am really struggling with this one.
I am afraid that she will not be able to self-soothe if left to herself, and that an hour will go by at least before she cries herself to sleep (or goes into shock from being so upset.) It sounds horrible.
But it doesn't sound very good to go another year or more not being able to move when she falls asleep on me.

I know CIO is very unpopular on this forum, but I am wondering, are there any moms reading this who have tried CIO, successfully or not?

I never thought that naps would be such a big ordeal!
I always thought- babies nap, that's what they do on their own, right?
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#17 of 26 Old 07-14-2008, 10:02 AM
 
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Sticky territory...

Listen, I hate CIO, it sucks. In a couple desparate moments where I have needed a break and have had no one to break me, I have put my baby down. He has had a lot of problems with reflux/allergies, so he was VERY fussy as a bitty baby and even now, if an offending food sneaks in, it can be quite a mess. It has been ten minutes here or there, one time 15 minutes, he never stopped. And I hope I dont get fried, but one time I let him go in his swing, he had been napping, he woke after a short catnap, so I waited to see if the swinging would put him back to sleep. I waited 30 minutes, but all he did was cry.

I dont want to let him CIO. I too am out of ideas though. My mom says she let each of us cry it out for about an hour. She says at 6 months she could set us in the crib awake and we would fall asleep. Could this be true or is her memory off? I don't know. Last night I tried for an hour to get my sweet boy in his crib without letting him CIO, it may have been longer, it didnt work and all the roly-poly action in my bed drove me crazy last night.

So what is the next step for a desperate mom? I don't know, but I dont think hours of crying is the right choice. It just doesn't seem to have any benefit. I'm desperate too, I want him to nap and to sleep at night, preferably in the crib. But I think it is just going to take a long transition.

My LO used to only nap on me, then he would nap if I laid down next to him, now I lay him down. Yes, his naps have shortened, but maybe next thing I know, they will get longer. Same thing with bedtime. He used to never let me lay him down, then I had to lay with him, but now I can lay him on our bed and leave. So, I keep having to remind myself to be patient, things change, just not right when I want them to. But there has been progress, even if it is the two steps forward one step back kind of progress.

Dont know if any of this helps mama, but know that I understand the frustration and concern.
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#18 of 26 Old 07-14-2008, 07:18 PM
 
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My ds was like this. At that age he only slept on me. I went with the flow...either wore him and took long walks or set up shop with water/tea, food, computer, phone, and he slept on a big nursing pillow on me. If he woke up I nursed him and he fell right back asleep for a good rest. Sometimes I wore him around the house and talked on the phone since that worked too, and swept the floors/did laundry. Around 8 months he grew out of this and could be nursed to sleep in bed and I could get up. That lasted for a few months then with teething he seemed to needed to be worn again, so I did that for a couple months until he was fine with nursing down in the bed again. Things change, it's a fact of parenting. You get used to one thing and suddenly your LO changes preferences/gets sick/teething/new development and you've got to go with the flow. Looking back now I really can see how his developing new skills and teething really affected his sleep. It's so obvious to me...every time something came up his habits changed for awhile. It still goes on, he is almost 3!

And about CIO. I was a CIO baby, as were my five siblings. Did I stay attached to my parents as a younger child? Yes. I had to since I couldn't do much for myself until I was a teen. Am I attached to them now? No. Most of my siblings just aren't either, and half of us have problems with sleeping alone. And we are in our 30's and 40's. I truly do believe it affects the parent/child relationship...when you believe you need to do something to your child otherwise there will never be order or whatever, that is setting up an adversarial relationship, IMO. Trusting your baby will help you in the long run, relationship wise. I think that is what there is to think about...how do you want to relate with your child? Trust yourself and your baby. It will work out. Good luck!!! Mary

Mary, Mama to 3 boys! 9/05 & 8/08 & 7/12
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#19 of 26 Old 07-14-2008, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I truly do believe it affects the parent/child relationship...when you believe you need to do something to your child otherwise there will never be order or whatever, that is setting up an adversarial relationship, IMO. Trusting your baby will help you in the long run, relationship wise. I think that is what there is to think about...how do you want to relate with your child? Mary
Yes, this is well put, Mary, thank you.
I believe this too, and strive to have a relationship based on trust & respect. I believe overall that her needs for dependence / independence will evolve naturally on their own as she grows. However isn't it a part of the parenting dance to balance one's own needs with the needs/ demands of a child? If a parent isn't sleeping well at night because their baby is squirming around constantly, or if my body is getting stiff and achy from holding her for hours without moving while she naps on me, it doesn't seem healthy to set this pattern of always sacrificing oneself so that a child will have "healthy attachment." This may be another topic entirely...

Also, when she is only sleeping on me, I am concerned that she is never really getting enough sleep during the day- she has been very cranky and irritable lately.

BTW, my neighbor today recommended that I start using a stroller as a way to help her get used to falling asleep on her own, yet staying in close proximity. I have been so used to wearing her all the time, but I recognize that soon she will be too heavy for me to carry, and this too will become a self-sacrifice, hurting my back in the name of attachment parenting.

Speaking of which, she is getting very frustrated lying on a blanket on the floor by herself... gotta go!
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#20 of 26 Old 07-15-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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I'm so happy to see this discussion on MDC...I'm subbing.

It sounds like a lot of us with 3-4 month olds are going through the same thought process! I definitely feel that now that my babe is past the fourth trimester--and it's obvious to me that she's a lot more comfortable with being in the world and out of the womb--that's triggering my realization that hey, maybe I don't have to jump every time she whimpers any more. Which leads to thoughts of wonderful things like showers...and even fanciful dreams of things like sleeping more than a couple of hours at a stretch. But in our culture, it seems like there are no examples of a balanced way to care for a babe: it's jump every time she whimpers (because that's how a lot of us new moms interpret AP, especially since we've never seen it lived and have to figure it out from reading about it, which is often an idealized vision that doesn't entirely match the reality) or CIO.

For me, CIO is just not an option. And I WILL sacrifice myself to avoid it if I have to. And if I start to feel differently, I will slap myself until I remember why it's so bad. My dad was a CIO baby, and even he admits that is probably a big piece of the reason for his psychological problems now...in my opinion, he literally never got past the infant attachment stage. He never achieved an emotional realization of object permanence. Seriously. He's been married and divorced multiple times because he can't believe a woman even exists--much less that she loves him--unless he's physically in her arms. I honestly think this is because his mother so rarely held him and left him so often to cry.

But really, to get back on topic, I'm sure CIO is wrong because all my instincts scream against it when I hear my baby crying. We are designed this way for a reason, whether you believe it's by God or nature, there's a reason why it's so painful for us to hear our babies cry! We're not supposed to ignore that. I am a big believer in following my instincts as a parent.

But lately my instincts have started to tell me that my baby IS capable of being a little more flexible in allowance for MY needs as well as me responding to hers. Trouble is, I have no idea how to apply that. Like I said, it's hard to find good examples in our culture.

Yesterday I decided I was just going to make up my mind when she was going to nap. I've been following her cues, but when she gets tired keeps seeming to change, and then she won't go down after over an hour of nursing...so I just decided I'm going to set naptimes. Elizabeth Pantley's website says good times for this age are around 8:30 or 9 to 10 or so and then again from like 12 to 1 or 2, so I'm going with that. And maybe an evening nap as well. I'm going to let her get up at 7 even though she still acts tired, and play with her even if she's fussy (because I'd been trying to get her to go back to sleep then but she WON'T and the marathon nursing attempts have been driving me CRAZY) and then take her back to bed at 8:30 or 9 and swaddle her tight and try to nurse her down. Today it worked. She fell asleep at 9 with only 20 minutes of nursing (longer than I'd like, but way better than yesterday!!) and she's still asleep an hour later...and I haven't been back in there once. Which hasn't happened in a while. (Now watch her wake up since I just said that, lol.) Anyway, if she wakes up I'm going to nurse her again and try to get her to sleep until 11...and if she doesn't go back to sleep, I'll just keep nursing her and get her to rest until 11, because that is naptime. (I HATE schedules and routines, for myself as well as for her, but like I said, she is not telling me when she needs a nap, so I'm just going to try deciding for her and see if it works!) Anyway, I certainly won't wake her up if she's still sleeping, but when she wakes after 11, I'll let her get up and we'll play. And then at 12:30 or 1 I'll do the same thing. And if she starts making it obvious that she'd really rather nap at a different time, of course I will change that. But for now I'm going to see if this works, because she is NOT getting the amount of sleep she needs with me just following her need, and it's clear to me that I need to help her.

And my mommy instincts feel good about this.

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#21 of 26 Old 07-15-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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Yes, this is well put, Mary, thank you.
I believe this too, and strive to have a relationship based on trust & respect. I believe overall that her needs for dependence / independence will evolve naturally on their own as she grows. However isn't it a part of the parenting dance to balance one's own needs with the needs/ demands of a child? If a parent isn't sleeping well at night because their baby is squirming around constantly, or if my body is getting stiff and achy from holding her for hours without moving while she naps on me, it doesn't seem healthy to set this pattern of always sacrificing oneself so that a child will have "healthy attachment." This may be another topic entirely...

I hear ya. I'll be back there myself in a few weeks with a newborn. My thoughts are to figure out what you need. Her needs will change soon, they will evolve. What can you do for yourself now? Take a walk by yourself while your partner is home? Take a hot bath after she is asleep at nighttime, using lavendar oil/epsom salts/whatever is relieving...? Get a massage or do a yoga video/class...whatever you can think of that will relieve your body and help you recoup for the next day/week. Getting some almond oil and having your partner give you a massage is nice too! Having friends over for tea around that age was awesome b/c ds just wanted to be held. So they would hold him and I could drink some tea for a bit. Or finding a mommy/me movement class was awesome for me too, before ds could crawl very far. Just some suggestions, I'm sure there are more. Sounds like you are doing a great job with your babe. Mary

Mary, Mama to 3 boys! 9/05 & 8/08 & 7/12
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#22 of 26 Old 07-15-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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It is so nice to hear all these issues. Must be common at 4 mos to realize you have to start putting things in place before habits begin.
I would like to move DD out of our bed becuase her and I are both too wiggly. But once I put the paci in and sneak out she might sleep for about an hour or MAYBE two.
What if I nurse her to sleep and then move her into her bassinet? She wakes. Do I keep trying this until one of us gives up??
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#23 of 26 Old 07-15-2008, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the support to not try CIO.
This has been my basic instinct as well, and it helps to remind myself that I am the best mom when I trust my instincts & heart. Yes, it does seem that 4 months is a common shifting point, as babies become a bit more independent. I am also noticing a lot more willfulness in Auria than ever before. If she wants to go outside, be held by mama, be on her belly, shift positions, she's bored, etc. she can get very angry/ frustrated quickly, in a very different way than even a few weeks ago.

Mary, your suggestions for self-care are good ones. Thank you!

I am starting to read The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Bently, which so far is great. She talks about babies sleep rhythms and how to slowly slowly teach your baby that they can fall asleep without sucking, & not only in arms. I am working right now on keeping a detailed sleep log- how she fell asleep, what time, environment, how long, etc.

Right now she's asleep at the boob as usual, while I type one-handed...
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#24 of 26 Old 07-15-2008, 11:39 PM
 
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My 4 month old also has huge nap issues. I've posted about them a couple of times already. I had to go back to work three weeks ago, and so can't be there for most naps. Before then, I was nursing him to sleep for most naps - when he was willing, which was rarely - this is still the case on weekends. My DH was home with him until yesterday, now the LO is in daycare. We pretty much gave into the fact that he likes to nap in the swing. He'll sleep 3 hours in it sometimes (although that's it for the day). His teacher at daycare doesn't have much luck getting him to sleep at all. I have all the same guilt feelings about the swing that I do nursing as a way to get him to sleep but he has to sleep and it works. So oh well. He does fuss a little in the swing before sleep but it seems so harmless and minor - like he's expressing feelings of frustration for not being able to sleep.
He sleeps fine at night on his own (after me nursing him down - at least he goes down!).
The bottom line to all my rambling is that despite my co-workers who insisted that once they let their babies CIO, all was perfect, I can't do that, so I just decided to stop worrying about it and let him do what he's going to do. I like the idea of choosing a naptime for the LO and insisting at least on quiet time.
I keep telling myself that it will surely work out - he won't be 4 sleeping in his swing. These LOs change so quickly . . . BTW, I don't think there's anything worng with putting baby down for 10 minutes for a shower. Maybe try it first thing when they're happy and alert and are entertained by a mobile or a toy. A little fussing is NOT CIO.

Also, we swaddle (sort of - he's so active, it's more of a loose wrap but I think he likes it), baby WON'T nap in car or in public under any circumstances, nor will he sleep in Ergo, Moby, Bjorn, or any other carrier I've tried. So, I can relate to trying so many things that just don't work. I get tired of the "take baby for a ride in the car" or "wear baby down" or any other of the stuff that just doesn't work for all little one.
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#25 of 26 Old 07-16-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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Hi - I have an eleven month old who is a great napper... and sleeper, but he didn't start out that way. So... here's my advice - with the disclaimer that I'm so very aware of how different babies can be, but I do believe that all human beings need restful sleep, and especially babies because of their rapid growth and development.

We had been rocking, bouncing, car-driving, doing whatever it takes to get the baby asleep at night, wearing the baby for naps during the day because he wouldn't be put down (or he'd wake up), and co-sleeping at night after we had gotten him down for the evening (which could take anywhere from 3-4 hours). This was fine for the first few weeks, but then Leo turned 7 weeks and the bouncing, wearing, etc was taking its toll. We were all desperate for sleep, and our decision was to nurse him down between the two of us, and then pat him to sleep - no bouncing, no wearing him down, just our presence and our touch in bed to soothe him along with unlimited nursing. He cried for 45 minutes. It was long, but I knew we were doing the right thing - we were not abandoning him - we were helping him learn to soothe to sleep with us and without bouncing for hours. After than I very gradually eased him into a routine of falling asleep at night, but no more bouncing or in arms sleeping. We nursed, read stories, said prayers, and then I would spend however long it took patting him to sleep (just not in my arms). Our routine was very consistent, and after three weeks of this, we were able to transfer him to a bassinet beside our bed (it's a full, and co-sleeping right in the same bed doesn't work for us as a long term sleeping arrangement). He's become a great night time sleeper. We also moved his bedtime up earlier at 2 months of age - to 7pm. That helped a LOT. He needed more rest.

As for naps, he didn't really fall into the two/three naps a day routine until about 6 or 7 months old. He took up to five 45 minute naps a day. I religiously napped him in a crib when we were able to be at home, and so he got used to a nap routine. Now he naps twice a day for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I always began his nap routine before he was fussy. If he's overtired, putting him down for a nap gets really hard. I do agree with a PP who said that the flexibility of a baby who'll nap in a carrier is nice - so I know it's hard and you do NEED some rest. Being an AP does not mean you have to sacrifice your sanity - you need to take care of yourself, and also take care of your baby. That, IMO, entails helping your baby learn how to sleep. I don't think that has to include cold-hearted CIO. I do think it entails gentle, patient, firm guidance toward a routine that is best for the baby (and you).

FYI: We're not militaristic about his sleep routines - and he will still nap in my Ergo if we have to miss a nap. I just try to make that be for special occasions only.

That being said, I reiterate that all babies are different - so this is just what worked for my little guy. Good luck, and don't stop searching for solutions. A couple of books that helped me: The Baby Whisperer and Healthy Sleep, Happy Child - you do have to ignore the harsher words of advice as an AP, but both books are worth a look.

Lizbiz, wife to my man who makes me smile, and mom to one bouncy boy (08/07), one sassy girl (12/09), and one sweet new boy (08/12).

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#26 of 26 Old 07-17-2008, 03:10 PM
 
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I'm with you, Lisavark, and others. Charlotte has been so desperately miserable without regular sleeps, but she's been no good at letting herself get sleepy when she needs it, that I've also had to just decide on a schedule. I too am not fond of scheduling everything, but in this case I think I'm doing us BOTH a favour. The timing feels a little arbitrary, but I'm paying attention to how she fares with slightly varying naptimes, and soon (I think) we should be able to chose the right pattern.

So I started this last Friday, based on her previous week, when it looked like she was getting sleepy within an hour and a half after first waking up. Nursing down has not been working for us AT ALL since she just wants to nurse in a light sleep and freaks when I try to detach. So I've been bouncing her gently in her chair and singing/"sh"ing, all with our good friend the oven fan going. She's been falling asleep with less and less fussing, in 20 mins or less each day. And this morning when her eyes wouldn't close after 40 mins of this routine, I just walked away --and WHADDAYA KNOW? She gurgled herself to sleep without me, in less than 5 minutes!! I went into the yard to do a quiet victory dance! Next challenge: the afternoon nap.

So while my routine's a bit elaborate and prop-driven, I know she CAN sleep alone, and I'm so pleased. I know the next steps- getting her out of the bouncy chair and into the crib-- may be tricky, so for now I'm just going to take it slowly and concentrate on getting her into the habit of sleeping.

Nobody ever told me napping could be so complicated! Thanks all for this discussion.
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