Helping a co-sleeping baby nap well... - Mothering Forums

Helping a co-sleeping baby nap well...

atmommy's Avatar atmommy (TS)
06:41 AM Liked: 48
#1 of 12
03-09-2011 | Posts: 68
Joined: Mar 2011

I need some advice...


I co-sleep with my 3 month old.  He sleeps well at night, basically because I am there.  But during naptimes, it is difficult.  I feel like I am in and out of the room every 30 min or less because he is waking and fussing.  He hasn't slept enough b/c when I try to get him up he fusses.  I don't run in at the first sound but I definitely go to him if he begins to cry.  This is taking its toll on my 5 yo because he is left downstairs or in another room while I do this.  If he comes in with me, he makes so much excess "noise" that the baby cannot fall asleep.  My 5 yo is becoming angry b/c of feeling like no one spends time with him.  It is just us during the day because of DH work schedule so I really need help.  I tried wearing the baby and that worked for the first 5 wks.  Then he began sleeping less and less in the moby and was always fussy b/c he was sleep deprived.  So, I layed him down in the bed and that worked well for a few wks and then the sleep became sporadic again. I tried swaddling...again worked for about a week and now we are back to square one with short sleep spurts... Please help, for all of our sanity!!

Willoughby's Avatar Willoughby
04:32 PM Liked: 0
#2 of 12
03-09-2011 | Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2011

I don't know the answer but just wanted to reply and say that I am in the same boat with my 4 month old and 3 year old. The baby will go down when she's tired but wakes after half an hour, not ready to get up but it's really hard to get her back down. If I lay down with her for a bit in the afternoon while the older one does quiet time, I can sometimes get her deep enough asleep that I can nurse her back down when she wakes. But lately, that's not working either, so she takes most of her naps in the Ergo. At least that way I can do some thing with my older child instead of leaving her to her own devices all the time.

atmommy's Avatar atmommy (TS)
09:42 PM Liked: 48
#3 of 12
03-09-2011 | Posts: 68
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks for sharing this.  It helps to know that I am not alone.  His napping is so sporadic that I never know what to expect from one day to the next.  I am a planner so this is an adjustment for me.  This evening, after much fussiness and about 1.5 hrs of napping sporadically all day, I nursed him on the couch and fell asleep.  I stayed there with him still latched and suckling and read to my son.  This lasted for 35 minutes.  It was nice to not feel so frustrated but I know this won't work all the time.

luckypirahna's Avatar luckypirahna
12:49 PM Liked: 2
#4 of 12
03-15-2011 | Posts: 31
Joined: Sep 2010

My two cents, for what it's worth:

I don't have any little ones of my own (due in Sept) but have nannied and cared for many infants in many different setting over the years.

I have noticed this type of sleep pattern in 3 and 4 month olds a lot! From kids whose parents had them cry it out and sleep on their own to kids who only sleep in a carrier touching a caregiver. It seems like at this age some internal clock tells most kids that naps should only be 30 minutes, and it takes a little bit to teach them that they actually can and should sleep longer.

One thing that (often/usually) helps has been getting near the baby a few minutes before I expect them to stir and I sit with my hand on their back.

Usually sitting near them for just a few minutes until after they would normally stir, until they are in a deep sleep again helps.

I know this would still mean time away from your older one, but I have had luck with some kids and only had to do it for about a week or so before their internal sleep clock seems to realize that naps can last longer.


I hope that made sense, I've got a bit of a bug and am cloudy-headed.


Good luck! It's so hard when you know they need more sleep but they just won't do it.

Cujobunny's Avatar Cujobunny
01:52 PM Liked: 12
#5 of 12
03-20-2011 | Posts: 2,409
Joined: Aug 2006

I remember this with my dd- she would only nap in a Mei Tai. I was finally able to get her to nap alone when she was older- maybe 5 or 6mo I could nurse her, lay her down & roll away from her & she would stay asleep for the entire nap.


Now I have my 3rd, he's one month old & so far only will nap while being held or worn. I don't expect him to be able to nap well on his own for quite some time yet.

chocolatefish's Avatar chocolatefish
01:52 PM Liked: 0
#6 of 12
03-22-2011 | Posts: 57
Joined: Sep 2008

In the NCSS it suggests that you can help a short napper to extend naps by jumping as soon as you hear them stir and doing whatever it takes to get them back to sleep, and as the pp says, they learn to do it themselves. This seemed to work for DS1 - by diligently feeding him back to sleep after his initial 40 minutes he did start sleep for longer at about 6 or 7 months. Or did this just coincide with his napping patterns maturing and being able to sleep longer... who knows?!


I am in the same position with a 3year old and a 5 month old baby, it is hard. I am trying to encourage longer naps but it just aint possible to repeatedly feed DS2 back to sleep with DS1 around and needing a bit of mummy time. 

Beebsmom's Avatar Beebsmom
12:08 PM Liked: 10
#7 of 12
03-23-2011 | Posts: 42
Joined: Mar 2011

I have to start out laying in our big bed with DS...and then I can sneak off.  During naptime I leave our bedroom TV on, and that seems to help a lot as well.    Other than that, it has only been lately that DS is taking 2-2hour naps during the day. At your DS age my little guy was only doing 30min naps as well. It was funny b/c we would seriously watch the clock and it was EXACTLY longer, no less!  It was funny!  Now I lay him down to get him to sleep, and once he is sleeping I can sneak off.  We just have guardrails on our bed and put DS in the middle of the bed and he sleeps great!


Let us know what you figure out!

Soapmom's Avatar Soapmom
12:40 PM Liked: 11
#8 of 12
03-23-2011 | Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 2011

The only place my kids would nap, without me laying in bed with them the whole time, is in the cradle swing. I just had the swing in the room where I was working or playing with the other child and they would nap great.

HopefulJo's Avatar HopefulJo
01:33 PM Liked: 23
#9 of 12
03-23-2011 | Posts: 272
Joined: Dec 2009
Our DS is 3 months old, too, and he won't sleep in bed without touching me. When I get up in the morning for work, DS flails around looking for me until he figures out I'm not nearby, and then is awake for the morning with DH (a SAHD). DH gets him to take naps during the day by putting him in the swing, like a PP said. He's able to get lots done around the house while DS naps in the swing.
is it puppies?'s Avatar is it puppies?
03:37 PM Liked: 10
#10 of 12
03-24-2011 | Posts: 615
Joined: Oct 2009

I only have one (now almost 10 months) but I am guessing it's just where your baby is at developmentally. I had troubles getting her to stay asleep for very long without me next to her for a long time. We even had to bounce her to sleep on the exercise ball from about 2 months to 6 months, she wouldn't nurse down at all except overnight while I slept next to her.  Around 6 months it got better and now sometimes she will nap on her own for 2.5 hours (or sometimes I have to go in once to nurse her back down which works if I catch her at the first peep). I also have found that as far as wearing her, it really varies from month to month or even week to week as to whether she will sleep in the wrap, so it's worth going back to regularly IMO. I also had good luck with the swing off and on until around 6 months, and I am trying to get her to sleep in it again but it's not working lol as her sleep needs are changing again (she will only nurse down at bedtime, during the day it's bouncing again which she hated for the previous 3 months or so).


Oh, and I put a white noise machine in the bedroom around 6 months, which I think helped a lot. We have barky dogs and a lot of street noise.

atmommy's Avatar atmommy (TS)
07:04 PM Liked: 48
#11 of 12
03-26-2011 | Posts: 68
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks ladies!  This is really reassuring!  With DS #1 it was only us so I could hold him or stay in bed with him and he would sleep great because I was there.  Now with DS #2 it's just not possible.  He sleeps okay at night because he feels me there.  I have figured out that I just have to stop stressing about it because I am giving myself more trouble when it's worth. I have tried to get into the room before he fully wakes but he is congested right now so that isn't doing much!  I've been spending so much energy trying to "make" him go to sleep and have ended up stressing myself out completely.  Once this cold passes we will get outdoors and just go with the flow.  I know now, with help from your responses :), that he'll get there.  He is at least like clockwork with the 30-40 minute nap ranges!! LOL

Ginger Bean's Avatar Ginger Bean
07:52 AM Liked: 34
#12 of 12
03-27-2011 | Posts: 96
Joined: Mar 2011

I know exactly what you mean. I'm a first-time mom, and when my baby was younger I used to stress a lot about why he wasn't doing what he "should" be doing.


If it makes you feel better, my son (who is 6.5 months old) didn't take naps longer than 30-40 minutes until he was nearly 6 months old. He would take 4 naps like this a day and couldn't stay up longer than about one hour without getting cranky. As long as he had his 4 naps, he was alert and happy when he was awake. Now his naps are usually 1 to 1.5 hours, and he takes 2-3 of them a day.


I didn't do anything different -- he just changed. It's normal for naps to be short until they're older. Then they transition to fewer and longer naps, though some babies still take 3 naps a day at 9 months old, and some babies start out taking long naps.


If your son is cranky but won't sleep longer, maybe you could try more frequent naps? How long does he usually stay up? Maybe it's too long?


Hang in there, mama!

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