Nap Transitions - dying :(
Hoping to get some insight from you wise moms out there. DS is 5 months and giving me a run for my money with sleeping at the moment. He went from being a fabulous sleeper (long naps, doing a good 4h stretch at night) to cat napping and waking hourly at night. I'm sure some of it is teething related and some is perhaps the 4 month regression but I am not getting anywhere with managing keeping both these things in mind and adjusting for them.
I don't let more than 2h pass between naps. We have a consistent bedtime routine. I am getting nowhere! Baby is crying murder when I put him to sleep - since the last couple of days playing music is helping. My biggest issue right now is that he is treating an early bedtime (~6) as a 4th nap and waking like a happy camper at 6:45 resisting all attempts to go back to sleep. All the 'sleep experts' say that this is a sign that bedtime is too late but I've even gone as far as a 5:30pm bedtime (still keeping to the 2h WT rule) and had no success.
We co-sleep at night and he nurses back to sleep then. During the day it's rocking and shushing.
Help please, I'm losing my sanity!
He might be ready for a day time nap adjustment. See if you can drop the first morning nap by pushing it slightly later.
Ditch the "rules". ("They're more like guidelines anyway!" :p)
Thanks for your reply! It is less than 2 hours sometimes too - I do try to watch for his signs of being tired but have noticed beyond 2 hours is definitely too much for him since he gets overtired then (starts to cry hysterically, moaning, wakes up tired etc).
Today for e.g. he got up at 7:30am - went back to sleep at 9:20am and slept through until 11:30am but then we were a little late getting him to nap the second time around, at 1:45pm and he thrashed around like there was no tomorrow :( It took me 30m to get him to sleep. My older 2 nursed to sleep all the time but this one doesn't like to do that, gets off the breast and is wide awake (except for during the night).
Are you saying I should try and let more than 2 hours lapse in the morning?
I was only making sure that it is from his cues that 2 hours works for you, not an *idea* that this *should* work.
You might not be able to change how easy he is to put down, but I'm sure you can try a few things to make it easier, and stretching 3 naps into 2 can be a good start. It sounds like he is able to sleep for long enough stretches, and at 5 months old might be able to be active enough to stretch 2 hours a bit longer. Transitions can be difficult, though. You can often tell if they need a transition, though, when they start becoming difficult to put down in the evenings, or start waking up like you say he's doing now.
Transitions from 3 naps to 2, or 2 naps to one can take some patience. Move the morning nap later by, say, 10 minutes per day. He's old enough to be engaged in his surroundings now-- you might be able to distract him for just a few minutes without being overtired. Then push bedtime later by 10 minutes each day. Don't postpone the 2nd nap. Let him go down when he's ready. Try not to be in the car (if he falls asleep there) before naptime until he is firmly established in a 2-nap routine, if you can at all help it.
I wouldn't assume that you can fix this personality entirely, though. Eventually you will run out of naps to eliminate and he still might not be easy to ease into sleep. Establish habits of soothing-time before bed. Dim the house lights slightly. Keep the TV off.
Remember also that we are having the lightest evenings of the year right now. That can translate into difficult sleep transitions for everybody.
I know my 2nd daughter was very difficult to put down, and with a difficult older sister, we pretty much gave up naps for everybody when she was 18 months old. She *did* need them, but dd2 was phasing out of them, and doing both together was *impossible* and it was less tortuous for me if I trained myself to not expect a nap from them or a nap or break for me.
Hang in there. Nothing ever stays the same with raising little ones.
Hmmmm. Mine never ever went to bed that early. They would nap around that time, but would then want to be up late. Now that they are older and down to one nap (16 months), they still only go to bed at 8. So perhaps try keeping him up later? It's so tough, because every child is different and you have to experiment to find the right solution. That's why the experts never have the right advice for everyone.
Thank you both and sorry for not replying earlier - for some reason, I didn't get notified that someone had responded :frown:
We're still struggling, ugh. I am just not finding the time that works for him, despite trying to alter the so-called schedule. I go by yawning, rubbing eyes, fussing as his cues but still finding it hard to both get him settled easily and now even get him to sleep for longer stretches. He would easily do 2-2.5 h naps before and now I'm lucky if he hits the 40m mark. What am I doing wrong?! I thought it may be due to teething and he's now got 2 so technically sleep should have improved by now if that was the reason. He is generally a very alert *not quite* 6 month old - already showing signs of crawling and wants to be on the move all the time.
Would he sleep for shorter stretches if he was under tired too?
He's also waking every 2 hours at night which would be fine if I didn't know that he is capable of doing 4-5h stretches and has done so in the past.
Losing my sanity - I am literally drenched in sweat by the time I put him down for naps/bedtime :crying:
Thank you again for your help xx
No, teething-interrupted sleep doesn't end until the 2nd-year molars bulldoze their way in. That's when both of my girls started sleeping more soundly in general.
It could be something in his diet making going to sleep hard.
I'm going to suggest something totally harebrained: don't put him down to sleep. What would happen if you just kept him up with you for a few days? Take him to bed when you go to bed. Really let his natural rhythms start shining. Stop rocking and put him in a ergo carrier and do some gardening or some dishes. Just try it out. He's old enough to know that rocking chair=putting down for a nap. He's also to know the difference between nap (alone) and nighttime (with mom). Since you can't possibly lie down with him for naps (ooh, maybe one?) it's time to start carrying him around a bit. Not with the idea that once he's really asleep you'll put him down (that just transfers the frustration from the rocking chair to the sutemi) but to give him a chance to get sleepy on his own terms and drift off on his own terms. If he's overly fussy, take a walk around the block. Get out of the house. Point out the neighborhood dogs and the flowers and soon the pumpkins (dd1 was mesmerized by pumpkins that first Halloween). If he wants to make it a 20 minute nap, fine. Let him show you what he really needs.
I know that sounds like a big leap, but when the phrase "tearing my hair out" comes in, it's time to throw away all books and start from scratch. I know when I stopped getting the notion into my head that to have a break I had to put them down, I suddenly didn't need the break so much anymore. It was easier just giving up on the struggle, and what was left was what I had to work with.
Thank you, that is actually a good idea - let me see if I can try it *pulls sleeves up*. I def agree that my issue is feeling like I need the break, not to mention I work (from home but still) so those breaks are what I use to catch up. Still, will see if I can try that for at least 1 or 2 naps and see how it pans out.
Thanks again! Enjoy your Sunday!
I think Sweet Silver's advice is excellent--at least worth a try, and you'll see how it works with your particular baby. My feeling about putting babies down for naps is that I don't have time for that. I just let them sleep when they will. My son showed me his schedule by about 5 months, so after that I planned around it to the extent that I didn't expect him to be awake to appreciate things at nap times, and if we were going somewhere I tried to have him already in transit before he conked out so I wouldn't have to disturb him and/or to arrive around the time he'd wake up. It wasn't until around 18 months that we started making any kind of effort to encourage his nap, and that was mostly because he'd gotten too big to be moved in or out of the sling or carseat without waking.
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