Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
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I too thought I was alone! My son is now over 4 months old and he will only stay asleep during the day if I keep him in the sling. Initially I also had to continuously move and stand or he would wake up. Thankfully he now often lets me sit down for a while – but lying is still a big no-no. If I attempt to lay him down (when he reaches a deep sleep) he wakes up either immediately or after a couple of minutes. We have tried the ‘moving vehicle’ approach – car seat/buggy/pram/hammock. He does quite easily fall asleep but it doesn’t seem to be so deep and he normally wakes up as soon as the moving stops. Of course, no matter how ‘successful’ the nap location is, he usually only sleeps for 45 minutes at a stretch – none of this 2-hour rest for my boy! I am delighted to learn that this napping behaviour is not unusual and that my son will grow out of this dependency by himself.
What’s strange is that he has always behaved quite differently when we put him down for the night (and also sometimes for a nap in the late afternoon). Then I can nurse him to sleep and put him into bed without too much difficulty. At about 3 months I also attempted this approach for day-napping (i.e. nursing him to sleep) with some success. But it seemed to interfere with his feeding schedule – he became a constant nibbler, unable to have a proper feed. At the same time, his night sleeping got worse. Where he would consistently have one stretch of 5-6 hours, we now have numerous and irregular night wakings.
So I am now back to the sling and more regular feeding pattern (driven by his hunger needs and not his napping needs) but I still have some concerns/issues that I would appreciate comments on. I don’t mind wearing the sling to put him to sleep, but he is getting too heavy to carry for the full 45 minutes. I have developed shoulder and back discomfort. What’s more I won’t mind a nap myself sometimes;
1) I plan to return to work in a month and am unlikely to find a carer that will wear the sling for him to get enough napping (he is not the kind of child to eventually fall asleep if tired enough – he will keep going until over-tired and hysterical). When asked, they comment on how it goes against ‘health and safety regulations’. From your experiences, what are the typical timeframes for children to lose this need? If it is unlikely to continue much longer, maybe I could investigate the possibility of postponing my return to work. If not, how have other working mothers resolved this??
2) Because I have such difficulty in helping my son nap during the day, I find it almost impossible to provide any kind of consistent sleeping/feeding routine for him. He usually needs to eat once every 3 hours, but one failed/shortened nap means that he screams for a snack much sooner as a means to provide him with some energy. How important do you consider such daily schedules (even if not very rigid) to be for a young child? Any suggestions on how to keep one going?
Sorry that this turned out to be much longer than I planned!