putting cosleeping babe down for naps - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 02-16-2003, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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hi from Canada,
my almost 5 month old dd sleeps next to me at night - trouble is i have to lie down and feed her before she sleeps. this is nice for us, but she goes to bed at 7 pm and takes an hour to settle off. by that time i'm so tired i usually fall asleep myself, occasionally getting up quietly to have time with dh. During the day i carry her in the sling when she naps in the morning and in the afternoon she has what i call a 'suckathon' - sleeping up to 3 hours while attached to my right breast (only the right one will do!). I have tried putting her in a pram when she's fast asleep but she always wakes and then cries for me.
I guess my question is - is this normal for this stage or am i being a total martyr - as i'm not getting anything done around the house or time with dh? what do other attachment parenting moms do about nap times? how to get dd to take naps not in the sling - she's getting heavy and i worry that soon she'll be too heavy to carry? I don't want to leave her to cry - is there a gentler way to get her used to napping in the pram for instance? Or is this just the way a 5 month old is - needing lots of holding - and will it change soon and then i'll look back on it with nostalgia?
I'd love to hear from other moms about their experiences re napping and putting to bed.
from a cold snowy place,
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#2 of 15 Old 02-16-2003, 12:18 PM
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I wish I had some wise words for you but all I can say is hang in there. My ds was exactly the same way. He was about a year when he would actually sleep more than fifteen minutes by himself consistently day after day.

I just kept putting him down for every nap and at night around 9 months cause my back was absolutely breaking. If he'd cry, I'd be holding him in a flash. I think part of it is actually trying to put them down consistently day after day. I definitely dont think he'll adjust overnight, but unless you keep trying, your dd will obviously always prefer her wonderful mommy to anything else!
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#3 of 15 Old 02-16-2003, 01:31 PM
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My baby is 5 months old too! For naps I will lay down and nurse him to sleep or lay down and pat his bum if he doesn't want to nurse for some reason. Some nights are like this too... I fall asleep putting him down just like you do... I guess I just take those nights as they come, as other nights I stay awake. I think its very normal at this age. As for napping in the sling... is there anyway you can carefully lay baby on the bed and slip out of the sling ??? I do that when Vincent falls asleep in the sling.... And one more thing... this too shall pass
mama to Vincent 9/8/02 and Ocean 11/24/96 and partner to Rob
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#4 of 15 Old 02-16-2003, 03:03 PM
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I do think that what you are experiencing is very normal.

My DD is 7 months. She doesn't go down for the night until around 10 or 11 pm and if I didn't go with her she would likely wake up. I'm lucky that she doesn't go to bed at like 8 pm b/c that is too early for me. But you know, getting some extra sleep is something every mama should take advantage of!

As for naps, I either nurse her down, or rock her to sleep. Some days I can lay her down and she'll nap for an hour or more, other days she'll wake after 10 minutes. Honestly I can't predict it. But if I hold her through her nap, she'll always have a decent nap. My mother commented the other day that I should get a paci b/c I am so "tied down" by it. Well, I don't see it that way.

If I choose to hold DD for her nap, it gives me a much needed break, time to sit down and watch some TV, or surf MDC. Everything else just simply "must wait" and sometimes we all need to take that attitude. Also, DD naps just fine when we are "out and about" in her sling and so that means that I can just go about my day with all the plans I have and not need to worry about naps. She'll nap when she needs to and stay asleep for a long time while we are walking around shopping or whatever.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is normal and you really shouldn't think of it as a problem at all. Many women here would LOVE to be able to go to bed at 8, and to have a child that naps, even if it means you hold them through it, lol!

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#5 of 15 Old 02-16-2003, 07:53 PM
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my ds wouldn't nap by himself...I had to be walking around with him in the sling. When he hit 19 pounds (4 months)...I said enough is enough. We have got to teach this kid to sleep. I was in a lot of pain from having to lie with my nipple in his mouth when he was sleeping. And holding him all day was wrecking my back.

I would nurse him to sleep lying down in our bed. If I moved, he'd wake up.

I read the no-cry sleep solution. I didn't really want/need to night wean my ds (not to mention him being too young, in my opinion). But I did like some of the ideas in there. So I took what I wanted, and came up with a solution that works for us.

I did this process very gradually over a month. When he was still sleeping after i did one step, I would move to the next one. He wouldn't cry, but sometimes he fussed. Then I'd move backwards.

I nursed him until he was asleep...then:


1. Pop the nipple out of his mouth. Keep nipple near mouth.
2. Nipple out, nipple away, breast touching his face.
3. Breast away, arm (or other piece of skin) touching his face
4. Arm away...but close
5. Arm away, but me still in bed
Finally - I was able to leave him in bed alone for his naps.

I think I did one step a week, but letting him decide if it was too fast for him.

As I said, it took about a month for him to be able to sleep alone. And some days, he still won't (teething, sick). But most of the time, he will nap alone.

happykat (also from Canada)
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#6 of 15 Old 02-18-2003, 07:45 PM
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Your story is mine exactly! DD goes to bed at 7pm, and I go to bed with her - once she falls asleep, I use this as "my time" to read, write in journal, etc, right there in the bed. Occasionally I get up and go spend time with dh, but usually I enjoy being in bed and having the quiet time. DD is 7 mos. old and still takes 4 naps a day, and she won't nap without me there. I've been accused of residing in la la land, but honestly, I don't care if the wash / dishes / cleaning / whatever has to wait, I enjoy those quiet times. Sometimes I manage to turn the tv on while she's asleep and watch (without sound) CNN (I read the scroll across the botom to see what's going on in the world) or I read, or sometimes I nap too! But I know these times are not forever, so I try not to fret. I do love watching her sleep too. Now, if I had additional children, I'm sure la la land would not be an option and I have no idea what I'd do, so I'm just going to enjoy it while there's just me and her.

Just my .02

Mummy to Millie 7/13/2002
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#7 of 15 Old 02-18-2003, 07:48 PM
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My 3mos old dd is the same way. Only thing that works besides me feeding her, is the swing, and occasionally I let her cry, but only for a couple minutes. She loved my sister's ceiling fan!! She usually sleeps in the car, too.
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#8 of 15 Old 02-19-2003, 12:09 AM
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I'm in the same boat with my 8mo, and I DO have an older DD (4yrs), so it is rough. When DD1 was little I did just use that time as downtime (TV, etc.). Fortunately she is now quite independent so can play/do crafts/watch a kid video/computer games on her own, but I miss the uninterrupted time with her. I wish I could offer a constructive suggestion, but at least I understand your situation. I have read "No-cry sleep solution" and if you have the patience to put in the effort, it sounds like that might be workable for you.
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#9 of 15 Old 02-19-2003, 12:58 AM
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My dd, now 12.5, was the same way. You're not alone! I couldn't put her in her crib to sleep for a nap w/o me util she was about 10 mos old. I know this seems like a long time from now for you but she sleeps so much better.

She would sleep on me for every nap that she took when she younger. I too did the sling to wear her down. Then for me I got on the internet! That was my winding down time too and dd stayed asleep. and I had something to do. I could sit down after about 20 mins and then I had some time for me. At night I would wear her down unless she let daddy put her to sleep. Which she did farely often.

I think the more attention you devote to her now, the easier it will be later. Yes you may still have to nurse her down to sleep for a nap, but you will be able to get away. I think the closeness you are experssing now w/ her makes her feels safer and will continue to foster a safe feeling for her which will help you leave her to sleep on her own.

When I came to the realization that my dd would do things on her own time and when she was ready, I felt so much better. I know in my heart she will sleep on her own and fall asleep on her own. It'll happen and if it happens slowly, oh well! I didn't have a child to not ever take care of her.

I do know how you feel trust me! It's frustrating and you feel alone. Try to get out b/w naps and go to dinner sometimes. Have dh help w/ night time routine.

It will get better. She will sleep on her own. We'll be here to help you!

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#10 of 15 Old 02-24-2003, 01:43 AM
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Oh, I'm so glad you posted this question! I go through the exact same thing with my dd. She will only nap if I am laying with her to nurse or if I carry her. I have a constant kink in my neck and shoulders from this! Sometimes we will go for a drive so she'll sleep in her carseat for awhile. My house is a disaster half the time because I just can't put her down, LOL! I worry about my older two kiddos thinking that I give more attention to the baby since I am always holding her, so I tell them that mommy has enought arms and love for them all at once. Sounds like you've got lots of support here from other mamas experiencing the same thing
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#11 of 15 Old 03-03-2003, 08:56 PM
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Nap time has gotten easier for me. My now 12 mo old daughter had the same problem as yours, until recently. I had to nurse her to sleep in the bed and pretty much stay there. She somehow new when I was not there and would wake up crying. I didn't dare leave her alone in the bed for fear of her waking up and trying to crawl out, so if I felt the need to get things done, I would try to nurse her to sleep in my arms and when I sensed that she was in a deep enough sleep, I would VERY SLOWLY lay her in her crib. If she didn't wake up when I layed her down, she was good for a short nap (15 min-1/2 hr).

More recently, however, I have been able to nurse her to sleep in the bed and then, quickly, slip my nipple out when she seemed to be in a deep enough sleep (no longer doing the occasional sucking). I used a similar method to "Happykat" to remove myself from her side and the bed. Now I can get up fairly quickly, she rolls around and usually stays asleep (unlike before), and I just listen to the monitor for her awake sounds. She now knows that when she wakes up, I will be there immediately.

She only naps once a day now and I do still take naps with her--probably about 3x a week. This works well for both of us. HANG IN THERE--IT WILL GET EASIER!

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#12 of 15 Old 03-05-2003, 02:43 AM
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I just wanted to mention strollers. The only time I used my stroller until my dd was at least 9 months old was for nap times inside the house. I found that if I put her in the stroller and rocked it she would fall asleep happily without me. Occasionly she would complain for a few minutes but then fell straight to sleep.

She is 28 months now and we take long walks everyday, usually she walks to our destination and then likes to hitch a ride in the jogging stroller home and still naps in it for an hour or more.

Babies like motion, so this might be an option.
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#13 of 15 Old 03-13-2003, 02:47 PM
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Hi from Maine! Hang in there! My 8 month old was still sleeping on my lap (right breast!!) for naps but now at 9 months he takes his naps alone!! An hour and a half, twice a day of bliss for me and for him. I co sleep and have mattress on floor and room toddler-a-fied. I lay down and nurse him to sleep and after about 10 minutes am able to unlatch him and walk away and do my thing. I thought I was going to go nuts for a while there and then he sort of just seemed ready. I know he's sleepy because he tugs his ear and gets cranky and then we go upstairs and nighty night. This is the same baby who was an all night nurser as well, just a few months ago. Now he still wakes quite a bit but nurses just a little and then rolls over to sleep. Also I prop two pillows, one on each side of him so if he wakes just a little he feels the pressure and settles back. Good luck, and remember, you are doing the right thing. Your baby is lucky to have you!
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#14 of 15 Old 03-14-2003, 10:58 PM
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Dd is 18 months and ALWAYS sleeps with me. Only over the past few weeks has she rolled off my body, and I've been able to get out of the bed during nap, or after she falls asleep at night, to do some yoga or have Dh time. Most of the time though, I sleep too, because I really need it.

I've done a bare minimum around the house. Eaten a lot of wholefoods freezer stuff, even resorted to paper plates (which I just banished after being inspired by this month's issue of Mothering).

Dh and I have been connecting through our parenting, bathtime, whispering in bed after Dd is asleep. We understand this is a precious time and a passing season in our own relationship. As long as we both understand that and make efforts to connect however we can, it's OK for us.

My advice for what it's worth: forget about "getting things done." Pay the bills, clean up the mold, and enjoy your baby.
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#15 of 15 Old 04-09-2003, 03:46 PM
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Well, if you listen to my mother, you'd think all babies just lie down for their naps twice a day. I'm glad I read this and realize there are others out there like me.

My dd only naps in the sling, while being walked, outside. Don't try to fool her with walking around inside, and definitely don't try to sit down! She used to sleep a bit in her swing, but now that only last about 10 minutes. In her sling, she'll sleep 2 -3 hours! I wonder if I've "spoiled" her now and we'll be slinging her forever. Luckily my dh is home with me and we take turns taking her for walks.

My dd is only 2 1/2 months old. I thought she'd grow out of this, but seeing the other posts from parents of 12 mos old I'm wondering if it will go on forever. We recently bought a second-hand skookum backpack carrier. My dh is looking forward to the time that she might sleep in that and give his shoulder a rest.
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