I need advice on how to encourage my 5-month-old dd to take longer naps. She is in that mode of falling asleep and waking up 15-20 minutes later. It is driving me nuts! I want her to nap because I need that time to either get things done or to spend one-on-one time with my older ds, who has a hard time with all the time/attention baby sister gets. I have read the No Cry Sleep Solution about how naps less than 1 hours in length mean that the baby isn't completing the sleep cycle. The question is, how to get her to sleep longer? Since I have an older child who can't be left unsupervised, co-napping isn't an option. (Though believe me, I would love to co-nap, since I am exhausted all the time!) We do co-sleep at night.
Up until now she has usually napped in the swing. I nurse her to sleep, sometimes wear her down in the sling, and then put her in the swing to nap. It has worked fine. I do want to transition her to napping on our bed, where she sleeps at night. Sometimes I let her have her entire nap in the sling, but it doesn't necessarily help her sleep longer, and plus, my back starts getting sore after so many hours of slinging (between naps and just regular baby-wearing).
Occasionally (maybe 1-3 times/week) she will sack out and sleep for 2-4 hours. But it's completely unpredictable. I can't plan on anything. I can't ever even get a semblance of an idea of what my day will be like or what I can plan to do. I do a lot of things with her in the sling, awake or asleep, but there are some things that are just plain easier to do without a baby in your arms. And like I said, my ds really would like to have one-on-one time with me w/o baby sister.
I know that NCSS says to anticipate their awakenings and go back and pat her back to sleep before she wakes up all the way. Occasionally I can manage to do this, but again with having an older child to care for, I get distracted, and if I miss that tiny window, there is no chance of getting her to go back to sleep.
At night she sleeps about 10 hours, with 1-2 (40-minute) feedings during that time. Since I nurse with a lact-aid, I have to get out of bed and go downstairs to get her milk and nurse her, and I am soooooo tired. I wish I could just roll over in bed and latch her on. I think she should be getting a little more sleep than she's getting, just based on the charts, though she doesn't seem overly cranky.