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Advice for short, held napper

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  • Advice for short, held napper

    Hello, I'm new to this forum and need some advice. I have a 4mo old daughter (first child) who only naps for 30 min at a time (you can literally set your clock to her naps) and only when she is being held in my arms. She naps about 3-4 times a day. Her night sleep is also not good. She sleeps with me in my bed (husband is on the couch downstairs as he is an extremely heavy sleeper and I don't feel safe with him in bed when she is there) and does about 3-4 hours at a time at night. I would like to transition her to her crib at night, but whenever we try she just wakes up again and after 3-4 days of getting no sleep, I break down and put her back in bed with me. I'd appreciate any advice for (1) getting her to take longer naps without me having to hold her, and (2) transitioning her into her crib at night.

    Thank you!

  • #2
    My 10 month old son has never been a big napper either. Some days he only takes catnaps while breastfeeding; other days he will take one or two 20 to 30 minute naps. He just doesn't seem to need a lot of sleep. He's a happy baby and sleeps pretty good through the night. We co-sleep and he usually wakes up between one to three times per night. By "wake up" I mean that he cries a bit without fully waking up. He nurses and goes right back to sleep.

    I have found that during the day when I'm nursing him and he falls asleep (and he's done eating), the sooner I try to lay him in his pack-and-play, the less likely he is to wake up right away. The past week, though, as soon as I bend over to lay him down, he's been waking up - except when I put him on our bed to sleep. He sleeps longest when I nap with him.

    I know it's tough to get anything else done when your baby won't sleep. I carry ds in a sling or baby wrap frequently. He loves it, and it helps me get some housework done.


    • #3
      I think its half art and half science to lay a baby down after he falls asleep on you (nursing or not.)
      I always do better if I can nurse him without him on me- like laying down in the bed. When he is asleep I sneak away. Have you tried that?
      If he does fall asleep on you, as mine often does when I nurse him while on the computer, the sooner after that, if I lay him down the better. It has gotten to the point that he expects that. Keep trying gently over and over to move him. When it dosn't work, see it as practice, not a failure as you are both getting used to the idea.

      Regarding the amount he sleeps and times of waking up, my second son sleeps in that manner and seems to be within the range of normal.
      I have not personally transitioned anyone to a crib but imagine its a gentle process like learning to sleep without someone. Remind yourself that each time it seems like it doesn't work, you are practicing. Don't see it as a battle of wills between Mommy and baby, but rather a suggestion "Mommy would like me to lay here."
      Eventually, she may head your suggestion after many tries. Don't make it a place where Mommy dosn't respond anymore! I wouldn't want to go in it if that was what it was about either!

      You can make it, this early time with a baby goes by so quick when you look back on it!
      Last edited by naomifrederickmd; 12-22-2008, 01:22 PM. Reason: crib transitioning sleeping


      • #4
        Originally posted by mnc View Post
        I would like to transition her to her crib at night, but whenever we try she just wakes up again and after 3-4 days of getting no sleep, I break down and put her back in bed with me.

        i don't see this as "breaking down", but as being responsive to your baby. she wants to be w/you! there are other means of sleeping safely w/all 3 of you in the bed. you sleep between dh and baby, use a guardrail or push the bed up against the wall. you could also put your mattress on the floor and butt the crib mattress up against it and put baby on it. there are many ways to do it.


        • #5
          I just want you to know that you're not alone in this experience! My DS (now 13 mo) is also a held napper for the most part and he used to nap about 40 minutes at a time (like clockwork) - now he takes 1 longer nap and 1 shorter nap.

          I think at one point I worried about always having to hold him for his naps.. I don't worry about it so much anymore. Often I am tired and I welcome his naptime as time for me to relax (even if I'm holding him) or if I'm really tired I'll take him up to bed (usually after he falls asleep nursing) and lay down and go to sleep with him for a bit.

          If I wait until he's in a deeper sleep (about 20 minutes in) I can usually transfer him (carefully!) to the couch, the bed, etc. I always stay nearby.

          You mention nighttime sleep is not good. What do you mean by not good? A 3-4 hour stretch sounds pretty typical to me for a nursing babe. My DS is my first child, and initially, reading books and hearing anecdotes about baby sleep and how it's supposed to be really scared me! Over time I realized though that all my friends with cosleeping nursing babes .. their babes pretty much slept like mine! I then felt like DS' sleep habits were 'normal'

          One more thought about your bed situation and DH etc - if you have an extra bed at your house you don't use much and it will fit in your bedroom, you could bring it in. My DH had some concerns about sleeping with us initially and was sleeping down the hall in the guest room. It was isolating for him and not fun for us either. At some point we had the idea to bring the guest bed into the master bedroom. Now he can sleep with us if he wants or if he wants some space, at least he's in the room with us (but in the other bed)

          Enjoy your new babe!


          • #6
            Thank you all for your messages and advice. I especially like naomifrederickmd's comment about "practicing". I repeat that to myself every so often, and it really helps!

            My main concern is that my FMLA expires at the end of Jan and I have to start working again in February. My daughter will be at a home day care with one person looking after 3-4 children. I fear that if she doesn't get over this need to be held while napping, that whomever is looking after her is just going to let her cry, as they won't have the time to hold her for 30 min while looking after other children.

            In terms of her night sleep, I have started giving her formula at night, as I could never pump enough to give her a big bottle. Now she sleeps for 3-4 hours at night, then wakes up to nurse, so this works out much better, although I feel terrible about giving her formula as it gives her terrible gas.


            • #7
              I babysit a lot and have often found children better nappers at my house then their own. A lot of the time children are 'better behaved' with a caregiver because they save their true emotions for those they are close to (mommy, daddy). If anything, I suspect that your child will nap fine at this house because she will be new and interested in the rules and schedule of this place.

              With that in mind I would DEFINITLY discuss with her new caregivers how responsive they will be to her. Is it OK with you if they just let her cry? Will they pick her up and hold her before they put her back down? I know it is unrealistic to hold a child to sleep in a daycare setting, but total napping unresponsiveness is also unacceptable. Please discuss this with them.