Help with naps — The Bump
June 2015 Moms

Help with naps

I'm literally sitting here in tears so I'm sorry if this has been posted before or as a similar thread.
My daughter is 5 1/2 months and won't nap anywhere but in my arms. I have tried for a month to put her down for naps and every time I end up frustrated because she wakes up,mostly really irritated because she was woken from her nap.
I can't even put her down for bedtime,I nurse her to sleep and my husband takes her and puts her down for bed,and I've even copied the exact way he does it and she still wakes up. I have honestly tried everything, waiting until she is SO asleep,drowsy and then placed in crib,napping in the swing,pacifier,toy and stuffed animal to soothe. I have zero time to do anything or even lay down during the day for 5 minutes because I'm either holding her to nap or were playing.
Another issue I have with this is she only gets about an hour nap on me because I have to pee and eat like a normal human so she's usually tired throughout the day because she's not getting her full nap.
I'm not sure what to do,my husband thinks I should just accept it and move on but sitting all day in pretty much the same position is really taking a toll on my mental health.
I'm so sorry this is so long,I honestly have NO one to talk to or ask about these things.

Re: Help with naps

  • slynnn768slynnn768
    100 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2015
    My little guy is exactly the same way. What if you nurse her to sleep in your bed and sneak out once she's asleep? This is what I have to do, or someone has to hold him. We'll sleep train soon...our thanksgiving plans were derailed by teething.

    Eta you have a daughter not son, sorry
    Also - I have a video monitor I can supervise him on, you probably don't want to do this if you can't see that he's safe.
  • jessieR358jessieR358
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited December 2015
    Oh girl. I feel for you. My LO is 20 weeks and will not nap for me either. He is napping in my arms right now as I type this and watching the news. Just yesterday I saw a friends Instagram picture of her reading a book and her baby napping next to her and I got legit jealous. If I put him down he pops his head up and cries. My mom can get him to nap a little bit better during the day but he's still an awful sleeper.

    Having said all that I have given up on naps. If I'm home then I let him nap in my arms and I get nothing done that I'd love to do (read a magazine and make a photo book on shutterfly right now). If I'm out and about he will usually fall asleep in the stroller or in the car seat and that's all I get. I know I need to put him in his crib for naps but it wears me out going into his room every 10-15 minutes patting him to go back to sleep.

    This probably wasn't super helpful but just know I know how you feel. It's really hard.
  • We had lots of nap issues too.  Since about one month old, she pretty much stopped napping on her own.  We started to wear her and rock/sway her to sleep, but she would have increasingly shorter and shorter naps.  I've even finagled using the washroom twice while wearing her (desperate times).

    At four months we ended up borrowing "Solve your child's sleep problems: New, Revised and Expanded" from the library (the Ferber method) after seeing lots of people here recommend it and after spending the prior months searching and reading over and over again for any and all suggestions/tips I could find online.  To me, the book made sense, and better yet, I didn't have to read the entire book.  Really just a couple chapters (one focusing on nighttime sleep, the other focusing on naps).  If you haven't yet, maybe try that out for two weeks to see what happens.  After reading the nap chapter we started making a point to ensure she was awake each day at the same time (within 30 minutes) (and we were already getting her to bed at the same time about), even if it meant we were to wake her up.  That seemed to help (or it was just a coincidence).  And letting her learn to get herself to sleep.

    We're still not very consistent with naps, but better than where we were at a couple months ago.
    princessbmwalcrimminsSammy Kjenglish418
  • OP i'm so sorry you're going through this, I can't imagine the exhaustion and frustration! We were in your shoes a few months back and it was taking every ounce of me, so my heart goes out to you. Don't give up yet though, keep trying different things and be consistent in your efforts! Perhaps what didn't work last month will work now that LO's a little older?! Most agree that 4 months is an ideal time for sleep training but others recommend six, so don't feel as though the ship has sailed! :) and DH is hopefully helping out as much as he can so you can get a break, it will be hard to put in your best effort in if you're already feeling defeated.

    First of all though, her crying... I remember reading that there is two types of cries when falling asleep, one that occurs because they're becoming increasingly upset and they're escalating (often if this cry occurs long enough eventually become exhausted and crash), and the other cry is a tension release cry (a method of self soothing/settling). I'm a softy and it hurt my heart to much to let my LO have the initial cry for more than a few minutes before I would come barrelling into the room and scoop him up, but I can now accept the latter of the two cries. Distinguishing the difference before coming to his 'rescue' has been required in order for me to give him an opportunity to learn to put himself to sleep. I won't be able to put him to sleep for the rest of his life either, so he's understandably going to have to learn to fall asleep on his own someday, it's something I can't do for him, and to learn requires giving him the opportunity to do so.

    But because I'm that softy mum type, we're inching along very slowly, one small step at a time with the least amount of blowout cries. So, I might not be the best person to take advice from, I'm sure there are other more effective and faster techniques but I'm pretty happy with where we are considering where we started.

    As others suggested, I would consider purchasing a baby sling and getting her use to sleeping in there. For my LO, he initially wouldn't fall asleep in his sling but I would actually slowly and carefully put him in there while he was still on my chest. Then you could get up and walk around, getting a few things done, she might occasionally slightly wake but once she's use to the sling she's likely to fall back asleep. Eventually I did this enough and could then put him in the sling and he would fall asleep on his own with enough walking/rocking. I started having more success with this once we implemented a downtime routine before he became overtired (which you can determine with taking notes on sleep times for a few days). Shutting all the blinds, listening to instrumental music, singing, whatever you choose, I suggest being consistent. Most babies are happy in their carriers, and if she's tired enough, eventually she'll fall asleep wherever she is! After doing this, I switched him to facing forward in the sling, same routine, but he got use to falling asleep without being on my chest! Yay! After that, try setting her down and out of the sling on the bed where she can still feel your presence if you suspect she'll wake if you set her down on her own, eventually being able to sneak away. And over time, start setting her down earlier and earlier.

    Now, most days but not always, my LO falls asleep next to me after our routine. When I set him he's awake, when a few months ago he needed to be completely asleep for me to be able to set him down. He does let out his tension release cries as he puts himself to sleep, which is fine. Now we're working on creating more distance between myself and him as he falls asleep (as I said, we're working as this slowly). He certainly doesn't need me there to sleep anymore, so I feel optimistic that we'll get there soon enough. Best of luck mama! Hang in there!
  • @mellymar that's great advice! Come to think of it I can put my LO on the bed and he'll sleep if I'm in the room. I need to try having him nap next to me on the couch. Baby steps I guess!
  • @jesshrou yeah and since I have the PNP in the living room now, I've just today started trying him in that with me sitting in the chair next to it. He can still see me, and I'm still the same distance away as I am on the couch, but with the bonus once he falls asleep I can walk away and do stuff (or nap myself on the couch) without worrying he will fall off the couch. It took a little bit longer today than it did on the couch, but he never went nuclear, and it worked eventually.
    @MurLindzz spoke about the 'escalating' call vs the 'tension release' cry, that's what I am talking about when I am referring to going nuclear vs in general fussing / crankiness, kinda crying that happens right before he falls asleep. And like I said, he does that whether I'm holding him, or not. Its worse when I'm not, but he's still not nuclear
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    alcrimminsSammy Kmlindzz
  • My LO is a great napper/sleeper and she has just started to fuss for a few minutes after putting her in her crib. I always let her fuss for awhile before coming in to rescue her. I'm usually watching on the monitor to see how upset she is. She is always just releasing her frustration of being forced to nap when their are way better things to do, like jump in her jumperoo. When lo was younger I had to drive around or take the long way home with her about once a day t get her to nap, and I would leave her in her carseat once we got home.
  • I had trouble with this until recently, even though LO naps in her crib at daycare and DH is able to put her in there for a nap every morning.  She will sleep in her crib at night, no problem, but likes to nap on me during the day if i'm home.  Now, on weekends when i want to put her in the crib (sometimes i just accept her napping on top of me because i miss her during the week), I wait until she is JUST about to fall asleep nursing and then unlatch her and put her in the crib.  She will typically roll over and put her thumb in her mouth and be asleep in a few minutes.  Sometimes she will fuss for a few minutes before falling asleep.  If she fully cries, i go in there and try to feed her more, but fussing i will ignore for 10 minutes before getting involved - typically she's out within 5 minutes.


    The trick for me was that at night i wait until she's asleep on me usually and wait for her to unlatch herself before moving her (unless she's not hungry - in that case i put her in the crib awake and she puts herself to sleep in 5-10 minutes with minimal fuss).  but if i do that during the day, she isn't sleeping deep enough and will wake up angry during the transfer.  That's why i try to get her into the crib before she is actually asleep during the day.  It's working really well.


    Your other point about the length of the naps - an hour is actually a really long nap at this age.  "Typically" a 5-6 month old will take 3-4 naps/day totalling 2-4 hours, and then sleep 10-12 hours at night.  For us, LO prefers shorter naps and then 12 hours at night (which i can deal with).  I'd hate to have her be napping for 4 hours a day and then sleep only 9-10 hours at night - especially because no matter what her naps were like all day, by 7pm she is RAGING and wants to be asleep.  I like to sleep past 5 on the weekends, so 10 hours isn't going to cut it.  She will generally take 3-4 naps/day now that are between 20-45 minutes, and then sleep for 11-12 hours at night.  Occassionally she will drop a long nap on us, of 90 minutes or so, and when she does that she just skips a nap later in the day and sometimes will sleep a shorter night stretch.  I think it's unreasonable to expect naps to be longer than an hour until you are down to 2 naps/day, at which point "typically" kids will do two 60-90 minute naps.  You don't see kids taking LONG naps again until they cut it down to one mid-day nap after they're a year old.  My 2 year old nephew takes a 2-3 hour nap every day now, but when he was on two naps/day they were only an hour or so.

    Me: 36 DH: 36
    Married 5-31-14
    DD1 born 6-21-15
    DD2 born 6-11-17
    DS born 9-5-18

  • @delujm0 we have pretty much exactly the same schedule I think. Generally 6-7pm bedtime and a 6am wake up, and 'cat naps' after 2 hour wake cycles throughout the day, naps are usually 20-50 mins as well!

    @mellymar if my LO doesn't let out some fussing before crashing he hums or sings, hilarious. I'm pretty sure it's a settling thing too. This boy is a ball of endless ENSRGY, so I assume it's his temperament. Is your LO the same?
  • Thank you all SO much for your advice!
    We have tried some version of the Ferber method for about two days,I know it would be longer for anything to actually work but she hysterically cries within 5-10 minutes and when I go in there and she sees me she cries harder and doesn't stop. She eventually did fall asleep for one nap but the whole 15 minutes she "gasped breathed" ( if that makes ANY sense,like the stutter breathing after a big cry?) and when she woke it was back to screaming. So I thought there HAD to be another way and stopped.
    As far as the leaving her next to me,like I said above if she sees me she screams as hard as she can. So the swing and mama too are the same,we have a noise machine that has a projector on it so we use that for bed and it works,kind of because she's knocked out when we put her down for bed so the projector doesn't usually get watched.for nap time I use the noise but during the day you can't see the projection.
    I also have an ergo and a wrap,the solly baby, I don't think those classify as a sling but it's what we have. She loves them both and she does sleep in them,as long as I'm moving,if I sit down for anything she wakes right up. I'm also really small so my arms aren't super long so I'm very limited as to what I can do while she's in the carrier,and again as soon as I sit she's awake. The same idea goes for the car seat or stroller,as soon as they stop moving her little eyes open.
    I had no idea that a hour is an okay nap because she's still usually so sleepy. From the small amount of research I did online two 2 hour naps is usually the ideal and she gets like 4 1 hour or less naps. But I will say she is a great sleeper once she is down,so at night her bed time routine starts at 630 and she's down about 730-8 and she won't wake up until 7-8.
    I'm going today to find some blackout curtains,hoping that's the issue from nap to bedtime.
  • Yes, naps have definitely become an issue around the 5-6 month mark. DH is a saint and will let LO nap on him, but I don't have the stamina, so I use the carrier, jogging stroller or carseat (LO likes being swung around or rocked in it), like others have suggested. 

    At daycare he falls asleep in the Mamaroo. Only my mom, the baby whisperer, has been able to get him to take a real nap in his crib:)
    Me-37, DH-38
    Married in 2006, TTC #1 since Jan 2012

    Baby Boy born June 1, 2015

    He settles her in her home as a happy mother of children, praise the Lord! (Psalms 113:9)
    And the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will guard your heart and mind in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7)

  • @jenglish418 My LO doesn't fall asleep unless I'm holding her either. I've found the best way to get her to sleep in her crib is to do one or all of the Wait til she is absolutely dead tired before even thinking of getting her to sleep. Make sure I have a pacifier handy. Make sure I lay her down pretty quickly after she's fallen asleep. Get her room as dark as I can (she always sleeps better when it's darker outside, I need to get better curtains so she naps better). Make sure her room is warm but not too warm. Lay down a small blanket on her bed first bc her mattress is plastic and gets cold and I think it startles her awake when I lay her down on the cold. What I discovered yesterday is that if I lay a blanket down on top of her (crocheted blanket with holes which won't suffocate her) and pull it up a little beside her face (also she doesn't move when she sleeps..prob sounds dangerous but just keep an eye on LO and make sure you have a good monitor) then she doesn't stir. If she does stir, put pacifier in mouth and hold hands/arms gently down and away from her face until she falls back asleep. And then if she does wake back up I just pick her up and try to put her back to sleep.. If that doesn't work, then she plays for a while longer til she's more exhausted. She has gotten to where she will literally play until her eyes start closing so it's a long wait sometimes to get her to sleep. Maybe when she's a little older I'll try sleep training..
  • jessieR358jessieR358
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited December 2015
    I'm a little less sympathetic knowing your baby STTN ;) I have a non sleeping non napping baby.

    @ashleymc09 do you not have a fitted sheet on your crib mattress? Mine is plastic too but I have a thin pad and a super soft sheet from pottery barn on top of it.
  • jesshrou said:

    I'm a little less sympathetic knowing your baby STTN ;) I have a non sleeping non napping baby.

    @ashleymc09 do you not have a fitted sheet on your crib mattress? Mine is plastic too but I have a thin pad and a super soft sheet from pottery barn on top of it.

    I do have a fitted sheet on it, but no on the mattress pad. That's one thing we didn't get and I guess have been too lazy to go pick up haha. That probably would help though! :)
  • I am going full on Ferber method as I type. Haha it's the first day. I will be drinking heavily when DH gets home
  • The only thing that helped us was sleep training. We used the book "sleep easy solutions". Doing controlled crying sometimes and then giving up and picking them up sometimes can be worse then doing nothing at all. What all sleep training methods have in common is that you have to be consistent all the time. If you sometimes feed back to sleep, sometimes rock, sometimes let them cry for 5 minutes or sometimes let them cry 30 minutes they get totally confused and don't know what to expect. If you are going to sleep train, commit fully for at least 2 weeks to see good results. The first few days are the hardest but the most important time to let it work. I would research some methods, pick one you think you can stick to then follow the plan exactly. Night sleep and naps improved for us after about 3 days and I was just like you, holding and rocking lo for every nap.
    Sammy Kjenglish418
  • I'm sorry you're frustrated. I hired a sleep consultant for my twins. It was the best $200 I ever spent. My advice is to get on the sleep training train and be consistent with nap times. Put baby down at the same time everyday and leave the room, don't come back until nap time is over, baby will learn really quickly and you will be much happier because you will have some time to breathe. Good luck
  • Yeah horrible naps and not sttn by a long shot here............
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