Reconciling AP with baby's sleep needs — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Reconciling AP with baby's sleep needs

I believe in being attentive to my baby's needs, exclusively breastfeeding, and baby-wearing a little bit each day, but I have recently had to start letting my baby fuss to sleep some because her sleep is regressing. She is so used to nursing to sleep, that now when she comes into a lighter sleep, instead of going back to sleep, she awakens because she is no longer nursing. It is effecting the amount of sleep she is getting. I guess my question is if a parent were to baby-wear for naps, how is the baby getting long, quality sleep? From all the research I have done, it is my understanding that babies need to get uninterrupted sleep. However, when my baby falls asleep in the front carrier, she usually only gets about 30 minutes of sleep, usually broken at that, which doesn't constitute as a full sleep cycle. And it isn't still sleep. Any thoughts?

Re: Reconciling AP with baby's sleep needs

  • If the carrier isn't working, I'd personally try something else.  Have you read the No Cry Sleep Solution?  There are suggestions in there for breaking the nurse to sleep pattern.  The point of AP is not to babywear all the time, it's to know and respond to your LO's individual needs.

    Also, be careful about sleep research.  Not all babies have read those books and they don't all conform to those charts.  Different babies sleep differently, and sleep patterns change constantly as they grow and develop.

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  • imageaglenn:

    Also, be careful about sleep research.  Not all babies have read those books and they don't all conform to those charts. 

    I love this!  It gave me a much needed smile.


    How old is your child?  We started moving mine into crib napping around 4 months and his naps just went to crap (like 20 minutes), but if I held him while he napped they were equally bad.  For us, it was a classic expression of the "4 month wakeful" period and they gradually increased in time on their own over the next few weeks.

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  • babies dont read books and dont necessarily need long naps.  parents may need them, but its very normal for a 4 month old to take 4 or more short naps a day and wake at night. 

     i had babies that did this and without any intervention from me they naturally lengthened their sleep at about 8/9 months, and again at a year and a half.

    it also depends on what people mean by fuss to sleep - a little bit of grunting or something is one thing, but full on crying until they give up and sleep is another.



  • My son took very short naps until he eventually switched to one nap at about 13 - 14 months. After he was about 6 months old, I found that he actually slept better in hiscrib than he did on me, and we followed the EASY routine (eat, activity, sleep, you) so he never took a bottle (I EPed) when he was tired.

    We did sleep train but not because of short naps. We eventually turned to that method because he was up all night long. Not up and down. Just up. He'd play in his crib, crawl around, laugh and talk. No amount of rocking, cuddling, shushing, or patting put him to sleep. He was getting sick a lot and really tired during the day. We used Ferber and it took a couple nights of fussing (he never really full on cried) for a few minutes for him to settle down and go to sleep.


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  • First - How old is your baby?  If she is still young, then it's normal for her to still only cat nap much of the day.

    Second - on the "long periods of sleep" - Yes, babies do need lots of sleep.  But "uninterrupted" is a bit misunderstood for young babies.  Biologically, babies are wired to be light sleepers who wake frequently to nurse.  So it's not a problem, for example, for babies to wake frequently at night to eat - they still get enough sleep and feel rested (assuming they aren't staying awake beyond eating) - it's mama who feels tired from that!

    I love the comment about babies not reading the research ;)  Neither of my kids has slept "long uninterrupted stretches" and both have been on the low end of total sleep ranges - and yet both are very happy healthy well rested kids!

    All that said...There's nothing wrong with trying to another sleep spot if wearing isn't working.  When my kids were young, wearing actually got them longer sleep because I could shush/bounce as they started to rustle and they'd go back down.  If you do put her down, you may need to do the same thing to encourage her to get through that light sleep period on her own eventually. 

  • If your baby is ok with it, then go with it! You know your baby best, and if you're following her cues, that's what matters. ~Chronicles of a MPSI Mama~
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