Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just take a nap....

Getting a baby to sleep is always on the minds of moms with newborns. I know that with all my children I had different problems that I've needed to solve in the sleep department.

Although she sleeps well at night (only waking once - usually after a 5 or 6 hour stretch) the newest addition to our family has a bit of a problem taking a nap. This can be quite difficult if you are trying to take care of a 4 year old and a 2 year old at the same time as well.

When she first came home from the hospital, she took naps just fine. She slept most of the time with a bit of wakefulness after a feeding. She would even just fall asleep randomly on her own and didn't require rocking - it was great.

When she turned about 1 month old she became more alert and started having issues. We would get her to the point where we thought she was asleep and then put her in bed and 5 minutes later she would wake up. We'd spend nearly 1 1/2 hours or more trying to get her to stay down in her bed. For quite a while the only places she would take naps were in her car seat, in a moby wrap, or cuddled/held by someone.

She is 2 1/2 months old now and has improved somewhat - she will now sleep on her own in her bouncer chair or crib for about 45 minutes before she wakes up. This is better, but still not great since she is usually grumpy when she wakes up - simply because she needs about twice that amount of sleep to be well rested - so I usually "make" her go back to sleep.

I love her SO MUCH and she is the sweetest happiest little when she has slept and been fed, but those in-between times when she won't sleep and I can't get anything done or pay attention to my other children are rough. I have to hold her sometimes when I'd rather be doing something else (I'm quite adept at typing one handed now), and she's almost always in the moby wrap while I cook dinner.

I didn't used to believe people when they said their baby "wouldn't take a nap." Now I regret that thought. :) We all learn our lessons the hard way sometimes.

So give me some advice...

Have you ever had this problem with a newborn?
What are some tricks for getting your baby to nap longer on his/her own?
When did your baby outgrow this?
Did using CIO when they were older help?
Do you think it's okay to let her sleep in a moby wrap or is that compounding the problem?
Any tips you can give me would be extremely valuable.



Alyssa Harper said...

This kind of a controversial piece of advice, but have you tried letting her cry it out? I'm not saying to MAKE the baby cry, but just leave her by herself and see if she'll fall asleep. If she starts crying, let her. I know it's super hard with two other kids in the house, but I remember with my first that sometimes he just HAD to cry to use up enough energy to fall asleep. You know the feeling, when you're dang tired, but can't fall asleep. Letting him cry for 15-20 minutes (sometimes it took up to 30 minutes) miraculously worked for my boy on those off days when he just wouldn't sleep!

This method took a week or two for my boy to catch on. Listening to him cry was hard...REALLY hard...but after that week, he cried much less and slept much more soundly. Every baby's different though, so to each his own...

Tannie Datwyler said...

Yeah, I intend to use CIO with her when she is older. You are right, it's a sensitive issue, and everyone's beliefs on it are different. Some will do it right off with a newborn and some will never let their babies cry to sleep.

My personal opinion is that a baby is too young to cry it out before 6 months (maybe 4 or 5). But that's just me. :) I know it will most likely work for her too, but I hesitate to try it until she's older.

I have good reason for this too. For one thing my doctor advises to wait until at least 4 months, preferably 6 (again, all doctors are different). Also I used CIO on my daughter when she was 6 months old (before that she always had to be rocked to sleep) and it worked great. But I tried it on my son when he was 2 months old and it didn't work. This means we were at it for 2 weeks and he could cry for hours. Then I tried it again when he was 5 months old with the same result. I felt awful for letting him cry so much and it never worked.... that's why I won't even attempt it until she's older.

I know all babies are different, but I don't want the result to be the same as before.

Thanks for the advice though!! It's good to hear other people's success with getting babies to sleep.

On The Go Family said...

Around 2 1/2 months, I had the same problem with my baby girl. One night this happened over and over again (she'd be asleep, I'd put her down and she'd immediately wake up) and I was getting really mad. So I put her down in her crib so I could go get a drink and calm myself down. When I came back 5 minutes later, she was asleep.

The next night, we went through the very same thing. I couldn't believe that at 2 1/2 months, she wanted to put herself to sleep! It was funny to think I'd spent weeks cuddling, rocking and doing everything imaginable to get her to sleep, and all she really wanted was to do it on her own. So I started a get-ready-for-bed routine and then just put her in the crib and left her. She would sometimes whimper, but never scream, cry or carry on. Around that same time she started sleeping through the night.
I know that's not typical -- it definitely didn't work with my older two!

Have you tried a white noise machine?

For all sleep problems, I turn to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Not sure if you're familiar with it, but it's the best "sleep Bible" I know. It has lots of ideas about timing of naps, order of activity throughout the day, etc. Might be worth checking out if you haven't already. Good luck!

Alyssa Harper said...

I liked On The Go Family's comments. SO glad that I'm not the only one whose baby wouldn't fall asleep in their arms! I remember telling my babysitters to just leave my boy on the couch to sleep, because rocking, hugging, singing, cuddling, etc. just did not work! There were times I wished I had a cuddly baby, but for the sake of having him fall asleep, I still just had to leave him by himself to fall asleep on his own.

I also liked the bit about the white noise machine. According to some experts, the sounds that babies hear in the womb are VERY loud...stuff like mom's blood vessels, pumping heart all seem to have the volume turned WAY up from the infant's perspective. Thus, a lot of babies find a white noise machine very comforting. My boy fell asleep every at every nap to the sound of a hairdryer turned on. I've heard other people use vacuum cleaners too. :)

Rebecca said...

When my daughter was younger she was the same way. AWESOME night sleeper but she struggled a bit with naps.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was a great reference for me. I definitely don't agree with everything in it. I think it's a little too strict about sleep (and I'm often referred to as the Sleep Nazi with my child if that gives you any idea of how strict it is) but there's some good stuff in it.

It made me pick up on cues better of when my child needed a nap. Waiting until she acted tired is actually too late. I also learned about how what the maximum wake time should be for my baby and stuff like that. And the biggest thing...SLEEP BEGETS SLEEP. The more they sleep the better they sleep. I thought that was weird but sure enough my daughter started napping better when I lessened the time between naps and put her to bed earlier at night.

My biggest piece of advice is to do what YOU'RE comfortable with. I also am not comfortable with CIO before 6 months. My sisters would always pound on me to let my baby CIO for naps (she was 4 months at the time I think) and I caved and tried it for a few days...and have felt guilty for it ever since. Not that I think it's bad for those who choose to, I just wasn't comfortable with it and looking back I wish I had stood up for myself and just kept at what I was comfortable with. So if you're not comfortable with CIO or other sleep methods, don't do it.

I also wanted to add that I think it's fine for her to nap in your Moby Wrap or other places besides her crib, just as long as it isn't for every nap.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Good tips about that book! I've heard from a few people that it's a winner. I really need to just buy a copy. Thanks for the tip!

I have also heard that a white noise machine might work - any tips on where to get a cheap one? I guess I could go with Alyssa's hairdryer trick. :)

Thanks ladies! Keep the tips coming.

Tannie Datwyler said...

And I love what you said Becca about not doing something you aren't comfortable with despite what others say. Thank you.

The Pearce People said...

Emmett would not nap for the first 2 months unless he was held or in his bouncer. Now he is a champion at putting himself to sleep. He doesn't always nap long 40 minutes sometimes and others up to 2 hours. I know exactly how you feel though. It took a lot of patience and persistence to get to the point we are now. What we did was swaddle him, give him his pacifier, and rock him for a couple of minutes till he was drowsy. Then we would put him in his crib. When he would start to cry I would his tummy and say shush shush until he calmed down. If he would not calm down I would pick him and and pat this back and shush him till he calmed down. This process was repeated until he fell asleep. Sometimes this would go on for 40 minutes but we just kept at it and stuck with the routine and before we knew it he would be alseep in 20 minutes, then 10 minutes and now he puts himself to sleep after I rock him for a few minutes! I physically could not let Em just cry it out so this was our solution, be there for him when he was crying but at the same time teaching him to self soothe and put himself back to sleep. A sound machine was also very helpful! Good luck, I know how you feel! Also if you don't mind her not sleeping in her crib then there is nothing wrong with sleeping in the moby wrap! Studies have shown that babies who are carried are much happier, cry less in the evenings, have more confidence and some other pretty cool stuff!

BECKY said...

try the swing. it helped with my non-napping girl. luckily she grew out of the terrible naps months down the road. so the swing was a huge success for me.

Rebecca said...

Tannie-For a cheap noisemaker I used a small fan that I would put in her room or turned the fan on in the bathroom (which is right by her room).