Welcome to the BW forums sevenebulas
It's great you decided to post!
I wonder if your LO has any symptoms of reflux or silent reflux? Are you familiar with these?
One of the reasons I ask is the short napping when he clearly has the ability to go to sleep independently and to do a longer nap from time to time which means he can transition from one sleep cycle to the next so long as the conditions are right. Another reason I ask is the frequent feeding. Frequent feeding may well be because he is awake rather than asleep, being awake uses more calories of course so it would be quite understandable he would want to eat a bit sooner than the 3hrs however as I continued to read your descriptions I couldn't help but wonder if the frequent feeding is more than this (because many LOs short nap and still do the 3hr E) and could be that he is feeding to reduce the pain and discomfort of acid reflux. Refluxers are known to feed frequently or want to suck.
What do you think?
There is some info here:Reflux 101 - General reflux information
45 min naps can be for a number of reasons, here are some:
- the 4 month regression (common time for good nappers to suddenly short nap - mine had his at 3.5 months instead of 4 months, it often lasts 2 months)
- UT (under tired) the A time is not long enough
- inability to self sooth and transition from one sleep cycle to another
- pain or discomfort (even with the best self soother pain will bring them fully awake at the transition instead of going into another sleep cycle)
- external noise, heat, cold etc which disturbs baby
It sounds to me like your LO could be waking with a little discomfort from reflux, it's a possibility.
The other thing I'm thinking is possibly a little UT. when you increase A times LO can sometimes have an OT nap or two from the newly extended A time but are usually easier to re-settle. Sometimes a longer A time will bring a longer nap right away. I would stick with the 90 min A time for a few more days and see how it goes and then possibly increase by 10 mins and see what effect this has over a few days.
Waking happy (makes me think possibly not reflux but there is the frequent E to take into account too) is often a sign of UT and the eye rubbing at this age can be a bit misleading. Around 4 months LOs are more alert and can start to eye rub and yawn when they are bored and want a change of scene or activity rather than another sleep so if this happens mid A time and it is not yet time for nap I would do your best to keep him up and just do something different, walk around the house cuddling and chatting for a while or looking out the window etc. If the eye rubbing comes directly after a short nap then yes I agree with you it would suggest he is still tired, but just not tired enough to get back to sleep and in that case an additional few mins A time could well help. Tired LOs don't always need an earlier nap, sometimes later so that they nap well.
I think for now I would not try too hard to increase his E time but focus on extending the naps which can naturally help to extend the E time.
Here's a link for W2S, I know you have tried this once before, I think it's worth another try. Your LO is transitioning at 45 mins, the guidance is to go in at 30 mins and begin shush/pat to see him right through the transition (it's easier than trying to resettle a fully awake baby) and another 20 mins into deep sleep (that can be total 35 min) however you might be able to go in a bit later and just start shush/pat at say 35 mins.
Please look at naps option 1 in the link as it is not the method where you disturb LO but rather help him through:How do I address habitual wakings? (wake-to-sleep and other methods)
With regards to the light and not being able to see him, I would just put the light on outside his room and leave the door open or have a night light in there that you can use when you are helping him with W2S or resettling him during naps. Honestly, if he is short napping anyway then what is there to lose? I always just left the door open so I could see what I was doing.
Hope some of this helps. Please do say if you need further clarification or have more questions.