Author Topic: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?  (Read 10269 times)

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Offline annesmama

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Hi all, I'm a first-time mom trying to teach my baby to sleep on her own.

ISSUE#1: She still needs help (bouncing or rocking) to fall asleep.
ISSUE#2: On a given day, she'll only do 1 long nap on her own - the rest she wakes up around 40 minutes or an hour tops.
ISSUE#3: Even though she'll start her day at 7-8am, she won't fall asleep for bedtime until 10pm-midnight!

I suspect issues 2 & 3 are related to her needing help to go to sleep.

About us:
We are EBF so I can't count ounces or anything, but she is growing well, around 55th percentile for weight. We do Elimination Communication, so we are already doing the extra "E" (eliminate) after eating. We cosleep (sidecar crib) at night, but all her naps are in her crib by herself.

My baby is textbook/spirited. She just turned 3 months old yesterday, so I am never sure whether to go by the 0-3mo or 3-6mo recommendations! She is very engaging, vocal, and active while awake, constantly kicking and cooing. She likes looking at things-- herself in the mirror, toys/objects during tummy time, looks all around when we go for walks.  Some babies go to sleep when you walk them, I hear, but not this one. :)

ISSUE#1: She still needs help (bouncing or rocking) to fall asleep.

Our current nap routine is:

1. Go potty (we're doing early toilet training)
2. Go to the bedroom and turn on white noise
3. Put on pajama pants (she wears a cloth diaper sans cover at home)
4. Swaddle
5. Bounce/rock and sing 2-3 songs
6. Lay down in crib once she closes her eyes. She usually opens them during the move.
7. (Sometimes) Hand on chest if needed to help her close her eyes again.

Usually this works and I can then leave the room.  If she's OT she might wake at 10/20mins, but otherwise she doesn't wake until the transition.

Step 5 (bouncing/singing) is the one I want to get rid of, of course. In the mornings I might only need 1 song. In the evenings I might need 5 or 6. Basically, I bounce on the yoga ball and sing while she stares at the fan or into space; then when she closes her eyes, I'll move her to the crib.  Lately I've started moving her if she looks vacant enough, even before she closes her eyes, and she'll often close them on the way over. There was one miraculous day when her eyes started closing even before bouncing and I skipped that bit and sang the song while she lay in her crib.

If I try to lay her down without bouncing her to drowsiness, she either plays or cries... she does *not* sleep!  I really don't want to leave her to cry in the crib, and shush-pat doesn't seem to do anything for her. She's too young for PU/PD, I think?  Any other ideas?

ISSUE#2: On a given day, she'll only do 1 long nap on her own - the rest she wakes up around 40 minutes or an hour tops.

It's interesting to me that she does sometimes do long naps (1.5-2 hours) on her own. Usually the first nap of the day, sometimes the second. There was one day she napped almost 4 hours! But more typically, she wakes up at 40 minutes. Sometimes if I go in and feed or rock her, I can get her back to sleep, but sometimes not. If she's already alert and blinking/looking around by the time I get there, it's usually not going to work.  Is this developmental?  Is she just a short napper?  But why does she have the one long nap, then?

ISSUE#3: Even though she'll start her day at 7-8am, she won't fall asleep for bedtime until 10pm-midnight!

This one is driving me nuts. *I* get tired earlier in the evenings than she does!  When she goes to sleep around 7, it alway turns out to be a nap -- she wakes up after 45 minutes to an hour.  Then we'll try again around 9pm, and half the time *that* turns out to be a nap too. D:  Last night was the best ever -- got her to sleep at 9:45pm.

Here was our EASY yesterday:

WAKE  7:45am
E 8a
E(pre-nap snack) 8:45a
S 9:00-9:45/9:50-10:45 (had to feed+bounce to extend)

E 10:45
S 11:45-12:45 (couldn't extend)

E 12:55
S 1:45-2:45 (couldn't extend)

E 2:45
S 3:55-4:35 (couldn't extend)

E 4:35
E(top off since I was going out) 6:15
S 6:50-7:20 (not sure what happened - DH said she woke up and was crying for a long time)

E 7:50 (when I got home)
SLEEP 9:45 for the night! Her night sleep is good enough for me -- she wakes a couple of times for a feed and goes right back to sleep.  (I know BW suggests cutting night feeds, but we are not planning to do that, since it's generally not good for breastfeeding supply.)

Offline becj86

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 21:33:06 pm »
Hi :)

Looks to me like you're getting lots of undertired naps. I'm going to suggest that is most likely due to short A times. At this age, average A times are 1:30 and that's actually pretty consistent at this age and average becomes a bigger range as babies grow older. With some spirited babies, A times can be higher than average even at 3 months but in your case, perhaps start with 1:30 from wakeup to back to sleep and see how you go :)

Getting the routine more suitable for her may fix your perception of need for sleep training. I think you're working so hard to get her to sleep because she's not tired. I think once you get your A times up, she may go to bed better for the night as well.

Offline annesmama

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 22:33:35 pm »
Ooh, hm.  I'll give 1.5 hrs a go today and tomorrow and report back...

I usually start winding down at 1hr because she starts getting a bit fussy.  Her A time is mostly blanket play -- blanket in front of the window, blanket in front of a mirror, blanket with a few toys/pictures to look at in tummy time.  She usually does just one of these things per A period.  I don't *think* that should be overstimulating and making her fussy? I'm always worried that I'll "miss the window" so I take her in as soon as she gets cranky, but maybe I should just try a different activity?

Offline becj86

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 00:25:49 am »
She could be bored, wanting more stimulation. Mine would've been very noisy about it if he got one activity per A time! Don't worry too much about OT, much easier to resettle OT naps than UT which is what you're getting right now :)

maybe I should just try a different activity?
Spot on!

Offline annesmama

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 16:23:22 pm »
Hmm okay.  So I have been trying to do longer A times with her the past couple days. The thing is, there's this really clear shift in her mood around the 1hr mark. Before that, she's an angel baby, super smiley and happy, plays independently, I just have to move her around and/or change her diaper.  After 1hr, she starts to get fussy when laying down - if I pick her up and play with her, read to her, walk around with her, etc, she'll be okay for another half hour or so.  Whether her A time is 1hr or 1hr30, she cries when I lay her down to swaddle; she stops crying once I pick her up again.

The reason I started moving toward the short A times was that mood change - I thought it meant she was tired? Does it not?  I do think she falls asleep faster with the 1hr30 A time, but she doesn't sleep longer - still only an hour or less. :\

EASY from yesterday:

WAKE 8:20
S 9:45-10:15 / 10:30-10:45

E 10:45
S 11:50-12:50  (I wasn't sure when to count the beginning of "A", she didn't really sleep well for the resettling)

E 1:00
E 2:00
S 2:20-3:20

E 3:35
S 5:05-5:50

E 6:00
S 7:30-7:50

E 8:30
E 9:30
S 10pm

NW 11pm
NW 3:30a

WAKE 6:30a (*sadface* - I usually try to treat this as a NW, but she wasn't having it)

Today her first nap was short too, 8:00-9:00, but at least she woke happy and she's playing happily now. :\
Does she need an even longer A time?
But then why does she get fussy and need to be held for the second half?

Offline becj86

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2017, 22:18:49 pm »
After 1hr, she starts to get fussy when laying down - if I pick her up and play with her, read to her, walk around with her, etc, she'll be okay for another half hour or so.  Whether her A time is 1hr or 1hr30, she cries when I lay her down to swaddle; she stops crying once I pick her up again.
All very normal with a spirited baby, I'm afraid. They just crave that stimulation.

I would give her another 10-15mins more A time and see how that goes.

What are you doing when she's treating BT as a nap? It can help to spend some of the first A time outside so she's getting some sun to help her body clock sort out day from night. It can also help to keep lights low and maybe just hold your hand on her and sing to her rather than getting her back up. That's pretty classic OT at BT which can happen just by having short naps all day. It sounds counterintuitive but pushing the A times in the day will help with the night.

Offline annesmama

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2017, 04:07:49 am »
OK, today we tried pushing A times to 1:40. On the plus side, she goes to sleep very quickly. On the minus side, she gets pretty fussy during wind down. Naps are still so-so:

WAKE 6:30am
E 6:30
E 7:00
S 8:00-9:00

E 9:25
E 10:30
S 10:40-11:40

E 11:55
S 1:20-2:20 (OMG NEW PROBLEM -- came in and she was ON HER TUMMY!! Re-settled by rocking...)
S 2:30-3:30 (But on the plus side, 2 hours total napping yay)

E 3:40
S 5:05-5:50 (45m)

E 5:50
E 7:00
S 7:30-8:15 (45m)

This is typical... we don't even do the bedtime routine before the 7pm nap any more.

Usually, she wakes up fussing. We first try to put a hand on her and shush, but usually that doesn't do anything. Then we'll try to hold and rock her on our bed next to the crib (it is sidecar'd, so it's not a huge move). If no go, I'll feed her. Generally after a feed she is in a good mood, smiley and trying to sit up. So we give up and try again after the next A time. On the plus side (knock wood), she's gone down for real sleep by 10pm for the past few days, which is a big improvement over midnight!

Today I didn't get a chance to take a walk for the first A time, but I did it a few days ago. I will try to do it more consistently.

I've ordered a couple of Zipadee-zips... she still startles and I don't think she'll be able to sleep without something swaddle-ish!

Offline becj86

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 02:02:39 am »
On the plus side, she goes to sleep very quickly.
That's a good sign you've got a more appropriate A time.

On the minus side, she gets pretty fussy during wind down
This can be for many reasons - some spirited babes just don't want to leave the action. Mine never did a winddown once I figured that out. Just put him straight down and he'd go to sleep.
Some babies don't do well with transitions - mine liked to pring something with him from one activity to another to help bridge the transition. As a result, he often took a spoon with him to bed/to the park, etc.
A lot of babies build associations very quickly - even just going to her bedroom when it has been a place she didn't like going to (when she wasn't tired) can still make her a bit fussy.

(OMG NEW PROBLEM -- came in and she was ON HER TUMMY!! Re-settled by rocking...)
This is fine provided she got put down on her back and rolled herself. Definitely time to get her out of the swaddle though. FWIW, my son slept so much better once he could roll onto his tummy - he didn't wake himself with his reflexes any more :)

S 1:20-2:20 (OMG NEW PROBLEM -- came in and she was ON HER TUMMY!! Re-settled by rocking...)S 2:30-3:30 (But on the plus side, 2 hours total napping yay)
This suggests to me that a slight push to 1:45/1:50 may get her sleeping longer on her own. These 1hr naps suggest she is still UT but is getting through the 45min mark on her own which is great - means she can transition from one sleep cycle to the next independently. This 2hr nap albeit with resettling is a good sign she will nap longer given the right routine. She's done that off the back of 2 short naps and 2 reasonable A times. You could stick with 1:40 for another day or two and see if her naps lengthen further if you want to. I'd probably hedge my bets and go to 1:45/1:50 and stick there for a few days because chances are that's where she'll be for the next week or two then increase again. Tweaking a routine and increasing A time gradually every couple of weeks as required will make this whole process much easier :) That way you mirror her gradual development with a gradual change in routine rather than trying to do it stepwise which gives her more to adjust to in one go.

It sounds like she really associates feeds with time to get up - that's great in some respects - she's got that bit of predictability down pat, makes feeding to sleep more tricky though!
Pushing that first A time may help with getting her to sleep earlier in the evening. You can try bringing BT earlier by 30mins every few days if you want to.

What's the BT routine? Does it help her settle or is it as per recommendation somewhere? Sometimes a WD/BT routine can hinder efforts to get a child to sleep. For instance, I read books to DS before bed because of those recommendations. He was so excited and overstimulated by books that it was completely counterproductive and actually, we had to change to singing for BT WD. We still read books - just straight after feeds rather than just before sleep.

Offline annesmama

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2017, 21:08:16 pm »
THANK YOU! Things are definitely improving. We got one long nap yesterday and shush-pat has actually worked -- TWICE!

Quote (selected)
FWIW, my son slept so much better once he could roll onto his tummy - he didn't wake himself with his reflexes any more :)

Haha... I hope she learns that soon! Right now she sometimes stays on her back and sometimes rolls to her side. Then she often tries to go for her tummy, but if she makes it, she wakes herself up and starts fussing. She doesn't seem to realize she can just lay her head down and go to sleep :)

Quote (selected)
A lot of babies build associations very quickly - even just going to her bedroom when it has been a place she didn't like going to (when she wasn't tired) can still make her a bit fussy.

Yes, I suspect it's a combination of this, and just adjusting to the new A time. If you had told me a week ago that she could do 1:50 A times, I wouldn't have believed you based on how fussy she got at 1hr. But she can!

Quote (selected)
Tweaking a routine and increasing A time gradually every couple of weeks as required will make this whole process much easier :) That way you mirror her gradual development with a gradual change in routine rather than trying to do it stepwise which gives her more to adjust to in one go.

Makes sense! Definitely planning to do that going forward.

Quote (selected)
What's the BT routine? Does it help her settle or is it as per recommendation somewhere?

BT routine is pretty short, just based on what various books suggest:

1. Quiet play in crib
2. Read books
3. Go potty
4. Change into overnight diaper and PJs
5. Swaddle
6. Turn on white noise and turn down lights
6. Bounce/rock/sing until asleep

It usually takes a long time to get her to sleep, unlike the naps :\  And she doesn't settle as well -- at naps, she handles a little jostling when being put down and either goes back to sleep herself or responds to shush-pat. Maybe we need to cut the books? Or maybe once we get her naps sorted out, BT will sort out too?

Here was yesterday's EASY!

WAKE & E 7:00 (A=1h30m)
S 8:30-9:15 (S=45m)

E 9:15 (A=1h45m)
S 11:00-11:45 (S=45m)

E 12:15 (A=1h45m)
E 1:00 (snack)
S 1:30-2:50 (S=1h20m !!!!!)

E 2:50 (A=1h40m)
S 4:30-5:10 (S=40m shush-pat worked!!)

E 5:20 (A=1h50m)
E 6:10
A Did bedtime routine
S 7:10-7:45 (S=35m *sadface*)

E 7:45 (A=2h15m)
A quiet play in crib
SLEEP 10:00 (started trying at 9:30, which would have been A=1h45m)

Today has been going well, even with an outing messing things up!!

WAKE & E 6:45 (A=1h50m)
S 8:35-9:50 (S=1h15m -- she would have slept longer but we had to go out! Tried to transfer to carseat, but she woke up)

E 10:15 (A=1h50m)
S 11:40-11:55/12:15-12:20/12:25-1:15 (S=15m, 5m, 50m -- fell asleep in carseat, woke when transferred, woke at jolts, held her until deep sleep for last one)

Here's hoping we get a good afternoon nap in!

Offline annesmama

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2017, 03:26:27 am »
Siigh, spoke too soon. The rest of the day wasn't as great. Maybe cutting short the first nap threw everything off.

WAKE & E 6:45
S 8:35-9:50
  A=1:50
  S=1:15 -- she would have slept longer but we had to go out! Tried to transfer to carseat, but she woke up

E 10:15
S 11:40-11:55 / 12:15-12:20 / 12:25-1:15
  A=1:50
  S=15m, 5m, 50m -- fell asleep in carseat, woke when transferred, resettled but woke at jolts, resettled and held her until deep sleep for last one

E 1:30
S 2:50-3:40 / 4:00-4:20
  A=1:35 - We wanted a longer A time, but she fell asleep while Dad took her for a walk
  S=50m, 20m - Tried to resettle, but she wouldn't let me put her back down so I held her for the second bit. Then she woke up happy.

E 4:30
S 5:45-6:30
  A=1:25 - Again, wanted a longer A time, but she just got suuuuper cranky
  S=45m

E 6:30
S 7:45-???
  A=1:15

I expect this to be a nap, but hopefully she'll go down for real bedtime at 9:30.  What does it mean when the wake times go down like this?  Maybe A=1:50 was pushing it too far? How do you recover from a short nap without throwing off the entire day?

Also, shush-pat has started working for me when first putting her down for a nap, but when she wakes up at :45 or :50, it doesn't work at all. In fact, not much does - I hold her, rock her, bounce her, but sometimes she doesn't settle at all, or only fitfully until the next E. Sometimes it seems like it would be better to just take her out and start the next EASY early.  Obviously if she wakes up without even getting in a full sleep cycle, I would try to resettle her, but is it different for long-but-not-long-enough naps?  She's often happy as soon as she's fed.  Does that mean she's waking hungry?  And if so, is it bad to make her wait?

Offline becj86

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2017, 06:03:13 am »
Maybe cutting short the first nap threw everything off
It often does. Sometimes you have no option but if you have the choice, try not to wake LO from a nap :)

WAKE & E 6:45S 8:35-9:50  A=1:50  S=1:15 -- she would have slept longer but we had to go out! Tried to transfer to carseat, but she woke up
This suggests that you've got the right A time at least for first up - see how a day goes when you don't have to wake her during the nap, I think you'll find its a lot better.

The rest of the naps were a bit disjointed - those last couple were clearly UT but that second one was probably OT.

With those long but not quite long enough naps, they're not restorative, so you can trim your A times for those by a little bit - I'd say about 10min or so given how she's gone so far. Its a tricky balance to strike because you don't want more UT naps but OT ones are tricky too.

Have you read about hold through the jolts? That might be the go for you resettling - if you can get there at the 20min mark and watch her then hold her through that transition, that can help a lot.

Also, shush-pat has started working for me when first putting her down for a nap, but when she wakes up at :45 or :50, it doesn't work at all.
I think you'll find that's because she's ready to get up - she was a little UT for that nap but with still a little OT running in the background from these short naps for so long so its is probably even harder to resettle those UT naps at the moment. They will get easier once she's more established on a more suitable routine for her.

Offline annesmama

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2017, 02:56:23 am »
Well, today was... weird. We had an EASAS.  Maybe transitioning out of the swaddle is messing everything up. Will stick with it for a few more days.

Last night BT was 10:30

NW 3:00

W & E 7:00 (snoozed while eating)
E 7:40
S 8:45-9:40
  A=1:45 S=0:45 (*sadface*)

E 9:55
E 10:45 (fell properly asleep eating! that's weird!)
S 11:10-11:55
  A=1:30, S=0:45

A (no eating) was cranky
S 12:45-1:55 / resettled / 1:55-2:30
  A=0:50, S=1:45 (!!)

E 2:30 (short snooze)
E 3:00
S 4:15-5:00 (woke happy)
  A=1:45, S=0:45

E 5:20
S 6:20-7:15 (got super cranky and had to go to sleep after a short A time)
  A=1:20, S=0:45

E 7:30
BT ???

Hopefully we'll get an earlier bedtime. Hope springs eternal.

Offline becj86

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2017, 10:23:37 am »
My post has disappeared :(

Basically I said that yes, the swaddle weaning can mess with naps - try hold through the jolts if you so desire.

I also mentioned that if you want an earlier BT, you probably have to just bite the bullet and stop getting her up when she wakes after BT at 7/7:30. Keep the room quiet and dark, BF if necessary but likely not given she's just had a BT BF and just keep trying to resettle. She will wonder what's changed and may cry - its her only method of communication, so don't be too worried about crying, sometimes its just "Hey, mum, why are you changing this on me?!". Stay with her, so she knows you're there (be sure she's not hungry, got a dirty nappy or in some kind of pain, of course) and say a sleepy phrase or sing to her. Shush/pat may start being a sleep association for her soon so that may turn out to be more useful than it has been before.

Great to have that 1:45 nap - she can make it through the 45min mark on her own and she can sleep a long total nap so there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Stick with 1:45 A time for a total of 3-4 days then if you're still getting all these 45min naps, maybe push to 2hr and see what happens. You may end up staying put at 2hr for a little while but given how well she does on so little night sleep, I'm starting to think you may have a low sleep needs kiddo on your hands :)

Offline annesmama

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2017, 02:39:12 am »
How would I know when I've pushed A time too far?  If she has trouble settling for a nap? Trouble staying asleep till 45 mins?

I'm wondering if some of these 50-55 minute naps are actually 45 mins, but she stays quietly in her crib for 5-10 minutes, maybe trying to go back to sleep?  I suppose I'd need to stay in the room and watch to see. She doesn't seem to need me to hold thru the jolts when she first goes down, but maybe she needs it for the second cycle. I'll try tomorrow.

Offline becj86

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Re: Teaching nap sleep to a 3mo old when shush pat doesn't work?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 05:45:23 am »
How would I know when I've pushed A time too far?  If she has trouble settling for a nap? Trouble staying asleep till 45 mins
Naps are usually ~30mins and far more easily resettled if you're there quickly. You'll know.

I'm wondering if some of these 50-55 minute naps are actually 45 mins, but she stays quietly in her crib for 5-10 minutes, maybe trying to go back to sleep?
Quite possible.