Author Topic: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes  (Read 488 times)

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Offline Starrisa

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please help. I'm going crazy.

my son is 4.5 months old and really fights naps.
I have upped the awake time to 1.5 hours or so in the last couple of days to see if it would help. he seems tired at this time frame. if he started having longer naps I could possibly up it closer to 2 hours.

he is in a dark room with a swaddle and a dummy. he has shushing for white noise.

I give him a top up feed before just to be sure he isn't hungry. he just cries.

occasionally he will fuss for a bit then fall asleep. but then only sleeps for 20mins. often wakes up still grumpy but will NOT resettle.

he sleeps well at night. I put him down and he falls asleep on his own for the most part. lately tho this has been difficult as I think he is getting over tired during the day.

I honestly dread naps and I feel like I'm gona burst into tears on a daily basis.

I have even tried just letting him cry. it does NOTHING. most days I give up and hold him and he sleeps on me. he will sleep on me for hours. I'm at my wits end with this.

oh and he has always been like this for months. since he got out if the newborn sleep all the time phase. and once I started wanting him to nap in the crib.


edit: upon reading through the site I wonder if trying to implement EASY would help. I loosely have been doing this anyway but making it more strict maybe? I am willing to try anything at this point.

sorry if I shouldn't be posting seems i am not doing the EASY routine.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 05:21:28 am by Starrisa »

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 12:51:41 pm »
Hello and welcome to BW forums :)

sorry if I shouldn't be posting seems i am not doing the EASY routine
Oh goodness me don't be sorry for posting! We welcome new members to the community and we are here to support you in any way we can.  We can't usually work miracles over night but the BW methods are respectful for baby and really do help parents manage more easily.  Having a baby sleep on you can be lovely, it can also feel like you are chained to the sofa all day, no time to shower and out of control!

I'm so sorry to read that you are on the verge of tears daily, it is super hard work having a young baby.  One of the reasons for sleep training and using the EASY routine and BW techniques is so that babies learn to sleep confidently and independently and to give parents that little bit of Y time (You time) that they need to re charge the battery.  Sleep training can be quite hard work but it works and it is so worth the effort.

Don't go crazy just yet - okay?  There is lots of support for you here. Whether it is sleep training or routine or a hand to hold when you feel like you're at the end of your tether. We all arrived here looking for help and we all got it :)  (and then we stayed)

From what you've said it sounds like your A time (activity) is still too short. At 4 months the guidance is 1hr 45 min to 2hrs, here's a link:
https://babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=84884.0
I wouldn't increase to 2hrs all in one go as this can cause some OT (over tired) but if you've been at 1hr 30 for a few days now then it would be fine to increase to 1hr 45. Then hold it there for several days to see what effect it has, don't rush to 2hrs.  If things get a bit calmer at 1hr 45 with better naps then you can leave it there for another couple of weeks or so until he is ready to move on to 2hrs.  If things do not look like they are settling then you can increase to 2hrs and stay there. I wouldn't go beyond this unless there is a clear sign of UT (under tired) which we can help with.

Whilst you are being supported it would be really useful if you would record the actual times things happen (not the time you hope they happen) like this:
WU (wake up) 7.00
E 7
A 1hr 45
S 8.45 - 10.15 in arms (1hr 30)
E 11
A 1hr 45
S 12 - 12.40 in cot then extended in arms 12.40 - 1.40 (total 1hr 40)
E 3
and so on through the day to include:
BT bed time
DF dream feed if you do one
NF night feed
NW waking at night for no feed
Plus add some notes about where he slept, in arms or cot, or what you tried, his mood, and if nap was late because he wouldn't settle things like that.
Don't worry at all about having a perfect EASY or having never been on EASY, we can help you with this.

Here's a link about starting EASY
https://babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=186622.0
There's heaps of info in the FAQs and it would help you to get an idea of the BW ethos and methods but do also feel welcome to post your questions.

You might find if you move to this routine the sleep improves some even if LO is still sleeping in arms.  Sleep training is another issue and you might feel ready to begin right away or you might want time to prepare yourself for it.  We do not leave babies to cry at all ever so we will be unable to support any form of CC or CIO.  We can hold your hand and offer tips for respectful sleep training the BW way.  Have a look in the link and you'll see info on shush/pat (scroll down on that page to find it).

hope this helps
let us know how things go or how you'd like to proceed :)


Offline Starrisa

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 23:10:02 pm »
hey. thanks for replying. the last few days have been better mentally. i have been trying to extend the A time but he shows tired signs pretty early usually around 1 hour or 1.15. such as yawning and being grizzly. I'm afraid to keep him up too long as he won't sleep at all then!

last few days he has had all his naps in his crib. which is awesome and had minimal settling from me. but still only short 20-30 mins. he ends up having 4-5 naps a day.

he is also eating pretty frequently. I have read that a BF baby should be able to last 3-4 hours without feeding. there is NO WAY my son will tolerate that. he can go 2 hours max most of the time. I have started to feed him when he wakes and a top up before he naps to see if it helps his naps. I think it has helped the settling as he hasn't been as hard to settle for naps.

I have had a look through the FAQ. I don't think we are ready to start any routine as he struggles to stay awake without getting OT and is so hungry.

I will record our routine today.

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 10:14:18 am »
It's great to hear he is settling more easily in the crib.  Great progress :)

At this age babies are more alert and some of that grizzling which can look like sleepy cues is often a request to do something different, a change of scene or activity.  It is common to misinterpret these cues as they are so similar to the sleepy cues.
There is an added difficulty in interpreting the cues when LO is in the habit of going to sleep after a very short A time and just cat napping, they can need help to get out of that habit so that A times extend, they are fully ready for sleep and the nap is longer or easier to extend with help (such as shush/pat).  A cat nap is not restorative so although your LO is in the habit of a short A time he is likely to get a much better, more restorative sleep if he stayed up longer.  He would then be more refreshed and have more energy for the next A time.

At 4.5 months the guidance A time is 2hrs. At 5 months moving to 2hr 30 and at 6 months more like 3hrs.  A times are only guidance and some will need shorter or longer than this and whilst I totally agree you need to work out a routine which is suitable for your own individual LO I would also say that if you delay on increasing A times now you are likely to have this short napping issue continue for longer and be playing "catch up" on the A times, chasing the longer nap.
Personally I would recommend you move directly to 1hr 30 A time, hold for 2 days then increase to 1hr 45 hold for 2-3 days then increase to 2hrs.  During those days you may see some improvement or things may seem worse, but once he reaches a more age appropriate time and settles into the routine he is likely to sleep better.

I have read that a BF baby should be able to last 3-4 hours without feeding. there is NO WAY my son will tolerate that. he can go 2 hours max most of the time.
The advice is to BF on demand, although snacking should still be avoided so that a good feed is taken (if only fore milk is taken he will miss out on the richer hind milk which will give more calories so he might then be hungry sooner).  Your LO is likely to be happier to go to 3hr E if he is asleep.  When awake he is using more calories so will likely need feeding earlier.  There is no rush to move those BFs if he needs them but they will likely move naturally when he is on a more suitable routine.  Not all babies will go to 4hrs at 4 months, Tracy listed some examples of LOs who would not move to 4hrly E until more like 6 months. I'd aim towards 3hrs.

It may be that part of the reason for the easier settling at nap time is because you are giving a top up feed, rather than hunger this can be a soothing method helping to make him sleepy, breast milk has that effect, he may be nodding off due to the sleepy effect of the milk and only sleeping 20-30 min cat nap because he is just not tired enough for a proper nap.  If it's working for you that's fine, just be aware that this can lead to a F2S (feed to sleep) prop which can effect eating and sleeping - it can impact on the ability to self settle and learn independent sleep.  As with all aspects of parenting, it is your choice.

hope this helps


Offline Starrisa

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 23:39:50 pm »
hello again.
i think you are right about me misreading his boredom as tiredness. this was my day yesterday

wake 7.30 left for a bit as happy
E 7.50
A 1.5hours from wake up time
S in crib at 9am. grizzled a little bit.
woke at 10am.
E 10.05
A 1.5 hours
S in bed at 11.30. small grizzles.
woke 12.05
E 12.10

S 2.05 in car. woke up at 2.30
E 3pm
A ride around with daddy till 5pm. wouldn't sleep.
got home and played on floor for abit didn't seem very tired so left him. had a bath 
E at 5.55
S 6
NF 4am

the day before was awful. not only did I end up holding him for two naps but he woke up multiple times in the night.

am going to keep extending A time. is it normal for babies to b able to tolerate longer wake times as the day progresses? I was surprised how long he managed to stay up before bedtime. and he went to sleep without a fuss either.

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2017, 18:30:07 pm »
is it normal for babies to b able to tolerate longer wake times as the day progresses?
Some LOs do like to increase the A time as the day progresses but others like the A time to decrease as the day progresses. This is why the guidance times are only guidance.  My own DS had a very long first A time and a very short last A time before his night sleep, it suited him.

It looks like you've been on 1hr 30 for a week or more now, I do think increasing to 1hr 45 for 1-2 days then 2hrs would be more suitable.

To be honest after such a very long A time at the end of the day, looks like 3hr 30 and after a very short CN, I would expect to see either lots of OT NWs or an EW the next day due to being OT.  if your LO handled it well then that's great.


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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 02:48:08 am »
hmm changing the A time definitely helped. he settles much faster and has almost no fussing. A time is 2 hours most of the time now.

however the majority of naps are still only 20-30mins. occasionally the morning one will be longer and sometimes hits a hour on that one. but it's only happened a few times like 3 or 4.

I've tried leaving to see if he will resettle. also tried to resettle him myself. no go.

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2017, 11:32:23 am »
Is he sleeping in his cot for all naps now?
Is he going down well and falling to sleep independently or are you still needed to help him nod off?

Here's a link on W2S (wake to sleep), have a look at naps option 1:
https://babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=223809.0
this is a method of sleep training, to teach Lo to stay asleep for longer rather than waking at the end of a cycle.  If your are getting some 30 min and some 1hr waking I would go in at around 25 min and begin to resettle with shush/pat or adapted and continue until  he is in deep sleep.  Again at 50/55 min.  It can be easier to resettle when LO has not fully woken and cried out, they are still a bit sleepy and calm.

It is also important to respond as soon as he cries, this teaches him that it is okay and he is safe to stay asleep, he has less need to fully wake to check he is safe and to cry out for you.

Is there any sign of reflux?  Some times short naps are a sign of discomfort but I think you said he could sleep for hours on you so this could be more to do with sleep training and having not yet learned to be confident to sleep alone in his cot.


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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2017, 23:33:21 pm »
He is sleeping in his cot for almost all naps now. he has the odd car nap every now and then, but I try not let that happen.

He settles on his own for the most part too. Sometimes I rock him for a bit just to calm him down but not to sleep.

I will try the wake to sleep thing. I have read about it but was always to scared to try it. waking the baby seems like the opposite of what I want to do haha

I dont think he has reflux. He as slept long times (6hours) at night in the past (doesnt now though only 4 hours). He does spill a fair bit but seems happy with it

Thanks for your continued help. its very helpful  ;D
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 23:38:03 pm by Starrisa »

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2017, 09:54:32 am »
It's really good that he is settling for his naps on his own now :)

have a look at the W2S link I posted above, naps option 1, you don't actually wake baby in this method.

Reflux can effect day sleep more than night sleep for many LOs.  By night time they are often so tired they sleep longer and also they can be more relaxed at night which means less pain.  Just worth watching out for I think because if there is a reflux issue then no amount of sleep training will get you past it if there is uncontrolled reflux.  Some LOs are called "happy spitters" because they appear fine with the spit up but for some of these same babies they are in too much discomfort to stay asleep. Naps of only 20-30 mins could be one symptom.  If the naps extend with your help and with sleep training then fine, if not then maybe look again at the list of reflux symptoms and see if they ring a bell.


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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2017, 03:47:40 am »
I had a quick look at the list of reflux symptoms, and the only real symptom he has is spitting up. He did used to sleep hours when I held him, so I'm guessing its more a habit thing.

The nap time is so consistent I could almost set my watch to it. last few days has been about 25mins. :(

Gave W2S a go yesterday.. I tried option two on the link. Didn't really work, but not sure if I stirred him enough. Maybe I'll try option 1, which that option, do you stand there and wait until they start to stirr? Or start patting them to get them to stirr.

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2017, 07:41:20 am »
25min naps tend to indicate either pain or OT but to be honest I don't really see how your LO can be OT with 2hr A times and as you were previously on much lower A times and still the same nap length.  If you feel sure reflux is not an issue then I'm not really sure what to suggest. The nap length is unusual.

do you stand there and wait until they start to stirr? Or start patting them to get them to stirr.
Either. the FAQ explains to begin patting before they wake or stir and to see them through to deep sleep. But from experience I have adapted and just waited with my hand above LO (very very close, about 1cm above) ready to begin at the very first sign of the sleep cycle coming to an end. I would not suggest option 2 at this point, it is really for older babies who find shush/pat distracting - I also feel it is more for LO who are fully independent sleepers and just need a bit of help through a change in routine or say when nap dropping.


Offline Starrisa

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2017, 21:33:03 pm »
I was having a think about reflux after the 5th wake up last night and it could be a possiblity. maybe just not as severe as some babies I have read about.

he gulps quite alot and often cries afterwards
he gets hiccups pretty often
he spits up hours after eating
he doesn't hate being on his back but sometimes he does. I just put that down to being a baby but maybe when he hates it it hurts

lately at night when I put him down for bed, he wakes like every hour to half hour until like 1am. sometimes I go in and he still has his dummy in his mouth so it's not coz of that everytime. I thought it was the 4 month regression but maybe he's more aware of the reflux pain?

also seems odd to still have such bar pain at 5 months?

anyway I might book in to see the doctor and see if meds will help. he gains weight like a trooper so hopefully the doctor takes me seriously


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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2017, 08:19:41 am »
The symptoms you have posted do sound like reflux could be a problem - I'm not a medical expert though.  My own DS had silent reflux and his symptoms were not as sever as some of the symptoms that are listed for reflux.  Mine gained weight well and mostly did not spit up when very young but his reflux became gradually worse and the symptoms were more telling (although I felt I failed to recognise it and the ladies here helped me a lot).  I made several trips to the docs and had to insist on a referral to a paediatrician before he was diagnosed and given meds, he was 5.5 months by that point.  Mine stayed on meds until 2yo and now he has meds about once or twice per year for a few weeks.

There's a list of things here which you can try:
https://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/what-reflux
Elevating the cot with cot blocks and a cot safe wedge can be helpful.
Patting might bother him, if you are shush/patting to sooth you might find he prefers a firm hand and a rub of small rocking motion created by your hand in the cot.  Try not to do too much up and down when resettling, it may help to keep him in a laying position when lifting (although upright is more comfortable for a refluxer I am suggesting imitating the angle he sleeps at to reduce the amount of agitation) and to lift and put down gently, changing positions slowly and gently so as not to shake up the acid.  Laying on the left side can help although the safest way for babies to sleep is on their back. If you are with him though helping extend naps you might feel happy for him to be on his side a little because he is supervised.

As I said in my previous post - if it is only due to the need to sleep train you will get through this phase of short napping with training, but your LO is already going to sleep independently for many sleeps now as I understand yet the very short naps continue.  I just get a feeling of reflux based on the things you've said - the irritability, poor sleep and needing to eat every 2hrs are symptoms as much as gulping,  hiccups and spitting hours after a feed.

Good luck - let us know how you get on.


Offline Starrisa

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Re: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2017, 00:47:10 am »
I don't think elevating the cot will work as he moves around the crib so much. when I go in he is horizontal.

I tried wake to sleep twice today and it just woke him up. he wouldn't resettle once he saw me.

when he wakes he doesn't cry out in pain or anything he just wakes up. looks around and starts calling out. unless I'm there in which case he smiles at me haha.

so over this. I think it is affecting his night sleep too. as he had started waking 3 to 4 hourly at night.