Author Topic: 4.5 month old won't nap and when he does it's only 20-30minutes  (Read 116 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.