Author Topic: Teaching Sleep to Babies of 3-5 months (and the 45 min nap)  (Read 161753 times)

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Offline Caroline-Charlies Mummy

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Teaching Sleep to Babies of 3-5 months (and the 45 min nap)
« on: February 17, 2007, 23:32:10 pm »

Title: Teaching sleep to 3-5mos and overcoming the 45min naps
Post by: Megs Mom on August 27, 2005, 06:11:41 AM

Hi everyone.. I've created this thread as a resource area for parents to gain information on how to teach sleep to young infants (3-6mos).

Please don't post questions or situations on this thread.. this is primarily a resource area. If you have questions or need support, please feel free to post a new message.


DD is 4 months and on a good 4 hr EASY. She was doing really well, having 1.5 to 2hr naps am and pm, catnap before bath, bed by 7.30pm.

Then the am nap went to 45min, then the pm, now all naps are 45 min.

A time is 1.45 to 2 hours, Always goes to bed awake and drops off to sleep on her own almost immediately every time, Wakes at 45 minutes and begins talking quietly to herself, If I go in and retuck, tell her to go back to sleep she smiles and talks to me. I have tried not going in but she will just happily stay awake and talk to herself for the next half hour to 45 minutes on her own. By then it is almost time for next feed.



Well I read the sleep interview and my book again and really hit home to me to have a look at her whole day to solve the 45 minute naps. We are on day 2 of big improvements so just wanted to share what is working.

Tracy talked about babies not being able to get out of the way of toys hanging over their heads. My lo was lying under a play gym at every activity time! So maybe overstimulation part of the problem? She sleeps so well at night - never hear her stir so I thought it doesn't seem to be a self settling problem. Only difference is before bed time she doesn't spend any time in the play gym. So this is what I tried.

Keeping the activity time a little more low key, only under the play gym for 10 minutes then took the hanging part off and played on floor. Being careful about winding the activity down as the day progressed.

Her morning nap yesterday was 45 minutes, I went in and patted for 10 minutes - almost settled then she pooed! Changed, reswaddled and straight back to bed, took about 20 minutes of talking to herself but went back to sleep for another 45!

Afternoon nap was 45 minutes then I pat/shushed for 30 minutes which resulted in 20 more minutes of fitful sleep with me in the room. Left her quietly talking to herself after she woke again for 20 minutes to next feed.
Today same, kept activity lower key. Today though I went in at the 40 minute mark, she woke, I just retucked her and said go back to sleep now honey and she did! Went another 45 minutes - big improvement.

This afternoon I went in at 40 minutes and laid a hand quietly on her back, supported her through the REM sleep. She cried out but stayed asleep. That was at 12.45. I stayed in the room until 1pm to be sure then left. It is now 2.20 and she is still asleep!!!

I am over the moon!! So it is only early days but each nap gets better. So in a nutshell I just commited four days to staying home and changing this pattern (only on day two!) and really looked at the activity of the whole day to get a bigger picture. I really believe she was overstimulated. Also as suggested by meg's mom (thank you!) slowly extending her activity time. I am finding this easy with the new lower key playtime - not wearing her out as quickly. Just wanted to share what is working for us!

Title: Teaching sleep to 3-5mos and overcoming the 45min naps
Post by: Megs Mom on September 03, 2005, 06:32:44 AM

My 13 week dd recently reverted to short naps. I was convinced there was something I was doing wrong and that if I could just find out what it was the short naps would be gone.

Matthew's Mommy (Jane) shared some info with me that has reassured me and given me the strength to face another day of trying to extend my dd's naps.

From 0-3 months babies work on organizing their night sleep. From 3-6 they work on organizing their day sleep. What is happening is biological and is a normal blip. In the meantime, I am going to try to extend her naps with wake to sleep so that she gets used to the sensation of going from one sleep cycle to the next. I am keeping her awake time at 1.5 hours and will start moving her towards the 4 hour EASY when she is 3.5 months or so.

Jane also advised that I do a pre-wind down before all naps. So if the nap is supposed to start at 8:30, around 8:00 start walking around the house or the garden. The swaying motion of walking releases a calming hormone in the baby. Walk around until 8:15 and then start your wind down. In my wind down I rock her for a bit, turn on a lullabye, take off her clothes, change her diaper, swaddle her, and then "slow dance" with her. I may tweak the wind down/pre-nap routine but it worked well this morning.

Jane did say that it could take a while for things to get sorted out in regards to her day sleep. But I just feel so much better knowing that what is happening is not my fault and it is just biology. I also feel like I won't be as frustrated with her as it is just another part of her growing up.

Title: Teaching sleep to 3-5mos and overcoming the 45min naps
Post by: Matthew's Mommy on September 05, 2005, 11:49:18 AM

This is an excellent post from Heather10. It describes how to a modified wake to sleep approach.. which can help some young infants get past the 45 min. mark of their sleep.

"When you extend the awake time in 15 min increments, you are changing your EASY from a 3 hour to a 4 hour which is typical for most 4 month olds. If you are already there, and doing the 4 hour EASY with 45 min naps, you might try pre-empting the waking by:

Going in at the 35 min mark and waiting for the jolt. The beginning of the rise from deep sleep happens at about the 38 minute mark, so if you are there at the 35 you will catch it. Prepare to spend 20-45 mins in the room the first few times you do this. I started it today and it is already working. Get comfy, perhaps on a stool or standing by the crib and gently place your hands on your babys upper arms while she is swaddled. You are basically providing some pressure so that when/if she jolts, your pressure will prevent a startle awakening. If baby opens her eyes, use one hand to hold her arms and the other to shield her eyes with your hand. If the room is really dark you may be able to avoid the eye-part. Otherwise, maintain this position until baby falls back into deep sleep again. You will notice her breathing quicken when she comes out of sleep and she may grunt, life her legs and roll her head side to side. If you use a paci, you can insert it, but don't do so before she opens her mouth for it. Shoving a paci in there when not requested can actually wake her up more. Follow her cues for paci or out. You may put it in and she will close her eyes, rest and spit it out (keep holding her arms) and then suddenly seem like she needs it again - put it back and continue being careful not to let her come out of sleep due to jolts or wanting that paci - it can feel like a juggling act

The first time it may take her 20-30 mins to fall back into a deep sleep, but if you continue this for all naps, you will see that the time it takes her to fall back shortens and this means you will spend less and less time at the cribside.

We've been short napping for 5 weeks now and today had 3 naps of 1.5 hours each and a catnap of 45 min I feel like I have my life back!

Now, if you do all of this and baby is still waking up at the 45, not going back, eyes pop open and yet she is alert and HAPPY, this is likely her biorythym. If she wakes up cranky then you know that she needs more sleep. You can, if you like, try for 10-15 mins to get her back to sleep and then if that fails, take her out, do quiet activity for another 10-15 mins or so and then you may notice her getting sleepy again - right back to sleep then!

Essentially, this will be a broken nap with some A time in the middle. It will then seem like EASASE in the cycle. You might do this for a while before you can get the *going in early* part to work, but then it can be smooth sailing! "

It may take a few days to get used to this approach. With any strategy, it's best to stick it out, instead of just trying it once and abandoning it. Generally, most young infants will short nap and have difficulty entering the next sleep cycle. It's one of those developmental blips. In my experience, I have found most young short napping infants, need support to enter the next sleep cycle. Between the 5th and 6th month, they need less support.

All infants will awake at the 45 min. mark. It's biology.

One last thing.. remember, teaching independent sleep is a learning process. It takes time, patience and lots of support in the beginning. Once an infant knows how to fall asleep independently (which is half the battle right there!) then it's easier to learn how to stay asleep past the first sleep cycle.

Hope this helps!

Title: Teaching sleep to 3-5mos and overcoming the 45min naps
Post by: Megs Mom on September 08, 2005, 03:38:47 PM

Here is an excellent strategy (and excellent results) by colesmom.

Just thought that I would share my success story. My DS was on a 3 hours feed sched up until 2 weeks ago. I had read BW and knew the principles...but didn't follow it exactly. Anyway, my DS was accidentally parented into a host of issues, one of them being held to go to sleep and he had a paci. Two weeks ago today I started pupd, pat/shhh and working to get him on a longer feed sched. and sleep routine. We're still working up to a 4 hour easy-currently on 3.5. Anyway, I'm rambling.

After speaking with Mathew's Mommy and getting a great pm from Carasmom I tweaked a few things. First, awake times. I didn't think DS could stay up longer than 1.5 or 1.75 hours but the issue was that that wasn't long enough and he was overstimulated...even my wind down was overstimulating. reading, singing...all the way up to the moment I put him down. It was too much.
So, the last few days my windown starts 30 minutes before his awake time ends, aiming at 2hrs-2hr 15 min. awake time. I read a couple of books and then pop him in my sling (it's been a god-send, it's called New Native Baby Carrier) and either walk outside or do a bit of tidy up. He seems to love the vacuum-lucky me as now I don't have to do this during Y time! We walk for 15 min. or so. I put him in his sleeper (I bought a Grobag but it doesn't fit just yet-too big on his head) and walk a bit more. My goal is to sit in the glider no earlier than 5 min. before A time ends. So then I sit for about 1 minute or 2 depending on his mood, whether he's yawning, rubbing his eyes, inchworming against me. Then I kiss him and put him down.

Yesterday: went down well for all three. 1.5 hr, 2.5 hr (with help-and it was too long i learned later), and 45 min.

Today: 1.5 hr, 1.5 hr and going on 45 min. for his catnap now.

What you need to know is this. We had our deck started today...and they drilled six bolts into the house in the middle of the second nap. I asked that they wait til he was asleep 15 min. He didn't budge, even though they were drilling at the 30-45 minute mark! And it was LOUD. I think my DS has passed his nap graduation today I'm so proud of him.

OH, and he had been waking 1.5 hours in the middle of the night. He slept 9:20-3:50 (with DF at 11) last night. I am really hoping it wasn't due to the late bedtime but we'll see tonight.

okay, is that enough info? feel free to post any questions..

Title: Teaching sleep to 3-5mos and overcoming the 45min naps
Post by: Megs Mom on September 08, 2005, 07:26:47 PM

Problem from: mommynow

My daughter is 3 months old. I started to do EASY when she was about 7 weeks old. She was doing great (8-10 hours at night and naps of 2-3 hours during the day). Around 10 weeks old she started to sleep longer at night (11-12 hours) but her naps got shorter and shorter. They got to be 30-45 minutes and she would always wake up cranky. I tried to extend them by going in and patting/shing but it made her wake up even more.



I read the post on this site about going into the room early to stop the cycle of early waking.

I started yesterday. My daughter normally wakes up at the 45 minute mark. I went into her room at 35-40 minutes and sat by her crib. When she started to stir I placed my one hand on her legs (she is swaddled but her legs manage to escape) and pressed firmly. If she seemed to really stir I slipped her paci in. She would suck on it a bit and then spit it out but it did calm her. I put my other hand on her chest. I kept doing this for 15-20 minutes as she continued to have many jolts. When she seemed to be calm for several minutes I slowly took my hands away and waited in case she jolted again. I creeped out of the room then. I went back in after another 40 minutes and extended it again. She slept 2.5 hours!!!!!
Today I only extended them once because she is on 3-3.5 EASY. I am going to do this for a week and then start trying to release my hands more. It has only been two days but this is the only thing that has worked in 4 weeks so I am very excited! She is so much more content from sleeping twice as long. It takes time but it is worth it to me because I would just end up dealing with a cranky baby until her next feed anyway if she woke up early.

Thank you for the advice!!

Title: Re: Teaching sleep to 3-5mos and overcoming the 45min naps
Post by: Megs Mom on January 28, 2006, 02:33:18 PM

Title: Won't Settle Easily for Naps - success story
Post by: sharrigo on January 04, 2006, 03:15:00 PM

Hello! My 20-week old daughter is on a 4-hour EASY and is doing great sleeping at night. She's asleep in her crib around 7 PM, I dream feed at 11 PM and then she wakes up sometime between 6 - 7 AM for feed, and then sometimes back down for another hour. She typically wakes up between 7-8 AM. She usually takes 3 naps per day - 2 2-hour and one 45-min. She seems pretty text book other than getting her down for her naps is getting really difficult. She cries quite a bit and PU/PD only makes it worse. Sometimes it takes 30-60 min just to get her down. We have a great bedtime routine but I don't know about our naptime routine. I try to spend a few minutes of quite time holding her and then put her in her crib relxed, but she immediately starts crying and kicking her arms and legs.

I can't figure out why going down for naps is becoming such a struggle, I wonder if I'm not making a good transition from A to S for her.  :?  It is hard for her to stay up a full 2 hours sometimes so I watch for her body language and try to get her down when she first shows signs of getting tired to avoid being overtired or overstimulated. Nothing seems to be working!

I would love any thoughts or suggestions  Thanks!

Title: PU/PD for naps worked!!!
Post by: sharrigo on January 13, 2006, 07:20:45 AM

Hello! I wanted to report back to everyone one week later about the progress we've made with my daughter in settling down for naps. My husband and I finally admitted to ourselves that we were going to have to go back and use PU/PD with her when it came time to take a nap. We didn't take any shortcuts but followed the technique exactly, and after only 2 days, my daughter was not crying at all when she went down for a nap!

The first time, it took my husband about 1 hr 20 min to get her down, then about 45 min the next 2 times. The next day is was about 45 min and then only about 20 min or so with almost no crying. The last 3-4 days she will go down without any crying at all but does take anywhere from 2-15 min to settle with a lot of wriggling to find a comfortable position and some loud cooing to herself. This is huge progress and I feel sane again!

It addition to be extremely consistent with PU/PD, I also put black sheets over her shades to make the room even darker, and put her in her sleep sack every time now to signify sleep time and to act somewhat like swaddling. It has worked and I hope that my experience can help others as I know it can be extremely frustrating.

Thanks to everyone for their help and support!

« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 23:36:33 pm by Charlie's Mummy »
Caroline :)

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