April 08, 2008,
K.K. asks from New York, NY on April 07, 2008
4 Month Old Has Stopped Napping!
My beautiful, sparky, stubborn daughter of 17 weeks is mixing it up again. As a newborn she was mildly fussy - not a great sleeper but not really colicy. (I exclusively breast feed). Around 2 months she started sleeping 3 - 5 hours at night without a feeding and I thought we were home free. (She slept in a co-sleeper attached to our bed). Then about a week before her 3 month bday she started waking every hour - hour and a half - I brought her into our bed out of desperation and bought "No-Cry Sleep Solution" and "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby". She started napping reliably a couple of hours after she woke up but only in her swing. She would sleep 2 or 3 hours. Two days ago I finished Healthy Sleep Habits and she stopped napping altogether.
So, my current situation - my 4 month old, who once napped a couple hours a day in her swing, now refuses to nap at all; sleeps in our bed and will only go to sleep if I sleep with her - so she's going to sleep at 1am, sleeping till 11am. I know she's tired but she actively fights sleep. I am going back to work in a few weeks and need to transition her into her crib and she needs to nap. I have read a ton (the books plus the internet) and I am completely confused. In my confusion, I think I'm confusing her. I don't know what to do, but I feel like now is the time to do something. help!
PS - sorry for the repetitive request - looks like I'm not alone.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all so much for your advice. As soon as I relaxed, she started napping again - albeit on a slightly different schedule that hasn't quite set itself. I also decided not to try and transition her to her crib - it made a lot of sense not to make her lose mommy both days and nights. Instead, we both go to bed around 8, I nurse her to sleep, and I just bring work to bed and do it next to her while she sleeps. She wakes around 9am with a few wakings during the night to nurse. Her nap schedule varies (several short naps, 2 medium naps or one long nap - either in the swing or in the stroller) but at least she does not seem to be getting overly tired. For the time being we are all getting all the sleep we need and my husband and I love the time with her. We are planning a week long trip to Grandma and Grandpa's in about a month and maybe after that we'll try the crib? Thank you all so so much - it was wonderful not to feel alone.
R.S. answers from New York on April 08, 2008
I got the sleep book healthy sleep habits for the happier child...it worked wonders...Also try the happiest baby books and videos.
A.S. answers from Albany on April 08, 2008
My baby did the samething, and she is 6 months now. She naps now. There are days when she doesn't, but not so many now. I would try to still put her in the swing, get a moment to yourself. I also would try a car ride, that does the trick or a stroller ride. Also, this is probably a growth spurt, and may need to eat more for a few days, then will get back to normal. I have read all the books, and nothing has worked for us. Be patient get a break from a friend or family, that really helps, ask someone to spend the night and get some sleep. We are going through it right with you. Take care A.
D.C. answers from New York on April 08, 2008
I am also a new mom of a four month old. My son has recently started protesting his naps as well, and I can definitely tell that he's overtired. He sleeps well at night. We put him in his crib from day one per some advice I got from other mommies who went through the struggle of transitioning from co-sleepers to the crib. I've been very consistent about our nighttime ritual, and I do feel like I'm reaping the benefits (he'll sleep 10 hours. I'm a lucky woman, I know!!)
But, we have not been as consistent with his daytime naps because I'm back at work part-time, we've had a lot of upheaval with different nannies and my mother-in-law recently passed away, which threw our entire schedule right out the door. I'm just now trying to put a daytime routine back together in hopes that he'll start napping better. He will rarely nap in his crib though. Always the swing or bouncer seat. Although I do have that Fisher-Price jungle mobile in his crib and he loves it. He'll sit peacefully in his crib for 20 minutes staring at it. My husband and I always joke that it was the best $40 we ever spent!
Just try to develop a routine, and be consisent. Children need structure and respond well to it. Although always easier said than done. Also, like the other moms have said, read her cues, and be persistent. If she's overtired, she will fight you, but keep at it, and she will "hopefully" fall asleep. Hang in there and good luck!!!
A.M. answers from New York on April 08, 2008
Get Dr.Marc Weissbluth's book called Healthy Sleep habits, happy child. It saved our family and now our son sleeps 12 hours a night!!!! 7pm to 7am of course he is older, but you will get there!
A.S. answers from Rochester on April 08, 2008
Focus on your baby and give her lots of TLC. Do what feels right for you - reading everyone else's books can be confusing but you need to take whatever tips sound good to you and be consistent.
I have a 6 month old girl and (and a 3 yo girl) and both were not big nappers, but sleep good at night. Routines are important, not strict schedules/time. Just know approximately when your daughter tends to be sleepy daily and be consistent.
I work full time, so my routine is: wake her up about 630am, feed her at 715am, naps about 9 or 10am, eats...(I don't know because I'm at work), 1-2pm, then feed her about 515pm, 6pm (food), 645pm, 8pm, 10pm since I'm still nursing...
As long as your baby isn't crabby, I would think she is getting enough sleep...
I like how Dr. Sears says - you need to parent your baby to sleep - create a warm comfortable environment for your baby to feel confident/comfortable to sleep...
Hope that helps..
F.S. answers from New York on April 08, 2008
maybe try changing the pattern you were using in your baby's nap time. Your baby may need a time of just listening to soft music or just to lay next toyou on a bed, never to early to read stories, I did this with my dauighter from the age of 1 month, very easy books like soft or squeaky are a good start, even a warm bath to calm down your little one is also good.
B.A. answers from New York on April 07, 2008
I think her lack of napping is causing you stress, because that is more then likely the time of day when you can acomplish things. Babies seem to pick up on that. The more stresses Mommy is the more agitates they become. Think about it, if you are stressed your body and muscles are more tense then when you are relaxed. When you are just cuddling she will sleep better, because you are more relaxed.Therfore she sleeps better at night when you are there.
As to how to cure this, I have no clue. You are going to have to wait for another Mom to come to the rescue. Been too long for me. :( Good luck
S.S. answers from Binghamton on April 08, 2008
One of my most horrible moments as a mom was when we decided to solve a similar problem with our second daughter by letting her cry herself to sleep. We went in every 5 minutes to reassure her that we loved her and that she was alright, then left again. The first night was horrible (my husband had to talk me down from going in to pick her up and hold me on the couch for each five minute period), the second only half as terrible and by the third I asked myself why we had not done it earlier. She went from a sleep-battler to a child who can to this day put herself to sleep anytime and anywhere. And I went from a sleep-deprived, cranky mother to a fairly well rested more patient mom. It is very, very hard, but it worked for me. You might want to give it a try. Once she understands that she can put herself to sleep without your assistance, she will be able to find her ideal sleep patterns more easily.
L.W. answers from New York on April 08, 2008
Hey K., I feel ya! My six month old still gets up every two hours at night and it's tiring. Sometimes he cries for 15-20 minutes in my arms before he falls asleep for naps or at night, seems he can't fall asleep without crying - maybe your daughter is similar? Not much advice here, just some commiseration. Sleep patterns of babies change from month to month, try not to stress too much about going back to work as you'll deal with it when that day comes. Some of the tips in No Cry Sleep Solution worked for us, at least made putting baby to bed easier (putting him down when he's sleepy, picking him up when he cries even if it's right away, repeat, repeat until he's really asleep). But in the end I decided not to fight him and to just go with the flow for as long as I can. I may not get to sleep all night through, but our household is peaceful.