Should my 3 month old be having routine naps???

Shannon - posted on 01/17/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My 3 month old is still on his 'own' schedule. He sleeps pretty well at night but I've heard that naps are very important for development and he really doesn't nap properly. He'll sleep in his car seat, and sometimes in our arms but not in his crib and he never sleeps for very long during the day - half hour at most. Should I be enforcing a routine now?

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Sonja - posted on 01/20/2009

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The short answer is whatever works. You could try a routine but some babies just don't cope well with a schedule until they're older and you can get really frustrated trying to enforce one.



We had a similar problem though and here are ome things you could try

- a three and half/four hour pattern that is a feed, stretch out the awake time as long as possible through distraciton and entertainment until really tired, then put into cot for two hours. Make sure the awake time is really stimulating with reading, play, talking and tummy time.

- if he wakes after 45 minutes try to resettle and don't get him up unless he's getting really distressed. Try patting or rolling the cot over a bump or put a block under one leg to get a wobble

- don't let him sleep in your arms, this can develop into an awful habit that requires you to always be there because if he wakes and you aren't there he'll not resettle because he went to sleep all comfy in your arms and now he's not.

- try to get the feed at the beginning of the awake time so this isn't associated with sleep and he isn't trying to get to sleep on a full tummy.



Note: a pattern can be easier than a routine, instead of thinking its 8am and therefore sleep time, you just go wake - play - sleep. Then if he wakes early, just go feed - play - sleep again.



And don't stress about the development. If he's not really cranky, he's probably getting enough sleep with all his naps.



Good luck, I hope you get some progress. A routine can be introduced when he's a little older.

Susan - posted on 01/20/2009

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Hi Shannon,



I know how you feel! I am reading a book that would be helpful to you also. It is called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. The book is very repetitive, but it is helping me alot. My daughter is 2 months old. At 2 and 3 months old, our babies are still pretty young so it's not going to be real consistent right now. However, this is what my baby does right now. She wakes up around 7am, eats, I put her down for a nap around 9:30am. She usually takes about an hour nap. She eats again around 11:00am and takes a nap around 1pm for about an hour. She eats around 3:00pm and then takes another nap around 4pm for about an hour and a half. Then, she eats around 6pm and then goes to bed at 7:30pm. She used to sleep until 2:30am, which is a nice 7 hour gap, but I don't go to bed until 10pm, so it's almost a waste that we only get 4 or 5 hours of sleep in that gap. So our pediatrician suggested waking her up at 11pm to feed her and hopefully we'll get the 7 hour gap while we're sleeping. We just started that last Friday. The first night she still woke up at 2am but I just changed her diaper and put her back to sleep. Then she woke up at 5:30 to eat. Ever since that night she didn't wake up until 4am to eat and then I would put her back to bed and she would get up around 7am. So I'm hoping that the 4am feeding will start to get later and later in the morning.



Notice that I said "around" at each time. She's very young so the time is not on the dot yet, but that's what I'm working towards. Also, her naps vary; sometimes the nap will be an hour, sometimes, an hour and a half, sometimes almost 2 hours.



Some hints that I can give you (and some I got from the book)



*when it's time for a nap, just put him in the crib and let him fall asleep on his own, otherwise, you will be stuck putting him to sleep for a long time. I have been doing this since she was born and I still have to go in when she starts fussing, give her her pacifier, and turn her mobile on. To soothe her a little, I rub her cheek and go "shhh" for a little while, but don't do it until he falls asleep. We have a fishy mobile that plays music, shines lights on the wall, and there's a light that shines on her that's kind of hypnotic and I think it helps alot. And she loves it, she laughs at the fishies alot!



*he may not look tired, but put him down for a nap anyway. Most of the time, I put my daughter in the crib and think to myself that she looks wide awake and I don't think she's ever going to go to sleep but that's usually when she goes right to sleep on her own. If she starts crying because she's tired, it usually takes her longer to fall asleep. I just watch her eyelids and when they look like they're getting a little heavy, I put her in her crib.



*the book says that up to 6 months of age (not positive on the age) the baby should only be awake for an hour to two hours at a time. The baby should sleep about 12 and a half hours at night and get a total of 16 and a half hours of sleep each day.



I haven't finished reading the book, so I don't have any more advice. The book does talk about that if the child gets enough sleep, they are much more happier and better behaved. Usually children that are not behaved is because they don't get enough sleep. Someone told me that the book changed her life. Well, I don't know if it's changed my life but she didn't read it until her 3rd child and this is my first.



Good luck and I hope this helped you some.



Susan



 

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Chantelle - posted on 01/21/2009

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I am so glad to hear that someone else is having the exact same problem as I am! I can't get more than 20 minute naps out of her and she is still tired, I know it. I am also worried about her getting 15-16 hours of sleep for her development, and I know that if she is left to her own devices, she'll only sleep 11 hours per day. She is awesome at night (once we get her down). It isn't even really hard to get her down for a nap. The problem is that she won't STAY asleep. If you get any good advice about how to keep em sleeping, please share. I have become obsessed with trying to help my daughter nap, and I think that I am losing my mind---partly because I never get any breaks all day!

Samantha - posted on 01/21/2009

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Its hard to get a 3 month old on a routine. I think they do whatever they want no matter how hard you try. If he sleeps good at night then maybe he's getting enough then.

Shannon - posted on 01/20/2009

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Thank you all so much for your responses! This has helped loads. It's good to know I don't need to start strictly enforcing a routine yet, this will make us both happier campers!

Richelle - posted on 01/20/2009

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My 4 month old is the exact same! He sleeps really well at night, but naps - forget it! He will sleep for 30-45 min max in his crib, but for like 2+ hours in his carseat on the move. I have heard it's good to get babies onto a routine, but most things I've read have said at early ages to sleep your baby when they are tired. My son, Hudson, is always happy once he is up from his (short) naps. Most of my friends with babies have said that by about 6 months, their babies slept for a couple of hours twice a day on their own.

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