Sleep Solutions... only 2 hours between naps?

Joanie - posted on 11/10/2008 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I haven't read any of the books about this yet, but everyone has said the cycles are 3 hours or so and the baby shouldn't go more than 2 hours between naps. Is this really true for 4-5 month olds? It seems like by 6 months they only need 2-3 naps a day. My little boy generally still takes 4 naps or so, but we aren't on a very good schedule for them. I basically just put him to sleep when he acts tired. But I'm looking for more structure and a child that is easy to put to sleep. Does anyone know if this cycle method works for kids this age?

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Rachel - posted on 11/15/2008

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My boy is on a great schedule. He gets up about 7 am, eats, goes back to sleep about 8:30 or 9 am. Sleeps for an hour to 2 hours. Eats at 11am plays goes back to sleep at around 1 or 1:30. Up again and eats at 3. May or may not go back to sleep before his 6:30/7pm feeding and then goes to sleep between 8pm and 9pm and doesn't get up again until 7am!! ( Sometimes, like this morning, I have to wake him to keep him on a good timetable for the day!)

The book is called "The Baby Whisperer" By Tracy Hogg. I was an avid reader during the first few weeks of his life, but you have to take everything you read with a grain of salt. The lactation nurses at the hospital were not a fan of the Tracy Hogg books, but they had some VERY good tips. Such as...

E.A.S.Y. --- Stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep and You. It's a rountine instead of a schedule and it is a lifesaver!! I am a first time mom and I have a wonderful, happy 5 month old boy!

Hope - posted on 11/15/2008

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oh and my youngest isalmost 5 1/2 months and sometimes she only can make it up for an hour and a half, sometimes an hour ( not that often) but it's a hard age at getting them to do things!

Hope - posted on 11/15/2008

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Have you read the Baby Wise book? It's amazing! it tells you how to get your child to fall asleep on their own and a ton of other great ideas! when my kids were 6 weeks old i started using the methods that are in there and my kids are the best sleepers ever!!! they have all started sleeping through the night at age 6 weeks with 2 long naps during the day and maybe 1 short one during supper time. works great, i can't remember the author but's it's really good! it's kinda hard to do but if you can do it it's well worth it!!! hope this helps!

Joanie - posted on 11/13/2008

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Thanks for all the advice. I started paying attention to the times he was tired yesterday, and it was usually within two hours of when he woke up. Then today I paid even closer attention to his drowsy clues (instead of waiting for him to fuss) and he napped beautifully. Hopefully that will help him sleep better tonight.

Magen - posted on 11/11/2008

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my baby takes about 4 naps during the day for only about 1 hour to 1.5 hours at a time. I just put her down when she gets tired and she is sleeping thru the night.

Sara - posted on 11/11/2008

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just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in the mix...I've both followed my son's cues as well as read a few books for suggestions...I take what seems to make sense and leave what doesn't work for us, but I've definitely found that w/ my little guy, he absolutely does best when he gets down for his next nap/sleep before the 2hr wake-time period is up. Goes down w/o a fuss and sleeps at least an hr, sometimes 2 hrs, at 3 naps through the day. A big key for when he's getting tired is when he stops kicking around as much and doesn't make eye contact, then I know it's time to head for the crib! Anyway, I'm sure all kids have their own rhythms, but my son's days have gotten so much more predictable and he's such a relaxed, happy little guy...I do have to think that some of this is b/c he's getting good sleep. Hope you find a routine that works for you and your son!

Christylee - posted on 11/11/2008

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Yep crying it out definetely helps them to learn how to sleep better. If that's what you decide to do, don't jump fully into that. It's a better idea to take baby steps with it because it's really hard on the parents. Not sure if you did it with your other child or not but I remember how hard it was with my first. At first, just let your son cry for 5 minutes. Then go in there rub his back and try to settle him without picking him up. Do you swaddle, does he take a paci? Swaddling can really help because their hands and arms have a mind of their own so it's hard for them to settle themselves to sleep. I just started putting my little guy to sleep without the swaddle on his belly. He was flipping over in the swaddle and then couldn't get back over. He has been sleeping so much better that way. But if you decide to do that, you want to make sure he has very good head and neck strength.

I just stopped nursing and my son was on a great routine even while I was nursing. I would let him nurse on each side until he popped off himself. When he was really young, he took a long time to nurse but he finally sped up. That seemed to really help him with his routine...he ate more, therefore he slept more. I didn't do that with my first son...I would take him off the breast and switch sides after a certain amount time and he was ALWAYS hungry. So I learned my lesson with my second :0)

You are right that his day time sleep affects his night time sleep. If a baby sleeps good during the day, they usually sleep well at night.

Don't worry that your older child makes noise when your son is trying to sleep. It's really great for him to learn to fall asleep while hearing things going on in the background. Just so long as she isn't screaming by his door :0)

Also don't worry about set times-like a schedule. Schedules rarely ever work for babies because everyday is different. You simply want to just start to develop a routine. If he wakes up one morning at 6 and the next at 7, you just start from there and compensate as the day goes on. My son sleeps anywhere from 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon so I have to compensate for that with his feedings. If he wakes at 5pm, I feed him and instead of 3 hours between feedings, I feed him again at 7 so that I can still put him to bed on time.

I really believe in the baby wise method. I share it with all my friends and many of them have been shocked to discover how well it really works. Nicole is right that every baby is different but one thing we moms are 100% for sure about, our babies love to eat, play and sleep. The great thing about baby wise is that it instills a since of security and predictability for your child. They know what's coming next.

I would love to help you in anyway you would like. Just let me know what questions you have and I will help to the best of my ability.

Joanie - posted on 11/11/2008

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And yes, it's mostly naps that I worry about because I think they affect his night time sleep as well. And because I don't have 20-30 minutes to rock him to sleep, just to have him wake up 30 min later. I believe that if I can get him to fall asleep without so much help, he will sleep longer because he will just go back to sleep if he does wake up. And if he was on a schedule, I would know when to put him down (at some point I will start to follow one of the book's cry it out methods).

Joanie - posted on 11/11/2008

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My boy was sleeping through the night until a couple weeks ago, and when he was, we were on a good feeding schedule. But his naps were still just whenever he seemed tired, and I have to rock him to sleep. I have a 2 year old daughter that makes a bit of noise sometimes so it is a little harder to keep him asleep, or put him down.



Now that he isn't sleeping through the night, he is more tired in the morning and he eats at different times depending on when he ate at night. He does get one bottle a week, or sometimes two because I only work 4 hours a week. But the time I work doesn't go very well with his schedule so I have to nurse him a little closer together before I go in so he won't have to have two bottles because I really don't have that much milk supplied in the freezer and I have a hard time pumping too much out at work (high stress job, luckily it's only for four hours :)

Nicole - posted on 11/11/2008

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Nursing babies are much harder to have on a schedule. My pedi told me to just go with the flow and let her fall into her own sleep/wake pattern and work with that and try to build off it. Does your little one get bottles of pumped milk, or are you nursing only?? I ask, because Maddie gets bottles during the week, and her doctor told us to get a schedule down with the bottles during the week and hopefully she'll learn to stick with that pattern and nursing on the weekends. And if she does go by schedule, it is a lot easier to get her to nap like she does during the week. But if she doesn't go by anyone's schedule but her own, her pedi said that was fine too, as long as she's happy and content and it's not messing with her night time sleeping patterns. Is it just naps that you're worried about??

Nicole - posted on 11/11/2008

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Christylee, oh definately! I didn't mean, don't take anything a book has to heart regarding your child. Like I said, "personally" I feel that you should do what's best for you and your baby and if it's different than a book tells you, so be it. So if whatever you're doing is working, why try and change it because of what a book says you should be doing?? It's the same thing with a pedi. I would never argue that a doctor doesn't know what they are talking about or that they haven't seen a lot of different types of babies. . .but just because they see my baby for 20 minutes and tell me what they think is best, they still don't come home and observe my child 24/7, so I take what they saw and translate it into my own life and my own way of doing things with my little one. So the person writing the book may have LOTS of experience with babies, they don't have any with my baby. It sounds like my child has the same sleep, eat, wake pattern as your child, and I didn't need a book to tell me that was best for my baby........ my baby showed me that was best for her. That's all I was saying. To each his own.

Joanie - posted on 11/11/2008

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I'm definitely going to read Baby Wise and Healthy Sleep Habits. I'm a little worried that my child is too old to get on that schedule.



This morning he woke up, ate, played, napped, and by the time he woke up, it had only been 2 hours since his first feed so he was just awake playing again. Then by the time it was time to feed him again, he was also tired so he nursed himself to sleep. Any pointers?

Christylee - posted on 11/11/2008

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From the previous post "but my personal feel on it is that the person writing the book doesn't know my child, I do".

I would like to comment on that. The person writing the book has LOTS of experience with babies and therefore her information works if you stick with it. I am not saying go completely by the book, but do what works best for you. You should stay open-minded to different techniques and try them. Then use whatever you and your baby like best. Consistancy is your best bet with whatever you decide. I wish you the very best.

Nicole - posted on 11/11/2008

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I haven't read any books either, but my personal feel on it is that the person writing the book doesn't know my child, I do. I think you should do whatever works for you and your baby, end of story.

My 4.5 month old is breast fed and I think it's a little harder to get on a schedule, but during the week while I'm at work my boyfriend is home with her and he does basically the eat, wake, sleep thing too. She will only go 3.5 hours max without eating, so when she wakes up for the day he feeds her and she would be due to eat again 3 hours from that point. So about an hour before her next feeding is due, he tries to put her down for a nap. Sometimes she isn't ready for a nap, so he gets her up and tries again in a bit. Sometimes she sleeps for an hour and a half, sometimes only a half hour, but she very rarely doesn't sleep at all between her day time feedings.

Christylee - posted on 11/10/2008

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Hi ladies. The best method that has worked for my boys is the eat, wake, sleep cylce. My almost 5 month old has been on this schedule since he was about 4 weeks old and he is such a great baby because of it. He wakes up in the morning, I feed him, he plays and then about an hour to an hour and 15 min after he woke up, he goes down for a nap. That cycle repeats all day. He goes 3 hours between feedings. So he takes 3 naps, plus a little cat nap in the evening. If you haven't already, research Baby Wise. That book has some great techniques and ideas. Good Luck!

Kim - posted on 11/10/2008

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Yes, it is true! I am in the midst of reading Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. At this age, they should be sleeping after waking period of 2 to 3 hours. My baby does well with 4 naps around 45-60 mins a day. Anything less than 45 mins is not consider a nap. Hope this helps!

Liz - posted on 11/10/2008

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If anyone does know about this, or any ideas that could get a child to sleep would be great. My son gets so tired he actually gets circles beneath his eyes, and they are only 5 months old.

Liz - posted on 11/10/2008

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My twins ( especially my son) don't really sleep much during the day. Personally I don't think infants around this age would only go that little between sleep because ( at least with my kids) they love looking around their environment. I know each kid is different, as I've seen with my twins, but my daughter usually takes maybe three naps a day or so.

Sarah - posted on 11/10/2008

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I haven't read any of the books either, but my 5 month old only naps 3 times a day, maybe a fourth cat nap thrown in. I too just put him down when he seems tired. I'm with you on this question though- although my son goes down easily, he still wakes up quite a bit at night.

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