Ask SIFTW: Switching from 2 to 1 nap

July 22, 2008

Our lovely friend Kirsty writes:

I tried to find some posts about the 2-1 nap switcheroo. I  couldn’t find any.  Do you recall any such posts? My son is starting to fight nap time and I think he might be getting ready for one nap. Since its not going so well, I’d love to hear any tips or advice.

I don’t recall any such posts, but I do recall the switcheroo. There is a time when kids seem to need more than 1 nap a day and less than 2. And that obviously causes problems for all parties concerned. Parents do not know when the kid wants to sleep. The kid cannot make it sanely through the day on one nap, but can barely seem to fit in two.

Sometimes it might work to bring their bedtime forward to even 6pm or so, so they can have their early nap and try and get through the afternoon. The other possibility is for them to have their early nap, then have a short 1/2 hour rest in the afternoon to get through. Rest assured they will grow into the one nap though in time. And then eventually they will grow out of the one nap, which is when as a parent you really start to get nervous!

PS. I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with your emails as well as I should be, but I’m doing my best to catch up this week (as long as nap times co-operate!)

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Ask SIFTW: 7 month old feeding at 3am

June 11, 2008

Lauren writes:

I have a 7 month old who is habitual waking at 3/3.30am for a breastfeed.  I know at this age he should be sleeping through.  We put him down at 7.00pm.  He has solids at about 4pm and then a bottle at 6.30pm.  I always (now) try and put him down awake so he is learning to fall asleep by himself.  (I previously breastfed him to sleep which I know is a big no no).  Anyway for the last 2 weeks we have tried to get him to stop feeding at 3am, however I am finding this extremely difficult and am getting very tired.  I basically go in to him to check that he is dry etc and then try and shush / pat / kiss him back to sleep.  Doesn’t really seem to be working – should I just leave the room and let him cry it out????????
 
HELP.

Hi Lauren, we’re not very conventional here at SIFTW and what I would say is that 7 months is very little and you are not alone in having a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. Actually I won’t tell you how old mine was when he started to sleep through MOST nights, as it could be taken to be a little bit depressing. It’s little solace when you feel like crap every morning because your sleep is broken, but I think your bubba is doing quite well for his age. Do you have a partner who could get up with baby in the morning and allow you a little bit of a lie in to catch up once in a while. Even a sleep in once a week can do wonders, I find.

It sounds like the shush/pat/kiss is not working too well at the moment. I would probably take the route of least resistance, the one that gets him back to sleep ASAP, and yes, that probably means feeding him. There’s plenty of time to drop this habit later as their diet moves more towards having a proper dinner and their tummies can go longer.

There are those crazy babies who sleep through from a few months old, but I really feel that they are the exception.

Best of luck.

xx


10 month old twins and rocking to sleep

June 1, 2008

Lynn writes

I have twin 10-month-old girls who have always been challenging sleepers, though recently things have started to really improve. The girls usually take 2 naps during the day, 1-2 hours each, which is a huge improvement from the 30-40 minute naps they used to take. And even better, their nighttime sleep has improved too. Most nights we’re down to one waking per baby, and some nights they even sleep through. My question has to do with getting them to sleep. When they were younger I spent a couple of months trying to get them to fall asleep on their own but since I don’t want to let them cry it out and most gentle sleep training methods don’t seem to work for twins, I gave up and have been rocking them to sleep which is usually a much faster, easier method. I’m okay with the current system, but sometimes I worry about the future. I’ve never heard of an 8-year-old being rocked to sleep so I’m figuring we’ll transition out of the rocking-to-sleep at some point. But how? Does it always have to be a painful process? Does it ever happen naturally the same way their sleep has improved naturally?

Hi Lynn, I’m glad the sleeping has improved for you lately, you’ve got double trouble on your hands already! What I tend to think about methods of getting kids to sleep is that you do what works until it no longer works. That’s what happened to us with rocking to sleep and feeding to sleep. We rocked and fed and rocked and fed to sleep, and then one day those little eyes just didn’t want to close. So we had to figure a new way to do things.

These days, we have a cuddle, sing a song and put the Imp into his cot and he’ll mumble for a bit and drift off. What a dream! I can’t really say how we got from rocking and feeding to this point, it was such a gradual change, but I really feel as they become more confident in themselves and understand more of the world, they gain the independence to do such wonderful things and put themselves to sleep.

So I guess my advice is to do what you need to do to get them to sleep (at least they seem to be staying asleep for the most part which is 9/10 of the battle), and as they grow out of this stage, you will find new and innovative ways of getting them to bed and to sleep.

love SIFTW


Baby No Sleeping

April 22, 2008

The Giving-Up Guide for Parents Who Can’t Get Their Kids to Sleep


At 14 months, would you?

March 26, 2008

Colleen writes:

I am grappling with a near 8 month old who is deeply entrenched in the need to nurse to sleep, has super spidey where is mommy sense, and well, gets me up too many times in the night. He naps brilliantly twice daily but we get a three hour stretch maybe onceevery 2 nights, and otherwise it’s up every 1.5 hours.

It sucks, as you know, but I am staying home with him now and can somewhat afford to be groggy. When he is 13-14 months, however, I am starting grad school in a program that is very very demanding–neourscience, dissecting cadavers, and lots of physics probs in the first semester. The director of the program tried to intimidate me out of coming because a student with a three month old dropped out last year after a month (not fair, not cool, but she is the boss).

Obviously, you don’t know me or my kid, but can you give me an idea of how rested and ready to cope with life you felt at 13-14 months? It would be a big help to me in psyching up to go or maybe making a big decision to take another year and consider a program that is not going to try to scare me off.

Colleen, RESPECT going out to you for deciding to study neuroscience. This post is really tricky for me to answer, because at the end of the day, the real answer is IT DEPENDS. And I think it depends primarily on 3 things.

1. Your child.

I have to say that my 14 months old is a hell of a lot easier than my 8 month old was. Remarkably easier. But that doesn’t mean he’s a sleeping dream, or isn’t difficult at times, but it does mean that most of the time I’m not a walking zombie anymore. Your child is probably the aspect of this that you can least control, but I’d say working towards some kind of sleeping plan, slowly, slowly, so that you might envisage some kind of sensible blocks of sleep towards 14 months might be useful. That said, there are times when no sleep plans work and a kid just needs their mommy, so go with your gut instinct on what your kid can handle.

2. You

There are still going to be some sleepless nights, some tantruming episodes, some throwing food on the walls, some near-concussion falls (hopefully not too many) and to some extent I think it comes down to the personal question of how you balance the committments in your life. If you have to front up to dissect a cadaver after being up all night with a fever-y toddler, will you cope okay? I like to think sometimes that we do what we have to do and we get through, but I still tend to think we should try to maintain a modicum of sanity in the process.

3. Outside help

I think this is the most crucial aspect. How much support/babysitting/childcare/emotional support etc you will have at your disposal. If the people around you are incredbily supportive and you have good childcare arrangements, this could really make all the difference.

I’m sorry I can’t look into my crystal ball and tell you whether your child will be an easy or difficult 14 month old (and whether you’ll be getting much sleep). In my experience, yes, I’m getting more sleep, and yes, it’s a lot easier generally. But do I feel like embarking on a neuroscience degree? No. But then I never did without kids either!

Go for it Colleen.


Sleep and time changes

March 10, 2008

and by the way, on the time change transition, Moxie has said everything I wanted to say, but much more clearly and succinctly. Here it is.


Feel free to hate me because …

March 10, 2008

the Imp is taking 1 nap a day that lasts between 2 and 3 hours. Can you believe? And this from a baby that would only sleep when held and had to be walked around in the sling to nap.

I love you 14 months naptime bliss! How long will you last?