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Nap help please

Argh I am at the end of my tether with Alex's sleeping. Every single evening by about 5pm he is exhausted and no matter how early we take him up to bed he is so tired that he howls and sobs like his little heart is breaking. It's awful and I can't bear it :( Every single day revolves around me trying to get him to nap enough to avoid the evening meltdown and I fail every time. I'm getting unhealthily obsessed with it but I honestly will do anything to get a happier bedtime. 

Standard nap length is 30 mins, 45 at a push. Very very rarely there might be a mega nap of an hour or more but I can't remember the last time that happened. He has a nap around 2 hours after he wakes up, and usually another one a couple of hours after that. Then for the rest of the day it's very hit and miss. In the car he'd rather look out of the window; out and about he wants to look around; at home he won't settle because he wants to play. I really don't know what to do. Sometimes he'll drop off during a feed and will sleep on me, but last weigh-in he'd dropped a centile so I'm worried that he's too tired to feed effectively. He's not sleeping as well at night as he used to so is even more tired during the day than usual too.  I would be fine about reduced naps if that's what he needed, but honestly he is so tired, he spends huge amounts of the day rubbing his eyes and then is so exhausted by the evening that he's overtired so can't get to sleep and just cries and cries. 

I'm sorry, I don't even know if this makes sense, I just can't listen to him sobbing himself raw any more - any help appreciated.


  • He sounds exactly like Isaac did! I drove myself mad, but once we had a routine things were so much smoother. 30/45min napping is overtiredness. He can't transition through sleep cycles himself (sleep cycles are generally 30 and 45mins in to sleep) can he self settle? Where are you putting him to nap? I got completely regimented about routine once we cracked it, and I know it's not a lot of people's cup of tea but he was and is much happier with it.

  • He naps in his poddle pod on the sofa, there's only me in the house so it's quiet downstairs. We tend to be out and about in the afternoons which is not conducive to napping as there's so much world to look at! I put him in his poddle awake, put blanket over, dummy in, and sit with him til he's asleep, replacing dummy as necessary or sometimes now he spits it out and falls asleep without it. Out and about he'll fall asleep by himself in the pram or car but is very easily woken by sounds around him. Once he's asleep at night he sleeps well (ish) so must be able to self settle or move from one cycle to the next without fully waking up. And sometimes after a night feed he wakes up as I put him down but he settles himself back to sleep after a while.

    How do I fix him? Longer naps seem like they are key but how?

  • I really feel your pain as S was like this a few weeks ago. He's never been a great napper during the day though but he goes through phases of just not being able to get through a cycle and it's awful for them. I'm sure I read somewhere that if you get them to go back to sleep after waking, whatever it takes, then eventually they do transition by themselves. For S, he needs white noise and a muslin partially covering his carrycot so that he isn't distracted by the rest of the room. I can sometimes get up to 2 hours from him during the day now. He does still wake after 45 mins but will go back down reasonably easily and the second part seems to be when he sleeps the deepest now.

  • F only started napping at 6 months and I basically took him to bed with me and fed him to sleep at 10am and 2pm. This got him used to needing a nap so once the co sleeping worked regularly I put him in his cot. I very rarely go out with him now in the afternoons as it just mucks everything up. We do toddlers and swimming in the mornings for two days and right now it's a nightmare as it clashes with his 10am nap and he is miserable. I'm very strict but he won't sleep otherwise.

  • Re: routines S absolutely refused one even though I kept trying until recently. Now he's kind of set one I'm going to be a lot mote strict about it as the others have said. It's not everyone's cup of tea to do it but I firmly believe that some babies respond better to it and if that's what they need them so be it. S would never just drift off to sleep when he's tired, like some babies, so he has to be "put" to bed.

    It's hard to sacrifice an afternoon or morning out but maybe worth doing it to get him used to the idea of napping. Once he's a bit more settled with it then you might find he naps out and about a bit more. S never napped when we were out when he was younger but he will do it now. I think he realises that sleep is good for him (at last!)

  • TT, I think this must be a reflux thing as A is a horrendous sleeper! To actually get her to sleep usually involves a 20 minute fight of her fighting it, screaming, clawing at me until she finally gives in and then more often than not she's awake again within 20 minutes whether she's in her cot, being held or in the pushchair. I really feel your pain and send big hugs! I had a great routine with E which involves a specific musical toy as a sleep cue and she napped every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and used a bit of gentle sleep training to get her settling In bed rather than on me. I'd love to do the same with A but Unfortunately I haven't got the time to do it as it would mean leaving E unattended for far too long! So for no I'm just winging it and if all else fails, I keep telling myself she probably won't be napping in 2 1/2 yrs time! Sorry I'm not much help but just wanted to offer solidarity! x

  • Thanks everyone. He has managed an hour and a half nap this afternoon because he dropped off in the car so I drove round and round the countryside to keep him asleep! The lengths we go to for our babies! I think the best thing I can try to do for now is get him to nap for as long as possible by any means possible so that he catches up on sleep a bit, then try working on longer length naps - does that sound sensible?

  • Sounds sensible to me :)

    FWIW today I got two 1.5 hour naps out of S, with minimal fuss when I was putting him down - a total first! There's hope for both of our boys yet! I think perseverance is key, it eventually pays off.

  • Oh and I agree with mamaD about it maybe being a reflux thing. My nct friends little boy has a cmpi and his daytime sleep was hit + miss you but is now better at 6 months.

  • Raaargh. Awake since 3. He woke for a very long feed and was back in bed at 3.45, I however then couldn't sleep and was just dozing off at 4.30 when he woke again! Must have been bad wind as we've had some spectacular burps and farts since. By which point he was sleepy but awake and couldn't get hinself back to sleep. He'd drop off, put him in cot, wide awake. So in the interests of "do whatever it takes to get him to catch up on sleep", he's sleeping on me.

    I have a dead arm, am dropping off, and am starving. Don't you just love this job?

  • TT can you carry him into your bed so you can snooze whilst holding him knowing you won't let go of him? X

  • TT, I feel your pain! Went to bed at 10, A woke and 11 and I finally managed to get some sleep about 4am!!!!! It must have been something in the air last night, maybe a full moon?!!! Hope you manage to get a bit of rest today x

  • Argh poor you. I would do as TP advises and snooze with him in bed if you can. Believe it or not I miss the days when S would only sleep on me (probably rose tinted glasses though!). Or break out the sling? S kept waking up with his sore bum last night so sounds like we are all knackered today. Happy bloomin mother's day weekend eh?

  • I was in bed with him but holding him lying down in my arms rather than on my shoulder snuggled in then I was a bit stuck! At 7.30 I decided it would be ok to risk waking him so transferred him to cot and he slept til 8, then H took him so I got some more sleep. He's had a half hour nap since then too.

    Today H and I are going to essentially drive towards Scotland and not come home until A wakes up of his own accord and we know he is rested!

  • How did it go TT? I have visions of you driving round Scotland!

  • Haha well believe it or not we made it all the way to Berwick and back and he was still asleep when we pulled up on the drive! Turns out that the answer to "how long can a baby sleep for in the car?" is "FOREVER". But he was just nicely sleepy at bedtime rather than hysterically exhausted so it was worth it. We'll not mention the awakeness in the night but I think he's due a medication review so that's not his fault!

    We've just been for a 2-hour Mother's Day meal and he slept all the way though that which is pretty rude to be honest but at least he's sleeping ;)

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