Long naps

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by Debbiemichelle, May 28, 2013.

  1. Debbiemichelle

    Debbiemichelle Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone.

    Another sleep post :)

    For many months, Lucy and Maren took mostly short (less than 30) minute naps, 4-5 times a day. In the past few weeks, they've started stretching a nap to 40 minutes or an hour, but almost always when we are driving in the car or in their stroller. In the past week, they have taken some awesome long naps of close to an hour an a half, always in the car. Sometimes they will wake up in the car after 30 minutes, fuss or cry or just open their eyes for a few minutes, and then go back to sleep.

    I know they are ready for longer naps because of all the times they've proved they can do it in the car/stroller. However, I cannot figure out how to get them to take these long naps in their crib. When we are home and they nap in their crib, they wake up like clockwork at 28 minutes. Maybe I am the problem: I usually go in after a few minutes and open up the curtains and the nap is over. I really hate to let them start to cry, even though we did do some crying to get them to sleep through the night.

    I guess I am saying I am open to the idea of letting them cry, but in the back of my head I am always thinking, "Maybe they are just done with their nap. All they needed was 28 minutes." But also in the back of my head I am thinking, "I know they can and should sleep longer than just 28 minutes!" I was really cool with the short naps up until now, but now they're six and a half months and seem to be developmentally ready for long naps.

    I have some friends who say, "Naptime is from 11-1:00, and they just stay in their cribs during that time no matter what (with of course some soothing if necessary)." If I want to promote longer naps at home, is this what I need to do? Plan on a few days of crying and actively foist longer naps upon them? Or, should I just keep waiting it out and eventually they'll just start taking those longer naps in the crib when they are good and ready?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!!
  2. twinkler

    twinkler Well-Known Member

    Have you tried going in just before the 28 minutes and as soon as they stir, pat and shh them through to their next sleep cycle? It needs consistency at every nap though and you need to spend at least 15-20 minutes + doing it but seriously, it does work. I did it with my twins, one learnt within a few days that she needed to go back to sleep but the other didn't learn it until she was nearly 12 months and we still sometimes have issues with the sleep cycle awakenings.

    Most definitely you would be doing the right thing by them to teach them to go back to sleep.

    GL, sleep cycles are one of the hardest things to work on but once you've done it, they will have that skill for life :)
  3. daisies

    daisies Well-Known Member

    Do they sooth themselves to sleep when you lay them down?
    That is the first step to being able to go back to sleep when they wake up early from a nap.

    IF you are putting them down to nap 'sleepy but awake' and they go to sleep by themselves THEN you might need give them sometime to go back to sleep when they wake early from naps.
    I don't remember the age i did this. I had a time frame (30, 45 minutes) that I would leave them (not go in). If i did this depended on when they woke and weather they were crying or whether they were fussing. For a looong time, DS would wake in the middle of every nap, fuss for a while and then go back to sleep.
    Something to try.

    edited for typo
  4. Debbiemichelle

    Debbiemichelle Well-Known Member

    Sweetfrangipani, your suggestion to go in just before 28 minutes and sooth made so much sense to me and I was so excited to try it today because I knew Lucy would be ready to take a long nap. But, not today I guess because just as I was putting down Maren, I heard Lucy and sure enough, I had missed the 28 minute mark for Lucy because I was with Maren. (They sleep in the same room, but Maren's actually been getting more consistent at longer naps so I've been putting him down in a different room in a bouncer so that Lucy doesn't wake him up). I am not quite sure how I am going to be consistent because of situations like this.

    Amy, yes, they usually sooth themselves, although if I miss the "drowsy but awake" window (usually me putting them down too early), then I usually need to more actively sooth them. I am writing this post and listening to Lucy fuss right now...She is definitely fussing and not crying, so I am going to distract myself by typing this and give her some time to fuss.

    It really helped me to hear that it can take 15-20 minutes of patting/shh-ing. I was not giving it that much time. It also helps to hear that they may fuss for 30-45 minutes and then go back to sleep. I think I won't leave them too long yet but this gives me some perspective that maybe I am going in too quickly.

    Luckily, we have many naps a day to try all this :)

    Baby steps, day by day!
  5. twinkler

    twinkler Well-Known Member

    I had the same problem with trying to juggle soothing one while trying to put the other one down so I became quite creative LOL! I put Liara in a single stroller and I had Sierra in the portacot (PnP) and, while I was patting and shusshing Sierra, I was using my feet to push the stroller. And then once Sierra had gone back to sleep, I would push the stroller back into the other room. hehe it was funny.. not sure whether you could do something similar with the bouncer? (I do wonder sometimes though whether I should have done it the other way around ie Liara in the portacot because she has very bad sleep cycle awakenings but that's just hindsight - luckily for you Maren seems to already be picking up on how to put himself back to sleep).

    The 15-20min technique is because after falling asleep, it takes them that long until they move into the deeper phase. When I asked Dr Weissbluth (on his blog, which you can't write on now) about this issue (at 8 months I spent 3 weeks consistently doing this with inconsistent success with Liara - Sierra picked it virtually straight away around the same age as your bubs) and he said never spend more time soothing back to sleep than what they have already have slept. so half an hour soothing/fussing for half hour sleep etc..
  6. Debbiemichelle

    Debbiemichelle Well-Known Member

    Whew, I am so frustrated right now! Maren was all settled in to the bouncer, napping well, and shifted sleep cycles right around 28 minutes. Like usual, he opened his eyes, started to close them, and saw: the cat!! How exciting!! Why go back to sleep with a cat right there?! I left himzs to fall back asleep on his own devices, but that was just enough a nap that he stayed awake and after about ten minutes started flat out crying to come get him. Then I missed Lucy's 28 minute mark again. Now they are both nursing, cranky. Well, I'm a little cranky, I think they are going to be fine :)

    There at times like this where I can't help but think how hard this all is with two. Then there at times like this morning where they are smiling at each other, so happy, and I can't believe how lucky I am.

    We'll try again next nap or tomorrow.

    Thanks for the additional advice from Weissbluth. That makes a lot of sense.
  7. Debbiemichelle

    Debbiemichelle Well-Known Member

    Okay, I took your advice to get creative and it has worked a few times! I set up a pack 'n play in our bedroom for Maren (the bouncer was sort of working, but out in the living room so exposed to all the traffic and movement through there). He gets by pretty well with just shhh-ing, so I downloaded a "baby shusher" app and put my ipad near the pack 'n play and turn it on at about 20 minutes and it just runs. This worked really well for a few naps and also has failed a few times, but hopefully it will just keep getting more successful.

    Lucy needs all the bells and whistles to go back to sleep at 28 minutes. If I'm in before she startles, I can shh- and pat and if I can do this for a long enough stretch (10+ minutes), she has gone back to sleep a few times. Unfortunately, I often miss this window for one reason or another, so I'm hoping I can get more consistent with it.

    Thanks for all the help, everyone! I know feel like I have a game play to work on for this week.
  8. twinkler

    twinkler Well-Known Member

    Great to hear! Stick with it, I am sure soon something will just click for them. I know what you mean about missing the window. And it is hard with twins, running back and forth between the two, but just know that it will pay off in the long run if this works for you.
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