July 30, 2008

Parents - I need your help!

L is almost 3 months old. She sleeps through the night - once a week or so she may wake up to nurse and then back to bed once during the night. We begin her bedtime routine at 7 (bathe, put on PJs, nurse) and she is usually out around 8:30. She will wake up any time after 6am, though usually I'll just nurse her in bed and she sleeps until 9.

I know I am very, very fortunate when it comes to her night sleep.

However, what I need help with is soothing her to sleep and naps. She really, really, really hates going to sleep and she fights it. We try swaddling, dark rooms, quiet, music, white noise, rocking, walking, the swing, etc. The best ways to get her to sleep are at my breast (which can take an hour of her crying because she's so tired and nursing) or being swung in the car seat (during which she'll cry at first until it lulls her to sleep. Also, during the day she only naps for 20-40 minutes and in the late afternoon it can be very tricky to get her to go down.

1 - How do you soothe your baby for sleep?
2 - Shouldn't L be old enough to go to sleep herself? If we soothe her and then lay her down she starts to cry and the whole process starts all over again.
3 - If she's sleeping through the night so well, how much sleep should she get during the day? I try to have her nap every 2 hours, but that doesn't really work. She can get pretty cranky during the day.

Please leave comments with suggestions. It can be so stressful.


  1. First of all, yes you are VERY lucky to have such a great sleeper at night! :) But my next thought is that she's getting too much sleep at night, sounds like when she wakes up in the morning she should be up for awhile before her first nap of the day. 3 month olds need about 15 hours total, about 10 at night and then 2-3 naps a day. She shouldn't need to nap every 2-3 hours anymore.

    As for the self soothing, yeah some babies can do it this early but some just can't! She's still SO young, so if nursing or a swing is what gets her to nap then go for it! Can you borrow a swing from someone? That might be your saving grace during the day. Jonah napped in his vibrating bouncer for quite awhile. He wasn't putting himself to sleep until almost a year, yeah I probably should have started working with him sooner but we enjoyed rocking him to sleep and we didn't have anything else to do since he was our only child.

    So to sum up my novel ;) keep reminding yourself how young she is and that you all will work out the self soothing eventually, you'll really just know when she's ready. Since nursing and swinging are her two favorite things, use them to your advantage.

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  3. I totally understand the frustration:)
    I agree with Tonya that its too early for her to self soothe. It really depends on the child's temperment, but I really don't think they are ready to put themselves to sleep till after 6 months. Nurse them to sleep as long as you can! what a wonderful too that some mothers don't utilize:)

    My 3rd baby (and only girl) had a similar sleep pattern at night time. Just because she sleeps well at night doesn't mean that she can be awake all day. At that age, they can easily get overstimulated and cranky. Mine still slept like 18 hrs a day until they were around 6 months.

    If you have a hard time getting her to sleep, try a moby wrap...mine would just pass out and then i could do stuff with my boys. If you want her to take a really long nap, consider laying down with her in your bed and nursing her to sleep. My kids always slept the best that way, and I could usually watch tv quietly, sneak away, or even just take a nap with them.
    My kids never liked swings or their carseats, so you are lucky!
    Don't let anyone make you think that your baby should be able to self sooth by now too. Under 3 months is still a newborn!

  4. Aiden did this too - and I finally just gave up and let her fall asleep when she was tired enough and it eventually formed in to a schedule. I guess my parenting style is really laid back - i kind of let whatever happens, happen - but i learned early on that it's less stress for me to just let her stay up than to try to get her to go to sleep. and if mama's stressed, baby's stressed - and that's not good!

  5. Battey's say try to eliminate some of the daytime napping! We found With our kids that an excellent morning nap and afternoon nap seemed to set up an easy transition to bed. When Charlie gets too many cat naps during the day he fights going to sleep more often.

  6. The Battey's also put Charlie in his bed when we can tell he's really tired. Then we put the pacifier in his mouth (since he loves it) and then rub or pat his back while "shushing" or singing to him. He fights going to sleep,sometimes even staying asleep. Charlie has never been a wonderful sleeper like Maria is. Every child is different and you just have to do what you know is best for your own baby. It can be stressful though. Keep trying and she'll get it! :) -Susie

  7. Oooh, oooh...I also thought of another one. Avery was toast after I started stroking her forehead down through the bridge of her nose. A pacifier also worked. I'd say the bouncer worked, but it was too bright and busy. Avery also got in the habit of falling asleep on us, and that habit at 16 months is still trying at times.

  8. Landon never really had a problem, either...we were so lucky. But, when he did go through a bad phase I got the book "The Sleep Easy SOlution." It is the best thing we ever bought!!! The main thing that helped us was to make sure Landon was warm. We stopped using a blanket and doubled up on his sleepers. And, then to use the same routine for naps that we used when we put him down at night (minus the bath). We would go to his room to play for a bit, put on his jammies, read a book and put him down. So, he associated all of that with sleep. But, really anytime he was nursing it would only take him 5-10 minutes and he was out. It was unlatching him and putting him down that gave us problems! Good luck. It sounds like you guys are doing great and I can't wait to meet her!! Maybe we will be settled somewhere sometime and can make it up there.

  9. Sleep! It can be so frustrating...especially since each child is different and it's hard to know what they need. I nannied for twins and one would self-soothe for naps from 8 WEEKS old but was a disaster for night sleeping. The other could not be bothered for more than 20-minute naps but slept for 10 hours a night (and had to be awakened to breast feed!). Go figure.

    We adapted the nurse, then play, then sleep pattern from the Sleep Wise book... but we couldn't do the whole cry-it-out self-soothe thing for day time naps. Riana's pattern was more of nurse-play-nurse-play-sleep for 20 minutes...

    When Riana was 10-12 weeks, we tried (for about a week) the whole cry-it-out self-soothe method that worked with the one twin I mentioned above. Not only was it too hard on me, but she could wail for over an hour...at which point she was indeed hungry again. That being said, if Lydia IS crying and you're frustrated that she's not sleeping it can be good for you to leave her in her bed, exit the room, take a few minutes... de-stress!

    Have you tried taking walks with a stroller or sling? I know it's hot (I have August babies!) but that always put Riana right to sleep, plus I got some extra exercise.

    Also, I would say that if she doesn't seem to really *need* the nap, don't fight it too much. Our Dr. said not to worry about naps until 8-12 months-ish if at all.

    You can also check out these links- AskMoxie always makes me feel like a better Mom. :) These 2 talk about sleep:
    1) http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2006/01/qa_11weekold_an.html


  10. Sounds like you're getting lots of good advice. :-) Add all these ideas to your bag of tricks and you'll have more ideas to pull from when naptime arrives.

    We used a pacifier after the brand-new newborn stage to help with naps. This one backfired on us later, though, as our daugther recognized by 4-5 months or so that the pacifier was a sleep cue. As soon as the saw the pacifier coming, she'd start wailing and fighting the naptime. We quickly abandoned this once it started happening.

    Two things consistently worked for us. I wasn't able to nurse (too many details to go into why right here), so we used the bottle to nurse her down to sleep, both with naps and with nighttime sleep. She needed the nourishment as well as the comfort it provided. I agree the gal who said to nurse her to sleep as long as you can. It's exhausting at times, but an invaluable experience and one you'll treasure for the rest of your life.

    The other thing we did that consistently worked for naptime sleeping is wearing our daughter in a sling before she got to the tired/cranky stage. I just put her in the sling and went about my daily business...folding laundry, putting things away, washing dishes, etc. I just talked softly about what I was doing as I was doing it or else sang to her. She was so content and calm in the sling that you wouldn't know if she was awake or asleep without looking at her. This also helped her to think of the sling as a sleep cue later on. I still use it at church and other public places to get her to sleep when she needs to nap and she's 15 months old now.

    Best wishes, Bonnie! You're doing a great job!! Someday I have to come to Peoria with Sarah to meet you face to face. I made a list of people I want to become friends with next year and you're on the list! ;-) - Audrey in AZ

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