Thursday, February 21, 2008

In Action: Troubleshooting Naps (Again)

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As I have said in a previous post, the whole parenting thing is a dynamic situation (see It's Dynamic: We constantly need to adjust our schedules to accommodate our growing babies.

The good news is that as they get older, the changes come less frequently. Brayden has been on a very similar schedule since he was 18 months old. The only difference in sleeping and eating now from then is that bedtime is now 30 minutes later. Does that sound nice? 1 year and 3 months of real consistency? It comes. But then again, at that age also come the discipline issues and such, so it is good the schedule doesn't need to move so you can focus on those things!

About two weeks ago, Kaitlyn's morning naps got shorter (Kaitlyn is 10 months old). Now, I don't want to complain. They went from 2.5 hours to 1.5 hours. Nothing to complain about, but she was waking an hour early for the next feeding. So I did some troubleshooting. I figured she was ready for a longer waketime in the morning.

For some reason, I bumped it up 30 minutes. That really isn't the smartest way to go--but I did it. It was not the answer. The nap went to one hour instead. So I backed it off so we were bumped to 20 minutes longer waketime. Still not the answer. I then did 10 minutes. Nope. So I tried 15. Yes! That did it. It is amazing what a difference those 5 minutes made.

This solution has been confirmed a few times for me. The other morning she and I were playing ball for the first time. She was getting a kick out of it! She was laughing and squealing! I lost track of time and put her down 10 minutes late. A short nap followed.

So again, don't underestimate the power of finding the right timing. If your baby doesn't have obvious sleep cues, it is going to take you some trial and error to find that magic minute.


Tina said...

HI - I am so glad I found this blog. My DD is 16 weeks and we just started BW about 8 days ago. We are trying to do the following schedule:
7:15 wake and feed
8:30 nap
10:15 wake and feed
11:45 nap
1:15 wake and feed
2:45 nap
4:15 wake and feed
5:45 nap
7:15 wake and feed
8:30 bedtime
10:15 wake, feed and back to bed

My problem is this - my baby sometimes only naps for 45 minutes to an hour, waking 30-45 minutes early. She is not always hungry when she wakes up. What should I do when she wakes up early? Do I feed her or leave her in her crib? How can I get her to nap better? She is a cat-napper! Also, she is still waking around 4AM to eat. How do I drop this feeding? Will she eventually do it on her own? Any suggestions? Or sample schedules I can try? When will I move to a 3.5 or 4 hour schedule?

Plowmanators said...

Welcome to the blog and welcome to Babywise!

Move to a four hour schedule after you drop that 10:15 feeding. There is a moving to 4 hour schedule post.

Remember you can do combo feedings (3-3.5 hour schedule for example).

See these posts on naps:

Easy Nap Fix:
45 Minute Intruder:
Naps: Troubleshooting:

And be sure to see the blog index. Look through it to see the posts available to you:

Krystal said...

That sounds just like my schedule used to be (except the 4AM feeding). W/ the 4Am feeding, when DD wakes I would wait a little bit and see if he/she (??) goes back to sleep. Sometimes they will. DD is probably able to go all night long w/o it by now. See if you can slowly wait until 4:30, then 5, etc. Or you could just do CIO for a couple of days and see how that goes. I think in BW it says it usually takes about 3 days for the CIO to work. When she wakes up from her nape after 45min. and she isn't hungry, I would just leave DD in her crib until her next feeding time. Maybe cut back on her awake time by 15 min. increments-she might be getting overstimulated while she is awake, which contributes to the waking early. After you get rid of the DF (I just dropped it one day to see how my daughter took that-and it was fine) then you can do a 3.5-4hr. combo. Also there is a lot of good stuff in the index like plowmanators said. Hope this helps! Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for the added thoughts, Krystal!

Tina said...

Thanks for the info. I am going to hold off on dropping the 4AM feed because she is eating a full feeding at 7:15AM, which makes me believe that she needs to eat both times. Also, with the 45 minute naps...I think the baby is going thru a growth spurt. So, I moved her back to a 2.5 hour schedule and voila! Naps are lasting over an hour. Thanks for all of your help! We should be out of this growth spurt soon and back to sleeping well again!

Plowmanators said...

I am glad to hear it, Tina!

Jenny said...

I am so thankful I found your blog at this exact moment. I have an 8.5 month old that is experiencing what I think is separation anxiety only during nap/night time when he is put down to sleep. I have used Babywise since day 1 and recently we have been working on a wonderful schedule. Awake for 2 hours/nap for 1.5, awake for 2 hours/nap for 1.5, awake for 2 hours/nap for 1 then bed time around 7pm. He would go down pretty easily with a little fussing and a lot of chatting to himself. He would usually be asleep in about 15 minutes.

Now when I go to put him down, we do our routine of going into his room, zipping into his blanket sleeper and reading, as soon as I finish though he begins to fuss. They I stand up and sing and rock him, which used to make him sleepy and relaxed, now it seems to energize him. Then I lay him down awake, and he's ok as long as he can see me, but the second I'm out of site he begins to SCREAM. And these aren't the protest screams I remember from 4-5 months, it sounds fearful to me. When I go to soothe him, he's all smiles if I'm over his crib.

I just don't know what to do. I have tried switching up the routine, leaving a shirt that smelled like me and letting him cry and none of these options have come close to helping.

I am aware that he will be dropping a nap soon, and I'm ok with that. But he seems soo tired when I start the routine to put him down, then he's soo awake and freaking out as soon as I leave.

I'm desperate for some advice and help from another Babywise mom.

Thank you!

Plowmanators said...


I don't really have any experience with Separation Anxiety. I would check out possible teething and everything. He might not be tired enough with the third nap in there still.

You could check out The Baby Whisperer. She has some methods for getting a baby to sleep without CIO and without props. It is time consuming, but it might be your answer right now.

atara said...

Yes, finding the right amount of waketime is a nightmare because when I finally find it - it changes!

Alison said...

Hi, I am so glad to have found this site. I have a 4 wk old son and have been trying to implement BW from the beginning. We have the feeding every 3 hours down to a tee. We are having problems with naptime/bedtime. I have read a lot of your posts and got some helpful information. Here is what is going on: my son displays cues including yawning and closing his eyes starting to drift off towards the end of wake time. At that time I swaddle him and put him in his crib--he will then scream for an hour. I then put him in his bouncer bc he hates the swing and he will fall asleep. Problem is next feeding, we cannot wake him for wake time, he goes right down in his crib no problem and sleeps for 2.5 hours. Next feeding starts the whole screaming for an hour thing when we put him down. We have tried leaving him in there as well until his next feeding and he just screams the whole time. He does the same at bedtime as well. We give him his bath and put him down, sing to him, and say good night. We just leave him until he falls asleep because it is not naptime. Throughout the night he is great. He gets up 3-4 hours to eat and goes right back to sleep. Any words of wisdom or advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm not sure what else to do. Thanks so much!

Plowmanators said...

I know Atara. For a long time, life seems to be a constant game of "Name that waketime" ;)

Plowmanators said...

Alison, I would try shortening his waketime. The cues you are reading for nap cues might be his "too late" cues. See this post for more on the idea of shorter waketime lengths:

Easy Nap Fix:

C-lee said...

Hallo, I don't know if this is the correct place for my question but here goes: My daughter Roxy-lee 5months Today (15 January 2009) is a 9&1/2 to 10 hour sleeper: my schedule: I was on rice cereal 2 times a day I started the 3rd meal today.
7am milk feed + cereal
11am milk feed +cereal
15:00 am milk feed + cereal
19:00 milk feed - bath - 20:00 - sleep

Now if you count 9&1/2 to 10 hours from 20:00 She wakes up at 5:30/ 6:00am.
I can leave her to talk to herself, but if I do that her whole day is a mess.
Sometimes I feed her @ 5:30/06:00am but not a full feeding, and put her right back to bed and get her up again at 08:00am. This works, her schedule on that day is:
5:30/06:00 3/4 feeding
08:00 feedings
12:00 feedings
16:00 feedings
20:00 feedings
21:00 bed
But then you'll see she wakes up again at 07:00am.
My question can I do it like this one day 07:00am then the next day 06:00am feeding to only start my day at 08:00am. Or do you have another suggestion?????
I hope this makes sence... Sory for the long question. Hope the surgery went well - Good luck :-)

Gina said...

Babywise Mom,
Help, my son is not napping very well.
My 6 month son is fighting naps.
He is on a 3 1/4 schedule right now. He got his lower teeth aroud 4.5 months. I thought his recent poor napping was due to more teething, but it has been over a month now and no sign of teeth.'He will take a short 45 min. nap in the early morning after his first feeding.
He will then have been awake for atleast an hour before his next feeding.
For hie 2nd nap He then will talk in his crib for 30 min,then which is followed by crying for atleast another 30min, I check his bum, burp him, but he just won't nap.
Then after lunch I will feed him, and try again to put him down for a nap. He will somtimes take a 45 1hour nap max.
i start getting him ready for yis bedtime around 6:30. After I nurse him and feed him solids he goes down to bed around 7:30.
He has a really hard time an hour before his bedtime. He is really tired by the time i nurse him.
Sorry for the long explanation. I don't know how to ask myquestion wthout explaining the situation.
So I have tried to figure out what is wrong, but I can't seem to pin point it.
Does he need to be taking less naps? How many naps should he be taking at 6 months, and what naps does he take since he is still not at a 4 hour schedule?

Plowmanators said...

C-lee, it is best to have your morning waketime consistent within 30 minutes. Since some days she makes it to 7 AM, I would have her morning waketime be 7:30 other days rather than waiting until 8 AM. Then your day can be more consistent.

Also, it looks like you are feeding her on a 4 hour schedule. I would recommend taking her back to 3 hours until she will sleep until 7 or whatever your morning waketime is consistently.

See this post for more:

Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime:

Plowmanators said...

Gina, at most, a 6 month old will take 3 naps a day. Most babies that age take three. Some do start to drop the third nap at that age.

He might need either shorter or longer waketimes. See:

Waketime: Length, Extending, and Calculating:

Optimal Waketime Lengths :

45 Minute Intruder:

Naps: Troubleshooting:

5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions :

Isaac T said...

I don't know what to do. I guess I just want to know if it's normal for my son to need at least an hour (today it was an hour and a half) to fall asleep for his afternoon nap.

I put him down at 2:00 pm, usually, and he is quiet for 15 minutes and then talks to himself for 10. Then quiet for 10 minutes and talks for 15. He'll eventually fall asleep but it's late enough that when I go and get him up at 5:00 pm, it's from a dead sleep.

Am I doing something wrong? Do I just need to let it go? He's not crying or upset. I just want him to sleep when I put him down so my afternoon and evening is predictable.

My son is 15 months old. He's been two-a-day napping and SSTN well for quite a while. However, I think I've been tweaking this afternoon nap thing for maybe six weeks. (We did have an extended family vacation in there that didn't help!)

I thought it was over-stimulation for awhile so I made sure we were home and playing quietly for at least a half hour before the nap. Then I shorted the morning nap from 2 to 1.5 hours, thinking that would make the afternoon nap better. Now I've been playing with the time of the start of the afternoon nap. Waiting until 2:00 is wrong. 1:45 and 1:30 both seem wrong.

What does this sound like to you? Any suggestions? Keep playing with the start time, right? I was afraid you were going to say that! =) Thank you in advance for your consideration. I really appreciate having you to pour this out to and know that you understand and sympathize and desire to help. Have a great day!

Kathee (wife of "Isaac T")

Plowmanators said...

Kathee, it sounds like you are doing all you can :) Just make sure you take notes of everything you try. Also be sure to leave a few days before trying something different. You might need to take the first nap down to 1 hour. Good luck!


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