To sleep or not to sleep – An update

Sleep is a hot topic for me. I spend so much time thinking about it, and trying to get my daughter to sleep that it’s starting to get a little overwhelming and time consuming. If you have read my last post on sleep, things started to go a little haywire last year when our little one hit the 4-month sleep regression. I endured hourly wakings and feeding to sleep until she reached 6 months, and then I had to do something to save my sanity as things were not improving.

The big change was to our bedtime routine, I realised that I needed to put our little one to bed awake so that she would learn to settle herself. This has been successful, it started by staying with her patting and shushing her to sleep, and progressed quickly through to her being able to fall asleep by herself. I can now leave the room and she will drift off, which means that I am no longer patting, shushing or feeding her to sleep.

The other changes I wanted to make were to reduce the number of night wakings, we have seen this drop from 6 to 8 wakings a night, to about 3 to 4 wakings night. For me this is still not ideal but it is better than what it was. At each night waking our little one still needs a feed to go back to sleep again, trying to avoid feeding results in a meltdown (by meltdown I mean crying like you have never heard before). Now that she is on three meals a day, is giving a feed at each night waking too much? I know that some people would say that they don’t need feeding at night now? It’s a tricky one as she may be hungry, need comforting, be teething, be having a growth spurt. Until I’m confident that I know she’s not hungry I don’t think I can stop the night feeds.

In changing the bedtime routine we’ve also had some improvement to daytime naps too. I’ve learnt that she needs a nap about 2 hours after waking in the morning, a lunchtime nap, and an afternoon nap at about 3pm. The morning nap is the easiest to get her to settle in her cot, however I struggle with the lunchtime and afternoon nap happening in her cot, most of the time I have to be out or go out for the nap to happen. This is probably caused by us having a different routine every day after lunch. Do you experience problems with daytime naps? How have you managed to get your little one into a daytime nap routine? I would love to hear.

I’ve been thinking about the next steps on our sleep journey which will be to night wean, I’m going back to work at the end of June and hoped to have this sorted by then.

Thanks for reading, any tips on day time naps and night weaning will be greatly appreciated.

Claire x

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36 Comments

  1. Tracey @ One Frazzled Mum March 12, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Well done on getting a good routine in place I always struggled with this! In the day my daughter always had to fall asleep in the pram and of a night it was always her dad who put her to bed up to age 3 as he worked nights as this was something he liked to do and never trusted me not to give in lol! #KCACOLS

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 10:29 am

      I think I need to start taking your advice and getting her Dad to put her to bed, well at least going to resettle her in the middle of the night when she wakes up – otherwise she just wants the boob! Thanks for reading and commenting. Claire x

  2. Rebecca @ AAUBlog March 13, 2016 / 3:11 am

    I never found day time naps a problem really. As for nights though…!! I think when you know they’re not hungry it’s important not to ignore them, but just give water and don’t get them out of the cot. They catch on eventually that you’re not going to give them a cuddle – worked with my two anyway! x #KCACOLS

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 7:28 am

      Glad that daytime naps worked for you, what was your trick? My mother in law also said to give water when they woke at night providing they weren’t hungry. I’ll give this a go in a few weeks once I’m convinced she’s getting enough food in the day. Thanks for reading and commenting. Claire x

  3. islandliving365 March 13, 2016 / 8:42 am

    I feel for you as sleep deprivation is so tough. It sounds like you are doing everything right by having a routine. If she is waking a lot could she be ready to drop her afternoon nap? #KCACOLS

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 10:27 am

      It’s so hard, but last night was better. I’m not sure that she’s ready to drop the afternoon nap, as she’s so overtired and really needs it. I was tempted to drop it, but by 5pm she really needed a sleep otherwise wouldn’t eat her dinner. These babies can be so difficult. Thanks for reading and commenting. Claire x

      • islandliving365 March 13, 2016 / 10:41 am

        Yes, sounds like she still needs it and there is nothing worse than overtired baby who won’t eat her dinner or go to sleep. You sound like you are doing a fab job so hang on in there and yay to last night being better. Fingers crossed for more of the same tonight x

        • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 8:03 pm

          Thank you, it’s been a long 4 ish months now of the sleep regression but it’s getting better. I keep thinking that it won’t last forever. Fingers crossed for a good night tonight xx

  4. Suburban Mum March 13, 2016 / 9:06 am

    The only advice I have is to be conistent – which it sounds like you are already doing with having three naps a day. I was quite old school with my boys and we followed the Gina Ford routine which worked brilliantly for us. In the early days they would have a morning nap around 9, nap after lunch for 2 hours and then an afternoon nap around 4. I was so regimented with my eldest that I would schedule our day around his naps and I always made sure we were home for him to have his lunchtime nap which is crazy! It meant he wouldn’t nap in is buggy and I had truly mad a rod for my own back! I was much more relaxed with my second and he pretty much would nap anywhere which made things so much easier!

    Thank you for linking to #KCACOLS and I hope you come back again next week x

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 10:26 am

      Oh wow you sound like you have it sorted, hope that the Gina Ford routine wasn’t too hard to install on the little ones. It’s great that you managed that! I have just spent 2 hours trying to get ours to have her morning nap she’s so overtired and teething at the same time, so not a good combination. We’re trying to be as consistent as we can, but with baby groups etc it can be quite hard which is why it’s so difficult to get her down in the afternoon. Thanks for hosting, I’ll be back next week for sure. Claire x

  5. tammymum March 13, 2016 / 11:02 am

    Mine have never napped in their cot in the day. They literally nap wherever. My boy is asleep on the sofa now… He is 8 month and in 3(ish meals a day and is no where near sleeping through, he feeds in the night but he has always been under weight so if he wants it he gets it, building him up and all that. My girl though was a horrendous sleeper until she started crawling and now she runs everywhere. She tires herself out in the day and actually asks to go to bed now (I fed her to sleep till she was about 15 months!) and sleeps through!! So there is hope. I thought food would improve sleep but for us it was being able to move. Hope you get it sorted as best you can for your return to work xxx#KCACOLS

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 8:05 pm

      Ah thank you, I guess that there is no such thing as a perfect baby sleeper, I get a little annoyed when friend’s babies are sleeping through the night – that has not happened since she had her 8 weeks jabs! Thanks for sharing how your little ones are sleeping, and making me feel like I’m not the only one. I’m so glad that once she could move her sleep improved for you. Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and commenting. Claire x

  6. Becster March 13, 2016 / 11:32 am

    My littlest is 8 months old and sleeps quite well through the night. Daytime naps are a struggle – she will not settle anywhere other than in our arms. But I don’t mind too much because nothing beats baby cuddles and she’s not going to be this small forever. #KCACOLS

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 8:42 pm

      Ah that’s lovely that you get the baby cuddles, and like you say they are not going to be small forever. Really happy for you that your littlest sleeps through the night. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Claire x

  7. Squirmy Popple March 13, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    Glad to hear things are getting better! My wee one is on three meals a day and still wakes 3-4 times a night too – she still needs help to fall back asleep. I only feed her 1-2 times a night though – she’s only at the 2nd-9th centile, so I feel like she probably needs the extra feeds, even at 9 months, but it’s different for every baby. Naps are kind of an issue for us at the moment – she’s progressing from 3 down to 2 naps, but some days she still needs the third and really fights it. That means she’s exhausted by bedtime – which means worse sleep! #KCACOLS

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      Ah I hope that you’re not too much of a zombie, and have got used to waking frequently. I know that I have. As you say every baby is different, ours is between the 75th and 91st, so I don’t believe that she needs to be fed every 1-2 hours but it’s so tricky as she doesn’t settle without it, she might be hungry. Last night she only woke twice, I guess it just depends on the day she has had. I hope that the nap issue resolves itself for you, sometimes you just need to let baby take the lead. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Claire x

  8. Educating Roversi March 13, 2016 / 1:47 pm

    Sounds like you’re doing a great job! The bedtime routine is a key one so its fab you’ve cracked it. We had the same trouble with day napping. We did one about 9:30/10 then another after lunch but getting him to do it in his cot just took time and patience….mainly sitting by his cot till he dropped off. Oh and blackout blinds! We now have one nap at 1:30. I dread the day it stops! #KCACOLS

    • The Pramshed March 13, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      Thank you, it has been quite tough! Yes black out blinds are a winner. It sounds like you did a great job getting him to sleep in his cot, I’m waiting for the day that I successfully get all 3 naps to take place in the cot. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my post. Claire x

  9. Nadine March 14, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    Ahh sleep patterns are tough, the 3am wake for milk is the killer too – my daughter was on three meals a day too and still waking it gave me a complex I wasn’t feeding her enough during the day! Eventually I switched it to water – if she was thirsty she would drink eventually as she didn’t like the water she stopped waking as much #result lol

    • The Pramshed March 14, 2016 / 9:02 pm

      I think I am going to switch to water soon to see how that goes once we have a full 3 meals a day routine established. It’s so difficult to tell if she’s hungry sometimes she can wake 6 times, or 3 times, but each time she needs feeding back to sleep. Thanks for reading and commenting. Claire x

  10. Katy (@hotpinkwellies) March 14, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    Ah, the shush pat – I am so so thankful I discovered that technique, complete lifesaver!

    We always struggled with daytime naps – my little boy was a complete daytime nap resister until 4 months when I decided enough was enough. We got blackout blinds and I made sure every nap was in his cot – I’d shush pat him for about 40 minutes at first until he dropped off, then it gradually got less. It was a faff making sure we were at home around nap time but after two weeks it seemed to sink in and we got a bit more flexibility back. Our timings ended up being around the same as yours. But I’ve created a baby who point blank refuses to nap in the pushchair, so perhaps not the best policy (although having said that, otherwise he’d still not be napping at all, so…!) #bigpinklink

    • The Pramshed March 14, 2016 / 9:01 pm

      Well done on successfully negotiating a daytime nap routine, it sounds like you did the right thing to avoid having an overtired baby – which is the worst. Black out blinds are a lifesaver, along with soft baby music playing. Thank you for reading and commenting. Claire x

  11. Nursery Whines March 14, 2016 / 3:13 pm

    Some great tips here for establishing a good routine. I know I am delaying the inevitable by keeping up the old feed to sleep tactic. Good luck with night weaning and see you on the other side. #bigpinklink

    • The Pramshed March 14, 2016 / 8:58 pm

      Ah how old is your little one? We stopped feeding to sleep a couple of months ok, as I was scared a was creating a rod for my own back. But the real reason I stopped was so that she learnt to settle by herself in an attempt to reduce the night waking. I still need to feed her back to sleep again. I’ll let you know how I get on with the night weaning. Thanks for reading and commenting. Claire x

  12. crummymummy1 March 14, 2016 / 5:44 pm

    I really need help with night-time weaning. Little B is 16 months and still waking up 3 to 4 times a night for a feed. As you say, refusing it results in major meltdown! #marvmondays

    • The Pramshed March 14, 2016 / 8:56 pm

      I’ll let you know how I get on, have you tried to stop the night weaning? Claire x

  13. Pink Pear Bear (@pinkpearbear) March 15, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    Have you tried dream feeding? I found that I could feed my daughter without her waking when I went to bed and then the wouldn’t wake hungry and upsetting herself. I also started offering water and she woke less and less, I often wake up thirsty and I think she was thirsty and then after a while realised that water was a pretty crappy reason to wake up! It’s just time I think, although the night wakings were serious hell. I remember them so well! You try everything don’t you?? Good luck and thank you for linking up with the #bigpinklink

    • The Pramshed March 15, 2016 / 9:36 pm

      I’ve not tried it, I think I’m too scared in case she wakes properly, but I might give it a go. I’ve tried another tactic tonight by giving her some porridge before bed to fill her up more, it might work? Yes I will try the water trick soon, I just want to be confident that she’s getting enough food in the day first, as she’s not really taking on any milk anymore in the day now. Night wakings are awful, I feel like I’ve got a constant fog around my head. Thanks so much for commenting and offering advice, and also for hosting week 5. See you next week for #bigpinklink. Claire xx

  14. Silly Mummy March 16, 2016 / 1:12 am

    Sounds very similar to my youngest! She kept night feeds for ages, though she didn’t need them nutritionally. It was the easiest way to get her to go to sleep, but we did cut them in the end. Daddy had to do all the night wakings though in order to get her off them, as she would not settle down until got milk if I was near her! #bigpinklink

    • The Pramshed March 16, 2016 / 11:20 am

      Yes I think that we will need to do the same, but I’m not sure how keen daddy will be to do the night wakings. Thanks for reading and commenting. Claire x

  15. absolutely prabulous March 17, 2016 / 9:49 pm

    Oh gosh I want to leave a comment so you know I did visit but as mine are now 11, 9 and 6, my naptime/sleep anxiety days are long behind me. What I can tell you is that just as I figured out a pattern to what time they needed to sleep (well actually the second and third were difficult) it all changed! I don’t want to stick my oar in but then you have asked for tips. If your little one is finding it hard to settle at lunchtime (which from memory is meant to be the most improtant nap) perhaps you could consider shortening the morning nap? I CAN’T believe I’m about to blaspheme on your blog and taint it with the mention of ‘that’ woman but I remember Gina (forgive me I’ve sinned) saying the morning nap should be super short, I think it was 30 mins? Personally I can’t stand waking a sleeping baby but when I started to do it, my eldest slept at lunchtime like a dream. You’ll also need to do the same with the afternoon one so that you have a hope of a half decent bedtime sleep. I hope that helps!! #bigpinklink #marvmondays #bloggerclubuk

    • The Pramshed March 17, 2016 / 9:55 pm

      Wow that was a long comment, thank you! We are finding it hard to settle for lunchtime and the afternoon nap, the morning nap is already super short at 30 minutes sometimes only 15 minutes (not enough time to do make-up, make tea and write blog post :() Very rarely I managed to get a 2 – 3 hour lunchtime nap out of her, but this only happens a) if we’re out and b) if she’s got a hood over her eyes (yes i know weird). I do think it’s all about routine, she has no problem settling for her morning nap but really struggles with the afternoon as we have a different day every day. Tonight I’ve turned the soft music off the baby monitor so we’ll see if it has any effect. Thanks so much for your help and reading my post 🙂 Claire x

  16. My Petit Canard March 20, 2016 / 12:42 am

    Thats amazing, it actually sounds like you’e made some really good progress! I know you still arent quite where you want to be, but I think you have actually done really well. I remember obsessing, similarly over our little ones sleep habits when she was around the same age because of the same reasons. So much so that we ended up having a few sessions of osteopathy, which to be honest I dont think made any difference. But desperation will drive you to do some crazy things I found. We didnt end up getting into a proper routine and just gradually, gently let a pattern evolve over time. Probably not what you want to hear, but after trying lots of different things in the end we just relented and went with the flow 🙂 Emily Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays

    • The Pramshed March 20, 2016 / 11:40 am

      Thank you, I think you can only start doing sleep training when you know that the time is right. I actually feel that over the past few days it’s really paying off with only 1 or 2 wake ups, really hope I haven’t jinxed it by saying that! As you say you do go slightly crazy with googling and reading loads of books, just to get some rest. Thanks for hosting. Claire x

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