From the day you bring your baby home we see them sleeping, napping and not always at the times that is conducive to our sleep and daily schedule! Very soon your baby will spend more time awake, your days are constantly changing and just when you figured out some sort of routine, boom, something changes and you need to figure it all out again!
So how do you know when it is time to drop a nap? Here I explain the signs to look for that your baby will show when that times comes. Remember this is just a guide and every child differs from the next. Some babies hang on to their naps until the bitter end and some are quite happy to drop a nap as soon as they can!
Here are 5 top signs to look for…
4 - 5 months drop from 4 naps to 3 naps
7 - 9 months drop 3 naps to 2 naps
15 - 18 months drop 2 naps to 1 nap
2. When transition from 3 to 2 naps it is the last nap of the day that goes at this point. You will know this is needing to happen because your baby may be fighting this nap. Putting up a little protest or even waking early from it. This nap may also be interfering with bedtime. If you see these signs…it’s time to drop it!
3. Your baby may not be falling asleep quite so easily at any nap as they did before. Perhaps they are looking for some assistance, protesting verbally a little or just lying in their sleep space taking their time to fall asleep, more time than previously.
4. Suddenly you have a night wake up and for a long period of time or an early morning wake up when you did not before…this is a sign of possibly too much day time sleep.
5. Your baby may wake early from a nap when they did not before and you see a pattern of this behavior over a number of days.
How do you transition these naps…
Depending on how sensitive your baby is with sleep, dropping naps may need to be done gently and slowly. If you suddenly drop a nap this may have fall backs on night sleep and early waking’s and you may also have a very cranky grumpy child on your hands and that’s no fun!
Here are my top 5 tips how to drop naps…
1. GO SLOW. Reduce the nap length by 10 minutes every 3 days until you get to the desired nap length or it has gone.
2. When you feel the morning nap is ready to go you can also choose to extend the awake window by 10/15 minutes every 3 days with the help of distraction and natural daylight. Natural day light stops the sleep hormone melatonin being released but of course don’t push too much or you will have an overtired child on your hands. Then eventually the timing of this nap becomes the lunch time nap
3. Bring bedtime forward to compensate that last nap of the day being dropped and to bridge the gap from end of lunch nap to bedtime. Again, you don’t want an overtired child on your hands or then bedtime may turn into a meltdown with tears and tantrums and an early 5am wake up may occur!
4. Be conscious of your child’s sleep needs and follow their sleep cues
5. Be consistent. Every day the same. Consistency is KEY.
When a nap has been dropped, especially the last nap of the day and then the lunch time nap goes it may still be worth having some quite time, just for a week or so, so your child’s body has time to adjust to less sleep in the day. Perhaps read some stories, do a puzzle or some drawing.
For more help and guidance on Nap Transitions get in touch with me, I’m here to help your family become more rested!
It’s part of parenthood right, to be up in the night, changing nappies, feeding, pacing the floorboards, rocking back to sleep, “enjoying” those moments while the rest of the world out there sleeps!
I remember when my daughter, Chloe was born my friend had her son at the same time, we would always send each other a few texts in the night during these waking hours to see if we were up at the same time and what feed they were on..1 or 10! The following morning I would tell my husband a few stories and he would always ask me where I got all this information from as it was only 6am in the morning and it was basically night time…he had no idea that while he sleeps there is a whole other world out there awake…and surviving…mostly feeding parents and breastfeeding mum's who are awake…chatting away to help each other through the night…..!
So here in this blog I wanted to explain how you can maybe determine what is “normal” when it comes to night waking. Help you find some reasons and solutions as to why your Little One is waking.
Let me start off by saying, just like us adults all and every child wakes in the night. It is normal for a child to wake between 3 and 6 times a night. Even if it is just to turn over and re settle themselves, kick and flail about or to ask for a feed. But when and how do we know when to respond to these waking’s….and what is “normal”?
The New born stage. The biggest change in your life has just happened and for many of us we are under prepared for what exactly has just happened and about to happen…we arrive home from the hospital, sit down (if at all we can still sit without being in so much pain we feel our lower body has just been ripped to shreds!) and we say..Ok...now what..? A lot of us actually have no idea how to navigate our way through each day or really what to expect, every day is so different.
At this young new born stage your baby will feed, poop, sleep and repeat. A lot. It’s a turntable of the same most days, like a carousel that just won’t stop! It’s wonderful but it is exhausting and that is “normal”.
Your baby will be feeding every 2-3 hours or so. Don’t forget breastmilk is digested much faster than formula milk so you may find your baby feeds more often in the night than your friends who is formula feeding. This is normal and whichever way your feed your baby they are being nourished and loved and you are meeting their needs. Fed is BEST!
At this young age it is also way too early to start any sort of sleep shaping with any methods as such however what you can do is introduce positive sleep associations that will stand you in good stead for the future.
Change and feed during the night in a dark room, use a red light instead of the usual bedside lamp you have as the red light wont interfere with the levels of melatonin in your baby’s body. Stay in the same room as to avoid temperature changes which can wake a baby up. Minimal stimulation. It’s not party time it is feed and sleep time! Keep your nights calm and consistent. Make sure your baby is winded before you lay back down in their sleep space.
If you are experiencing multiple waking’s say every 1-2 hours through the night there may be something else that is hindering longer periods of peaceful slumber between feeds such as tummy pains from over feeding or overtiredness. It is worth exploring these other possibilities and if you feel you would like some help in solving this I am very happy to have a chat with you and put you at ease.
This age is a very impressionable age. Your little one will be changing a lot during this time, cat naps may start to occur, solids will be introduced and play time becomes more fun! And sleep changes.
Your baby’s sleep cycles at this age change and during the night become longer, 2 hours long so you may experience waking’s every 2 hours. It is very unlikely your baby needs fed every 2 hours at this age so it is worth exploring why this is happening.
You may find the issue is a self-settling problem, or perhaps your Little One is over tired from minimal sleep the previous day. It is impossible for me to say exactly what the problem is without having more in depth knowledge about your child’s world of sleep.
Around 4 months, the sleep “progression” will occur, you’re Little Ones’s brain is progressing and developing and their sleep cycles become like an adults.
When this “progression” has passed it will be the perfect time to start any sort of sleep shaping, be it form a schedule in the day or try to teach your Little One to sleep independently. You can really start to work on those naps and sleep associations.
You may even be getting 1-2 feeds a night with around 11-12 hours sleep!
Imagine that! Continue with the positive sleep associations you have been using and for every sleep. You may start to see a pattern in your days and find a routine that suits your family. This age is the perfect age to start with a gentle routine and this will help consolidate your baby’s night time sleep.
Your baby will be really establishing solids now, go slow and steady. It is advisable to introduce a new food every 2-3 days and at lunch time then if there is any reactions you will have the day to notice and know exactly what food it was. I would also recommend to introduce meat proteins at lunch time only until the age or about 10 months, Meat proteins are hard to digest and can cause waking’s in the night.
Night waking’s should be minimal at this age and if you are experiencing many wake ups and your little one is finding it hard to re settle or they are awake long periods in the night something is not on the right track here. Perhaps day time naps are off track, too much day time sleep can also hinder night sleep. Perhaps your baby has a sleep association and needs you there to help them back to sleep… all the time…
Do a bit of trouble shooting, look at their awake windows during the day, are they getting enough sleep and at the right time of the day? How did they fall asleep? Are they feeding more in the night than in the day, this is called “reverse cycling”. You will need to adjust naps and feeds during the day to adjust the nights. It’s about teaching your Little One the difference between night and day.
Many babies still require a feed up to the age of 12 months. It is not uncommon and it is also not uncommon for many babies to sleep through the night in this age bracket. Babies are very capable of mastering this awesome skill. If you Little One is still waking many times, again trouble shoot, think about the previous day…
There is a lot it could be. A lot happens at this age and stage of development. They are crawling, learning to pull up and maybe even start walking. Their diet is becoming more established.
If you would like some help in working out the cause of your Little Ones waking’s do get in touch. Sometimes it just takes someone out the box to work out the issue and help you solve the puzzle!
Your FREE 15 minute discovery call to assess your sleep problems is waiting for you and we can see where to go from there and find a sleep solution for you!