Daytime Nap Issues - 6 Week Old

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Daytime Nap Issues - 6 Week Old

Postby Mushiyaki » Thu 25 Jul, 2013 6:57 am

Hi there,

We have a six week old bub who for the past few weeks has been resisting day time naps :( I am looking out for his tired signs and as soon as he starts yawning, I try settling him. When I settle him I usually wrap him or put him into his sleeping bag swaddle. I then either walk around rocking him, cuddle him in close and stroke his head gently or rock him in the rocking chair. It can take anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes to settle him and then he only sleeps for 45 minutes maximum, often less and it is nearly impossible to shift him into his crib without waking him. I have had a little more success popping him into a baby carrier and walking him around, but still not great. And because bub is not sleeping well during the day, I don't get a rest during the day, so I end up more tired and probably less able to settle bub - a vicious cycle :(

I have seen/heard advice (including on the Ngala website) about not keeping newborns up for more than an hour, however if he resists his nap, sometimes he would be up for two or more hours which worries me :( Particularly when I know he is tired, but just won't go down. Also, depending on the length of a feed and then a nappy change etc sometimes the hour just disappears before I've even thought about settling him... On that, if feeding and nappy change takes up most of the hour, where does stimulation/playtime get a look in? Or is this not as important at this age?

A few questions:

1) How long should I keep trying to settle him before giving up and letting him be awake, then trying again later?
2) How long asleep is considered a 'nap'?
3) If he is asleep for less than that time, do I try and resettle him and again, how long do I try and resettle for before enough is enough?
4) Is it ok for him to be getting the majority of his (limited) nap time in my arms or in the baby carrier?
5) Should I be offering him a feed every time he wakes, noting sometimes he only sleeps for 20 minutes?

I do have a consultation at Ngala in 2 1/2 weeks but would greatly appreciate some advice in the meantime to get me through the next couple of weeks!!

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Re: Daytime Nap Issues - 6 Week Old

Postby NgalaOnline » Thu 25 Jul, 2013 2:47 pm

Hi Mushiyaki
Thanks for your post. It really sounds like you are managing your little baby very well. Hopefully some of this information will reassure you for it appears that you may be experiencing some quite usual and expected sleeping patterns from your newborn.
In terms of how long you should try to persist with settling, this will really depend on how you feel, for as you mention in your post if you’ve been trying to settle for some time and feel it is getting too hard, it will probably feel the same for your baby. Many parents find that newborns are much more likely to resettle during the first part of the day, when they are not so tired. This may be a time when trying to resettle your baby proves to be more successful than later on in the day when both you and baby are likely to feel increasingly tired. As the day progress, resettling may be harder, so it is often better to help him to sleep(for example using the baby carrier if this tends to work a little better)to ensure that he has at least a short sleep and then retry later when you feel that he (and you) may be ready. As you mention, an hour of awake time would be a rough estimate for how long your baby may like to be awake for, but if he is having short cat naps this time may be reduced and you may see “early” tired signs more quickly. In that sense you may not need to feed your baby after a 20 minute sleep, rather you could offer him a little awake time (though not too stimulating) and then retry without feeling that you should offer a feed.
It may be helpful to know that most babies do not fall into established patterns at this age. Newborns are typically unpredictable and may be unsettled and refuse sleep even when they seem very tired. It is normal for babies under about 3 to 4 months of age to only have short catnaps of around one sleep cycle (20 - 40 minutes) and to not know how to tie sleep cycles together and have a longer nap. Many parents worry that their baby is not getting enough sleep but this type of wakefulness is a normal part of early infancy that is linked to their immature brain development, and there is no evidence that it is harmful for babies. Usually as babies get a little older (often around 3 months of age onwards) they will find it increasingly easier to soothe themselves and extend their sleeps.
The techniques that you describe that you have been trying are great and it is certainly worth persisting with them over the coming weeks to months, but you may find that you don’t always have success. However you can see these attempts as practice for your baby and the more supported he is by you the more likely he will gradually learn to self settle and soothe and hopefully learn to tie some sleep cycles together.
In terms of “playtime and stimulation” your little baby will be learning a huge amount through being fed, touched and cared for. Gentle holding and care will provide your baby with all that he needs at this early age. Too much stimulation is likely to lead to overtiredness and your baby may then have difficulty in soothing himself. It can be a real challenge to feed and change your baby within an hour, but as time goes on your baby will probably feed for shorter times giving you a little more space for talking and “playing”. As your baby begins to lengthen his sleeps he may also be able to stay focused for slightly longer times enabling you to fit in some small bursts of play.

You may also find the Ngala Tip Sheets "Secrets of Good Sleepers," "How Does My Newborn Sleep," and "Sleep and Settling 0-5 year olds" helpful. ... nce-Guides

We hope that this information will offer your some support over the coming weeks, prior to your consultation.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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