Question: Hello my baby is 3&1/2 months old and generally a good , happy baby who feeds well and sleeps well though the night - only waking once or twice with a dirty nappy or habit of waking. I have stopped the night feeds and teaching him night time is for sleeping.
How-ever since Hamish was born his day time sleep has been terrible! I know that sleep promotes sleep and I have tried extending his 45 min naps by patting, rocking and letting him cry it out to no avail.
He is so over tired at the end of the day he basically has a feed at 5 - 5.30 and crashes till 10 pm then he feeds and basically goes back to sleep till say 3.30 ish ( habit ) or he is cold so I rewrap and let him cry this only lasts up to 5 mins then sometimes he wakes 4.30-5am with a dirty nappy and then he is rewrapped and put to bed again 3-5 mins crying then he wakes again at 6.40am and we start our day.
I do feed play sleep so he is up for an hour to maybe 1.15mins then off to bed without any drama then he will wake 45mins-1hr later and not resettle to sleep till after his feed and then an hour after feeding so this usually means he is awake for 2.5-3hrs and then down for 1. This frustrates me as I know he needs more.
If he is happy I keep him up if he isn't happy I will put him back down in protest and usually get him back up as I won't let him cry for longer than 20 mins!
Does a baby eventually work out his routine ?
To be honest, yes he will probably work it out eventually. His sleep is still developing constantly and quite drastically right now, so it is not too surprising it hasn’t settled down yet. Luckily there’s a number of things you can do to guide him optimally in the right direction.
While reading your message, I summed up the number of hours sleep he gets. That gives 12-13 hours sleep during the night, and about 2-3 hours during the day if I’m correct? In total he is spot-on the average of how much sleep is enough. So you may rest assured, he gets the sleep he needs.
But it is just distributed unevenly as he takes most of it during his long night (5pm-6.30am). His relatively short daytime naps leave you with the understandable frustration of having him overtired by the end of his day. And with little time for yourself during the day!
You have tried rocking and patting to help extend his naps, which was definitely a good idea but since it doesn’t work, here’s a different idea. At his usual nap times, put him in a stroller and go for a long (…) walk. Or, put him in a well-suited baby sling during the nap.
The movement of the stroller or the moving and comfort of the sling, are very effective to get him to the next sleep cycle without waking. You will not have to do this forever. If you manage to do it for his one or two main naps, for a week or so, that may be all you need.
Once his naps get a bit longer, his night bedtime will become a bit later too and you will find a more even distribution of his sleep.
This is definitely worth the try. Keep in mind though, that 3.5 months is still very young. His routine and sleep schedule will still go through quite a few changes in the next weeks, simply because of his developing sleep patterns, but also motor and emotional development. Six months is when it settles down for many babies, when they really find 'their' routine. So you’re still on track ... ;)