Sleeping FAQ: 3-4 Months – Lunchtime Nap

I have been trying to resettle my 13 week daughter after 45minutes at lunchtime, but with no success

Everything with the routine is going fantastically apart from the lunchtime nap for my 13 week old baby. I follow the routines to the minute almost, every day and have tried all the strategies including a top up feed before noon, ensuring she is tucked in well, clean nappy etc, but every day she wakes between 35 – 45 minutes after noon. I have been using the crying down method and this works really well at the start of her sleeps – within usually a minute she is quiet now. But at lunchtime when she wakes after her first cycle she cries and cannot re-settle herself – a few times after 45 minutes of crying she has settled back for another 1/2 hour, but most days she will cry for an hour or more (sometimes intermittently but often almost non stop) and I am really concerned that none of this is working – I have been sticking to this for over 4 weeks now and there doesn’t seem to be any improvement. I do go into her every 15- 20 minutes to try to soothe her. Please can you provide any help? I hate to leave her crying when I can’t see that it is making any difference. Equally, I don’t know what to do if I do get her up instead, because I want to stick to the feeding times and not feed her earlier than 2:30pm. I am worried about upsetting the rest of the routine (including night time which is working perfectly at the moment and has done so for a long time). The reason I get her up at 7:30am instead of 7am is because I can’t keep her going beyond 1.5 hours at that time in the morning. Everything else I have read says not to leave a baby to cry under 6 months old.

My daughter is fully breast fed. At 7.30am,30 minutes, both sides, 10.30am 25mins, empties one side and most of the second, 11.55am 5 minute top up feed, 2.30pm 30minutes, both sides, 5.30pm 25minutes, one side and most of second, 6.55pm 5 minutes top up feed, 10.30pm 15-20mins, empties one side and takes as much as she needs from second before getting sleepy.

My daughter weighs 14lbs.4.5ozs.

She naps at 9-9.30am, 12-12.45pm and 3.30-4.30pm.

Getting the lunchtime nap into place can take time and persistence. As the way you are trying is not working it would be a good idea to change her feed times a little so you are sure she is not waking through hunger.

If your daughter is able to wait until 10.45/11am for her feed then let her do so. Offer her one side only at this time and then encourage her to have a spell of kicking. If you are able to get your daughter to wait until 11.30/11.45am before feeding from the second side she may be more able to settle herself back to sleep when she stirs after being asleep for 45 minutes.

If you find that your daughter is not happy having a split feed in this way feed her a full feed at 10.30am and offer her a top up feed of expressed milk, so you know she has taken enough for her needs. If you prefer not to introduce her to a bottle at all then offer her a longer top up feed at 11.50am.

As your daughter is sleeping until 7.30am she may need some slight adjustments made to her morning nap. At present you say she is ready to go down by 9am. Do you wake her after 30 minutes or does she wake herself? Letting her have 45 minutes at this time could help her at lunchtime. She may well be going down at 12 midday exhausted. If she gets up at 7.30am and she does wake after ½ hour of her morning nap, try moving this nap on a little. Do this by putting her down 5 minutes later every few days until she is settling at 9.15/9.20am and so waking around 9.45am.

Take a look at the Lunchtime Nap article on the website which gives several more ideas, such as taking your baby out at this time of day and getting her to settle for a longer sleep whilst in her pram. If you decide to try one of these ideas you must carry on doing exactly the same thing for a week to ten days in order to break the pattern of stirring after 45 minutes of sleep. Still offer her a longer top up feed or split feed at 10.45/11.45am, when trying one of these ideas.

Once you feel that your daughter is better at sleeping for a longer time you can move her back to her cot for this lunchtime nap. It may take two or three days of letting her “cry down” should she stir but this should take no longer than 20 minutes. For a full description of “crying down” see The Complete Sleep Guide, page 39.

Leaving your baby to cry for long periods of time, even whilst checking her, is not to be recommended. If you feel you have persevered will all the methods suggested, or the ones appropriate to your situation, and still your daughter finds it impossible to settle back to sleep, then get her up. Set yourself a time limit of about 15-20 minutes to see if she is going to drop back to sleep when she first stirs. If her crying does not stop, or show any signs of decreasing, within that time then get her up.

You may need to feed her slightly early, at around 2.15pm, if she is getting tired with having a short lunchtime nap. Then let her have a short nap of about 30 minutes as soon as she has fed. Your daughter will probably still need another short nap before 5pm so she is able to enjoy her bath and bedtime routine without becoming over tired.

Getting the lunchtime nap in place does take time and persistence. Check through every reason why she may be stirring. Make sure that her room is totally blacked out and then work your way through all the other possibilities.

Sleeping FAQ: 3-4 Months – Lunchtime Nap

My 3 mth daughter wakes after 45 minutes and will not settle back to sleep again. Having tried different ways to get her back to sleep I don’t know what to do for the best

My 3 mth daughter will sleep for 45 minutes at lunchtime then wake and not settle again. She has a couple of times but I had not done anything differently so there are no clues there for me. I have tried leaving her and going in every so often, usually every 20 minutes to reassure her with my voice. It will take up to 50 minutes but sometimes she will settle back to sleep. The other day I went in and picked her up as I was worried she had wind. When I did this, she did not settle back to sleep. I am worried now that I have broken the pattern? Should I carry on persistently leaving her and letting her settle back to sleep? She is woken at 7.30am and has a nap of 30 minutes from 9.00/9.15. I put her down for lunchtime nap at 12/12.15 and she goes down OK with about 5/10 minutes of crying down. She does not seem to be hungry as will always happily wait to 2.30pm to feed and she has 8oz at 11am which she takes her time of drinking. Should I start taking her out for the 2 hours? The problem is it has been so cold.

My daughter takes 5ozs formula and 3ozs expressed milk at 7.30am, 11am, 2.30pm and 6pm. She takes 4ozs formula and 2ozs expressed milk at 10pm. She weighs 11.5lbs approximately.

She naps at 9-9.30am, 12-12.45pm and 4.30-5pm.

Although you feel that your daughter is not hungry until 2.30pm offering her a top up before she goes down at 12/12.15pm may help her settle back to sleep after the first 45 minutes. To make sure she will take this top up move her feed time back to 10.30am and then offer her a couple of ounces of milk at 11.45am. If she is not interested in having a top up feed, cut back on her 10.30am feed by 2ozs. which can then be offered as the top up at 11.45am.

Look at the article on the Lunchtime Nap which appears on the website. This will give you all the points to check such as making sure your daughter is tucked in well at this time.

It can take a while to establish a pattern of a baby sleeping for a longer stretch at this time of day. If your daughter wakes after 45 minutes, leave her for 20-30 minutes to settle herself but, if she shows no signs of doing so, get her up rather than leaving her to cry for any longer. If you feel it is too cold to go out every day at present you could also try holding her back to sleep once she has woken from her first 45 minutes.

If, after consistently and persistently trying with one method for over a week, your daughter continues to sleep for only 45 minutes at the lunchtime nap, then accept that she may need another short nap after her 2.30pm feed. This will prevent her becoming over tired before 5pm and means she is able to enjoy her bath and bedtime routine.