At 4.5 months my son will not settle for daytime naps
My son had been sleeping well at night, and going down reliably from birth. However, his daytime sleeps were more difficult, only taking place if he was rocked in the pram (outside), or cuddled in bed.
A month ago, night-time sleeps started to become a problem too, so at the weekend we (husband & I) decided to try sleep training. After only three nights, it’s been a huge success. Last night, my son went down without a murmur, slept till 10:30, fed well, then had only one wakening at 4:30 (considering last week we had at least 3 a night; this is fabulous!), before waking at 6:45, quite content!
The daytime sleeps, however, are a disaster! Before 9am, I bring him to his room, darken it, sing him a quiet song & lay him down, relaxed, in his big cot. I kiss him, and leave the room. There follows 5 minutes of silence, when I think “Aha!”, followed by 45 minutes of screaming, me going in and out to him, as per controlled crying (which worked so well at night!). If anything, it’s getting worse! The lunchtime nap isn’t as big an issue, as it coincides with my older son being taken to nursery, but it will become more of a problem when the holidays start in 2 weeks, and after that when he’ll have a morning place. I know it’s early days, but it’s following the same pattern as my older boy did when we did sleep training with him at 7 months. I stuck with that for 3 weeks, before finally giving up on the daytime sleeps, and going back to rocking him in the pram. We didn’t resolve that one until our first son was about 15 months old! Obviously, I’m anxious to avoid that this time.
I’d really appreciate some feedback on this one. My older son is really missing out, as naptimes should be time for us to spend together. We have only just introduced our son to the big cot at night-time, before that he had a crib in our room, and slept in the pram in the day. Could it be he thinks he’s being put down for another long sleep, and so resists it? If so, how can I resolve this? He’s a big boy, and I don’t believe the crib is comfy for him now, for that matter, the carrycot part of the pram’s days are numbered too.
To get your son more used to his cot by day use it for short periods of play when he is awake. Put him in with several toys and stay beside him playing until he is engaged with a toy. Then withdraw yourself to another part of the room for a few minutes but reassure him with your voice. Continue to do this for several days beginning to build up the time you leave him playing happily alone. This should begin to familiarize him with sleeping there.
Find one or two soft toys to place in the cot with him, making sure they are placed away from his head towards the top of the cot and there is no danger in them falling on him. Use these toys in the time you play with him during the day but leave them in there to greet him when he is put down for his nap.
To eliminate hunger being a cause of your sons resistance to sleep in the morning, offer him a small top up prior to going down. Once he has learnt to settle better on his own and sleeps for 45 minutes you can begin to cut back on it. If he is uninterested in feeding then offer a small drink of boiled water to check that he is not thirsty. Get him to his room well before 9am so he is not overtired and more resistant to sleep. Is he in a sleeping bag? If so and it is one of the lightweight variety, you could tuck him in well with a light sheet as he may feel insecure in a large cot after his small crib.
As your second son is several months younger than his brother when he was sleep trained, with persistence you should be able to get him more used to settling in his crib. Keep trying at the morning nap and also once the holidays begin at lunchtime. Use the “crying down” method where you do go back to reassure him after 10 minutes but keep the reassurance to the minimum. He has to learn how to settle himself to sleep without any external “props” and this will take him time. Although you may feel that your are depriving your elder son of his “special times ” with you, which are important, it would be better to persist and sort out this problem now rather than getting into the situation you had last time.
Some mothers who do have problems with the lunchtime nap, or find it coincides with school runs, find that putting a pram or buggy in a quieter part of the house, with a blanket draped over the top helps their baby to settle to a better sleep. They may have had a short ride in the pram to fetch an older sibling but are then left to finish their sleep somewhere quiet. This is a kind of half-way compromise between settling your son in his cot and rocking him to sleep in his pram outside.