Catnapping

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Catnapping

Postby jillpierre » Mon 11 Mar, 2013 2:47 pm

My 10 week old has been catnapping in the day from 5 weeks old. The naps usually last anywhere between 30-45 minutes on nearly every occasion. When he wakes up from the naps he is usually very cranky and still appears to be tired so I know that he needs more sleep. By the end of the day he is usually very difficult and falls asleep very easily as he is exhausted. I put him to bed in his cot awake, with white noise on and he is asleep on nearly all occasions within 2 minutes without much fuss. At night he has been sleeping uninterrupted from 7pm-7am for the past week - which of course I am very happy about but I would like to find a way to extend his day time naps as I hate seeing him clearly tired and uncomfortable.

I can usually get him to sleep longer if I go in and settle him by rocking him after he wakes at the 45 minute mark but this is isn't always successful and he will often wake as soon as a I try to put him back in his cot. At the moment I will try to settle him on my chest for at least 20 minutes so I know he is properly asleep before I put him down. Once again sometimes this is successful and sometimes it isn't! In the past I tried going in at the 30-35 min mark and patting him through the sleep cycle which did work for the initial few days but then he started waking up fully as we tried to do this.

We have introduced a comforter as well in the hope that it might assist him getting through to the next sleep cycle but this doesn't appear to have had an effect. He is exclusively breastfed, however, does have a bottle of EBM just before bed time so that I know his tummy is full and it also means my husband can have some time with him. I am not sure if there is anything else I can do to help him get more sleep during the day and was just looking for any further advice or ideas that might be available.
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Re: Catnapping

Postby NgalaOnline » Tue 12 Mar, 2013 6:29 pm

Hi JillPierre

Thank you for your post. The behaviour your baby is showing does sound very normal and common for a baby his age. It also sounds as though your baby is doing really well at establishing some strong sleep skills. It is fantastic to hear that your baby seems to have learned how to settle himself to sleep easily and without any distress. Learning to settle to sleep independently is a skill that babies often only begin to be able to learn around 3-4 months of age, so it is fantastic to hear that your baby is already doing this. It is also fantastic to hear that he is so settled at night and able to tie his sleep cycles together to have a very lengthy and restful night sleep.

It is normal for a baby this age to mainly only be having catnaps. Learning to have longer sleeps is often something that only develops a while after the baby learns to initially settle himself to sleep. It is quite common for newborns not to have this ability yet, and for it often to develop moreso as the baby gets closer to four or so months of age. In the meantime, by continuing to put him to bed awake you are laying down the foundations that will enable him to be able to learn to resettle between sleep cycles once he is developmentally ready, as he will know how to fall back into sleep when he awakens. When he does wake after a short sleep, it is often best to give him a little bit of time to see if he can resettle himself, as some babies will resettle after a little bit of awake time and sometimes a parent coming in at this point can fully wake a baby who may not have been fully awake. If you do go in to resettle him, it is best to try to only offer soothing methods in his cot. At around 3-4 months of age babies begin to develop sleep associations, or learned ways of falling to sleep. If your baby gets used to being picked up and rocked to sleep or to falling asleep on your chest he may begin to associate this as his preferred way of falling to sleep and may begin to seek it more frequently as it becomes a stronger sleep association. In-cot settling methods such as patting, rocking the cot, or stroking his abdomen or face can all also become sleep associations, but generally in-cot methods of settling are easier to slowly draw back from and remove than in-arm sleep associations. By trying to resettle your baby in his cot you are helping him to remain familiar with the cot as the place where he gets drowsy and falls asleep.

It is quite likely that you may find your baby resists your attempts to resettle him and may not go back to sleep after his catnaps. If this is the case, it is worthwhile persisting with trying to resettle for one or two of his naps each day but not to the point where it is causing you any stress or anxiety. Often parents find that the baby is less overtired and therefore easier to resettle for the day sleeps in the early part of the day, and these may therefore be the easiest sleeps to work on. Trying to resettle for 20 minutes or so is good practice for your baby, even if he does not go back to sleep. If he does not go back to sleep this is normal, getting him up and then watching for his tired signs, putting him back to bed when you see them is the best option. It may be that he needs to have lots of sleeps fairly close together during the day whilst he is still catnapping. It is very normal for young babies to have a period of 3-5 hours each day when they are very grizzly and difficult to settle. This period often occurs in the late part of the afternoon or evening. Most parents find that this unsettled evening behaviour dissipates as the baby gets older, but it is a very normal newborn behaviour and not something for parents to feel guilty about. Your baby may need lots of support in the evening such as cuddling, tight swaddling, cluster feeding if breastfeeding, and using loud white noise that is louder than his cry to help him regulate himself. Planning for how you can make the evening as stressfree for yourself as possible can be helpful when your baby is in the phase of evening unsettledness, such as having simple evening meals or meals that are prepared earlier in the day.

With regards to the bottle of EBM in the evening, if offering this it is a good practice to express your breasts at this time too to ensure that they are getting enough stimulation, as missing this evening opportunity to drain your breasts followed by a long period without feeds for your baby overnight could cause your breastmilk supply to downregulate. It is common for women to not be able to express as much in the evening as in the morning, this is very normal and not something to be concerned by, but the stimulation of your breasts at this time can still be important for maintaining an ample breastmilk supply. Another option may be to offer the breasts first (which is the most effective method of fully draining the breasts) and then offering him an EBM top up afterwards if you would like him to have some more milk in preparation for his night time sleep.

I hope that you find this information helpful. You may also like to consider attending the Parenting Workshop "Sleep and Your Growing Baby" which covers infant sleep from 3-7 months, which is often a very transitional time with many changes to sleep and settling. http://www.ngala.com.au/course/Parentin ... owing-Baby Please call the Ngala helpline if you would like more help or support.
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 http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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Re: Catnapping

Postby jillpierre » Wed 13 Mar, 2013 10:59 am

I have tried settling him in his cot in the past but he tends to become very distressed if he knows I'm there and I'm not picking him up. I will keep trying this though however is there anything else I can do if he does not respond to this?

Also when he wakes from his 35-40 minute naps he is already showing tired signs because he has not slept ling enough so how long should I keep him up for if he won't resettle? What is the recommended 'awake' time for babies his age?

In response to the EBM/expressing advice, I usually BF him at 5pm then give him the bottle just after 6pm. Then I will pump between 7-9pm. Will this be ok to keep my supply up? I would never give him the bottle without expressing afterwards.

Thank you so much for your advice to date, it's very appreciated.
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Re: Catnapping

Postby NgalaOnline » Fri 15 Mar, 2013 1:33 pm

Hi Jillpierre

If your son is not settling easily in his cot you may like to try really leaning in over him in his bed as you "ssssh" and pat or stroke him (this is often easiest in a bassinet) so that you are providing close bodily contact but he is still learning to be familiar with settling to sleep in his bed. You can then slowly distance yourself a little more over coming days and weeks as he gets more used to falling asleep in his cot. Another method that works quite well for some babies is for the mum to have one hand firmly on the babies chest as the other hand pats the baby's chest or abdomen. This firm hand laid on the baby as the other hand pats can calm many babies and help them to feel secure and contained. "Double patting" works well for some babies too, where you use both hands altenating in a fast rhythmic pat, around the same speed as a heartbeat and reasonably firmly on the baby's body (whilst obviously in a safe manner). Rocking the baby's body gently from side to side with your hand in his cot works for some babies. You may find that in-cot settling works best with your baby for his morning sleeps when he is less overtired. If you feel that you have to pick him up, some mums have success with picking their baby up for a calming cuddle and then putting him back down whilst providing close bodily contact and reassurance in his bed. It is best to put the baby down before he begins to get drowsy in your arms, as even getting very drowsy in your arms is enough to become a sleep association for many babies. If you find that no matter what you do, your baby continues to cry and show some protesting whilst you do in-cot settling, this is ok. Some babies do still cry as their parent settles them in their cot, and for some babies, having a grizzle can be part of them settling themselves into a drowsy state and then sleep. It is normal for babies to protest at a change of settling methods as they do not understand why the change is being made, but you can remind yourself that you are making these changes as you feel they are in the best interest of your baby and the family. If your baby is crying a lot it is most likely showing that he is feeling very tired, and is unsure about how to handle these feelings of tiredness when his usual sleep association is not there. If you are remaining with him and providing him with calming support, even if he continues to cry, he is not experiencing fear and you are supporting him through this period of transition. Resettling in this new way is a learning experience for your baby. If you do manage to get your baby resettling in his cot with hands-on methods, it is best to start trying to draw back and remove these over a week or so, to prevent these hands-on methods becoming sleep associations. Most importantly, it is best not to become too anxious or focussed on resettling as it is something that often comes naturally with time if a baby is settling to sleep on his own initially. Have a try at resettling for a little while, such as 10-20 minutes when you feel up to it, and if it is not working get your baby up.

This link can be used as a general guide for awake times for babies of various ages. http://www.ngala.com.au/files/files/125 ... eepers.pdf
If your baby is only having short sleeps, however, then it may be beneficial to try to put him back to bed within an hour at this age. Many babies who have catnaps will initially show tired signs when they first get up, then have a "burst" of activity and alertness, and then begin to show tired signs again. If you can put him down when you next see the tired signs, that will be helpful.

The pattern you are using to express with does sound good for adequately draining your breasts and stimulating supply. If at any point you have concerns about your supply, adding a 10pm "dreamfeed" or feeding your baby at the breasts before offering an evening EBM bottle would be 2 ways of stimulating your supply.
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 http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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Re: Catnapping

Postby jillpierre » Fri 15 Mar, 2013 2:10 pm

Thank you for your advice. I have had some success with the resettling in the cot over the past few days but he will only sleep for 5-10 minutes doing it this way and then the whole process begins again. When I have decided not to resettle and have got him up after the cat nap he is very unsettled and cries to the point of being hysterical due to being tired. Just not sure how many times I should try resettling him given he doesn't stay asleep when I settle him in the cot - when I settled on my chest and put him down then he will sleep for over an hour. I know that settling him in his cot is the best way not to get him into bad habits but it's a struggle when he won't stay asleep this way. I even tried staying with him for awhile to make sure he is properly asleep but then as soon as I leave the room he is up within 10 minutes. It's just very confusing because he will go down for his initial sleeps on his own and even sometimes wakes at night and self settles but just doesn't seem to be able to resettle between sleep cycles during the day on his own.
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Re: Catnapping

Postby NgalaOnline » Sat 16 Mar, 2013 1:43 pm

Hi Jillpierre

As your baby is only 10 weeks old at the moment, you might choose to continue to pick your child up and resettle him in arms for the next couple of weeks. It is possible that with another few weeks of maturity he may have an easier time with being resettled in the cot and remaining asleep in a few more weeks time. It is helpful to keep in mind, however, that babies usually do form sleep associations (or learned ways of settling to sleep and resettling) between 3-4 months of age. This means that continuing to pick your baby up and resettling him in arms past the point of around 3 months could lead to it developing into a sleep association that your baby will require each sleep. It is an individual choice whether this is something you would be comfortable with. Some mothers decide that they are happy to continue settling or resettling in arms, and that is a valid choice if it works well for you and your baby. If you decide in a few weeks however that you would like to persist with trying to get your baby to resettle in his cot, it may be that you will need to persist through some frustrating days or weeks where your baby struggles to stay asleep for long in his cot after being resettled. It is helpful to focus on the positives, such as that your baby did manage to be resettled in his cot (even if he did not remain asleep for long) which is excellent practice that helps him to learn this skill. With continued practice and familiarity with this method of resettling it is likely that your baby will begin to be able to remain asleep for longer once he has been resettled. It takes around 20 minutes for babies to drop into a deeper part of their sleep. You might find that it is helpful to try settling in his cot and then remaining near him with a firm hand on his for around 20 minutes before you try to move away again.

Try not to be too discouraged or anxious about this issue. It is very common and normal for young babies to take some more time to learn how to resettle between sleep cycles and to have long sleeps, after they have initially learned how to settle himself. It sounds as though your baby is already making very good strides towards developing some strong sleep skills. It is fantastic that he is able to settle to sleep intitially and to resettle some of the time at night time. It is very likely that your baby will progress to being able to resettle between sleep cycles with a bit more time, further maturity and perhaps some continued practice at resettling. Please ring the helpline if you would like to discuss this issue further or would like more help or support.
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 http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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