Catnapper baby sleep


Are all mums obsessed with their babies’/kids’ sleep? That’s the only way I can describe it  for myself – obsession.Then these questions I get upset me sometimes – Is she a good sleeper? Is she on a routine yet? How do you mean you don’t know how long her naps are?

How do you describe a good sleeper? A baby that does perfect daytime naps and sleeps through the night? No, she doesn’t do that. YET. Although she once slept 10 hours without waking! And our routine is our routine. Something that works for us not something I learnt from a book or was recommended by a friend. So what if she goes to sleep around 8-9pm or even 10pm if she just doesn’t fall asleep straight away! I’m sure I’ll get to this perfect 7pm one day. Until then… this works for us.

And how long does she nap?

When she was a newborn she would nap almost anytime anywhere, it was no real issue settling her and I wasn’t too concerned how long she slept either. Now, no longer a newborn at 3.5 months she’s become a bit of a catnapper and on some days it’s doing my head in. Her record is five short (30-40 minutes) naps a day, well, I think the last one was already part of her nighttime sleep but still… Then some days she would sleep a three-hour nap. I can’t seem to be able to draw a connection either. Last week after swimming she took a lovely two-hour nap, today after swimming she only slept 30 minutes. Mind-boggling. I blame  myself when she doesn’t get enough good sleep because it’s up to me to able her to sleep well, she needs my help.

She’s now doing her next nap and I’m watching the clock… Just before 30 minutes I’ll aim to go and help her to re-settle. Let’s see how I get on…

There are days when I don’t have much on and just keep watching her sleep cues and some days I’m successful and get her to fall asleep after she’s been up for 1.5 hours (recommended maximum wake time for babies her age) and some days she ignores this cycle and falls asleep after a bit of grizzling after two hours. She’s so unpredictable. I just never know how long she will sleep even if I’ve managed to keep her getting overtired and caught the right windows to settle her.

I read from somewhere that babies who sleep better at nighttime tend to be catnappers. She started doing longer stretches quite early and we kept saying that we already get a decent amount of sleep giving us more energy to look after her during the day. She already sleeps 7-10 hour blocks without waking, I think for a three-month old this isn’t bad at all.

She opened her eyes after 25 minutes and I managed to re-settle her with a dummy. She’s now been asleep for 50 minutes! I’m not always successful… but sometimes I get it right!

Some books about babies’ sleep that I’ve dipped into include Gina Ford’s and Alison Scott-Wright’s and I wanted to throw both out of the window. Honestly, each to their own, and while in my pre-baby life I was super organised and somewhat controlling, I’ve discovered this quite doesn’t work for me and my baby when it comes to a routine. No way would I time the feeds. If she’s hungry she’s hungry, I feed her. No way would I leave her cry so she could settle herself. Not at this age. If she cries she needs me! I hate the notion that sleep is a battle, something that a parent must win, which leaves baby a loser. I will hold her if she needs this to fall asleep, I will feed her if it helps her to fall asleep. I will worry about not doing those things a bit later! And it’s not that she only needs to be rocked or fed to sleep, no, sometimes she actually falls asleep on her own so I think she’s amazing already!

I quite liked this book instead – Natural Baby Sleep Solution. It explains the 90-minute sleep cycles and seems quite a natural approach to getting your baby to sleep better. Nothing forceful and patterns start to emerge naturally. I will say though, sometimes I try to get her to fall asleep in that right window but she just won’t fall asleep. No matter how much I sing, rock, pat or stroke her. An hour later she’s tired and then she’ll sleep. So it’s not always this perfect 90-minute cycle! And anyone who says, I used to sing to my baby and it always worked. Good for you! It doesn’t always work for me so, shut up! 🙂

I record her nap and sleep times with an app called Awesome Baby Tracker and try to make sure she gets at least 14 hours sleep per 24 hours. Most days I succeed so maybe I should stop being so obsessed! She seems content most of the time so maybe that’s a proof that I have a happy baby?

I’m sure things will start settling a bit more and she gets more predictable as she gets older. Until then I spend my days getting her to sleep and hope that one day this hard work pays off and she becomes a great sleeper. That perfect sleeper who naps when she’s supposed to and sleeps through the night. 🙂

She napped for over two hours… Well done! (Both, me and her)

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