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How long does it take to get your baby to sleep?


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#1 Burgundy

Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:38 PM

Have something of a tricky sleeper in my 4 month old DS ( has always been this way) and just wondering about other peoples' experiences. My son never naps for more than 40 mins at a time and often less than that, sometimes just 15-20 minutes before he's awake again and will not be resettled. Just wanted to know how long it takes you to get your baby to sleep during the day? I get to the point where I give up because it just doesn't seem worth it for the amount of time that he will nap but wonder if I'm just giving in too quickly? Can easily take 20 mins to half hour and more often than not I end up feeding him to sleep just to avoid the tears.

Would be interested to hear your experiences!

#2 bikingbubs

Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:43 PM

my son would take up to 40 mins to get to sleep, and would only sleep for 30-40 mins.

my daughter (4mths) takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes and no rhyme or reason as to how long she stays asleep! (30mins-3hrs!)

DS turned out to be a champion sleeper by about 8 months (vast improvement by 6 mths) so try to just roll with it - I know how frustrating catnapping can be!!

Also - whats wrong with feeding to sleep? Its like the best thing mankind has ever given me! Boobs work every time original.gif I fed DS to sleep for ages and im spewing DD doesnt like it as much!

#3 katiebear26

Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

DD can take a while, if i don't feed her to sleep she sometimes just won't go at all like today, was meant to nap at 2:30 as she was tired but after trying for a while i gave up and she's only just gone to sleep now (4:40) after a feed.

i'm trying to wean her off feed-to-sleep but ti's taking a while.

like your DS she only sleeps for 40 minutes at the most during the day and has no more than 3 naps per day (is 6 months old). she's waking 1-2 times a night but strangely has strated to settle herself back to sleep when she wakes up sometimes at night if we leave her for a bit (not crying, just stirring).

if he's not overtired i would just go with it. if he is overtired then maybe look at your routine to get him to sleep or catch him earlier.

feeding to sleep is not a bad thing but i think i would prefer DD to be able to go in her cot peacefully without being completely zonked, just think it's a good skill to have for when she wakes up at night.

#4 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

My bub now 18 weeks takes 5 mins or less to fall asleep for most sleeps but we do get the occasional more crying episodes where he would have intermittent crying up to 20 minutes (this kills me each time!). I do find that with more crying involved his sleep is worse. He may cry again in the next hour and needed resettling! His naps varies from 30 to 45 to 60 mins each and he does have naps up to 1.5-2 hours every day. I must catch his signs cos if he gets overtired he is very cranky to go to sleep. So every day I am just busying feeding him, short play then nap.

Edited by Mum2TwoDSs, 18 February 2013 - 05:30 PM.


#5 Kay1

Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:39 PM

My DS was similar at that age. I was often spending 30 mins settling for a 40 min nap and the same at night when he would then wake every 45 mins til midnight and then 1.5-2 hourly.

His day sleeps got longer at about 4.5 months but settling was still taking ages. Eventually at night it was taking me up to an hour and he was crying a lot of that time. I completely ran out of options and did CC. I will say I waited until he was 6 months and on a good amount of solids at night so I KNEW he was not hungry. Thankfully it took only 2 nights of crying (going in periodically to comfort) and he learned to go to sleep on his own. I now just wrap him up and sing his songs, put him down and walk away. He doesn't cry and goes to sleep. This has translated to day sleeps as well thankfully. I know it doesn't always work this way and its not for everyone but it sure has changed our lives for the better.

#6 Wacky Wobbler

Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:49 PM

My 15 wk old only catnaps during the day. Sometimes he will go down straight away sometimes it takes 10-15 minutes. He sleeps between 40-45 minutes each nap.

#7 VintageEyes

Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:59 PM

DS was exactly as you describe, sometimes longer.

I fed to sleep to save my sanity

#8 emjrose

Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

I agree with other comments, feed to sleep while you can! I did this with my DD up to 7-8 months old. At that point she stopped falling asleep during a feed but had no problems falling asleep by herself after the feed so it didn't create any long term sleep association issues. DD would not sleep in her cot otherwise in the early months so it was a great option for us.

#9 mandala

Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

At that age, DS would take 5 minutes if I got the timing right with his tired signs, 10 minutes if I was a bit off, or 20 minutes or more if he was really overtired.  We'd have a couple of days a week where we'd miss a nap entirely because he just couldn't settle.

It all got so much better around 6 months when he went down to two naps and started sleeping longer. He was pretty early to drop down to two, though.

I found that resettling would usually show some sign of working within 10-20 minutes. I'd try as much as I could be bothered, to be honest. My DH was a champion resettler - he'd rock DS while playing games on his phone. I would catch up sitting in DS's room still playing long after DS was asleep.

Feeding to sleep stopped working for us around 11 weeks, so we had no choice with the tears sad.gif For lots of babies they naturally grow out of needing it, but for others the suck to sleep becomes a strong sleep association and they can't resettle between sleep cycles without a nipple in their mouth. That's why people say it's a bad habit - but it is really up to you.

#10 Toothfairy01

Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:07 PM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 18/02/2013, 06:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My DS was similar at that age. I was often spending 30 mins settling for a 40 min nap and the same at night when he would then wake every 45 mins til midnight and then 1.5-2 hourly.

His day sleeps got longer at about 4.5 months but settling was still taking ages. Eventually at night it was taking me up to an hour and he was crying a lot of that time. I completely ran out of options and did CC. I will say I waited until he was 6 months and on a good amount of solids at night so I KNEW he was not hungry. Thankfully it took only 2 nights of crying (going in periodically to comfort) and he learned to go to sleep on his own. I now just wrap him up and sing his songs, put him down and walk away. He doesn't cry and goes to sleep. This has translated to day sleeps as well thankfully. I know it doesn't always work this way and its not for everyone but it sure has changed our lives for the better.


How much comfort did you provide? My LO becomes so hysterical, that I have to pick her up and bounce and rock and then you just can't put her down again until she's either asleep or really really drowsy, by then you feel like you've missed the boat for "putting down whilst awake".

QUOTE (KRT @ 18/02/2013, 08:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
At that age, DS would take 5 minutes if I got the timing right with his tired signs, 10 minutes if I was a bit off, or 20 minutes or more if he was really overtired.  We'd have a couple of days a week where we'd miss a nap entirely because he just couldn't settle.

It all got so much better around 6 months when he went down to two naps and started sleeping longer. He was pretty early to drop down to two, though.

I found that resettling would usually show some sign of working within 10-20 minutes. I'd try as much as I could be bothered, to be honest. My DH was a champion resettler - he'd rock DS while playing games on his phone. I would catch up sitting in DS's room still playing long after DS was asleep.

Feeding to sleep stopped working for us around 11 weeks, so we had no choice with the tears sad.gif For lots of babies they naturally grow out of needing it, but for others the suck to sleep becomes a strong sleep association and they can't resettle between sleep cycles without a nipple in their mouth. That's why people say it's a bad habit - but it is really up to you.


Do you know if the feed to sleep is creating this sleep association habit if the baby needs to suck to initially get down for the night, but then sleeps through for 8-9 hours?


#11 NicolinaO

Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:40 AM

toothfairy01 - my DS is exactly like that with the hysterical. Once he has worked himself up, there is little else than pick him up that will calm him back down. (and this despite the fact that he does at times manage to fall asleep on his own.

OP - again, DS is the same. I let him nap on me most of the time to be honest. Keeps me sane him being asleep for a little while - be that on me or wherever - and keeps him from getting overtired. I just keep trying to put him down in his cot during the day. Sometimes it works, for a while, sometimes not at all. When it works it is an absolute bliss haha
Thankfully my DS sleeps ok during the night, so I do get one block of sleep in 24h. Although this is now out the window as DS figured he would start teething, so now whines 24/7.

#12 lozzylots

Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:02 AM

QUOTE (bikingbubs @ 18/02/2013, 04:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
my daughter (4mths) takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes and no rhyme or reason as to how long she stays asleep! (30mins-3hrs!)


Ditto.

#13 mandala

Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:40 AM

QUOTE (Toothfairy01 @ 18/02/2013, 11:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How much comfort did you provide? My LO becomes so hysterical, that I have to pick her up and bounce and rock and then you just can't put her down again until she's either asleep or really really drowsy, by then you feel like you've missed the boat for "putting down whilst awake".



Do you know if the feed to sleep is creating this sleep association habit if the baby needs to suck to initially get down for the night, but then sleeps through for 8-9 hours?


On the first point, it took a long time to figure out what actually calmed DS down. Sometimes it would take at least five attempts to get DS calm again and then put him down drowsy. We were advised that after they've had a few attempts you can be more 'helpful' and put them down while almost asleep. You don't have to be perfect every time, but they'll never learn if you don't give them the opportunities to do so.

On the second, I wouldn't think that's a problematic feed to sleep association. From what I've read, it's not uncommon for babies to feed to sleep for bedtime, and then happily self-settle between sleep cycles. In my opinion, it's only a problem if they need to be fed every 45 minutes or if you have to feed to sleep every nap and that's not something you want to do. But everyone has a different opinion on what they're willing to put up with!

#14 Toothfairy01

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:04 PM

Thank you for your replies.

We've had a shocking week. I'm trying to read those tired signs in the evening and tonight, I did our routine after her feed (nappy change, swaddle, quick story), and put her down awake. She sooked immediately and quickly escalated to hysterical. I patted, applied firm pressure, shooshed, etc to no avail.

Comfort fed about an hour later. Put her down again in a calm state. Escalated again.

Both of us tried various techniques to no avail. Fed again 1.5hours after the last one and it's now 11pm, she fed to sleep, I put her down, she slept for about 5mins and is now hysterical again.

My DH thinks we tried to get her down too quickly in the first place and now she's just all out of whack.

I can't do this much longer, I'm not getting anything done, I'm stressed out about being a bad mum, she's distressed for the whole evening.

We had a glimpse of some self-settling about 2 weeks ago and she's gone backwards since then. She's 13.5 weeks and although she occasionally feeds often, I don't think this is a growth spurt. She's just unsettled and although we can settle her, she just won't sleep! End rant.

#15 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:59 AM

we boob to sleep, and I feed overnight until around 18 months (by then it was a 3am feed twice a week) and havent had any major sleep issues.
my almost 6 month old is unsettled, and getting up really early (for us) but Im sure it will pass

#16 mandala

Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:39 PM

Deep breath. You're not a bad mum.

1. This is early for self-settling. You haven't hit the 4 month sleep regression/16-17 week wonder week where sleep changes. Your baby will be very different once that passes.

2.  It takes time for them to learn. You are doing the right thing, giving your baby opportunities to self-settle, and providing help when needed. It took DS a couple of weeks to get there, and there were plenty of very bad days in there!

3. You can't make her sleep. All you can do is give her opportunities to do so, and help her calm herself when she's worked up.

4. You're not a bad mum. Babies are tricky little things and it's hard to figure out what they need. Sometimes you get it wrong, but the important thing is that you are trying to be responsive to her needs.

I have some suggestions for you, if you can face them original.gif

If you see tired signs, put her to bed. Don't worry about the routine as much as getting the timing right. For DS, the only reason we wouldn't put him to bed immediately on seeing tired signs was if he had a poohy nappy. At the beginning, we skipped baths, stories, everything. Our routine was simply, "You're looking tired, DS. It's time for bed. Let me put you in your sleeping bag/wrap you up. Goodnight, love you, time for sleep." I actually went up a size in nappies so that they'd hold more and not need to be changed if a little wet (we had no nappy rash issues).

Do you have wheels on your cot? Movement like that was the only thing that worked for DS in the early days. We'd rock him until he was calm. Patting, shushing etc didn't work - still don't. Then we moved onto hitting the side of the cot, scratching the mattress, rubbing the side of the cot - anything repetitive and rhythmic. You could also try giving a dummy, or putting a worn tshirt of yours (nice and milky) next to her in the cot. The challenge is finding the thing that works for your DD. It would often take up to ten minutes for something to start to work, and up to 20 minutes for DS to be actually calm. We would wait 60-120 seconds after putting down to listen to how DS responded. Often, he initially cried but started to calm afterwards. We found picking up actually made him worse in the long run - but there was lots and lots of trial and error to get there and figure that out.

Could you put your DH in charge of settling? We found that we had to be 100% on the same page with how we were going to try to settle DS, or we'd end up second-guessing each other. I found it so distressing to hear any crying, while DH could listen more objectively to whether DS was calming down or ramping up. He was also so much calmer in the room with DS, and I think that helped DS calm down. At the very least, you'll get one evening off.

If feeding to sleep is working, why not give yourself a few days' break. You don't have to worry about sleep associations for a little while longer - and you might have one of those babies that naturally stop feeding to sleep.

#17 BaduBJ

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:52 PM

DS was just like yours- he took 20-45 minutes to settle and often only slept for 15 minutes, though he usually stayed down for 2 hours once a day. I fed him to sleep most of the time, and he didn't fall alseep by himself until he was 11 months old. He started sleeping through the night after a feed (8:30-6) at 12 months and weaned himself off the breast at 16 months. At 2 he sleeps 1-2 hours in the afternoon and 9-10 hours overnight, and puts himself to sleep after 3 stories and a song (read 3 stories, put him in bed, light off, sing a song, walk out. He is asleep in under 10 minutes)
DD, 8 weeks, puts herself to sleep most times, and only needs settling if she is overtired. She doesnt fall asleep on the breast tho.

#18 Toothfairy01

Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:10 PM

Thanks so much KRT. Your advice is really sensible.

I think we're trying to do to many things at once. i.e. self-settle and establish a routine.

Before we attempted this earlier bedtime, bub was sleeping through, albeit from 11pm but she wouldn't wake until 6-8am, proving that she can self-soothe through her cycles at night. She wasn't great at self-settling but I think we were getting there, I was putting her down just drowsy or awake and she would sook a little or even just babble herself to sleep.

Then we felt like we were doing her a disservice by not putting her to bed earlier, so we tried an earlier bedtime and this is where it fell apart.

Tonight, we just went with her signs. We ate dinner at 7ish so she sat in her swing for 30mins, then fed, played with dad, ended up demanding another feed and then yawned and was put to bed, awake, no fighting, no crying and went to sleep on her own.

We had all had a pleasant evening, she was happy. I think we'll just let her lead the way for a bit longer.

Thank you for the advice and support ladies.

#19 CLT

Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:35 PM

Yeah nothing wrong with feeding to sleep... Use what you have! My DD would fall asleep on her own or I feed her to sleep... She's now 28m and DS who is currently going through 16w sleep regression/wonder weeks would feed to sleep in 5 mins or 20...for naps but he is a catnapper. At night he does 4-5 hr blocks and sometimes longer and my poor boobs so I rush to DD for help in the mornings lol!

Edited by CLT, 21 February 2013 - 11:37 PM.


#20 CLT

Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:38 PM

Also they are only small for such a short time so why no cuddle them more? 4m is a bit young for self settling as well.

#21 bjk76

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:58 AM

KRT has some great advice!

I wish I had fed to sleep when DS was that age. He would only fall asleep while being moved, so generally we were walking around holding him in our arms until he slept, as he'd had his 'feed, play, sleep' routine. Once he started getting too heavy to walk around (even after we moved to doing it in the ergo carrier), I started feeding him to sleep. This was at about 10mo. We're still doing it at 22mo and for us it's really the easiest way to get him off to sleep. - The only problem is that no one else can put him to sleep apart from me, unless he's being driven in the car. But, we don't have any issues of him not falling asleep when he's 'meant' to and not wanting to stay in his room, so it works for us.

#22 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:29 AM

Toothfairy01, you are not a bad mum. I think all of us go through this feeling every now and then because we are not sure if we are doing the right thing for our babies or not. You are trying to teach your baby self-settling, which is very valuable for the whole family and for bub.

But every baby is different and often it takes a fair bit of trial and error too. I was and still am teaching my 19 week old self settling. I started weeks ago. Because I want to to use the gentlest way (I cant take the CIO way, I just dont have the heart to do that) I can find, it does take a longer time for us. But my persistence and consistency have paid off, bub is self settling quite well now. From originally carrying and patting bub to drowsy state then transfer to cot, now we have reached the ssshhing from a distance with him still awake and whining a bit here and there, and him falling asleep between 1-5 minutes. We even quit the dummy completely. It took me a few weeks to reach here but all worth it.

We also had hit and misses. It's not always perfect. There were a few times when the self-settling took as long as 20 minutes with bub crying quite hysterically (I made sure I was always by his cot and provided some form of touch to him) and me feeling super stressed. I find watching the clock helped my sanity, cos a minute of crying can feel like an eternity. It does get better as your try and persist.

It's not always that I can catch his tired signs. Sometimes I think he is tired (2 hours wake time) but when I put him down he cries more and longer. Then I think he may not want to sleep so I get him up. If he stretches to almost/3 hours, I am very sure he needs to go down no matter how he protests. I find that if he's ready to sleep, he takes just 1-5 minutes to fall asleep. Some sleeps more protest crying some sleeps just whining, some sleeps not much of both!

I find that when I record down every nap time and feed time daily, it helps me to recognize a pattern.

You may want to have a read of this :

http://www.thesleepstore.co.nz/sleep-infor...-to-self-settle

I actually use steps in the article to help teach my bub self settling.

#23 mandala

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:50 PM

Toothfairy01, DS didn't have a bedtime until he was around 5-6 months. We would just roll through the day with his naps and feed until he just kept sleeping rather than waking up for another feed. It was all done based on his signs. So you're doing just the right thing to follow your DD's cues.

At 14 weeks, lots of babies are still switching from 4-5 naps to three naps. To be able to fit 4-5 naps into the day, even if they're catnaps, means that bedtime is going to be later than an arbitrary 7pm. As the awake time your baby can handle increases, she'll settle into three naps, which will mean an earlier bedtime (or nap that turns out to be the night sleep).

We're currently doing the two-to-one nap transition now, and it's a mess. The transitions always are. But at least I know that it will settle down again - and your DD will settle down into a bit more stability too.

#24 lucky 2

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:54 PM

QUOTE
We had all had a pleasant evening, she was happy. I think we'll just let her lead the way for a bit longer.

That sounds wonderful OP, I'm glad you had a better evening original.gif .

#25 Toothfairy01

Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:53 PM

I wish I had this thread for reference earlier in the week. We had another decent day.

She was happier today, but LO gets bored very quickly so will happily sit on your lap or lie there chatting or lie under her play gym, then will instantaneously start bawling for no reason. Usually, a change in environment, position or a cuddle, fixes it, more often than not, she's gone from zero to 100 and is demanding another feed. My friends and family are a little scared of her as she turns so quickly.

KRT, she had about 3 short 30 min naps during the day not including her morning nap (not sure if you count her morning sleep as a nap as she wakes after 8-9hours of night sleep, feeds and then goes back to sleep for another 1-3 hours - she might babble or smile a bit but she's not her usual awake self with this feed). Fed, bathed, fed, slept (went to sleep awake - YAY!!!) at 8.30pm and it's now almost 11pm and she's still asleep and I don't think this is a nap.

I know this may not last but I really think going with the flow has helped the whole family, I'm more relaxed and I'm sure she's feeding off this.

Thank you all again for your wonderful advice and reassurance, it IS all common sense but I don't have a clear head when I'm tired and things aren't going to plan (which is what I'm used to pre-bub). XX




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Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.