Emma, 5 months: Short naps and poor settling easily improved!
Emma's sleep story...
Emma was a fabulous little sleeper at night but had decided she didn’t particularly want to sleep during the day. She was only napping for 30-40 minutes at a time - if her mum Kirsty was lucky!
Much to Kirsty's relief, Emma was generally only waking twice at night for a feed, but she wisely suspected that, sooner or later, Emma's lack of day sleep would catch up with them overnight.
Kirsty was also incredibly frustrated that it was getting harder and harder to get out of the house because she never seemed to be able to judge when Emma should be going down for a nap. More often than not, Kirsty would put Emma down, only to have her wake again after 10-15 minutes. This was despite following the guidelines from the Maternal Health Nurse about awake periods and overall sleep times, and sticking to a "feed, play, sleep" routine.
Because Emma was so difficult to settle at nap times and bedtime, Kirsty had started feeding her to sleep, as it was the one thing that consistently worked. This was a problem for Kirsty because she felt she was the only one who could settle Emma for sleep. So she contacted Little Ones to see if we could help with Emma's settling and napping.
Once Kirsty had downloaded our Sleep Program, she immediately realised why she had a serial catnapper on her hands! Although Emma would start to show tired signs around the 1.5 hour mark, she wasn't actually ready for sleep yet, which is why she was difficult to settle. And when Kirsty did manage to feed her to sleep, she wasn't tired enough to stay asleep for any decent period of time.
Kirsty also found out all about the 4 month sleep regression and realised that Emma had developed a strong sleep association of being fed to sleep. This meant that when Emma would wake between sleep cycles, she was unable to get back to sleep without Kirsty feeding her again. This was another factor contributing to Emma's catnapping!
Kirsty was also 100% right that Emma's poor daytime napping, combined with the 4 month sleep regression, would eventually start to impact her night time sleep. Luckily, she had time to get better, more predictable naps happening before their night sleep took a hit!
She started following the recommended nap timings in our Program and immediately saw an improvement in Emma's day sleep - she was easier to settle to sleep and actually stayed asleep too!
Kirsty was apprehensive about teaching her baby to self-settle, but ultimately knew that it needed to be done to avoid continued catnapping and to avoid the increased night wakes that come with the 4 month sleep regression.
From around 4 months old, a baby's night time sleep cycles shorten to be just 2 hours in length and at this point they can start fully waking between cycles - yes, that means waking every 2 hours overnight! When your baby wakes, they will require the same settling association they had when they went to sleep, in order to go back to sleep again. For Emma, this would have meant Kirsty needed to feed her back to sleep each time she woke overnight.
Kirsty followed our Fed to Sleep Method, which is a gentle self-settling method specifically designed for babies who are fed to sleep. Working with Emma's current sleep association, she was able to make great progress within a week! Within two weeks, Kirsty's persistence had paid off and she had a baby who was self-settling and nailing her naps each day.
Because Kirsty helped Emma learn to fall asleep on her own when she was ready, they effectively skipped the 4 month sleep regression! Better still, she was able to do it in a gradual, respectful, hands-on way without leaving her baby to "cry it out".
Using the Little Ones Program has definitely helped us all to get better sleep, and has given me the confidence (and knowledge) to be able to make positive changes to my baby's sleep patterns which continue to mean we're always ahead of the game!
Our Little Ones App has everything you need to get ahead of the game and make positive changes to your baby's sleep! Get instant access to our trusted Sleep Programs, customisable schedules, gentle settling methods and support from certified sleep consultants.