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Archive for November, 2010

How will you know it is time to drop a nap?
Typically, they tend to resist taking the last nap of the day or seem unsettled during the last nap of the day. They might even start to sleep a shorter amount of time for that nap. All of the other naps could also be effected, causing them to be shorter in length. You may even notice he may have a hard time going to bed at your designated bedtime, making bedtime later than you would desire. For some babies, they might even start waking early in the mornings because they are getting to much daytime sleep.

Try Shortening the nap to a catnap first
If your baby is experiencing sleeping problems mention above, sometimes all you have to do is shorten the last nap of the day to a catnap. A catnap is a nap that is usually very brief, about 30-45 minutes in length. If, however, shortening the last nap to a catnap does not resolve the other nap lengths or help bedtime, then you know it is time to drop the last nap of the day.

Dropping the 4th Nap
Around what age will they drop the 4th nap? Between 4-5 months

It is easy to drop the 4th nap when you move from a 3 hour schedule to a 3.5/4 hour schedule. Another way to drop the 4th nap is to just keep your baby awake during that 4th nap, but you might have to put your baby to bed early for a few nights or weeks until they are adjusted to staying up longer at night before bedtime.

Personal Experience:
With my son, I dropped the 4th nap when I moved from a 3 hour schedule to a 4 hour schedule at 4 months of age.
My son’s schedule @3 months on a 3 hour schedule(4 naps):
8:00 Feed
9:30-10:30/11:00 Nap
11:00 Feed
12:30-2:00 Nap
2:00 Feed
3:30-5:00 Nap
5:00 Feed
6:30-7:15 Cat Nap
7:30 Feed
9:00-10:30 Nap/ Nighttime sleep
10:30 Feed & Put right back to Bed for nighttime sleep

My son’s schedule @4 months on a 3.5/4 hour schedule (3 naps):
7:00 Feed
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Feed
12:30-2:30 Nap
2:30 Feed
4:30-6:30 Nap *** He stopped taking a good nap here at around 20 weeks old so I began to shorten it to a cat nap
6:30 Feed
9:00 Feed
9:15/ 9:30 Bed

With my twin daughters, I dropped the the 4th nap when I move from a 3 hour schedule to a 3.5 hour schedule. There was about a week or two when I had to put the twins to bed around 6/6:30pm instead of the desired 6:45pm/7pm when I dropped the 4th nap. Gradually I started to stretch out their bedtime back to 6:45/7pm as they learned to stay awake longer at night.
Twin’s schedule @ 4 months on a 3 hour schedule (4 naps):
7:00 Nurse
8:30-10:00 Nap
10:00 Nurse
11:30-1:00 Nap
1:00 Nurse
2:30-4:00 Nap
4:00 Nurse
5:30-6:15 Nap
6:15 Nurse
7:45 Nurse
8:00 Bedtime

Twins’ Schedule @5 months on a 3.5 hour schedule (3 naps):
7:00 Nurse
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Nurse & Solids
12:15-2:15 Nap
2:15 Nurse
4:00-4:45 Nap
4:45 Nurse & Solids
6:15 Nurse
6:45 Anna Bedtime, 7:00 Molly Bedtime

Dropping the 3rd Nap

Around what age will they drop the 3rd nap? Between 6-8 months of age

Typically around 6-8 months, you will find that your baby will be able to stay awake longer in the evenings. Your baby will most likely be on a 4 hour schedule at this point and will not longer require the 3rd nap (usually a cat nap by this time). I have found that around 6-8 months of age, babies tend to fall into a 2-3-4 napping schedule. This is when the baby is awake for 2 hours in the morning and then nap, awakes for 3 hours in the afternoon and then naps, and then awake for 4 hours in the evening before going to bed. For more information on a 2-3-4 napping schedule, please see my post 2-3-4 napping schedule for older babies: http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/2-3-4-nap-schedule-for-older-babies/

Personal Experience:
My son Cooper dropped the 3rd nap at 6 months of age. I just decided that he did not need that nap any longer because it was effecting his bedtime. He need a longer wake time before bedtime and I did not want to put him to bed any later than 8pm. So I just dropped the catnap cold turkey. It took about a week or two of distracting him and helping him stay awake the last hour before bedtime, but he eventually he was able to stay awake happily until bedtime without the catnap.

Cooper’s Schedule @5 months (3 naps)
7:00 Feed (milk & solids)
9:00-11:00 Nap
11:00 Feed (milk & solids)
1:00- 3:00 Nap
3:00 Feed (milk only)
5:00-5:45 Cat Nap
5:45 Feed (solids only)
7:45 Feed (milk only)
8:00 Bed

Cooper’s Schedule @6 months (2 naps)
7:00 milk & solids
9:00 nap
11:30 milk & solids
2:00/2:30 nap
3:30/4:00 milk
5:30 solids
6:30 bath & milk
7:00 bed

My twins dropped the 3rd nap at 6 months of age. I knew they needed to drop the catnap because they started to refuse to sleep for the 3rd nap and if they did take the 3rd nap, they would stay awake longer at night before bedtime. I did not drop the catnap cold turkey with them though. I started trying to keep them awake until bedtime without a catnap. Some nights they could make it to bedtime without the 3rd nap and other nights they could not skip the catnap and would need to take it. Anna dropped the catnap much quicker than Molly. On some nights that they dropped the catnap, they had to go to bed earlier than 7pm, which is their normal bedtime. Even now at almost 8 months old, Molly still needs to go to bed earlier, around 6:30pm and Anna can make it to 7/7:30pm.

Twin’s Schedule @first half of 6 Months
7:00 Nurse & Solids
9:00-11:00 Nap
11:00 Nurse & Solids
1:00-3:00 Nap
3:00 Nurse
5:00- 5:30 Nap
5:30 Nurse & Solids
7:30 Nurse & Bed

Twin’s Schedule @Second half of 6 months
7am Nurse
8am Solids
9:00/9:15- 11:00 Nap (Molly goes down for a nap sooner than Anna)
11:00 Nurse
12:30 Solids
1:15/1:30- 3:30 Nap (Molly goes down for a nap sooner than Anna)
3:30 Nurse
5:00 Solids
6:30 Molly Bottle, Followed by Bed
7:00 Anna Nurse, Followed by Bed

Dropping the Second Nap
Around what age will they drop the 2nd nap? Typically between 15-18 months of age, but for some it could be as early as 12 months old.

I wrote a long post about moving from two naps a day to only one nap a day. Please read that post to get more information about dropping the second nap. http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/transition-from-two-naps-to-one-nap/

Personal Experience:
With both my son Cooper and my twin daughters, I found that I had to shorten the morning nap in order for them to be tired enough to still take a good afternoon nap. If my kids took a longer nap 1.5-2 hours in the morning, the afternoon nap started became shorter or they required a longer wake time in order to go to sleep for their second nap (making the second nap too late in the day and thus effecting bedtime). I shortened the morning nap to 1 hour and the afternoon nap was preserved this way and was usually about 1.5-2 hours in length.

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If you have a newborn, I bet you are looking forward to getting a longer stretch at night, at least longer than 3 hours. I really wanted to get my twin girls to sleep through the night as soon as possible so I could get some sleep. I have a toddler, who was only 18 months old when my twins were born. Therefore, it was very important that I get some good sleep so I could be my best to take care of not only the twins during the day, but my toddler too.

Dreamfeed
A dreamfeed is a feeding that you give typically around 10/11pm. Your baby has already gone to sleep for the night and you wake your baby to give him a feeding and then put him right back to bed. Typically, this feeding you don’t turn on the lights. You don’t talk to you baby. You don’t make eye contact. You don’t change a diaper unless it is really wet or poopy. You try to keep your baby almost asleep through the feeding and then place your baby back down in his crib or bassinet for the night. The goal of dreamfeeding is hopefully fill your baby up so that he or she will sleep longer through the night. This means, you the parent gets to sleep longer.

Cluster Feeding
Cluster feeding is feeding in short intervals in the late afternoon or early evening. Many mothers who breastfeed do this because their milk supply is not as high in the late afternoons or evenings. This also keeps your baby from getting as fussy in the evenings, during the dreaded “Witching” hours. Clusterfeeding also acts like dreamfeeding, in that you are trying to “tank-up” your baby with lots of feedings/ milk in order that he would sleep longer at night.

My personal experience:
My kids have not done that great with dreamfeeds. I am not really sure why because I know so many moms who swear by the dreamfeed. The dreamfeed really helped their baby sleep longer through the night. I found that dreamfeeding actually made my kids wake up more frequently. I think they thought that if I put them to be at 7pm and woke them at 10pm that they should wake up and eat every 3 hours through the night. Yikes!!! I did not want that to happen. But I have use dreamfeeds when there have been points in my twins lives when they go to bed super early- 6pm and I want them to sleep until 7am. When they go to bed at 6pm, I know they will not make it to 7am without needing a feeding. I would much rather feed them before I go to bed than at 4/5am. You know what I mean.

Now with my son, I never cluster fed him. He never really seem to need it, but in hindsight, I wish I had done it with him when he was a small infant because I think it would have helped him to sleep though the night quicker. I did cluster feed my girls, and I did it for a long time. Once I started to clusterfeed them, it was like magic and they started to sleep longer stretches for me. I also breastfeed so my supply is lower in the late afternoon/ evening and I think the girls needed to cluster feed in order to get enough milk to hold them over through the night. Check out the schedules I kept with my twins to see examples of the clusterfeeding in the late afternoons/ evenings. http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/infant-schedules-by-month-updated/

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