My 2 month old daughter sleeps great at night - 10ish through to 6ish, but only catnaps through the day (40 min max). She self settles most of the time and we follow the feed/play/sleep routine on about a three hour schedule roughly. Is this enough sleep and if not, how can I encourage her to sleep more? She will only go back to sleep if I hold her....
Our recommended baby sleep solution
Thank you for your recent enquiry about assisting your baby to sleep longer.
That’s fantastic that your daughter is sleeping so well at night, nice work! And great that you already have her in such a good routine and self settling herself.
For her day sleeps, I would certainly work on getting her to sleep for longer. There are two reasons for this – she may be getting tired during the day, and also she will be getting into a habit of cat-napping, which is much harder to change as babies get older.
I would suggest trying the following to increase her day sleeps:
Swaddling /wrapping is generally very helpful for helping a newborn sleep for longer, and can continue to be excellent for day sleeps for months to come. Is she still wrapped when she wakes after 45 minutes? It is well worth using swaddling during the day even if you don't use it at night.
Click here for my swaddling instructions. I recommend using a large, stretch cotton wrap for swaddling. At least 100x 100cm is essential, most ones in baby shops are only 70 x 100cm or smaller.
White noise is also excellent for helping a baby resettle into another sleep cycle during the day. Experiment to find the white noise that works for your baby, eg radio static dishwasher, vacuum, hairdryer. Remember to also play it louder than she is crying for it to be effective and leave it on for as long as you want her sleeping. So if she wakes after 45 minutes and is still wrapped, leave her listening to the white noise for 5-10 mins and see if she will resettle.
You might also want to try some movement, as this also recreates the conditions that your baby was used to and is why newborns like to fall asleep on mum. Try a bouncinette, hammock or best of all is an electric swing – these are incredible for day sleeps, and generally will get a swaddled baby to sleep in minutes and stay asleep for a couple of hours. Contact Baby on the Move to rent one or try your local toy library. These really are amazing and are an excellent way to develop a habit of much longer day sleeps.
Another option is to try a walk with her swaddled in the pushchair. A gravel road or bumpy path is great, as the extra bumping helps babies nod off. You can also try putting her in the pushchair if she won’t resettle after 45 mins, and try the walk then.
Are you using a dummy for settling? If not, it may be worth trying it when she wakes after 45 mins. There is no need to leave her crying, or get her up, if she will resettle quickly with the dummy. You can easily wean her off it later if you want to, around 4-5 months is a good time to do it. Or just use it as long as it takes to get into a habit of sleeping longer.