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Baby's Naps (6-11 mos)

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Sleep > Baby's Naps (6-11 mos)


General Questions about Baby's Naps More Topics about Baby Naps Related Pages

6-month-old will not take naps

May 2004

Hello- I have a 6 month old son who is not a fan of naps. No matter how I try, I cannot get him to take a nap and I need some ideas. I have checked the archives, but the suggestions were either for older children (or newborns) or for books that addressed the situation.

I have tried rocking him as I feed him and he does drift off. But the second I stand up and walk to the crib, he wakes up very angry, screaming until the tears pour. And he won't go back down, just cries inconsolably for up to 30 minutes in my arms. I cannot sit in the rocking chair all day as I do work from home and it just is not practical to rock him for each nap.

I have also tried putting him down as he is getting tired, thinking he may just play and nod off on his own. That hasn't worked and he just screams and yells until I return. I personally don't feel comfortable letting him wail until he drops into slumber land. My limit is 10 minutes.

When he first started daycare (at four months) they put him in a swing for each nap. I have asked them to stop that, as I believe it has led to this problem I now have. But I am fairly certain they continue the practice despite my objections.

My son is a smart cookie and will just refuse to nap. The odd part is that he is a great night sleeper. He goes down every night at 7pm, either awake or in a sleepy-post-bottle state. And I won't hear a peep from him. But this nap ordeal is out of control.

Any ideas? momma of a tired guy


Hi there, with tired guy.

I'm a mother of two (30 mos and 5-1/2 yrs). In each case, around six months, they tried to rid themselves of naps. So, I've been where you are.

Your memo didn't say: Has your son transitioned from tw0 naps to one yet? They do that between six months and 12 months. If you are still trying to get him down twice a day, try moving to a single mid day nap.

Keep in mind: Your baby needs to nap. Don't question if he does or not; or if he's transitioning out of them; or if he's just not ''much of a napper.'' At six months, he definitely needs to nap.

Babies are so easily trainable. As your son has learned that if he puts up a fight, he can stay awake and not miss anything. You need to get over your ''10 minute max'' of letting him cry. Do what you need to do to minimize the hardship on you: go into the back yard; use ear plugs; do what you need to do so that the crying is not just killing you. Play with your baby through the morning; maybe a good park and swing outting. Ensure that he's well fed and dry. Rock him and then put him in his crib and leave. If you do this,and he cries, he WILL cry himself to sleep. And the next day, that crying will be shorter and the next, shorter still. Eventually, he will be accustomed and ''programed'' to know that when he goes into the crib, he goes to sleep. Period. Right now, he's programed to cry for 10 minutes and then you will come get him. Goodluck! dht


HI, My experience with naps and my 6 1/2 month old is as follows: I read up in Weissbluth's book and Dr. Sears' and then made a plan of attack that worked for us (can't do the hours of crying thing). I tried very hard to learn her tired signals so that I could get her down before she was too tired. At first this was definitely close to 2 hours after she had gotten up from her last sleep but it is slowly lengthening, especially in the afternoon. Then I bring her upstairs for our ''going to sleep routine'' -- sitting in the rocker and singing or playing the lullaby for a few minutes with her in my arms and then lying her down, with pacifier and a safe toy close by. At this age (for my daughter) she knows she is tired but also that there are so many other interesting things to do... so she protests more now than a month or two ago, thus the pacifier and toy. She usually cries for a max of about 7 minutes (I can't let her scream her head off) and goes to sleep. If she is overtired, it is MUCH harder and she cries and can't settle herself very easily, if at all.

Like Weissbluth says, the morning nap is the easiest so I started with this one and she is generally ready to go back to bed every morning about 1 1/2 hours after she gets up. When I first started to focus on a nap routine she only napped 30 to 60 minutes at a stretch and now she goes longer -- I don't know if this is a factor of her sleep maturing or just finally getting into a good routine.

I spent several weeks of being pretty consistent with the routine and staying home many days in order to get her to be a good napper. I think it really takes consistency and hard work on the parents' part but then things fall into place (at least in my experience). I hope this helps. Good luck!! kristin


YOU ARE NOT ALONE. My daughter HATED taking naps in her crib when she was six months old. I found myself nursing her to sleep on my bed and then putting pillows around her so that she couldn't roll very far and even then I never left the room. Like your child, she was a great sleeper at night (though, she hated being put down and would cry for about 10 minutes unless I nursed her to sleep). At around 9 months, all of that changed. It took a few cio sessions to get her to sleep in her crib (I use the 15 minute theory...if she wasn't going down then, then I would wait an hour and try again) during nap time, but now she is great. I don't have any magical advice, but rather a ray of hope. :-) been there
I am the mother of 6-month-old twins. They both sleep well at night and go down awake in their cribs for nighttime sleep without objection. Morning naps are usually easy too. But about 6 weeks ago they started transitioning to 2 naps a day, and one baby became a terror in the afternoon. I couldn't get him to fall asleep, but he was obviously exhausted and miserable. I tried letting him cry but that didn't seem to work -- plus I have 2 babies so I have to worry about one waking the other.

So what I did was put him down in his crib every afternoon when he started to get tired. I also cut out all plans for the afternoons so I could concentrate on this problem.

If he cried I would first try to comfort him in his crib. If he was inconsolable I would rock him. Whatever afternoon naps I got from him tended to be too short (30 mins) -- I knew they were too short because he wasn't refreshed afterwards. So I would ''finish'' the afternoon nap in the stroller -- walk around with both of them for a couple of hours while they slept as best they could. But after about 6 weeks of this he is now settling into long afternoon naps. I don't know if just matured into it or whether he is now used to being put in his crib and has accepted it. He still has trouble falling asleep sometimes in the afternoon, so I will rock him to get him all-but-asleep (something I'm otherwise not willing to do -- but so far it hasn't compromised his ability to fall asleep on his own at other times of the day). Yesterday's afternoon naps was 2.5 hours long. Hurrah! Beth


6 month old: make a schedule for naps?

October 2002

We have been following the baby whisperer EASY plan and so far it is working relatively well with our 6 mo son. For bedtime we have a routine and a bedTIME that is relatively fixed and he goes right down, no problem. But for naps it seems to be hit or miss. Sometimes he is obviously tired but wails when we put him down until we pick him up again. Sometimes I comfort him through it and it takes about 20 minutes but other times I just pick him up and then 15-20 minutes later he goes down with little to no fussing so I don't push it often. My question is have other people found a scheduled naptime works better. Since bedtime is so easy and that is on time, I am wondering if naptimes would be better. Also how long is your naptime routine since ours is about 5 minutes but bedtime routine is about 30minutes so then he seems really ready. Thanks for any experience you can offer.


Hi - I'm a fellow Baby Whisperer fan and used EASY to get on a routine. My son is now almost a year old. He is really easy (ha!) to put down for naps/bedtime. We don't have a nap routine, but do have set naptimes. Most of the time they work. He goes down about 9-10am for his first nap and anywhere from 3- 5pm for his second nap - depending on how much activity he's had. We watch for his sleepy signs (usually rubbing eyes and generally fussy) as well as keeping an eye on the clock for approaching naptimes. We give him a blanky and his pacifier and down he goes. Every once in awhile he just won't go. I follow the Baby Whisperer and let him try to nap for about 30-45 minutes. If he is still playing around, we just get him up and skip that nap. As he's gotten older, the afternoon nap is hit or miss - the morning one is standard. He is so much happier on a routine where he knows exactly what and when to expect sleepy time. By the way, our bedtime routine is pretty easy too. After feeding and changing him, we read two stories and down for bed - always at 8:30pm. Good Luck! Julie
My daughter, now 13 months old, at 6 months was also great with bed time but had difficulty with naps. It wasn't so much that she wouldn't nap, but rather her napping schedule was all over the place and her naps were very short. I was very reluctant to schedule naps because I wanted to be responsive to when she seemed tired, but was SO glad we went with the schedule! At around 7 months we chose 2 nap times (about 9:45 and then 2:15), hoping she'd learn to sleep at least an hour at a time, which she did. Of course we were somewhat flexible with the times, but tried to be within 15 minutes of our stated nap time goals. Except for rare exceptions when we plan a long car nap (e.g., if we are going to visit cousins in San Jose), she always sleeps in her crib and we do a 10-minute wind-down routine before naps which includes milk and books. It took her 2-3 weeks for her to adjust, but for the last 5-6 months she has been napping very well: on schedule and for at least an hour at a time. And it is so nice to have a predictable schedule! I wish we had scheduled naps earlier! Liz O.
While the ''Baby Whisperer'' has sound advice on many fronts, ''Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'' endorses a more regimented and, it appears, more effective routine for naps. In short, nap times are rigidly scheduled. At this age, the first is at approximately 9am (after the baby has been awake for 2 hours) and the next at 1pm. Some babies need a third nap, but I haven't found that to be the case with my 6-month old daughter. According to the book, a nap of less than an hour (45 minutes at bare minimum) fails to be restorative enough to even count as a nap. But, don't be discouraged if your baby initially wakes after a short time. After a week or so of the schedule, the baby adapts, the crying upon being put in the crib minimizes, and the naps begin to lengthen. I adopted the scheduled nap strategy at about 4 months. Prior to that, like you, napping had been a bit ad hoc. This is better, and, critically, ensures that the baby is well rested. Plus, as a bonus, it allows you to better plan your day. As far as quiet-down routines, the ''Healthy Sleep Habits'' approach suggests a much longer period of time (up to an hour), but 10 minutes has worked fine for me. Even shorter at times. The key is consistency (e.g., pulling the shades, playing specific nap time music, reading a book together, etc.). Good luck!
I read ''Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'' when I was trying to figure out my baby's naps, and while I didn't use much of Weissbluth's advice I did notice that he was right about when babies needed naps. My son didn't have scheduled naps or bedtime exacly, but I found that about 3 hours after waking up - in the morning or after his last nap - he started getting tired again, and that's when I would put him down for his nap. Now that he's one its getting a little later, like 3.5 hours, but still he clearly starts getting tired around 3 hours after he wakes up. Our nap and bedtime routines are pretty short - go to the bedroom, read a few books, wrap him in his blankie say some soothing bedtime words and put him in bed. Hope this is helpful Alma

Extending 6-month-old's short naps

March 2002

My daughter is 6 months old and we are looking for ways to extend her daytime naps. Thankfully, she sleeps quite well at night (typically from 7:30pm until 6:30am with one feeding at 4-5am), and she doesn't have much trouble going down for naps (usually cries, sometimes loudly, for a few minutes and then falls asleep). But her naps rarely last more than 40-50 mintues (sometimes only 30 minutes). She sometimes wakes up and seems tired. I think she would be better off with longer naps. First, should I be concerned that her naps are so short, or is this common? Second, does anyone have suggestions as to how we might get her to sleep longer? We have tried short intervals (2 hours or less) between naps, and are now trying longer intervals - which doesn't seem to be working. I usually don't nurse her to sleep, but whether I do or not does not seem to matter. We have darkened her room and close the door during naps. Occassionally we let her cry when she wakes to see if she'll go back to sleep, but after 10-15 minutes of crying she is usually very wound up and I would rather not let her cry longer than this. Thanks for your responses! Liz


I had the exact experience with my daughter (now about 10 months old). She was also a good sleeper at night (generally slept straight for 11-12 hours) but didn't take very long naps (like yours, about 45 minutes). (I know, 45 minutes doesn't give you time to do anything!) I kept her on a two-nap per day schedule (put her to bed about two hours after she gets up, and then a three-hour interval, and then another nap), and hoped that they would eventually lengthen. Since she was about 7-8 mounths old (and was more active) the afternoon nap has begun to be much longer, until recently it is often close to two hours. So my advice, just hang in there, and don't give into the temptation to let her cat-nap.
As I recall, my daughter had short naptimes at this age too. She would take 20 minute naps though, ugh. What worked for me was time. Once she turned about 9 months old or so she had a real pattern down and would sleep for at least an hour, maybe 90 minutes in the am and then another hour+ in the afternoon. I know it is hard for you, because you really need the break, but as long as she is refreshed and not over tired it looks like she's got a good routine down -- for her. Most likely as she matures she'll be able to handle longer naps in the afternoon.
I remember one day when my son was less than 6 months old. He had four naps of 45 minutes each and was cranky all day. I was exhausted. The next day I let him cry himself back to sleep when he woke after 45 minutes. He was better rested as a result and as a result I was too. He got used to putting himself back to sleep after 45 minutes and now at 2 yrs. all his naps are at least 1.5 hours long and sometimes 3 hours long. I would recommend Weisbluth's book on sleeping since he does a good job of explaining what normal sleep patterns are and approximately how long the wake periods are between naps. Good luck!
My daughter, now 9 mos. old, has never been a good sleeper. Her naps, even still, are sometimes as short as 30 minutes. If we nap together, she'll stay asleep for 2-3 hours. Of course, we don't do this too often, unfortunately. One thing that does seem to help is getting to her quickly, nursing in a side-lie position, for just a few minutes and then she'll sleep for another 45-60 minutes. She's pretty well rested then. A trick my child-care provider taught me is to gently vibrate/bounce the bed with my hands positioned on either side of body until she falls asleep again - usually 1-2 minutes. I hope this helps. Good luck.
I'm a few months farther down that same road (my son is almost 9 months). We're still figuring things out too. Our son has never been a great sleeper. Around six months he was doing the exact same thing as your daughter -- 2-3 very short naps each day. I am noticing that as our son gets more mobile his sleep habits improve (or maybe he's just maturing). His nighttime sleep habits are similar to your child's, but he is taking one 2-3 hour nap per day (usually in the AM) and one shorter one, most days. I would just concentrate on following her cues and maintaining some kind of structure to her day. I really recommend the ''baby whisperer'' books for advice on following baby's cues. I guess my message is just hang in there -- it will get better!
I have a 5mo, and her naps vary widely (course she's the 4th child, so she is disturbed by her siblings from time to time). She's never slept by herself though - she just sleeps in the sling and her naps can range from 15 min to an hour. Why not put your baby in a sling and continue with your day - she'll love the rhythms of your body, the warmth of your body and feel snug and warm close to you.
I'm sorry but I don't have specific advice for how to extend a nap. It seems to me that you're doing everything right at this stage. I always felt that getting them to sleep was the biggest challenge, but how long they slept was somewhat up to them and their needs and internal clock. I can say, however, that my twins rarely napped for more than 20 - 30 minutes at a time for the first six months of their life. Right around their six-month birthday, they very suddenly started taking longer naps -- 1+ hours. It was as though someone flipped a switch, and they suddenly started napping longer. I know that you're concerned and frustrated enough to post a question, but please know that things change constantly for babies at this age. What may seem like a serious problem for you at this stage may change drastically tomorrow. I would say that you need to focus on the positives -- having a six month old that sleeps so well at night is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE! And, it sounds as though she is napping, although not as well as you would like. As someone who is still getting up at night with 18 month olds, I would say focus on what is going right and be confident that she will get the rest during her daytime naps that she needs. good luck!
My now 10-month-old didn't really start any sort of regular nap schedule until he was 7 to 8 months old. Even then, when he started taking 3 regular naps, they were quite short (an hour absolute max). It wasn't until recently -- in fact, when he started crawling, about a month ago -- that he actually started sleeping for an hour and a half or two hours, twice a day. I think that, if she is sleeping well at night (my son still isn't!) that you probably shouldn't worry too much about naps.
Your child is sleeping like a champ at night. Do you really want to mess with that? You could presumably keep her up later at night and see how she copes with it, but I think your expectations of what your child needs are working at odds at what she is telling you. It is not unusual for children at this age to take short naps. When they begin to crawl vigorously and then to walk is often the stage where the naps will lengthen, but every child is different. The worst thing you can do to yourself (and your child) is presuppose his/her biological clock and expect certain things that aren't the reality. This only leaves you frustrated to no end. And leaving her for a time after she wakes up will add to negative associations she may be making with nap time and result in a grumpy post nap period. Be thankful that your child has such great night sleeping hours.
My 9-month old daughter has had the same issue at times. I usually just lay down next to her and nurse her back to sleep, especially if she still looks tired after a forty minute nap. She usually falls back asleep and sleeps a total of 1.5-2.5 hours. Picking her up and taking her out of the room does not seem to help. Another option is rocking her back to sleep and rubbing her head. Good Luck.

How long to try cry-it-out for 6-mo-o's naps?

June 2006

A week or two ago all my tricks for getting my 6 1/2-month-old son to nap stopped working, and I decided he needed to learn to fall asleep on his own since I could no longer help him down. I had reluctantly resorted to cry-it-out for nighttime sleeping a couple of weeks before that (the Weissbluth method, with no periodic checks) and it had worked pretty well, so I decided to try it for naps too. So now we have a nap ritual of a lullaby in the rocking chair, and then I put him in his crib with a pacifier and lovie, and walk out the door.

It's been a little over a week now, and my son still frequently cries for a full hour after I put him down. Sometimes he then drifts off for a 20-minute nap, sometimes he doesn't nap at all, and occasionally he's so exhausted that he'll sleep a couple of hours after the hour of crying. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out doing this -- it's really hard listening to him cry so long, and it makes me feel terribly guilty. If I were seeing some results it would be easier, but I'm not. How long should this be taking?? Does the fact that my son is still crying so much after a whole week mean that cry-it-out just isn't right for him, or should I not be expecting results so quickly? What have other people's experiences been? Thanks! Feeling Guilty


We did sleep ''training'' for our 6.5 mo. old about a couple of months ago, with great success. He has a lovey and no paci at night. But for naps, I still find he needs some soothing. I put him in his crib and he plays for a while, then I need to go in and talk to him a little once or twice. Other naps we snuggle in bed, sometimes starting out with a paci, or strolling. This does not affect bedtime, he has his own ''routine'' and goes to sleep with no crying at night. I understand it's not unusual for babies to need help especially with that last afternoon nap, and it works for us to soothe him so he gets some quality sleep and then sleeps better at night Napping is tough
I have to admit that though we stuck with the cry it out for night time, we caved on the cry it out for naps after one day. Our son wanted to sleep in our bed for naps, and we figured that as long as he was sleeping and we didn't have to be in there with him it probably didn't hurt. But we were firm about him sleeping in his own crib at night. I think the only thing you'd have to be careful about is not letting him think that the way to get out of a nap is to cry for an hour. You might try letting him cry for 5 minutes and then go get him and try putting him down for a nap a little later in the day.
I feel for you, and your still very wee one. I struggled a great deal with sleep, with both of my children. But in hindsight, I must say I think this whole ''cry it out'' is a bit of a fad. I think your little guy is letting you know that he doesn't have the ability (which i think is about his neurology) to do what you want him to do because it's more convenient. To be alone, crying, and to have no response from the one you look to to organize, manage, digest the world around you I believe is harmful. Not for short periods, of course, but an hour for over a week? How can napping be anything but frightening. And I'm sure if you stick with not responding to him it will eventually ''work,'' but at what cost. And I guess how to make it safe and comfotable for him to sleep, to let go of you is the question. Can you try letting him sleep in a sling until his system matures, until he is able to make use of managing being put down on his own more gently. Or will he sleep in a playpen or whatever in the room where you are and be soothed by your presence enough to sleep. I believe it's instinctive that wee ones be close - to them it's about feeling safe Good Luck
Big Weissbluth fan here too. There is no ''one size fits all''. Was your baby colicky as a younger infant? He might not be ready for the approach you are trying. Instead just let him cry 5, 10 or 15 minutes and if he is still crying, go get him and try the nap again later. You don't mention his waking and bedtimes and what time he is going down for the supposed naps. All of those are relevant. HSH

6 mo. old baby won't nap - mom needing help

March 2006

My 6 month old daughter will not take a nap. I used Dr. Ferber's method to get her to sleep at night (with success) but I cannot get it to work during the day. I am at my wits end because this child fusses and rubs her eyes all day long but will not sleep. We have a routine and everything. I get nothing done and I am feeling very angry and frustrated. I dont enjoy her nearly as much as I could if I could just get a break!!!! any helpful ideas are very much welcome!!! Krista


OK... so we had this problem with our almost 5 month old.I would watch his eyes start to shut and he would force them open. You could see him fight it. You know the book Happy Baby Healthy Sleep Habits? By Marc Weissbluth? We had a phone consultation with the man himself -it was not cheap, but we were desperate. Anway, he would probably say she wasn't getting enough sleep at night...And that she had to do that before she could properly organize her day sleep - this was his solution for us: Temporarily put her to bed at 5:30. Do your wind down routine for as long as you like before 5:30. but at that time lights out...Don't get her until at least 9:30 (even if she is crying the whole time - ours cried for maybe 40 minutes max one night and now goes down easily). Don't check on her, just let her do her thing until she falls asleep. Feed her at 9:30 or whenever she wakes up after that. Then, don't get her til 4:00 for her next feed(if she doesn't sleep through it - sounds like you have her doing well at night, she just may need more). At the earliest, go to her at 6AM to begin the day. Then put her down for a nap at 9AM (if she can make it that long... but make 9AM the goal). Be prepared to leave her there for one full hour. If she cries the whole time, then get her at the end and try to keep her up until 11:30ish. No car rides or stroller rides any earlier. If she sleeps, then she should get another nap around 12:30 or 1 (really, just whenever she is showing you those sleep cues again)... again... be prepared to leave her alone for one full hour. She will eventually sleep and get into this nap schedule. He says it takes some kids awhile before they really get into a schedule. Watch the baby, not the clock. Ours needs a third tiny nap at around 2:30 or 3. But no matter what, wake her at 4 so she can go to bed at 5:30. When the naps are more established, start pushing her bed time back to somewhere between 6 and 8. Feel free to ask questions if this doesn't make sense. Good luck! Jenny
hi there- i'm sure you've tried everything and I hope you get a solution soon! I have a 5 1/2 month old- we are really lucky and she usually sleeps well at night but not a big napper- one thingthat worked is to lie in bed and nurse her, then stay there and let her sleep- i found she would wake slightly and if she couldn't find her thumb she would get frustrated and wake all the way up- by staying near her, I could help put her thumb in her mouth, and i kept a pacifier handy- just for getting her to sleep-I also have a mobile over her crib and would put her in her crib with the mobile on every 2 hours or so- even for 10-15 mins while i put her clothes away, made the bed,etc..this seems to have gotten her used to some 'alone' time and she even started falling asleep while in there- FInally, at night, her room is cold so we have a small heater that has a fan, this seems to provide enough white noise for her to sleep- we now leave it on all night bc when we would turn it off at 10:30 or so, she would wake shortly therafter- GOOD LUCK! dml
Hi-- I don't think it's uncommon to have a baby who doesn't nap much (mine needed 3 20-minute catnaps a day at 9 months). She might shift to a long midday nap later (mine did, around 15 months). Some of this sounds like a basic boundaries issue. If you are clear that sometimes you need a break, then it's your job to set up a safe, quiet situation where she expects to be left alone and where it's her job to entertain herself. Naturally, she's going to object at first. It's not unlike putting her down to sleep by herself at night. Your instincts will be to comfort her, but you also have to teach her to deal with your needs and expectations. You should make distinctions between what she NEEDS and what she WANTS (you will be dealing with that for the rest of your parenting days). If you are clear on this, she will get it eventually. If you don't want to leave her in a room by herself, you could try lying down together on a blanket for ''quiet time'' when you read or listen to music, and she plays quietly. If you need to nap, then she should be in a playpen or crib-- or watched by someone else. Please try, if you can, not to succumb to the temptation to park her in front of a videotape, at least for a couple of years. anonymous
I know how you feel. Napping was always difficult with my son. One thing that always worked was to do something with him that got him more physically tired right before nap time. I started swim classes with him around that time, and on swim class days, he would fall asleep in the car on the way home, every time. Going out for a walk in the sun (with him in the sling or stroller) also worked. Also - have you tried a sling? Slings are great for getting babies settled and sleepy. They are warm and cozy and happy, and they just relax into it. anon
My son, who is now 7 mo. old wouldn't nap either until the last two weeks. I was going crazy-wanting to enjoy him, but needing a break. He wasn't fussy, so I didn't know if he needed to nap. I talked with my friend who is a mom and a pediatrician and she said we could try having him in his crib for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon-even if he cried the whole time. We have been doing this the last two weeks more consistently and he is finally learning how to nap. One important thing is to put him down for his first nap about two hours after he wakes up. If I do it later, he won't go down. So I usually try to put him down around 8:30 or 9:00 and 1:00. It's still a struggle, and he cried a lot (so did I), but he is getting it and I am feeling saner.

Some other things we tried included making his room darker and putting the rocking chair in there. Also, we put him in a sleep sack both for naps and at night and this seems to signal to him that sleep time is coming. Although he can still talk and fuss and cry a long time still - he is usually going to sleep. Hang in there! K


My daughter is not a great sleeper either. I can usually rock her to sleep but it can be a pain & take a lot of time. I use the New Native Carrier to help w/ naps. When she's tired I put her in and start doing chores. She's content in the carrier and then falls asleep. I can then set her down in the crib. Jennifer
i used dr. weissbluth's method (similar to ferber without the going in and out of the room). so pretty much you leave them and walk away, even if they are crying. and if they cry during their entire nap, well, that is their nap. it sounds cold, but i used it on my son and he is a great napper. he is 10 months old now. he didn't become a regular napper until about 7 months. and we did have a few tough moments, but he actually ''asks'' for his naps now and we never have crying. it is a relief for me, and i feel like i am doing the right thing for him since he is always happy during the day and rarely cries at all. good luck! beth
I hear you. My son is also 6 months old and only just started napping in the crib. For months I did whatever it took to get him to nap: carrying him in the sling, holding him in my lap, driving him around, nursing him in my bed. Time- consuming, yes, but least he was well-rested and pleasant when he was awake! Even now I don't just set him down and expect him to fall asleep, though -- I nurse him to sleep and set him down (carefully!) in his crib, where he will stay asleep for 40-90 minutes; I usually have to swaddle him first. He's Napping Right Now

6-month-old's long naps at unpredictable times

March 2005

My daughter has always slept a lot, long naps and short periods of wakefullness about 45min long. Her naps were never at consistent times which I thought might have attributed to her getting tired quickly so at five months I tried to put her on a schedule keeping her up longer to nap around 9am and 1pm (As told to by weissbluth), the standard times for babis her age. That did not work, she just became more and more tired as the days went on, being awake too long shortened her naps, compiling her fatigue and making her not sleep well at night, sometimes it tok her an hour to fall back asleep after waking to feed. I gave up on putting her on a schedule, she is 6 months old and her naps are so hit or miss and it seems likes she only naps well after being up for 20 to 30 min and it is very easily overtired. I would love for her to ba able to stay up longer. She gets plenty of sleep at night with bedtime from 5:30 to 6:30, wake up around 6:30 to 7. Will she get used to staying up longer if I just keep at it for weeks instead of days or will she just go crazy with fatigue? Has anyone else been through this? Suggestions please. bpp


Two things to keep in mind. First, some babies need more sleep than others. A 6-month-old can sleep 14-16 hours a day, which means that she might only be up for maybe 8 hours out of 24.

Also, not all babies respond well to a schedule. Some are temperamentally ''irregular'' -- meaning they eat, sleep, and eliminate at unpredictable times. So while some babies are so regular and easy to schedule that you could set your clock by them, some are not, and it's better not to push them too hard to be (our son was like this). While you can gently try to move them toward a schedule over the course of months, it's much better, more productive, and healthier all round to let them sleep when they are tired and eat when they are hungry while they are babies. As they move through toddlerhood and the preschool years, they will start to respond better to schedules -- although they may never like them as well as other kids.

On the plus side, they won't need them as much either, and will be much more amenable to staying up an hour late now and then, or eating a bit earlier or later, to adjust to YOUR schedule! Karen


Getting 6-month-old to nap in his crib

March 2004

My 6 month old has never napped in a crib. Either I would nurse him to sleep and sit holding him until he woke up, or I would walk with him in the sling or baby bjorn, and keep wearing him until he woke up. It never worked to put him anywhere else once he was asleep, and with a couple of rare exceptions he wouldn't sleep in a stroller either. Unfortunately, though, he is a very big baby, and it is getting harder and harder to wear a 21+ lb. baby for hours at a time. At the same time, his nighttime sleep, very good at about 3 months, has deteriorated so much that we eventually, after trying many many things, in desperation decided to try Ferber. Last night was the second night, and although it still took him about 40 minutes to fall asleep he slept through from 7:00 until 6:15 am (2 nights ago while co-sleeping he woke up almost every hour!). Naps, however, have yet to work at all, and as much success as we've had with Ferber for nighttime sleeping, I'm worried that his naptime advice (do the same thing for an hour then just get him up if he's still not asleep) isn't going to work for a young baby who has never slept in his crib during the day. He just doesn't seem to know what to do, and he's so miserable it breaks my heart! Has anyone had any luck teaching their baby to take a nap in a crib? I've read the postings on the website, but nothing seems quite the same.


Your e-mail reminded me so much of how it was with our baby (now almost two). He also never napped in a crib or any place other than in my lap or in the sling until he was 6 mos. Then, like you, I started to notice how heavy he was getting. Anyway, we worked on nighttime sleep first and once he settled somewhat into a routine, we tackled naps. I remember worrying that he wasn't getting enough sleep but it did all work out eventually. We let him cry a little but if he cried too long I just gave up on that particular nap or rocked him to sleep. It got better gradually and now he's a great napper and nighttime sleeper too. I think the key is to do it gradually and accept that it might be a little rough during the transition but you will all get through it. Good luck! Jamie
My baby doesn't nap in her crib either. I tried putting her down a few times, but she always woke up when I set her down and I wasn't comfortable with letting her cry. Our routine now is for me to nurse her to sleep in my bed and then quietly slip away when I she's fully asleep. It actually works out well as I have an older daughter that shares her room (and would not want to be quiet and away from her toys for naptime.) She takes at least one good nap a day this way. Elizabeth
I had the same problem with my now two-year-old daughter. I don't know if my solution will be helpful because what ended up working for me was a lot of work. Nevertheless, she now naps in her crib and continues to co-sleep at night. Since I found that my daughter would nap readily with me right next to her, I actually climbed into the crib with her, nursed her to sleep, and carefully climbed out. While that did eventually work, it was clumsy, uncomfortable, and despite being a small woman made me worry that the crib would collapse under my weight. After that I simply nursed her down in my bed and carefully transfered her to the crib. All of this takes a lot of practice, because your baby will nap most readily under conditions which are familiar. Once my daughter got used to the idea that crib equals nap she eventually became comfortable with being put into her crib. It also helped to develop a nap-time routine, more familiarity made her more relaxed. She came to understand that a book and a song in the afternoon meant a nap was in the works. Keep in mind that babies are creatures of habit. They fear change, so anything new won't work at first. It's going to take some time and energy, but eventually once whatever you chose to do (including Ferberizing) becomes routine it will work. Be patient. MEG
boy do i hear you. my now almost 3 year old had a similar difficulty. he only nursed to sleep and when at 6 months he started waking every hour, we also did ferber at night which worked beautifully at night. at 9 months old and 2 years old, 2 separate times for 2 weeks each i tried ferber methods for naps and it didn't work either time. however, i think i might not have been consistent enough (ie I would nurse him still before hand and if he fell asleep within a second which every other day he was tired enough to do, i let him). at 2 yrs 9months, i weaned him and lay down with him at naps and he goes to sleep almost every day still (took a few days of protest). but i've never gotten him to nap on his own. good luck! been there

7-mo-old's inconsistent and too-short naps

May 2006

Hi. Our 7 month old is finally sleeping through the night, but his naps (that he desperately needs) are totally inconsistent and often short. We are on a 3 nap a day schedule so we can put him down at 7PM. One day he'll sleep 45 minutes in the morning, an hour and a half at noon and then another 45 in the afternoon... the next day he'll barely nap for 30 minutes each time. Any suggestions? He definitely needs the sleep as we catch him yawning all of the time Jenny


Three thoughts:

1) My 8 1/2 month old son only has three naps a day if one of the first two naps was too short (we aim for three hours of naps a day) so it sounds like you're right that he's in need of sleep. Time to consolidate those naps!

2) A 30-minute nap sounds like he isn't making it past his first brief awakening -- yet he sleeps all night, so he knows how to put himself back down. Could some environmental factor be waking him? Hunger, light, noise, heat?

3) We found the Trixie Tracker baby-tracking software (online at www.trixietracker.com) very useful for noticing patterns and problems -- and solutions! -- in our son's sleep. You may think his naps are inconsistent, but wait until you see a graph of 30 days' worth of naps all lined up. The visual presentation may help you see a connection that you never knew about before. (Plus it's fun.)

Best of luck! Nicole


Naps: Will 7-mo-old ever fall asleep without crying?

March 2006

We are using Weissbluth's ''extinction'' method for naps and while it is working, my 7 month old is still crying before falling asleep for every nap, usually for at least 10 minutes. We have been working on this method for almost three weeks now. Will she ever fall asleep without crying? I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried this method for an anti-napping baby. And please, I don't need to hear lectures about crying it out being mean - we started out as full-on Dr. Sears attachment parents but our baby would not nap or sleep at night and we were going crazy. We tried everything, all the no-cry methods, including attempting to nurse her down, spending most of our days walking around with the baby in the sling, etc. and she wouldn't sleep or nap well and was always crabby and we were all miserable. Now she is so much happier, I can't believe the difference, but I would love to hear that the crying will end soon. We also used Weissbluth's method for nighttime sleeping at about 5.5 months and it worked wonderfully - after a week or so she started falling asleep in her crib instantly with no crying; it is amazing! -Hoping to have a no-cry existence soon


I too am a big fan of weissbluth after trying all no cry approaches and our baby too is much happier. my only advice would be to look at your timing - what has helped me is making a chart where I put nap times on it - start & end & how much crying - I know, sounds obsessive but it helps so much. perhpas you are a little late with the nap or a little early - I find if my timing is good (our little one is now 12 mths) there is no crying. I would try pushing later 15 minutes a day -- at differnt ages babies are more able to stay awake longer. Also our son has a ''lovey'' that is his signal that its time to go to bed - -that helps SO much. good luck
Hi, Our 9-month-old hates napping, too. She has since the beginning. We started as proponents of the crying out method. But like you, we tried all the methods to see what worked best. We also found that the crying out method worked best for our baby. However, our daughter still hates to nap and still cries often when we put her down during the day varying 2-15 minutes. I just met some parents with a 3-year-old, who said that their son was the same way and still fights naps! That wasn't too encouraging. :( But, we also have some family friends with a 1.5-year-old that was the same way. She stopped fussing before naps around 10 months. I think it's one of those things that you have to wait and see...

There have been a couple times when I questioned our method because of her crying. So I got her up and tried nursing her to sleep. She didn't sleep and how we regretted it! This was an excellent reminder as to why we have been doing what we are doing. The up side, however, is that she doesn't always cry and she is moving towards the shorter durations of crying before napping. ceme


My middle child, who is now almost four, cried every time I put her down for a nap for almost a year. She is an extremely intense person and would cry (really scream) for less than five minutes and then fall asleep for two hours. I had read that some babies cry to release tension and it seems that is what she was doing. She is a great sleeper (I also read the Weissbluth) and I do not think that the little bit of crying she did before her naps was harmful to her. Joan
yes!!! i have been working toward the schedule since my baby was born (my sister referred me to the book). it works. it may take a little time since you started a little later, but i can tell you my 9 month old LOVES his crib and LOVES his naps. he ''asks'' for them. he sleeps from 6:30pm - 5am for a feeding then back to sleep until 7am on the dot. he also takes about 3 hrs of naps a day. he didn't get on a regular schedule until about 7 months, though. now he even goes to sleep awake and talks to himself in the crib for a minute before nodding off. let me know if you have any questions. beth

7-mo-old sleeps irregularly during the day - schedule?

August 2003

I have a 7 1/2 month old daughter. She sleeps great at night - no problems - 10 to 11 hours like clockwork. She is a terrible napper though. She sleeps irregularly during the day, which makes it difficult for me to plan by day and hers. Should I just suck it up and not complain because she is such a good night sleeper, or try to put her on a nap schedule? I've tried to put her down in her crib when she's sleepy but she's stubborn and wins the ''cry it out'' battle. It's like the crib is for night sleeping only Heidi


My daughter also had great sleep at night, but disorganized naps until around 9 months. I also didn't like the ''cry it out'' routine, so I tried to avoid that. I just kept trying to get her on a schedule, and eventually her naps lengthened and got more consolidated. A great book is Weissbluth' ''Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child''. It gives you milestones on what you can expect from kids' sleep at each age. At this age, if I recall correctly, I was putting my daughter down about every 2 hours, and then sometime between now and 9 months, started moving towards just a morning nap before 9A (within 2 hours of waking), and then an afternoon nap between 12 - 1. Those are the most optimal times for naps, according to Weissbluth, and it has seemed so for my daughter, and previously, for my son. It seems that her naps lengthened when I went to the 2 nap plan. Good luck! kelly
I was in the exact position as you are when my daughter was 7 months old. She slept very well at night, but took multiple short naps during the day and I was pulling my hair out. But I thought putting her on a schedule would be for my benefit and not hers, so I resisted. However, putting her on a schedule was GREAT for both of us. Given her normal daily cycle and other convenience considerations, we decided to put her down for 2 naps a day, one at 10am and one at 2pm. Given that she was waking early, she was tired by 10 and after a couple of days she slept from about 10 until 11 each morning. Three hours of being up was then enough to have her pretty tired again by 2, and after the first couple of days she started sleeping from about 2-3 each afternoon. These hour-long naps were so much better for her than the 20-30 minute naps she had been taking. Even if your child cries I would stick it out for a few days so that you can really see whether or not the schedule you've chosen works. I know it is very hard to tolerate the crying, but for many children it is really the quickest way to help them to learn to fall asleep on their own. Good luck! Liz O.

8-month-old suddenly not napping

March 2008

HELP! My formerly sleep-loving baby suddenly stopped napping and I'm going insane. She's 8 months, and has always been a big napper - 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon. Until about 2 weeks ago when suddenly her afternoon nap dropped to 1/2 hour. Her morning nap is usually from 9:30-11:00 or 11:30, then she's exhausted again by 2 but only sleeps 1/2 hour. It's barely time for me to pee and make a sandwich! We generally put her to bed at 7, she wakes to nurse around 4 am, and goes back to sleep till 7. Now she'd probably go to sleep earlier, but whenever we've tried it she's been up for the day at 5 am!!! Which doesn't work for us... She doesn't seem ready to consolidate to one nap, as she's crashing by 9:30 am. Her 4 top teeth just broke through, so I assume that's related, but it's been 2 weeks and she doesn't seem to be sleeping any better, plus her night sleep is still fine. Any advice on how to get the afternoon nap back, even a little? need a nap myself


Here is the good news and the bad news... First, the good news... This is perfectly normal. The bad news... Your in the transition phase of the one nap a day child which will turn into a nap in the early afternoon. This is developmentally appropriate and make sure you feed your baby a good solid lunch between 11 and 11:30 and prepare for the 2-3 hour nap (yes, 3 hours!). (This napping business varies due to genetics and other factors such as disturbances that might wake your child.) Good luck! Nanny in the know
I feel your pain! I am going through the same thing, and the advice I've heard from moms on the playground is that I should try to make the morning nap as late as possible. Take my girl for a walk, distract her with play, whatever. If I can get that nap a little later (right now it's at 10 or so in the morning) then the afternoon might be a little shorter for her, and she won't get so tired in the evening. My daughter is 11 months old, and most parents have told me that I am lucky to have had two naps for so long. I think this is normal. michele
I would keep to her regular schedule and keep the faith - it's not uncommon for babies to have ups and downs in the length of naps. You might try putting her down a touch earlier for the afternoon nap to avoid missing her ideal nap window, but it seems like the issue is that she's waking up too quickly rather than having trouble falling asleep, so I'm not sure that would work. Dr. Weissbluth (''Happy Baby, Healthy Sleep Habits'') recommends leaving nappers in their cribs for a full hour even if they have trouble falling asleep and/or wake up earlier. I have to say that I still do that with my 2.5 year old even if he doesn't nap at all. I think the quiet time is good for him and it gives me a break. She may cry a little bit but we've also found that if we get him out of the crib when he's crying he's bound to be cranky for the rest of the day, whereas if we leave him he'll often go back to sleep for anywhere from 5 minutes to another hour and then wake up happy as a clam. I know not everyone can stomach crying related to sleep, but remember that sleep is an important part of brain development and having her feel overtired all afternoon is not good for anyone! Just a thought. Nina
You have to get HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS, HAPPY CHILD. It saved me when my kids were transitioning from 3 to 2 naps. It also helped me systematically sleep train them. Your daughter sounds alot like my 10-month old when her afternoon nap was disappearing instead of her morning nap. I suggest pushing your daughter's morning nap to 10am. Get her really stimulated from when she wakes up and put her down again at 2pm. This will take a few days and trials but hopefully it'll work. You have to get the book, he gives a lot of explanation and reasons why kids wake up and possible solutions. And you're right, she definitely needs 2 naps and a 5am wake-up call is not fun at all! Good Luck! Anon
My now 13 month old started taking 30 min. naps when she was 3 weeks old. It varied over the past year as to how many she took during the day (plus getting up once at night to eat), but she's been at two 30-min. naps per day since she was 10 months old. My now 6 yr. old was exactly the same way. You could set a clock by these two, almost 30 mins. exactly every time. To be honest, there's nothing you can do about it. I can't get as much done during the day, and since this is my second, I guess I'm more relaxed about it, but it's exhausting and frustrating at times, for sure. You can't force them to sleep more. It's their internal clock. Several people have told me, in all seriousness, that kids who don't need much sleep are often very intelligent; they're very hyper-aware and are extremely in tune to their surroundings. Though my son is only in kindergarten, he's a pretty smart cookie, very emotionally sensitive and mature. I'll chalk it up to the 30-min. naps, even if it's just to make myself feel better. Good luck...the first year is always the hardest. I think when I finally just accepted the 30 min. naps instead of fighting it, I was a lot less stressed. Shelley

Gentle Approach to Our 8-mo-old's Nap Problems?

Jan 2007

Our 8-month-old's naps have gone from bad to worse. We seem to have gotten the bedtime and nighttime problems fixed, but the naps are still a nightmare. We have a consistent and early bedtime routine and we did end up doing CIO a few months ago. For the last 3 months his bedtime and nighttime have been going really well – he soothes himself to sleep and he wakes once to eat and then right back to sleep. As for his naps...He still needs to be rocked to sleep while sucking on a finger. Then we transfer him to his bouncy chair or our bed. He wakes if we put him in his crib. We have tried to let him CIO, but he’ll cry well beyond his entire naptime and then he gets so freaked out that it starts to affect his bedtime/nighttime routine, as well as not solve the nap problems. The last time I tried CIO, he was extremely clingy with me for many days afterward. We were wondering if anyone has any thoughts or advice on how we can transition him to the crib and teach him to soothe himself in a more gentle way. Or does anyone have a recommendation for a sleep consultant who doesn’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach? Thanks! Anon


niether of my children napped well or consistently until they were at least a year old. don't fret about it. drive him around if he seems tired during the day. it will get better. mom of nappers

8 month old naps three times a day

May 2006

Is there anyone out there who has an 8 1/2 month old that still naps three times a day? He's tired two hours after he gets up, naps 45 min. to an hour or an hour and 20 minutes. 2 to 21/2 hours after that he's tired again and naps another 45 minutes or an hour and then depending on the lenght of that nap naps again 2 1/2 hours later. Is this normal? It seems most 8 month olds nap twice day? Thanks


My 8 month old also naps 3 times a day. She ususally needs her first nap only an hour to 90 minutes after getting up in the morning, then her second nap another 90 minutes after getting up from her first nap. I'm aware that she takes more naps than most babies her age, but I'm not worried about it. Weissbluth in ''Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child'' says 16% of babies 5-8 months old need 3 naps, and the third nap usually disappears by the 9th month. So allowing for natural variation across babies, I'm sure ours are fine. He does say that if the 3rd nap continues much past that age it can lead to bedtime battles, and to try to eliminate that nap and have an earlier bedtime. I'm going to go with her own schedule for a while longer before trying to manipulate it Sarah
If your baby is happy, goes down easily, and seems refreshed by his naps, why fight it? He'll let you know when he's ready to give up nap #3 by not being willing to go to sleep anymore. A wide range of nap schedules is common at this age, as far as I can remember anon
My 8 1/2 month old son only has three naps a day if one of the first two naps was too short (he likes three hours of naps a day). (I try to prevent a third nap since it can delay bedtime.) I'd say 90% of kids of their age have consolidated their naps into two.

Seems like your son should be stretching out the length of time between naps. Since he wants to sleep so much during the day, I wonder about the quality of his night-time sleep. He sounds overtired. My son is awake about 12 hours in a 24-hour period, with this generalized schedule:

Wake up
2.5 hours later, nap
Wake up
3.5 hours later, nap
Wake up
4.5 hours later, bedtime at 8:00 pm
(He's a crummy night-time sleeper, though!)
If you find analyzing his schedule useful, and you want to see graphs showing the sleep schedule of hundreds of other kids, I recommend Trixie Tracker baby tracking software. It's Web-based at www.trixietracker.com. It's very useful for noticing sleep patterns and problems -- and solutions! The visual presentation of his sleep may help you see connections that you never knew about before. (Plus it's fun.) Good luck! Nicole
Our now 10.5 month old baby also napped 3 times a day when she was 8 months old. It was only just recently when she hit 10 months that she finally transitioned to 2 naps a day of 1-1.5 hours each (before, it was 30-45 minutes only!). She also started pulling up to stand and crawls more (don't know if that has anything to do with it). I was worried because I pretty much follow Marc Weissbluth's book and according to it, babies should drop their 3rd nap at 9 months. Now she wakes between 6-7, naps between 9-10 and again between 1-2 and goes to sleep between 6-7. Hope this helps! been there

8-month-old naps for dad but not mom

April 2006

My 8 month old daughter will not nap for me. If i try to put her down she will cry for half and hour and sleep for half an hour. If my husband puts her down she will not cry and sleep for anywhere from an hour to two hours. We do not do anything drastically different!!! She also seems to fuss more in general with me????? any clues, hints, ideas, suggestions, anything would be greatly appreciated Krista


Our daughter, now 2-3/4, is the same way. We worked with a consultant to teach her how to sleep through the night, but we have never gotten her to go to sleep by herself for a nap when I (mommy) am at home. She goes down without a problem at day care and for her other mom. I went through a period of a few weeks when I tried to let her cry it out at nap times, but because I could not reinforce it during the week when I was at work, she never learned. She just cried for the entire hour of her nap. Our sleep consultant suggested that if it worked to nurse her down for naps, to just do whatever it took so that she'd at least take a nap at some point when I'm there. So I just gave in. I nurse her at nap times, she falls asleep really quickly, and will sleep for 45 mins. to an hour, then I go back in and lie down with her for another 15-30 minutes or I just let her get up. At day care she sleeps for 2 hours, but not at home. We're just glad she's still taking naps! Anon

When will 9-month-old stop crying before naps?

April 2008

So, we've been partially successful in terms of Cry it Out. Our 9.5-month-old is now sleeping through the night 10-11 hours successfully and usually takes two naps/day. The thing is, we've been pretty consistent about putting him down for naps with a bottle/nursing and some singing, shut shades, fan, etc. Then put him in his crib & let him do his thing. Except once/week when he's at my mom's ... I can't control how she gets him to sleep. And also sometimes because of work & other schedules he sleeps in the car (and often doesn't take a very long car nap)

Anyway, my question has to do with getting himself to sleep. He still usually cries himself to sleep. Often he plays in his crib. Or he plays and alternates with crying. Sometimes the crying lasts 1 minute (no problem on my end). More often it lasts 10-20 (or more) minutes. This can happen in evenings as well as naps, but more likely for naps. SO ... at what point should we expect the crying to lesson or, better yet, go away completely? I'm starting to have a hard time with all the crying because I expected it to start lessening at some point ... by now. We've been fairly consistent for at least two weeks now.

More background ... a little while back when he was learning to pull himself up in crib & learning to crawl, we had some terrible nap issues & I was inconsistent. He'd pull himself up & not be able to get back down so I went in a lot, soothed him a lot. Often to no avail. He still kept crying. And often he'd not want any more milk and so there was nothing left to try to help him go to sleep. I'd be OK nursing/bottling him to sleep except that I'm pretty sure that won't work for him about 50% of the time even now (he stops drinking and rolls around even though I can tell he's tired). So, just nursing him doesn't seem like a viable option.

While I'm sometimes interested in going in there to soothe him, I just don't know that it would even do much good. It seems like sometimes (in the recent past) it just riles him up more. Any thoughts or tips greatly appreciated.

Please no responses that are totally against Cry it Out ... I have already dealt with this demon and I don't need anyone making me feel guilty about this decision. Thanks. when will the crying stop?


Stick with it! It gets better. My daughter started ''sleep training'' around 9 mo too. She would also go from crying for 1 minute to about 20 minutes. Sometimes she would just talk herself to sleep without any crying. 5 months later, 99% of the time she goes to sleep without any crying (and she is happy and well slept), but even now she sometimes needs a few minutes of crying to fall asleep. I think it will get better as your baby gets more practice at falling asleep on his/her own.

As a general rule, if my daughter cries I go in after about five minutes to make sure nothing is wrong. After I put her back down and rub her head quickly (after which she quiets so I know nothing is wrong), I leave and let her cry for as long as she needs to fall asleep. Just like for you it started with 20 minutes, but is almost completely gone by now.

I am a big believer in cry it out. My daughter is an incredible sleeper, but it wasn't just luck. It took work from her, the caregivers, and her dad and me. She is so much happier now that she sleeps regularly. Don't worry the crying will lessen and your baby will thank you for teaching him/her how to sleep. Congrats! anon


I agree with the previous respondent. We let my daughter cry herself to sleep and it worked wonderfully. She's well-adjusted, happy and mellow. She does tend to have problems getting to sleep, but I found that if I interrupted her sleep by playing with her, she became really grumpy and fussy. I was recently struggling with the same thing as you describe. What I found was that if she was having a really hard time, it was because she was still hungry (tossing, turning, screaming, loud crying). Otherwise, she would cry intermittently, shift positions, try sucking her thumb, etc. When she was definitely full, but still fussy, I would come in after a few minutes and reassure her that I was there. For me, the main thing was not to let her get to the point that she was tossing, turning, screaming, because then she was too worked up to get to sleep. So, I just make sure all her needs are taken care of and periodically reassure her that I'm there and she's safe. Sometimes, I think she just needed to extra comfort of mommy being there. She does almost always cries before she falls asleep (and usually when she wakes up) and she always has. I think that it's just one of those things that some babies do to help themselves sleep. My pediatrician said with his daughters, he always interpreted it as them being angry that they were falling asleep, because she wants to stay up and play. I always interpreted it as her being upset because she's tired and can't fall asleep, but as she gets older, I see what he means. Sleep is one of your baby's primary needs, so even if they have to cry for a while to get there, it's better than them being overtired, which can have serious health, developmental and social repercussions. anon

10 month old sits up in crib, refuses to nap

June 2007

I trained my 10-month-old to nap and fall asleep by herself when she was almost 9 months old. She has been good for a month, crying for 2 minutes and fell asleep. But from last week, she found she could sit up by herself in the crib. So everything has changed - she cries for 2 minutes and then sits up and play. This happens almost every time I put her down. Most of the time she is tired and sleepy, but she just refuses to lie down and sleep. What can I do, any suggestions? Thanks. Ivory


When our son was 7 months old, he started standing in his crib. All the time. Two strategies helped us get through this stage. At first, we went back into the room and laid him down every few minutes. He would stand up again. We would lay him down again. He would fight, and cry, but eventually fall asleep. Can your baby get herself back down once she sits up? She may need this kind of help until she can learn how.

Finally, we just gave up and let him stand. He would stand, and stand, and then cry, and cry, and finally get down and fall asleep. It was hard for us--he took sleep training well, and this was torture. After a month or so, the newness of being able to stand wore off and he was sleeping well again.

That is, until he learned to walk... this too shall pass


It's like what you have to do with food. You provide the opportunity, the child decides if s/he will sleep. Make sure you have solid nap/night time routines, then if s/he is not sleeping, you just can't change that. I rocked my baby to sleep in a backpack until she was 2.5, that might work for you. Also, my child went from two naps to one nap at 10 months. It took 3-4 months of consistent work from me to get her to take one 3 hour nap (about 1 pm). I couldn't let her sleep or go for a car/ stroller ride around the time of the morning nap and I had to make sure we were home and had lunch by one. After the nap was established, I could actually take her out while sleeping-go to the store, push her down to the library and look at grown- up books or just stay home and have some down-time. Trisha

11-month-old has started putting up a fight at nap time

August 2008

My 11 month old use to fall asleep for naps & night time without a fuss- we have a routine we follow and then we put her down awake and she is usually out in 5 minutes, for the night. Lately she has started putting up a fight. She is fine for a minute or 2 but quickly gets upset, stands up and will wail. I go in and put her back down, pat her back for a few seconds and leave. This goes on and on and eventually she is exhausted and I just have to stand there and pat her back until she falls asleep and very slowly retreat w/o waking her. Although she does know how to seat herself she won't do it in the crib so I can't just leave her to cry w/o checking. If she is really tired she goes right to sleep w/o a fight so I am wondering if maybe I need to drop one of her naps (she does 2 naps a day that are usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours each). 11 months seems early to me to drop a nap- anyone else do it with their baby? Any suggestions on what worked to get your standing baby to sleep would be appreciated. Thanks! Sarah


I can't help with the standing in the crib problem, but my son dropped down to one nap a day around 12 months (maybe earlier?) so she may be ready to drop down to one nap. It's worth a try! good luck
Ack! The dreaded 11 month sleep regression! Any huge developmental leap seems to send kids into a frenzy to master it, no matter what their state of exhaustion. Once she masters this gross muscle developmental stage, your sleep routine will once again work like a charm. It sounds like you are doing a great job of sticking to the routine and accommodating her by patting her so she can go to sleep. Sarah
We've gone through so many bouts of 'good' sleep and 'not-so-good' sleep. Several had to do with issues of standing up in crib. It sucks and is really hard. My experience tells me that it's just developmental. I'd advise you to keep doing what you're doing to get your baby to sleep and eventually it will get easier again. Just hang in there 'til then. Several times I've thought my baby needed to drop a nap (starting at 10 months), but he's often gone back to two. He's 13 months now. The sleep just comes and goes and things change. Eventually your baby will most likely get through this or find a 'different' way to get herself to sleep again. It can be tough and frustrating. Good luck in the meantime!! never know what's coming next!
You are probably right, 2 naps a day may be too much for her now. My son was in day care since he was 5 months old, and at 12 month old the daycare nannies switched all kids to just one nap a day. I was worried first, but it all worked out just fine. They moved the first nap a bit closer to noon for a week or two, until they just started putting them all down at noon and werent' giving them a second nap any more. The two naps just merged into one mid-day nap. Eventually, that mid-day nap moved over to 1 pm, but that happened about a year later. Good luck! a_a
I'm having a similar problem with our ten-month old. One of my friends said she and her husband ''trained'' their little girl by practicing sitting down in the crib every morning and after naps - they tapped on the slats and she would follow their hands because she thought it was a fun game. Us, we decided (since we were on the verge of ending the swaddling era) to go back to swaddling for a while. Also we started using sleepsacks which prevent Mini-Me from standing up most of the time. Our Mini-Me is over the hump and I think it took about a week. --scrambling to keep up

11-month-old's short naps

Sept 2002

I have a 11 months old baby girl which doesn't seem to sleep much compared to all the other babies I know . Even as a newborn she was very alert and didn't seem to sleep much. She slept 10 minutes in the car, 20 minutes in the stroller and a 25 minutes nap at home or sometimes not even that. Everybody told me that's normal and this is the way a newborn sleeps ( cat naps ) and with 5 or 6 months she will sleep at least 1 -2 hours or even more. Well, I wish that would be true because I need a break with such an active baby. She only sleeps a 25 -30 minute nap a day and all the other children her age sleep at least an hour or more. She usully is still crouchy when she wakes up which pretty much tells me that she needs more sleep than that. She usually wakes up at 8:00 a.m, we eat breakfast together, go on our daily walk, stop at a playground , run errands and when we come home we have lunch together. I put her down between 12:30 and 1:00 and she sleeps her half hour nap. During that time I cook dinner and 30 minutes later she is up and I can't get her to sleep anymore. Getting her to sleep doesn't seem to be the problem it's just not long enough. Her bed time is between 8 and 8:30 p.m and my darling wakes me up least 3 times at night. I don't nurse her during the night anymore but I check in on her if she is o.k. and at 5:00 a.m she is allowed to come to my bed for nursing and cuddling. I need some advice how to make a sleep longer during the day. I would be thankful for at least an hour nap. I know that all babies are different and not everybody needs the same amount of sleep but 30 minutes the whole day doesn't seem right to me esspecially since she is an active baby. Does anybody have a similar experience ? I am thankful for any advice.


Penolope Leach (author of _Your baby and child_) calls babies like yours ''wakeful babies.'' They exist. They are really, really challenging, and it's hard not to feel envious of other parents whose kids take 3 hour naps every afternoon. (Can you tell I'm speaking from experience?) Leach talks about how these babies tend to be bright and precocious, as they spend more time engaged in the world than their sleepier peers. (...for whatever that's worth...)

(I seem to recall that she also talks about some coping strategies for parents of wakeful children, like getting a mother's helper a couple of hours a day. Think of it as the wakeful baby tax.)

One question I had was about your daughter's age. You mentioned she was 11 months. You didn't say how long this really short napping had been going on, but often kids are developing major skills around that age (e.g. walking, talking). I know that with my wakeful daughter, these milestones really screwed up sleep, both at night and naptime.

I'm sorry I don't have any magic advice, but I feel like every time I've just kind of tried to accept my daughter's wakefulness, it helps me be a little more settled, and, occasionally, it will shift. (She had a month where she took 1 hour long naps! What a joy that was...) Good luck. -- Ilana


My son, too, was a VERY alert tiny baby and took only short naps. This got better around the time he started crawling a lot at about 8 months and seemed to tire himself out more (and even more so when he started walking), but there was also something we learned from one of his nannies. He needed to be in a relatively quiet room in his crib and he often needed to cry for 5 to 10 minutes before falling asleep (not hysterically but in a fussy way). Although my husband and I are opposed to crying it out in general, we learned that if he woke up after half an hour or even after an hour when he was your daughter's age that he really needed to sleep more. As long as we were confident that he was safe and not scared, we would let him cry for 10 to 15 minutes before going to get him up from his nap (this would be intermittent crying over 10 minutes, not 10 minutes of continuous crying; often he was crying in a semi-conscious state anyway and wasn't really awake). We would listen near the door and not go into the room since once he saw us he was adamant about getting up, even if it was clear to us if we did go in that he desperately needed to nap longer. He would sleep for 1.5 to 3 (!) hours when we did this (just as he did for his nanny). It was such a relief for us at about 8 months since he only catnapped as a tinier infant -- it was fun to have such an alert, happy infant but what a challenge ! He also got the sleep that he needed. Also, if he took a 3-hour nap, it was because he needed it -- we never had a problem with his sleeping at night when he took such long naps (as long as the nap was in the afternoon and ended by 3 pm for a 9 pm bedtime; a short nap before 6 pm was often not a problem either if he hadn't gotten a long enough earlier nap). kb
One thing you don't mention is whether your baby is falling asleep by herself. You say getting her to sleep is not a problem but is that because you are nursing, rocking, etc? Very often babies will wake up a short time into a nap, cry, and then fall back asleep. But this requires that they know how to get back to sleep by themselves. Once she learns to fall asleep on her own, you will not need to check her every time she wakes up during the night either. Just listen to her from outside her room and go to her only if she seems to be having trouble going back to sleep (for example, if she has a cold or is teething).

If she does already fall asleep on her own, then try waiting after you hear her wake up from her nap. Give her a few minutes and see if she will go back to sleep on her own. You may want to try a music box or tape player you can operate remotely to try to soothe her back to sleep. Stephanie


I hate to tell you this but with our 2 1/4 year old son that is life. He has never been a great sleeper, always waking up thoughout the night, and the longest nap he ever took was twenty minutes. and 19 months he decided he didn't need any naps, and slept a bit better at night, but still gets up once or twice.

Our doctor told us that all children are different and it seems that the ones with high energy are the least likely to enjoy naps or sleeping thoughout the night. Good Luck. Kristi


My daughter was exactly the same. She took 4-5 half hour naps as a newborn and then gradually dropped some of those naps until she only took 2 30 minute naps a day. We were very frustrated. We expected a child who took those 2-3 hour naps that you hear about. We felt like we spent our days trying to get her to sleep. She also woke every 3 hours to nurse until I stopped nursing her at 16 months. At around 20 months, she started taking 1 1hour nap a day and usually sleeping through the night. Once my husband and I decided that she was who she was and respected her sleep patterns, we were much less resentful and all much happier and we didn't spend our days trying to put her to sleep. So, my advice is, just stick it out. She'll grow into a different pattern eventually.
Sorry but my advice is, get used to it! You will live thru it. My first (now 13) slept a good deal less than yours --7 hours at night and two ten minute catnaps a day, until he reached the age where kids only take an afternoon nap. ( Around 2, as I recall? ) He, too, was extremely active. On one nap a day, he would sleep an hour or so. At the stage where he was giving up a nap, he would be up until 11 or 11:30 pm if he so much as had a cat nap. I sent him to afternoon kindergarden so he would stop taking naps!

It is very, very hard but there isn't anything you can do about it, that I know about. There is a book by a doctor Ferber that we consulted when he was also getting us up 5 or 6 times a night for company. You might want to consult this about the times your baby is getting you up in the night. Mary Ann


My daughter is a short napper too. I briefly had success w/ a nap extension method mentioned in No Cry Sleep solution. Basically you park yourself very near by while the sleep, reading, meditating, or balancing the check book. At the very first peep or stir you pat them down again or even nurse them down again. The idea is to eliminate the crying/waking while you walk down the hall, dry your hands etc. The first days she successfully went back down and w/in 3 days didn't wake up until 50 min or so. But ultimately this wore off. That week was great for getting stuff done so I'd still give it a try. My nanny who is mien will, if she wakes up cranky, tie her on to her back with her sling and bounce her to sleep successfully. good luck. mother of a short napper
You may want to read Weissbluth's book ''Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby.'' He certainly convinced me that a baby can be taught to sleep better. Other's may tell you the same thing. Good luck. Heather
I went through a similar experience with my son (now 17 months) when he was about 6-7 months old -- he would often nap for 20-30 minutes at a time and just seemed tired all of the time.

What really worked for me was getting a copy of Marc Weissbluth's book ''Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child'' (mentioned on the network quite a bit) and implementing his suggestions. It made a huge difference -- my son became a very good, consistent napper (at the time, he napped twice a day for a total of about 2 to 2.5 hours) and also began sleeping through the night for 12-hour stretches. He currently naps only once a day, but is typically down for 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

The biggest drawback to Weissbluth is that you are beholden to your child's nap schedule -- all naps are taken at home, in the crib, and not in the stroller or car as much as possible (they really don't sleep as well in the car or stroller as they do in their crib anyway). While this does limit your social/going-out schedule for a while, in my case, the inconvenience was definitely worth the result of having a well-rested, good-natured baby. Good luck! Teresa


I'm not sure if my advice will be relevant as my baby is several months younger than yours, but I've also had some trouble both putting my baby to sleep and getting her to stay sleep.

I've discovered that part of the problem was that I wasn't alert to her clues as to when she wanted to sleep. After she was a couple of months old she stopped being able to put herself to sleep, unless she was really tired. Instead, she needed me to feed her, play music and be with her until she fell asleep. So now we have that routine and it works well.

Babies can sleep very lightly, they have much longer periods of light sleep than adults, and if disturbed during those periods, they can wake up very easily. So what I'd recommend is that you put your baby to sleep in a place with as few distractions as possible (in terms of noise, light, etc.) and preferably in the same place all the time. Also, when you hear she wakes up don't go to her right away, perhaps she'll fall asleep again. If this doesn't work - try putting her back for a nap a couple of hours later.


Try to be patient. I was sure my son ''just wasn't a napper.'' He would sleep in the stroller during the day with his baby sitter, but I never had luck with putting him down for a nap longer than an hour which drove me nuts.

On the weekends, I would just do whatever we were doing without worrying about naps and schedules. Often he would fall asleep if we were driving around. But as he got closer to his first birthday, I discovered he iwould/i take a good nap (1 1/2-2 hours) if I recognized his sleepy cues.

Now he's almost 2 and takes good weekend naps. I really try to be at home for them! Let's just say he trained me! :-) Good luck. Mollie


Oh, I feel for you! My very active baby was the same. In the midst of the sleep-deprived fog I existed in, I pondered how strange it was that my very active child didn't conk out into a longggg nap. I read that other infants slept an average of 14-17 hours a day (I forgot where I read this) and my darling was sleeping maybe 11. What changed? He got strong enough to actually exhaust himself. He crawled like it was an endurance sport and worked so hard to walk that he walked a few days before his 9-month birthday. Now, near his 2-year birthday, he runs, jumps, walks and trikes all over and has a two-hour nap. Hurrah! At least in his case, nothing was wrong, he just wasn't a big sleeper. I want to reassure you that probably you are expert at getting your child to sleep as much as he/she can at this stage, even more so than moms of easy sleepers. If you can find a way to get several 6-hour stretches of sleep a week, perhaps you can hang in there until your baby gets to a different stage. This may sound hollow now, but congratulations for having a baby that's so interested in the world. Been there, better now
Lots of people have suggested Dr. Weissbluth's book, which is wonderful, and will help you. One tip from the book that worked for me, is to put your baby down earlier. Overtired babies don't sleep as well. Perhaps put her down at 11, or even try two naps (one as early as 9:30 am). It may take a week or so for her to get used to it (I leave my daughter in her crib for an hour, even if she is awake, before getting her) but once she is used to the schedule, it may work. My daughter also took very short naps. I then realised that she always wakes up about 2pm, whether I put her down at 1:30 or noon! Good luck.
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