Infants' Naps (0-5 mos)
Berkeley Parents Network >
Infants' Naps (0-5 mos)
I have been holding my nine week old son in my arms during his
naps because he sleeps so well (over 2 hours at a time)and
because he's my first and I have loved holding him while he naps
and I would read or watch a movie. Now that he is almost 10 weeks
old, he will cry the second I put him down even once he's fallen
asleep in my arms.
The other problem is that he is currently co-sleeping with my
husband and I, so we have not yet set up his crib and it seems
dangerous to leave him in the bed by himself. Also, I would like
for him to be in the living room with my so that he's not so far
away. Any advice??
What I did was nurse my daughter down for naps (side by side
nursing) in the middle of our queen sized bed. That way I only
had to unlatch (which actually wasn't always that easy and
sometimes took several tries) and didn't have to move her once
she fell asleep. She wasn't a very mobile baby, and I felt safe
letting her sleep in the middle of our bed for many months. If
you want him in the living room, you could nurse him down on just
a blanket on the floor (if you have a rug), or you could get some
sort of mat to make it a little softer. That would also prevent
any sort of fall if you think he's realistically going to move.
I highly recommend a six-speed swing with music - we had a Graco
one that was fabulous. Yes, the first time or two he'll cry a bit
when you put him in there, but ours slept very soundly in her
swing for many hours when she was around that age (and slept
soundly almost nowhere else that I can recall!). And she totally
transitioned away from it all on her own around 5 months. You
might have to develop a bit of tolerance for crying, too - I know
the attachment folks will disagree with me, but I think crying is
the way babies express themselves, and therefore not that big a
deal. (I know it feels awful when it's happening! Hang in there.)
Good luck! This too shall pass, is what you have to keep telling
yourself. Enjoy the good and know that the bad won't last much
longer (and other bad may replace it, but hey...).
Big Swing Fan
Try a makeshift ''bed'' on living room floor using thick quilts as
the padding. Start putting him down for nap as if you two were
sleeping together. This may be odd, but it's a way to co-sleep
and then slowly, over the period of days or weeks, sit up after
he goes to sleep, but still have body parts touching. This way
you can read and watch the tube. In the meantime, have a couple
other pillows closeby to raise your head, so when he nods off,
you can put them under your head and watch/read while laying on
your side holding him.
HI -- don't know why you think being alone in the bed is
dangerous. Keep adult pillows and blankets away from him and
he'll be fine -- keep him away from the edge, or build a wall
with pillows and blankets. But at ten weeks, he shouldn't be
rolling yet. Lots of parents find out when their child can roll
when they finally roll themselves off the bed or couch. In our
family, we just took the mattress off the bed and laid it
directly on the floor. Seemed to work just fine for us.
Regarding his waking up when you put him down, I had this same
problem. And I learned about holding him on your chest, then
laying down on your back for a little while. Then, with time,
roll over a little, and lay him on the bed, but you're still in
pretty close contact with him. Let him settle for a while.
Eventually you'll be able to extract yourself from him and steal
away. Look for the ''limp limbs'' -- if his limbs aren't limp yet,
he's not in deep sleep. It's often around twenty minutes into a
nap that a baby is in deep sleep, and many a time I tried to push
it at ten or 15 minutes, only to wake up the little sleeper.
Wait the twenty and wait for limp limbs, then try.
So he has been used for 9 weeks to sleep in your arms and you
would like to put him in his bed to sleep but he cries? of
course he does. 9 weeks is an eternity and he is used to being
cozy in your arms. So you have to accept that if you want to
put him down it is going to take some adjustement and that he
might cry a little. When he does, stay with him, rub his tummy,
his toes. Eventually he will stop. Don't pick him up or you
will be sending him mixed messages and he will never get used
As far as the crib, why would it be dangerous? We talked about
all this before my son was born and decided we wanted to keep
our bedroom ''our'' bedroom. So at 2 days he started to sleep in
his crib. We took him out a 2.5years only because he was potty
trained...and he loved it so much he might have stayed in still
college. For him it was his spot, his crib so to speak and it
was his safe space. Just don't put anything other than baby in
a sleepsack and he will be fine.
But i think changing baby's habits are so tough. It's better to
pick, co-sleep or not, attachment parenting or not, and then
stick with that as long as the child needs..otherwise it's very
difficult to get them out of their routine.
Well, first of all, 10 weeks is still pretty young. So I wouldn't
worry too much about having been holding him during naps. (Slings
are great for that too!)
That said, maybe you want to get a bassinet or portable crib so
you can put him down sometimes - you could also move that from
room to room. (We used bouncy seats as well)
We co-slept with our baby until she was 7 months old, but never
had her in our bed (too freaked out about rolling over her and
our bed wasn't really big enough anyway). When she was really
tiny, we used a SnuggleNest (which can go in the bed but has
walls to prevent rolling) and then the Arms Reach Mini Co-sleeper.
Naps were rough for a LONG time. When she was 6 months old, I
broke down and bought a cradle swing. Best. Purchase. Ever. She
napped in that for the next 7 months! After that, we were able to
transition her to the crib for naps.
in favor of baby gadgets
Have you tried using a Moby Wrap? It allowed me to wrap my baby
against my chest while he slept leaving me hands-free so I
could nap in a recliner, eat or whatever when he went through a
similar phase. I know it seems like this will last forever,
but it will pass and eventually, your baby will sleep on his
own. Have you tried putting a T-shirt or something with your
scent in his crib or bassinet? It might help him feel more
secure when you lay him down. Also, swaddling my baby tightly
and putting a warm, fuzzy blanket on top of his bassinet sheet
before I lay him down helped with the transition as it was
cozier than being plunked down on a cold sheet. Lastly, it
usually takes 20 minutes for a baby to transition from light
sleep (from which he wakes easily) to deep sleep (where they
sleep through anything.) It might be worth it to wait 20
minutes after he falls asleep (also look for ''limp-limbs'' as a
sign he is in deep sleep) before you put him down.
I am still working on this w/my co-sleeping 8mnth old. I
used a noah basket for naps untill he could turn over(4-5
mnths?)nice and simple and can go anywhere u do. I now just use
the cushion on a rug on the floor in the living room.(room is
gated and secure and im never far)
I think this happens a lot. People love to hold their babies so
much. Even with my second I fell into this. You just need to
start putting him down. Swaddle him or lay him on his side, what
ever you find keeps him down. As for sleeping in the bed alone i
don't see it as a problem at this stage. They can't really move
around. I just put pillows around my daughters below their waist
and put them on their back in the center of the bed all the
covers pulled back and away. If you want him closer, say in the
living room, a pack and play is a great option. My girlfriend
used it for both her kids. She would just wheel it from room to
room with her while she did different things. My house is a bit
smaller so I would put my kids in their bouncer seat reclined.
That position also helped them when they were really small to
sleep longer stretches. Anyway the one we have converts to a
rocker when they are 2, so we just kicked out the stand to keep
it from rocking, put the seat as reclined as it could go and it
was like a baby hammock. It helped the baby feel cradled but
they didn't have that heart beat or body rhythm next to them
which helps them learn to sleep on their own without it. I then
transitioned them to their bed. Another girlfriend always used
her swing with her second. She would actually wake her daughter
at night to feed. She only did this though because she knew she
was going to use CIO once her daughter turned 4 months. Till
then my friend was going to get a good nights rest. So there are
a bunch of different ways you can do it. Just know you are going
to have to bite the bullet and your baby won't sleep quite as
well as he was. Remember this too will pass and things will get
I have a 10 week old. I am trying to figure out napping. I am
on a schedule of feeding approx. every 3 hrs. which works well
for us both. I don't know if she should be napping in between
each feeding or not. She is going down for the night between 7-8
pm, and I wonder if I should try to put her down to nap in the
early evening before she feeds and goes down for the night - or
is it too close to bedtime for her to nap? I would be happy to
keep her up but she seems a bit tired and fussy. Any
I have two daughters and I think it was just about that age
that they started to get into somewhat of a schedule. One book
I had gave a great formula that was easy to remember.
EASY...Eat, Activity, Sleep, You. So your baby should eat,
then be active and then sleep - then you have some time for you
when they are sleeping. So, given that, she would nap between
each. I also remember them both having naps at 10am, 1pm, and
4pm, and then nursing after each nap once they started getting
on that schedule. I think the book was the Baby Whisperer.
Hope that helps.
wow, congrats on getting a routine already! based on experience
and on the topic that's often discussed in BPN (sleep), no
solution is perfect, and every baby/kid is different. i've just
decided to throw out all the advice and have a loosely scheduled
day, letting my baby sleep when she's tired. sleep issue is a
battle you'll face with your kid(s) for many years. even though
i'm not a morning person, we all somehow learn to adjust in our
lives, and your baby will be fine. so relax about sleep/nap
schedule, and enjoy the moments that will never be repeated in
still living with sleep deficit
Help! My 11 week old son will not sleep during the day! He
eats, is happily awake for 30 or more minutes, then shows signs
of tiredness (yawning etc.) I then spend 15 or so minutes
putting him to sleep, only to have him sleep 45 minutes -
exactly! I've tried being consistent and inconsistent - I
can'seem to get him to extend his sleep time at all. He can go
5 hour stretches at night, so we know sleep is possible for
him. Any suggestions?
Hi Beth! Unfortunately, 45 minute naps are pretty much the norm for kids
this age. Babies have 45 minute sleep cycles and during the day it's
normal for them to wake up and stay awake after a cycle is over. It's
also normal for them to only be able to be awake for a short period and
then conk out again for a short time. My youngest would sometimes only
last 15 minutes before passing out again. You didn't say how many naps
he was taking, but I'm guessing that if he can only be awake for 30
minutes before getting tired he's taking at least 3-4 a day. And that's
normal! Until his little body matures some more (probably around
6-8 months?) this will be the pattern
Umm, this is well within the range of normal. In fact, you should be
happy that your child naps regularly and apparently easily - many babies
do not. And a routine of eating, playing and then sleeping is really
good - it means they are getting stimulation during the day and that
they aren't associating sleeping with eating.
My son never napped more than about 45 minutes for the first year or so.
Once he was down to a regular schedule of two naps a day they spread out
a little bit, but he rarely took a two hour nap until he was at least
two years old and napping once a day. My daughter, on the other hand,
took longer naps earlier, even though I approached her eating and
sleeping exactly the same way.
I know some babies will sleep 2-3 hours, just accept that your kid may
If you need a longer break during the day, you will have to figure out
another way to get it - i.e. swap child care or have someone come in for
a couple of hours.
If they seem ready to drop one of their naps, then they might make the
remaining ones a bit longer. But you can't ''make'' them nap longer -
babies vary a lot in terms of how much sleep they need and when and how
they get it. Sorry!
What worked for us at that age was lying down with the baby and when he
rustled after 45 minutes or so, I nursed him or shushed him back to
sleep. It worked, and I wish I had rested with him more often. That
said, if you can't or won't sleep with the baby and nothing works, just
let it go. Their sleep patterns change so much in the first 2 years
there is really no point in tearing your hair out trying to ''fix'' his
naps--without a doubt the nap pattern will change in a few months,
My son used to drive me crazy with his napping routine. At 2 months he
2 to 3 20-minute naps a day. That turned into 1 to 2 40-minute naps,
with the optional second nap usually requiring being rocked for 45
minutes. I can't tell you how much time and energy I spent obsessing
about his naps, and beating myself up because nothing I tried from the
many books I read worked. Ultimately, I would say that if the baby is
happy and he sleeps well at night, he may just be one of those kids that
doesn't need the same amount of sleep as the other babies. I would
concentrate more on getting him to fall asleep on his own than extending
the nap. It is alway possible that if he can get himself to sleep for
his nap, he will also get himself back to sleep after he wakes up.
His sleep routine will change many times in the next couple of years,
usually whenever you feel like you are getting the hang of it. Happily,
the week my son began to walk his naps went from 40 minutes to 3 hours,
and now he is 3 and still takes a 1 1/2 - 2 hour nap every day.
11 weeks is very young to expect long stretches of napping. My 4 year
only 20 minutes at a time for months when he was a baby, and it made me
a bit crazy for awhile. My 2 1/2 year old naps 45 minutes to 1 1/2
hours a day and does fine - and he took quite awhile to work up to that
length of time.
Different babies have different needs, but, mostly, 11 weeks is very
young, and 45 minutes is not a short a nap for that age. Those 2 and 3
hour naps you hear of are regarding toddlers, not babies, who have one
nap a day, not several. Many babies at less than 3 months are napping
about 4 times a day.
Take a deep breath. This, too, shall pass. Make sure you get exercise
(brisk walk w/ or w/o baby) in the outdoors, ideally in sunshine. When
a trusted relative offers to watch your baby for awhile, say an
appreciative yes, and go somewhere nearby that makes you happy. I've
been there big time, and, trust me, the combination of sunshine and the
opportunity to move freely for a short time without clutching a
dependent infant does wonders for those evil postpartum hormones that'll
get even the most confident, even-tempered among us feeling nervous & a
Welcome to this wonderful, amazing ride called parenthood! It may make
you a bit nauseous sometimes, but you can't imagine ever wanting to get
off, for fear you'll miss another precious moment. Just wait til your
baby starts talking - the toddler/ preschooler sayings will crack you up
(really makes up for the tantrums).
Hugs to you!
I found the light at the end of the postpartum tunnel
I have a 4 month old and can say this is the expected nap duration for
an 11 week old. This is my second child and I didn't understand this
with my first. May I recommend the book Healthy sleep habits, happy
child? It gives details of what to expect from your baby's sleep based
on research. In a nutshell, the babies brain slowly develops into
longer sleep cycles. The key of the book is that babies can't handle
being awake more than 1 - 2 hours at a time and that you need to read
your baby's cues and get him into bed napping before the two hour window
passes. For my son, he would only stay awake one hour, then sleep 45
minutes. It has slowly altered so that now he is doing 1.5 to 2 hour
naps (again, he's 17 weeks) every
I think that your 11 week infant who only naps 45 minutes is completely
normal! Until about 3.5-4 months old, most infants
don't have predictable or long naps. They tent to cat nap on
and off all day, which can be really hard for parents, but is normal.
My son (and most of the other infants I know) was the same way--and he
also had longer stretches at night. The good news for me, and hopefully
for you too was that ''wearing'' him made a HUGE difference. If I had
him attached to me, he's sleep for two hours at a time. I used a Moby
wrap, which you can order on the internet or get at babystores--search
on line. I very highly recommend it. There are also other good carrier
options--talk to friends or look around till you find one you like. The
other good news, is that I bet you don't have too much longer till a
more predictable morning and afternoon nap set in.
Ours got better around 4.5 months, and I think the range for more
predictable naps is anywhere between 3-5 months for most kids. Hang in
there. And try baby wearing!
Naps will get better!
I don't have any great advice, but just wanted to let you know that my
son didn't get on a consistent nap schedule until he was about 6 months
old. Before then, we had the same issues where he seemed tired, but
just didn't nap for very long. Our nanny said that eventually he would
fall into a pattern of two long naps a day -- and he did. I would just
stick to what you are doing -- try putting him down for a nap when he
seems tired. At some point, he will start wanting to nap at about the
same time every day
My second child did the exact same thing, 45 minutes on the dot each
time. I specifically recall this was the case when she was taking 3 naps
a day. Just make sure to keep a nice early bedtime (and I mean EARLY,
like 6 or 6:30 PM) so he does not get overtired, which leads to much
worse sleeping habits. You have to consider whether the total amount of
sleep in a 24 hr period is adequate, so just make sure there is plenty
of time for a long night sleep. Eventually the naps do consolidate and
stretch out, but never as long for my second as for my first although I
did the exact same sleep routines with both of them. Montclair Mommy
I remember this problem! It was very frustrating. We used to call it
the ''one unit nap.'' (A two-unit nap would be an hour and a half ...
although those didn't happen until my son was over nine months old.) I
guess a typical infant (daytime) sleep cycle has a period of very light
sleep, almost wakefulness, every 45 minutes; there are books with
strategies to bridge past it, mostly involving sneaking into the room at
the 43-minute mark and providing some pre-emptive soothing. I remember
''The No-Cry Sleep Solution'' covers this topic. We never really tried
any of the strategies, though, and he grew out of it anyway. (One day
this week he napped for nearly three hours straight, and I
couldn't believe it. Things do get better.)
My little guy (now 13 months) did this for about the first six months.
Giving him a nap schedule really helped. Now he naps 1-
1.5 hours twice a day. We put him down at 5:30 or 6pm, he slept til
5:30-6PM. Down again at 9AM and down again at 1PM. This has evolved
into 10 and 3PM, but he is doing much better.
My 12 week old daughter naps from 7am-1pm and then 3pm-8pm. She then
sleeps through the night: 9pm-5am. Is she sleeping too much? Is
there such a thing as sleeping too much?
first time mama
your kiddo is normal - least my first did the same. Celebrate
and try not to gloat in front of less fortunate mamas! With
luck your DD will still take 2-4 hour naps as a 2-3 year old
love my quiet time
Have you checked with the pediatrician? That schedule means your baby is only awake
4 hours out of every 24 hours. That doesn't really sound right.
Sounds normal to me! I think you should use this time to rest
yourself -- your baby is not going to sleep this long forever!
Maybe I'm nuts, but I tend to think that if mama is exhausted,
and baby is asleep, that's a great time to sleep!!! My wife
says she is exhausted, but once baby falls asleep, she stays up
for hours watching TV, then complains that she didn't get enough
sleep the night before!!!
I don't think that there's such a thing as ''sleeping too much''
unless there are medical issues involved. If your baby is
otherwise refreshed, alert and happy (and has a good appetite)
then rejoice in being one of the lucky ones. This sleep pattern
may change as your baby goes through multiple growth spurts. Our
son had the same sleep pattern, though not until he was 5-6
months and now that he's 3.5, he's still a great night time
sleeper and thankfully still takes 3 hour naps in the afternoons.
If your baby is growing normally, then relax and enjoy the peace.
Yes, there is such a thing as sleeping too much, if it means
your baby isn't eating enough. My 2nd daughter was a good
sleeper from the beginning, which I thought was great until we
found out she wasn't gaining enough weight. You make it sound
like your daughter is only awake for 3 hours all day? That
sounds like very little for a 12 week old. If she's not eating
enough, she could be sleeping to conserve energy. I would get
her checked by your pediatrician, and consider waking her for
more frequent feedings if weight gain is an issue.
I would suggest waking the baby at 3 hours to get some calories
in there. If she wants to go back to sleep after, that's ok.
Though you should check with your pediatrician to make sure that
she is just sleepy and not lethargic. Is she alert and energetic
when she is awake?
My daughter is an amazing sleeper. She takes three hour long naps 2-3 times a day.
And she is giving us 8-9 hour stretches at night. However, I am a little concerned
because she can't seem to stay awake for longer than 45-60 minutes. Is this normal??
Otherwisek, she is eating well and very smiley. Just seems to be sleeping A LOT!
Don't worry, it will pass. Enjoy it while you can!
Sleepy New Parents
Have you taken her to the doctor for a full work-up? No, this
Make an appointment for her right away, there could be any number
of things going on. You might want to keep a daily diary between
now and then and write down her sleep/wake hours and make any
other notes about what she's eating when and what her activities
are when awake- that sort of precise record can help a doctor
You may want to try putting your baby down for bed a bit earlier. When my son was
2 months old, he started sleeping about 7 hours through the night. We backed up
his bedtime, which made him have night wakings again (for feeding), but eventually,
one by one, the night feedings dropped, and by 3.5 months, he was sleeping 12
hours through the night. If your baby is only sleeping 8-9 hours through the night,
that's probably why the naps are so lengthy during the day. Babies at that age still
need something like 14.5-17 hours of sleep each day. So with 8 hours at night plus
two 3-hour naps, that would be right at 14 hours/day. Even with a 3rd 3-hour nap,
that's still 17 hours. Having longer continuous sleep at night may help
Yes it is normal. I have twin baby girls and one was like your baby - I use to be glum
because I felt like I never saw her! The other was the opposite and would sleep only
minutes at a time in the day and awoke 6 times a night. Consider yourself lucky! It
won't last forever but she might be a good sleeper even as her pattern changes.
I read in the ''No Cry Sleep Solution'' that newborns should nap
in a different
place than they sleep at night so that they don't mix up their
days and nights. I'm
wondering at what point I can put her in her crib, without
messing up our wonderful
nights (she's sleeping 8+ hours straight through!)
First time mama
I have never made a distinction in location between naps and
night-time sleep, and both of my children have had absolutely no
trouble figuring out which is which. If any confusion has
happened, it is that my kids take very long naps-- but their
night-time sleep is also terrific.
Sometimes it seems we can over-think this baby thing far too
much! They're smarter than we give them credit for.
keep it simple
Please read another book! The woman that wrote that book (Pantley?) also suggests
you hold your baby's mouth closed when they are trying to suck, which is
Babies are born with the instinct to suck for a reason! Anyway, that's when we put
book down. The fact that she thinks letting your baby cry to learn to fall asleep
but forcing their mouth shut isn't, makes her seem not credible at all. Babies
nap in their crib if that's where they are used to sleeping. Read Healthy Sleep
Happy Child by Weissbluth, or at least some others so you can get different
my 2 cents
I’m struggling with my three month old baby (a classic, difficult
“high need” infant) who does NOT take naps. She is fussy at
times during the day because she is overtired, but I cannot seem
to get her down for her naps. I feel like I work SO HARD to try
to get her down, and absolutely exhaust myself trying to do so.
I also become very frustrated because I cannot seem to help her,
no matter what I do (unless I am nursing her). The only time she
will nap is when she is nursing.. but often, as soon as she is
done, her little eyes pop right open…. or if she stays asleep,
she wakes up as soon as I try to sneak away, even if I wait until
she is in a deep sleep. To make things more difficult, she is
also a super sensitive baby who wakes up to the slightest noise..
such as creaking in the wood floors. I feel like I’ve exhausted
all my ideas- swaddling, white noise, rocking, swinging,
jiggling, moving, wearing, driving, nursing, co-napping, routine,
darkening the room, etc. I’ve read the books of Dr. Sears, Marc
Weissbluth and Traci Hogg.. and feel I’ve done a lot of research
on sleep and babies. I like aspects of all the above books, but
have been feeling compelled to try anything to help my baby nap.
I’m on the verge of “giving up.” Lately she cries when I try to
get her down, but then appears “fine” when I give up and let her
play, though she has not slept all day. I worry about
sleep-deprivation. I also feel if she gets her naps, she will be
less fussy and more able to enjoy more of her wakeful time. I
don’t know if I should just put her down in her crib at routine
times to let her know it’s naptime, but I really don’t think that
will help. I predict that she will just cry and scream the
entire time, and be even more overtired and fussy as a result. I
also don’t think that will be good for our relationship. But I’m
also at my wits end trying to get her down…
Has anyone else every dealt with this similar situation…. with a
very classic high need baby? I emphasize “high need” because I
feel that a baby with this type of temperament will likely
respond differently than a baby with an “easy” temperament.
Could anyone share with me their experiences with a highly
resistant napper,,, and what, if anything, helped?
Lastly, she sleeps fairly well during the night, so I do feel
blessed about this.
an exhausted mother
It's just the age - every mom in my Mom's group has been through
the horrors of the battle with a 3-month old over naps. Mine
wouldn't nap unless I was holding him for nearly an entire month.
Now he is almost 7 months and takes two naps a day just fine.
Don't worry too much, make sure YOU get enough rest, and it will
soon pass. I'm sure people will have all kinds of suggestions.
Keep trying different things, but in two months the hard part
should be over. Not that it necessarily gets *easy*, but it will
be better. Congratulations on being a new mom!
- A few months down the line
Hi Exhausted Mom, My son was exactly like your little one, except he did
well at night either. I wish that I had read, Raising Your Spirited Child
when he was a
baby. It really helped me understand his temperament. I was at my wits
end, as you
are, and the only thing that worked was to hold him, or sit/lay next to
him in the bed
while he napped. I did stuff like read or watch a movie while he slept.
surrendered to the situation, I was making myself crazy trying to change
really needed to feel my body next to him or he would wake up. It turns
out that not
all babies need as much sleep as the baby books try to make us believe.
He gave up
his naps early, at around 2 years. I think, if your baby seems happy, and
then she probably isn't tired, even if you are. I found that it is
important to pace
yourself in order to get through the day. I started off motherhood like
it was a sprint,
and exhausted myself. Try to do less. You really can put off doing the
after nap time. Good Luck!
(Caveat, I haven't read any nap/sleep books.)
But with my 2-month old I am surprised that he changes
day-to-day. (tricky napper who generally only sleeps in my arms,
on my tummy, making it impossible to do things unless I have
family visiting... Once he's set down he wakes). But, yesterday,
he slept on his own if I laid down for a nap with him and snuck
slowly away. Gave me a chance to sit in the hallway and eat fish
So, my thought is to continue trying things more than once -
maybe the little one will respond positively to something they
didn't before. Also, I don't know the importance of napping at a
particular time, but I am just trying to get better at noticing
when baby is sleepy and only working on getting him to sleep at
Other random things that worked for restive time - cello music,
and sitting next to a big commercial fridge at the cafe across
from Monterey Market.
another newmom with spunky baby
My daughter was exactly the same way. I felt like I was nursing
her all the time just to get her to sleep a bit. The Bjourn and
then the Ergo were my saviors. This became my routine: after
being awake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the morning I put her in the
Bjourn and started to do chores around the house. She easily
fell asleep and stayed asleep for up to two hours in the Bjourn
(it's the walking motion). Now of course it's not ideal because
she was still tied to me but I was able to check email, write
thank you notes and even talk on the phone quietly. After she
woke up the key was only to keep her up for 1 1/2 to 2 hours
again. Any longer and she would get overtired and not fall
asleep. Often I would let her sleep on me in the afternoon and I
would watch TV or sleep myself. Third naps were always a big
challenge. I promise this will pass and she will become a better
napper. At some point soon you will need to let her cry it out
and she will learn to put herself to sleep. My daughter now
takes two long naps a day in her crib. We put black-out-blinds
in her room so it is dark and she sleeps with rain sound on loud
so that nothing will wake her up. She still won't sleep in the
stroller or the car but at least I know she will at home. Good luck!
I can totally relate. My almost five year old NEVER slept as an
infant (that saying ''Sleep like a baby'' did not apply to us!).
it was torture. other parents had breaks (and well rested
children) thanks to many long naps each day. We never had that.
Once we finally gave up naps altogether at just under 2 1/2, our
life became so much nicer! If i could rewind the clock and redo
one thing, it would be to spend a lot less time trying to get my
daughter to sleep. Babies really get the sleep they need, when
she is tired enough (which for her may not be at all like the
schedule of other babies, so try, try, try not to compare!) she
will sleep. Throw all the sleep books in the recyling bin or
donate them and just pay attention to your daughter's cycles and
see what happens. You might find that if you stop listening to
what others say SHOULD be happening in your family right now, you
might find some peace of mind. YOu may not ever get the three
hour naps your friends kids have, but you will get some naps
somehow (outside, on hikes, in strollers, who knows!) and you
will get a lot less frustrated than when you are trying so hard.
My daughter still needs a lot less sleep than her peers. It will
be great when she is an adult--but as her parent, it is tiring!
Just know it's the way your kid is wired, there is nothing to fix
or change about your parenting or about your child. Acceptance
would have given us all a lot more peace. Good luck!
mom of a no-sleeper, too
First of all, I feel for your struggle!! I had a very high needs
infant and felt alone, exhausted and confused. My high needs
child came as child #3 so I thought I'd be well seasoned as a
parent. No way! Here's what I wish I had known when she was little:
Yes some kids do without naps. I wish I had spent less time
trying to get her to sleep and more time letting her play in her
play pen so I could nap! Then I would have had more energy for
her when she was awake...all day. Also, teaching her that you are
not going to amuse her non-stop is important for both her and
you. Your child sounds as though she may be very sensory
sensitive. Learn as much as you can about this. It would have
saved us inumerable trips to doctors, specialists and
psychiatrists if we had just seen her sensitivities more clearly
and not believed that she could somehow control them. Your
daughter may have an immature nervous system that stays on high
alert and so she reacts more strongly to various stimulation.
You can work with this. Occupational therapists who understand
sensory integration can make a big difference. Find one who
works with infants.
Check her diet. My daughter turned out to have food allergies
and sensitivities (there is a difference) and if I had cut out
dairy and wheat from my diet while nursing her she might have
been better off. Try simplifying your diet and see if that helps
her. The earlier you get clues about what helps her the better.
Also, my daughter is extremely perceptive and intelligent.
This means that as a little one she got easily bored. More
varied stimulation can help little ''high wired smarty pants''
kids. I call my daughter ''passionate'' now instead of ''overly
sensitive'' or ''distractible''. It will help you to start noticing
the good things and create language around those words. Get as
much help as you can. Find a babysitter and don't worry (if you
can afford it) about not spending every hour with her. She
probably won't notice at this age and may like the new input. We
also found a Chinese herbalist in Alameda who helped a lot. This
may be more info than you needed, but I hope it helps. Good luck.
My son was up all night and taking only catnaps until my
pediatrician suggested that I read ''Good Night, Sleep Tight'' by
Kim West. Within three weeks of sometimes very difficult to
endure training, my son was out of my bed and sleeping through
the night in his crib. Huge improvement. Naps have improved
slightly, from 20 minutes to 45--but he is taking them at regular
times of the day and they do seem to be lengthening. West writes
a lot about putting the baby down to sleep while he is still
fairly awake, rather than trying to put them down asleep, and she
gives very good clues about how to determine when this
sleep-window takes place. I would suggest that you read this
book. Diligence is key, so in committing to the process, you
should allow for a three week period to make adjustments and just
give yourself over to the process. It was tough, but we are
seeing results now... Sending you my best wishes for some rest.
I could have written your post 14 years ago about my son. My
husband swears he clocked it one time and our son would only
sleep a total of 10 hours a day, generally in blocks of 2-3
hours. I struggled like you and considered it a victory when I
could take a shower. But, just wanted to let you know that as a
toddler he loved to be on the go, to be with other kids, go
places and try new things. And thus he slept much better (and
so did I!) Now, at 14, he has such a sweet disposition that my
friends are amazed to hear he was 'high maintenance' as a baby.
Best of luck
Ooooh- I remember those days. My daughter didn't start sleeping
through the night until she hit kindergarten, so at least
you're getting a few z's during the evening! My girl was a
stubborn napper- I had to lie down with her to get her to
snooze and she woke up as soon as I tried to extricate myself.
We were always amazed on how little sleep she survived on,
especially in comparison to other babies. When we looked at
childcare for my return to work, we specifically had to find a
provider who was willing to carry her or lay down with her. She
did grow out of it as she got older (she was fine with napping
solo by the time she was 9 months)- so I think it's a time
issue for your babe, she's still a little thing. Make sure you
get some breaks and hang in there. If you haven't left her with
someone else for any long periods of time, I might try letting
grandma, spouse, or trusted friend/sitter spend a day or two
with her. I think that sometimes the smell of mama keeps baby
tuned in and alert.
Hang in there!
Sorry to hear of your exhaustion and struggles with naps.
I have an energetic, somewhat fussy, ''active'' 4.5-month-old, and
while she is not as nap-resistant as your baby, she has catnapped
since birth and after talking with other moms, I would not call
her ''easy.'' She's pleasant but needs a lot of attention. And naps
-- 99% of her naps last 30-45 minutes, never this 1- or 2-hour
nap that I hear or read about. She gets fussy and tired after
being awake 1-1.5 hours, so her cycles are short and tiring for
me. And she averages a total of 9 hours at night, not this 11 or
12 hours I hear about. So while it's true that some babies need
less sleep than others (mine averaged 14 hours a day for the
first few months when I read that she should be getting 18 or
whatever), I worry about sleep deprivation, just like you.
Until a few weeks ago, I had to rock her for 15 minutes or more
to get her to nap for 30 minutes, which was draining and frankly
ruining my joints. Recently, out of frustration, I started a
hybrid nap method where I let her cry it out for a set number of
minutes and then comfort her by picking her up, rocking for a few
minutes (so far I haven't simply patted her because she doesn't
respond to that, just keeps screaming like your baby). I repeat
until she exhausts herself or she finds her thumb and can suck on
it to put herself to sleep. It still takes time, and I'm still
tired, but at least I give my body a break while she cries for a
little bit. The reward is that sometimes, she does just go to
sleep on the first try.
Maybe something like that, where you let her cry a bit, could
exhaust your baby enough that she might nap? It would help if
your baby has found her thumb and/or takes a pacifier (mine has
never loved the pacifier but has found her thumb). It could also
be that your baby will grow out of this on her own. Our
pediatrician said that catnapping is a sign of an immature sleep
pattern or nervous system or something and that it would get
better over time. Perhaps that applies to non-napping as well.
Maybe your pediatrician has an opinion or can offer at least some
peace of mind re: sleep deprivation, if this is just the way your
My baby girl is 14 months old now but we had a similar
Up until about 6 months of age I'd let her sleep where she
wanted - while nursing, in a bouncy chair after I had to
physically gently swing it, in her sling..anywhere just to get
her to sleep. Then I decided that perhaps it was maybe partly
our fault for not giving her a dedicated place to sleep.
So after 6 months we started sleep training her-not cry it out-
but always letting her know that her naps are in her crib and
not in the stroller etc. We'd sit next to her crib and rub her
back for a bit and then just hold our hand still so she knew we
were still there. Also introduced 1 ''lovey'' in crib for comfort
and nothing else. I did away with any other sleeping spot and
aids such as rocking, singing etc.
I'm not going to lie, it was very tough in the beginning. The
hard work paid off though and after about two weeks she started
to realise that her crib was a dedicated sleep spot. I also
introduced a shortenend version of Good Night Moon that I would
softly whisper for each ''nighty-night'' as a cue to her that it
was not time to sleep. From about 7 months she's slept through
the night from 7:30pm-6am.
She does have her off nights with teething etc but it's quite
easy to settle her again.
Try to gently introduce a bit of a routine and ensure the room
Eventually it works out-it's just that you have to put some
effort in to a structure to help her learn to fall asleep
without a cry it out method. If all else fails you could
consult a sleep therapist-I've heard from a friend that it was
We have the same problem with our 5 month old son. When he was
very new he slept all the time (something like 22 hours per day).
Then at about one month of age the pattern became more regular,
and at three months he pretty much stopped napping. We also tried
everything and the only real solution was to take him for very
long stroller rides in the afternoon. After 30 minutes to an hour
of that he falls asleep. Driving with him in the car occasionally
works, but not always. The stroller is the best trick, at least
in our case - maybe it's the fresh air. If you haven't already,
you should give it a try. Good Luck!
feeling your frustration
I almost responded to this earlier, but am glad I waited. Our
son would only nap for 30 mins. at a stretch and was up every 1
1/2 to 2 hours as a 4.5 mo. old. He had been in our bed up until
4 months, when we determined that we were actually waking him up
and moved him to his crib. He had bags under his eyes and his
lovely disposition became a bit surly. He has always needed a
lot of holding (I could never put him down in the beginning), but
even holding him wasn't working.
So, a week ago, we decided to start sleep training. We would let
him cry for 5 mins. and then go in for 2, let him cry for 7
mins., then 9. We capped it at 9 minutes the first night. He
cried for 45 minutes total each time that night (we probably
cried just as much). Now he takes at least 1 hour+ nap a day, he
is only up 2-3x a night, only cries a couple minutes each time,
and he is the happy boy he used to be. It's hard, but worth it.
So, if your infant is like my 4 month old, you've probably
already figured out the problem, or she's already changed. But
in case not, here's a possible tip. Is it possible that your
nursing naps are just enough for your baby to feel rested and
therefore be awake, but not enough to get her the rest she
needs for development? In the No Cry Nap solution, by Pantley
(I know, another book...), she makes a case for why babies need
sleep and how much. She also has a ''solution'' for nursing
nappers and cat nappers (Like my baby). It revolves around the
cat nap refreshing the baby, but not actually resting her.
I consider my baby ''easy'', but active. He's a great night
sleeper, and happy during the day, but needs a change of
activity like every 15 min. I only let him nurse to sleep if
it's right for me and my schedule (e.g. Mom's group discussion,
and he's getting fussy for sitting around for an hour).
Usually, I nurse him right after he wakes up, and take him off
as soon as he starts non-nutritive sucking. (see book for
details). His usual nap is about 30-45 mins. and if he wakes
he seems awake and happy. I usually try to get him at least 1
good nap (1 hour+) a day by running into his room at the 30-45
min. mark, and picking him up and rocking him, and holding him
for another 30-45 mins. (movie, tv, book). It's tiring, yes,
but worth it.
He's not quite the ''no cry'' baby, as he usually cries before
going to sleep, but it's only for about 5-10 minutes, either
with me rocking him, or just down in his crib if he's tired
enough. He's also swaddled and we use a white noise maker for
about 1/2 hour each bedtime. I used to have to walk around the
house with him swaddled and crying, but now I can just rock him
a few mins. above his crib.
How can I extend my baby's 30 minute naps? My 3 month old is pretty
good at sleeping at night. He sleeps in the crib for naps and
nighttime. Most nights he wakes up once (although that can be anywhere
from 2 to 5 am) for a feed and can sleep from 5-7 hour stretches. I
can sometimes hear him wake up at night and he is able to sooth
himself back to sleep. Naps, however, are a different story. It only
takes 5 minutes to get him down for a nap (swaddle, pacifier, tight
holding and shushing) but he rarely lasts longer then 30-45 minutes. I
notice when he's tired (heavy eyes, a bit of fussing when I don't hold
him...) so I get him down right away, but why won't he sleep for long?
I know he's tired after the nap because he can only stay up for an
hour in between naps and he wakes up fussy. I try to give him the
pacifier again (he doesn't need it at night) but his eyes will pop
open and then he's awake for good. Sometimes he's hungry and this is
what wakes him (still sometimes eats every 2 hrs during the day) and
sometimes its noise that wakes him. But when he's fed just before a
nap and the environment is right (quiet, dark, etc) he will still get
up after 30-45 minutes. I know that there is a rhythm to sleep that
happens ever 30 minutes in babies and that he needs to self sooth to
get beyond that. But how can I help him do that if I'm not ready for
CIO yet? I feel like my whole day is spent getting him up and down in
his crib for the 5 naps he takes. In the stroller or bjorn he will
sleep for much longer, but I don't want him to get used to motion for
sleep. Why can he go longer at night but not during the day? Is he too
young for a nap schedule? Is the pacifier a crutch, even though he
will wake up with it still in his mouth sometimes? Is the short nap
typical at this age or (gulp!) is this just how he's going to be with
Ah, does your story sound familiar! My now 9-month old did
exactly the same. He slept really well at night, but only about
40 mins. during the day. He'd be up for about 2 hrs and then
needed to go down again. Boy, did that drive me nuts. I checked
here on BPN to see if others had similar issues and the
archives showed that many babies change their schedule
automatically around 6+ months. I decided to try that and
that's exactly what our son did. Right around 6 months of age
he started to sleep longer. He still only stayed awake for
about 2 hrs in between his naps, but suddenly he started
napping 1.5 hrs. Every now and then he will still take only a
45 min. nap, but generally they are now longer. Every so often
he has treated me to a 2.5 hr nap! I don't know what to do with
myself!!!! Hahahaha, hang in there!!!!
My 3 1/2 month old daughter does not like to nap during the
day. She sleeps well at night - anywhere from 5 to 8 hours.
But she only takes cat naps during the day even though she
appears to be tired. I was told that at this age she should be
sleeping about 5 hours during the day. She does not sleep
anywhere close to this. Also, she's been eating a lot more
frequently lately. Does anyone have any advice on how I can
help her sleep during the day? Thank you.
Just my opinion, but I wouldn't call 5-8 hours at night ''sleeping
well'' for a 3 1/2 month old. It sounds like your little one is
very, very sleep deprived, and the lack of sleep is causing the
nap issues. Sleep begets sleep, and the lack of sleep begets less
Get your hands on Ferber or Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits,
Happy Child) or one of the other main sleep books, and start
putting a sleep plan in place.
i'm assuming the room is warm, dark and quiet. your daughter
sounds like my baby who also didn't take any lengthy naps, maybe
30 minutes max, and that was unusual. my daughter at 9 1/2 months
naps for 45 minutes, with maybe 1.5-2 hours late in the day. how
about letting her get tired by not letting her sleep for like 3
hour straight before naps? alas, maybe your daughter just doesn't
need to sleep that much, which makes it tougher on you... good luck.
- nap-needing mom
I just recommended this book to another parent-- HEALTHY SLEEP
HABITS, HAPPY CHILD. It's a great resource and still is for
me. Your daughter should start settling into a sleep schedule
if she hasn't already. Start a sleeping routine if you haven't
already. I use a bath (at night), bottle (at night), and book
(and sometimes a song). You can do anything as long as it's
consistent so she knows you're going to put her down soon. She
needs at least 10 hours of sleep at night. She needs at least
3 naps during the day.
1st nap: 9-10am
2nd nap: 12-2pm
3rd nap: 3-5pm
These are STARTING TIMES and NOT the actual length of time she
should be sleeping. Each nap should be at least 1 hour and the
longest she can be awake between naps is 2. I hope this helps.
Well, 5-8 hours at night is more like what an adult would need, and
even then it wouldn't be enough in the lower range of 5-6. Babies
need way more sleep than that. My guess is that your baby is not
getting enough sleep, and that's why she is having trouble
sleeping during the day. It is not unusual for babies this age to
take lots of short naps, but the total sleep hours in a 24-hour
day are not adding up for you. I recommend that you 1) talk to your
pediatrician and 2) research how many hours a 5-month old needs.
If she's getting enough total, then don;t worry about many short
naps instead of a few long ones.
Hi- I have a three month old who takes 4-5 short naps per day-
each being only about 30 minutes. Every 4 days or so, she will
suddenly take a 2 hour nap. I am concerned that she is not
getting enough daytime sleep, but I don't know how to increase
her nap times. She sleeps well at night, usually asleep around
7pm and waking up at 6-7 am. This seems to be her natural
rhythm. She wakes up to feed 2-3 times per night too. She used
to take longer naps, usually between 1-3 hours. These naps were
always when she was attached to me in a Moby sling. Now she is
sleeping in her crib and I would like her to continue sleeping
there. She gets an average of 13.5 hours of sleep per day. Does
anyone have any thoughts on this issue- or ways to increase her
day time sleep? Is it something to be concerned about, or just
let it be? Thanks.
My daughter is also like your child. After she started crawling she did start having
longer naps but not always. If your baby is happy and seems well-rested then just let
it be and ignore what you see/hear about short naps not being enough. Best of luck.
Mom of a short napper
Your 3 month old sounds perfectly normal. The daytime naps will
merge and stretch and find a pattern in a few more months. Good
nighttime sleep is a good sign--not enough day time sleep still
shows up as nighttime sleep disruption for my 2 year-old.
My son was like that as an infant, he rarely slept more than 30
to 45 minutes at a stretch during the day. I recently heard
something that clicked - I have small breasts, and he nursed
every 60 to 90 minutes - maybe because I didn't have very big
''tanks''. Maybe he woke up because he was hungry again.
Some of the best advice I ever read was from Dr. Spock - ''Is he
happy and gaining weight? Then don't worry about it.''
He Sleeps Great Now!
If you are set on encouraging longer naps there are a few things
that may help. One suggestion is to try napping with her during
the day- lay down with her in your bed or on the couch. Another
suggestion is to have a similiar routine at nap time as you do
for bed time, such as- making sure there is darkness in the room
she will be sleeping in or playing her same nightime music or
reading her nighttime book.
However, if your baby does not seem excessively cranky or there
isn't any particular health problem that could be connected with
poor sleep then my advice is to let it go. All babies have
different rhythms and it sounds like yours has hers that's
working for her. This will be more than likely to change into
different rhythms at different ages, so take advantage of her
long nights of solid sleep while you can. Good luck & don't worry.
I too was worried about my little cat napper (same cycle as you
describe...four 20-minute naps a day), but at six and a half
months, she is starting to transition into longer, less-frequent
naps a day. Now I can usually count on one 90-minute nap a day,
plus two 20-minute naps. And just in the last week, she's been
going down for just two 90-plus-minute naps...oh joy! So I would
just give it some time. I also suggest keeping her stimulated as
much as you can during a wakeful period. My daughter won't sleep
or fuss when she's in her stroller, so in the mid morning, I get
us up and out of the house for at least two hours. By the time we
get home, she's wiped out, and then I can count on a good long
nap. So just hang in there, the longer naps will come!
Hi mama of a short-napper! It sounds like your daughter is
getting enough sleep to me. Maybe her sleep patterns aren't
what you would wish but honestly it is probably not a problem.
If I were you I would not spend a lot of energy trying to change
her sleep habits at this point, because as soon as you think she
is settled into one pattern everything will CHANGE. The changes
continue to happen well into the second year of life, due to
everything from growth spurts to teething to learning new skills
(gearing up to learn to walk is a huge sleep disruptor!) My
advice would be to relax and enjoy your baby girl, and enjoy the
great nighttime sleep you are getting, too--that is unusual at
her age! Congratulations mama.
From what I've seen, the naps you describe are normal at this
age, and around month 4 they start developing a mid-morning and a
mid-afternoon nap. As another mom told me - in the early
months,you either get good night sleeping or good day napping,
not often both!
For me, in month 2, I moved my baby from Moby naps to crib naps,
and the naps were still short but it helped establish naps
without being strapped to me. Congratulations on your new baby
I'm sure there are people who will tell you all about sleep
training, but my advice is this: go with the flow. She's really,
really little. If she's only waking 2-3 times at that age, you're
doing ok. Soon she'll be on a little more of a schedule (I
remember mine started going 4-hr stretches at night, almost on a
schedule, when she was about 4 months old). And I swear, by the
time you think you've got her routine figured out, you'll have a
couple of days or maybe, if you're lucky, a couple of weeks to
enjoy it, then she'll change again. When they're little, the
routine is that they change the routine as soon as you figure it
out. So don't worry about it. Try to figure out the routine, and
don't worry about it when the routine doesn't work anymore. Oh,
and if she's sleeping in her crib, you are SET. Mine never took
naps in her crib. She only slept when attached to me or moving.
I am trying to get my 3 month old to fall asleep on her own
during nap time. When she appears tired, I try to nudge her to
sleep by cudling with her, rocking her and giving her the
pacifier. When she's almost asleep in my arms, I put her in her
crib. Often she wakes up when I put her down and looks up at me
smiling as if she wasn't sleepy anymore. I know that she still
needs to get her rest, so I kiss and stroke her head (and smile
back) and then walk out of the room. I find that she doesn't
fall asleep but rather plays by herself, looking at and sucking
her hand and often smiling and cooing to herself. If she
doesn't fall asleep right away, I go back in and kiss and stroke
her again, and then leave. If she still doesn't sleep or if I
hear her calling for me, I pick her up. My question is-- I
don't know when to call it quits and take her away from the
crib. I don't want to leave her in there if she's not sleeping
(because I don't want her to miss out on the daytime
activities), but at the same time, I don't want to prevent her
from learning how to take naps. What do other people do? ALSO--
do people recommend having a mobile or toys in the crib so that
she has something to look at when she's lying in the crib, or
would that distract her from sleep.
Mother of 3 month old
You sound like a very sweet new mum! I too with my baby was
worried about her being by herself playing in the crib and would
pick her up if she wasn't sleeping. My good friend with a same
age baby once suggested to leave my baby alone so we left her to
coo and play and even do some almost crying sounds and then she
fell asleep by herself. I realized that she would fall asleep if
I just left her alone! I started putting black and white shapes
in the crib and she would contently fall asleep looking at them.
A 3-month old still needs to be parented to sleep and probably
is too young to learn how to go to sleep on her own. (I only
have a 4-month old so I'm not sure when they can learn to sleep
on their own.) I still have to wind my son down to sleep and I
can only put him down once he has transitioned from light sleep
(rapid eye movements, twitches, irregular breathing) to deep
sleep (limp limbs, no eye movement or twitches, regular
breathing). I'm looking forward to hearing other people's
responses to hear when their babies could go to sleep on their
own. I have a feeling that it won't be for a long time. (I just
spent a long time this morning getting him down for his nap. He
wants to look and touch everything rather than sleep, even
though he's very sleepy!)
Hi- I am so proud to be able to say that my daughter at 3 1/2
months puts herself to sleep for naps and bedtime. They say
you should start with naps but I started with bedtime and later
naps. Here are some key things to do to help your baby fall
asleep better. To sleep better during the day she needs to be
well rested which means an early bedtime between 6-8p.m. (if
your baby goes to bed later than that get an earlier bedtime by
waking her aroun 7a.m.) Timing of naps is also important, if
she gets too cranky or overtired, its harder to fall asleep and
stay asleep. Have a brief nap routine, my baby responded so
well to routines, it helps cuz then they know whats coming
next. I usually read her a book in a rocking chair, sing her a
lullaby while walking her around her room and sway her in my
arms till she starts closing her eyes. And most important, be
firm and consistent. Have a predetermined time as to when you
will respond to her. I think the longer you wait the faster
the results will be. Some people ferberize; wait 5min, go in
and check briefly and leave, then wait 10min, and so on
increasing response time everyday. Or, you could just not
respond untill a preset time up to an hour. If she doesn't
fall asleep after an hour, get her up and try again later at
her next nap time. I never responded at all if she wasn't
crying and she would eventually fall asleep, if you keep giving
her attention she probably stay up to wait for the next time
you come in. If she keeps not sleepin, don't let her not sleep
all day, put her to sleep so that she ets rest. Naps are
important. It will take time but it is so worth it!!! Be
patient and decisive. By the way, letting her cry it out may
work better when she is at least four months old. Feel free to
email me with any questions.
As long as your baby isn't crying, I would leave her for up to
an hour to see if she falls asleep.
Mom of 7 month old
We have a 3-month old son who is not real big on taking naps
during the day. We are fortunate, though, that he does sleep
through the night consistently. He'll fall asleep in our arms after
he's been fed by breast or by bottle, but shortly after we put him
down in his crib, sometimes as soon as 30 minutes, he'll wake up
wailing. We're able to then comfort him to stop his crying, but he
still won't settle down. It's really hit or miss whether he sleeps for
any length of time during the day. Clearly, he's very tired because
he rubs his eyes consistently during these times, yawns, etc. Any
hints or advice that would help our little guy to take regular naps
would be most appreciated.
Eric and Debra
I have a five month old and I've noticed that when he gets over
tired, he sleeps less soundly and doesn't sleep for as long. When
he was three months old, he would generally be awake for two
hours and then nap for two hours during the day. However, he's
never slept through the night! You might try putting your baby
down for a nap when he begins showing signs of
sleepiness--rubbing his eyes and getting cranky. It seems that
most babies of this age need their first nap a couple hours after
waking up in the morning. Good luck!
Your baby sounds normal. He *is* napping, he just won't stay asleep by
himself in his crib. I often put my young babies to sleep in the stroller,
so if they did start to stir I could easily provide the motion that would
put them back to sleep. I also often ''napped'' my daughter in her baby
swing where she just couldn't wake up until she was really had no need for
sleep at all. Consider also a vibrating bouncy seat. I'm sure you've heard
of parents using the car. I also find that lying down next to your infant,
warm and cozy, is a good way to keep them asleep for a good long nap. And
you too. Other parents I know have sound machines, so there's a constant
level of background noise...My babies never settled down to regular, long
naps until *at least* the second half of the first year, when I began the
nap time routines that all the experts talk about. Good luck.
My 3.5 yr. old daughter was the same. I was willing to put up with it
during the day because she was such a good night sleeper, and that was more
important to me. At about 6 months of age, she started taking two naps/day
on a ''schedule'' (of her own doing). They'd last anywhere from 1-2 hours
each. Not great, but it was adequate. So in my case, we sort of outgrew it.
I've heard that is fairly common. Now I'm just waiting for my 2.5 month
old, who does the same thing your child does, to outgrow it too! Bummer is,
she isn't as good at night as my older daughter was. Oh well! My advice is
to be patient and see where you are at in another couple of months...
Boy, do I feel for you. My now 19 month old didn't nap more than 25 minutes
at a time (sometimes two naps a day, but often only one 25 minute nap a
day) until he was almost a year old. Then, once he got really mobile he
started to nap for 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day (only one nap) and he has
continued on that schedule ever since. You are fortunate your child sleeps
though the night well. Mine didn't . Even though it drives you crazy, try
not to let it. Unfortunately, babies won't sleep if they aren't tired, so
you just have to learn to live with it and to work around it. Every kid
needs a different amount of sleep and has different sleep patterns. My
older son slept 12 hours a night from the time he was four weeks old and
took two 2 hour naps a day for several years. He is still a great sleeper
(now 6 years old), while the younger one just doesn't want or need as much
sleep (getting him to fall asleep at nap or bed time is a horrible chore,
even when he is clearly almost asleep on his feet - I won't bore you with
the details). So, I guess this is sympathy more than advice, but sleep is
a tough one. Having a wakeful baby is a challenge, but it gets more fun as
the baby gets older and more engaged in your life.
First let me say, lucky you--a three month old who sleeps through the night!
Hopefully, you two are managing to get some sleep as well.
Regarding naps, I'll share with you what with did with our now 10 month old
baby girl--even at the risk of sounding like a Ferber-sleep-nazi in this
so-called open-minded crowd ;-)
When she was around four months old, we decided to sleep train her. I
hadn't read any books but had regularly discussed sleep (and still do!) with
my mom's group. And, frankly, what we did felt right for us and our baby.
Every day around the same time, usually after she nursed and when she was
yawning/rubbing her eyes, we put her into her crib, rubbed her back a bit,
whispered sweet nothings, and left the room. What did she do? She cried.
We went back in to comfort her after a minute or two, gradually increasing
the wait time to five minutes. Use a watch. When you're doing this a
minute feels like an hour! It was very hard to listen to her cry. I don't
recommend doing it on your own. If possible, ask your husband/friend/nanny
to help. By the end of a week, we were only going in once or twice to
comfort her and by three weeks, she would wimper a bit and put herself to
sleep. Fortunately, she is the type of child who responded to this.
Also, a few tips, when I say we went back in to comfort her, I mean that we
went in, rubbed her, rolled her over, told her we loved her, whatever it was
for about thirty seconds, and then quickly left the room again. That way
she knew that we were there, that she had not been abandoned, but that it
was time for sleep. We almost never picked her up once she was down for her
nap (unless she was sick or teething). Also, doing this at the same time
every day (once in the AM and once in the afternoon) seemed to really make a
difference as our daughter responded well to the routine. Finally, and I
think this is most important, we created a sleep environment/association
that she could recreate on her own. For example, if she woke up thirty
minutes later, she didn't need to be rocked or nursed to settle back down.
Now, that's not to say that this always worked. There have been periods in
her development when she has taken micro naps (20 minutes or less) and when
she has gone on total nap strikes (love that). Also, when she is teething,
her sleep patterns are disrupted. But, for the most part, this technique
has worked well for us. I am happy to say that for the moment, she takes
two long naps a day (and sleeps all night) and we have a happy, rested baby
and a less cranky mom (me) because I get some time to myself.
Bottom line, all babies are different and have different desires/needs.
Maybe some or all of what I've shared will be useful to you. I hope so.
Hi Everyone, I am hoping to get some tips on how to get my baby
to sleep for naps. We have a decent bedtime routine, but that
only works at night. My daughter goes to the nanny 4 days out of
the week and naps like a pro over there. However, when I get her
home for my three days, she barely sleeps at all. The ONLY way I
can get her to sleep is by driving somewhere or taking her out
for a walk--both of which have their limitations, not to
mention, I don't want this to be the only way to get her to
sleep. Sometimes, if she's tired enough, she'll fall asleep
while eating or if I dance her to sleep. But then I put her down
in her crib or the swing, and she's up ten minutes later. I try
leaving her there to see if she'll go back to sleep, but she'll
just continue to cry or fuss for up to 30 minutes. I'm not a CIO
fan anyway, so I feel horrible having her upset on the few days
she's home with me.
I've asked our nanny who says she can just lay her down in the
swing and she'll go right out for her. My daughter is 4.5
months, by the way. If you could help out, I would appreciate
it. I'm going nuts on my days off when I really just want to
enjoy them with her.
I don't think napping in the swing is much better than the car,
but maybe there is an indigestion problem that causes laying down
to be uncomfortable? I assume she lies down at night...
Sleep with your baby during naps. When she wakes up early, soothe
with your hand. Say things like ''Shhh, it's time to sleep, baby.
Close your eyes and rest.'' Stroke her head and gently cuddle her.
If she flips out, try singing gently. It may take awhile for her
to learn this routine.
I did this with a child until he was nearly two. Otherwise he
would wake up at 35 minutes and be awake (and grumpy). When I
napped with him, he would still wake after 35 minutes, but I
could get him right back to sleep and he'd sleep another hour or
so. After the first waking and going back to sleep, I could get
up and do other things. But not before. If I had a lot to do, I
could get up and just make sure to come back at the first 35,
pretending I'd been sleeping with him the whole time.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. Saved us!! Stop using motion
to get baby to sleep - car, swings etc. Let her cry - she is just
over tired most likely. Watch for her tired signs and get her
down for nap sooner! (after she's been up just an hour or at most
It is common for babies to go to sleep easier, while with their
nanny/care giver because they don't have the same attachment to
the care giver as with their parents. At the same time it is
easier for the care giver to put the baby to sleep because she
has had more practice at it.
Some babies become over stimulated far easier than others. Your
daughter may need more quite time before nap to help her settle
down to sleep. Having her nap room as dark as possible will also
help because, the darker the room the deeper the sleep.
You didn't mention if your daughter is still being swaddled.
Most babies reject swaddling by this age and cry to communicate
that to care giver. While babies adjust to the transition from
swaddle to no swaddle they may struggle to find a new
comfortable position before they can fall sleep.
It is important to develop healthy sleep habits and as all sleep
books agree consistency is most important. Having a simple
routine just before sleep is helpful for babies. If they can
anticipate, understand, what is happening next they are much
more willing to go along with the plan.
The good news is that babies are amazingly resilient and very
I need help getting my 17-week old baby to take daytime naps.
What I've tried:
* Soothing him to sleep in my arms. He wakens when I lay
him down. He remains alert and cries, winding up instead of
* Putting him down before he's fussing/rubbing eyes/yawning
* Letting him ''cry it out'' and not going to him. He'll cry
- even scream, beet red in the face, for hours. There are
very brief lulls during which he falls asleep, of 10 minutes
* A pacifier calms him, but for short periods. He'll
eventually spit it out and cry. I'll insert it again, and
this cycle repeats for hours.
* Changing his napping location (crib, our bed) doesn't work.
* I think he's too old for swaddling, but I sometimes try
it, anyway. Doesn't seem to make a difference.
He sleeps well at night. Down at 8:00 without a fuss, wakes
to nurse at 3:00 am, and wakes around 6:30.
I'd give up, but he's difficult and fussy when he doesn't
nap, and I believe that it's important for his development.
Thank you in advance for your advice.
-Stressed-out new mom
I'm sure I won't be the only one to say this, but 17 weeks
is way way too early for crying it out. Even the CIO
manuals don't recommend it until 6 months.
I do remember having more trouble putting my baby down to
sleep around 17 weeks. She'd fall asleep in my arms or on
the breast but wake up when I put her down. What worked for
me was being very very careful about how I laid her down.
I'd try to keep up the bouncing and swaying as I very slowly
bent over to put her in her co-sleeper. The crucial part,
though, was rocking the bed just a little after I slowly
slipped my arms out from under her. I've read that you can
do this with normal cribs too, but I haven't tried it.
Swaddling was still crucial for us at that age. They still
don't have much control over their arms and it's easy for
them to startle themselves- plus they feel more of a
difference when they get laid down if their limbs are loose.
Good luck! The good news is, everything is a phase that
Try sleep training with music, such as
lullabies: soothing classic piano melodies, where all the
music is played at resting heart rate tempo, or 60 beats per
minute. Within just minutes of listening, your
baby's heart and respiration rates, and blood pressure will
lower, which sets the stage for sleep to occur.
Repeated use of the CD at nap and bedtime creates a
biofeedback loop, so that your baby learns to associate the
music with falling asleep. Over time, your baby will fall
asleep more and more quickly as the stimulus/response
Because this method of baby sleep training is physiology
based, it works for all temperaments and parenting styles,
and with older babies and tots too.
Your problems might just be temporary. Most babies go
through a 'sleep regression' around 4 months old. There is
a major mental developmental leap that babies' minds go
through around Week 19 (and in the weeks leading up to Week
19) which leads to disordered sleeping. This usually
resolves as the leap period passes.
Here is more in-the-trenches discussion of sleep regression:
4-Month Sleep Regression
A Reminder about Sleep Regressions
What are Sleep Regressions Anyway?
My 4 months old baby always cries when I put him down for a nap. I tried laying down
& nursing him which sometimes work or I rock him or rub his back but he still cries
and wouldn't sleep. I know he's exhausted but he fights it so hard. This is driving me
crazy and takes up all my time. Please help!!!
my baby has always been a difficult sleeper and requires much ''work'' on our part. i
used to swaddle him and put him in the ergo and bounce on the exercise ball while i
checked my email-- i got something done and he fell asleep! worked like a charm! i
only wish it were so easy now :)
on to new things
Oh how I remember those days! My son also refused to take a
nap around the same age. It turns out that I was keeping him
up too long between naps. I got this great book by a sleep
researcher - Polly Moore - called ''The 90 Minute Baby Sleep
Program.'' Basically, infants have sleep /wake cycles that go
at 90 minute intervals. (i.e. after 90 minute intervals of
being awake, a ''sleep window'' appears where a baby if soothed
can fall asleep easily.) So, at 4 months, a baby can typically
only stay up 90 minutes before quickly becoming over-tired and
thus unable to take a nap. As babies get older, the wake
intervals lengthen to 180, minutes, then 270 minutes - you get
the idea. It seems insane to note the time when your baby
first wakes up and drop whatever you are doing every 90 minutes
throughout the day so that he/she can go down for a nap, but
this COMPLETELY solved the problem for us and was a real life-
saver. Oh - another note about the ''sleep window'': while our
baby was young, it was really short - if we were late more than
10 minutes or so for the nap, then it was an extra 20 minutes
of rocking to get him to fall asleep. By the time he got to be
8-9 months, he was more resilient if we were ''late'' with his
nap. Also, the 90 minute clock starts ticking from the time
when your baby first starts stirring, so if he/she still has
trouble going down after 90 minutes, consider the possibility
that he/she woke up earlier than you realized (and maybe just
lay quietly for a while) and is now over-tired. Thus, in our
experience, it was a good idea to start our nap ritual around
the 80 minute mark, rather than 90. Yes, this plan does entail
a lot of vigilence and a good baby monitor! Hope this helps!
I was wondering if someone could give me some advice about
getting a 4 month old to nap? For some reason, my daughter
just does not seem to be able to go to sleep at nap times, even
when she is obviously tired (rubbing her eyes, yawning, etc.).
I try evethything I can think of: I rock her, sign to her, put
her in the swing, put her in the bouncy chair, dim the lights
in her room, etc.. Sometimes after about 45 minutes of this
she does go to sleep, only to be up again in 30-40 minutes to
eat. She is tired all the time, and no wonder.
I am absolutely against the CIO method, so I've been reading
the ''No Cry Sleep Solution'' by Elizabeth Pantley. The problem
with what she is suggesting is that she is assuming there is a
single method that gets your baby to sleep (e.g., rocking), so
she suggests establishing a nap/night time routine based on
that method. In my case there is no such method -- nothing
works, as I described above. I am at a complete loss. I'd
really appreciate any suggestions you might have!
I too have a 4 month old who is often reticent to nap or sleep in
general. Although we continue to try to get her down by herself,
when that doesnt work and she is exhausted, we will often put her
in the baby carrier (wrap) and she will sleep very soundly, for
hours! Have you tried wearing your baby? For us, its often the
only thing that works, and gets her back on track when she's on
the verge of skipping a nap.
You didn't mention if you're swaddling her. I know for my
little one, swaddling is like a sleep drug. If I don't swaddle
him, he stays awake. As soon as I swaddle him, he falls right
asleep. He struggles against and cries with the swaddle, but
can't sleep without it.
swaddle me baby
And nursing to sleep doesn't work? I used to nap with my 4 month
old after nursing.
Car rides, Putting Her in a car seat and put on the dryer,
The vacuum never worked for us, but has for others, try a sound
Our 4.5-month-old has started to roll onto his belly when we put
him down to nap and then gets frustrated and cries and can't
sleep. He's been an excellent napper so far, going down with
hardly a cry. He started rolling from back to belly at 3.5 months
and routinely flips onto his belly during the day now.
I was hoping he'd just sleep on his belly, but he ''swims'' and
flaps his arms and legs around and can't seem to rest on his
belly. When I go into his room and turn him back onto his back he
seems okay, and then five minutes later I hear him crying again
and find him back on his belly.
Our older son didn't roll over until much later, until well after
5 months, and I don't remember this flipping during the nap.
The little guy has also just started daycare as I'm going back to
work and while he's been enjoying it so far, he doesn't yet nap
there as well as at home and I'm worried this flipping issue is
just going to compound the relative lack of sleep he gets there.
Has anyone else dealt with this?! Is this going to stop?! Is it
because he's enjoying having learned to flip and he'll get sick
of it? I've tried pacifiers, lying him on his back with a soft
toy on his belly and nursing him back to sleep but nothing seems
Any advice, please!
He's just enjoying his new skill and practicing it in his sleep.
He'll either master it and move on, or get used to sleeping on
his stomach and stop waking himself up. It'll be over in a week
or two, if memory serves....Then you'll have some peace--at least
until he starts learning to stand up in his sleep!
You can get these little foam thingies that keep the baby from
rolling over. It's like a mat with two foam wedges, one goes on
each side of the baby. They can't roll over or wander around
much in the bed.
Option #2: have your baby in bed with you. We did, and we able
to adjust her when she woke up and then we could go quickly back
to sleep. We also used the foam wedges above to be sure she was
not wandering all over the bed.
Mom on Hayward Fault
you are probably going to have to have him learn to sleep how he
ends up. if you keep going in, he will expect you to rescue him
from that position all the time. btw, both my children were
strict tummy sleepers from practically birth so they can learn to
do it (i actually let them to keep the from hitting themselves in
the face and waking as infants). ''healthy sleep habits, happy
child'' talks about this issue - going back in for pacifier,
daycare sleeping was really hard for my first, so i ended up
doing nanny shares as well to give them a room to sleep in. it
really fosters healthy nap habits as well. if you can do it,
think about it.
Try sleep positioners to keep him from rolling over. We have triangular ones that
velcro onto a small pad, but there are larger round ones as well. Rolling up burp
cloths or small towels and putting them by his hips works for our son, but he doesn't
really try to roll over very much.
I am looking for advice on how to extend my 4 month old daughter's afternoon
nap. I usually soothe her and put her down at 2 or 3 in the afternoon (she also
takes two 45 minute-1hour naps in the morning) and she will sleep in her crib or
bassinet for about an hour. If I take her out of her crib and try to play with her, it is
apparent that she needs to sleep more. If I put her into her sling right after she
wakes up, she will sleep for another hour and a half and wake up refreshed. If I try
to soothe her and put her back down, I don't have great success. I have read both
the ''No Cry Sleep Solution'' and Dr. Weissbluth's book but haven't found much
advice about this specific problem. The No Cry Sleep Solution suggests picking up
the child when they awaken, soothing them, and putting them back down (which
hasn't worked well for me). I am not opposed to letting her cry it out a bit if
necessary. I am going back to work in 2 months and I want her to be able to sleep
as much as she needs to on her own by that time. Anyone have any specific
suggestions about how to extend this nap?
You answered your own question when you said she goes back to
sleep in the sling. Just keep doing that -- and save worrying
about the future for the future. If you're lucky, either your
daughter's caregiver will be able to wear her the same way you
do, or your daughter will outgrow the need by then and adapt to
whatever methods her caregiver does use.
Plenty of babies, especially younger ones, will only nap well
when worn in a sling or other carrier. The combination of
being ''swaddled'' in the fabric, gentle motion, the sound of your
heartbeat and breath, and the warmth of your body is a soporific
like no other! My own 14-month-old STILL naps on my back (in a
mei tai or Ergo) most of the time; it works for us. If it works
for you, there is no reason in the world to waste all that
effort on trying to put her down.
I'm trying to get my 4 month old baby to take naps longer than
45 minutes. Have you had this problem and overcome it? I would
be so grateful for any tips. My daughter takes six 45 minute
naps a day. Stretching out her awake time between naps doesn't
seem to help, she just gets overtired and then can't settle down
easily. I've tried to settle her before she fully wakes (at 45
minutes), but no, her little eyes pop open and she's wide awake,
even if I give her the paci. What to do?
Our baby used to take much shorter naps--we used to call them
power naps! One day, she had a slight cold and we put a
humidifier in her room. She took her first three hour nap that
day, and we have used a humidifier ever since! Don't put water in
it, just leave it empty and turn it on. The white noise does
wonders for naps and long, sleepful nights. We swear by this, and
have used one for all three of our babies.
Oh how I remember the days of the 45 minute nap! My now 2 year
old was the king of the short nap, you could literally set your watch
to him. I tried everything that every book recommended, but
ultimately the only thing that worked was time. One day he just
started sleeping longer all on his own! . There was a period where he
was very inconsistent, one day would be three 45 minute naps, the
next would be two 1 hour haps, and there didn't seem to be any
relation to how much he slept at night, how long I kept him up
between them, etc.. I figured that as long as he wasn't too tired or
cranky I would just roll with it, and I can't remember exactly when it
stopped, maybe by 6 or 7 months? But eventually it did.
Why is it that important that she take longer naps? At this age
she is doing what she needs to do, as she grows up she'll start
taking longer and fewer naps, it's just a matter of waiting.
Wow! Six 45 minute naps a day? Count your blessings! That's 4 1/2
hours to yourself everyday! My daughter is 2 years old and I
don't ever remember getting that much....I think at 4 mos. old it
! is too young to expect your child to do any more than that, and
probably it will diminish down to 4 then 2 naps of 45 min a day
before you will get her to take longer ones...and then you will
go through an awkward period, this happened for us around 16
mos., when two naps are too much and one is not enough. I know
lots of moms with lots of babies and I cannot recall any one of
them doing any differently than yours is at four months. Remember
too that your daughter is growing faster now than she will at
any other time in her life and these intermitent naps are the
best thing for her....
6 times 45 minutes is a good amount of total napping for a
4 month old, but in time the naps will become fewer and
longer, if you encourage them.
If you don't have Weissbluth's book (''Healthy Sleep
Habits/Happy Child'' ...or something like that) I'd invest in it
at this point. If it helps any -- my little guy went to two long
naps shortly after 4 months... and 2 years later still takes
one 2 1/2-3 hour nap daily, in addition to sleeping 10-12
hours per night. It can be done!
My 4 and 1/2 month old daughter also takes 45 minute naps,
almost like clockwork. Like you, I tried to be there that
first instant, to coax her back to sleep when 45 minutes was
approaching, but she was still ready to get up after 45
minutes. I decided that this isn't a ''problem'' after all,
because she seems happy during her awake times, and goes down
fine for her next nap--so this is just her pattern. You didn't
say why these short naps are a problem for you... If you think
it's a problem for he! r, I doubt it is (assuming she seems well-
rested overall), as I've been advised by other moms, and I've
read, that as infants get older, the nap durations will
lengthen. Your baby is still very young, barely past the
newborn stage--give it at least another month or two before you
spend more time thinking about this issue. Chances are, her
pattern will have changed by then. Best wishes.
Our 8-month-old, like your baby, is waking during the light-
sleep phase of the sleep cycle. I can set my watch by the 45-
minute duration of his naps. And when he wakes up, like your
baby, he's up---our little ones have yet to learn to put
themselves back to sleep. I'm reading and finding helpful The No-
Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley. She talks about this
phenomenon and says that we need to do anything and everything
we can to help baby get a full cycle of sleep! (about an hour and
a half), so the baby is getting enough rest and also to help
with nighttime sleep. The only thing that's worked for me so far
is going into the room a few minutes _before_ my son wakes up
and cuddling with him through the transition phase, so he never
really awakens. The idea is, as he learns to put himself back to
sleep, his naptimes will get longer. Best of luck to you.
Sorry to break it to you, but some babies only nap in 45 minute
Hard to hear, I know. My first was like this, as were the infants of
several of my
friends. Mine didn’t start taking longer naps until 9-10 months, when
might go for an hour (and was down to 2 naps a day). By the time she
months or so, and only napping once, she would nap for 1-2 hours. I
it’s frustrating, because you can get almost nothing done in 45-minute
increments, but it’ll get better as she gets older. Hang in there!
I just read the recent responses to your request for advice and
wanted to add something that worked for me. My son was only
taking 45 minute naps as well until he was 8-9 months old and I
was extremely frustrated because my daughter had started taking
longer naps when she was about 4 months old. She had always been
such a great napper and I wasn't about to settle for this 45
minute business from my son. I tried many things and then took
up the advice that gets repeated often on the parents network to
read Marc Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I read
only a little the first day and took away one piece of advice
that solved the problem... put your child down to sleep earlier
than you think. The wierd thing is that when some babies get
overtired they not only have a har! d time going to sleep but can
have a hard time staying asleep. Just putting my son down a
half-hour to an hour earlier for his naps (9:00 am for morning
nap and 1:00 pm for afternoon) immediately solved the problem and
a few days later when I slipped back into my old routine my son
slipped back to his and that has been the case ever since which
convinced me to stick with the new earlier nap schedule.
When my husband took care of our daughter during the day her
naps were always shorter than when I took care of her and I
finally figured out why. He would hold her the entire nap-time
cuddled up on the couch - most of the time he'd fall asleep
too. Whereas I would get her to sleep and put her in bed (by
herself). Another thing that helped is having some ''white
noise'' of any kind (i.e. humidifier or fan). It ! seemed to
smooth out the other sharp noises - we live near a busy corner
and during naptime might be the only time I have to do the
dishes or other housework.
My 5 month old baby girl falls asleep on her own for both naps &
bedtime without much fuss- that is when I put her down for the
nap. When dad tries she fusses, and ends up crying and not falling
asleep for sometimes another hour. He uses the same routine I do- read
a few books, rock & sing a lullaby and then put her in the crib and
turn on her mobile- she's usually out in 5 to 15 minutes. Anyone else
have a similar experience and any suggestions for what works to get
the baby to nap for someone other then mom?
HI -- I had a simliar problem a while ago, and now, with my
daughter being 15 months old, I am just now learning how to get
her to sleep myself. In the past, I could wear her down to
sleep, like in a sling, but as soon as I laid her down, she woke
right up. Or if she fell asleep in the car and I brought her in,
as soon as she was on the bed, she woke right up. But I found a
solution: don't rush her to bed. First, I take her out of the
sling, and still hold her close to my chest. Then I lay back on
the bed, usually propped up on one elbow. I hold this position
for a few minutes, while she resettles into a new position, and
usually stays asleep. Then I lay all the way back, with her on
top of me. And I stay like this for a few minutes, letting her
adjust. Then I roll her over, so my arm is still under her
head, but her body is now directly on the bed. After a few more
minutes of waiting, I work my arm out, and we're home free!
Also, if it's the middle of the night, and me and mama are
there, I CANNOT get her back to sleep. But if mama ISN'T there,
I can get her back to sleep -- she just wants mama, if mama is
there. But in the middle of the night, I use the same
procedure: first holding her, then leaning back, then laying
down all the way, then the roll, then the removal of the arm --
giving a few minutes for her to adjust to each step. Good luck!
my five month old is still only taking short naps. she sleeps for about 30-45 minutes
three or four times a day and she isn't sleeping through the night. (she's up 3-4
i usually just rock her back to sleep but sometimes i give in and nurse her.) i'd like
to be taking longer naps twice a day but i can't get her to stay asleep long enough.
looks exhausted much of the time (red eyes, pulling at her ears). i also have a 3-year-
old but i don't remember her doing this and can't remember if she was already taking
two long naps at 5 months old. can someone give any advice on how i might lengthen
the naps? or is this even the right thing to do? help! thanks.
I don't have advice, but can tell you that my 5 month old has a similar
about 3 short naps a day and up 3-5 times in the night (but I give in
and nurse every
time)! I'm just waiting it out.
sleepy mom too
Our 5 month old daughter has a hard time falling asleep for naps.
We have figured out how to help her but are starting to feel
like this is the time for her to transition to being able to fall
asleep more independently. We are not interested in crying it
out. We currently bounce her on the yoga ball swaddled while she
sucks on a finger. She rejects that pacifier for the most part
and while she has fallen asleep using other ways (nursing,
stroller, car, etc) none of them are reliable or sustainable.
Yet bouncing on the ball multiple times a day has caused some
physical problem for parents. Any thoughts? We have tried just
putting her down a couple of times but it doesn't seem to work.
Ha! Boy does that sound familiar. I used to get my baby to nap by
RUNNING IN PLACE!!! And yes, she was showing all the sleep signs etc.
but STILL would wake up and howl the second I placed her in the crib or
moses basket. The upside was I lost that pregnancy weight and more.
Does the baby go to sleep on her own at night? We did that first, and it
was just about patience (which is hard to have at this point, I know):
developing a nighttime routine and doing it every night every night
every night. And putting her down asleep, then gradually almost asleep
and gradually a little more awake etc. If necessary, I stayed in the
room until she was asleep. That worked pretty well, though I have news
this is not a one-time thing. Something upsets the baby's routine, you
travel, she gets sick, she teethes, and you have to do it all over
again. But it's less arduous once you're getting more sleep yourself and
have more of your time back.
As to naps--you can do the same thing, gradually putting her down a
little bit awake, perhaps sitting there while she falls asleep. One
technique is to sit in a chair next to the crib until she falls asleep,
or perhaps for her whole nap for awhile, and slowly move your chair out
of the room. It's time consuming but will work over the long run even if
it drives you nuts for a couple of weeks. That said, babies seem to be
able to distinguish between night and nap sleep. So we continue, even at
2, to let our daughter fall to sleep in our arms at nap time, though not
at night. She has her bottle, we read stories, we rock and sing. It
takes about 10 minutes maybe. Sometimes a little longer. It's sweet
Finally, you're right on track. One way or another I'll bet you that by
six months she'll be on a nap schedule.
We have a 4-month old who is sort of in the same boat. In fact, I just
put him down for a nap and after letting him cry for several minutes, I
went in to his room and patted him a few times, let him suck on my thumb
and then swapped in the pacifier and he drifted off to sleep. He's
still not able to sooth himself to sleep, but we have found some ways to
get him to fall asleep on his own without so much encouragement from us.
It used to require things like you describe - rocking or swinging, or
nursing laying down to get him to fall asleep.
But lately, we've had more luck with swaddling him really tight (I'm not
sure how long we'll do this but it still works so we're still doing it)
and playing white noise in the background - either loud static from the
radio or using the hair dryer (the hair dryer has been our best friend
numerous times - even in the middle of the night - he just calms down
Our son is also not a pacifier user and prefers our thumbs instead,
which can also be tough on parents. We have had luck with the Gerber
pacifier which is a big round one - a different shape than most others.
He still doesn't always take it readily (like just now), but often we
can quickly switch in the pacifier after he's sucked on our thumbs for a
couple minutes, and by that time he's drowsy enough that he still falls
asleep. I keep thinking that one of these days we need to really let
him cry it out to teach him to sooth himself on his own, but it is
really tough, and I find it's hard to know when they're ready. Our son
sometimes loves to suck on his own hand, and that can be enough to get
him to sleep if we leave one arm out when swaddled, although this
doesn't always work.
If you haven't tried the hair dryer already, I'd give it a shot. Good
My 5 month old takes lots of 40-minute naps all day long.
She'll be up for anywhere between 1-2 hours and then sleep for
40 minutes. She wakes up happy from her naps but gets grumpy
fast b/c she gets tired. I've started putting her down awake in
her co-sleeper in hopes that that might help and she has no
problem going to sleep on her own but she still wakes up after
40 minutes. She sleeps just great at night waking up to nurse 2-
3 times and I don't want to change anything about that at the
moment. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to extend
naps? Will it just happen at some point, as she gets older?
Are 40 minute naps enough?
Marc Weissbluth (''Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'') does say some
naturally short naps of about 30 minutes and that in these cases they
around 9 months. Our daughter is older than that but still almost
short naps. I do try to get her back to sleep if she wakes up cranky,
but I sure
haven't discovered any magic solutions (even with dark room, sound
active baby's mom
My son, now 9 months old, did the same thing at 5 months. We
called him ''Mr. Shortnapper'' because he would take so many
short naps throughout the day. I worried of course, because a
lot of books say that they need to sleep at least an hour. I
finally found something familiar in Weissbluth's book (most of
which I hated, but it did have some redeaming qualties)--he
says that some babies nap for short periods of time, and there
is nothing you can do about it, and just to make sure they get
as much sleep as they want. And so I did. I ended up staying
home a lot more in the interest of good sleep. Well, for
whatever reason, about 8 weeks ago he started naturally
consolidating his sleeping patterns during the day, and now he
has evolved into two naps per day of 1.5-2.5 hours each. It
seemed easy and natural to do so. Hopefully the same thing
will happen for you!
I don't think 40 minute naps are enough for a five month old. An
hour would be better -- or even longer. I found that the only
way my son would stay asleep for naps was to stay in bed with
him, holding him -- if I got up, he'd wake immediately and be
too upset to go back down again, even if he needed more sleep.
Have you tried nursing your baby back to sleep when she wakes?
Also, have you tried other places for her to sleep, like in a
carseat while you drive around, in a stroller while you push it,
in a sling while you walk, just to see if you can get her to
stay alseep longer? Maybe once she gets used to staying asleep,
she will do so easier.
Kids sure all have their own rhythms, don't they? It's fine.
She'll figure out how to change it when she needs to. For
instance, my 27-month-old has just gone from 45-minute naps her
whole life to 2 1/2 hour ones. Go figure.
My daughter did the same thing. Eventually her naps blended
together to make 2 longer ones and then became one longer
(afternoon) one. I've heard this is very common.
Elizabeth Pantley's book ''The No Cry Sleep Solution''
specifically addresses the issue of extending naps. For some
babies it happens naturally as they get older, but I found it
useful to help our son (who was 4 months old at the time and a
45 minute napper, too) learn to nap longer. He now naps for 2
hours when he's really tired and always wakes up smiling from
his naps. It's helpful to read the book (they sell it on
Amazon) but in short, you go in BEFORE your babies usual waking
time (say 35 minutes after your daughter has fallen asleep) and
use whatever method works (shushing, rocking, patting)to get
her back to sleep just as she's starting to wake up.
I didn't see your posting, so forgive me if you mentioned this,
but are you breastfeeding and do you drink caffeine? If so, you
might want to cut back and see if that helps.
this page was last updated: Oct 19, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network