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Infants' Naps (0-5 mos)

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Sleep > Infants' Naps (0-5 mos)


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Putting 9-week-old down for naps

Feb 2009

Hi, 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?? Julie


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. sarah
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. Good luck
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. kevin


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 to it.

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. anon


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. Good luck! 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. Been there
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) -non-co-napper
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 better again. Lex

10-week-old - I'm trying to figure out napping

Nov 2008

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 suggestions/opinions/advice? Thanks. s


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. been there
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 your life. still living with sleep deficit

11 week old naps only 45 minutes

Nov 2006

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? Beth


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 Jill
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 be different. 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! Been there


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, regardless nappy
My son used to drive me crazy with his napping routine. At 2 months he would take 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. Been There


11 weeks is very young to expect long stretches of napping. My 4 year old slept 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 bit batty.

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 2 hours. kim
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.) Nicole R.
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. Good luck! jenny

12 week old baby takes 5+ hour long naps

Dec 2007

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 like mine! 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. Anon
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!!! s
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. Congrats
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. anon
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? carmen

13 week old sleeping all day

Sept 2006

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! Stephanie


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 isn't normal! 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 immensely anon
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 Anon
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 30 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. BTDT

Should newborns nap in a different place?

Dec 2007

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!) Thanks, 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 ridiculous! Babies are born with the instinct to suck for a reason! Anyway, that's when we put the book down. The fact that she thinks letting your baby cry to learn to fall asleep is cruel, but forcing their mouth shut isn't, makes her seem not credible at all. Babies SHOULD nap in their crib if that's where they are used to sleeping. Read Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Weissbluth, or at least some others so you can get different opinions. my 2 cents

Struggling with 3-month-old who does NOT take naps

Feb 2009

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 not sleep 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. I just surrendered to the situation, I was making myself crazy trying to change him. He 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 not cranky, 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 dishes, until after nap time. Good Luck! tomasikfamily
(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 tacos.

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 those times.

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. Good luck. 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! Rachel
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. joani


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. New Mom
Hi there, 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 baby is? Momma cat


My baby girl is 14 months old now but we had a similar situation.

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 is dark.

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 life changing. Angela


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. Good luck! kasey


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.

Good luck Anon


Extending 3-month-old's 30-minute naps

Feb 2009

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 naps?


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!!!! joj

3-month-old only takes cat naps

March 2008

Hello, 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. LRM


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 sleep. 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. Good Luck
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. Anon
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.

3-month-old's naps are only 30 minutes long

Nov 2007

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. colleen


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. Jill
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! luvthenaps
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. anonymous
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 and ENJOY! Another mom
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. Or both.

3-month-old doesn't go to sleep after I put her down for a nap

Dec 2004

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!) Anon
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. Betsy
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

3-month-old sleeps thru the night but won't nap

March 2002

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. Thanks. 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.


4-month-old naps for nanny but not for me!

Feb 2009

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. Frustrated ma


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 two).
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 smart! Dawn


Four month old won't nap

Sept 2010

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 winding down.
* 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 or less.
* 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 will pass. D.C.
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 pattern deepens. 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 http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2007/10/4-month-olds.html
A Reminder about Sleep Regressions http://www.askmoxie.org/2009/03/a-reminder-about-sleep-regressions.html
What are Sleep Regressions Anyway? http://www.askmoxie.org/2006/02/qa_what_are_sle.html
Niki

My 4 months old won't go down for a nap!

Oct 2009

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!!! Aom


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!

4-month-old doesn't seem to be able to nap

April 2009

Hi, 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! Desperate Mom


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. dani
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. Other tricks: 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 machine, anon

4-month-old rolls over and wakes while napping

Nov 2007

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 to work...

Any advice, please! Anon


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, rolling, etc.

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. beth


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. elizabeth

How to extend 4-month-old's afternoon nap

August 2005

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? juliet


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. Babywearing mama

4-month-old: extending his 45-minute naps

Feb 2004

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? Thank you! Laura


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. Mary
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. Jill
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. anon
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.... anon
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! Heather
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. Tracy
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. Denise
Sorry to break it to you, but some babies only nap in 45 minute increments! 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 she might go for an hour (and was down to 2 naps a day). By the time she was 14 months or so, and only napping once, she would nap for 1-2 hours. I know 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! Christine
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. roxanne
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. Lois

5-month-old only naps for mom, not dad

Feb 2008

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? Thanks!! Sarah


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! kevin


5-month-old only naps for 30-45 minutes

Oct 2007

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 times. i usually just rock her back to sleep but sometimes i give in and nurse her.) i'd like her to be taking longer naps twice a day but i can't get her to stay asleep long enough. she 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. sleepy mom


I don't have advice, but can tell you that my 5 month old has a similar pattern, taking 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

5-month-old has a hard time falling asleep for naps

April 2005

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. Lara


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 for you: 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 time.

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. Encouraging Mom


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 instantly!).

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 luck! Nancy


Are 40 minute naps enough for 5-mo-old?

May 2004

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 babies take naturally short naps of about 30 minutes and that in these cases they lengthen at around 9 months. Our daughter is older than that but still almost always takes 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 machine, etc.) 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! Rebecca Harrach
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. Jennifer
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. heidi
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. Lynne
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. Good luck! shami
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. M
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