3-6 Month Baby Sleep Survival Guide

Baby Boy Congratulations! You have officially passed the parenting Boot Camp that is life with a newborn. You are no longer that stunned slack-jawed new parent stumbling blindly through the produce isle at the grocery. Good for you!

If you haven’t already done so,  take a few minutes to check out the Newborn Baby Sleep Survival Guide. Everything there still applies to your no-longer-a-newborn baby.

While some babies are done with swaddling by the 3 month mark, others will be happily swaddled until they are 6-9 months old. You’ll want to continue to use loud white noise and work hard to make sure you aren’t keeping baby awake too long. While your baby may be taking fewer longer naps it’s also totally normal for babies to still be filling their days with frustratingly short catnaps (check out Baby Sleep What is Normal for more details on this).

Your Baby Sleep Homework

When your baby is a newborn you can guiltlessly let them sleep wherever (basinett, your lap, etc.) and put them to sleep however (nursing, swinging, butt patting, etc.). And while it’s not time to panic, you now have 2 big pieces of homework to work on over the next few months.


Work Towards the Crib

Unless you are into co-sleeping for the long haul, now is a great time to start working on having your baby sleep in the crib. I’m not suggesting that the second your baby turns 3 months they need to be in the crib, but I am suggesting that 3-6 months is typically the easiest time window to make this change.


Teach Baby to Sleep on Their Own

This is THE BIGGIE. You want to start gradually putting your baby down awake. Some babies will fight this with a fiery passion. So the process of gradually reducing the amount of nursing, rocking, and butt patting you do can be frustrating. But it’s REALLY important. Also? Failure to do so almost guarantees you will never ever sleep through the night. That’s how important it is.

Further Reading

The Ultimate Guide to Vanquishing Short Naps
Is Your Crib as Safe as you Think?
Everything you need to know to make bedtime awesome.
How and Why to Use and Loose the Paci
Weaning Baby OFF the Swing
Bedtime What Time?
Why Your Baby Hates the Crib
What to Do About Short Naps
Are You Keeping Baby Awake Too Long?
Sleeping Through the Night Part 1
Sleeping Through the Night Part 2
What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night – Part 3
Is it time for Cry it Out?
What You Need to Know About Sleep Regressions
And of course the ever popular – Baby Sleep What is Normal?

{Photo credit: Lisa Stout}

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  1. i just need help my baby only sleeps 30 mins at a time during the day how can i stop this ? i put her down and she will self settle by now . she is mouths old why is she doing this it makes t really hard for me do to anything .

  2. sorry three mouth old .

  3. I have a confession to make – I am obsessed with my baby’s sleep. Like, OCD obsessed. I am convinced it’s a symptom of my postpartum depression, but I don’t know how to stop. I’ve literally read every page on your blog at least three times (and many other blogs, books, etc.). I am like a madwoman. Yay.

    With that out of the way, I just wanted to ask about weaning from swing sleep, and this page seemed as good a place as any, considering 3-6 months is usually about that time you start thinking, ‘hey, maybe he should be sleeping in the crib sometime soon?’. To be fair, my 3-month old does sleep in the crib for every sleep of the night but the last one. Though, it’s not very good sleep – we’re working on the night-weaning, but he’s still feeding every 2 hours, except for the last stretch of the night (4 hours).

    But, naps still mostly occur in the swing in order to keep them longer-ish, and also because he hates being rocked, or falling asleep in our arms – if you even sit down in the rocking chair cradling him with the white noise on and the lights off he will scream bloody murder and start kicking and flailing (though he’ll happily fall asleep in the swing alone and cooing). He’s a strange kid.

    So you see, any kind of sleep transition needs to occur without a middle step of us rocking him to almost sleep, because I can’t stand to deal with a flailing baby who wants me to drop him.

    You say that the best way is to turn the swing down in a 5-4-3-2-1-none manner, but do you mean while the baby is still drowsy but awake? Or do you mean after he falls asleep? How do you get from him falling asleep in a swing at 1 to falling asleep in a swing at none? I would think that would be the toughest step, and when and how does it become achievable?

    Perhaps you could post a blog post about swing-weaning in general? I think that would be an awesome addition to your already wonderful blog.

    • Ok you didn’t ask but here is my advice….(PS I’m the queen of unasked for advice, in fact they’ll probably put it on my gravestone, “Finally, Alexis will now stop giving everybody around her advice!”)

      Yes your obsession on baby sleep is a symptom of PPD (OCD, anxiety, it’s a whole big ball of fun). I get that you are sort of joking about it but it’s one of the few things I take seriously. That and wine. No jokes allowed. So if you’re even joking around about it I would strongly recommend you get help. Because it’s only been 3 months it may be hard to image but it could continue for years. And these are years where you’ll be missing out on all sorts of baby/toddler fun because it’s impossible to have fun when you’re wrestling with OCD and anxiety. I speak from experience on that one.

      Yes you are right, I need to do a whole post on swing weaning. I thought it was pretty straightforward but given the number of emails/comments, I was wrong 😛

      So you put him awake in the swing and turn it on to speed number 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Then yes at some point you put him in the swing WHILE AWAKE, maybe give it a little nudge to swing lightly, turn on the white noise, and leave the room. Wait 5-10 minutes and see what happens.

      I know it’s hard to believe he’ll just fall too sleep but I promise you, that when he’s ready that’s exactly what will happen.

      As for night weaning – I wonder why he’s eating every 2 hours all night long? The answer is one of two options: a) he’s hungry b) he needs more soothing. If b then putting him in the swing earlier in the night might be the answer to your night weaning issue. If the 4 hour stretch occurs in the swing, I would be inclined to try it out.

      Will put “swing weaning” post in the queue !

      • Ha Christina,
        I was about to ask the SAME question.

        I would assume a gradual process is good.. decreasing over a period of time, whatever is a good pace for the LO?

        I too have no idea why this whole issue consumes me as much as it does. Maybe its the thought of not doing it “right” and having a toddler who has sleep issues. No idea..

        I ditto a whole post on the teaching them to sleep.

        • I think people care because doing it “wrong” makes everybody miserable so the stakes are pretty high. I get it. But I also encourage people to relax a little bit. When I get emails freaking out because a 3 week old is still nursing too much at night I think people are taking these baby sleep books WAAAAY too seriously 😛

          Yes decreasing speed. Admittedly the Fisher Price swing (which is my fav) speed doesn’t vary much so getting from 6 to 1 isn’t hard because they’re practically the same. But other swings actually DO slow down quite a bit.

      • I do appreciate your concern, and I am getting help for it. Unfortunately, I feel like it’s not just a matter of PPD as it is PTSD…ongoing. You talk about nightmare Cry-It-Out scenes after 6 months – but I live the nightmare CIO scene for many naps and bedtime most of the time, no matter how much soothing is applied. He has started crying in the swing as well when we put him down for nap time. God forbid you try to swaddle him in the swing, because that causes a complete meltdown. For instance, I just spent the last 45 minutes of a 2:10 awake time trying to get him to sleep (I try to get him down as soon as I see the rubbing of the eyes and fussing, but it usually doesn’t help). We tried every combination – swing, swing+swaddle+hand on chest, rocking in arms, rocking swaddled in arms, bouncing against chest, etc, each for at least 5 minutes. He always sleeps in a dark room with white noise on. Finally it came to be 2 hours since he last ate, so I tried nursing him and he calmed down enough to be put into the swing (awake, as always!). Our routine before naps is always the same. I turn on soft music and soft lighting and we read a very short board book about sleep, then I turn out the lights and rock with him against my chest for a minute or two, then I tuck him into the swing with his lovey…trying to help him find it to chew on. Sometimes that calms him, and sometimes it doesn’t.

        Many times I wonder if it wouldn’t be so bad to let him cry-it-out in the swing. He’s 4 months old tomorrow. Nothing seems to be good enough for this kid…no pacifiers for him, hates to be swaddled, screams and kicks if you even walk in to a dark room and he thinks you might be putting him to sleep.

        Got any swing advice for sleep hating babies?

        P.S. – On the night-swinging question – we’ve tried all night swinging, but it doesn’t seem to extend any night-waking. I think he’s just become accustomed to eating 3-4 times a night. He’s a big boy too. Just another thing that I foresee causing problems later.

        P.P.S. – Random question about FP swings – Have you noticed that they often make horrible clicking or creaking sounds, especially on low settings? Any advice for getting rid of that?

        • I won’t tell you NOT to do CIO with a 4 month old (I just wasn’t about to write a public post advocating for this because frankly I don’t need to get flamed by attachment parenting advocates).

          What you are describing could very well be the 4 month sleep regression which is often the WORST. So nightmare naps, difficult to soothe, frequent night waking – this is all classic regression stuff.

          If you feel like nothing is working (and thus he is crying anyway) then maybe try CIO and see what happens? Set a timer for say 20 minutes. And try to listen. Is he amping up? Vacillating between complaining and REALLY ANGRY? Gradually decreasing in intensity?

          Why yes I do have swing advice for sleep hating babies:)

          If the swing doesn’t make a difference then sure , put him in the crib. But 4 feedings a night is a lot at 4 months (2 would be reasonable). So do you have any thoughts on:
          – Is he not given enough nursing opportunities during the day?
          – Is he a distractible nurser and just “snacking”?
          – Do you have a milk issue (sometimes fast letdown leads to snacking which leads to eating CONSTANTLY)?
          – Is he eating for soothing rather than calories?
          – Is your milk supply a tiny bit low in the evenings? (Again really common, what if you nurse at 2:00 AM and offer a bottle – what happens?)

          All of these are things you could talk about with a good local IBCLC (am knowledgeable but no nursing expert!)

          All baby swings make funny noises especially as the babies in them get bigger. Try putting something heavy on one of the cross-beams on the floor. Like a telephone book or the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Often bracing the bottom-struts makes the noise go away.

          • Yeah, I often wonder about that. As far as I can tell from my abbreviated reading, Ferber and Weissbluth never specifically mention 6 months as some magical date. I’m pretty sure they advocate for sooner than that (I know the Baby Whisperer does). But he is just so little still, and seems so developmentally immature. I’m trying to hold out, because some days are better than others. Maybe in a week or two the so-called “4 month sleep regression” will get better. Maybe it won’t and we’ll do CIO. I don’t know. I keep vacillating on it from day to day, which probably isn’t good sign for decision making (makes it more likely that I’ll cop out in the middle of doing it).

            It does seem like a lot of nightwakings. It is almost always 3 feedings exactly, however. Varying times also, which is weird. Sometimes it’s 10PM, 12AM, 3AM, then asleep til 8, but sometimes it’s 12AM, 2AM, 4AM, asleep til 7:30-8 (bedtime around 7:30-8). It’s like he’s cluster feeding in the middle of the night, because his long stretches are usually the first and last. I really don’t know what snacking looks like. I do know that when we feed him a bottle of EBM he’ll never take more than 3-4oz at a time, and eats every 2-2.5 hours while awake. Including the night feedings he eats 9 times a day, very consistently, even though the times aren’t consistent, nor are nap times. I know that he’s eating a significant amount at night, because we have to change the diaper at the last feeding to prevent leakage, and the crazy ‘No-Cry’ solution of letting him nurse a minute less each night hasn’t really been working (he get’s quite upset if he’s not finished!). I know he can put himself back to sleep without the breast, thanks to the magic of the baby monitor – we can hear him shifting around sometimes.
            I know that my milk supply can’t be the problem, because he never finishes both breasts and we often give him a bottle last thing. We’ve even started giving him a little rice cereal before bed, because he started to wake up 5 times a night, hungry every time. So basically it’s like he has a tiny tummy that isn’t getting bigger as he’s getting bigger.

            Of course, thanks to the Internet I’ve read about all sorts of babies, some who guzzle 8 oz per sitting, and some who can’t take more than 3oz per sitting at 7 months. At least he’s somewhere in the middle, I guess. Small comforts.

            On the swing noise question – there’s a separate kind of noise that seems to come from inside the machinery – more like a squeaking sound, only on low settings. Bracing the legs doesn’t seem to help. This may sound weird, but do you think WD40 would work? Have you ever needed to ‘oil’ a swing?

            • My own reason for selecting 6 months is that with younger babies you often have other options. Generally more soothing works for younger babies and gradual weaning works for older babies. Also there are lots of people who are mistakenly letting their 6 week old cry (which is really sad for everybody) so I’m comfortable but not militant about the 6 month number.

              But I WILL say that if he’s eating a lot (at least for him) and you go cold turkey-CIO it will make for a rough few days. So if he’s only taking more than 3 oz I might try watering it down to wean vs. letting him cry. So try 2 oz BM 1 oz water, then 1 oz BM, 2 oz water, etc. This may be a way to get him to gradually increase his daytime calories without a ton of crying.

              I wouldn’t oil my swing only because this may break it. Call customer service and whine about it – perhaps they’ll send you a new motor (they’re really easy to swap out!).

  4. Hi Alexis – love your site and blogs – brilliant. Its my favourite go-to for sleep issues… and I’ve been on a lot of sites!

    I have a 5 1/2 month old who has never been a great sleeper: not easy to get to sleep (day and night) and always a struggle to get her to the minimum recommended sleep hours over a 24 hr period (a consistent 12 hours is what I aim for). BUT I was starting to think we were starting to get it together… She’d been sleeping in the swing and about a month ago I successfully transitioned her to the cot (crib), awake, and she’d been self settling for 3 naps a day and even bedtime. She is fully breast fed so she wakes 2-3 times for feeds through the night but her stretches were gradually getting longer 3-4-4.5 hrs. I thought we were going great guns for the 6 month “deadline” to be in her crib and self settling!

    However, in the last week, it feels like its all unravelled. She just seems to be super alert during the day, her sleepy signs are harder to read and I’m struggling to get her to sleep all the time. I’ve put her back in the swing for daytime naps but even then its taking her a LONG time (30-45mins) to put herself to sleep. She is either busy singing or laughing to herself or starts to fuss and cry. When she finally falls asleep, she’s only napping 40 mins (vs ~1.5 hrs before) in the morning, her lunchtime/afternoon naps can merge into each other and are usually just a couple of cat naps. She gets tired and cranky then ends up sleeping on the breast when she feeds (which is only a short interval). Night time is tough as well, she is super social and just wants to smile and play. She eventually passes out around 9-10pm… and then has been waking at ~2 hr intervals through the night.

    So frustrating given the progress I felt we’d made. Does this sound to you like the 6 month sleep regression, come a few weeks early?) I’d also love your thoughts on how to keep the focus on sleep when trying to live life. Since she’s never been a great napper, sleeping in the car seat or pram is never a great sleep (max. 30-40 mins) so I’m also feeling like its so hard to get out and do things like take her to playgroup. After she has misses a nap or has a bad day of sleep it takes 2-4 days to get her back on track again.


    • Mel,
      It DOES sound like the 6 month sleep regression. There are a whole bunch of new skills that start showing up around this time that tend to make sleep difficult. She’s probably just mastered object permanence which means she now remembers you exist when you’re not in the room. This can have other consequences as well – she’s now aware that she’s missing out on the party when it’s nap time. Babies start rolling around in bed which is both frustrating and exciting for babies. This can make sleep more difficult. They’re eyes are getting stronger which means they can visually explore their environment far more than when they were newborns. It’s a perfect storm of excitement which all works AGAINST sleep. And at 6 months there is only so much you can do about it….

      – Stay the course
      – Use as much age-appropriate soothing as you can (which at this age is really just having her sleep in a DARK room, LOUD white noise, and possibly a lovey).

      I would probably stick with the swing, temporarily, for naps. Even if it takes a long time to happen it’s better than her taking a 10 minute boob nap. 2 hour intervals at night are rough but not unheard of. Hopefully this is a 1-2 week setback and then you’re back on the sleep road afterwords. I would consider the swing for nights (temporarily!) if it helps lengthen the 2 hour windows (you must be pretty tired).

      Keeping the focus on sleep vs. getting out of the house is a toughie. Some babies can blow the occasional nap and press on regardless. So THEIR Moms can go to a few playgroups during the week and it’s no big deal. If you’re paying a 2-4 day sleep penalty for that playgroup then it may not be worth the price.

      My kids were like yours – HUGE penalty for not being EXTREMELY militant about sleep. My solution was to host playgroups so I could but baby down for nap but still get some social interaction. Or I would invite people to meet at a cafe for coffee at a time that worked for MY nap schedule. Not ideal but it was how I survived.

      Probably by 9 months things will ease up for you, the gap between naps will grow, and you’ll find playgroups and coffee dates to be far more effective. So in the broader scheme of things you’ve got 3 more months of being held captive to a nap schedule and then things will get a LOT easier.

      • Hi Alexis,
        I’ve written a few times before and really appreciated your advice. I also love reading through the website searching to see if someone else has had the same issue (plus, it makes me feel better knowing that these issues are normal!). I have a 19 week old and we’ve been working towards putting down awake. Last week we were away on vacation and things were a disaster (naps and night sleep). This past week (we are home), he has been fabulous for naps. His “awake time” is a solid 1.5 hours and then he’s ready for a nap. I bring him to his room, we rock and sing for a few minutes, I put him in his Rock and Play Sleeper, he smiles at me while I swaddle him (one arm out, a new thing we are working on) and then falls asleep. Bed time is similar, except I feed before bed but wake him up by burping him before I put him down. This comes after putting him down fully asleep for his whole little life. Now, when I put him down asleep (like when I fall asleep nursing at 2 am) he screams. I have some questions about next steps. While going to sleep has been great, he’s been waking at night, and I’m not sure if he’s really hungry. Dad’s been trying to comfort but it’s not working and I end up feeding him. This past week, he eats right before bed (btw 6:45 and 7:30). I might stop this, as he’s been waking screaming to burp (sometimes more than once). I never fed right before bed until our 4 month Dr. visit when the ped. said I should to extend his night. I don’t think it’s working. BTW-never diagnosed with reflux or anything and doesn’t scream during or after eating but he does have a ton of spit-up. He will spit-up multiple times after a feeding (he’s EBF) even an hour after feeding.

        He’s up again btw 11 and midnight, then again btw 1:30 and 2:30 and again around 4/4:30. Will sleep to 7 or 7:30 if I feed him. Like I said, I’m not sure if this is “normal.” If I feed him, he eats and goes back to sleep. When he was 3 months, he used to sleep for longer stretches (more like 6 hours). Is this waking due to object permanence? Also, he’s been taking great naps. (first one 1.5-2 hours, nap #2 1 hour and then nap 3 30 min.). Could this be affecting his night sleep? Should I wake him from a 2 hour nap? Sometimes I hear him stir from a nap-he lets out a cry and then goes back to sleep by himself (and he will have turned his head). He doesn’t do this as well at night and I don’t know why.

        Sometimes when we pick him up at night, he passes a ton of gas. Could this be waking him up? Is he too old for this to wake him up?

        Lastly, he’s slept in a rock and play sleeper or swing his whole life and we want to transition to a crib. On our vacation, we had a crib and a baby who screamed when put in it! He wouldn’t fall asleep on his own in the crib, and if we held him to sleep, he’d wake up withing 15 minutes of being in the crib. How do we transition him to sleeping flat on his back in a bigger space? He is beginning to sit up and I’m worried he’s outgrowing both the swing and the rock and play. Also, he starts day care in the fall, and will have to sleep flat on his back.

        Sorry for the long post with tons of questions. Any advice would be much appreciated!

        • Hey Jennifer,

          Well what you describe could be a little refluxie. But the key thing that says “your baby has reflux” is that they are constantly miserable and they generally sleep like crap. You don’t mention your baby being miserable and he’s a rocking napper so while he’s a bit gassy and spits up a lot, it doesn’t sound like classic reflux (also, ALL babies spit up so no issue there).

          Although the head turning could be a clue as babies will sometimes move their head to the side to alleviate the heartburn. But nothing major there so I’m not advocating that you rush out and start medicating.

          My big advice is this:
          1) Don’t make crib decisions based on vacation crib (non) sleep. What babies do on vacation is not indicative of what they can or will do at home. Vacation sleep is largely crap for ALL babies. See how the crib at HOME goes for you before making a judgement call.

          (Also if he does have mild reflux – and I’m NOT SAYING HE DOES, just saying IF) the angle of the rock and play might be just enough to manage it for him.

          2) I’m going to disagree with your pediatrician even though I am not a medical professional myself (although I do have an MBA which is only helpful if you want me to calculate the future payments of a bond at 7%).

          I think that feeding babies AT bedtime leads to problems and in fact HAS led to problems for you.

          For starters, it sounds like gas is an issue. If gassy baby problems are making sleep a challenge and you have a 5 month old baby then it’s probably time to reduce the night eating as eating -> gas.

          Also feeding right AT bedtime doesn’t give you time to get the gas OUT which means it moves into his digestive tract and then lingers for hours until you have a screaming baby at midnight who farts a ton and then falls asleep.

          But what I think is REALLY going on is a strong nursing/sleep association. I know you are burping him awake but if the two things are closely linked in his mind (I’m guessing they are) then it doesn’t matter. So he needs to nurse to fall back asleep which is why he wakes up throughout the night wanting to nurse and screaming if you don’t nurse to sleep. This is why Dad soothing is ineffectual – he doesn’t want soothing. He wants his sleep association.

          I would separate feeding and bedtime by at least 30 minutes. This gives you ample opportunity to de-gas and separates the sleep association. I would also start weaning off the night feeds (at least some) because he’s basically nursing like a newborn. This must be exhausting for you and, as mentioned, leads to gassy problems.

          I know this is easier said than done but start with the separation at bedtime. That has to happen BEFORE anything else is going to get easier. Does that make sense?

          • Hi Alexis,
            Thanks a ton for your advice. We stopped feeding him right at bedtime. We moved that feed before the bath (so now boob, bath, book, bed) to give him more time to digest and burp if necessary. Some nights he still wakes up to burp within an hour of going down, but right after the burp he goes to sleep. He never wakes up to burp in the middle of the night, though. It’s only after the bedtime feed.
            We’ve also been trying to reduce the night feeding but he isn’t STTN. I’m not sure if he “should be”-he’s perfectly healthy and making solid gains in growth at each Dr.’s visit (he’s 5 months). Since we moved his bedtime feed back, he usually gives us a 6 hour stretch as his long one. Then after a big feed,(because it’s late and I haven’t pumped there’s a lot in there!) he’ll sleep another 3 to 4 hours, then another 1.2-2. This week, I’ve stopped feeding him before 6 hours. Last night he woke up and it had only been 5:40 since he last ate but I didn’t go in until it had been 6 hours (but he didn’t go back to sleep). Should I make him wait longer? Also, this means I am up at midnight/1, 4ish and then 6ish. I don’t mind the 6 am wake up, as it’s good practice for when I start work next month.Speaking of which, I would love to be down to 1 night feed-I’m a first grade teacher so I need to be rested!
            How do you feel about the “dreamfeed?”It is so tempting to pick him up and feed him at 9 or 10 (he goes to bed at 6:30) and try to get my 6 hour stretch after then, but I am nervous that I will create a 10 pm. waking habit.
            I really wish he came with an instruction manual!

            • We seem to have a similar situation. Our son is 20 weeks old and has been having a hard time getting to bed at night in the last few weeks. Alexis suggested it might be a reflux/gas issue, and I had wondered the same thing. He’s medicated for reflux. I want to try feeding earlier but am afraid he’ll no longer sleep through the night. We’ve had a few bumps in the road there lately though.

              He sleeps in his crib but uses the Rock and Play for naps. On bad days I have to get him to sleep before he goes in, but usually I can rock him in it. I’m hoping this is helping him learn to fall asleep on his own. I’m a second grade teacher, so he’ll be going to the babysitter soon. She won’t have time to rock in a Rock and Play (and won’t have a Rock and Play unless I provide one) so I’m kind of nervous! I was petrified she’d kick my daughter out as an infant and that didn’t happen though! This is of course no advice or help but I wanted to comment since I saw several things alike. Good luck to you!

            • Hi Whitney,
              Thanks for sharing. It helps to know that you are not alone (which is why I love this website so much!). I have to ask-how did you get your son to go to sleep in the crib? We use the swing and/or rock and play. He goes to sleep by himself just fine in either one. I do love that you can rock the Rock and Play-I did that a lot when he slept in our room, and it’s not beyond me to sneak into his room when he wakes up early from a nap and rock it from behind. Though I have to admit that isn’t really working any more. I think he’s figured out that I’m behind it!
              Anyways, any advice on that crib transition?

            • For some reason I couldn’t reply to your comment, so I hope you will see this. We started him in a pack-n-play at night from day 1 (we were building and living in a rental so we didn’t set up his crib). We had a few hard nights that ended with him in the bouncer around 4 a.m. I tried the pack-n-play for naps to, but he wasn’t napping well. I decided after stressing terribly over my daughter’s naps, that if I could get him in a safe, fairly reasonable place to nap, I’d be happy. We transferred to the crib between 1 and 2 months once we moved into our house. I never tried the Rock and Play at night once we got it, even though his nights were a mess for awhile. Having the pack-n-play and crib elevated helped, but once he was in the crib he moved so much he would loosen his Miracle Blanket. He now sleeps all night in flat crib but still napping in the Rock and Play. I guess we’ll get out of it one day. If you can’t continue to comment, clicking on my name will take you to my blog.

            • Thanks for your reply, Whitney!
              I feel that we should have pushed the crib more at least at night, but he is doing so well in the Rock and Play,it’s hard to make that change. Now that he goes to sleep by himself I feel like doing a victory dance. And last night he slept for 7.5 hours without waking, which was heavenly, as he woke to eat at 9:30 pm (he seems hungrier than usual, as he never used to wake at this time) and then I didn’t hear from him again until 5am. I could get used to that (which means it will promptly stop, because that’s how he is!).
              Alexis’ advice to push towards the crib by 6 months is nagging me (so is my hubby, as he really wants LO in the crib) and I know I have to make the switch.
              I wouldn’t worry about napping one place (Rock and Play) and sleeping in another. Alexis says that’s okay!

            • So it sounds like he’s eating 2X a night right? (The 6:00 AM one doesn’t count as that is breakfast). This is on the high side but not abnormal for 5 months. But yes it would be fair to wean off the midnight feed.

              So dreamfeeds are pretty awesome in moving a feed time to when you are already awake. But at 5 months I might be more interested in gently weaning off the midnight feed rather than shifting it up a few hours. Meaning your goal would be to go from 2 to 1 feed.

              The 1 feed might shift up a bit but you’re still working towards the STTN goal by reducing the # of feeds overall.

              If you haven’t yet I would start cutting out that midnight feed a la:

              Good luck!

  5. Hi Alexis

    My LO is 11 1/2 weeks old. He does his clusterfeed between 6-9. And then falls asleep. Is there a general age range in which this stops? I know he is “stocking up” for the night- sleeps quite well, 4-7 hours first put down and then 3-5, 2nd.

    I notice that if I don’t let him eat his fill and try and put him down he’ll wake up 30-50 minutes later and want more. So right now I feed him til he is done. I assume at some point he won’t need to clusterfeed so much? Otherwise not sure how to them sleep train for the night. Would I them wake him up to put him to sleep at some point?

    • Clusterfeeding ends somewhere around 3 months (give or take) so hopefully you’re at the end. But yes at some point you will need to put him down awake. And that point is the next ~2 months.

      I wouldn’t sweat it right now but over the next few weeks you’ll want to create a bit of space between the mammoth nursing session so that you can start doing an actual bedtime routine (that doesn’t include just nursing). So yes you’ll pull him off the breast and THEN do your bath, songs, jammies, books routine.

      This does two things for you:
      1) Establishes a good predictable bedtime routine which is how you teach young kids that it’s sleep time.
      2) Separates nursing from sleep so that you don’t run into a “will only sleep when nursing” object permanence problem when he gets older.

      Again it’s not panic time! But something to work towards over the coming weeks. OK?

  6. Hi! I want to talk about naps and bedtime.

    Bedtime: Since the first day home from the hospital, my son has slept in his crib in his room. After the first few weeks, I was able to put him down while he was drowsy (not fully asleep) and he would go to sleep on his own. Starting around seven weeks, he was sleeping 8-10 hours straight through. We had gotten into a good routine of going to bed around 9pm and waking up at 6:15am. Lovely! He was swaddled since birth, but started breaking out nightly and freaking out trying to break out. Since then, I have stopped swaddling his arms and just did his body. The exact day he turned 3 months, everything went downhill. He hasn’t slept well since. The last few nights, I have been able to put him down like normal, but then in an hour or two, he wakes up screaming. I’ve tried giving the pacifier, calming him while in the crib, taking him out of the crib and rocking him, leaving him in the crib and crying, nursing him, etc. He just cries for about 45 minutes and then goes back to sleep for maybe four-six hours. I don’t think I would be as frustrated if he wasn’t sleeping through the night already and we weren’t regressing. Thought about the three month growth spurt, but this has been going on for about ten days now. I have tried a sound machine too. Any ideas?

    Naps: At three months old, my son is still taking five naps a day, that last about 45 minutes. He doesn’t nap in his crib, but in the bassinet thing that is in my pack-n-play. I have never swaddled him for naps. Unlike bed time, I am not usually able to put him down awake. I hold him on his side until he falls asleep and then put him down. I don’t rock him or anything, just hold him. In the morning, he will often take a longer nap, sometimes in my bed. He often is not up for two hour intervals. He gets tired after 1.5 hours, especially in the morning. He eats when he wakes up, so is eating seven to eight times a day roughly every 2-3 hours. I didn’t mind the short naps when he was sleeping 9 hours at night, but I would love to get down to three longer naps a day and good night time sleep! While I am writing this to you, I put him in the swing still awake and he has been asleep for 1.5 hours. Just nervous about relying on the swing to sleep.
    Thanks for your help!

    • PS–I nurse him before bed to stretch the time until he needs to eat again. All was great until two weeks ago

    • Did all of this start when you removed the swaddle? I’m thinking that he still needs to be swaddled. Or at least that change started you on this road. At 3 months and 10 days I would figure he would adjust even if the adjustment was a rough one 😛

      It’s totally reasonable for a 3 month old to need some night soothing or even food. EVEN IF THEY DIDN’T NEED IT BEFORE!

      Babies are not linear – they don’t just get progressively easier until they leave for college. It’s more of a back and forth. The reason they call them growth spurts is because they’re GROWING and often need MORE food.

      I totally get your frustration but this is simply how babies work. I would offer to nurse and give as much soothing as possible (loud white noise and swing might be an option?).

      Same thing for naps. If your 3 month old is taking short crappy naps a) it may be all he can do right now but b) more soothing often helps!

      Also at this age you want to be consistent so I would pick a place (the swing?) and work in that direction. Why are you nervous about relying on the swing to sleep?

      It’s your best chance at longer naps is the swing. AND if you are always holding him to sleep for naps you’re on the road to nap CIOville. And sadly CIO for naps is a bit of a mixed bag so you don’t want to count on that to solve anything when your baby is 9 months old and still only naps for 45 minutes 😛

      Embrace the swing. Use it for the tool that it is to help your baby learn to sleep on his own at naps and sleep longer. There – my official stamp of approval :)

      • The night waking started before I stopped swaddling his arms. He was waking up because he was struggling to get his arms out. Most nights, he had broken his arms out, so I took that as a sign to leave his arms out.
        Have used the swing for some naps over the past few days. Sometimes they are 40 minutes, sometimes a little over an hour, and sometimes two hours. I guess I’ll try sticking with that for a little while. When should I try to move naps to the crib?
        Nighttime sleep is still a major issue. I’ve been putting him down at 9pm and he was been waking up around 6:30-7am, with one nighttime feeding around 3:30-4:30am. Sounds great! However, he is waking up four other times throughout the night. Three times, I can usually just go in and give the pacifier and he goes back to sleep for at least an hour. One time, he is up for about a half hour. Other than the one feeding, I do not pick him up. I offer the pacifier, rub his belly/head, give him a kiss, and then leave. I go back after five minutes, do it again and then wait ten minutes. He is either back asleep by then or as soon as I go back in, he is back asleep. Since he is going back to sleep, I assume he doesn’t need to eat. The room is totally dark with white noise on the entire night. Getting up this much is normal?? I’m getting less sleep now at 15 weeks than I did when he was a newborn, about two hours at a time.

        • Well babies DO wake up a ton at night. Ideally they soothe themselves back to sleep without your help. He’s not able to do that yet. So the question is why can’t he?

          I don’t know. It could be he needs more soothing. He was probably getting this from the swaddle (even if he fights with it) but now he has the paci. However at almost 4 months the paci is probably hurting you more than helping (I’m assuming he falls asleep with it yes?). Because he may be recognizing that the paci has gone missing (from his perspective this is a mystery) so my guess is that the paci is causing more problems than it’s solving at this age.

          What happens if you commit to 3 nights of no paci at bedtime? Does it make no difference or make a big improvement?

          If no difference then I would STICK with no paci and consider using the swing at night. Basically the goal is to help him navigate naturally occurring night wakings without you also having to get up. When he was younger perhaps he did this organically. It’s possible that now that he’s older and more aware he’s struggling and needs more help than he did when a newborn. Frustrating for you but it sounds like that’s just who he is :(

          • Have you tried the “double swaddle”? I haven’t had the chance to try it but I have heard some people have success with swaddling with a receiving blanket followed up with a Swaddle -Me or Miracle Blanket, etc. on top of that. Gives Baby Houdini a little more challenging second act to perform after mastering Act I.

  7. Hi!
    First, I love your blog! I have a 3 mo old who is currently sleeping in his crib from about 8:30-6:30 at night. About a week ago he stopped waking to nurse, but has started to wake 2-3 times a night and if I give him a pacifier and rub his head he goes back to sleep. I know I need to start teaching him to go to sleep on his own (right now I rock/nurse him to sleep for night and naps). However, since he is already sleeping in the crib, should I stick with that or try the swing method and then try the crib again? Right now he is getting the recommend sleep per day, but naps are sometimes in the crib, sometimes next to me in bed, sometimes on me. He sleeps about 45 min if he naps in the crib, but up to 2 hours if he is next to me. I know I have some habits I need to break, but not sure which ones to tackle first. Oh yeah, and I still swaddle at night, but not for naps. So should I deal with naps, falling asleep on his own, or weaning from the swaddle first (he likes sucking his hands). Your advice is greatly appreciated!

    • I can relate and would love to see what suggestions you get! She has been in her crib since 6 days old but now is waking up 2-3 times a night. Was wondering about going to swing and back to crib. She will fall asleep in her swing but won’t sleep all night in it, and now won’t sleep all night in her crib either. She also fights the swaddle now.

      • Why won’t she sleep her her swing all night? What happens? Or more specifically, when she wakes up at night, what happens? How do you get her back to sleep and how long is she awake when it happens?

        Just curious…

        • I think she may be uncomfortable? She wakes up screaming sometimes and others just waking up fussing. I leave her for about 10 minutes but she doesn’t stop so I will go to her. She is usually easy to put back to sleep with nursing but as soon as I lay her in the crib wakes right back up, or if I put her in the swing she only stays asleep for about 1.5-2 hours. Should I not be nursing her back to sleep during night feeds? I’m not sure how I would do that as long as she is still nursing at night. I was hoping to get the sleep thing down before I stopped nursing her to sleep during night feeds. So far, she has done awesome with the initial falling asleep using the swing and white noise.

          • Well I don’t know how old your baby is so my advice might be a bit off but you tell me that if you put her in the crib she wakes right back up but if you put her in the swing she’ll sleep for 1.5-2 hours (which isn’t great but better than the crib yes?)

            Depending on the age my general advice is more soothing. Unless she’s 6+ months in which case you could have other things going on.

            If she’s younger she may just not be ready to soothe herself back to sleep. As you know babies wake up organically throughout the night – FAR more than we do. Hopefully they just nestle back to sleep but sometimes they need our help. The point of the swaddle, swing, and white noise is to get them the help they need without YOU getting up all night long with them.

            Uncomfortable could be an issue (gas, reflux, dairy issues) but I’m wondering if it’s just that she needs a little extra soothing?

            I’m not worried about the nursing back to sleep during night feeds – even older babies generally roll pretty well with that.

    • Most people have great luck with naps in the swing and swing nappers are often staying in the swing (to nap) anywhere from 3-6 months. This would help solve a few nap issues you have going on which include:
      – Inconsistent location (yes he’s old enough where you want to start moving towards consistent routines and location)
      – Help him learn to fall asleep on his own
      – Possibly lengthen naps (although not a guarantee)

      Also CIO for naps is not a great solution so you really need to get the nap situation sorted out prior to 6 months. Thus not a rush but something to work towards, yes?

      At night you have two things going on: not falling asleep on his own and now these mysterious night wakings. They mysterious night wakings are just that – mysterious. But it seems like he is looking for extra soothing? So if there is any way to help him get that soothing (swing, white noise) that doesn’t involve you also getting up, it may be worth a try. Or this may be a temporary thing that goes away on it’s own. Babies are mysterious like that.

      But yes at some point you will need him to fall asleep without being rocked/nursed AND you will need to loose the paci (assume you have 1-2 months left with the paci and then it’s got to go). You can work on gently – gradually putting him down slightly awake (less rocking, separate nursing from bedtime, don’t offer the paci) and many people have great success with this! I would say go for it!

      Or you could try the swing. Babies who like being rocked to sleep often like the swing. He’s at a strange age where I wouldn’t BUY a swing (as he’s a bit old for it) but if you HAVE one, it’s worth a little experimentation. Give it a week – what happens? Are you able to put him in there calm, sleepy, but awake? Do the night wakings go away? Or do you see no improvement?

      Sorry I can’t be more specific. It has to do with the mysteriousness of babies 😛

  8. Can I just say I love your site! I agree with so much of what you say. It’s so true that you really really need to get them going to sleep on their own young. I start mine the day we come home from the hospital. I see so many people struggling and afraid of a few nights of crying etc… But putting up with awful awful sleep. The longer it goes on the harder it is to stop.

    • I think sometimes even though things are AWFUL people are afraid to do anything different for fear that it will only get worse. But you’re right – nothing is going to get better on it’s own so sometimes you just gotta dig deep and make some (hopefully positive) changes!

  9. Hi,

    My daughter will be three months in a few days and I am really struggling with her sleep regimen. We have a night time routine established and she falls asleep almost right after. However, as soon as I put her down ANYWHERE, she freaks out. She will not sleep in her crib or swing at nighttime. During naptime, if I put her down, she may last 20 mins max but at the end of the day, she wakes screaming immediately. Any advice??

    • Well I would still handle her issues like she’s a newborn so take your cues from here instead:

      My guess is MORE soothing. The swing isn’t enough? OK are you also doing a swaddle + loud white noise + pacifier? She should always be sleeping in a dark room too. Many kids are REALLY sensitive to stimulus and I’m guessing this is your issue so you literally need to DROWN her in soothing (dark, loud, tight swaddle, heavy motion).

      I’ve worked with kids like this and I know it’s rough. Don’t worry about putting her down awake – for now, swaddle her in a dark room with loud white noise. Rock/nurse her until she is fully asleep. THEN put her in a swing and turn it on full speed. Use a paci if she’ll take one.

  10. Grrr …. My 4 month old baby girl and I were doing so well. She was self-soothing at around 6 weeks, napping in her Moses basket and then moved easily to her cot about a month ago (she has outgrown the Moses basket). I don’t know what’s happened but a couple of weeks ago she stopped settling properly for naps and takes mostly 30-45 minute naps in the day. Her ‘long’ nap that was at midday no either is 2 x 45 minute naps, or is only a short nap. Then in the nighttime, instead of just waking for feeds (sometime 1 sometimes 2 bottles), she wakes almost every 15-30 minutes throughout the night just crying. I sometimes leave her and she settles back down after a minute to sleep, only to repeat the process shortly after. Other times when she is crying hard I soothe her by placing my hands on her and making shushing noises. Again she will start again shortly after. I am now totally exhausted as I am lucky if I get 1 or 2 hours proper sleep a night. I don’t know what’s happened! I try to put her in bed at nap times when she is tired and have become somewhat obsessed with this over the last month or so missing out on quite a bit of meeting up with antenatal group, going to the park, etc just to give her a chance to sleep, but it seems to be to no avail. I am struggling to read the sleepy signs as she just seems to be sleepy all the time, ie yawning 5 minutes after I wake her. As soon as I see her rub her eyes and get fussy I put her down, but sometimes this is only an hour after wakening – I feel this is too early and she is still as fussy when I put her down and takes 20 minutes to settle. I feel like tearing my hair out as nothing seems to work. She never naps on the move unless very tired (ie overtired) so going out is a real issue. I feel like we are missing out on so much activity out of the home to try and rectify the sleep issue, but what’s the point if it’s not working anyway…… Please help :0(

  11. I meant to say, she’s just turning 4 months (is 17 weeks old) and I usually put her down for naps and bedtime within 2 hours of when she last wakened. I also try only to pick her up from a nap when I am sure she is awake and ready to get up and not just grizzling (which she sometimes does and then goes back to sleep).

    Also sorry for providing wrong email address on last message – I can’t spell my own name – must be the sleep deprevation! :0)

  12. I think saying they will never sleep through the night is a bit harsh. My mother rocked me to sleep until I was 3 and I don’t call and wake her up in the middle if the night. Babies need you at all times of the day. Even when it’s not convenient. It’s a good idea if it works for your baby but mine scream until held no matter what. This too shall pass…..:)

    • Jennifer,
      Yes you are definitely right – by the time they are 30 most babies have certainly learned how to sleep without their parents rocking them to sleep. But honestly, rocking a child to sleep at bedtime (which then results in rocking them to sleep throughout the night) for years is just not a practical solution for the vast majority of parents! Because we’re not just talking about AT bedtime, right? This behavior then leads to almost chronic night waking, anxiety at bedtime, short naps, and chronic sleep deprivation.

      So I don’t say these things to be harsh or critique anybody’s parenting decisions. But I DO say them to give you a heads up as to where this road leads.

      If you are OK with rocking your baby to sleep repeatedly throughout the night until they are at least 3 (there is no guarantee that things get better at 3) then God bless. But for everybody else, for whom this isn’t an acceptable or even workable alternative, I try to provide some strategies for people it doesn’t work for.

  13. Gillian,
    I am having the same problem with my now 19 week old. About a week or two ago, he just started having a really rough time napping. He has a good temperament and doesn’t get fussy, just WONT sleep. But I know this is not a good thing. Thank god I don’t listen to people (read:his grandmother) who says he just doesn’t need to sleep. I know he does. He started sleeping from about 9pm to 7am at 10 weeks with only a dream feed around 11pm, which is awesome. Well, was awesome, because in conjunction with the shortened naps, he has started waking up around 3/3;30 at night. I know he was hungry at least a couple times, so I’ve started trying to squeeze in more feedings during the day, and making sure my milk supply is ok, (I recently returned to work so I know the pumping instead of actually feeding him has taken a toll)but even with these adjustments, he still seems to be waking in the middle of the night. He falls asleep on his own at night, and used to do the same for naps (back when he was actually napping). I am praying this is a temporary sleep regression. Thoughts? I was so friggin’ spoiled on the nighttime sleep thing and now I am a mess, waking at 3am, and up for work at 5:30. Please be a sleep regression!!

    • Hi Carrie – sorry I’ve just seen your response. How are you getting on now? My little one now nearly 5 months seems to have gone through the ‘phase’ as above, and dropped her last night feed too. She now sleeps about 12 hours at night, mostly soundly, with wakings from around 3am just for a wriggle and a play then back to sleep. I think I am very lucky, and am sure I will get many more ‘phases’ in the future but at least I know they are not forever and that she is capable of a good nights sleep. I’ll be leaving her room at 6 months as per advice and a bit nervous about that but at least her night time wriggling won’t wake me as much :0) Naps still an issue and she only has 3 x 30/45 min naps a day which I don’t think is enough but we live in a noisy area so it’s hard to help her sleep past this time…..

    • That sounds a lot like a sleep regression.

      Sadly babies do bounce around a bit when it comes to sleep. Just when you get lulled into a sense of security about sleep and knowing what to expect during the night – BAM things like regressions, ear infections, teething, etc. throw things off. Then you begin the process of climbing back out of the hole to get to where you were a few weeks ago.

      If it makes you feel any better a) this isn’t permanent and b) things WILL get better!

  14. Hi, I’ve been reading this blog as often as possible, specially when I realized I was keeping my son up for too long… I’ve been learning a lot from other parents and from all the advice given, thank you.
    My question is the following, I have to rock, shush and pat my baby’s back for him to fall asleep and wait until he’s totally passed out to put him down in his cot (didn’t know about the swing!), he sleeps next to our bed. He is almost 4 months old, naps are variable, between 20 minutes to 1h30, and nights are pretty good. He feeds only once during the night and has been doing so since he was almost 2 months. When I feed at night, he used to just go straight back to sleep, now it takes him about an hour and sometimes more, he just chats and wiggles around, I never rock him in the middle of the night. He usually goes back to sleep by himself even if it takes him a while or sometimes if he starts wining I feed him a little more and he ends up going back to sleep.
    So do I have to stop rocking him to sleep if he seems to be able to go back to sleep by himself in the middle of the night?
    He cries his heart out when I don’t rock him, but he is getting heavy! Also I swaddle him and put white noise, all of which help a lot. But I don’t know how to go about the teaching him to fall asleep by himself…
    Should I start trying the swing? looks like its working great for everyone else?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Nataly,
      I think there are two separate things going on.

      The first is that when he wakes up in the middle of the night he’s up for an hour or so. It sounds like you are doing the exactly right thing – keep things dark and calm and let him fall back asleep. This is probably happening because as he gets older he wants to stay awake and play WITH you rather than sleep. By keeping things calm and quiet and giving him the opportunity to fall asleep, hopefully he’ll realize that the middle of the night party just isn’t happening and will stop waking up.

      I don’t think the “rocking him to sleep” thing is tripping you up.


      But at 4 months this really is your new sleep homework – figure out how to put him down awake. I would definitely stick with the white noise and swaddle and see if you can’t start putting him down at least a tiny bit awake. See if you can’t gradually get him to be 98%, 94%, 90% awake when you put him down.

      If you feel you’ve tried that and he’s just not having it under ANY circumstances, then the swing might be an option to consider especially as he’s obviously a motion junkie. At 4 months most babies are coming OUT of the swing so this would probably only be a short-term transition tool. Your swing project would be to:
      a) Get him used to sleeping in the swing (still putting him in it asleep is OK for a while)
      b) Start putting him in the swing awake and using the swing to help him fall asleep (keep with the swaddle and white noise)
      c) Start dialing down the speed of the swing until you get to the point where you are putting a fully awake baby down in a non-moving swing and walking out of the room so he can fall asleep alone.

      Once you’ve mastered c then it’s crib time.

      • Thanks a lot Alexis, I’m still not engaging with him at night other than quiet feeding and then back to the crib.
        I have started trying to sleep train him not to be rocked to go to sleep. There’s some crying, sometimes more than others which I find difficult so I have the swing ready near by if I feel like my heart can’t take it anymore!
        But for now he’s still in the crib :)

        I was thinking maybe using the swing for naps, to see if it prolongs them. I find that if I pick him up right before he wakes up at the 30 minute mark and rock him he goes back to sleep, but the rocking has to last a solid 15 to 20 minutes! And I might get a full hour more of sleep, but it doesn’t always work. Would using the swing at naps hinder the sleep training at bed time?

        Thank you so much for all your advice.

        • Hey Nataly,

          I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. As I’ve read on here previously, there’s different brain chemistry that affects daytime/nighttime sleep. So what works for daytime may or may not work for nighttime and vice versa. My son is almost 16 weeks old and has been using his swing for daytime naps since 3 weeks old. We transitioned him from the swing at night around 8 weeks. It has not hindered him sleeping at night. In fact, using the swing was the only way that he would sleep during the day (other than laying on top of me) and I know it’s important for him to get enough sleep during the day so that he’s not overtired at night. My advice is to use the swing!!

        • I second what Anna says!

          • Thanks for the advice. I’ve been working for the past week on “drowsy but awake” for naps and night time, it’s been challenging but I feel like I should continue in order to be consistent. I tried the swing and he just cried his heart out, so went back to the crib. Since I started sleep training him his naps have gotten slightly longer, if I luck out I get 1 hour or 1 hour and a half, but generally it’s more around 40 to 55 minutes, still an increase from the 30 minutes before. I’m hoping as he gets used to falling asleep by himself naps will hopefully become longer.

            I keep reading about everyone’s techniques and advice as its comforting to know I’m not alone :)
            Thanks again

  15. Hi! I love your site. So far, it has really helped us! My daughter is 11.5 weeks old, and she seems to be a big sleeper. She sleeps from 6-6:30 at night with 2 wakings to eat. During the day she naps 5 times, 4 1-hour naps and one 2.5-3-hour nap. She can’t stay awake longer than an hour between naps, and it’s usually more like 45 minutes. I am slightly concerned that this is abnormal since everything I read seems to say babies this age stay awake 1.5-2 hours between naps. My three questions are:
    1) Even though her naps aren’t at exactly the same times everyday, she inevitably wakes up from her fifth nap around 4pm and despite my efforts to keep her awake longer, she is sleepy by 5-5:30, which makes 5:30-6 her bedtime. Isn’t this extremely, oddly early? I keep considering that maybe she needs a sixth nap from 5:30-6:30, but she treats this like her bedtime in that she willingly goes down for the rest of the night with nothing different on my part (same swaddle and soothing routine we do for naps). Should I just be happy she goes to sleep so early? Do you think she might change this naturally and push it back slightly once she starts being able to stay awake longer? It would be nice if we got to spend *some* time with her when we get home from work.

    2) Because she has such limited awake time, we have no routines beyond swaddling, paci, and white noise in a darkened room for all naps/bedtime. Everyone is constantly talking about starting a bedtime routine, and I would like to establish something else (a book/lullaby/cuddling/massage) but she goes from awake to tired so quickly that I can’t fit anything in before overtired sets in. To do something else, I’d literally have to start the bedtime routine right when she wakes up from the prior nap. Thoughts?

    3) This is my biggest question (maybe I should have put it first!). I understand that she’s supposed to consolidate her daytime naps soon, and I am wondering if I need to help her by encouraging her to go back to sleep when she wakes up after her four 1-hour naps. I have tried this a few times, but she usually wakes up hungry, so it doesn’t work. I am just generally unsure how to tell when she is waking up from a nap, versus waking after a sleep cycle and could be soothed back to sleep.

    I hope these questions make some sense, and I can’t wait to hear your response.

    • Denise,
      That is a bit of a sleepy baby but as long as she is eating plenty, producing lots of wet diapers, etc. she’s probably fine! (Obviously I am not a pediatrician so if you’re really concerned, as always talk to the doctor!). Some babies are a little extra sleepy but they grow out of it when they’re ready.

      Also – 1 hour naps may just BE her consolidated sleep. Short naps are things that are 20-45 minutes. So most people who have short napping babies would be envious of your chunky 1 hour naps.

      If her naps DO consolidate further (but seriously 1 hour is pretty great) it may not happen until she is closer to 6 months. Because currently she can only be awake for smaller windows she may not develop enough of a sleep debt to stay asleep for longer than an hour. Once she is organically staying awake longer she may take fewer longer naps during the day. Or not. Either way is fine as really, 1 hour naps are pretty decent.

      As for the sleep routine – you DO have one. Yours is swaddling, paci, and white noise. Sure it would be nice to put some book reading in there, and that time will come. But don’t feel like you don’t have a routine because you totally do.

      One last suggestion? It’s time to wean off the paci. Not like you need to panic but somewhere around 4 months is a great time for her to learn to sleep without it.

      Good luck with everything!

  16. Hi Alexis! First, I want to thank you for this blog – it’s been enormously helpful in troubleshooting sleeping problems with our daughter.

    On to the current problem. Our daughter is just over 5 months old and for the past week or two she has been resisting going down for the night. Since she was 3 months old, we have been putting her down awake, so she definitely knows how to fall asleep on her own. We successfully used the “Swing method” you described in another post, but she still needs her pacifier to fall asleep. We have the swing on the very lowest setting – she still seems to be a motion junkie and wants that bit of movement to lull her off to sleep.

    Anyway, back to the issue. I currently do her bedtime routine (PJ’s, books, songs, swaddle, nurse), then put her down in her swing, turn on the white noise and she immediately starts to wail as I leave the room. I am almost certain it is separation anxiety as she calms down as soon as I come back in the room. If she gets really riled up I will rock her and she usually falls right asleep in my arms only to wake up again when put back in her swing. Lately it’s been an hour or two of us going in to soothe her, leaving, and her crying again before she finally wears herself out and falls asleep. Occasionally she wakes up in the middle of the night and we go through the same “dance”.

    What are your thoughts? Wean from the paci? Any suggestions on that? Also, I feel guilty that she is still sleeping in the swing – perhaps try to transition to the crib? Again, suggestions on how to do that without full-on crying it out? No more swaddle? She still wakes up if she busts out of it.

    Otherwise, she is a great sleeper and up until a couple weeks ago slept from 6:30-6 with the occasional need for her paci to be put back in. She naps really well too during the day.

    Thank you in advance!

  17. Hmmm…..well in my “professional” opinion your bedtime routine has devolved into a full-blown 1 hour long nightmare. And I’m not entirely sure why but I’m pretty confident that…

    a) The paci is not helping. It may not be hurting but it’s totally not helping. She sounds like she’s become hyper vigilant – where night surprises have become so common she’s fighting sleep to avoid getting surprised. If you’re leaving the room BEFORE she falls asleep, the most likely culprit is the paci falling out.

    (Side note: have paci post almost ready to publish where I argue that there are many health benefits to using a paci LONGER. However there are SOOOO many people having paci problems at 4-6 months that I’m almost convincing myself that the save route is to ditch the paci prior to 4 months and thus avoid all this unless there are some medical concerns that would warrant the continued use of the paci.)

    b) 2 hour bedtime battles are a mess because not only is it not fun for anyone, it means she’s missing out on a ton of night sleep (unless she sleeps in for 2 hours in the morning in which case you’ve got other problems).

    c) I wouldn’t necessarily try to move out of the swing right NOW because then you’re taking away 2 soothing components of her bedtime routine (assuming the paci has got go to). I’m guessing (?) that the bedtime battle is a combination of separation anxiety, not wanting to miss out on the party, and the paci falling out night surprises. However….

    d) I’m wondering if your going back in just makes things worse. She wants YOU, she cries she gets YOU, thus you’ve rewarded the crying so you get more crying. What would happen if you did your great routine and didn’t go back in?

    Generally letting babies cry in the swing is a little risky so you would want a night vision monitor to make sure she’s not falling out or anything. The upside is that the soothing swing generally means they don’t cry very much. You could also argue however that if you’re going down this path, maybe it’s time to just bite the bullet and put her in the crib. Frankly I could argue both sides so I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you feel about that whole possible strategy.

    But I DO think that your going in is compounding the problem. Does that seem reasonable to you?

    e) Another option is that if she’s really fixated on YOU, have your partner put her down for bed. Whatever happens you DON’T go in because you are the prize she is seeking. Let your partner do the swing shuffle and see if that doesn’t go more easily. Often babies have a favorite and things go easier for the less favorite. (Favorites go back and forth over years so dont’ worry, you’ll get your turn at being the less favorite!).

    Anyhoo that’s what I’ve got. Let me know what you do & how it goes!

  18. Hi Alexis,
    Just want to start off saying that your site has been a godsend. When Spencer was a newborn the swing did amazing things for us… Then we took a trip to my parent’s house in Florida (I’m in Canada), and they didn’t have one, so he HAD to learn to sleep without it, and things were rough at first, but in a way it was great. He no longer uses the swing. He is almost too big for it now (19+ lbs), so I’m glad he got out of it early… Anyway, on to the reason for my post.

    Spencer is now just over 5 months, and fights sleep like nobodies business. Nighttime isn’t so bad, but he usually falls asleep while he is eating his evening bottle, or while we are rocking/burping him. This isn’t really much of an issue (until it is), because he sleeps mostly through the night. We start his bedtime routine at 6. He gets a bath, lotion + massage, playtime in his room (or not, depending on crankiness), bottle, then bed. It has been working pretty great for the last few weeks. He sometimes wakes up an hour after we put him down, but one of us goes up and pats his back a few times and he is back asleep for the night. He will wake up around 3-4am for a feed, and then up between 6-7 for the day. Sometimes he will wake up around midnight, but i try to pat him back down instead of feeding him, and it usually works. All in all, not a bad night. The issue however, is naps (or nights he doesn’t fall asleep in our arms). I don’t know if it’s because we rock or pat him to sleep at night, or what the problem is, but he HATES naps with a fiery passion. I can rock him, pat him, bounce with him, and he cries and cries no matter what. I’ve let him cry it out a few times, but typically he just works himself up into a rage and there’s no coming back. It’ll take 20 mins just to calm him down, then we start the sleep battle all over again. I’m at my wits end. I’m so tired of fighting with him to go to sleep. I end up getting mad at him because I KNOW he is tired and it breaks my heart that I feel that way sometimes. I’m pretty sure that the only times he as ever cried or put himself to sleep are in the car… The shh-pat works pretty well. It was out alternative to bouncing around the house with him. It was wonderful that sometime else worked at first, except now I think he thinks he NEEDS it to go to sleep. Suggestions?

    • Heather,
      You are not alone in thinking that baby hates sleep. And maybe they do (I can’t read baby minds so really who am I to say?). But I think of it more that they CAN’T fall asleep and are just as frustrated by the whole process as you are.

      At 5 months it would be great if he just calmly went to sleep. And thought it’s not clear I’m assuming he’s not really falling asleep on his own at this age yes? Well it’s “put down awake” time. But I won’t harp about that because clearly you’re struggling with just the “put down” part.

      If he’s loving the movement, sleeping in cars, and getting bounced around the house, I would go BACK to the swing for naps (totally cool to keep him in the crib at night). LOUD white noise, swing, and possibly the swaddle. Work on getting him to sleep there AT ALL, then as soon as possible, work on putting him down AWAKE in the swing. Maybe he needs to be there for 1-2 months, fine. Your short term homework is to help him sleep during the day. At all. Then move on to “put down awake”. Then “wean off swing.”

      That’s what I would do. Otherwise you’re left with CIO for naps which, as you’ve found, sometimes can be a rough go. It WILL work eventually, but can last a lot longer than night CIO.

      Hope that helps?

  19. I have a 3 month old and sleep day and night is a nightmare! I regretfully followed my mother’s advice and was trying to CIO for the past two weeks…didn’t work…my gf tells me I’ve probably damaged my child for life which has had me in a state for days. do you think i’ve done long term damage to our attachment and her trust?

    I breastfeed and she wants to nurse to sleep all the time and if she wakes during a nap she wants me to nurse her back to sleep…even if she’s so full milk is coming back up she wants to keep nursing. she seems so desperate! she’s finally started sucking her thumb after refusing every pacifier on the market.

    i’ve put her in her swing tonight as per your advice and she went to sleep in 15 mins! only a little grumbling! unheard of for her. but i’m concerned, ok a little obsessed with SIDS (why I co-slept with my hand on her the last 3 months) i may not sleep tonight.

    the issue i have is a consistent bedtime and reading her sleep ques. I don’t know what time to put her to bed at night. I can’t seem to settle her before 10pm. during the day she seems to go from happy to screaming in 5 seconds flat. sometimes after an hour sometimes an hour and a half…

    i have no idea if i’ve even asked a question lol i’m sleep deprived and at my wits end…i’m also a single mom and trying to raise this baby on my own and just need some guidance!

    • What sort of friend tells you you’ve permanently damaged your child? Gheesh.

      OK I’m not a huge fan of CIO for newborns but TONS AND TONS of people try this. And you know what? They’re kids are fine. Would I try again at this age? No. Am I worried about your child and you having a close loving bond? No.

      If you’re concerned with SIDS run the swing by your pediatrician. But if it’s working and your pediatrician doesn’t have any concerns, I would stick with it. The answer generally at this age is MORE SOOTHING.

      Also? I’m getting the “awake too long” vibe. When your daughter goes from happy to screaming in 5 seconds, she’s been awake too long. So try to keep and eye ont he clock. If she can only be awake 1.5 hours then great! Work with that information. Try putting her down after 1 hour 15 minutes. Swaddle, loud white noise, swing.

      If she wants to nurse constantly she’s seeking more soothing. If she refuses the paci see if you can’t help her feel soothed in other ways such as what I’m suggesting.

      You’re going to be fine. It’s OK to ask for help. And don’t make friends with people who tell you that you suck 😉

  20. Hey Alexis-

    A friend recently referred me to your site and i am really loving it! Your tone is human and so personable, and your perspective is well rounded. i have recently been reading a lot and this has helped clarify a lot of the craziness and info overload going on in my brain!!!
    My baby boy is 5 and a bit months old. By 2 months old he would sleep anywhere from 6-11 hours a night straight. We had him in his crib by 6 weeks. Always swaddled, and always put in the crib completely asleep. (it always worked so while i knew it might eventually be an issue, it was easier to roll with it, im since calling that a classic rookie mistake- he is my first :)

    He was always a catnapper, slept in the car, or a swing, or in arms, from 20-45 mins. Once in awhile took a longer nap.

    About 2 months ago he stopped sleeping through the night, always seemed to need to be nursed back to sleep. He also is full of action, doesn’t stop moving, is super aware, active, a little ball of energy. So at our 4 month dr appt we all concluded that it was time to slowly start feeding him. We thought this might help the night issues. No such luck (though he is enjoying eating, and i think he definitely needed the extra calories).

    Ill try to sum it up by saying that i have concluded that i have fully trained him to fall asleep on the boob. For bed time and for naps. Which means that he absolutely does not know how to fall asleep on his own. He also if fully rolling now, so I started unswaddling him two weeks ago, one arm at a time, then legs, which made night wakeups happen every 1-2.5 hrs and makes putting him down once he is asleep and has let go of my boob much harder.

    Two nights ago (after reading here and seeing that he is showing all signs of not being ready to be un swaddled) i re swaddled just his legs (making sure first that he is still able to flip back and forth without issue (is this ok?/safe?). This so far seems to be better.

    I have been trying to break the boob/sleep association and for the last few days have been taking him for a drive when i know he needs a nap instead of giving him the boob. One vice for another but one habit to break at a time! I worry that feeding him so often during the day (reg feeding plus pre nap feeds) is only going to make him hungry more often at night…

    He used to sleep in the swing, but it became harder and harder to make that happen, the batteries died and we kind of gave up on it. Today i brought it back, closed the curtains, read a story, sang a song, put on the white noise and put him in. He fussed and cried pretty hard for 10 mins, but passed out once i got him to take the pacifier (he eventually spits it out and it doesn’t wake him).

    Question #1: Naptime: re swing naps/teaching them to sleep on their own: Should i have put him in there and left the room? Was my presence only adding another crutch? I should mention that I am currently very much not interested in letting him CIO. I am a true believer in to each their own, and have nothing against anyone who does it, but i am personally not comfortable with it.
    That being said i sat next to him, held his hand once in awhile, tried to give him the pacifier and within ten mins he was asleep. And has been for an hour (his naps have been getting longer and he is at about 2 naps and maybe one catnap a day now).

    Is my presence and interaction here counterproductive? What would be the next steps to take to limit the need for my and the pacifier and get him to do this on his own?

    Question #2: Bedtime: I would like to keep him in his crib at night ideally and not move to the swing (but if it’ll work im open to it- though don’t know how to do that with the bottom half swaddled). But really want to break the dependence on the boob. We normally do bath, massage/lotion, stories, and boob (pass out on boob wait til he lets go of nipple and put him in crib). Should I switch the order? Do boob first, then bath, etc? Hope he gets sleepy and put him in the crib? Honestly, he doesn’t get “calm sleepy” no matter what. He rubs the eyes, yawns etc, but will just get fussier as he gets more tired, and the boob is what calms him. Or bottle. Milk really. We are trying to stay exclusive to breastmilk and he is already babysat three times a week (aka 3 pumped bottles) so its hard for me to pump enough to do another daily bottle at night for dad to try… Is he old enough for water? Would that be a useful substitute? Any thoughts on the pick up put down technique?

    Question #3: Night Wakings: I have been trying to deal with them as follows: wait a minute or two to see if he is really awake, if so (usually the case), i go in and try to talk to him and sooth by rubbing his back etc (he likes his side these days), when that doesn’t work I try to pick him up and put him on my shoulder, often that’s what he needs and then i can put him back in the crib on his side and at his back for a bit and leave. Just as often that doesn’t work so I revert to nursing. (until fully asleep just as at bedtime). When its been 3+ hrs since the last feeding it feels more reasonable to nurse, but when he is waking up every 1-2.5 hrs and that’s all that works, i know he isn’t actually hungry… Tips?

    We are also trying to move up his bedtime (used to be 1am! then 12am, then 11, now 9 ) in 15-20 min increments every 4-5 days… in case htats relevant..

    At this point i am not comfortable with anyone but me putting him to bed, and while it warms my heart, it also freaks me out. We have a wedding in two weeks and i plan to leave at 730 to get home and put him to bed.

    I know this is so long but my current focus is to work diligently now to fix all of these issues as iknow it will just get harder as he gets older and I am trying to have a plan but there is so much info out there and its all trial and error, so i just dont know what plan to make and stick with. I have read your site here through and through and I guess just would love a bit more detail and advice!!!!

    Ill take anything I can get :)

    • Jessica,
      I would stick with the crib at night. He’s sort of big to be in the swing as apparently the motor is dead so it’s not a huge soothing bonus anyway. So let’s start with the boob=sleep thing.Here’s my advice…

      1) Let somebody else put him to sleep. Is Dad around? Let Dad have a go. For starters you’re bogarting bedtime. And even though it’s your special time it also locks you into being at home. The older he gets the more important this is. Trust me – someday you’ll realize that the ability to get out and go to the movies, book club, GNO, etc. is really really crucial to your mental health.

      2) Separating boob from bedtime is also key. Ideally you would nurse him ~20 prior to bedtime. That is a longer term goal. Your shorter term goal is to help him fall asleep without your boob in his mouth. PUPD is definitely a great tactic provided that you can be consistent. If you cave it’s just wasted time. Can you spend 2 hours popping him off, on, off on, etc.? If so then definitely do it!

      3) Once you’ve mastered him falling asleep without your boob in then your NEXT goal is putting a separation of ~20 between your last nursing session and bedtime.

      (Sidenote: solid foods often mess up caloric intake in younger babies because it’s filling high fiber but calorie low so tanking him up with solids during the day may actually leave him hungrier at night. Not always but be aware of the risk OK?)

      4) The nap/swing thing was a great start. Yes your presence there patting his hand and such is something that needs to stop eventually but right now you’re just trying to get him to sleep so for a few days it’s OK. But eventually you’ll want to a) not be there (or at least visible to him) and b) be hidden.

      I would definitely keep working on that though. Nap=swing, bed=crib. OK?

      Also all the night stuff (waking, is he hungry? not hungry, what to do?) is ALL related to what is happening at bedtime. So once you’ve mastered the “boob does not equal sleep” thing at bedtime a lot of the night waking will sort itself out organically.

      Good luck!

  21. Thanks for all the help and resources! My little one is 22 weeks and EBF. I have a few questions.

    1. You mention a few places on here that baby’s longest sleep is when they first go down. But my little one goes down between 7:00 and 7:45, then is up a little after 9, then again before midnight, then again between 2-3. On days I don’t work, she’ll sleep until 7:45 or later. When I work I have to wake her at 6:30. Will that eventually work itself out? I get a bit stressed because I have to pump, and when she feeds between 2-3 and then I am up pumping at 545, I don’t get much out. For a while she was only waking once a night, now it’s more often. I’m guessing it was the growth spurt? She also used to wake up 30-45 minutes after being put down, so that’s a big improvement.

    2. We have been working on putting down awake, and more recently started weaning off of how much soothing we are doing before we put her in her crib. We rock and shush for maybe 3 minutes and then I put her in her crib. She starts fussing, but then ends up on her side or tummy and I pat her back until she is calm/asleep. Is that any better than full on rocking her? A step in the right direction? We have tried letting her cry for a little bit to see what happens, and every time she works herself up and gets really upset. Last night she was pulling on her gums so hard (she’s been doing it for a few weeks) that she cut herself and bled all over the sheets.

    3. We recently started rice cereal and yams (though I think yams were too much for her tummy, so we’re back to just rice cereal for a few days. Not sure how this figures into anything or what impact this may be having.

    When we put her down in her crib, we have dark room, white noise – no swaddle because she can rock and roll.

    • Stephanie,
      My 2 cents…

      – I wouldn’t sweat pumping at 5:45. Not only is this a sucky time to be pumping (why aren’t you in BED?!?) but nobody has much milk at 5 in the morning. Maybe just skip it?

      – She’s only 4 months old. Solids are probably not your friend at this age. They’re really bad at actually getting any in and what they DO get in tends to be high fiber low cal stuff which is filling but not really tanking her up. She’s basically eating a lot at night so I would be keen to try to get as many calories in during the day as possible and liquid calories are going to help you achieve that goal more than solids.

      – She’s eating every 2-3 hours at night which is a lot. This doesn’t sound like a sleep issue, it sounds like a food issue. Why is she so hungry at night? I don’t know but I would definitely look at your day/schedule/feeding and ask, “How can we get more food into her during the day?” If you’re already doing that and feeling frustrated, maybe a good IBCLC could help you sort it out?

      – The put down awake thing sounds good. Yes you need to wean off how much patting and shooshing you are doing but it sounds like you’re headed in a great direction!

  22. Hi Alexis!
    Per your advice, I started putting my 4 month old to bed in the swing at bedtime instead of nursing her to sleep. I’m really happy with how that’s going. She’s 4 1/2 months, the swing is down to speed 2 and she falls asleep fairly quickly and without much fuss.
    We still have some night wakings and she has a heinous notion of what constitutes morning but, overall, I’m very pleased with where we are on the night sleeping.
    Day sleeping is a different story.
    Somewhere around 10 weeks she became a terrible napper. After 2 weeks of almost no napping we found the horrible solution of the nursing-nap. Not only does she nurse to sleep but she suckles the ENTIRE TIME. If I pull away, she either immediately comes looking for me or she starts looking for me 60 seconds later.
    This past weekend, at my mom’s prompting, we tried napping in the swing. Day one actually went shockingly well. 15 min of protesting and then she was asleep. It all fell apart after that and she got hysterical every time I put her in the swing (even at bedtime). We’re back to nurse-napping.
    Any advice?
    Is this something she’ll outgrow or is it just going to get harder to break her of it? Do I need to wait until 6 months and then take a more rigid sleep training approach? I’m willing to deal with it if it’s just a phase but I don’t know if there’s something I should be doing differently now.
    Thank you so much for your time!!

    • So, I decided it was probably not smart to stay the course with the napping strategy, so I moved her to the swing, which failed miserably. Luckily, taking her on a walk proved successful. She now naps decently in her stroller. She still requires assistance because the stroller needs to be moving for her to fall asleep but I feel like we’re headed in the right direction. The problem? We now wake up every 3 hours at night and she insists on being nursed back to sleep. Argh!
      She just shy of 5 months, could it be a coincidence and she’s just having an ill-timed sleep regression? Is it a reaction to her new nap technique? Any guesses? I’m not wholly convinced that we’re moving forward over here.

  23. Hi Alexis you fab fab lady and my sleep guru. I wanted to share my experience as re-assurance for others and then to ask a question…

    So… my son (3 months) has always been good at night but used to me a begger for refusing daytime naps. At 6 weeks, I used all of the advice on your website and soothed like mad. By gradually removing bits of soothing (except for the dummy – I’m dreading getting rid of it!) I now have a fab self-settling sleeper and napper. So go ahead and sooth people, it’s great! The only thing that I did against your advice is that I actually varied the naptime methods that I used (but NOT his nighttime routine). This is because, when I used a method more than once in a row, my spirited son knew what was coming and fought that sleep. This also made removing the soothing much easier as the only constant was the dummy.

    OK, but there is one thing that is causing me a lot of upset at the moment… My sweets little gherkin takes 2-3 naps from waking up until around 2 pm. By 3/4 pm he is ready for the next nap. Except that when he goes for this nap he thinks it’s bedtime and stays asleep, even when I keep him in my bright, noisy living room. If I either stop him from taking this nap or (as I am doing) wake him at around 5 pm, he screams and cries and fusses and tries to fall asleep until we start his nighttime routine at 7 pm. I feel so very guilty keeping him awake, but if I let him sleep I assume he will think that 2 am is morning (currently he sleeps through until 6 am with the aid of a dream-feed).

    I know this is a night/day fine-tuning issue that *should* sort itself out in time, but what should I be doing in the meantime? Just typing this makes me cry a bit because I feel terrible keeping him awake and crying when he is obviously knackered. Should I let him sleep and deal with a 2 am morning or should I keep waking him at 5 pm and deal with the crying. Also, would a more rigid nap-routine help?

  24. Hi there,

    I came across your blog as my husband and I are looking for help for sleeping issues with our baby girl. She will be 21 weeks tomorrow and her sleeping life is getting worse and worse. She went from taking crappy 1/1.5 hours naps, twice sometimes 3 days a day to cat napping for 30 minutes 2 or 3 times a day. At night, we put her to bed around 7 after bath,boob, book and song. She would fall asleep easily until a few days ago. We always swaddle her and jiggle her a little, if needed, to get her sleepy and then lay her in her crib. She has been fine with this, even though during naps, she didn’t nap long. Lately, though, she has been sleeping less and less. For example, today she woke up at 9am (LONG night last nite, only fell asleep at 9:30pm) and didn’t fall asleep for a nap until 12pm. She was awake 20 minutes later. We were not able to put her down for another nap until 4pm. She has been arching her back when we try to soothe her or do the nap/sleep routine. We have had to put her in her crib and let her cio.. She is taking medication for acid reflux but she seems to have worse sleeping patterns since she has been on it. I don’t know what to do as I think that she should be sleeping a lot more than she is. Everyone who sees her can tell that she is really tired. Do you have any advice? We do appreciate your time!

  25. Hi again-

    (I knew I would be back somewhere with another plea for help…!)

    Some basic info first- our 5 month old currently takes naps in her swing and at night we start off in the swing (it is still a battle) and then later in the night she moves into our bed because she wakes up so frequently. She has reflux, but nothing really serious and since using the swing she hasn’t vomited once!!!

    I have got to tackle her insane need to nurse to sleep all night long. When she was born, for the first weeks she had to have formula because my supply was so slow to come in, and she slept in 5 hour chunks in her hammock. Gradually as I switched to EBF she started to sleep in 3 hour chunks. This was all pretty good until I started to fall asleep while nursing her in the middle of the night, discovered it was in fact much easier to cosleep, and her night-time sleeping pattern started to go down the tube.

    For a couple of months, cosleeping was wonderful- we all slept, and I couldn’t even remember how many times she woke to feed because I never had to get out of my warm bed. Now, unfortunately, this has only encouraged her to expect a boob on hand every single time she wakes up. Last night I decided to count the times she woke between 6pm (her self assigned bedtime apparently…) and 5:30am (time she lately always wakes at)- 7 times. And every time she fussed and faffed about in the bed until I gave her what she wanted all because I was SO TIRED I couldn’t physically get out of bed. I know that nursing right before bedtime sets her up for a night of expectation, so I fed her an hour before bed. However, she started smacking her lips come bed time and started to root and got quite agitated. I honestly don’t know if she was genuinely hungry because I couldn’t hear her swallowing over the sound of the white-noise…!!

    I am finding it so difficult to wean her off this need to feed all night. Sometimes she is actually hungry, but mostly she is just chewing, especially for the last few hours where it feels like a ridiculously huge challenge to keep her asleep until 5:30 or 6:00. Because she is so erratic in her schedules (during the day she sometimes wants to feed every two hours, sometimes every four hours) I can never tell for sure if she is hungry at night or just stuck in a terrible habit. I feel so annoyed with myself because I read Dr. Sears’ site, especially the bits about sleep associations, and felt reassured that it wouldn’t be a problem… BUT IT IS A HUGE PROBLEM!!!!!

    Do you have any advice or words of wisdom? I’m especially worried because we are travelling home for christmas where there is a three-hour time difference. I’m pretty sure we won’t have her off the comfort-nursing or out of a moving swing by then and I know that holidays tend to mess with a baby’s sleep like nothing else (except maybe a regression!)… starting to panic as we approach the 6-month mark!!

    Thanks again for all your dedication to helping people like me…!

    • Heehee, ok so you just responded to another of my messages and gave me advice there about night weaning so I will work at it and see what happens :)

  26. Hi Alexis,

    I just wanted to say thanks for helping us navigate this crazy baby sleep journey! Our little guy is 4 months old, and we’re on night 8 of putting him down awake at bedtime – and it WORKS. Dark room, white noise, and he just coos himself to sleep! I was so afraid to start this, and so relieved it’s going well. This is the baby I had to nurse and nurse and nurse into unconsciousness when he was tiny – I’m so proud that he can fall asleep on his own. You’re so right about how quickly they change – something that would have been impossible a month ago is now no problem. Good baby. And thanks. :)

    • Congratulations on your great success! That is a great lesson – what didn’t work yesterday will work tomorrow. And also – that you will figure out a way to make it work :)

  27. Hi Alexis
    I came across your wonderful site in a blur of sleeplessness whilst feeding the baby at 4am. I was absolutely desperate at the time since I was exhausted and she had reflux and didn’t lie down without screaming and vomiting! Still after following your amazing advice to the letter (and some reflux medication) things immediately became much better. A swaddle blanket, a swing from ebay and a great white noise app on my phone and I managed to put her down for the first time in weeks! Hoorah I could make myself a cup of tea again. Night sleep slowly became a 5 hour stretch at the beginning of the night and feeding every hour and a half until morning after that. Now this week something strange has happened… Monday she did her usual 5 hours and then fed, Tuesday she did 7 hours, Wednesday I woke her up after 9 hours because I was convinced she was ill (or worse!). Thursday I woke her up after 12 hours solid sleeping. I don’t know whether to be ecstatic or worried. She’s four months now (but was born 5 weeks early) and her sleep pattern has changed so quickly I’m concerned there’s something amiss. This wasn’t helped by her being incredibly grumpy the afternoon after her long sleeps. Is this normal? Should I quit with the worrying and break out the champagne? I was a bit worried she’s getting enough milk (I’ve had supply issues since she was in NICU but we top her up with formula) so the next night we did a ‘dream feed’ at midnight and I had to wake her after 12 hours again…

    Well, if we have cracked it and the little one seems happy enough with it we’ll be toasting your good name on a regular basis!! It’s so much easier being a mum when you’ve had some sleep.

    Either way thanks so much for all your help – I’ve been reading your site and the comments religiously for several months now and I’ve been spreading the word around the baby groups in East London..

    • Mo,

      Are you writing to complain that your baby is sleeping through the night at 3 weeks?!?!? No no no, the correct response is to crack open the champaign!

      If your pediatrician thinks it’s a problem (and feel free to ask them) then go ahead with the dream feed. You would know this was a problem because your pediatrician would have expressed concerns about weight gain, used words like “failure to thrive” or what have you. If your baby is healthy, gaining weight, and producing plenty of dirty diapers then HAZAAH!

      Time to celebrate :)

  28. Hi Alexis,

    I love this site and I’ve read through most of it!! I haven’t found any suggestions or info on babies rolling over in their sleep. My 5 month old falls asleep on her own, I put her down awake, and only wakes up to eat once at 2 am. But ever since she learned how to roll over onto her stomach, she will wake up on her tummy and cry because she hates being on her tummy. This is happening about 5-6 times a night sometimes more. I have to roll her over and sometimes even give her the paci to get her to fall asleep, most of the times she will roll over again within a few minutes and cry again. This usually starts after her 6 hours of deep sleep and continues through the morning. Any advice? I haven’t had much sleep in the last couple weeks. Please help!!

    Thank you,


    • I have seen Alexis address this issue (although I TOTALLY understand why you haven’t found it, there is so much here and you are exhausted!)

      Anyway good for you getting baby to fall asleep on her own at that age. You are 80% of the way through your sleep struggles already, in my opinion, so that is great.

      Regarding rolling back to tummy and getting stuck, that is TOUGH. From what I’ve seen Alexis advises LOTS of tummy time during the day. Practice practice practice and hopefully she’ll learn how to get herself back over on her own. Tummy time is easy to ignore if baby doesn’t like it, but be persistent, play with her, provide enticing toys to encourage her to work on rolling. It’s good for both of you. Good luck!

  29. I have 8 week old twins who we currently need to rock/hold to sleep at bedtime then we put them in the swing. At what point should we be trying to put them in the swings awake? Should we wait till 3 months?

    • My opinion: No harm trying it out now and then to see what happens. They change so fast and you never know when it will work. Test the waters for 5-10 minutes and see what they do. If it’s a disaster, give up and try next week. You have LOTS of time!

      Enjoy those tiny babies! :-)

  30. Hi Moms – Sleeping question. Went for my son’s 4 mo appt this week and talked about some struggles we are having getting him on a daytime napping routine. I work, so I have tried to have a pretty set schedule for the nanny for consistency for him. His day starts at 7am and then I would instruct her to feed him every 3 hours. He has no problem with that window. Usually he would wake up around 7, play til about 8:45 and then go down for a nap. I followed this 3 hour schedule with him not being awake longer than roughly 2 hours at a time all day. Used to be shorter, but as he has gotten old, he is cuing more of a 2 hour awake window. His napping is erratic, sometimes 30 mins, sometimes 2.5 hours. *Usually* one longer nap of at least an hour a day though. Because of this, he would always go down for a nap around 2 hours after he last ate. Dr thought he might not be sleeping well because he is hungry. And he would often oversleep when he should eat because of a long nap. I would then just back him up as the day progressed so he was eating at least 5-6 times before bed around 7:30. The ped suggested that I tried to keep him up in the morning before his nap so he can eat twice before he goes to sleep. That would help him better regulate his nap schedule, which would in turn, help better regulate his entire day/night schedule. He did take a 2.5 hour nap after trying this yesterday morning, but it was a bit of a struggle to keep up awake to eat again. I don’t want our nanny to force feed him too early just because he is getting tired. It seems like 3ish hours is a little long for a 4 mo old to be awake at a time. Any thoughts on this advice?

    • Should mention that he has been sleeping and napping in his crib since 7 weeks old and had been rolling over since about 3.5 months so now sleeps on his stomach. Is put down awake a night recently and is doing awesome with it. Not tackling the awake for naps just yet. I was thinking our recently troubles might be more related to those milestones that anything – but a month of rough nights because of this?

      • Hey Lauren- I would say just hang in there and roll with it! We had similar frustrations with our little girl (now 9.5 mo). 4-5 mo was a real slog with short naps. Our ped mentioned that babies that sleep really well at night may not nap as well simply b/c they log those quality hours at night (ours was sleeping 12 hrs w/no feeds). He teased us that we were being too greedy to want good naps too with a baby that young :)
        Honestly, we tried strategic feeding (I’m an engineer- I like to have a plan) but I really think it was a developmental thing. When she was ready it gradually fell into place. And of course there were regressions thrown in there.
        By 6 mo she was taking consistently longer naps (1-2 hrs), and actually dropped the oh-so-hard-to-manage third nap around that time.
        Good luck! I hope you don’t feel as uptight about it as I did 😉 In retrospect I wish I had just let her do her thing (while giving her all the help we could) and not stress about it.

  31. My son is now 20 weeks old (4.75 months…) and my nanny and I are similarly mystified by the erratic nap schedules of my little boo. Bottom line from what I’ve gathered is that naps at this age can vary. We’ve tried big bottles to get him down for a longer nap which sometimes worked and didn’t, so we gave that up. Now she pays attention to his sleepy cues and puts him down in the crib awake and he will usually knock off for an unpredictable amount of time — white noise, bottle, or not — it just isn’t consistent. Yet. From what I have read, as they get a little older the naps start to consolidate so they are awake longer but then nap longer as well. For now, my guy is the champion of catnapping (20 minutes to 1.5 hours, unpredictably after being awake for about two hours), but since he does go to bed now around 7 p.m., he sleeps through the night w/two feedings until about 7 a.m. The first time I got a six hour stretch of sleep I practically jumped for joy. So in other words, it sounds like your son is doing what is considered normal for the age (because I like to think of my son as fairly normal)
    Just a cautionary note: once you embrace this idea, you will meet someone who gets consistent 3 hours naps from her baby twice a day since they were 8 weeks old. Go figure.

  32. Hi Alexis, (or anyone else that may help)
    My 3.1 month old is the neediest baby I’ve ever had! He’s my 4th. So I’m seasoned but I’m completely stuck and about to rip my hair out. He hates being put down. He will only sit in a swing or bouncy chair or anywhere for 3 minutes max and then go into a full on screaming session. Not only that, but he sleeps erratically. Sometimes for 20 minutes, sometimes for an hour, but only when I’m holding him. The second I lay him down, he wakes up, he does not self soothe, he doesn’t even get wound up to crying, he just screams until I pick him back up. He doesn’t actually fall asleep at night until 10 pm and wakes every 2 hours to nurse till morning. He just nurses enough to put himself back to sleep, 10 minutes or so each time. I’m a wreck. What do I do? I just love him so much but I’ve got to get dressed!! And eat!!! No to mention care for 3 other young children. Some more information: I co-sleep and exclusively breastfeed. I have tried warming the surface before laying him down, music, & bedtime routine. He is 17 pounds too- big boy.
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Adria,

      I have a 4.3 month old who is pretty much exactly the same… He is my first. 17.10 lbs last week :) I just wanted you to know that there are other babies just like yours out there! We are bedsharing as well, and some nights I think he fusses every hour to nurse back to sleep. Other nights (not the majority) it’s only 2 or 3 times. The things that have saved my sanity are a pacifier, which I was hesitant on introducing and waited until somewhere between 2 to 3 months, now I could not live without it. Bedsharing… When it’s time for Mom and Dad to get some sleep he is WAY more content to fall asleep and stay asleep, and waking to eat is barely waking at all, compared to waking -> crying -> being awake and eventually overstimulated. No diaper changes at night, now I wait until at least 5 or 6 am if he seems extremely uncomfortable. Lastly, I tried the Fisher Price Starlight swing with the canopy that looks like mosquito netting and he was in complete awe of the lights for what seemed like a good hour at least until he fell asleep in it and slept for probably at least another hour. It felt like the best 2 hours of my life 😉 I just purchased a baby k’tan and am working diligently at introducing baby carrying to add some arms back into my life, but I would skip the gimmicks and just buy a Moby wrap. Now. Lol :) Yours is still young enough to appreciate the close holds without feeling too restrained. Good Luck :)

  33. Alexis,
    I love, love, love your blog! I’ve been reading it obsessively for the past week since I discovered it. I need your sage wisdom. My four and a half month old son slept through the night at about six weeks, or from 10-6, always in the swing in my bedroom. Around a month ago, we started putting him in the crib and after a few nights of waking in the middle of the night, he started sleeping ttn again. Unfortunately, he got sick with a cold and dr recommended elevated sleep. This is when my problem started. After his cold got better we put him back in the crib and he woke up all ttn crying. Yes, he is swaddled but the white noise shuts off on his swing after 20 min. This is when I started researching and found your site. We cried it out four nights before I found it. So I moved his swing into the bedroom, gave him an earlier bedtime around 7-8, and shut the motion after he falls asleep. I always put him down awake, although sometimes he falls asleep nursing. For the past week, he’s been waking up earlier and earlier. Tonight it’s 3:30. I breastfeed him and he goes back to sleep until 7ish. Help! Is he night eking because he’s hungry? Needs more soothing? Send dad in instead and dont feed him?Why is is sleep getting worse? A sleep regression? Too early bedtime?
    thanks in advance!!

    A tired mama in NY,

  34. Help, my baby is 14 weeks old and has major trouble going down for the night. Here is what our day looks like : 7:45-8 am wake up, feed, dressed for day, play, first nap at 9:30. He sleeps well at nap time, anywhere from 1-2.5 hours. Then eat play and 2 nd nap around 12:30-1:00. Again, sleeps well. Eat, play, 3 rd nap is normally short and is around 4-5 pm. He’s then up and we start bedtime routine around 6:30. He gets a sleepy time bath, massage, stories, more food, and Jammie’s. then he’s tired and goes down easily around 8, BUT he only sleeps for about 45 minutes, then he is back up for another 1.5 hours. Ultimately he goes to sleep around 11 pm. He sleeps until 4-5 am, feeds then is fitfully asleep( normally in husbands arms) until we wake him around 8. He’s clearly tired in the morning and his morning nap is normally long because he didn’t sleep enough at night. What are we doing wrong? What can we do? We tried waking 15 minutes earlier in hopes of moving bedtime up, but no luck. He still treats the 8 pm bed time as a fourth nap. Our little guy is 16 lbs so he’s not needing to eat…any suggestions? Thank you!

  35. Hi there,
    My three month old has a routine that consists of: bath at 7:30, then a quick massage, swaddle and lights out while nursing in the rocker. He is in a light sleep when I put him down. I’m sure he knows he’s in his crib as I’m not sneaky about it. I try to jostle him a little so he is awake, but he doesn’t open his eyes. Is this enough? Or should eyes be awake at being laid down? He always goes down awake after our first motn feeding and slowly drifts off til he wakes again 2 or 3 hours later.
    If he needs to go down TOTALLY awake how do I ensure he’s filling up his belly by cutting his nursing session short? If I feed before his bath I guarantee he will start to drift off and be grumpy when I go to bathe him.

  36. Argh!!! My 4 month old was doing really well transitioning to the crib. For about 2 – 3 weeks after she turned 3 months, she began taking naps in the crib and I was able to put her in the crib drowsy but awake. It didn’t work every time but more than 50% of the times, it went pretty smoothly. And then bam! She started fighting all sleep, swaddle, and the crib. Every time I put her down in the crib, she screams like I’m trying to kill her. In fact, swaddling her used to be the beginning of her nap routine, and she starts screaming as soon as we start swaddling her and she won’t calm down. :( I am trying swaddling with 1 arm out… maybe she wants her hand.

    We thought this behavior was due to our travel to the in-laws and being in a different environment but coming home hasn’t made things any better.

    I can see that she is really sleepy and she is falling asleep. But then as soon as her eyes close, she jerks herself up and starts crying harder and harder. It’s like she realizes sleep is taking her over and she hates it. However, if I put her in the swing, she calms down and falls asleep… The swing isn’t helping with prolonging her night time sleep (she began waking up about every 3, 2, 1 hour at night with or without swing.) but at least it does lull her to sleep. Even when things were great and she slept in the swing all the time, she has never slept through the night. On average, her 1st sleep would be for about 4 – 5 hours (and on rare occasion, 6 – 7 hours). But I really can’t have her wake up every 2 – 3 hour!!! I also noticed that when she wakes up at night, sometimes she doesn’t cry but rather it sounds like she’s talking, whining, and kind of crying but not screaming… Should I not intervene if she’s just talking?

    I suppose this is 4 month regression. I’m wondering how long this will last. I’m supposed to go back to work full-time next week, so I’m really worried… :( On the upside, she just started rolling to one side, has gotten really good at grabbing and putting things in her mouth, and has also begun laughing out loud a lot.

    We are hoping that we let her fall asleep in the swing for a week and then she will take the crib again next week… Your article says I really should be working toward the crib right now, so the swing is right next to the crib and I really really hope that she will outgrow the swing soon. She is getting heavy (currently 13.5 Ibs), so it’s hard to pick her up and put her down in the cradle n swing without hurting my back……

    • I just want to update that it WAS 4 month regression. My baby slept in the swing for about a week and then is taking the crib again. And miraculously much better than she did before. She cries less and sometimes doesn’t make a peep when she falls asleep. Instead of weaning off of swaddle, we’re currently super triple swaddling her (the arm swaddle, the regular swaddle and then into the miracle blanket).

  37. I’ve been becoming a fan of your blog after a referral from someone on the BBC board. I’ve been reading your posts on sleep training, and I get the big one: baby being put down awake.

    My baby will be 6 months old in a few days and last night she woke up every 2 hours. Sometimes it is every 3 hours. Sometimes it seems she is waking up at regular times (like 11pm, 1am, 4am) I have been working on putting her down awake and she is doing pretty well with it. And I still have to work on breaking the eat/sleep association. I should also mention that she currently naps twice, between 1.5 to 2 hours each.

    At her age I would think it unlikely that she really needs to eat that often at night. If she is waking just out of habit, how would I go about breaking that habit? I currently nurse her and put her back down and she’s out. Sometimes it only takes 10 minutes. Would I try to only comfort her and not nurse her and then gradually restrict the comfort? Or should I let her CIO for these wakings?
    Other info that might help: She never took a pacifier. She has not taken to thumb sucking either. She used to be swaddled for naps and night. Now she is in a “Magic Sleepsuit” for both naps and night. She always sleeps with white noise.

  38. My baby is 13 weeks and hasn’t consolidated her naps yet – 20 minutes is the most we can get during the day. It’s exhausting for both of us!

    Yesterday afternoon, out of frustration, I put her down in her bassinet with a soother and she slept for 3 hours (the soother fell out eventually). We are working towards putting her down sleepy but awake, but she is so dependent on the swaddle and us walking her around that it seems impossible at this point: Even at night, it usually takes 2-3 attempts before she stays asleep.

    So, question is: is using a soother to help her teach herself to go to sleep during the day a bad first step? I don’t want a baby that wakes up every time it falls out of her mouth – but it seems to help her get into a deep sleep, which means a longer sleep. And it means I can put her down drowsy but awake.

    Up until now we have been using it to calm her, but plucking it out before she falls asleep.

    Advice ? I don’t want to set us up to fail.

    PS – Your site has been such a huge help over the last three months in terms of showing us that our baby IS normal :) So thank you.


  39. Firstly I love your website and feel that I have read it top to bottom twice! I have a 12 week old that I am trying to get started on the right path to sleeping well and through the night. I have tried since birth to put her down semi awake. I have been co sleeping with her for the majority of the time, I had a c section and so I was on the main floor with her in a bassinet beside me for about 6weeks and since then have moved to my room with her in a bassinet near my bed. The goal had been to move her to a crib but two back to back colds have made that a future goal. She is on the mend and doing much better so I want to get back into a “routine”.
    I have tried to take a very easy going attitude towards sleeping though the night (she is a very easy going baby), believing that she will get there when she gets there, but I want to make sure I am giving her all the proper assistance to help her achieve that goal sooner rather than later 😉
    Right now she is exclusively formula fed and is eating about every 3 hours through out the day. She usually has a nap in the morning, afternoon and early evening. I have had difficulty with getting her to bed before 9 but find that she is starting to become a bit fussy the closer it gets to 9, like shes tired. I am trying to start a bedtime routine, with a baby massage, book and then bottle but she is very sleepy by that point so I read your advice to move the bottle sooner so that is what I am going to try doing. She then gets up at 3ish to eat and again at 6. Usually she will fall back to sleep for an hour or 2 after that. My questions to you are

    -what do you do/how do you soothe her when she wakes up in the night and its not hunger?
    -when should I be trying to break her of the soother habit? right now she takes it once and awhile, but sometimes its the only thing that puts her back to sleep. so far she isn’t waking right after it falls out, she stays asleep for much longer

    Thanks for all your help!

  40. Ok to get straight to the point (because my son is fussy right now), I have a 5 month old, he is swaddled for naps and bedtime, uses the paci in between feeds at night, and is still eating every 3 hours through the night till wake up time usually between 7-8am. I’m saying all this to ask, why he won’t sleep longer stretches without needing a bottle? He started doing so well at 8 wks, and then something happened 2 or 3 weeks later and he went back to waking often. I don’t know what to do! He sleeps in a crib in a dark room, with white noise. He falls asleep to his bedtime feed, but that’s because he hates when I put him down without it. He refuses to fall asleep on his own. Any advice?

  41. I have a 3.5 month old and she will fall asleep while nursing, usually between 9 and 11. She has now started waking every two hours to nurse (isn’t that a lot for this age??) and she usually wakes around 7:30 am. She takes two 2-hour naps a day and maybe another short catnap. I am at a loss with putting her down awake and at a loss with the the goal of an early bedtime at 6:30 or 7. I keep trying, but no matter what she goes to bed late and I can tell she’s over-tired. Any suggestions? How long should we try a real bedtime routine and not give up on the earlier time? Also, we do use the swing quite a bit during the daytime for her naps. Is is okay to go between swing and bed? We’re just pretty exhausted right now and are having a hard time being creative and sticking with hard plans. Right now, we go with nursing to sleep, lots of rocking, swinging, and in our bed if it means we can catch some sleep. we know she’s not getting enough sleep at night, but we don’t know how to change that. thanks for your help!

  42. Hi Alexis,

    I am a first time mother and need some advice. My son will be 4 month next week. We have been trying to transition him to his crib and were doing fairly well until he got sick and moved him back in our room in his rock in play sleeper. Let me note that he does go to day care and will nap in there crib. I have tried to set him up with a night time schedule while i was out on maternity leave. Since my son has been in daycare he seems to want to take an hr nap at 7 o’clock. I was giving him a bath at 8:45/9 and then feeding him his last bottle at 9/9:30. I have also been letting him fall asleep on my chest (which i know is not good). From there my husband and I move him to his crib where he will sleep for 1 to 2 hrs and then wake we then go into his room to put his binkie back into his mouth and he will fall back to sleep for another 30 mins to an hr and then will awake again. We keep going in to put the binkie back in his mouth he will then wake himself up with EYES WIDE OPEN and CRYING until we come and get him to feed him at 4:30/5:00! I need your sleep expertise and find out how i can help him sleep through the night with out waking up and us caving and bringing him in our room to finish out the night! Thanks so much! Just found your blog and loving it!

  43. This came to me just in time!! I have to confess I am actually excited about trainning my sweet 4 month old to fall asleep on her own, because with this tips it sounds a reasonable thing to do. Now I am blessed with a very happy, easy baby… but I do know this will be a slow process but somewhat this posts make me feel it is POSSIBLE!!

    Thank you!!

  44. Hi there! First of all I love this site!!! I’m a FTM, and a worrier too, and I have learned so much from reading your posts. Thank you for educating, validating, and entertaining me!!! I have a 12 week old who has in the past month developed a need to nurse in order to sleep. She’s a big girl and I believe this started because I was thinking she was hungry and would nurse her only to see her fall asleep within minutes. Once I realized this was going on, I tried a variety of other methods, every recommended, and nothing worked. Out of desperation I nursed her to sleep. Well I’ve just started back to work this week and her caregiver is having a difficult time consoling her when she gets frantic for the breast. I’ve read Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution and have begun to implement the pull off method, however I know that this will take time. Do you have any tips or advice? My LO will not take a pacifier. She is breastfed and formula fed. I’ve asked the pediatrician what to do and she suggested we find other ways to console her once tired. We try but it seems when she gets into her crying fits anything else only aggravates her further and leads her to be over tired perpetuating the problem. Thanks for your thoughts!

  45. Hi. Ok, so my baby just turned 3 months old yesterday. Your post says that his shouldn’t be bobbling, but when I pick him up, sometimes it still does. Also when I put him down for tummy time, he hates it and will lift his head a little but that’s about it. Do you think I should talk to the doctor about this? Is he behind?

    Secondly, he sleeps with my husband and I in our bed. We’re careful not to have blankets around him and put him in a warm baby sack. But it’s sooooo hard to get him to sleep. We start around 9:30 pm and it takes up to 12 am sometimes to get him to sleep. Once he sleeps, he’s fine. He will wake up after 4 hours for a bottle and then fall back to sleep by himself. But getting him to sleep initially is just so tough. He wants someone to pick him up and walk around literally for hours and won’t show any signs of being sleepy. Do you have any advice on how to get him to sleep on his own? This would really make life a lot easier.

  46. Hi everyone!

    My daughter is 3 months and 3 weeks and I had used the swing method with her. It was a bit of a struggle because she hated it ….eventually she accepted it and was taking all her naps in it anywhere btw 45 minutes to 2 h 1/2. Although she liked it one morning after her early morning feeding( 5:30ish) she really didn’t want to go in the swing and I tried to put her in her crib and guess what to my surprise she fell asleep super quick. So I realized she is ready to be weaned off the swing. Said and done. Now 3 weeks later she takes all her naps in her crib and so is the night sleep. However, her naps are not longer than 45 minutes , 50 if i am lucky and she wakes up tired and miserable. What do I do to get her to take those nice long naps she used to have in the swing.

    Thanks a lot!

    PS: Alexis your blog is God-sent!

  47. I can’t believe I came across this post!! I am dealing with the same things with my 3 mo old. My little girl always napped in her swing during the day, and used to take several 2-3 hours naps (all while sleeping throught the night…Im talking 12 hours!) One day she started waking up after a short nap, and I came to the conclusion that we needed to end the swing naps, and develop a similar routine as our bedtime one (dark, quiet room, with fan on) So the past few days, we have taken naps in the crib, and just had first NIGHT in crib (and yes still slept through the night, didn’t wake me once!) Naps have still been short. And then seems tired, rubbing eyesl, just about an hour or so later. Once I tried staying with he rin room, to soothe her back to sleep. Nursed her for 40 min and she was wide awake. So the problem is, she seems to be awake and recharged after naps, but then tired and reasdy to nap, soon after. This has been making for very long, cranky days :( Im hoping she will start consolidating her naps into fewer, longer ones.
    Any suggestions, or ideas welcome!!

    • Hi Erica,

      I was sure I wasn’t the only one in the situation…..i think it will come with longer naps outside the swing. Yesterday i managed to actually lull her back to sleep after the first sleep cycle (40 minutes about)….but I needed to cook, so i took the shortcut….i let her do her other half of the nap in the swing….although i believe she was ok had i put her in her crib. I will try next time! My cue that she is not ready to wake up is that she didn’t smile when she saw me….she was more:” help me to fall back asleep mommy” kinda look…..I read that most babies at this age during daytime naps wake up after that first sleep cycle because they don’t know how to fall back asleep…..that’s why , for them to get used to sleep longer we have to go in and lull them back to sleep. At night i have no issues with her….she sleeps from 7:30-8 till 5:30( 4:30) even 6:00( the other day) ….she eats and she goes to sleep on her own after 90% of the times….no crying nithing….but since she has already 10-11 h of sleep she will only sleep for maybe an hour or so and wake up around 7-7:30.

      Hope this helps and trust me it will get better!

      Good luck!

  48. I have a 3.5 month old who has turned into what my husband calls a little terrorist. Our wonderful son used to do so well with sleep. And then a few weeks ago he threw a curve ball at us that we are still fighting. One day he suddenly stopped wanting to be cuddled until he fell asleep. Matter-of-fact he didn’t want to be cuddled at all when he started to get tired. I used to let him cuddle on me and hold him til he fell asleep and then put him in his crib. Now if he gets tired and i go to hold him he screams and fights it with all of his might. Then it became we would put him in his swing and let him fall asleep there or directly into his crib. However we found that with the swing if the music on it that only plays for 15 minutes at a time would stop while he was sleeping or you would think he was out like a light and go to move him to his bed…he would instantly wake up…and then you had to start the process of getting his overly tired butt to fall asleep again. Everyday we battle with this, he wants to go to bed with a bottle and just fall asleep that way. But he doesn’t sleep long at all he will be out for maybe 10 minutes and then wake up then fall asleep for a few more minutes then wake up. Night time he does better but we are starting to notice his once smooth night time ritual of getting up once or twice is now becoming a more frequent wake up time starting around 2am its like he will eat and sleep for maybe 30-45 minutes and then boom he’s awake…yet so tired. WHAT CAN WE DO TO AID THIS FIGHTING WITH ALL OF HIS MIGHT SLEEP DEPRIVED LIL BABY BOY?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m at my wits end he is so much happier when he has plenty of sleep but these days getting him to give in to that sleep is the longest and hardest fight ever especially since he doesn’t want you to hold him or rock him to sleep. HELP!!!!!!!

  49. For Amanda,

    Oh that sucks poor thing…..maybe it is just sleep regression that usually occurs at between 3 and 4 months. But yoy shouldn’t let this ruin his routine or sleeping habits. Also try not to give his bottle to sleep. This warked for my boy, but not for my little one who’s almost 4 months now. What i do with her, is at 6:30 breast for 20-30 minutes and then her dad feeds her a bottle of formula( more for bonding that actually finishing up the bottle). After that we give her the bath and then lullaby and sleep. She usually fusses around a bit, sometimes I have to go in because it is just one of those days where she wants to cry to sleep( never leave her more than 10 minutes to cry…breaks my heart). She also had a few days 2 weeks ago when she would wake up at midnight, eat , fall asleep for 45 mintes wake….and so on. It could be sleep reggression…..after two nights like that….I said to myself it is time for a bit of CIO. She wasn’t able to fall asleep on her own at night….once I had to put her in the swing which i hate to do at night….and she slept till morning there. Only happened once and then we started CIO( very mild though because she was very ready to sleep on her own….i don’t think she ever cried for more than a 5, and a 10 mintes round). Maybe it is time for him to learn how to self-sooth back to sleep….but it will come!

    Good luck!

  50. When they say put them down awake, it’s okay if she is drowsy right? Just not deep sleep. But can I put her in the swing and then move her to the co-sleeper when I am heading to bed? or should I wait until she wakes for a feeding.

    When she slept in the swing, our daughter used to take her last feed at 10 and then wake up again around 5am.

    However, ever since we started using the co-sleeper and moved bed time to 6pm she has been getting up at 2am now too! Is that because she can smell me near her? I’m afraid I’m ruining everything by using the co-sleeper!

  51. I have a couple of questions regarding our baby who is 3-1/2 months.

    1) Her naps are very inconsistent. One day we will get two 2-hour naps (one in the AM and one in the PM). The next day, using the same routine before naptime, she’ll only sleep 30 minutes at a time. Why does it vary each day and what can we do to get it consistent? I will say she either naps in the swing or on her tummy (I know..I know) but we are not consistent with which method we use. We use whatever position will keep her asleep once we lay her down.

    2) Nearly every night after we put her in her crib asleep, she wakes up 30-45 minutes later. I know this is the time she is transitioning in her sleep cycle, but what can we do to help her stay asleep? She is swaddled and we already have white noise. We do not use the swing (she hates it…even the varisty techniques). She sleeps in the nap nanny, which is in her crib. When she does wake up 30-45 minutes later, there is not one consistent thing we do to get her back asleep. Sometimes we feed her, sometimes it’s the passie, sometimes it’s rocking/ssshing. Any suggestions?

    3) As I mentioned above, she is sleeping in her nap nanny in the crib. Any suggestions on when/how to remove the nap nanny?

    • Trish – whatever you do, you MUST take the Nap Nanny out of the crib. They are not meant to be used in a crib and can have terrible and tragic results – in fact the Nap Nanny was recalled recently.

    • Hey Trish,

      Lots of babies sleep better on their tummies. So I totally get why you would be tempted to do that. But please don’t. It’s a major risk factor for SIDS which peaks at 4 months. So no tummy sleeping until she flips on her own. If you think having her sleep upright is helpful (is it?) then I would use a swing.

      Denise is right – the nap nanny in the crib is not OK. Despite the recalls I DO feel the nap nanny is a good product but I would definitely talk to your pediatrician about it. And if you ARE going to use it, maybe you only use it during the day while you are awake and can keep an eye on what’s doing in there, OK?

      Lots of newborns treat bedtime like a nap. They outgrow this – it’s frustrating but temporary.

      I think at 3 months I would start BEING more consistent. Have her nap in the same place with the same routine all the time. Don’t move her around to wherever works best at the moment. Somedays you WILL have short naps. This is life with babies. They always seem to take short naps when you’re really hoping for a LONG nap. If I could fix that I could sell the solution and be a BILLIONAIRE. As I am not a billionaire it should be obvious that there is no fix 😉

      • Added to the first question. So if they usually take a 2 hour nap, but one day they take a 30 minute nap, should I put him to a nap at the regular time or in 2hours after he woke up ?

  52. My daughter is just over 3 months old. I EBF, she takes naps in her swing, sleeps in her pack n play in our room at night, will sleep just fine in her crib for naps- although I rarely do it, and we do white noise, swaddle, paci for every sleep.
    My first concern is that she can only stay happy for 1 hour, and then we start our nap time routine. It then takes 20-30 minutes for her to fall asleep. She does just fine falling asleep on her own, I just have to tickle her face a little, give back paci, and sshh her a few times. But I feel like she should be able to stay awake longer at her age? The problem is that she only sleeps for 30 minutes! About once a day, if she naps in her swing, she will drift back to sleep, after being awake for 10-15 minutes. When she does this, she will then take a 2.5-3.5 hour nap! But it’s very unpredictable when she will do this. It’s never at the same time each day, and it’s only in the swing. How can I get her on a routine where she does this, but at the same time each day? And how can I increase the length of time of both her naps and her awake time?
    My other big issue, is that she HATES when we rock her to sleep (yet she loves her swing to rock her). This just started 3 weeks ago. She screams and flails and fights us for 15+ minutes, and then will calm down and go to sleep in our arms finally. I thought maybe she was done with swaddling, but no. Ok, so seems like an easy solution- just don’t rock her. But I need to live. Is that selfish? We can’t do anything but a quick trip to the store, because she is happily awake for such a short amount of time, sleeps for such a short amount of time, and will only sleep in her crib or swing. Getting out was so much easier when we could rock her to sleep when she was tired and we were out. Any suggestions as to how to get her to sleep in our arms or carseat?

    • Hi Jen, I seemed to have this issue as well when my daughter hit 3 months..
      Its like one day she just decided to go from taking 2-3 hr naps, to taking short 30 minute naps.
      I tried many things..but basically tried to keep a consistant routine for naptimes (and bedtime) and made sure that the environment she was sleeping in encouraged sleep (dark room with blackout curtains, fan for noise) and when she started having issues napping in her swing, I immediately made the decision to switch her to her crib for naps, and also for bedtime (she was sleeping in her rock n play sleeper prior.) We were very lucky and the transition to her crib couldnt have gone smoother. I was told that the shorter naps are common because of the sleep cycle of a baby that age, and I was encouraged to go in and try and soothe her back to sleep to try and get her back to taking longer naps..I cant say that it really worked for us though.
      Naps continued to be kind of all over the place for a couple months…no matter what I tried.
      She just turned 5 months the other day, and I finally feel like naps are going a little smoother. I have learned that she does best when I soothe her by either BF or just holding her and letting her get sleepy, and then putting her down awake but drowsy. There are times she falls asleep in my arms and I put her down asleep, and some of the time she will wake because she is no longer in my arms, and sometimes I even have to go back in and try and soothe her again..
      The biggest thing I have learned is that every baby is different, and it may take some time, but you will eventually start to see a pattern of when she gets sleepy and may be ready to nap, and also start to find the best way to approach naptimes and such..
      More than likely things wont get easier overnight, but have faith! It seems that most sleeping issues start around the 3 month mark, and it seems like it is just because babies are really becomming more aware at that age, and it may take a little more to get them settled down and sleepy..and sometimes no matter what you do, things may be a little wacky for awhile. Just stay strong and keep telling yourself that things will eventually get better! :)

  53. Hi All and Alexis,

    I wondered whether anyone could give me a little explanation or tip on the following issue:
    I have a daughter who is 12 weeks and goes down to bed at 7pm on her own (with a little bit of help of a dummy) without much more than a stroke on her cheek into her moses basket where she sleep 12 hours with one or two night feeds. She does the same when she has her afternoon nap outside in the patio in her pram, no need for a moving pram. However, when she goes down for morning naps I need to rock her for about 15 minutes. Anyone had the same issue at all? She sleeps about 4-5 hours during the day in 3 or 4 naps.
    Thank you for your help

    • Wow! I say rock on. Sounds like a dream, all that day and night sleep is worth the 15 minutes of rocking. It could be that she’s not quite sleepy enough in the morning after all that night sleep and is resisting a bit. My 4 month old son can only sleep from nursing and and or a lot of rocking, sometimes takes an hour and he’s up about 10 times a night so I think you should count your blessings :)

  54. At 9 weeks, my now 13 week old began sleeping 5-7 hours in a stretch with only 1 middle of the night feedings. His naps during the day were much shorter (30-45 minutes) but it was a trade-off I was willing to accept to get that critical nightime sleep.

    Just a few days ago, he started waking up again every 1-2 hours, like a newborn. Is this sleep regression, in which case I should “do whatever I need to do to get through it.” Or is this the beginning of object permanence, in which case I need to start to teach baby to sleep on their own?

    Many thanks for any advice.

    • Courtney,

      I’m interested to hear if this sorted itself out for you as my now 13 week old has been going through the same thing for about a week. Use to sleep very well and at week 12, something changed and yea… waking ever couple hours…

      Also only naps for 30-45 minutes during the day.

      Look forward to your response! :)

      • Hi James

        You’ll be happy to know that it did work itself out and my now one year old sleeps through the night (7 p.m.-6 a.m.) However, that sleep regression (or whatever it’s called) at week 13 lasted about 4 weeks. My husband and I could NOT wait until baby was old enough to sleep train.

        When baby was 4 1/2 months, we took the sleep training class and by the 3rd night, he was going to bed awake and happy, putting himself to sleep without a bottle, and sleeping through the night with one “dream feed.”

        We learned that there are three things that usually disturb a baby’s sleep habits/pattern (1) teething/sickness; (2) major milestones (crawling, walking, talking) and (3) travel/unfamiliar sleep conditions. When these things happen, our baby still has trouble staying on his sleep schedule. But the good thing is, it only takes a couple nights to get him back on track. The first night is tough, and baby cries. But by the second night, he’s back to sleeping great.

        My advice: Do whatever you can to get yourself through this sleep regression and when baby is 4 months old (or 14 pounds, whichever is later), do the sleep training.

        Good luck! And let me know how things work out.

        • Thanks, Courtney.

          Very good to hear!

          Our guy’s all over the place.. we put him down at 8 last night and he slept for 45 minutes and woke up screaming for 20 minutes.. we fed him (he ate another 3 ounces!!) and shortly went to sleep afterwards for a 5.5 hour sleep, then woke to eat at 3:30, ate, then fell asleep on his own and then finally woke for the day just after 8:00am.

          What sleep training program did you use at 4 months? We’re convinced we’re going to do one, just not sure which is best for him at this point.


          • James

            I’ve been there! The ups and downs can get frustrating, but what gave me comfort was knowing that until he’s old enough to learn (around 4 months), and big/fat enough (around 14 lbs) to not have to eat throughout the night, you kinda have to let him dictate the schedule. It put less pressure on me and I had to just “go with the flow”

            We used the Sleep Easy Solution. It’s a middle of the road system that will inevitably lead to some crying by your baby. There are some parents that are against it for that reason but the instructors/authors Jen Waldburger and Jill Spivak are wonderful people, very well educated and they give you comfort that your baby is not being harmed by having to cry a little bit. In fact, they say that it is a parent’s job to teach their baby to sleep. There’s a book and DVD and they also do e-mail and telephone consultations. Because I live in LA, I was fortunate enough to go to their 4 hour seminar. I highly recommend the program. It’s good for your baby and it’s really good for you and your spouse. Nobody is happy if everyone is tired :-)

            Some things you can do now (while you’re waiting for 4 months/14 lbs) to help make the sleep training easier is to (1) start having a nighttime routine/schedule and (2) removing all the sleep crutches.

            Your schedule/routine should be something easy enough to do anywhere (at home, at your in-laws house, hotel, etc) and it shouldn’t last too long because it’s important to be consistent and do it every night. You can start that now and even if your baby only sleeps for a little while, he will start to get the hang of the fact that when the routine is completed and it’s time for bed.

            Also, at 4 months old, our baby used a bunch of crutches. He would suck on bottle to sleep or be rocked and be held until he fell asleep. He was swaddled to sleep or slept in carseat, swing or other contraption. If he was in the crib, he was propped up on a boppy-type pillow that cradled him.

            At this point, you can slowly start to wean your baby off these things and it will make the sleep training less dramatic for him when the time comes. Under the Sleep Easy Solution, you do not want to use any of these crutches.

            For more information, try the website. So much good information!


            Good luck!

  55. Our three month old son was a great sleeper at 4 weeks. He went down around 8, up around 1:30 and 5 for feedings. Since then it’s gotten worse where he wakes up before midnight then every hour from two on. We stared the “sleep sense” program last week, losing the pacifier which we thought was the problem but it hasn’t seemed to help. Day 1-5 on the sleep sense program he slept longer but since day 6 he is back to his old routine. What’s the reason and what’s the solution?!!!

  56. Hi! My baby turns 4 months next week and I’d like to transition her to her crib. We are still waking up every 2 hours to eat (at least that is why I am assuming she is waking up and I am exhausted to tears.

    We are on our third week of her going to day care and her refusing to take a bottle during the day. She waits till I get home to eat. As of right now, I am away from home for 12 hours out of the day.

    Our bed time routine is this- Bath, PJs, sound machine (rain sounds), and nurse to sleep. I cannot put her down on our bed nor the bassinet or her crib. As soon as I put her down, she is awake. There has only been a few times I’ve had sucess putting her down on our bed to sleep without her waking up. Normally, she sleeps on my chest while I sleep sitting up. Not fun anymore! I’m so tired and would love to sleep laying down for once.

    Last week, I tried to mimic the routine but instead of letting her fall asleep nursing—I put her in her crib while she was drowsy after nursing. It didn’t work but I was persistant about it. I tried the pick up and put down method where I picked her up when she cried and put her down back in the crib after I calmed her down. I waited a minute or two before I picked her up again. I’m afraid to say that she increasing became more and more difficult to calm. I mean she was crying so hard that her face became puffy and she had a hard time catching her breath. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do. She doesn’t care for the swing or bounce chair, so I don’t think I can use those to transition her to the crib.

    Any helpful tip or guidance would be soooo great.

    • Hi Rita

      I see that you posted this in March – I am in the same position with my son… He refuses to sleep anywhere but on my chest and will throw a tantrum when I try to put him down in the crib. He will be 4 months old next week now and I dont think I can take many more sleepless nights! Please tell me your LO grew out of it… Any tips?? Thanks 😊

      • Hi Louise Anne-

        Yes- She grew out of it however I feel like we let it go on for longer than I should. We got to a point where she would fall asleep in her car seat so we just started putting her in there. Once we was 9 months old, we hired a sleep consultant to help us gently trainer her to self soothe and sleep in her crib. Everything is much better than it was before. Hang in there!

        • Hello, wondered where you live and what sleep consultant did you use, my 6 month old has 30minute naps all day……frustrating!

          • I live in Maryland. Her name is Megan from Little Sleepy Head. She might be able to give you some suggestions if you don’t live in MD.

      • My tips would be to get a routine down for bed time. Bath, PJ, Book, Song, bed.

  57. Hi Alexis, I LOVE your site, and some days i just reread articles ive already read to help reinforce and relax me. But I do have an issue id like to ask. So my son is 4 1/2 mths old and sleeps in his crib now. After a sleeptime routine, He goes into his crib awake and i feed him a bottle as he lays there and pat him for a few minutes and he drifts off to sleep around 7:30. He sleeps for a blissful 4-5 hours!! Then around 11/12 he wakes up, and then continues waking up every 2 hrs or so. I BF him and put him back down, sometimes awake, sometimes asleep, and if awake, he can put himself back to sleep. Im not sure if he is hungry or he needs the boob to calm him, but he can put himself back to sleep after BFing for a bit. I do tihs from till about 5 when i am too tired and just give up and bring him into my bed for my own sanity. Every night! HELP!

    • Jackie, My son (4.5 months) does the exact same thing! A couple nights a week he will get up wanting to play from 4-6am. I notice you wrote this response back in March….what was your solution? Please tell me it gets better!

      • Julie, you will not like my answer, but i just sacraficed sleep and pushed thru it. If he needed me, i went to him, i fed him and put him back down, again and again and again. little by little he would drop one waking, then another. not at 11 months old, he sleeps thru the night the majority of the week, and every few days he may have a early morning waking (perhaps he didnt eat or nap well the day before) where i give him a bottle and he goes back to bed. it does get better, but unfortunately, it took time and sleeplessness. I am sure there are cry it out solutions that would work for you, we tried that once or twice, and my kid could scream for an hour straight with no end in sight. I do let him have time to try and put himself to sleep tho, not running at the first peep. I will sometimes wait 10 min to see. good luck

  58. Hi all – I love this site and have posted a few times. I have a quick one today — am struggling mightily with 17 week old who doesn’t like to sleep or nap well. I am at the end of my rope. I am wondering if there could be a correlation with the coffee that I drink in the morning? Anyone have any facts/thoughts/experience on caffeine and bf-ing babies and sleep? I am SO desperate for it that it literally is the only thing that is good and pure about my mornings…but if its keeping baby up I want to try to do something about it. I would really appreciate any info!! Thanks!

  59. Hi, Kim – thanks for this! I have given up caffeine out of desperation. We’ll see.. The night wakings have gotten so much worse. Every 40 minutes to an hour I am up with him for at least that long. He is teething, but still…this is killing me! And I’ve tried all the tricks (swaddling, white noise, swing) and nothing is working to help keep him asleep. I do not thin caffeine is the culprit, but don’t know what else to do. :-( Thanks though for the link!! Gwen

  60. My daughter is 10 weeks old. Yes, I know she is young. She is a good night sleeper but takes cat naps (30 minutes) about six times a day. I know she can’t get through that sleep cycle. I want to be able to put her down more awake but she just cries. Should I let her cry at all or go in immediately?

  61. Hi Alexis! I’ve been following your baby sleep guides like a bible since my son was born 4 months & 1 week ago. I don’t know how I stumbled onto you but thankfully I did!

    My delightful little munchkin has in the last two nights started waking about 10-15 times a night! Every 45 minutes or more – which is a bit of a shock after being down to two nightfeeds for the last 2 months. I’ve basically never rocked him to sleep. We used the cradle swing until he started self settling which I thought was going great until this week – I just popped him in the crib with a paci after his feed, bath & story and off to the land of zzz he went – I even make sure I’m out of the room before his eyes close!

    He’s still going to sleep this way, but when he wakes I’m generally just putting his paci back in (except for 2 & 5am where he feeds). Sometimes the paci works, sometimes it doesn’t and I have to stroke his head to get him to sleep. So now I’m stuck because I don’t know if I’m having a growth spurt or just “object permanence” kicking in & he’s actually waking for the paci now. His day sleep is similar, if he stirs from a nap & the paci goes back in he falls back asleep. I don’t seem to have any other symptoms of a growth spurt (he’s always eaten tons, and he doesn’t appear to be any crankier?).

    I’m trying to make the tough decision to ditch the paci or not. Appreciate your advice here!

  62. Hi Lisa – I’ve read them all.
    No sign of a growth spurt asides from the waking….

    He’s not fussy or hungrier or anything.

    • I have read them all too, sadly for me, always hoped I would have one of those babies who just slept 😉 [don’t think they exist actually].

      I am no expert by any means, but I don’t think sleep regressions are always to do with eating, they can be developmental. Well hidden internal baby stuff to keep you guessing! It does sound like crazy town sleep after your previous good pattern. Maybe worth riding out a few days before making any changes like ditch the paci…use swing again? (Alexis says extra soothing for sleep regressions, without mega bad habits which is tricky but sounds like you have soothing methods that are sustainable for you so good to re-embrace them?).

      I think AskMoxie has some good stuff on sleep regressions if you google it?

      Hope it gets better.


  63. Alexis,

    We have a daughter who turns 6 months old tomorrow. She has been enrolled at a Development Center (daycare) for about three months now. When she first started there, she would take a few naps throughout the day, anywhere between 30-60 minutes in length, occasionally longer. She has a white noise machine and a sleep sac that we had her teachers use to swaddle her arms. Over the past month though, she began to roll over so her teachers would no longer swaddle her arms. This has led to her naps being almost non-existent. Over the course of an 8 hour day at the center, she has had recent days with as little as 20 minutes sleep the whole day. When we pick her up, she immediately goes to sleep in the car and then sleeps for a good 3 hours when she gets home. Her teachers are working with us, but she just isn’t sleeping and we’re pretty sure it has to do with the swaddling. When we bring her home, we do swaddle her arms, but we have a video monitor that we have on to keep an eye on her. When swaddled, she naps great. She sleeps great through the night, without having her arms swaddled, which we think is due to her being tired and not having anything to look at because her room is dark. We’re somewhat concerned about her sleep at daycare because on the weekends, she takes about three naps per day (morning, afternoon, and early evening), but she just isn’t getting that sleep during the day on weekdays. Do you have any thoughts you can share with us?


    • For swaddling in the swing or bouncer where you need to buckle them in:
      We use this nightly with our son’s sleep sack. He is almost 4 months and we are going to try swaddle weaning soon and I think it will be easier with this than a traditional swaddle. He loves it and it’s super easy to use. Hope this helps.

  64. Hi! I saw Alexis suggest to another parent whose baby was turning in bed but still really needed the swaddle to try doing swaddle + strapped in swing (which doesn’t have to be moving). Does your daycare have a swing (or baby bouncer thing) they would be willing to strap your swaddled daughter into? (check out the Dr. Karp interview for how to swaddle in the swing – I’m guessing the same works for a bouncer) In those things there’s no risk of rolling over because she’s strapped down, so the center might be less worried about swaddling. Then you can test the waters on sleeping unswaddled (see Alexis’ post on swaddles; the section testing the waters). Hope this helps. Daycare was a real challenge for our daughter’s daytime sleep too. We ended up bringing our swing to her classroom!

  65. Hey Alexis,
    Big fan of your website!
    I have a question regarding if I should wake my 5 1/2 month old up from her naps..
    A little background…she was a swaddled swing sleeper until 3months of age where she dropped the swing and just slept swaddled in her crib, then at 4 1/2 months she started to roll over and we had a few sleepless nights where we had to drop the swaddle and she was thrashing around, but then got used to it and now sleeps fine unswaddled and in her crib. She gets put down in her crib awake and we have no issues (thanks no doubt to being put awake in the swing in the first place and learning how to put herself to sleep)-thanks for that:)

    Since then she has been waking up once in the night to feed, like clockwork wakes up at 730am, down for a nap at 9am for 2 hours and then again at 1pm for 2 hours and then sometimes a power nap around 5 for 40 mins and then to bed anywhere between 630-8pm…now we recently went away (to a diff time zone) and have been back for 2 weeks now and I find I still have to wake her up in the morning, and after two hours of napping to stick the old schedule she was on! I decided to experiment today to see how long she would sleep…I still woke her up in the morning, but woke her up at 830am, she went down no prob for her nap again at 915, and then she slept until 115pm!!!…she went then for a second nap at 3pm and woke up at 5pm…now not sure what will happen tonight, but do you think I should just let her sleep for as long as she wants for her naps, or should I stick to my schedule? I know sleep begets sleep but is there such things as too much daytime sleep?
    Thanks so much for your input!

  66. I found a lot of the info on this website helpful in beginning to strategize how to help my 4month old baby girl to sleep better. I’m totally not into the CIO method and I don’t like the idea of “sleep training”, but I do want to help her develop good sleep habits that will make her a happier, well-rested person. Here’s the thing that’s got me stuck: there’s lots of talk about the importance of helping baby learn to fall asleep on her own and I agree. A month or two ago she was doing this easily for naps, with or without a pacifier. At night we’ve gotten into the routine of bath, nurse in bed, then move to bassinet. I can see that this is not going to lead to sleeping in the crib so I’m ready to try adjusting our routine to put her down awake…the problem is that it’s not that simple. The last 5 nights I’ve put her in her crib or bassinet after nursing, but while awake and she just becomes much more awake and ultimately requires 1-2 more nurses (basically just to suck since my breasts are empty) and the whole ordeal takes 1-2 stressful hours.

    How can I begin to build a routine that includes letting her put herself to sleep? It kind of seems like either you help your child (rocking, nursing, etc) or you don’t. I read the suggestion on using the swing but I don’t think this translates to getting her in her crib. Any concrete suggestions on making the transition?

    • I was wondering the outcome of your situation? I have a four month old who use to put himself to sleep at night with or without a pacifier in his own sleeper after I did a sleep routine of bath, massage, book, and nursing. The last week has been very difficult because he now wont put himself to sleep at all and when I lay him down asleep, he wakes up full blown crying. The only way to calm him down is by letting him sleep in my bed with waking up every hour or other hour. I would much appreciate any thoughts you have to share.

  67. Hi there,

    I’ve been doing CIO with my 5 month old son for two weeks now. I’ve been ensuring regular naps, putting him to bed at roughly 7.30 every night, using a lovey and consistent bedtime routine. It has worked in so far as he goes to sleep most nights with no crying (or very little) but he still wakes every night three or four times crying, sometimes for 30 mins. I give him a feed every night when he wakes between 1-2am but don’t want to be up feeding more regularly than this. The main reason I am not prepared to do long term regular night wakings is because I have another son, 18months older and I found that the night wakings were making me short tempered and a poor quality parent. I don’t know what to do now. How long should I expect these regular night wakings? What can I do to reduce them? Why would my son be waking up so regularly? I have been putting him to bed awake most nights (for a couple he has beaten me to it). I’m not sure what else will help!

    Sian x

  68. Not sure where to post this but my 14 week old sleeps fine at night once I get him to sleep. Will wake up sometimes once or twice before 8am but always goes back to sleep. I’m sure he’ll sleep through the night sooner or later.

    My problem right now is I can’t get him to take a good nap. If I get lucky he’ll fall asleep nursing. Sometimes I can swaddle him and transfer him to his bassinet. But sometimes I can’t even move because he’ll wake up then I have to start all over again or sometimes it just won’t happen. If I end up sleeping with him he takes 2-3 hour nap. So after struggling all day with his naps at night it has taken me up to 6 hours to get him to bed. 2x he has fallen asleep before 11pm but the rest of the nights its between 11pm-1am. He was fine before. I would nurse, he would falls asleep, burp him, swaddle, then sleep. All of a sudden nothing has worked until its past 11pm, he cries a little while rocking him then he’s out.

    So I think if I can get him to nap well during the day, bedtime will be just fine. How can I get him to sleep during the day?

  69. Hello Alexis, thank you for this website it has been a real life saver for me! but right now we are going through a rough time and I need help. My 5 month baby started waking up at 3, 4, 5 and then 6-7am, so we are both exhausted..

    I´ll describe our situation to see if you can help me understand where the issue lies. It all started given he didn´t know how to fall asleep, I followed all the soothing you advised since 2 months (bedtime routine, load white nose, swaddle, etc) and of course I had to rocked/nursed him to sleep but only woke up to eat (first every 3 hours, then he started sleeping 6 hours stretch and then 3-4hrs until 8am) so all was as relatively good. In the day he took 3 45mins-1hour naps and a catnap of 30mins before bedtime (always ensure he was not kept awake more than he could handle at his age and I made sure he woke up at least 1.5 hours before bedtime) and also had to rocked him to sleep. Ay 3-4 moths bedtime was 8tish so he was sleeping from 8pm to 8 am and as he was already in 3-6 month period I started to transition to put him down awake, each time less rocking (just to make him drowsy) and laid him on his crib awake (he has slept in his crib since he was born) while butt panting and shh until he got fell asleep. He was really improving and learning to fall asleep on his own at day and night (naps almost always 45mins-1hour). As he was waking to eat at 1am I tried a dreamfeeding at 11pm-12am (my husband gave it to him so I could sleep) so I could sleep a longer stretch and he slept till 3-4am (even some days until 5am) where I gave him 3oz and then woke up at 7:30am so again we were progressing.

    Then the problem started, 10 days ago he had a night where he woke up every 2 hours crying every single time, it was hard to calmed him so I ended up rocking him so he could get back to sleep (he kind of had flu so I though it must have been that), since then all the progress disappear and he has been waking up at 11pm, 3am, 4, 5 and 6-7am, bedtime is not an issue because as you say there are lost of things going on so we follow his routine and put him in his crib awake but drowsy (with but panting and shh) and he falls asleep easily but then he wakes up. When he wakes up I do the following: If is is not a feeding time (other than 12am or 4-5am) I pick him up, calm him and then back to the crib awake but butt panting and shh, sometimes he stays easily and falls back asleep, other times I have to put him down and up again several times until he stays; if it is feeding time I feed him and then the same process until he falls asleep. Somedays go easy but others I spend 1hour puting him back to sleep, specially at 4-5am and on top of that he has been waking up earlier (6-7am) and his naps don´t last more than 30 mins.

    I think he has an object of permanence issue with me as I am there when he falls asleep (butt panting and shh) but he is not able to fall asleep if I do not do it as he will start moving and crying so I am not sure what to do. I tried the swing around 3 months but he did´t fell asleep after 1-2hours, we had to wean the swaddle as he started to roll over at 3 months as well. I started to wean him from the 4-5am feeding like 4 days ago by leaving water but reducing formula but is making no difference (currently I am giving him 3oz but only half the formula).

    Also I was nursing/feeding him with bottle and then giving him a bath as bedtime routine but 2 days ago I switched them to break feeding and sleeping association.

    What I am doing wrong? is it time for CIO even though he is not 6moths? pls HELP!!!

    • I could have written this post! Do you have any words of wisdom? My son was a great sleeper (6 hour stretches) until it all seemed to change overnight at 3.5 months. Then all of a sudden it took 2 hours to put him to bed and he was up every two to three hours. We had to resort to CIO with check and console at bedtime — we figured out our soothing methods were just causing more distress — and now he goes to into his crib awake and falls asleep with minimal fussing, but still wakes up every three hours wanting to eat. He is now 4.5 months and I’m absolutely sure he does not need to eat 3 to 4 times a night.

      I have tried to separate nursing/sleeping by 20 minutes, and I have loud white noise in his room, but unfortunately we can’t swaddle since he started flipping over in the swaddle. I have tons of milk so supply is not an issue, though I may have an oversupply problem as well as over active letdown. I’m not sure what to do at this point other than let him cry in the middle of the night (unappealing at this point, especially since I have a toddler in the room next door) or feed him every time, which is leading to a night waking/eating habit.

      Also wondering whether at 4.5 months babies are able to stay awake longer than two hours and should be on a 9/1/5:00 nap schedule, or whether we should be sticking to the two hour window… I’m so confused, and didn’t expect to feel this way with my second!

      This blog is amazing and I’ve learned so much but now I’m at a loss. Anyone out there have any advice for a desperate/sleep deprived mum?

  70. I have a 20 week old there are days that she’ll just wake up once, but more often its more than 3 2 of which is a feed the rest are just her kicking and pulling her legs up as soon as I pat her she goes bakc to sleep. but after an hour usually after the 3am feed she’ll wake up every hour until 6;00 am her waking time

  71. Hello Alexis,

    I have a 15 (almost 16) week old who has suddenly developed an issue with being laid down in his cradle to sleep. The cradle is in our room, as we plan to move him into the crib in his own room once he starts sleeping through the night more consistently. He has only slept through through the night twice, and that was 3 weeks ago.

    Sometimes burping him makes a difference and he’ll lay down without fuss and fall asleep (though he still tends to wake up two or three times a night). Other times, I’ll burp him and he’ll still scream when I try to lay him down in his cradle. Of course, if I lay down in my bed with him next to me, he’ll fall right to sleep. I have only used this as a last resort, since neither my husband nor I want to co-sleep. Since he lays down fine next to me, I tend to think gas isn’t the issue.

    He hasn’t been a baby to cry or fuss a lot up until now, but if I feed him in the middle of the night and try to put him in the cradle, he’ll start screaming. Last night I tried to start a stricter bedtime ritual starting at 8:30, instead of his usual 10, which I realized is WAY too late. He was completely relaxed, but still somewhat awake when I laid him down. He slept for about ten minutes before waking up and screaming. This repeated for about an hour before sleep finally took hold, and even then sleep lasted for only 2 hours before he awoke hungry again. But at 11:30, after he was fed, he went back into his cradle without a problem, and although he woke up 2 or 3 times during the night, he was able to self-sooth until needing to be fed again at 4:30.

    Suddenly, he wants nothing to do with his cradle, and I can’t figure it out. He is rolling over, so we are using a sleep sack/swaddler with his arms out, and since he likes to sleep with his arms over his head, I think he prefers this to being swaddled arms-in. Do you have any advice to get my DS to start liking his cradle again?

  72. Hi Alexis,

    I’m wondering what to do with my 5 month old baby’s sleep at night. Previously, at 2-3 months, she was a great newborn baby sleeper. Many times she would sleep 5-6 hours straight. But ever since she turned 4 months, her sleeping patterns changed for the worse. She now gets up 2-3 (sometimes 4) times a night!

    At bedtime, I lay her in her crib fully awake and she falls asleep on her own, sometimes with little or no crying at all. I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks now. But I don’t see any improvement in her night wakings. I know that she still wakes up to eat, which then I feed her. (She gets a total of about 10 hours per night) But when can I expect her to start sleeping through the night? All of the textbooks say that 5 month old babies should be sleeping right through. Is this realistic?

    Any advice (from anyone) would be great!

  73. Quick Question!

    My son just turned three months and we have begun the magical swing sleep training technique. It’s absolutely wonderful to have a battle plan of sorts–this site has been an answer to prayer!

    My question is regarding naps vs. bedtime. My son has been doing well in the swing for naps–he is being put down awake, and is generally getting long naps. We have put him down in the swing for bedtime a few times as well, and he’s had long stretches of sleep… and I know if I wanted to force it we could make the swing work for bedtimes, too..there’s just one problem: My hubby and I miss him too much!

    I say it’s a problem because I KNOW we don’t want him in our bed forever. And I’m anxious that if we don’t all start to break the habit now, it will be much harder to get him sleeping in his swing/crib through the night later.

    So I guess my question is: If I’m training my baby successfully to put himself to sleep for naps, but not training so hard at night, will there be some transfer for him to STTN eventually when we are ready to have our bed back? Or will it be square one?

  74. Baby #3 is 4.5 months old. You’d think I’d have this figured out by the third, but no sir. She goes to sleep swaddled, on her back, and awake on her own every time she lays down (all naps during the day and the beginning of the night) and falls asleep with just a few minutes of fussing most of the time, so I’m fairly confident we don’t have bad sleep associations. However, she wakes up too soon from her early afternoon nap (obviously exhausted upon waking) and she wakes far too often at night (read: sometimes every 45 minutes… on good nights, every 1.5-2 hours). She insists upon nursing at those times in order to fall back asleep, but nurses poorly and is obviously *not* hungry.

    We’ve tried: warmer room, cooler room, more clothes, less clothes, unswaddling (for one miserable week), lots of baby wearing, putting her down for sleep at the first sleepy sign (usually between 45-75 min), stretching her wakeful times (~2 hours), feeding her more often during the day, loud white noise, sleeping in a swing/vibrator, reflux medicines (just in case she was having silent reflux issues), shh-ing / patting, PU/PD, and CIO. She gets hysterical and will just not go back to sleep without being nursed — even if it means she’s worked up for several hours at night — basically, until I cave, whether it’s nursing her right away or after an hour of fussing.

    I don’t know what else to try. I’m desperate to start sleeping more than an hour at a time again, even if only for a single 4- or 5-hour stretch at night! I have a 2yo and a 4yo who need their mama during the day too, and this has been going on for a month now. (Baby slept 8-9 hours straight when she was 3 months old and then just stopped.) I realize lots of things could be contributing (developmental, teeth, etc.), but I need help, please, and ones that don’t involve co-sleeping because I’m a super light sleeper and co-sleeping is even more miserable for me than being up every 75 minutes at night.

    She won’t take a paci (gags on it even when we just hold it in, and we’ve tried all sorts of varieties) and really does seem happiest when she’s napping after only an hour or so of being awake. It just doesn’t seem to translate into good sleep still.

    Any ideas? Thanks!

    • ETA: All of her daytime naps are usually ~45 minutes, regardless of how long she’s been awake. The exception is the early afternoon nap if I nurse her upon waking and then just let her fall asleep on me.

  75. Alexis,
    I. Need. Help.
    My son has just recently turned 5 months old on the 5th. We have been working on the “putting baby down awake” since he was 3 months and one day old. It went surprisingly well. Our swing has 5 speeds, we went down to 4, then to 3, still no problems. We got rid of the paci (he started sucking his thumb)and no issue. He had consistently been having a 30 minute morning nap, 2 hr late morning/early afternoon nap and then 2 30 minute naps. The last usually ending by 6 and he was down for bed at 8.
    However, the past 3-4 weeks, without any obvious cause that I can find, his afternoon nap has cut to 30 minutes. I’m putting him down awake, he falls asleep on his own, I make sure there is at least 20 minutes between nursing and going down for his nap, I have not turned the swing down anymore and he is half swaddled (has to have that left arm out to get to his thumb). We do kind of struggle on his sleeping cues. Sometimes he goes down at 1 1/2 hrs, other days it’s 2 hrs. I truly don’t understand the fluctuation in times. But I’m trying so hard to put him down when he is not over tired. Many days after this half hour nap, he is still obviously tired but just won’t go back down. I usually let him fuss for at least 5-10 minutes just to see if he’ll go back to sleep, but he rarely does. Now for the last week he seems like he is trying to drop his last nap and after he goes down for the night he has started to wake up after 2 hours and he is up and down all night long, like 6 times a night. Before this he was sleeping 4-6 hour stretches and then getting up one other time to nurse. How could he stop his 2 hr nap and drop his last nap all within 3 weeks? And also be having night problems? He is not teething, he does not have an ear infection, and in the last 3 weeks has not been in a wonder weeks phase. I have NO IDEA what I am doing. I have no idea what I am doing WRONG, more specifically.
    My husband occasionally has him during the day and tells me he’ll sometimes just put him down on the floor play mat and walk away to do something and when he comes back, the baby is asleep and sleeps for over an hour! This has never EVER happened for me. I get the baby that has a break down if I don’t have him napping quickly enough. I feel like I am failing as a mother. I feel like I am doing everything right and I still suck. I am terrified that I will not have him out of the swing by the time he turns 6 months old and I will never have a baby that sleeps through the night.
    Please tell me what I am doing wrong. I am all for criticism if it’ll get him to sleep again. I’m so exhausted. PLEASE. HELP!

  76. Hi,
    I’m a little confused by the “putting your baby to bed tired, but awake” thing. My son is 5 mo old and when we put him down drowsy he instantly starts crying. So in my mind if we just let him go we are in the beginning stages of CIO. I am anxiously awaiting the time that we can do that, but I still do not feel comfortable with letting him cry yet. He started rolling on his belly, so the swaddle is out. He has been having some difficulties getting used to sleeping in his crib un-swaddled. I’m hoping this is a phase but he is still waking up to 3 times a night. He has had some bad luck in terms of getting used to sleeping at night (reflux, colds, A TOOTH?!?!) I have a 2.5 yr old as well and I’m super tired…you can imagine. I do end up putting him the swing by early morning. He sleeps wonderful in the swing so I know it is a great back-up plan but I need some verification on helping him learn to fall asleep on his own. HELP!

  77. Great post!
    I’d loved it thanks!

  78. Any help would be MUCH appreciated!!
    My son will be 5 months old next week and since about 3 months old (when he entered the ‘wakeful’ period) has gotten into the bad habit of snacking and catnapping, as well as feeding to sleep.He’ll only eat a few ounces at a time, and then has to be fed in order to go to sleep (feeding seems to be the only way to even make him drowsy). He will typically only nap for 40-45 minutes and then can only stay awake for an hour and a half or so, which is very frustrating as his naps always seem to coincide with his feeding! Like I mentioned, he’s gotten into the habit of snacking – he eats a few ounces when first up and then has a few more before going down for a nap. I feel like I spend ALL day either feeding him or putting him down for a nap. Bedtime isn’t as bad – he usually goes to sleep between 6:30-7:30pm and has gotten better at going down ‘drowsy but awake’, although we’re still having several night wakings in which he is awake (we always check to make sure he’s not just fussing in his sleep) and requires a quick sip of a bottle to go back to sleep. I’d like to get him on some sort of routine/schedule, but I have no idea where to even begin. I’m about to just put him down wide awake and let him CIO, but I wondered if anyone had any advice to put an end to the snacking and the short naps. PLEASE HELP!

  79. This website has been SO helpful for us on so many issues and I’m hoping I can get some opinions/more personalized help. My little one will be 4 months next week and has been sleeping in his swing. Within the last two weeks, he’s started waking up between feedings and cant put himself back to sleep. I know the key os to put him down drowsy but awake but the problem is that he falls asleep while eating his bedtime bottle. How can I get him to go to sleep on his own if hes falling into deep sleep as he finishes eating? Should I give him a bottle and then try a bath to wake him up a bit or will that be worse? I went back to work a month ago and all of the nighttime waking is so exhausting.

    • If he’s falling asleep with his last bottle, I’d give him the bottle 15-20 minutes earlier, and then put him down when he is normally falling asleep. Then, you could try Alexis’s varsity swing technique, which is basically tight swaddle, white noise, dark room, swing on high, and maybe some manual jiggling of swing to get him to fall asleep IN the swing.

      If he falls asleep on the bottle and then you wake him up for a bath, he might treat that like a mini nap and be hard to get down for a while. So I’d try to do the bottle earlier so he doesn’t fall asleep and then tickle his feet a little while giving the bottle to prevent him from falling all the way asleep.

  80. Thank you for giving me SOME kind of hope that one day I will be able to form full sentences again. In the meantime, I am dealing with a very strange situation.

    My son is now 16 weeks old and wakes up 5-10 times a night by lifting and slamming his legs down on the mattress. I have tried swaddling, unswaddling, offering the pacifier and the only thing that works is when I pick him up and put him in bed with me (my last ditch effort). He was a baby that slept for 5-6 hours at a time and now only sleeps half an hour.


    • Forgot to mention- he falls asleep with the pacifier and never had an issue with it until recently. When it used to fall out, he never made a peep and would continue sleeping. Now, it falls out and there is a meltdown.

    • Hey Kim,

      Well I’ve got a few thoughts:
      1) This is peak time for the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. That could (and likely is) be a factor.

      2) He’s discovered he can make his bed a drum. This is fascinating! He’s learned a new skill because he’s a smart little fella! WOOT! Personally yes you can “soothe him to sleep” by pulling him into bed with you but if that’s not what you want to do for the long haul I would just let him kick the mattress. He’ll get bored eventually.

      You’re definitely creating sleep associations here so if you don’t want him in your bed, this isn’t a great time to have him sleep in there. Also with the paci – that’s another sleep association. So when he wakes up and it’s mysteriously missing he freaks out. Can you help him gently fall asleep without it AT bedtime?

      Again if he’s having a sleep regression (he probably is) you won’t have much luck making any of the changes I’m suggesting today but maybe you mark the calendar for 7-10 days from now and make that your :no paci, sleeps in own bed, deadline.

      Good luck!

  81. Hi Alexis,

    Hoping for some advice! For the past two weeks, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with getting my 4.5 month old to nap, in particular the first nap of the day. He is obviously tired, falls asleep while feeding but as soon as he gets in the crib is wide awake. Or, if he does fall asleep it’s for 5-10min max. He wakes at 7am, so I’ve tried putting him down when tired signs show (about two hours) and also later then that, and earlier but nothing seems to work. I try again at 11am and he usually passes out then for about 45mins, and then will have another 30-45 min nap around 230pm. He is a pretty happy guy all day despite such little sleep in the day.

    So I’m wondering…should I just keep persisting with this 9am nap to see if he will eventually do it? Since he sleeps well at night (630pm-7am with 1 wake up to feed) we are open to starting sleep training for naps, but I’m worried I’ll be making him cry for a nap he really doesn’t need since he isn’t napping consistently. He is still always falling asleep on the breast so I’d love to know if it makes sense to cut that during sleep training for naps AND bedtime, or to start with naps first.

    Thank you!

  82. I have a question for anyone who has been using the song for a while. Any trouble with flat head? This is my second day of intensive swing use and so far is a miracle for both naps and night sleep. So now I’ve shifted my mom worry from sleep quality to head shape. I would love to hear that lots of tots spend every sleep in the swing with no flat head. Thanks! So far I love this blog and the comments as well!

    • I have four kids that slept the first 3 1/2 months in a swing and they have the best shape heads. I tell them that all the time. Don’t worry! 😊

  83. Hi Alexis-
    My (nearly) 5 month old son is a cat napper. I feel like we’ve tried so many strategies, but to no avail (pitch black room, loud white noise, swaddle–now no swaddle, going to sleep on his own drowsy but awake, increasing wake times, decreasing wake times….). He is currently on a 4 catnap a day schedule, each one lasting between 35-45 minutes. I often try to extend his third nap of the day (which usually is from 1-1:45pm) by re-soothing him back to sleep. (as a side note, I am only able to try with this nap because this is when my toddler is napping, unlike with the other naps). If I am successful, this extended nap is anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours long. I am really desperate for him to start taking longer naps on his own, though. I am now starting to contemplate putting him on a schedule and setting his nap times in hopes that his body will adapt to this routine, and maybe his naps will lengthen because awake times will be longer (I realize there is a risk of OT though). Do you have any thoughts? I bounce back and forth between just going with the flow and trying to give him more direction. I would really appreciate your input!

  84. Soooooo- my son was doing really well until the 4 month mark. He would go to sleep at 7pm, wake at 3 to eat and then would be up at 6:30 for the day.

    Recently, he has been waking EVERY HOUR. He goes right back to sleep once we put the pacifier in. He rolls onto his side and falls right back asleep like nothing happened. Sometimes, he does this every half hour. We also had to stop swaddling him since he is determined to only sleep on his side now. I bought him a lovey, but he just laughs at it.

    We are trying to establish a nighttime routine, but i feel like his naps are just so all over the place. He will wake at 6:30, nap at 8:30 then 11:30 then 2:00 and then often at 4:30-5:00. Bedtime seems to always change and most nights he ends up falling asleep unexpectedly on the bottle (at different times.) Everything feels upside down and extremely disorganized. Plus i’m too tired to even see straight.

    The strange part is that during the day when we are out and about he often falls asleep without it (because mommy accidentally leaves it at home). At night though is a different story.

    He is now 4 and a half months and I don’t feel ready to let him CIO. Is there something, ANYTHING, I can do to get my happy sleeper back? I keep reading these horror stories about 4 year olds who still wake in the night and I panic.

  85. Our almost 4 month old slept great up until about 6 weeks ago. Since then we have been working really hard to teach her to go to sleep by herself (in the crib, no pacifier, trying to not nurse too close to bed time). Some nights she does great and the routine looks like this:

    7pm quick top-off nurse, jammies + clean diaper, book + cuddle, and into the crib

    She will shout a little but goes to sleep in 5-10 minutes. The whole thing is done with by 7:30

    Other nights, and it seems like more often recently, it’s a total disaster. We still start at 7, but she won’t stand for books or cuddles and starts her “purple alien” scream when we set her in the crib (clinging to us with all her tiny fingers’ strength). We try valiantly, but sometimes it takes just nursing her into oblivion to even be able to set her down.

    Similarly, some nights she will be up twice to nurse without fanfare, and other nights it’s every 1.5 hours. My husband tries to settle her down without eating if it’s been less than two hours, but about half the time it ramps up to inconsolable screaming that keeps us up for 45 min-1 hour and often only resolves when I give in and nurse her.

    She wakes up about 6:00 am for the day, and the day care has her napping about 3 times a day for between 20 min and 2 hours at a time. I don’t know a lot about their methods for naps, but we’ve asked them to take it easy with the pacifier and swing. We get her home by 6 pm, and she’s a sweetie to play with until bed time.

    We have no idea how to handle the clinging and screaming in a way that will reinforce the skills we know she has. We also have no idea what’s different between the bad nights and the good nights, but the bad nights are really taking their toll. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  86. Hello I’ve never been on this site and it seems wonderful. I have three other kids so I can’t believe I’m questioning this. 😊 But my 3 1/2 month old refuses to sleep in his crib. I’ll put him in after nursing and 15min later he is screaming. Please help me with some advice. He has always till this time slept in his swing in my room. And he was an incredible sleeper then he got sick last week now he won’t even sleep in that. Help!

  87. Hi Alexis,

    Thank you for all this great information! I have started the CIO method with my 5 month old. I am finding that no matter what I dress him in or what temperature the room is, he is soaking wet (with sweat from letting him cry so hard) after just 15 minutes. Is there harm in letting him get this hot? His sheets are also wet after 15 minutes, and I am fearful that letting him fall asleep in sweaty pajamas and sheets might be bad. Thoughts?

  88. I have a question about nursing to sleep:). My 5 month old still falls asleep nursing almost every time, Whether its nap time or not. If she is tired then when she is finished eating she is deep asleep. I burp her and lay her down and she doesn’t rouse. How can I break this habit?? She sleeps well now. She takes one long nap( 2-3 hours) and 2 short naps (30-1hr.). she does get up at 3am and 6am to nurse still. I am trying to work on getting her to fall asleep on her own more before doing any night weaning. Any advice?

  89. Hi Alexis:

    I am having some issues with m y almost 6 month old. She goes to bed between 7-7:30pm without issues, usually swaddled with white noise, etc. My problem is that she is a large baby and is outgrowing her swaddle me blankets and ends up busting out of it 4-5 times a night and waking herself up. So, I go in and reswaddle her, give her a pacifier, wash, rinse, repeat. I need to ditch the swaddle but am not sure how, given that it seems like she still needs it to fall asleep and stay asleep. Should I swaddle her to sleep, let her bust out of it and CIO? For what its worth, she is able to soothe herself at times overnight. I sometimes spot her on the video monitor waking up or stirring and just going back to sleep on her own. Help! Advice?

  90. I have started putting my 4month old to sleep in his room to nap. I use loud white noise and blackout curtains, he is sleeping so much better. I started putting him in his room to sleep because he was only havingshort cat naps . Now that I am putting him in his room for all naps he is getting used to it , and I can see we have a consistent nap shedule. Will he get addicted to whitenoise and a dark room is this going to conditon him to only sleep in dark loud rooms?

  91. Our 4 month old daughter, Ella, has not been sleeping well, and we are wondering if you have any advice for things we can do to help her sleep better. Lately we have been putting her down around 7-8pm. Our usual routine is to change her, sometimes do a bath, do a short “massage”, nurse her, swaddle her, and then rock/sing her to sleep and put her in the crib. She initially goes to sleep pretty easily, and on a good night she will wake up just once or twice, but on average she’ll wake up 3-4 times and sometimes 5-6 times. When she wakes up we generally nurse her or give a bottle and then rock her back to sleep, which takes 20-60 minutes each time. By about 5-6am she usually wakes up for good.

    She had been sleeping pretty well until about 3-4 weeks ago, when we moved her to the crib (before that she had been sleeping in the car seat to help with congestion, per the advice nurse’s recommendation). Since she’s been in the crib it’s been harder to put her down, her sleep has been much more restless, and she wakes up more frequently. We’ve heard that sleep regression is common around this age and is associated with developmental leaps, and Ella has been making some big leaps recently. However, a few nights ago we took her camping and she slept all the way through the night in her car seat, so it does seem like maybe sleeping in the crib is contributing to the sleep issues.

    During the day she will take between one and three naps, varying in length from half an hour to about three hours each. We’ve tried to put her on a nap schedule but haven’t had much luck.

    We’re interested in sleep training, or any strategies that might improve her nighttime sleep. We’ve read that you can start sleep training around 4 months, but are unsure what approach is best. We’re also interested in safe ways to make the crib cozier, or options besides the crib, that might help her sleep longer and thrash around less.

    Thanks for any ideas you might share!

  92. Hi folks,

    I’m hoping for some clarification. I have a 3 month old who rarely naps (yesterday he slept for a total of 86 minutes between about 8am and 9:30pm. That being said he does average about 12.5 hours (on the low end of what he should be getting) of sleep a day because he tends to sleep longer at night (usually waking once or twice or often sleeping through).

    He almost always falls asleep on the breast while feeding and will stay asleep for a nap if I hold him. Everything I’ve read here seems to tell me two things:
    1) he should be put down to sleep when awake so that we don’t run into problems down the road
    2) he is still young for hardcore crying it out (at naps or at bedtime)

    That being said if I put him down awake he just screams resulting in me either holding him until he is asleep or resorting to crying it out. I’m so confused. Help!

  93. Although this information may be helpful, I have a difficult time reading on after seeing the obvious spelling mistake, “How and Why to Loose the Paci” under Further Reading. Never forget the importance of editing before posting.

  94. Hi Alexis,

    Congratulations on getting your book published! I will be sure to recommend it to all my new mom friends.

    My son will be 4 months tomorrow. For the past two weeks his sleep has been a nightmare – up every hour starting at 2 am. The only thing that seems to soothe him is nursing but obviously he doesn’t have a full feeding session (how can he every hour). Sounds like the 4 month sleep regression. But I have a question – at bedtime I put him down (after a solid routine) in his bassinet swaddled, with white noise and with a pacifier. I know right now is the time to work on losing the pacifier. But even despite the paci, he is not satisfied during night wakings if I just put it back in his mouth, he wants the boob or he cries no matter what I do. I would appreciate your help on the ORDER in which to attempt to change things. Do I just lose the pacifier first, then attempt the crib transition, then night weaning? Also I am pretty sure he is addicted to the white noise – do I need to wean him off that as well? And the swaddling is becoming an issue too – all night he is twisting and turning his body trying to get his arms out. But if they do come out (about twice a night) he cries because they hit his face. Should I be teaching him to sleep with his arms out? I dont mind trying CIO but wanted to see if there is anything I should do first. His naps are decent, crib naps aren’t very good but he sleeps in the car seat well if I am out and about. Also I am having a hard time with his drowsy state. I don’t think he has one lol. At bedtime I put him down, what seems like completely awake (most times he cries when his back hits the mattress) turn on white noise, give him the pacifier, and he falls asleep within a minute. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  95. Alexis,

    This website was a lifesaver. We did our homework… got baby in his crib and have been working on letting him put himself to sleep.
    He isn’t sleeping through the night, but he has REALLY improved!

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom… and making it interesting and down-to-earth enough for me to WANT to read.

  96. My daughter is 3 months this week. She typically sleeps from 9-9:30pm- 5:30am and 6-7am. I can’t seem to move her bedtime earlier or get her to take naps without being held (she won’t go to sleep either without nursing or being rocked.) how can I get her to go to sleep on her own? If I set her down half asleep she screams and screams. I try a pacifier, rubbing her belly etc.. And nothing works! She sleeps in a bassinet next to our bed and I have been trying to put her in her crib for naps. She always wakes within 20 mins of setting her down and won’t go back sleep unless I rock her again. I want to transition her to sleeping in her crib at night but don’t know if I should wait until she can self soothe? Why will she sleep long stretches at night but not during the day?

  97. We seem to be in a really tough spot with my first son. He is 15 weeks old. He had bad refluxy symptoms from 5-10 weeks old until I made some major shifts in my diet, and now he is mostly past that. He was sleeping fairly well at night (waking twice to eat, and often once around 5 or 6 am, after which we couldn’t get him to sleep more than 45 mins) until 2 weeks ago. Now he wakes 5-6x/night, after every sleep cycle. I imagine this is the dreaded “4 month sleep regression” and it seems like its here to stay! We spend half the night rocking him back to sleep. I still only nurse him twice at night, but instead of nursing to sleep, he still needs to be rocked for 15+ mins to fall asleep. He sleeps in a rock-n-play next to our bed.

    When his reflux was bad, we did whatever we could to get him to sleep. Since 6 wks old, he has napped almost exclusively in the K’tan carrier, and always had our help to make it past a 45 min sleep cycle (via bouncing, shushing, etc.). He was sleeping about 5 hrs via 3-4 naps, and about 9 or so at night. His “sweet spot” seems to be 1.5 hrs of awake time.

    We know that the issue is that he cannot put himself to sleep, and that at this point we’ll probably be up 5-6x/night until he can. However, when we try “drowsy but awake” it rarely works! And if it does, he only sleeps 30-45 mins, whether day or night. We feel that we can only practice this 1-2x/day because he gets overtired and extremely crabby and then can’t go back to sleep at all.

    We liked the idea on this blog of a swing as a transitional tool but after multiple tries (even with using paci, shushing, head bobbing, etc) he goes from playtime to fussy to desperate cry in about 10 mins, even if we set him in it very drowsy (which usually means we’ve rocked him a while first).

    When we went on a 4 hour car trip a few weeks ago, he only slept 20 mins each way, otherwise he just babbled and looked around (but was very tired by the end of it all) He is very curious, sensitive, very easily distractable and fights sleep.

    Can someone please offer some insight — HOW do we teach him to sleep after he’s been so, so very helped for his whole life so far? How much should we practice “drowsy but awake” either in the swing or directly in the rock-n-play in a given day before giving in and putting him in the K’tan (thus ensuring he’ll at least get some daytime sleep and be less overtired)? And how long might this process take? We are going a bit crazy and really could use some support. My husband works FT and I work 4 hrs/day from home while I stay with him (during his naps… which means I really need him to sleep during the day!)

  98. Hi!
    We have 4 month old twins and have been working hard to improve crankiness in the evening and better sleep at night. To do so, we are using your guideline of them being awake about 2 hours at time and getting them to be earlier (by 9/9:30). When they show signs of being sleepy, we put them down for a nap. We are napping them in their room, with the lights out, swaddled, and with white noise on (same as what we do at a night). Should naps take the same form as nighttime? Should we allow them to nap in other places? I feel like they are always in their room, but if that is what they need, so be it! They nap anywhere from 1-2 hours at a time and sleep for 7-9 hours at night.

  99. Hi Alexis, I have been using your website for 4 years now, thanks! My baby, who is now 4 months old, slept great as a newborn. Literally by 2-3 weeks she was sleeping 6 hours a night pretty consistently. Then around 2 1/2 months she started waking up every 3,2,1 hours all night. I have read all your posts, and I feel like I am doing everything I can to ecourage good sleep. She naps in a swing and does ok, 40 min – 2 hrs. She falls asleep on her own with a paci. At night we do bath, swaddled, sing song and rock for a minute, paci, lay down in bed awake. She goes to sleep just fine. Then she has just been getting progressively worse. There was a stretch of getting up every hour and a half alllll night. I think that may have been a growth spurt, so we survived. But she still gets up every 2-3 hours. There is no long stretch. She is not hungry, because she will go back to sleep if I replace the paci or put her in her swing. I feed her 2 times but go to her room usually 4-6 times. She doesn’t sleep any longer in the swing either- tried that. I feel like maybe she just needs to self soothe back to sleep? But I don’t know how to do that without just leaving her to fuss, which I don’t know…she might still be young for that. I also wonder maybe if I get rid of the swing for nap time she might be more comfy in bed and sleep better at night? Thoughts? The swing is so helpful…but I need to get rid of it eventually. Ok I think that’s all the details. Any ideas for me? I don’t expect her to sleep 12 hours, but it’s a little crazy getting up 6 times a night when she slept better as a brand new born. Thanks for any advice you could give!!

  100. Hi Alexis!
    It’s been three years since I started reading your blog and I’m on baby #3 so you’d think I’d have it all figured out, right? Sure! I know you’re suppose to put baby down drowsy to help teach them to fall asleep on their own, so what does this seasoned mama do? I put my 2 oldest to bed and let new baby nurse to sleep while my hubby and I binge watch Game of Thrones. Yup, you heard that right. You know what? Dispite our current sleep problems, I have no regrets….It was worth it 😉
    So here we are now with a baby that’s almost 5 months and I still nurse him to sleep at bedtime. He sleeps ok until about 1am then he’ll wake up to eat and he wont go back to sleep for 2-3 hours!! What have I done??? He sleeps in his pack n play next to our bed and if I let him lay there he’ll squeal like he’s playing and eventually start to fuss At which time I pick him up to nurse back to sleep… Sometimes he falls back asleep for a bit and sometime he wants to visit with me. I try not to interact with him at 3am. I am having a hard time letting him fuss because my oldest has school and he has to rest! You know who else needs rest? Mom and dad!… Oh and baby…
    He puts himself to sleep in his swing during the day with minimum to no fussing in the living room where all the action is. Do I dare change this (the swing location)? His naps are pretty solid 1.5-2.5 hrs. Tonight I’m trying something new letting him take a 25 min snooze at 6 then pushing bedtime back to about 8 instead of 645 in the hopes of no long wake ups at night. I work and I’m soooo tired with these 3 hr interruptions… It’s so hard to get back to sleep myself! I would like to transition him to his crib over this chrismas break and would really love some advice on doing this. Is 5 months an ok time to CIO? And do I wait to do any CIO until I get him used to his room? Luckily I have plenty of time to get this situation under control before the next season of Game of Thrones. PRIORITIES!!! Don’t judge me 😉

  101. Hi Alexis,

    Our 3 month old is only sleeping 8-12 hours a day, usually on the lower side of that scale, and will go long stretches without sleep often 4-8 hours, and occasionally 12 straight hours without sleep. He has never slept in the crib….even once. Just won’t do it, and even sleeping in the bassinet is extremely rare(perhaps thrice, and he didn’t fall asleep there). He never, ever, ever falls asleep on his own….NEVER. It always while nursing or on the dryer in a car seat…..that’s it. We can tell he’s tired, his eyes are heavy and gives others signs, but he wants to play or feed and refuses to sleep on his own. Any ideas? I’m worried that he’s not breathing as well in the car seat, but if we take him out he wakes up 100% of the time. So we have to watch him constantly when he’s sleeping there to make sure he’s still breathing ok.

  102. Hi Alexis! I’ve been reading this website since my son was born 4 years ago. Because of this website, I stopped rocking/bouncing that baby to sleep, and he has been an awesome sleeper for a long time.
    I now have a 12 week old and I don’t rock her to sleep (or bounce her on a ball) because I learned my lesson. Except this baby nurses to sleep only at bedtime. For naps, I do eat, play, sleep only because I didn’t want a nurse to sleep association. HA!
    She puts herself to sleep for naps (swaddle, white noise, we sing a song) with minimal fussing. No nursing. She ate a long time ago, which is probably why she takes short naps, but I digress.
    For bedtime, I put her brother to bed and then tend to her. Now that I need to do 2 routines, I’m having a bit of trouble. While I read books to big brother, Dad changes baby (clean diaper and new pajamas). I come downstairs and baby nurses her last feed of the night by 7:30. She falls asleep. I take her off (or she pops off) and hold her upright for a bit (she has silent reflux and is on Axid). Then I bring her upstairs. I burp her and swaddle her. She wakes up a bit when I swaddle her. Then I turn on white noise, sing and put her in the rock and play. She sleeps great, usually about 7-8 hours the first stretch, and then every 2-2.5 hours until 8 am. Right now this works, but I’m terrified it will stop. And she will have a nurse/sleep or hold/sleep association due to reflux. Big brother never slept like this. He didn’t sleep 8 hours until he was 6+ months-she’s been doing it since 6 weeks.
    Wow I ramble!
    Okay so my question is, I know I have to move the feeding back so it is boob, bath, book, bed, but does that mean her last feed is at 6:30 instead? Then wake her up to do the rest of the routine? Will that push her to wake up earlier and have more night wakings? Or is that worth it to avoid possible trouble later on?
    I thought the second time would be easier!

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