6-9 Month Baby Sleep Guide

If your baby is in the 6-9 month age range one of two things is happening:


Things are getting dramatically better!

Your baby is taking longer more predictable naps, you’re down to 0-1 feedings at night, you’re no longer wearing flannel PJ pants to the grocery, and you’re reading enough to show your face at your monthly book club meetings. WOO HOO!


Things are bad or possibly getting even worse!

Your baby is taking short unpredictable naps, bedtime is a dreaded chore, and you’re up so often at night you wish you could go back to the newborn phase because that was easier. (If so keep reading!)

You’re probably done swaddling your bigger baby but some older babies still need to be swaddled although I promise you you’re very close to being done with wrapping up your baby Houdini. You’ll want to continue to use loud white noise and work hard to make sure you aren’t keeping baby awake too long. Your 6-9 month old baby is hopefully taking somewhat longer and more regular naps (check out Baby Sleep What is Normal for more details on this). Most babies at this age are napping ~3 times a day. The first 2 naps are serious where the 3rd nap (which falls in the late afternoon/early evening) is generally more of a cat nap.

Teaching Your Baby to Fall Asleep

teaching baby to fall asleepYou can no longer nurse, rock, pat, etc your older baby to sleep. If your 6-9 month old baby is sleeping poorly THIS is the problem. It’s not the teething, growth spurts, wonder weeks, learning to roll over, or any of those other changes that make parenting an older baby so exciting. The problem is that they haven’t yet learned how to fall asleep on their own.

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.

I know it’s not easy but trust me, the longer you wait to deal with this issue the more likely it is that you’re headed towards cry it outsville. I’m not saying you can’t avoid this path, but as your baby get’s older, it get’s harder to do so. So really, now IS the time.

Further Reading

Ultimate Guide to Vanquishing Short Naps
How and Why to Use and Loose the Paci
Weaning Baby OFF the Swing
When Night Weaning isn’t Working
Bedtime What Time?
Why Your Baby Hates the Crib
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
And of course the ever popular – Baby Sleep What is Normal?

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  1. Hi, and thanks for all your great advice. I am wondering, my almost 6 month old goes to sleep on her own really well, she always has. But when she was 10 weeks old she started having really short naps and waking after 40ish mins after going to what used to be bed for the night. Her naps are longer now and I leave her in her room awake and she goes to sleep every time, including bed time. However she wakes frequently all night and now will almost never settle again unless she has nipple in her mouth. Some nights she only wakes once, but mostly it can be up to 10 times. I don’t do anything different on the nights she doesn’t wake much. Wondering if you have any tips for me? Thanks!

  2. Well if it’s 10 times then you know she’s not hungry right? She is looking to self-soothe on the breast. Which is OK when they’re newborns but is a bit excessive at 6 months. It also makes it really hard to gradually night wean because you have no way of knowing just how much she’s really eating because while most of those sessions are just comfort-suckling, she’s obviously getting some food in there too. So…

    I would REALLY separate nursing from sleep time. Put at least a 30 minute gap in there. So if bedtime is 7:00 PM, no more time on the breast past 6:30 PM. Same for naps. Give her TONS of soothing options – loud white noise, a lovely (preferably that smells like you, you may want to stuff it in your bra during the day when not in use), dark blinds, etc.

    When she wakes at night I would try to have your partner settle her without the breast. She might legitimately be hungry at times which can be really tough to suss out. But TRY to not give the breast more than 2 times a night. Daddies are generally more successful with this as they don’t smell like food.

    At 6 months I would also let her fuss for a while if you’re pretty confident she’s not hungry. What happens if you don’t go in for 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Push her a little to see what happens.

  3. Thanks Alexis. Yeah, I know she isn’t always hungry but rather now used to my nipple as a dummy. The funny/frustrating thing is that she’s never been fed to sleep. Ever since she was born we’ve done feed, play, sleep. And even times when I’ve wanted to try feeding her to sleep she hates it and it never works. So she’s always had breast, bath, books, bed. She has a lovely too. Which I wear in the day. Block out blinds and loud white noise, music.
    If I leave her she gets so upset, starts having trouble breathing and then is so awake she’s up for two hours. My partner has only tried a few times as he usually puts our 2 yr old to bed, but whenever he does she screams until I come.
    She has a pacifier which she takes successfully for all her naps and at bedtime, but when she wakes 40mins after bedtime and until the morning she just won’t take it. I’ve tried lying with her for up to 30mins and she just screams and won’t take it.
    Do you think she just needs to cry about not having breast and that’s the only way? We really don’t want to let her cry, but I am interested to know your opinion, whether you think that is the only way.
    Thanks a bunch for replying to me

    • Does your pediatrician have any thoughts about a potential underlying medical issue? Any chance of a mild food allergy or reflux? Because typically the only times babies REALLY have a hard time breathing is when they have mild reflux. And they’re not really having a hard time breathing – what happens is that when they’re upset and crying the stomach muscles compress the stomach pushing stomach contents up into the esophagus. Then the lungs close off (this is natural and a GOOD thing as it keeps baby from aspirating on stomach contents) which sounds to us like “baby can’t breathe” even though what is happening is “lungs are protecting themselves from aspirating on vomit.”

      I know it can sound alarming although its temporary and pretty harmless. But back to your issue…

      I’m wondering if there might be some mild underlying medical issue which is making her seeking so much soothing (the constant soothing sucking all night long). Because I believe what you are describing is either a) she REALLY needs soothing and is getting upset because she’s not getting it or b) the most SEVERE parental preference I’ve ever heard of (which makes me doubt that is the underlying cause).

      Being up all night is not helping anybody so if you’re 95% confident that she is a happy healthy little baby with no tummy issues then I would suggest CIO might well be worth considering. But first I would want to rule out some small issue that might be tripping everybody up. Thoughts?

      • Thanks for your thoughts Alexis. I do appreciate it. She is sensitive to wheat and yeast in my breast milk, so I haven’t been eating them since she was a few months old. I am also sensitive to those things, and my older daughter was too but seems to have grown out of it now. So I wouldnt be surprised if there was some thing there that makes her unsettled. My family has a history of intolerant guts…it’s not an allergy though. So, it will get better for her as her gut develops (if that’s what it is). My doc has said she doesn’t see a reason to get her checked, because she is mostly happy and had no signs of allergies or anything. I could get her tested if I wanted to but as I am fairly confident on what it is I would rather save the money.
        The last week or so she is settling a little longer between wanting to suck. I still am not convinced that it’s not hunger. She is settling into solids now – I have been taking it slow because of the gut thing. That may be making a difference. I have been working on getting her to have more milk when she does wake instead of falling asleep and it has helped a little I think.
        Thanks for all your advice :) it had made me think and try a lot.

        • So glad to help!

          I just wanted to throw something out as you’re starting solids. Solid food has almost no calories in it. People often think they are “tanking up their kids” by starting solid foods when the reality is the opposite. I recently when to a pediatric talk on foods and got this great comparison:
          4 oz BM = 80 calories
          4 oz gerber carrots = 15 calories

          However solids are really filling. So she may seem full but not really be full (baby food is like chinese food for babies;). So if you feel she isn’t getting enough food during the day then you will want to be really careful in when/how you introduce solids as they may result in lowering her caloric intake during the day. Does that make sense?

          I’m wondering about the pacifier. It could be that perhaps her falling asleep with it is causing her to wake up disoriented (object permanence) and this is why she is having such a hard time falling back asleep during the night.

          Just a possibility to consider. Good luck with her gentle tummy!

          • Hi,

            I just wanted to respond because I am in a very similar situation. My 7.5 month old daughter used to nurse to sleep but I broke the habit using the “No Cry Sleep Solution” and successfully transitioned her to her crib from my bed 2 weeks ago. She also wakes very frequently at night, 5-8 times since the age of 4 months (before that she slept well) and requires nursing to get back to sleep. The best night lately would be 4 wake ups. My husband is stepping in as we speak. I cut wheat, dairy and soy from my diet for a month, no improvement, I hadn’t considered yeast. I had allergies as a baby and her tummy has been a bit funny.

            I will try nursing 30 mins before bed and naps, right now it’s in the bedtime routine, just not last. Can you give any thoughts you have on how dad should be introduced into bed time and night wakings? He has previously been uninvolved in bedtime because she gets excited and wants to play with him, but 4 months of sleep deprivation has taken a toll on me and he has taken a couple of days off work so we can have a long week-end of him putting her down and getting up with her. I did the regular routing and then passed her off to him and he insisted that I leave the room. Is there something we should do differently? I too am very uncomfortable with anything beyond protest crying. Also, my baby girl’s weight dropped recently. She is very active. I appreciate your comment on solids. Which night feedings do you suggest I leave in? Thanks for all of your great insights!

          • Wow! All I have to say is Thank You for this wonderful website..I’m glad I found it. I am going to be trying this. I do have a question though.. He keeps waking up and making sure I am next to him…How can I get him to sleep all through the night without him worrying if I am right next to him or not??

  4. Sorry, by ‘leave her (and she gets so upset she has trouble breathing)’ I mean, if I don’t go in for 10 mins

  5. My son is 7 months and wakes up like clock work at 11 or 12 wide awake we dont go in there we leave him settle himself back down to sleep. Hes on a sleep schedule since 3 months and we havent changed from it. he is teething and the bottom 2 teeth are almost out i was wondering these random night wakings will they stop or what sould we do.

  6. Oh hes 21 pounds as well he has 3 oz bottles and 3 4oz baby food andim noticing he wakes up at 5 to eat but his last feeding is at 9pm so i feed im at 5 but im scared its out of habit

  7. Yea he’s going to sleep on his own. No patting or nothing we just put for his bedtime and he falls asleep. And teething it is there almost out and we noticed he’s practicing his new sitting up skills when he would wake up. And he’s been crawling since 5 months this army crawl but now he’s starting to.crawl on all 4s

    • Kayla,
      I’m a little confused about what he is doing. You say his last feeding is at 9 pm. But then he wakes up at 11-12. But you say he settles himself back to sleep without you. So – is that a problem? Babies wake up far more often than we do at night. If a baby wakes up and is able to fall back to sleep on their own I would call that a successful night. No?

      THen he’s also feeding at 5:00 AM yes? This could be a habit but it may not be one easily broken. Check this out for ideas on how to gently wean off the 5:00 AM feeding.

      The challenge I’ve seen is that lots of 5:00 AM eaters end up starting the day when the 5:00 AM bottle is removed. Which is not to say you shouldn’t try – he may surprise you! But he may also decide to start his day earlier (possibly even 5:00 AM) once that feed is removed. IF that happens you’ll have to decide if you prefer to stick with the 5:00 AM feed for a while in exchange for a later wakup. Good luck!

  8. Sorry yes he goes to bed at 6:30 pm.
    And wakes up at 9pm hungry we feed him and he goes back down for sleep. At the time of my past emails he was waking up in the middle of the . We found out 4 days ago he’s been mid night practicing. His sit up skills. Now as of yesterday he sits up now and does not wake up anymore at night for the past 2 nights. He does wake up at the usual 8am in the morning now. And your right it is consider successful ,

  9. My boys going to be 6 months soon. Bedtime is hell now. I havent changed anything. Naps are a fight. And up 2-6 times a night. Bed at 7 up at 5 am. Hes exhausted so am i. He can put himself to sleep when he wants. Some nights he gets up for a few hours to play in his crib and 80% of the time he goes to sleep by himself in his room. Why all of a sudden is it a battle? I know its warm but we have ac.

    • Jackie,
      It sounds like classic object permanence stuff a la :

      It’s not the heat (although that would be a lot easier to fix!). I know you say he goes to sleep by himself in his room but that’s still the root cause. So either a) he’s not awake enough when you leave or b) there is something in your bedtime routine that is tripping you up. For example, you nurse until he is sleepy and then put him down. In his worldview he’ll still expect to be nursed when he wakes up throughout the night. This also holds true for rocking or whatever else is going on.

      • Thats the thing. Sometimes i put him down fed wide awake and he plays to sleep. He does it repeatedly at night..sometimes i wonder if he sleeps at night! I dont wake up unless he crys, but i have got up to go pee and hes playing then and puts himself yo sleep. Then bam its back to walking to sleep or a relaxed enough state to sleep. He will no longer eat on my lap or anything i have to feed him in a quite dark room or he screams and refuses to eat. Some nights are great some nights are a fight. He still eats three ten oz bottles in a twelve hr period at night. I try to cluster feed during the day but it doesnt help. He has the same routine every day. I just got him napping in the afternoon again after a two week strike on his part. I use white noise, he has a security blanket always in the crib with him. At night i do not allow him out of the crib or lights nor do i talk to him. Im lost and confused. I dont know what im doing wrong!!! I will not do cry it out till a year. After researching it im against it completely! Oh he goes to bed six pm up at seven for a bottle then eleven then between one and four he eats again. I dont allow him to start start his day till six am since he barely naps. He naps eight am till eight thirty. Up till eleven am then down till twelve thirty. Then if im lucky lick today hell have a nap from three too four pm. Dinner five pm with the family. Five thirty bottle. In bed ten to six pm to calm relax and be asleep by six pm. I dont think i making him overtired. I dont know whats going on!!! He is formula fed twenty one pound six month old!

        • Jackie,
          It’s fine and normal for him to wake frequently at night and it’s a really good sign that he’s entertaining himself and then falling back to sleep on his own. But I suspect there is a problem with how you are soothing him to sleep. Are you consistently putting him in his crib awake and leaving the room? Or are you sometimes putting him down awake and sometimes rocking him to sleep? As I said, this really IS the root cause of your problem. It’s also why his naps are so short.

          I’m not trying to say you have to do CIO if that doesn’t feel right to you, but you really do need to tackle the “put down awake” issue because this is what is leading to the night waking and short crappy naps.

          Also holy cow this kid is drinking THIRTY OZ of formula at night! He won’t eat more during the day because he’s not hungry. So you need to make him hungry. I would slowly start diluting his night formula with the method here:

          This will reduce his calorie intake at night which will make him hungrier during the day. This is not guaranteed to stop the night waking (which will continue until “put down awake” is happening consistently) but it WILL get him out of the habit of eating so much at night and will help him be more interested in eating during the day.

          • Thanks!!! You have no idea how many of your tips ive had success with. I am not consistent on putting him down fully awake. Ive increased his solids during the day and only give 2 bottles at night, unless hes so hungry that he has to be fed. Slowly getting better. Ive introduced a security teddy blanket, in replace of me eventually. Ill keep at teaching him to fall asleep by himself! After all rome wasnt built in a day!!! Thanks again. Ohh and thanks to you i got 6 hrs sleep in a row last night!!!!!!!

  10. My baby just turned 6 months and she will not sleep longer then 1hr if I’m not laying down with her. We have the hardest time going to sleep at night as well we are up until 12 sometimes. We just bought her crib but I don’t know how I will get her to sleep in there of she will not sleep alone

  11. Hi Alexis,

    Wondering if you’ve heard of any sleep regression or growth spurts or such other issues that may commonly occur at around the 7-8 month mark?

    My lil angel-troublemaker, now 7.5 months, has always fallen asleep on his own since 5 months, and has done beautifully consistent 12-13 nights for about 3 months. (He did 12 hour nights at 3 months too, then had night wakings at 4 months.) He finally outgrew his short naps about a month ago, and now takes two 1.5-2 hour naps. Because of that, there is a noticeable change in his schedule: his night sleep has gone down to 10-11 hours, and he has fought the third nap tooth and nail. For about a week we forced him to take a third nap (car ride, carrier, clamping him down on daddy’s chest), then soon it became obvious he could stay awake ~3 hours at a time, so we made adjustments so he was just taking 2 long naps. I really make sure the gap between his PM nap wake time and bedtime is no more than 3 hours, because I tried experimenting with a 2-3-4 schedule following baby’s cues, and very soon realized as much as he wanted to stay up 4 hours, his body couldn’t handle it. All that is fine, I just go with his cues.

    Starting 9 days ago, he started having night wakings. At first they were at random times, although more or less between 10:30pm-midnight, and not always hungry. I thought initially he could be overtired from transitioning schedules. But for the past few days, it’s consistently at 11pm and he drains my boobs. Except, it’s now 2 night wakings (maybe 1am or sometimes 5am).

    I noticed that because he naps more now, he nurses less. Before, he nursed every 1.5-2 hours because he ate every time he woke from a short nap. Now it’s every 3 hours with solids in between. The # of feedings went from like 7-8 down to 4 maybe 5. I try to encourage him to nurse more each time, or more frequently, but little people have a mind of their own, as you know. He is also teething (popped 2 on the bottom, not sure whether upper ones will cut), but even on nights with tylenol he’d still wake screaming. And after a feast, occasionally he’d let me walk out the room quietly, occasionally he’d cry and cry.

    Is this something you’ve come across?


    • No it’s not a typical “thing” although growth spurts don’t always go lockstep according to schedule.

      I think you might be on to something about the day calories. Lots of people get thrown by solids because solid food is filling but almost entirely lacking in calories. True statistics:
      4 oz gerber carrots = 15 calories
      4 oz breast milk = 80 calories

      So it could be that he’s filling up on solid food with little calories during the day and then making up those calories at night. At this age solids are more about fun and practice than actual FOOD so make sure you give him a BIG nursing session before moving on to solids. Hope that helps!

  12. This may be slightly off-topic and I might be just looking for a place to vent a little, but why is it that some people assume that breastfeeding and sleep training are mutually exclusive? My daughter is almost 9 months. After sleep training and dropping night feedings (which ranged from 0 – 3 feeding per night, depending on the involvement of my husband), I had a dip in my milk supply. I also realized that the b-vitamin supplements I was taking included B6, which women can take to dry up their supply! (I was kicking myself over that one). I called the lactation consultant who I worked with after giving birth, who was very helpful, but BEFORE I heard back from her, I contacted La Leche League and their response was: “So long as you continue night feeding on-demand your supply should pick right back up. Our milk making hormone, prolactin, is highest at night so something like sleep training could certainly cause a dip in milk supply. Our bodies thankfully work on supply and demand though so as long as you get babe back to breast it should recover.”

    So in order to keep breast-feeding I have to night-feed on demand? I don’t think that’s true.

    My supply has improved dramatically from feeding her more during the day, adding in a 10:30 dream feed, and taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. I could see that if my daughter were younger, what the LLL person said could be more on point, but at 9 months I don’t think that she needs to be fed on demand all night long. I also don’t think that NOT doing need feedings necessarily means the end of breastfeeding (or that it will soon end) – does it?

    • My daughter (now 2yo) stopped night feeds at 3 months. She was exclusively breastfed until we introduced solids at 6 months, and we successfully continued to breastfeed until she was a year old. In my experience, night feeds were unneccessary to be successful at breastfeeding. Good luck!

    • No that’s just the LLL partyline that the answer to all baby problems are:
      a) More breastfeeding and
      b) Cosleeping

      Also? Everybody’s boobs are different. As somebody who had low supply with 2 kids who were breastfed (although I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to make it happen) there is nothing that says you have breastfeed at night to keep your supply up. As you noted there are LOTS of daytime ways to keep your supply up.

      Also most people have boobs that are super flexible. I’ve known people who weaned slowly by breastfeeding only a few days a week. Literally their boobs produced on demand Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For the most part they’re pretty amazing little parts of your body that will adjust to what you and your baby are asking for.

      • The solution to low milk supply is more breastfeeding. Whenever breasts are full milk production is suppressed, and whenever they are emptied milk production is ramped up. If you can fit in enough feeding in the day, then fine. If it works, it works.

        But for many mothers, those who don’t naturally make an abundance of milk, or those who are busy with older children during the day, night feeding makes breastfeeding easier. If your baby sleeps for 12 hrs straight, then your breasts are likely to be quite full for many hours each night. So I am not surprised that your supply dropped.

        Cosleeping and feeding night and day is the way we evolved and the way almost everyone lived until recently. But, yes, humans are adaptable, and yes most people have boobs that are super flexible, and can adapt to many supply patterns. This is especially true after the first few months. As far as I know there is no conclusive evidence that night feeding is necessary for successful breastfeeding, but from my own experience, and from what I have read, I would say that it is easier. My DS2 pretty much stopped feeding in the day at 5 months and it was night feeding that saved our breastfeeding relationship. so I have sympathy for the LLL line, but given what you have said I think that you will be fine with just feeding during the day.

  13. Alexis and Angela, thanks for your reassurance! I’m not ready to wean her, and don’t want my supply to go away, so I was concerned. I laughed reading your comment about the Mon, Wed, and Fri milk production.

    That’s the first time I’ve been in contact with LLL and I guess I was surprised that she would basically say, “Your baby sleeps through the night at 9 months? You’d better stop that right away!” Heck no! But I’m not giving up nursing yet, either! It’s just not that helpful a response.

  14. Hello! Love your blog and sense of humor, thanks for the info. Our little one is 8mos old and we realize we have a issue on our hands. Although it’s late in the game, we’ve been working on getting her to fall asleep on her own without a nipple/soother and despite taking awhile, she can do this successfully… BUT never in her crib. To get her to sleep, we must lay her down on the sofa and sit next to her (without engaging) and play soft music b/c she absolutely hates when we put her in her crib…as soon as she is lowered into it, she cries and cries. This will happen even if she is already sleepy. The only way she will sleep in her crib is if she is deeply asleep and doesn’t realize we’ve put her there. We don’t know what to do! Not surprisingly, she doesn’t nap well at all, two 1/2 hr to 45 min naps is the norm and I usually rock her to sleep for naps b/c I find allowing her to fall asleep on her own takes about an hour. Any insight is very much appreciated!!

    • Hey Mel,
      Sorry I’m just seeing this question now and your baby is now 9 months. I’m really hoping that you’ve made huge headway without my help yes?

      I’m glad you’ve had luck gradually weaning off the soother because that is a hard thing to do so YAY! But even though she’s closing in on 1, it’s just not safe for her to sleep on the couch. Yes she’s almost out of the risk of SIDS it’s still out there as a (remote) possibility. There is of course, the much more LIKELY possibility that she’ll roll off. So even though I get that it’s working, I would strongly encourage you to move to the crib.

      Because it sounds like what you’re doing is essentially replacing one soother (the nipple) with another (you cuddling with her on the couch). So in effect you’re not really teaching her to fall asleep on her own, your just swapping out one unsustainable sleep-aid for another. Does that make sense?

      And she’s waking up after short naps because you’re there with her or rocking her which leads to this problem:

      So I believe the reason she is crying in the crib is NOT because she hates the crib per se, its that she hasn’t really learned to fall asleep on her own so when you put her in the crib she’s crying to say, “Hey – what do you expect me to do in here!”

      Is the only problem at naptime? How/where is she falling asleep at night?

      • Hi Alexis…when she would finally fall asleep on the couch next to me, I would bring her up to her crib and although this wasn’t ideal, at the time I felt like I was making some progress.
        Things are different nowadays…we now have a better bedtime routine in place that doesn’t involve the couch and she isn’t freaking out like she used to when I put her down in the crib. A month ago, it was an impossibility just lowering her down in the crib, and now she’ll go down awake, but after a minute she’ll stand up and wants nothing to do with settling down. So yes, yes I still have to rock her to sleep and then lay her down in the crib – that is where we’re at. Along ways to go I know, but on another note, napping is MUCH better! She naps about 1.5-2hrs in the AM and then another 1hr or so afternoon nap (always in the playard).
        Every night is different, sometimes she sleeps 5-6 hours straight, other nights she’ll wake 3-4 times. When she wakes, we give her a few minutes to settle down and sometimes she manages to :)
        I’ve read your Sleeping Through the Night articles, but I still feel stuck. It sounds silly, but HOW do I put her down awake without allowing her to CIO? This is what I’ve tried: I try to get her a little “sleepy” and then place her down (eyes open), after a few minutes she’ll cry to be picked up, I succumb, and then repeat…but it doesn’t work, I get frustrated and rock her to sleep. Thanks for your help!

        • Hey Mel,

          Getting baby to fall asleep without you is pretty much the Mount Everest of Baby Challenges. Everybody gets the feeding and diaper management part sorted out pretty quickly. But for 60% of parents, helping baby to fall asleep solo is the bane of their existence.

          Ideally this is easiest to do when they’re <4 months old. Your 9 month old baby has learned to sleep only in various scenarios that involve you being there (thus never alone). It sounds like naps are AWESOME which is a great accomplishment.

          But by 9 months getting up 3-4 times is simply exhausting. I'm assuming if you go and cuddle with her again (recreating her sleep association) she'll fall back to sleep. Probably if you were co-sleeping she would do just fine (not advocating, just an observation.)

          No cry at 9 months is really hard. Not impossible but really hard. However you've made huge progress already. I would start putting her in the crib and not cuddling with her. Maybe you just sit next to the crib and use your words to calm. Maybe stick an arm through the slots for a light backrub. Work on being less and less involved. Next week you just sit there with calm words. Next week you sit there, no words. Then you start sitting farther away. It'll take a while and I can't promise no tears, but that's what I would do if I were really committed to no crying.

          And if you're feeling frustrated & like nothing is working, you know what the backup plan would be.

        • Mel,

          I would personally never do CIO in the conventional way. None the less, I don’t have a problem with a few tears when encouraging sleep. Their is a difference in my mind between walking away and ignoring their cries, and being their, but being firm about what kind of comfort you offer. I think you just need to be really creative about other ways of comforting her rather than picking her up. Or maybe just sit and calmly acknowledge her cries and her disappointment at not being picked up, and keep repeating that it is night time now…. not easy. My approach went something along these lines, and was quite effective, but it was with a 2.5 yr old who still breastfed to sleep, so a little different.

  15. Hi ,

    I love your site and at 4 months started the sleep training in the swing. With a little patience and hard work I soon had my little guy sleeping in his crib, going to sleep on his own. Bedtime and naps were actually EASY!

    But, then along came our vacation. I honestly would have cancelled it, however my older son and I were both in a wedding and couldn’t skip out on that. At this point, I had my youngest son in his crib for 3 weeks. On vacation for the first week, he actually did good sleeping in the pack and play and still going to sleep on his own. At day 7, things got worse and only went downhill from there. I was hoping once we were home (it’s been a week now) we could get back into our routine. But things keep getting worse and for the last 3 nights he has had to come to bed with me. If I do get him in his crib, he has to be almost asleep and then I pat his tush for a while.

    My question is, even though he is six months, can we re-train on the swing? He is rolling over a lot, so that is a concern of mine, but I am still not up for CIO.

    Thank you,

    • Hey Megan,
      Well I’m just finding this NOW which means if you haven’t already solved your “get out of vacation-induced sleep hell” problem then your now 7 month old baby is probably a bit too old for the swing. It’s not that he’s rolling over, because you’ll be strapping him in so he won’t be ABLE to roll over. And it’s probably not the weight limit (most go to 25-30 lbs). It’s that generally motion is not as compelling to a 7 month old as it is to a newborn.

      That being said there is no harm in trying. Especially if you HAVE a swing (or can borrow one). Try for a few days because anytime you change the rules it’ll take a few days to know if it’s working or not.

      Let me know how things are going – OK?

      • Hi Alexis,

        Well, we have made substantial progress. After having a major melt-down from lack of sleep and pushing off the baby on my husband for three nights, we started sleep training again (without the swing). I just stayed very consistent with our routine and after about another week he started to show signs of being able to fall asleep on his own. Now, the moment I sit in that chair, he is reaching for his bottle and snuggling in my arms. He never falls asleep at the bottle (and I wouldn’t let him). After that, we snuggle and I sing him a few songs. I rub his back for a few minutes (I am now standing near the crib) and then put him down and say night night. He is doing great for both falling asleep at nights and naps. However, one new thing has kind of thrown me for a loop — only at night, about 45 minutes into his sleep, he wakes up crying…and I mean really crying. Almost like something scared him. He will only calm down if I go pick him him up and tell him mommy’s here and hold him. After that I put him back down (sometimes he has dozed off and sometimes he is still awake but calmed down) and he goes back to sleep and is out until he wakes up sometime between 2 and 4 for his feeding. I think he is the progress of phasing out a third nap but not quite there. I really can’t figure out why only at night he wakes up crying…. Any ideas? Megan

        • Not sure why he is waking up crying. Sometimes babies have gas bubbles that are really painful but that wouldn’t happen EVERY night. If he is scared, is there anything that is changing in his environment? A timed music that turns off? Mobile? Anything that changes from what he remembers when he was falling asleep would explain the freakout. If not then it’s a mystery to me too.

        • Megan, may I ask how old your baby was when doing this? I’m having a similar (though maybe even worse) issue with my almost 5 month old. How did things turn out?

  16. About 2 weeks ago my 7 month old stopped wanting to take her third nap between 4 and 5 pm. She’s a great napper and sleeper otherwise. Now that she doesn’t want to take her third nap, I’ve moved her bedtime up to 6 pm which has been working out. But now the problem. When she started to go bed at 6 pm, she started waking up at 6 am (which is fine) but her wake up time has been shifting earlier. This morning she woke up around 530 am and wants to go to bed at 5 pm. I’m afraid if we keep continuing this trend her wake up time will only get earlier and therefore make bedtime earlier. Is there a way to push her bedtime back to 6 or 630 pm without getting her overtired? I feel there’s not much I can do about her wake up time but if that could push back an hour I would be okay with it 😉 Or is this just a phase she’ll grow out of once she’s able to stay awake for longer than 2-3 hours?

    • Hey Tiffany,

      If it were ME, I would probably do something at ~4 (stroller ride, babywearing, car ride) to get a small evening catnap in. At 7 months, as you’ve noticed, you have to push bedtime WAY up. If she’s going to bed at 6 and sleeping for 11 hours (which is normal and great) it’s also normal that she’s ready to start the day at 5:00 AM. Which is uncivilized so what you REALLY want is to have her sleep from 7:00 PM – 6:00 AM (which is normal and slightly more civilized).

      She’s just not ready to be awake that long but won’t easily take a crib nap. On the other hand she’s also not ready to be done. So for the next ~2 months you’ll need to force a catnap around 4:00 by one of the afore mentioned techniques. Doesn’t have to be long – 10-15 minutes – just enough to take the edge off so she can comfortably make it to 7:00 PM bedtime.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Hi
    So it’s 4:30am here and lo has been awake for 90mins-not crying really just moaning loudly! He also woke at 10-back to sleep with dummy (took out after ten mins) he is 27 wks-he goes to sleep on his own with no props but seems to have three good weeks thena crappy one! We had a dreadful 4 month growth spurt-I’m pretty sure he ain’t hungry now as he’s not finishing his am bottle-any suggestions?? X

    • Sarah,
      You’re not giving me much to go on here. Also the dummy is a sleep prop so it’s probably time to stop using that at sleep time.

      If he’s awake and NOT falling back to sleep in the early AM hours, he could need more soothing. He could be hungry (there are multiple growth spurts over the first year so sleeping through the night at one point doesn’t mean you’re done for good). He could be wanting to spend more time with you and is waking himself up to do so (in which case not going in is the right idea, or if you go do go in, keep it minimal).

      My best guess, with little information, is that the dummy is now tripping you up and that if you stop using it at bedtime, he’ll stop waking up looking for it. That’s just a guess though…

  18. Thanks so much for the useful info!
    My daughter is 6.5 months now and I’d like to teach her to self soothe at night. Right now, our routine is bath, lotion & pjs, and then I nurse her till she’s drowsy and when I put her down she fusses a bit and falls asleep. I’ve read everywhere that I should try moving the nursing to before the bath, but the only thing is unless she’s hungry before bathtime, she won’t nurse. But after her bath, she’ll nurse regardless until she’s drowsy (or asleep if I let her). Any advice? Should I wake her up a bit more after I nurse her??

    • I guess it depends.

      If she’s STTN then you have no problem. However I’m guessing that if she WAS STTN you wouldn’t be asking, so…..

      If she’s still nursing a ton at night and you’re hoping to gently wean off that then separating nursing from bedtime is the first step. Waking her up more after she’s nursed will definitely help. And you’re welcome to start there and see how things go. But if she has a strong nursing=sleep association (and it sounds like she does) then the separation will also have to happen.

      In fact I suspect the reason she’s “not hungry” prior to bath but “happy to nurse” after bath has a lot less to do with actual hunger and is more related to the fact that she’s looking to nurse to sleep (or drowsy). Does that make sense?

  19. Hi Alexis,

    I’ve been reading these posts and feel so confused by baby now…He has mastered falling asleep on his own, in his crib, the past few weeks and I have been so excited about this as it is the easiest thing to put him down to bed now. He’s wide awake, I say good night, leave the room and he goes to sleep! However…he wakes up quite a few times in the night and instead of repeating his new found skill, he’ll cry out until I come and nurse/rock him till he’s in a sleepy state again. each night waking is very short – 5/10mins, however I don’t think he’s really hungry 2-4 times in the night since we give him a bottle before bed to top him up.

    I try and decrease the amount of time for each night waking, but its so difficult to gage minutes when I’m half awake myself. Do you have any suggestions that I may not be doing?

    • My best guess is that your baby has an eat=sleep association and his waking 2-4 times a night is more about “eating to sleep” rather than actual hunger. (PS I’m assuming he’s at least 6+ months old and not a newborn right?).

      I would start by separating the last bottle from bedtime by a solid 20-30 minutes. So instead of topping him off just PRIOR to bed, give him his last bottle earlier in the bedtime routine.

      If you’re giving him bottles then decreasing the volume is pretty easy no? Either offer less (8 oz, 6 oz, 4 oz, 2 oz, all done) or water it down. If you’re too tired to manage this then can you put together the bottle (water + baggie of formula) next to your bed ahead of time so it’s ready to go in the reduced volume?

      Start with the separation at bedtime however as that really is the key. Everything will go more easily once that separation has been made.

  20. Thanks for the tips, your right, he is 6 1/2 months old. I thought that feeding him before bed could be the cause too except that he can fall asleep on is own regardless of when he has been fed. We only give him a nighttime bottle, other than that he is solely nursed and will cry persistently if I don’t nurse him when he wakes in the night.

    I know I need to break the habit of nursing him when he wakes in the night, however I’m not sure how to do that….cold turkey seems cruel since we wouldn’t understand what is happening. Last night I nursed him till he was sleepy and put him in his crib and gave him a few bum taps till he was calm.

    Perhaps if I stick with that routine and maybe he will eventually calm with just the bum taps and not being nursed? I saw your previous replys about gradually reducing soothing techniques but stopping the nursing is the hardest one I think 😉

  21. i have a 6 month old daughter and im starting a routine with her. she eats her solid food by 6:oo pm, at 7:00 Pm i give her a bath, then lotion, next is story time, and then i hold her a sing her the same song only once and put her in the crib for the night and she sleeps all night and wakes up at 5 or 6 am and goes back to sleep after her bottle. but during the day its really hard to put her down for a nap. i feed her a bottle, let her play for a while and then story time and song but she starts to scream her head off and i go in there every few mins to let her know it is ok but she continues to cry. what can i do to help her fall asleep on her own during nap times? i still live with my parents and im 18 and my mom is starting to get frustrated about this and its bad enough im frustrated but now me and my mom are argueing about this. she says she is to young. is six months to young to start a routine? please help!!

    • Elaine,
      It’s really hard when your parents, in-laws, whoever don’t agree with your parenting choices. Everybody feels insecure about how they parent, EVERYBODY. I can’t imagine being a parent at 18 because at that age, I was insecure about EVERYTHING to start with. So it must be really hard to have your Mom get frustrated with you.

      I would talk to her and say, “We have the same goal – to care for this beautiful baby and help her get sleep in a way that is healthy and safe. Let’s come up with a plan to make that happen, OK?” Or have her read my site 😉

      What I’m guessing is that she still needs more soothing at nap times. At 6 months you don’t have a ton of options available to you. Definitely use block-out blinds to keep the room she naps in REALLY dark. Use LOUD white noise whenever she sleeps. And put her down on her BACK.

      AT 6 months a routine is great. I think the issue you are struggling with is how to help her fall asleep, yes? You want her to fall asleep on her own but so far, at naps, it’s just not working. So you could consider:
      – Having her nap in the swing
      – Swaddling (or swaddle+swing)

      It sounds like you are playing around with cry it out at naptime. CIO is often the answer to nap problems but you want to make sure you are approaching it the right way.

      If you’re thinking that is the right answer for your family you may want to read up on it here first:

      Good luck with everything!

  22. Alexis, I need your advice! My son will be 6 months on Friday. He is one of those babies that sleeps much better at night and take longer naps when swaddled. If he is not swaddled, he is usually still able to put himself to sleep at night but may wake up more frequently and may require more assistance getting back to sleep. Also, his daytime naps unswaddled are only 30 minutes. Although he has never rolled over when swaddled, I am concerned that it could happen. To swaddle or not to swaddle?

    • SWADDLE!

      If he’s sleeping better with swaddle then STICK with the swaddle. If he rolls over one day you’ll go – OK now we have to ditch the swaddle and take the shorter naps that are likely to follow. But don’t give it up until you REALLY need to, OK?

  23. Hi there. I really love your website and when our 7 week old baby fell asleep on my husband or myself but then woke up as soon as we put her down no matter how long we held her for, I found your website, tried swaddling and white noise and was amazing how amazing it was that it worked!. Since then we have been putting her down awake at bedtime and naps and apart from the occasional times when she has become overtired, we have had no problems. She was premature at 33 weeks (quite a surprise!) and has generally fed at night, three times then twice and then once (apart from the dreaded 4 month sleep regression where we went back to twice). At 5 and a half months we were advised to start solids to see if this helped with night waking and she went to waking once anywhere between 4am and 5am (last feed at 7pm). She has also slept 7.30pm-7.30am 4 times which was amazing! It all sounds good so far hey!

    She is now 7 months and the problem started when I think I introduced too many solids too quickly (shes loves food!) and then teething started. As a result of too many solids too quickly she didnt want as much milk and my suppy went down so started waking at other times during the night and I thought she was hungry from not getting enough milk. She then started teething. Generally speaking if she woke before 1am I wouldn’t feed her but after 1am I started feeding her and when teething gave her Calpol as this helped the pain. I have exclusively breast fed her since she came out of hospital until introducing solids. I rebalanced this and reduced solids so she was more hungry for milk again. Basically she is now going from 7am till 5.30-6am without a feed and I am confident she isn’t hungry at night but she has continued to wake up anywhere between 2 and 4am. She wakes and generally her cries just get louder and louder. We have tried going in resetting etc but she again just cries louder. if we pick her up she will generally stop crying (how long it takes depends on how worked up,she has got). I therefore know she’s not hungry as holding her stops her crying. However as soon as she is put down again once calm she cries again. We tried leaving her for 5 mins going back in calming her leaving but it just doesn’t seem to work.

    We still use white noise at nap times and bedtime and she in now in a sleeping bag. She self soothes herself by sucking her thumb which is always the clue that she’s tired and will generally fall asleep anywhere if I don’t take her to her cot quick enough! She also ahs a soft toy sheep thing but not really sure how attached to it she is. I made sure I cuddled it for a few nights before giving it to her. At night when she wakes she tries to settle herself and sucks away on her little thumb but always ends up just getting louder. I just don’t really know what to do! She’s not hungry, I’ve done the reducing minutes on the boob to get her off night feeds but she is still waking and can’t seem to get back to sleep. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • How do you know she’s not hungry at 2:00 AM? Do you offer the boob and she flatly refuses?

      One of the big fallacies about babies is that once they go X hours between feedings you should never go back to feedings. I mean it would be GREAT if that were true, but it’s not.

      My best guess is that this is the 6 month growth spurt (I know you said 7 months but is that her real or adjusted age)? Also if you think your supply is a little low it could VERY well be that she’s not getting enough calories in during the day and now is seeking to make them up at night.

      Also while it’s cool that she digs solids, solid food = low calorie. BM = high calorie. So if buy my theory about not enough calories, you definitely want to err on the side of more BM.

      Personally if she wakes up at 2:00 AM I would feed her. Work on more calories during the day. Wait 2 weeks, then try to wean again.

      • Thanks Alexis. I have pretty much gone back to feeding her when she wakes but am timing how long she is on for and we are now back down to 5 and a half minutes (I’m cutting down only half a min at a time). She also hasn’t woken at 2am for over a week now and is waking anywhere between 4am and 5am which I’m pretty chuffed with and really not complaining about!

        I’m also now giving her an extra 4oz of either expressed bm or formula if I’ve not managed to express in the day. I really didn’t think she was hungry as she would stop crying and just cuddle in if I picked her up but maybe she was as she goes back to sleep so easily once she’s had a little feed! This whole baby thing would be so mug easier if thy could tell you hey!

        The whole calories thing makes sense too so always making sure she has milk feeds before solids and having a long gap between solids and her next milk feeds.

        And yes she’s 7 and a half months but if born on time would only be 6 months. The whole corrected/adjusted age thing really confuses me and am going to blame it on baby brain but in reality is probably me just being dense! Anyway thanks for your advice and will keep feeding! Shorter spells of crying at night is definitely more appealing!

  24. Hi Alexis,

    I think this may be a unique problem, because I’ve never heard of anyone else who has it… but my son has started to only self-settle for naps and not at night. Is that a thing?

    He’s six and a half months old now and he started pretty consistently putting himself to sleep for naps and bedtime when he was about three or so months old. He still wouldn’t sleep through the night, but still putting himself to sleep about 90% of the time. Then we went on two pretty major trips when he was four and five months old. Since we got back from the last trip (more than a month ago), he’s suddenly decided to stop self-settling at night. The only difference between his nap routine and his night routine is a bath and the fact that my husband is home at night. He has ss’d at night a couple times in the past week, but I can’t think of any causal link to attribute it to.

    Is there something I’m either doing or not doing that you could possibly think of? Since I know he can ss, is my only option to pretty much let him CIO at night until he sorts himself out or can I hope that this might be a weird phase? Any thoughts would be appreciated, because, as I said, this is an issue I haven’t heard of anyone else having and I feel a bit lost!


    • Well it’s unusual (usually nights are easier than naps) but not unheard of. Another big key people don’t always understand is that the part of the brain that manages day sleep is different from that of night sleep. So the fact that your baby has learned something during the day doesn’t not mean that he can necessarily apply that skill at night (and vice versa).

      People get hung up on, “Oh my baby falls asleep X way at Y time so thus he can do it ALL the time.”

      Totally untrue.

      He’s learned to SS for naps. GREAT! Now you need to help him SS at bedtime. Is CIO required? Not necessarily. But that’s where you’re getting stuck.

      • Thanks for your response! I didn’t know that day and night sleep were so different, so that really sheds a lot of light on what’s going on with him. At least now I know he’s not just being silly and choosing to forget something that comes so easily to him during the day. I guess I’ll try to be a bit gentle with him for the time being and see if I can reteach him to consistently SS for bedtime.

        He’s been kind of an anomaly… his day sleeping has always been pretty smooth and his night sleeping can still be pretty disastrous, which seems like the opposite of a lot of babies. I guess I’m lucky that he at least has one side of it sorted out?

  25. Hi Alexis,

    We need help….B.A.D! My 9 month old daughter(Also named Alexis) has never slept through the night, not even once. We’ll start with naps. She naps 4-5 times per day anywhere from 30mins to 1 hr. Most usual is 30 mins. She needs to nurse to sleep for naps and at night. Generally she’s asleep within 10 mins. At bedtime, once she’s rolled over, I’m able to leave her. Some nights she won’t wake until 12:30, but other nights, she’s awake every 1/2 hr until about Midnight. After that, I normally get 2 or 3 hour stretches until 7:30 am. She’s always had the same bedtime routine since day 1.

    I have tried everything, it seems. She is a high needs girl and when she was smaller always needed to be held. Now she’s more independent in the daytime, but night is still terrible. We’re co-sleeping half the night(not by choice, but it’s the only way I get even a little sleep!). For the first part of the night, I can lay her down in her crib once asleep. Her crib is side=carred to our bed, and her mattress is on the floor. She crawls too quickly once awake to leave her on our bed anymore. My husband is sleeping in the babies room, and I’m at a loss of what to do.
    My husband works evenings (until 11pm) so he is not home to help with bedtime routine. When I’m the only one putting the baby to sleep, she expects to nurse. I’ve tried CIO a handful of times (starting around 4 months) and she gets very hysterical very quickly! She chokes on her saliva and is crying so hard that sound is no longer coming out. Things get so much worse and she is so clingy every time we try CIO. It is not my preferred method.
    I’ve tried wearing a shirt to bed and not nursing, but she screams and just won’t stop.
    She will not take bottles (with either BM or formula) and has never taken a paci.
    She nurses in the daytime every 1.5-2 hrs and has solids for lunch and dinner.
    Recently, she began having a difficult time falling asleep even with nursing. Nothing in her schedule has changed recently. She’s always gone to bed with white noise. She tosses and turns all night. I’m so exhausted. When I send my hubby to get her when she wakes late, she freaks out. help :(

    • Hey Kate,
      We Alexis’s need to stick together. So I’m going to take your Alexis aside and have a little heart to heart.

      Listen Baby Alexis, you love nursing. I get it. Who doesn’t? I’m sure I used to also. But your Mom is exhausted. And you are too. You’re 9 months old and you’re still sleeping like a newborn – taking 5 naps a day instead of 2-3, eating all the time, up all night. And Baby Alexis, trust me when I tell you that this is not good for anybody. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for your family. And you need your family strong so they can be there for you physically, emotionally, etc. Everybody is sleep deprived Baby Alexis, and that includes you.

      Now you’ve only ever nursed to sleep and that explains all the strange stuff. It’s why you fight sleep so hard. Why you want to nurse constantly in bed. Why you freak out when you wake up. It’s because you’re constantly being surprised when you wake up and Moms boob isn’t in your mouth anymore. Also you’ve become hyper-vigilant. And it’s just going to get worse. You need to learn to sleep without your Mom. I know you love her but treating her like a human pacifier isn’t working for anybody.

      This is fundamentally your problem:

      Your Mom dabbled with CIO. It’s unfortunate but most Moms do. They feel guilty. They feel they are damaging their babies. But at this age there aren’t a whole lot of options left. You have a strong nurse=sleep association and it’s broken. It’s well and truly broken.

      Tell your Mom to read everything here:

      She’s telling me she doesn’t want to do this. And that’s cool. But I’m going to tell YOU Baby Alexis that something needs to change. Because none of what is happening is working for anybody in your family. It’s time to come up with a new plan, COMMIT to that plan, and execute that plan.

      If your Mom has a plan that involves no crying than I will send her all my positive energy and wish her the best. And if she chooses CIO then I’ve put together all of what I know to help her do it the right way. Good luck Baby Alexis.

  26. Hi Alexis,

    Firstly congratulations on the website, it is a fantastic resource, I only found it yesterday after asking dr google if white noise can damage a babies hearing (we have had it on here since bubs was born) I wish I’d have found it months ago when I was really struggling with baby sleep but these days things have been going pretty well.

    My 27 week old (adjusted age 24 weeks old) sleeps through the night now and manages 2 1.5 – 2 hour naps a day. He grizzles a bit during the day time but eventually falls asleep relatively peacefully after 10 minutes or so.

    Until a few nights ago he has settled very very well at night, we worked hard to set up a good routine, solids (small meal) bath, bottle, quiet play time, story, into bed with dimmed lights and he will generally play and talk to himself for up to 15 minutes and then go to sleep. It was bliss. (He was a reflux baby that never slept for more the 30 minutes at a time and fed every 1.5 hours until 4 months so I was feeling quite pleased with myself)

    The last couple of nights he has played quietly for 5 minutes or so and then slowly works himself up into a real state, crying and kicking his legs around, eventually he has gone to sleep and then slept through still and it has only taken 1/2 an hour both times of me going into to reassure him I am there and quietly giving him a pat and a loud shhh.

    I know that developmentally he is going through a lot of changes, he is making more noises, he has just the last few days started sitting up and he is beginning to look like he might crawl soon. He is also during the day starting to get very upset when I leave the room and he can’t see me any more so I would say that he is dealing with object permanence and now I am beginning to wonder if this is his problem at night time?

    If this is the case do you have any thoughts on how to help him through this? The last few nights we have left him to cry for a bit and then periodically gone in to reassure him gently but not picked him up or turned on the lights etc to be honest us going in didn’t seem to help him much and he seemed to just need to work through it.

    Poor little guy I just feel bad for him because going to sleep used to be such a peaceful time for him.

    Ps in case it makes any difference he sleeps at night from about 7 to 5:45 then takes a 1.5 -2 hour nap at 8: 30 and 1:30. The last 2 weeks he has flat out refused a third nap even in the pram or car so I have stretched his awake time during the day from closer to 2 hours to nearly three at a time Which he seems to be coping with ok.

    • Object permanence also means he remembers you exist when you leave the room so now he is really MISSING you. I believe the bedtime crying is just his way of saying that he doesn’t want you to leave. So I don’t think there is really a way to help him with it.

      If you feel it helps to go back in and give him some soothing then go for it. UNLESS your presence is rewarding his protesting, and you’ll know this is happening if the protesting starts to get louder and go on longer. If THAT happens then you’ll want to think about not going in at all after bedtime. (Hint: it’s generally a good idea to not go in after bedtime.)

      So if he starts calling for you for longer periods of time? Well it might be time to stiffen up that lip and stop going in. Good luck!

    • Hi Alexis,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Little one had a screaming fit at bedtime for 6 days and then mercifully bedtime turned into the peaceful time it used to be. I think bubs probably just got over what ever was upsetting him but I have started cuddling him more before bedtime and singing to him just before I put him in the cot to go to sleep. The first night I did that there were no tears so maybe he wanted the extra closeness before bed.

      I learned that going in only made things worse, he would scream even louder the second he saw me and then even louder then that when I left the room. So in the end I just left him to it and eventually he settled down to sleep.

      Now to conquer the next issue, he has started levitating all over the cot at night and waking up crying a bunch of times because he is stuck in a bad position. I assume that he will be over it in a few days (fingers crossed anyway) but unil then I am a zombie. Sigh.

  27. Hi Alexis! Thank you so much for all the great info on your website- it’s been an IMMENSE help since I discovered it, back when my son was just a few weeks old.

    I’ve been blessed so far with a VERY easy sleeper. I’ve put him down awake for naps and bedtime since he was nearly 3 months old, and he goes to sleep with minimal fussing. He usually naps around 2 hours, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. At night, e wakes up about 3 hours after bedtime, fusses for a few minutes, and goes back to sleep until he wakes up hungry at about 1 am. It’s been great!

    BUT. (There’s always a but, isn’t there?) The past week or so, he hasn’t been napping nearly as well. I’ll put him down when he’s clearly tired, and sometime it takes him forever to get to sleep- it seems like he wakes right up a minute after he goes into the crib, and he’ll babble to himself for 30-45 minutes and then start crying. When he does fall asleep, he’s only been napping 45 minutes to an hour.

    He’s been getting fussy-sleepy earlier than usual (about 6:30 – 7pm instead of 7:30), and consequently going down a little earlier, but he hasn’t been going back to sleep on his own after his first wake-up around 10:30.

    He’s nearly 8 months old now, and your page suggests he should be taking 2-3 naps a day. He’s been taking two since he was four months old or so. Is it time to drop the morning nap? I’m hesitant, since your site has been so dead-on this whole time, but I’m wondering if less morning rest would mean better sleep in the afternoon and at night.

    Help! He’s currently in his room Not Taking A Nap again, 30 minutes after I put him down.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Hey Dottie,

      98% of kids are taking 2X naps a day at their first birthday so I don’t believe that dropping the AM nap is the answer.

      You mention that he’s waking up the second you put him into the crib but you ALSO say you put him down awake. So I’m a little confused about that?

      Part of this could be good old fashioned separation anxiety – he misses you and will fight sleep to enjoy even more of your company. Sadly there is no magic fix for this. It comes and goes like the tide – it’ll get better and you’ll think you’re all done and then BAM he’ll be fighting naps again.

      Sorry – no big help there :(

  28. Hi Alexis (AKA Baby Sleep Guru),

    I am lucky enough to have discovered this blog when my baby was very young, so in his 24 weeks of life I’ve had lots of time to put your tips into practice. As a result, I have a pretty good sleeper, and I owe a big part of that to you! So, thank you!

    One thing I have not done (I seem to have overlooked this part) is to separate nursing from bedtime by 20-30 minutes. I’m totally ready to do this, but I’m wondering if there’s a specific way to do it. Should I just start it, cold turkey, one day? Or would it be better to gradually move it back?

    My other question is regarding putting baby down awake: Exactly how awake should baby be? Do we go from playing outside to walking in the bedroom, turning on the white noise, and setting him down? Usually I take him into his room, close the curtains, turn on the white noise, and hold him until he rests his head against my chest. This is usually enough for him (although sometimes he needs more soothing and other times he’s fine if I put him down immediately after turning on the white noise). Also, on the days that he needs more soothing, sometimes we end up putting him down almost asleep. This happens maybe 5% of the time — should we refuse to soothe him on those days, or is it reasonable to have a few off days every once in a while?

    So far, we’re not having any sleep problems, but I know that object permanence is about to come a-knockin’ and I just want to be sure that it doesn’t derail his good sleeping!


    • Hey Venessa,
      Congratulations on all your great work! I can tell your baby is sleeping well because you’re comment is free of typos. When people are desperately miserable it’s like they’ve written me in some ancient Mayan language 😉

      No no no – don’t go from playing in the snow to plunking baby in bed. A good consistent bedtime wind-down routine is key. This can be whatever you both enjoy and it sounds like you already have a good one. There is no magic sauce to separating nursing from bedtime (note: some babies are just fine with nursing AT bedtime, but if you’re having a hard time breaking the nurse all night habit, this helps a ton). I would try 20 minutes prior and then continue with your routine per norm and see how things go. My guess is that it won’t be a big deal.

      As for “how awake is awake” – I guess the answer is, actually awake. Lots of people rock/nurse until baby is JUST about asleep. But they count it as awake because the eyelids may flicker a little. This is cheating (these parents generally figure this out all on their own as they’re up all night). If your baby is ACTUALLY awake MOST of the time then you’re doing great. 5% is totally not a problem.

      Good luck! (Not that it sounds like you need any :).

  29. Hi Alexis
    I have just stumbled upon your website from google in desperation of my zombieness.
    My baby has just gone 8 months. He has been a pretty good sleeper until now. He would have breast at 6.30pm and into his cot and then wake for formula at 10.30pm and back to cot until 5.30/6.00 am(ish). But the last week he has woken every hour or so and only settles if I go into his room and hold him. Then back in his cot and he seems to be asleep until I leave the room and then the howling begins and when I return he sometimes seems so alert and ready for play time. After 30 mins of crying I can’t handle it for two reasons, I get no sleep and he is so upset. I have brought him into bed and this mostly helps but not a habit we want to get into. I have read that it is his age and he is going through separataion anxiety (he is actually a bit more clinger during the day also). He used to be a great self-settler too, he loves his thumb and that used to be all he needed to go back to sleep but it’s not enough, not even two thumbs! Will this pass? I am getting so frustrated with my lack of sleep. Oh and he also only naps for 45 minutes 3 times a day (sometimes only 2). He is mostly a very happy easy-going baby.
    Sarah (in New Zealand)

    • Just reading some more of your comments for people with the same sort off issues and have some answers from you so feel free to not reply to mine….

    • Is he going to bed awake? Because it sounds more like this:

      Separation anxiety isn’t helping but whenever somebody says “Wakes every 1 hour all night long” I’m generally pretty sure it’s a “not putting down awake at bedtime” issue.

      At 8 months I wouldn’t start co-sleeping unless you’re into it. It’s a REALLY hard habit to break without tears so even though I know you’re miserable and tired, I would focus on the root issue (what is happening at bedtime) and try as much as possible not to bring him into bed with you (except in cases of dire need) OK?

  30. Hello..i need help my daughter does not wants to sleep early..she is 7 months now n her 3rd n 4th teeth is coming out..she always sleep at 3-4am n wake at around can i train her back to normal time to sleep?if we force her to sleep at 9pm she will cry non stop..TIA..

    • Jess,

      I don’t think you can shift her bedtime up by 6 hours and have her just roll with it. On the other hand 3:00 am is NUTZO and you must all be a miserable exhausted mess!

      I would start waking her up gradually more early in the morning. Move her wakeup time up by ~15 minute every day. 10:30, 10:15, 10:00, 9:45….this should have the effect of shifting everything else up too (naps etc.) thus you can then start gradually moving bedtime up. Yes it will take a while as you’re only moving 15-20 minutes a day. But you will get there. And you NEED to get there because staying up till 3:00 AM is just going to lead to exhaustion all around.

      Good luck!

  31. Hi, I have an eight month old who REFUSES to sleep. She is still breastfed, and when she was newborn I made the habit of cosleeping and nursing her while in bed. Her issue is going to sleep and staying asleep. She will go to sleep and then a couple hours later she is awake either crying or laughing, and she always wants to stay up and play. She WILL not go back to sleep no matter what and ends up staying awake half the night. She doesnt even sleep that much during the day- in fact, im sure she is not getting near enough sleep for a baby her age. She is a wonderful baby, but if I dont start getting sleep I am going to rip my hair out. It is so incredibly frustrating. My husband works 2 jobs, and I am a nursing student so we are exhausted. Something has to change.

    • Don’t blame yourself for cosleeping and nursing with your newborn–that method WORKS with tiny babies and at that age, you do what you can to keep baby fed and yourself rested. Of course now it sounds like your baby girl doesn’t know how to fall asleep on her own. Life will be much better after she learns that skill. Breastfeeding is NOT your problem, breastfeeding baby *to sleep* might be your problem.

      Keep reading, there is all sorts of stuff on this blog that will help you! And probably 10 comments from others addressing most any question or problem you encounter along the way. :-) Good luck to you and your family!

  32. please help me im at my witts end with my 8month old daughter. its my fault i let her sleep with us so now she wont sleep in her own cot, also i breast feed her to sleep an rock her and butt patt, now at night time im a big blubbering mess she crys and crys and wakes all night she hasnt learnt how to self settle as i just pik her up. please help me.

    • Hey Tala,
      I don’t know if I have a good answer for you. The issue is that you are nursing and rocking her to bed and she needs to go down asleep. Apparently your efforts to do that have left both you AND her a big blubbering mess :(

      If you’re going to cry and she’s going to cry then at least try to have the crying accomplish something, yes? Take some time (I know you have very little of that) and read ALL of these things. How to, why, how NOT to, etc. Come up with a plan.

      Sending positive thoughts your way,

  33. So my 6 month old has been putting himself to sleep since 4 months in his crib, naps and bed. He sleeps 11-12 hours at night with no night feeds. He has 3 naps a day with a wake time of about 2 hours. Bed at 7 upat 630. Great sleep routine. Last Tuesday marked object permance day. I put him down wide awake for his naps and the un holy screaming began. Today it took almost 2 hours for his morning nap. I need a cio nap help! Bedtime is a breeze still, but Help!!! I do not nurse to sleep or even drowsy. I yanked his soother at month 5, so that’s gone. I know its object permanance but how doyou deal with that at nap time????? Thanks! Love your blog, super helpful

    • Wait – if you’re putting him down awake then how do you know it’s an object permanence thing? Object permanence generally blows up on people who AREN’T putting down awake. If you’re baby falls asleep solo then my sense is something else is going on.

      It sounds to me more like the 6 month growth spurt (hard to sleep, fussy, might be super extra hungry all the time). Usually its’ not as horrible as 4 months but it’s really common so that’s where I’m placing my bet on this one.

  34. Well, he FREAKS when I leave the room! He stops crying as soon as I go back in. Isn’t that object permanence? Ha, I’m so tired and frustrated, I don’t even know if I make sense!

    • Nope that’s separation anxiety – also a huge challenge. It generally peaks at 8 months which is why I didn’t jump on it initially. But that’s what the “cry when you leave the room” stuff is about. The good thing about babies is that they’re infinitely lovable. The bad thing is that as soon as you get over one thing (sleep regression, teething, etc.) then a new thing pops up. It’s like baby wack-a-mole 😉

  35. Hi Alexis,

    I have been reading through this post and I still have questions.
    My daughter is 7 months old and is a great sleeper at night, has been for months, this is not an issue (except now it will be since I have probably Jinxed it…) My issue is with the day sleeps, more specifically the afternoon sleep. She has been a terrible day sleeper since day one, and we recently moved to a 2 sleep ‘schedule’, so she goes down at 9.30ish and 2ish, usually the morning sleep is good, but the afternoon one is iffy. As I type, she is rolling around her cot, protesting, but not too loudly, playing around and generally being wide awake. We routinely have days where no afternoon sleep happens at all, and she is up till bedtime, which is about 7pm. My question is, how on earth do I make her go to sleep when she isn’t necessarily unhappy awake in bed? And do you have a suggested daytime feeding and sleeping routine for her? She is breastfed 4x and is having 3x solids, no teeth yet and I think she is desperately trying to crawl.
    I so appreciate any input…

    • Hey Sarah,
      You can’t always fix the crappy nap issue. All you can really do is:
      1) Be consistent (try to anyway – work towards putting her down at the same time each day).
      2) Give as much soothing as you can (at 7 months this means nice pre-nap wind down, dark room, loud white noise).
      3) Don’t keep them awake too long (how long is she awake between her AM and PM naps? at 7 months probably you don’t want her awake longer than 2.5 hours or so?).

      I doubt highly that the food is related to her sleeping. Sometimes when babies are working on new skills (crawling) they’ll fight naps because they’re too busy to sleep. Sadly you can’t fix this. However you say she’s always been a poor napper so the learning-to-crawl thing probably isn’t a huge factor.

      Sorry I don’t have any magic fix for you. Stick with it, do what you can, hope for the best.

  36. Hi there, my daughter is 6 1/2 and was diagnosed with reflux at 14w as a result of this the only way to feed her was when she is drowsy. Reflux babes need to stay upright approx 30 mins after feeding so she still takes ALL her naps on me! This is hard. I am still rocking her to sleep and feel frustrated that it’s the only way to get her to sleep. With a change in formula her reflux is better but we are still in the dreamfeed/rocking to sleep pattern that I’d like to change. She can self settle (she wakes during the night and will go back to sleep)! What can I do? If I try to feed her awake she will not drink much (maybe 1-2oz) she is to busy looking around. We can’t go out as she won’t drink anywhere but home!! At my wits end!

    • I hear you on the 30 minutes thing with feeding (been there, done that). But she’s a little older now – I would push her to feeding her when she’s awake. Sure there’s too much to look at. Have you tried feeding her in a super dark room? Or draping a blanket over her, you so there is literally nothing to do BUT eat?

      Also if she has reflux and is being rocked to sleep that sounds like a great scenario to have her napping in the swing. Refluxing babies often sleep better upright and as you say, she loves rocking. Sure she’s a little older but refluxing kids are often napping in swings far longer then their happy-tummy counterparts. Even if it’s only for a few months, it’s worth trying to break you out of the “only sleeps on me” pattern. Because while she is little and has reflux you have to do what you need to. But eventually the “only sleeps on me” generally leads to CIO-ville :(

  37. Hello Alexis,

    I love your website and have stumbled on it later than I would have liked. I’m afraid my kiddo already has some issues. I’m looking for advice on where to start and how exactly to implement changes.

    James (my LO) has nursed to sleep for ages and is roughly 5 1/2 months. He’s never been a good sleeper and the longest stretches of sleep I’ve ever had came around the 3 month mark and were for a single four to five hours (just once) stretch and then more frequent wakings until morning. But since he was about 4 months old, he’s been waking 6+ times a night. I’m working full time and Dad isn’t good without sleep (not that I am, but when Dad doesn’t get sleep no ones happy), so I’m on baby duty all night long. We did try to let him cry a bit to check and see if he’d learn to settle himself around 4 1/2 months (we’d let him go for 15 – 30 min) but it just ended up with a really insecure baby who got frightened when we put him in his crib and would be wailing before we could even set him down. His day and nighttime sleep both deteriorated further and I was weepy from feeling like a failure. Perhaps he just wasn’t ready for it.

    And nothing has gotten better. Half the time or more I end up co-sleeping with him in the guest room because getting up every 1-2 hours is just too much and it’s the only way I can get any rest, but he wakes just as often then, but I can nurse him back to sleep more easily.

    I know that I need to wean him off of the association of nipple = sleep and get him to fall asleep on his own so he learns to self soothe and break him of the co-sleeping habit (I’m not entirely sure it’s a habit because some nights we do and some we don’t, but I am worried), but in what order to I do this and what are some practical steps to move in that direction. I’m a really concrete thinker and lots of times I feel like I read baby advice and then try to go apply it and maybe I’ll get him to fall asleep without a breast and then when he wakes up five minutes later I think, well, golly-gee, what now?

    Also I’m worried about crying it out and would like to use the no-cry method (the swing doesn’t entice him a bit), but I’m beaten down to a pulp and am not sure I have the stamina needed. But after the crying we did last time, I am gun shy. He’s a sensitive kid who doesn’t seem to like change or new experiences much and I’d like to respect that and try to work it in a way that isn’t too rough on him.

    Any advice would be most appreciated and is desperately needed. And thank you so much for all of the articles on this website. I wish I knew all of this when he was just a tiny tiny thing. I would have done things a bit differently.

    • Hey Melissa,
      Your question is why I wrote this:

      (If you read it you’ll see a variation of your question actually IN the post).

      If you are dead set against CIO then your best bet to wean off the boob=sleep thing is to try the pull off method discussed here (it’s about pacis but the same thing applies).

      If he wakes up 5 minutes later you repeat the process. PLAN on repeating the process. It will take a LOT of time. People get frustrated because they think it’ll be a 20 minute exercise and then they’re working on it for 2 hours feeling increasingly frustrated. I feel if you go into it with realistic expectations you’ll be less frustrated and likely, more successful?

      If you feel (and I certainly would in your shoes) that you ARE ready for CIO the step by step guide is here:

      I think the “let him cry and check on him” plan often works poorly for people. I get why it seems like the better plan that full extinction but often babies get more amped up and continue crying because you’re effectively teaching them to do so. So IF you go back down that path I would strongly encourage you to consider full extinction a la Weissbluth.

      I hope that helps.

      • Thank you so much, Alexis. The more I read your site, the more I just think that you are damn likable and incredibly empathetic. Appreciate the response and I appreciate that you exist. (Also I tend to get sentimental when sleep deprived.) I’ll read up on the posts you reference and let you know how it goes.

  38. iv been trying CIO with my 7 month old for 3 and a half weeks now and it doesnt seem to be getting any easier especially at night, it still takes me 45 mins to an hour put her to sleep but her other 2 naps in the day only take 10-15 mins, what am i doing wrong?

    please help thanks…

  39. Hi Alexis-

    Thanks for your wisdom and humor. Despite the fact that we’ve been Wiessbluth followers from day 1, it was your site that finally convinced me it was CIO time. Anyway, a month later, and my 6.5 month old goes down peacefully between 6 and 6:30,and wakes to feed at 12 and 4 (a HUGE improvement over the 8+ times Pre-CIO).

    Two issues: the first is that wakeup time has gotten earlier and earlier, from 7 to 6:30 to 6:00 to 5:30 and now, this morning, 4:40. And nothing (not even the breast) will get him back to sleep. We’ve tried keeping him up until 7 in the evening, but by then he is either overtired and wired, or has fallen asleep in my arms. Any tips?

    Then, oh man: NAPS. Jack will go down on his one for a morning nap, which used to be around nine, but now, thanks to the early wake-up, is getting earlier and earlier. But he will only sleep for half an hour in his crib. I can extend his naps to ~two hours if I lie down with him, which is pretty much what I did for the first 6 months of his life. But that can’t go on forever, can it? So I’ve been putting him in the crib for nap one, then lying down with him for nap two (which is all so erratic these days, thanks to early start to the day). Since I’ve started not extending is first nap, my normally happy kid is a whiny mess. And now the second nap is falling apart, too, even IF I lie down with him. Which means my once-consistent 9 and 1 napper is a hot mess, and so am I. How can I get him napping on his own, and regularly?

  40. Hi Alexis,
    Found this page and your site after a desperate search for help! What you are saying makes sense and wondered if you might be able to she’d some light on a crazy sleep-deprived me!
    My little girl is 8.5 months (38 weeks) and for the past ten weeks or so has had all manner of sleep problems after sttn from 3-6 months. We taught her to self soothe early on but it appears she has forgotten how!
    It started with a bad case of nappy rash that resulted in an infection (coincided with teething) so she woke in pain, then some early morning wakings which we weathered and then a couple of wakings in the night, mainly I think due to a cold snap (her room has two outside walls). We put her in an extra vest and that seemed to do the trick for a night or two. But there has been more teething, colds and it just seems one thing after another.
    A few nights ago she started screaming every 30-60 mins throughout the night. The last two nights we’ve ended up bringing her into bed with us (something we said we would never do) just to get some rest. And she sleeps fine there, although she still wakes from time to time.
    Naps are also a battle. She was never the best napper but we knew her cues and she could send herself off to sleep. Now she screams hysterically and throws herself around her cot (she’s perfecting her crawling and has just learned how to pull herself into a sitting position) and can’t seem to switch off enough without a cuddle and having her back rubbed. I’m still leaving the room before she falls asleep. Naps have gone from 40 mins to 20!! She still doesn’t have teeth and also happens to be a very active baby.
    We’re doing BLW which is going really well so I have no concerns on the food front and she doesn’t need any milk at night (believe me, we tried!).
    I’m recovering from PND so this is really starting to affect me. ANY suggestions at all would be great.
    Thanks in advance.

  41. This is a great website….Thanks! My son is a week shy of 6 months old and I am realizing we have made so many sleep mistakes and I don’t know how to get out of them. He is still napping in his swing and we put him to sleep at 11pm with his last nap usually ending before 7pm. My fear in putting him to sleep earlier was always that I wouldn’t be ale to sleep during his longest stretch. He used to wake up a few times between 11pm and 7am but putting the binky in his mouth would put him right back to sleep, no feedings in that time period. Now I just started him on solids 2 weeks ago and since then he is waking up screaming at least 3 times a night. I know he is not hungry. He will fall asleep quickly in my arms but then as soon as I put him down in the crob he wakes up again screaming and won’t actually go back to sleep without nursing or a bottle. He falls asleep for the night by himself right after a bottle, but we put him down awake. He hasnt had this problem at all until 2 weeks ago – Do you think it’s the solids that is causing this? I don’t want to let him CIO, but I have been sleep deprived for 6 months now and not sure how much longer I can take this…..

  42. But what about babies (8 mos old) who know how to put themselves to sleep but wake up a bazillion times a night? Ugh.

  43. Hello Alexis,

    This is a great website and it’s been helpful to read through all of the other posts. My baby girl is 27 weeks old, and used to be a pretty good sleeper. She was sleeping 10-12 hours a night, and then we traveled during the holidays. She would not sleep while we were traveling and the only way we could get some rest was if I brought her into bed with me and nursed her off and on all night. I was not happy with the arrangement but it was only way we could all get a little bit of rest. Once we got home her sleep never seemed to settle back into her old pattern. Her bedtime is still between 7-7:30pm, but now if she has any night wakings she will not go back to sleep but is COMPLETELY AWAKE. I have tried to put her back in crib and let her fuss it out while I stand near her or rub her back or tummy, but she goes berserk and will scream nonstop until I pick her up or nurse her again. She was waking about an hour after being put down and wouldn’t settle again for another 2-3 hours, and tonight she woke up after 4 hours of sleep and again is not completely awake and up playing until she wears herself out again. I feel completely defeated and have no idea what to do next. I know it’s not good that she’s up and playing at this time of night but the alternative of listening to her scream for a few hours just feels and sounds horrible. Any suggestions? p.s. If she is very tired she will soothe herself to sleep.

  44. Why can you not nurse, rock, pat, a 6-9 month baby to sleep? I still do this with my 20 month old, and it works really well. Yes, it is effort, but possibly less work than most of my friends who need a big wind down routine to help prepare their little ones for bed, and worry about going on holiday because it will break their routine. When he is tired, 10 minutes at the breast will usually send him off.

  45. I am probably jinxing myself big time by discussing this but.. finally a huge breakthrough with my 6 months old multiple, multiple night wakings! Cannot stop myself from shouting from mountaintops, etc.

    I have been stymied by what to do about sleep training him because he has been able to go to sleep alone from a very young age. Around 3 months he started waking up a lot in the night. Got better and then worse at 4 months. And then slowly better and just terrible after a 2 week vacation. He was waking up as often as every 45 minutes and I could not get him back down without nursing. All the sleep training materials I could find talked about the need to put him to sleep awake but since this was not a problem I didn’t know how to get him to go back to sleep. Finally, I read again something that I had read when he was a month old but somehow failed to really internalize. When babies wake in the night, even (maybe especially) when they wake with a big scream, they are often not really awake just kind of screaming between sleep cycles. This gets worse when they are overtired. You need to give them 5-15 minutes to see if they are really awake or not. LIGHTBULB MOMENT! Because he’d been waking so suddenly and with such a loud scream, I would rush to him to try to calm him before too much escalation and then I’d spend 10-30 minutes getting him back down – almost always by nursing. Perhaps he’d do better without me “comforting him?” I decided to put my 5-15 minute “wait and see” plan in place…

    So, night 1 he wakes up 7-8 times. But he self settled within 6 minutes usually and before 15 minutes always except when hungry (different cry)! I only got up to feed him twice (1am and 5am) which is totally reasonable. It was hard to listen to him cry out in the night but I didn’t feel guilty as soon as I realized he was settling much more quickly without dear ol’ mom. Night 2, he gets up about 6 times including the two feedings. The wakeups are mostly weaker.. making progress, making progress. Night 3, HE WAKES UP ONCE! The 5am feed. He totally skips the 1am feed and sleeps 7-7. WHAT? After 3 1/2 months of being up with him 3,4, 8 times a night I will gladly feed him at 5 am until he goes to college!

    So, I think what clearly happened was that he was caught in an overtired cycle. When I didn’t let him settle he wasn’t learning to do it and was also waking up more due to 1) getting more and more tired from me fully waking him up and 2) from getting used to doing so much night nursing. It’s early days yet but I am really hopeful that this issue is mostly under control now. Until the next thing hits. Now I just need to sleep train me. I was so excited that he was sleeping last night that I barely slept. Go figure.

  46. Jackie's success story!

    We had a rough go. 8.5 months of holding my daughter for all naps and she was waking anywhere from 2-6 times at night with more frequent waking happening the older she got. At one point she was even waking every hour and wanting me to nurse her back to sleep. We tried a pacifier, dad soothin her to sleep, rocking, and always ended up nursin her back to sleep. We debated CIO many times but was envisioning a big battle and couldn’t face it.
    After reading many books and this site I beefed up our bedtime routine to include a bath every night, massage, two stories and PUTTING HER DOWN AWAKE (this is in bold because this is what made all the difference). I found that I had to move nursing away from sleep which I did gradually until her last feed was before her bath. We started at 6:30 every night and she sleeps a total of 12hrs at night 7-7 and then 2-3 hrs in naps. The first night I put her down awake she cried for 10min. The second night 3min and since them not at all. She still wakes once at night to nurse but otherwise bedtime is now a pleasure. The best part is that I do a mini routine at nap time and she takes two 1.5hr naps in her room while I’m free to do other things. As a side note her room is dark and we use white noise to drown out our neighbors dog.
    I had resigned myself to thinking that was what life with a baby was going to be like but realized that i was doing more damage getting her each time he cried after i just put her down asleep because I was the one interrupting her sleep. This is finally the experience I was hoping for and we are both much happier with adequate sleep!

  47. Hi there! My little girl is 7 months old today and for a little over 2 weeks, we’ve been having a sleep problem that I can’t seem to fix.

    She goes down for naps/bedtime beautifully- bum change, story read, lights out, in crib and I leave. She’ll fuss/moan for about 5 minutes and she’s asleep. She’s napping 3 times a day-9 am (for 1.5-2 hours), 1pm (1-1.5 hours) and 4:15pm (.5 hour). Bedtime is 6:45. I nurse 5-6 times a day.

    Every night around 9:30, she wakes up. She then proceeds to moan, or we like to say she’s signing herself to sleep. She’ll moan for five minutes, then let out a cry, moan for 5, let out a cry. She’s up sometimes for close to 2.5 hours- whether we leave her, rock her, nurse her. Then the rest of the night, she’s up 2-3 times to nurse. She’s up for the morning around 6:30-6:45.

    Is she getting too much sleep during the day? Too many naps? Not enough nursing? I don’t know what to change first and how long to stick with the change before deciding it wasn’t that. Help!!

    • Kristen,

      We are having the exact same problem. Our nap times are a bit shorter but our little one seems to go down around 7pm and wake up a couple of hours after we put her down. It seems to be short bursts at a time and usually lasts for a few minutes. I believe Alexis calls it an Extinction Burst and I feel that it accurately describes what our little one is going through. Basically, it feels that she is trying to reject the thought of having to self-soothe. As I type this, she woke up at 9:30pm and it is now 10:19pm. She has fallen back to sleep. Usually we would have run to her to soothe her. We now let her work through it. It doesn’t sound like a “hungry” cry. It sounds like a burst for attention. All is well now. Hope everything works out for you. Don’t give in….keep at it.

  48. Hi
    My baby is 7.5 months now and till 7-8 days back he was sleeping fine at night.previously He woke 2-3 times during a 12hr sleep at night.

    Since of late he has been waking up every 2 hrs for food or for comfort. His on solids eating three meals a day. Sometimes he has a lot of burps after dinner and spits up a bit, I give him a two hour gap between dinner and bedtime.
    His bedtime routine has been the same since he was a month old so I don’t understand why the sudden change. I usually lie down next to him or sit next to him and do the shush pat till his half asleep. He sucks his thumb to fall asleep and when he’s asleep he takes it out himself or I take it out.

    So over the last two days I’ve gradually started not offer I g the breast during sleep time at nigt and during the day both. Ad at night, I try patting him to sleep when he wakes up offering him the breast only every 4-5 hrs.
    I don’t see any improvement yet , an I doing the right things?

  49. I just have a quick question for you. My 6 month old has been a swaddle junkie since he was born. He cannot sleep without it for naps or bedtime. He is a great sleeper. However, my question is, is it considered falling asleep on his own if he has to be swaddled? He goes down in his crib awake with white noise and dark room, all swaddled. I feel like he will be a 17 year old who still needs to be swaddled, but I know you say eventually it will end!

  50. Can someone help me! My 9 month old will sometimes have 2 hours naps where sometimes they are 20 minutes and it is IMPOSSIBLE to get her back asleep. She isn’t even crying she is so overtired she just coos in her crib but then is so fussy at bedtime (6:30-7) that it is so frustrating. She is up once in the night and is breastfed, and goes right back to sleep. I know I’m lucky in the evening, but these short daytime naps are killing me.

  51. Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me why my 6 month old girl can put herself to sleep by herself without any tears or problems when she goes to bed and sometimes will through the night but 2/3 times a night needs feeding/rocking back to sleep and will cry as soon as she is put down? She is bf but has one bottle of ff when she goes to bed at 7pm. Up until 4 months she was sleeping 10 hours. She also is a terrible napper, very rarely puts herself to sleep and has 4 x 30 minute naps. Any help would be very much appreciated :-)

    • Same exact story for my almost 9 month old Blake. Any breakthrough?

      • Same here for my nearly 6 month boy!

        Settles himself down for nap times really well and even at bed time but we have 2/3 wakings in the night at least 2 he “needs” feeding. Is this normal?

        Also bf with a bottle of formula at bed time!

        Any advice would be really appreciated

    • Me too. Please help! My baby goes to bed totally awake, puts herself to sleep no problem. But then she wakes up 3 or more times during the night and SCREAMS. Like a demon. Why can’t she self-soothe during the night???

      • My 8 month old daughter does the same thing. She’ll go down awake at bedtime and for naps but starts waking up every hour at 1:00am. At that point she will only settle when held and starts screaming as soon as I bend over to put her down. I usually feed her between 11 and 12 so I know she’s not upset because she’s hungry. I’m desperate for any suggestions at this point!

        • My little girl is 8 months and exactly the same as yours night times are awful she’s fine until 1am and then boom she’s awake screaming and has to sleep on me then she screams every couple of hours after that. I wouldn’t mind as such but she’s exhausted in the mornings she’s actually tired from the time she wakes up because of it!!

    • This is the same as my seven month old little boy, he was a perfect sleeper up until 4 months and its just getting worse and worse.
      I put him to bed if a night and at nap time and he is quite happy to put himself to sleep but he wakes crying of a night every hour or so now its crazy, I’m going crazy!
      Anyone have an answers!?!?!

  52. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE we need help with our 7 month old daughter. Her naps have fallen apart to the point that she now sleeps no longer than 30-60 minutes in a day. At three months we managed to successfully wean her off nursing to sleep and lately it seems she is trying to reintroduce it. Strangely not even that calms her anymore. She is so sleep deprived and exhausted, and we are extremely worried about her. When it’s clear she simply CANNOT sleep without help I nap with her, or attempt to, which usually just results in her pulling her hair, scratching her ears until they bleed, kicking me repeatedly, scratching my face, crying with frustration…. she doesn’t have an ear infection, and if she’s teething she has been doing so for months… We are at our wits end. No amount of soothing helps her to settle down but as her parents we KNOW she is overtired and it is getting serious. We have totally run out of options and I feel like a major failure. Does anyone have ANY idea what is going on?! ;(

    • Hi Kirsten,

      poor you! I really feel for you. I too have been battling my daughters lack of sleep, both at night and during the day. She is 6 months, and a very inquisitive, alert baby, but it means that she prefers to be awake than asleep! Listen, I am only a few steps ahead of you on the path to glorious sleep, but when this happened to us a little while ago, I did whatever I could to get her to sleep. The stroller normally works (I would go out 2-3 times a day, rain or shine), the car at times (though I think this is a dangerous one to get her used to as you could be creating a rod for your back), my trusty Beco carrier (the only one she likes) to walk around, outside if the weather permitted but it also works in the house, nursing her to sleep (she particularly liked this at about 5pm for a half hour cat nap). I also bought things to extend the naps, so a black-out drape to put over the stroller (its called Snooze Shade and its designed for cutting out the light in strollers) and also something called Robopax, which is a flat stroller- rocker thing – you put the stroller or car seat on it and continues to mimic the motion. Good when you want to come home but keep them sleeping and dont want to lift them out of the seat. I also got a white noise cuddly sheep, which makes tidal sounds (and which sounds similar to my own shushing). I also tried lying down with her on my bed whilst nursing her (which didnt really work, to be honest, but it felt nice!). Have you tried giving her a massage? That does help now and then – just smooth some olive oil on her and do some gentle strokes, I reckon you can find some advice on strokes on the internet. I assume you have checked out any medical reasons she could have ie colds, teething etc? Have you also tried feeding her more during the day? Doing all this does make you feel as if all you are doing is either feeding her or trying to get her to sleep, but I think the concerted effort did help her body get reconditioned to sleeping again. It is still hard as she refuses to take her midday nap anywhere other than in her stroller (though she does do swimming in the mornings, and that tires her so much I am able to put her into the cot for a nap – a miracle!!) Once I was able to get her up to 2 hours a day (which took me about 1-2 weeks) I started with the sleep training all over again. Phew. Good luck, my thoughts are with you.
      I love this site, BTW. Its amazing that Alexis devotes so much time and energy to it. Thank you!

      • Ah thanks Zuzu for all your advice!! Unfortunately I have tried all of these things :(
        I massage her legs while nursing her if she seems hyper. She doesn’t sleep in the car, or in the stroller. I used to wear her all day long in a baby carrier until my back started hurting and it stopped being effective. She is a pretty large baby (95th percentile.) and not the easiest to carry around!! We use white noise, we have solid routines, and she “sleeps” in the swing during the day, cot at night. She had a very strong nurse to sleep association so I can’t lie down with her anymore for any naps because she then expects it every time and it is not sustainable. Plus, these days she just ends up hanging out on my boobs but not sleeping.
        Over the past few days we decided to take the bull by the horns and just CIO for naps. I think when a baby is resisting all forms of comfort, and is tearing her own hair out from exhaustion you just have to do what you can and insist on sleep. Luckily after a day it was a success and now she is slowly starting to sleep longer… Long may it last!! Of course, now she is waking up all night instead. AGH!!!!!!! At some point I will get some sleep :/

        • Hi Kirsten

          I have just been reading through your post and I can identify completely with what you have gone through. It seems things have settled for you now? My baby at 6 months went through the exact same problems with pulling and scratching at her ears (one more than the other) until it bled. I eventually figured it might be some eczema. I decided to use a mild hydrocortisone cream which helped a little. I brought her to the doc who said I was doing exactly the right thing but if the milder version didn’t work to use a stronger one SPARINGLY the odd time and it worked immediately!!! Massive change with her. In case your little one starts this problem again it’s good for you to know. I have had eczema and I know how uncomfortable the itching can be. These creams are the only thing that work during a flare up. In between times keep her skin (backs of her knees too) well moisturized. Good luck :-)

          • My son also has eczema, which was interfering with his sleep patterns as well. Though we used hydrocortisone in the beginning, I stumbled upon Aveeno’s baby lotion for eczema and have not needed to use hydrocortisone since (a humidifier and daily baths followed by a thorough moisturizing routine also help). If it is not eczema and the MD has ruled out other medical conditions (e.g. food allergies), talk to the MD about possibly getting an OT eval for sensory processing issues completed, especially if you see additional symptoms. This is a good website for more information (with a symptom checklist):

            I am an OT and it is not at all infrequent for these kiddos to have difficulty sleeping! Good luck!!!

        • i am sure your child is showing symptoms of magnesium deficiency , as simple to cure as epsom salts in the bath at night.i hope this helps !

  53. Hey Alexis,
    My 5 month old will only fall asleep while breastfeeding. He will rearely sleep if i am just sitting down with him or rocking him and will NEVER fall aseep without me holding him. Would it be okay for me to put him to sleep in his crib with a bottle of warm water? Would it help at all? I sure don’t want to have a kicking screaming 2 year old when i won’t breastfeed him to sleep everynight anymore. Is it necessary to have him sleep on his own now? Is it possible? Since the day he was born, even in the hospital, he has slept in bed with me. Around three months old I started putting him to sleep (on the breast as always) and then putting him in the crib. This is when he started to sleep through the night again. But recently, he has been waking up 2 hours after i put him in the crib and wants me to change him, and put him back to sleep. Sometimes he will wake up again 2 hours later and sleep through the night once i put him back to sleep or he’ll just wake up the first time and sleep through the night. Sometimes he will wake up later in the night while im sleeping and ill just bring him into bed with me, which will be followed by him waking up throughout the night and having to continuously be nursed back to sleep. I’m really not sure how to get him to go to sleep on his own especially considering i live with his grandparents and his 14 year old aunt and i don’t want to keep them up with a screaming baby. Would it be worse to just have him sleep on his own at one or two years old?

  54. Hi Alexis,

    I am struggling big time to get my almost six month old, ebf son to sleep for naps. At night, we did CIO about a month ago and he now sleeps on his own every single night with no tears. I place him awake in the crib and he falls asleep within a few minutes. He sleeps ttn from about 7:45 until sometime between 4 and 6. When he wakes up, he nurses, then goes to sleep for about two more hours. Sounds great, no? The problem is that he will not self soothe for a nap like he does at night. He has a total sleep-nursing association. He falls asleep on the boob, but when I pop him off, he wakes up and cries. If I am able to pop him off without crying, he wakes up when I put him down in the crib and screams. I have let him cry (to see what happens) and he can cry for over 20 minutes without falling asleep. I use blackout shades, white noise but no more swaddle because he breaks out of it. Any ideas/suggestions? Naptime has become a major source of anxiety for me and I dread putting him down to sleep. I’ve read the advice on how to wean from a paci, but am not sure how to apply it in this situation.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Diana, I am having the exact same issue with my 7 month old… sleeps well at night with minimal wake-ups after we sleep-trained her, but naps are still extremely short and it is almost impossible to get her to settle without a bottle (and then usually what happens is that she falls asleep with it, and either wakes as soon as we put her in her crib, or wakes about 15-20 minutes later and nap is done). I suspect we may headed towards crying-it-out at nap-time, but I am not really sure how to accomplish this. My understanding is that CIO works so well at night that they are so tired that eventually they have no choice but to fall asleep on their own, but that this is not the case during day sleep. So I am not really sure how to accomplish sleep-training her for naps (although if I have learned anything from Alexis, I think the first step would be to break the bottle-nap association!) I would appreciate any insights that any others may have as well!

      • As of about two weeks ago, I’ve had a napping breakthrough :-) Instead of nursing right before attempting a nap, I started putting my baby down for a nap about two hours after the start of the last feeding. Works like a charm. I used to be afraid to nap him without feeding him, thinking that he would be hungry, so I’d start a feeding and then he’d fall asleep. I was never able to transfer him to his crib without him waking up. Now, 9 times out of 10, I put him in his sleep sack, and rock him for a little while in his dark room with white noise going, and he falls asleep for a decent nap. I am now doing eat, play, sleep for his routine. Try to put your baby down at the same times every day, or about two hours after she last woke up. It’s working for me!

        • Great suggestion. Does she root for the boob when your are rocking her though? I can’t seem to rock my little guy without that happening, when I don’t give in, then he cries. When you put her down in the crib is she sleeping or awake- if awake, does she cry?

          Also, to confirm you put her down 2 hours after she woke up or 2 hours after you last fed her? Thank you again for your suggestion, I am hoping it will work with my little one.

        • Great idea, I am inspired and will try it starting tomorrow! Thanks!

      • I’m at wits end. My 6 month old is a TERRIBLE napper. We have his bedtime routine down to a T and he sleeps from 7pm-4:30am. He wakes because he’s wet so we change him, feed him and ALWAYS lay him in his crib awake. He sleeps until 7am. Then we get him up and do our normal daily routine. Naps are an entirely different story. I do the same routine with him every time. I breastfeed him, rock him for 5 minutes, lay him in his crib awake but sleepy and give him his kisses and leave the room. He wakes 20 minutes later EVERY TIME! And will not go back to sleep. We have tried CIO and he will literally cry for the next 40 minutes straight. I have did the whole pick him up, cuddle him, soothe him and lay him back down…he still cries. I soothe him in his crib…still cries. He has a radio in his room playing all the time around the clock. He just hates napping. He has been like this since he was born. We even switched from 3 naps to 2 as was suggested… still nothing. I cry as much as he does. I can’t stand to hear him cry. It’s now been Day 7 of trying the CIO consistently for naps and he still is no better than Day 1. I’ve tried putting him down earlier, later, etc. Still nothing. I think each baby is different. I’m getting so stressed and frustrated especially reading when ppl have their babies sleep an hour – 2 hours at a time. It makes me feel like a failure. When I know I’m not. As long as they are loved, dry bum, fed, cuddled, and happy I don’t think there’s any more you can do for them. As of today, I’m just going to let him get up after his 20 mins, and hope he naps longer the next nap. Oh and I have tried stirring him to get a new sleep cycle to start…still doesn’t work.

        • Hi Tiffany, i just read your post and your baby couldn’t be more similar to my 9 month old son. Just wondering whether you have had any break through since writing this or whether i too need to just accept that he sleeps no more than 25 minutes at a time!! i have tried everything you mentioned and am literally at breaking point. Thanks.

        • I did have problems during 3-5 months old with my lil guy. (Sleeping only 30 minutes at a time and then waking up ready to go, only to be super sleepy and cranky). What I found was that he was so alert to his surroundings that he needed extra help getting to sleep and staying asleep.
          So against advice, we tried a few things: First we put him on his belly (my Mom actually told me to- hate on me all you want) and patted his lil butt/back until he fell asleep. Worked instantly, like a charm.
          Second we bought a white noise machine (cheap at walmart) and cranked it up to the max. This way it drowned out noisy family and friends in the house, but more importantly created a soothing environment for when he woke up. Hearing the same exact sound as when he went to sleep helped keep him in sleep mode I think. Whereas a radio is always playing different songs, and has people talking which could actually be stimulating him when he hits the end of his sleep cycle. (Just a thought).
          Thirdly we added a humidifier for the nights he seemed to be getting a clogged nose and having trouble breathing- just enough to cause little snorts that would startle him awake.
          Lastly to break his 30 minute nap habit- I would head back in his room round 20/25 mins and wait for him to stir a bit- and I would pat his lil butt gently again so that he relaxed back into sleep. (You may have something different that helps your child fall asleep/fall back asleep, but patting worked for us) After doing this for a while, I would go in watch him stir…. and fall back asleep!! It was beautiful.
          Lil man is almost nine months now, with a new trick- pulling himself to standing in his crib, and his sleep schedule got thrown out the window lol. This means no amount of patting or soothing would get him to sleep when he was trying to learn. After tons of frustration and research last night, I went in to my crying baby boy, who was lying there miserable, unable to fall asleep- and I massaged his legs. I’d never tried it before, and he quieted down probably thinking oh, that’s new.. and drifted off.
          So although I have had a few wins I know I’ve got tons of battles ahead :/ It’s good to know though, that I’m not alone and there is always a blog somewhere out there to help me with my situation- hope this helps even just one tired Mom out there! :)

  55. Hi Alexis,

    I love your site and have been using this since my baby was born. She is 8.5 months now and we started the CIO method at month 6 but due to illness, travel etc, she kept regressing back to her old ways. We are doing it again now and it is generally going ok – except
    A) she always cries for 10-20 mins when going to bed – will there ever be a time where the crying completely goes away?
    B) she wakes up at 2:30am crying. I have started giving her just water to night wean her. I know she is not hungry coz she drinks just an ounce before pushing the bottle out. She then plays/complains/whimpers till 4am and finally falls asleep when I go into check on her around that time. I end up rubbing her back for a minute or two coz I am not sure how long I should let her stay up past 4am and I don’t want to be sleep deprived.
    She doesn’t cry much during this time. I am not sure what’s going on and how to fix this- should I just let her stay up till she finally cries enough or figures out to sleep on her own?

  56. Hi all … idk where to start
    it wont be wrong if i say we havent slept in months (surprisingly we got 2 weeks or so with 4-6 stretches of night sleep since i started to ST (PUPD)my lil bundle of joy -(5.5 months then and now 6 months)

    We started initially with a completely OT baby getting up every hour or two and then till last week we came down to 6hrs of straight sleep with 1-2NW – 1 for 5min and the other for feeding ..He would go down in an hour or to the max 2hrs. We were really enjoying this new routine where we all were sleeping and happy, but suddenly i have no idea what happened … since last 4 days its getting worse and worse …last night he was getting up every hour and tonight i put em down at 6:30pm and since then hes getting up crying every 5-10-15 minutes.

    Today i thought may be i should start nap training and so i did …naps have been going crazzy lately, wondered if thats leading to NW+ OT … hes been taking two 30 min naps and one 40-50 min nap since a week now, Today took two 30min naps and i was so disheartened and felt exhausted and lost .. no matter i started an Early BT my lil angel took an hour and a half to finally sleep (felt like he forgot ST which ive been doing more than 15 days now)

    i feel like quitting all nap/sleep training and just taking things how they are (either ways its not helping me or my baby)

    Please please please help me… i just dont know what more to do ..

    • I wish I could have told you exactly what was wrong with your baby. I see this was from Feb. I hope it is better now. :( In case anyone has similar problems with their child- something is WRONG. Wakes up after 5-10-15 minutes of sleep?? Ya, that’s not right. That’s not even a full cycle for a baby (30 mins). Something needs to be figured out- what is waking him. My son had silent reflux at 2-4 months that caused him to wake constantly. (Painful bouts of acid coming up into his throat, and being swallowed back down, ouch) We went through hell fixing it. Look up silent reflux symptoms to see if any fit him. If not you have to watch your baby to see what he is doing during sleep. Scratching (Eczema/teething) Shivering (Too cold) Sweating (Too hot) Startling from noises (Very alert baby) Learning new trick, like rolling (practicing in his sleep)
      Don’t just give up. Research!!! Take the time to see what is affecting your child, what he/she needs to make sleep happen. Good luck.

  57. I thought I was alone until I seen all these story. My 7 month old will put herself to sleep for her naps which are only 20-30 min if I’m lucky! Bed time I nurse her to sleep she’ll sleep until for a 2-3 hours then she’s waking up I really don’t know what else to do I let her cio and it really did help the first night she sleep 6 hours by the 3 night she was sleeping 9 hours then she got sick and now the cio is just a thing in the past please any advice will help!!

  58. Hi,

    Iv come across your page and I’m ever so grateful for your info, my baby is 6.5 months and never been a good sleeper but got worse around the 4 month Mark, I have followed your steps by feeding him 20 minutes before bed and just putting him down in his cot awake. we have done this for naps for a week and have managed for 2 nights with maybe 2 minutes of crying/fussing, my big question is when do you think I can start cutting his nighttime feeds as I cannot cope with the 3-4 night feeds any longer!! he doesn’t have a pacifier!

    This is my second child but my first slept through from 6 weeks….so this is all new to me!

    Thanks Claire

  59. My daughter has just turned 8 months. She is a great napper. She was taking 3 naps until now but she has started resisting the 3rd nap. What happens now is that I put her down for the night at about 7 or 7:30 and she wakes up after an hour or so and thinks she is waking up from a nap. She refuses to go back to sleep and thus she is staying awake until 10 or 11 pm. Also she can get a little moody during this time. CIO is not an option for me because she will vomit if she gets worked up. Any suggestions? Or is this normal?

    • maybe try an extended night time bedtime routine and a dreamfeed before she usually wakes up?? just a thought

  60. I’m at a loss with my 7 month old. Her naps are textbook (morning, afternoon and catnap in the evening.) She falls asleep on her own. I need only put her in her crib, day or night, and she puts herself to sleep. It’s her nights that are driving me nuts. She typically sleeps from 7 to 1 am. After that, it’s downhill with her waking every 1-2 hours until 6:30. She is hungry for some of those wakings and so we’re not ready to nightwean her but would like to get us down to just 2 night wakings. We’ve tried everything (CIO and no cry solutions). Nothing works and I don’t understand why, after 1 am, she can’t stay asleep. Any suggestions?

  61. Hi Alexis!

    I have a 7 month old who sleeps great for our sitter (3 hr naps, 5 days a week) but won’t nap for more than 45 minutes when he is at home on the weekends. He sleeps well at night although in my new-mom-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing-and-just-need-a-nap stage, I resorted to feeding to slep. So when he wakes up during the night, usually no more than once, I have to get up and nurse him back to sleep (sometimes hubby helps out with the bottle and sometimes, like magic, the baby sleeps ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE NIGHT! HALLELUJAH!). But feeding to sleep doesn’t seem to help for nap time. He usually falls asleep when I feed him but the minute I put him in his crib you would think he was in mortal danger!

    I guess I have two qestions: 1) How in the world can I get this child to nap for even an hour or two and 2) How do I break the feed-to-sleep routine I have gotten myself into without the pain of sleepless nights. I can’t imagine willingly going through that again.
    Any help you can give would be awesome. I realyl look forward to the weekends but with a great dread of how bad the nap situation will be.

  62. That is not only a load of crap, it is downright harmful misinformation. Really? If you don’t stop snuggling/nursing/bouncing/rocking your 6-9 month old to sleep you’ll never sleep again? Wow. I always nurse and bounce my 7 month old daughter to sleep and she sleeps 12 hour nights with 3 1 hour naps during the day. I know plenty of parents here in Portland, OR who did all of the wonderful security enforcing things you’re advocating against, and guess what?? Their teenagers aren’t asking to be rocked to sleep. Shocking, I know. Please consider that lack of human contact is unnatural, especially at night time. One reason so many Americans are so depressed. A better solution is practicing good sleep hygiene – an hour of calm down time before bed that includes things like massage, a warm bath, chamomile tea for mom, soft music, reading a book, and having total darkness in the sleeping room. Not using the bed or bedroom for anything but sleep. These are good sleep habits for babies and adults alike. Whatever you do, DON’T stop comforting your baby. The nights are long but the years are short, and soon you’ll be longing to hold that little baby in your arms again. Think about it.

  63. Another note, babies are biologically designed to process breast milk quickly and need to eat frequently – not sleep through the night. My daughter nurses 3-4 times during her 12 hour stretch and neither of us has to actually wake up. Their brain grows the most in your entire life in the first 2 years. It’s not biologically appropriate to expect a baby to sleep through the night. And if you cosleep and breastfeed, it doesn’t have to sacrifice anyone’s needs.

  64. Hello! Question about babies who just learned how to roll from back to tummy: my little guy is up every hour at night crying and when I go to him, I find him on his tummy very upset. I know he knows how to get back, but he doesn’t seem to remember that skill in the middle of the night. Is this something one just has to ride out and wait until babe has mastered this new skill or is this a CIO kind of thing? I feel bad letting him cry, because he’s so upset when he gets stuck. What is your advice?

    • My little girl (6mos) is having the same problem. It really freaks her out, and she can’t figure out to just lay her head down to the side. And as fast as I turn her on her back, she’s back on her belly. Also, she constantly has her hands in her mouth, which she usually gags on. I always swaddled her, but now she rolls over while swaddled, so I felt like it was time to give up swaddling. Any advice would be wonderful. :)

      • This happened with my 6 month old…5 months at the time. He eventually got the hang of it. He would wake in the middle of the night on his tummy and cry and cry. I’d flip him back and half an hour later he’d cry again. I flipped him back onto his back about 4 times the first night and then gave up. I let him cry himself to sleep which only took 5 minutes and over 3 more nights of him realizing I wasn’t coming back in to flip him over…he got it. That was 3 weeks ago and we haven’t had any issues since. I do not swaddle any more though. Only give him a very lite flannel blanket and only put it up to his belly button. I just turned the heat up a little more so he won’t get too cool. And make sure he has a sleeper on with socks or the sleepers with toes.

    • I just laid my baby on his belly to sleep (which is ok because he knows how to roll) He loved it and slept like a log

  65. Please help! I read your article about 2 months ago and it was working pretty well until about 2 weeks ago. My daughter is almost 9 months and at 7 months 1 week, we decided to let her CIO after reading your article. She had been nursing all night in order to fall asleep so I was slowly trying to night wean her as well. At first, after putting her to bed around 8-8:30, she would wake up for the first time around 1-2, then again around 5 and then around 7:30-8. That worked itself to dropping the 1-2 am waking and even one night to a solid night of sleep! But, in the past several weeks, I have done everything the same and she is waking between 12-1, 3, 5, and then 7. Also, it typically goes straight to a full scream instead of whining first then gradually getting louder. The past 3-4 days have been especially challenging bc she has now learned to pull herself up on her crib and gets very angry/unable to self soothe. I have resorted to putting her in bed with me the last few nights and that doesn’t work as well as it used to. When left to let her CIO it is now taking close to an hour for her to cry herself to sleep, which it used to take about 5-10 min max. Please help!

    Also, I have a Baby Bjorn travel crib that is used when we visit family that she will not sleep in (screams violently). It is hers and so the sheets/blankets etc are all familiar. Any advice on this issue? It had made it almost impossible to visit family. Thanks!

  66. Hello and good morning.

    We had to camp out in CIOville for a few nights and while it was horrible, our 6 month old now sleeps 10-11 hours at a stretch. The only time he wakes in the night is when he rolls over and can’t quite get back again. Poor bug. :) Anyhow, I can now put him in his crib for naps with minimal crying (5-10 minutes). BUT I have been finding that he is not sleeping–just playing! Sometimes he prattles away. But this morning he is just enjoying the feel of the fabric of his blanket and the breathable bumpers on his crib. He has no toys in the crib; just his little “lovie” blanket. I assume I should just roll with this; he isn’t screaming or even fussing. Just chillin’. The issue is after 20-30 minutes, then he will start to scream–quite often this is case. Shall I just continue with our CIO method that worked? I hate to go back to it; but teaching him to sleep seems invaluable. Thanks.

    • Sarah,
      I know you asked a question to Alexis about CIO, but I found your post inspiring. I was hoping you could help. My son has a strong association to nursing to help him calm down to be able to sleep. I put him down awake at night and he can settle. However, last night I tried to separate nursing by 20 minutes in his bedtime routine before I put him down awake. He was besides himself. He cried for over an hour, screamed really to the point I had to go in because he woke my 3 year old up- who has night terrors and he desperately needs his sleep.

      Anyway, it all backfired on me. I went in to feed him and then put him down awake after the hour + of crying. It seemed that nursing for a few minutes did the trick. When I put him down, he was out for the count at 8 p.m. HOORAY, right? NO… he was then up every HOUR on the hour starting at midnight.

      Needless to say, I am just at my wits end. I cannot function and need help. When you were camping in CIOville, after you put baby down awake, how many feedings did you do during the night? I am in a tug a war kinda battle with myself, thinking I should follow Dr. W’s path… put baby down nursing but don’t go in until 11, only 2 feeds and then not go in until 6 {which is easier on my little guy and he doesn’t cry for hours initially but horrible during the night} OR work on what this blog is saying, distance nursing from bed and night feed when needed, then try to wean when bed awake is established.

      Any words of advice or wisdom? My baby is 7 months old tomorrow. Oh and he has white noise, swaddle, lovey and in crib. He is a BIG boy and no longer works in the swing. Thanks.

      • Sorry one last thing. My little guy can fall asleep during the day in the car without nursing before putting him in to the seat. That shows me that he can sleep without nursing BUT needs motion. I hate to go to the swing when he does fine in the crib with nursing. OH GOOD LORD, I feel like a crazy woman.

        • Hi, Joanne!

          I am so sorry you are having troubles! It’s hard, I know. I am a first-time momma, so I am certainly no expert. BUT I did email pretty much every mother on facebook friends list and almost all of them told me that they had to let their kiddo CIO so that they could learn to sleep on their own. My little guy is sooo stubborn (he gets it from me and my husband, poor guy!). I thought that we rounded the CIO corner last week but then he started regressing. He would cry for an hour and still not sleep. I called the pediatrician and she said to let him go a bit longer (with checks, of course). He cried for 80 minutes and fell asleep. It was horrible and I felt like a neglectful mother.But for us I think it was a battle of the wills. BUT that night, we switched his bottle with his bath so that he was not feeding to sleep and he cried 10 minutes and passed out. the next night about 10 minutes and slept and last night he cried about 5. For naps, I give him his bottle and he usually falls asleep. I wake him just a little and pop him int he crib. Naps now (knock wood) are lasting about 1.5 hours or a little less. So all of that to say: Be consistent and be strong. I do not have another kiddo to worry about; I can see how that makes it a lot harder. For us, managing naps first really helped because then our sleep was less disrupted and that makes life better for everyone. He also has never taken a paci so he really needed to learn to self soothe. So maybe try to manage naps first (I know Alexis said that nighttime is the first thing to address) but maybe our backwards approach will work for you? :) I hope this rambling helps! I am praying you and yours all get some rest!

          • Thank you so much for the reassurance and helping me to realize that I can help my son learn how to sleep. I tried CIO again tonight- books and cuddling being the last thing we did and your prayers must have been heard because he fell asleep after 5 minutes of fussing! So thank you. I will have to pick your brain when I start to night wean. Thanks again.

  67. I’m not sure if this comment has already been posted by some one else, so I’m sorry if this is a repeat. I’m so baffled by my 8 month old. Lately (and I’m talking about the last 2 or so weeks) his naps have been becoming shorter and shorter. He seems to nap about a half hour to 40 minutes during the day.
    I thought, perhaps, I wasn’t keeping him up long enough. He’d start to show the “I’m sleepy” signs (rubbing eyes, yawning, getting increasingly fussy) about 2 hours of awake time, so down I’d put him for a nap (I do put him to sleep awake, we’ve been doing that since about 5 months and it’s going well). Half hour to 40 minutes later, he wakes. Sometimes happy, cooing, babbling, etc. Sometimes fussy. So the week before last, I thought “well, maybe he needs to be awake a bit longer before napping” and I’ve widened that awake window to 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours. Sometimes he naps more than an hour. Mostly not. Mostly he’s between that half hour to 40 minute range.
    What’s the deal? What could I be doing wrong? What ELSE could I try to help him nap longer? He doesn’t do this at night. He’s not a fantastic, sleep through the night kind of fellow yet (though last night he did randomly bless us with 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep – however, most night’s it’s 3.5-4 hours at a time…).
    Any suggestions? Any tips?

    • Not sure this is any help, but my little one used to have short naps… 30-45 min, and all of a sudden he started taking longer ones again! Perhaps just a phase? My guy is 8months, and his naps are 1hour-2.5 typically, and twice a day. They used to be 2 naps for shorter, he just changed all of a sudden. Maybe it will pass!

    • i’d love to hear about this too as i am in the same pickle!! my girl is almost 8 months and suddenly is taking 30-40 minute naps, and the middle of the day nap is getting almost impossible. she falls asleep for 10 minutes, then is WIDE awake and chipper, and i try again 1/2 hour later. if i let her cry, one day it was 1 hour and then next 30 minutes and she took long naps but then her 3rd was short too. i tried extending the window and that didn’t work either. i am also hoping it’s a growth spurt that she will grow out of. she also got less hungry at the same time so maybe??

      • Okay, so I don’t know if this will help you or not, but he is finally sleeping great naps. I can count on at least 1 hour & 20 minutes for each of his two naps now. By the end of March, this weird nap thing went away. I honestly think the culprit was teething. He finally cut his bottom two middle teeth – ones those bad boys were through the surface, he started taking amazing naps.
        hopefully your little one gets her schedule back on track soon! It’s so frustrating when you know your babe needs the rest but just won’t take it.

  68. I’m soooo glad!!! Did you feel like you conquered the world after he fell asleep?! I always do! We had a bit of a roller coaster last night: E went right down; no fussing. But had a soaked diaper around 11:45pm. My husband changed him in the crib (that’s a new trick that usually helps!) and baby boy was not having it. So he screamed for about 12 minutes and then conked out and slept until his usual 5am bottle. He has been drooling like crazy; I think we’ve got some more teeth! I will keep you in my prayers!

  69. Hey Alexis,

    I’ve literally read every post on your site and can’t figure out why my LO is such a poor sleeper, STILL. He is almost 7 months old, and is super inconsistent. One night he will only wake up twice, and the next night he will be up 8 times. He falls asleep on his own no problem. I’ve sleep trained him. I’ve tried ignoring his cries unless I think he is hungry. It didn’t work. He is breast fed and I’ve upped his solids to 3x a day. He naps 2-3 times a day (I have nap trained him as well). I’m at a total loss… I have no idea what to do next. Please help!!

  70. Hi everyone! My 8 month old knows how to put himself to sleep, he has done it a lot since he was a few months old. He gets up a lot at night to eat… 3-6 times (another issue in itself – I am exploring the idea of night weaning, once we are settled in our new home in about a month). At bedtime, he fights going to sleep, and cries and I pick him up to comfort him, but sometimes (most often) it is a battle…is there anything I can do to improve that? We have a nighttime routine. I get him ready the second I see any sign of sleepiness. I am not super keen on CIO, but would that work because he does know how to fall asleep? He sometimes accepts the snuggles, sometimes isn’t happy no matter what you do. Just dislikes the day being over? Would love some advice, or comments! Thanks!

  71. My 7 month old seems to be getting worse with nighttime sleep! I have done everything- we weaned him from the swaddle into the majic sleep suit and he is now weaned from that, we stopped giving him his pacifier at night(and this helped dramatically up until the last couple weeks), he falls asleep on his own at both bedtime and nap times, we have a set bedtime routine that we follow every night and he goes in his crib awake and falls asleep on his own. The problem is that when he wakes up in the MOTN he won’t fall back asleep on his own usually unless I nurse him. A month ago, I tried night weaning by gradually reducing the amount of time he was nursing and after a couple days (and lots of crying) he slept from 7-5, then nursed and went back to sleep for an hour or two, for 2 nights in a row. After that, he would sleep until about 4-430 am and I nursed him then because I figured it was close enough to 5 am and wasn’t worth making him CIO for an hour. And then it started be 3:30 or 3. And now within the last couple weeks, he has woken up as early as 11:30! If he wakes up really early then he will wake up again about 2-3 hours later for another MOTN feeding, so now sometimes he is getting 2 MOTN feedings. At one point I decided that if he woke up any earlier than 4 am, I just wouldn’t feed him and let him CIO if he had to. Well he cried for 2 hours straight one night and 1.5 hours another night. He is also teething and I couldn’t take another night of that so I started just nursing him when he wakes since that’s the fastest way to get him back to sleep. I have also been giving him a dose of Motrin at bedtime and another one when he wakes up if its been 6 hours. His first tooth came in last week but he still hasn’t been sleeping any better and I have still been giving the Motrin because I’m scared not to. Last night he woke up at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:40 and would not go back to sleep after feeding him at 4:40. I spent my morning crying and feeling sorry for myself that at 7 months things still aren’t better. Please HELP!!!

    • kind of having similar issues…although your make mine sound much better! i was having issues and brought back the dream feed. we feed her in her sleep at 10 pm before going to bed and then we know she is def not hungry. also if there in another time they are always up DF then too. you can wean off the DF but that way you aren’t responding to the cry. if you fed them in the last 4 hrs you know they can’t be hungry. my daughter was doing great and now wakes up between 3:30-4 am babbling and won’t go back to sleep for 45 min-1 hr. driving me crazy! anyone else have any ideas? i was going to try wake to sleep but am terrified!

    • This happened to mine to at around this time. I did some dream feeding before i went to bed (like 10 pm) as someone else also suggested, merely to reassure myself that when my baby woke up before midnight she wasn’t hungry. i also made sure (again!) that i was putting her down sleepy but awake and letting her get herself to sleep. this really seemed to help, as she would then tend to sleep until 3 or 4 am after doing a bit of crying for bedtime (like 10 minutes). if you’re putting your baby down awake already, then maybe try to do the dream feed and see what happens.

  72. I understand the sleep deprivation aspect of sleep schedules, and I’m a first time mom. However, my 6 month old girl, has always recieved comfort when she needs it. Our day naps are always nurse to sleep, and she doesn’t ever sleep in her crib during the day. She’s on her play mat or play pen etc. at night, we nurse to sleep, and she usually goes down around 9-10 in her crib with nightlite and sleep sheep going, and wakes up at 5-7 ish for a feeding, then back down for another few hours. It’s not fair to say that nursing a baby to sleep will cause sleepless nights, cuz clearly my ‘do what feels natural’ system is working a lot better then some sleep solutions other ladies here are trying. Every baby is different, so one solution may not work for everyone! We are now nursing until she’s drowsy and putting her in the crib almost asleep, going to slowly and painlessly wean her off. But if I let her CIO I end up with a wound up scared upset little girl. They’re only young once, I will cuddle while I can!

    • That’s good for you that that is working so well but it’s also not fair to say that your “do what feels natural system” is working a lot better than what others are doing. If I could nurse my baby to sleep for every nap and at night and he still napped well and slept all night, then I would do it but for most people it isn’t that easy!

    • Hey Jayme,

      I’m really glad things are going so well for you! Trust me there are MANY parents of 6 month old babies who would LOVE to have a baby go down without a peep and then happily sleep for 8-9 hours. A nice chunk of sleep makes everything so much more manageable and I’m happy it feels natural to you!

      But Jamie is right – most babies can do this “nurse to sleep” when they’re younger but for 97% of them it will eventually blow up on them. Usually between 6-8 months. So maybe you are in the 3% that can roll with this and honest we all hope that’s the case!

      But if your gentle baby starts waking up hourly, or bedtime devolves into a mess where getting her to fall asleep is increasingly more difficult and takes longer or starts to feel all but impossible, then IF those things happen, you may want to consider that the plan that worked so great when she was born is no longer working.

      Or look at it this way, if nursing to sleep worked so great for most babies nobody would ever need to do CIO because it wouldn’t be an issue. But the reality for most is that it almost always does blow up on you eventually. And IF that happens you may feel differently about parents who turn to CIO to solve problems they’ve created. Because IF that happens you may end up being one yourself.

      But I hope not.

  73. hi, i have a 9month old son who is sleeping terrible at night. he will nap in his cot on an afternoon for about 45mins which is normal for him, he will also fall asleep on his own but as soon as its bedtime it falls apart and is waking up every hour during the night. we r all sleep deprived even the dog!! anybody got any advice?? thank u.

  74. Hello fellow tired,

    I was wondering if others have had the following experience and found anything that helps. My 7 month old is sleeping pretty well these days – falling asleep on her own for naps and night, sleeping through the night. A relief! But every once in a while she starts screaming hysterically a few hours after falling asleep. The pediatrician suggested night terrors but I thought that happened more with older infants? Anyway, we usually wait a bit before rushing in, just in case she’s still sort of asleep (she does moan and sometimes cry out without waking up) but last night she became more hysterical so we went in her room and ultimately picked her up – which didn’t really help. We eventually went outside to walk around for 30mn. Another 15 mn later she seemed calm so we put her in bed – she started screaming again. Finally she spent 20mn using the boob like a paci and I was able to transition her into bed, where she cried 2 mn and went to sleep. Then slept until morning. SO. Any similar experiences, advice, thoughts?

  75. My son is 8 1/2 months old and our biggest challenge is going to sleep at the beginning of the night. When he turned seven months old we sleep trained and it took about seven or eight days. We started with Ferber’s “controlled crying” method, but after two or three days we decided that going in was just making him more upset. So, we then switched over to Weissbluth and just left him to cry. It was torture and made us feel super crappy to say the least.

    It worked for a while and most nights we’d have no more than 15 minutes of crying before he’d be out cold. We went to visit my in-laws over Memorial Day weekend and his bedtime schedule got a little messed up. We knew we needed to re-sleep train when we got home, but we are back to hour long scream fests. Well, the first two nights he cried for at least an hour (second night my husband caved and rocked him to sleep), last night the baby fell asleep on his own in about 20 minutes, and tonight was another mega scream fest for an hour before I caved and rocked him.

    When we go in he’s all sweaty and seems so stressed out. After rocking for less than five minutes he’s out cold and we plop him down in his crib.

    It blows my mind that we are completely back to square one after two or three nights of being a little “off”. It makes me feel like we can never leave home overnight again.

    Does anyone have any advice on what to do? Has anyone else had the experience of CIO taking a lot longer than the lovely little three day scenario described on Alexis’ website and in the Ferber book?

    If it helps to provide a little more context–

    The go to sleep routine has been the same since he was about four or five months old (diaper and jammies, boob, 3 board books, 2 rounds of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, a quick prayer, hugs and kisses, in the crib then we say “We love you very much and we’ll see you in the morning. We love you. Sweet dreams.”). Our time of day is consistent (we only vary if he’s giving us cues that he’s ready earlier or seems to be too alert). Naps are sort of a mess even though I have been trying to get them straightened out since he was six weeks old. He goes to daycare three days a week, so I feel like a big part of the crappy nap situation is the lack of consistency in sleeping environment and routine day to day.

    We know giving in and rocking is probably the issue, but I don’t know that we can handle an hour or more of screaming (not crying… screaming!) for a week or more again. It feels cruel.

  76. I don’t really have any answers, but your question reminds me of one I’ve had for a while now about CIO – which is that even though we sleep trained our daughter, with relatively minimal fuss thanks entirely to this website, but its not “permanent” if you know what I mean. She still has days every once and a while where she cries before bed or before a nap – and we’ve been tracking when it happens to see if there’s something different happening on those days, but there isn’t. I wonder if others have the same experience? If so, then it seems like even once your kid has learned to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night, successful sleep is an ongoing process (and relatively fragile – I know my sleep is. Even before baby a week-end away would mess with my sleep and since baby, I’m still not sleeping through the night even though she is). I went into sleep training with the expectation that it would be a silver bullet, so the first time after successful sleep training that my daughter had trouble with her sleep I jumped to the questions “what did we do wrong?” and “how do we fix it” and then “are we back in a CIO situation, or should we adopt a different strategy since she already knows how to sleep on her own and STTN?”

  77. Really? We will never, ever sleep through the night? My mom nursed me to sleep and somehow I managed to figure it out. The only reason I am writing this comment at 1:00 in the morning is because I’m up late freaking out over your website and wondering how my every instinct could be so horribly wrong. Every month or so I start to doubt myself and stumble across all the CIO advice on the Internet, but the fact is that I enjoy nursing to sleep and I don’t mind waking up at night and peacefully sharing a bed with my 7mo in the wee hours of the morning. I’m not ready to tell my baby she needs to toughen up and that life sucks and everyone sleeps alone. Oh, and she has torticollis so 1) there’s no way it is healthy for her to sleep in a swing and 2) stretching her while she’s asleep in my arms is the only way I can really make headway with her physical therapy. Every baby has a different situation and a different personality and I get it that your info is helping a lot of tired people. But all these articles do for me is make me feel like crap. I’m off to read kellymom dot com for some reassurance that I’m not a bad mommy.

    • Emily…I feel ya…I put my kids down awake and I guess that’s supposed to make for babies that can fall back asleep when they get up, self soothe I guess…but mine (twins) go down at 7 on their own and are back up screaming bloody murder 40 min later, no matter what. We have left them to fuss it out, for over an hour, but they hyperventalate, no crappy shush pat works, nothing unless I nurse them back to sleep. All. Night. Long. I think some babies just don’t fit into these general suggestions…and it sucks…I’m listening to one twin scream now, and she’s only been in bed for 2 he’s and this is the 3rd time she’s been up already. Uhhh :-)

  78. Dear Alexis,
    I sent a comment last night a 1:00am and luckily I don’t think it went through because it probably came off as pretty b*tchy. My baby was sleeping soundly but I was freaking out and couldn’t sleep because I’ve been obsessing over your website. I read your website when she was three months and thought everything made sense and that I would make an effort to teach her to go down awake. I was able to get her to do it a few times, but then she was diagnosed with torticollis and I found that the most effective way to stretch and massage her neck was to wait until she was asleep in my arms. It was more important at the time to address her actual medical problem than to hedge against a hypothetical one down the road. Now her neck is much better but she is 6.5 months and can’t fall asleep on her own. She wakes up a couple of times a night and it has never really bothered me. Everyone is getting enough sleep, more or less, not counting last night’s insomnia and sobbing (mine). You seem to say I’m damaging my daughter for life and that we will “never, ever” sleep through the night. It’s really hard to change something that’s working because of something you read on a website, especially when she cries if I try to put her down awake and it makes bedtime a horrible ordeal of tears and self-doubt. Don’t some people just keep on nursing to sleep? How can I trust that what you recommend is going to be worth suffering over?

    • Hi Emily, I meant to post my response directly to your comment, but silly me, I posted it in the main thread instead.

    • Hey Emily,
      Hmmm….I’m not entirely sure how to respond to this. Of course people are able to come here and express their feelings. Even if their feeling is, apparently,
      “You suck and are making me full of anxiety.”

      But I would like to suggest something and probably you won’t agree but I’m going to throw it out anyway.

      I’m not the one making you feel anxious. You are.

      Look if everybody is sleeping fine and you’re totally comfortable with where you’re at right now then why are you reading anything online at 1:00 AM? By not sleep? Or read a good book? Scratch that, it’s 1:00 AM, go with the sleep plan.

      I suspect that you’ve got some stuff going on there and you’re not alone. Parenting a baby is hard. There is a lot to worry about. It’s easy to get freaked out. But I’m going to suggest that the fact that you’re leaving comments here at 1:00 isn’t the problem, it’s the symptom.

      But to answer your question:
      “You seem to say I’m damaging my daughter for life and that we will “never, ever” sleep through the night. ”

      No – I’m not saying that. I’m not saying you are damaging your daughter. In fact nowhere do I say that anywhere. Nor am I saying that she’ll never ever STTN. I am saying that it will take a long time. And this is not my personal opinion it just is what it is.

      Should you believe me? Well that’s up to you. I’m not trying to sell you anything. But if, many months from now, you find yourself not feeling quite as content with sleep as you are now, you may want to come back and reconsider what I share. And if not? I honestly do wish you all the best with your journey.

      • Hello again,

        I just wanted to say that you are absolutely right – I have been suffering from a lot of anxiety lately, and it is certainly not your fault, or the internet’s. I was also avoiding accepting the fact that our sleep situation had been gradually declining – not horribly, but not what it used to be, either – because I was so desperate to avoid CIO. You hear so many horror stories (including from my own mom about baby me) about babies crying for 2 hours, puking, sobbing all night, etc., and I was afraid to even try.

        Well, we accidentally let her cry it out, and it was the easiest thing in the world. My husband and I decided we would let her cry in her crib for 10 minutes on the clock, because we had had enough and just needed a break. Lo and behold – a miracle. She fell asleep and has been going to sleep in her bed for a week now, and night nursing is down to once per night. I’m still suffering from (apparently unrelated) insomnia and anxiety, but at least bedtime is better and I’m so proud of my big little girl.

        So needless to say I feel a bit sheepish writing this reply, but I wanted to let you know – no hard feelings. Quite to the contrary. :-)

        And thanks, K and Becky, for your kind words.


        • Hey Emily,

          No worries – when you write about people not sleeping you can’t be surprised to get a few grumpy exhausted people leaving grumpy comments now and the. And I can relate – it only takes 3 nights of bad sleep before I morph into an utter banshee. This is pretty much why we rarely go camping 😛

          And hey – how great that things have gotten so much better! Also the “waking up all night” thing only lasts a week or two. Your body is still conditioned to wake up constantly but you’ll get over it.

          Thanks so much for circling back around with a friendly update – glad to hear from you :)

    • Hi Emily,
      My 6.5 mo old also wakes to nurse a couple times a night, only once if I’m lucky. I also don’t mind it and like snuggling him when he’s so sleepy. He does put himself to sleep but that hasn’t been the magic solution for sleeping through the night. We dipped our toe in CIO and turns out we didn’t like the way it made us feel. We don’t mind going in to soothe on the odd occasion and baby usually sleeps well.

      Point being, if you are not bothered by your situation then why stress over CIO or what a website says? I found this website helped me sleep train with no crying – swaddle, white noise, put down awake, and lots and lots of consistency. I also find by reading the comments that a lot of people have pretty gnarly sleep issues and I’m actually pretty lucky. I don’t think Alexis or anyone would recommend you do anything that you felt negatively affected your child’s health.

      I guess I felt the need to respond to you because I read some desperation in your words. It can not be easy dealing with an infant with a medical condition but you should feel confident that you’re doing the best thing for your personal situation. And hopefully you have a good support system in place that can lift you up when you’re having a rough day. Hang in there!!

  79. Emily, I am not Alexis, but I couldn’t help but respond to your comment.

    I don’t think you are a bad mommy. You are doing exactly what your baby needs right now. I think medical issues always trump other concerns.

    I also know a woman who nursed both her babies to sleep every night until she weaned and she said she didn’t think it had any effect on their sleep. Every baby is different so if what you are doing right now works for you and baby, then that is great! It is just good to keep in mind these skills and developments that can occur as your baby gets older so that if you do start experiencing any issues, you have an arsenal of information to help you solve them.

    I too have cried at 1am thinking I was a bad mommy, but this too shall pass :) Love your baby, try to help them sleep and thrive and you are doing exactly what you should be doing.

    Good luck!

  80. I have a 9 month old daughter who slept great up until the age of four month 8-12 hours a night from day one. She would nap great to during the day. Around four months it just stopped. She cries all the time. I can’t leave her sight. She will cry for hours if I just lay her in her crib playpen swing. Basically anywhere. I dread night times. We are both exhausted. She is averaging about seven hours in a 24 hour period for sleep. I know this isn’t enough for babies. If I have her in bed with me she tosses and turns and wakes up whimpering and crying. She also jolts and twitches a lot. We have struggled with constipation on and off as well. I don’t know if this is a factor. My dr doesn’t seem to be to concerned about the bowel or sleep issues.
    So far I have tried the CIO method. We bath and massage with lavendar before bed. I’ve tried bottle before bed. Going to bed with a bottle. If she falls asleep in my arms and I go to transfer her to a crib or playpen she jolts awake screaming. I think nights would be easier for me to handle of she didn’t constantly cry all day long as well :(
    Any suggestions?

  81. Help. Im a second time mom, and my 6 month old will not sleep in her crib. She also wont sleep if she dont have her bottle. She has acid reflex, the doctors said nothing was wrong with her since she was born but one doctor thought she might have it. They put her on the medication and it worked wonders. But she is so used to sleeping proped u, she will not sleep laying down. She constantly has to have her bottle in her mouth even if she is not drinking it and will not take a binky. I dont know what to do she wakes up every 1 to 2 hours. I have tried everything I could think of and nothing works.

  82. My daughter was 2 years old. She is tough if requested nap. What should I do. Let her to play and take a nap or I have to force her nap. Are the effects of child labor for not nap. How many hours she had to take a nap so she can has a positive impact on health and the intelligence? Thank you.

  83. So, nap time and putting-down-to-sleep time was going really well, until I decided that I needed to stop nursing baby to sleep (he is 6 months). Until now, he went to sleep like a dream, would nod off at the breast and continue to sleep for full naps during the day, and varying lengths of time at night. The reason why I stopped doing this (nursing him to sleep) is because hubby and I recently started to do sleep training to get baby to sleep through the night. That’s going really well, and I’ve had more sleep in the last couple of nights than I’ve had in the past 6 months. The problem is that in the last week that I’ve been putting baby down awake during the day means that he screams his lungs out instead of napping, sometimes not napping at all, or for only a short periods of time, and it’s snowballing, because he’s short on sleep so not falling asleep as well at the next sleep time (though nights are ok, thankfully, cross fingers, knock wood, etc.)
    SO, do I just soldier through nap times, try to keep him on his schedule (nap at 9 AMish after 6:30/7ish wake-up, long afternoon nap from 1-3:00 or until he wakes, sometimes 3rd short nap in afternoon, bedtime at 7/7:30), in hopes that it will eventually all straighten out, and he’ll learn to fall asleep on his own and start napping normally again, or should I go back to nursing to sleep? Are there any good tips that I should be applying?

    • I was just reading some previous posts and comments and am realizing that there are some basic things that work for most babies, but at the same time each baby/family is different. Nursing to sleep is lovely because it is quiet, warm, cuddly and EASY as far as putting the little one to bed goes. But, Alexis, you were absolutely right in saying that though it may work for the first few months, it usually ends up blowing up in your face eventually. And here I am. So we are learning the hard way, and we will learn. Little guy is finally asleep, and I’m sure that it will get easier in the next weeks or hopefully days. And though it is difficult in the short term, I know that I want a baby who is ok with, or maybe even enjoys, hanging out in his crib for a while as he relaxes himself to sleep. And he will get there. My daughter did, and he will too. But any magic solution tips will still be appreciated, if there are any 😀

  84. Alexis – Please help!!! I’m a first time mom of a premature baby and feel like a total failure. My son arrived almost 2-months early, so when we first brought him home we held him so much – partly out of fear, he was so small just over 5 lbs and I had to make sure he was breathing cause babies are so fragile (isn’t that what all first time mom’s think?). All the docs said that he needed the extra attention because he was still suppose to be in my belly. Then when his due date came all the docs said now it’s his “fourth trimester” time. Well all my shhshing, rocking, holding, etc. has back fired I think. He is now 6 1/2 months (chronological age), adjusted to 4 1/2 months and his sleep is TERRIBLE!!! Both naps and night sleep :( I was in heaven when he use to sleep from 9:30-5:30! Then I pushed his bedtime earlier and he slept 8-4 then nursed then back to bed until about 7/7:30. Now – he goes down at 8 and honestly is up every 2 hours or so. I’m trying to put him down awake but he just screams and cries and I can’t take it. My husband and I are so exhausted. We don’t know what to do. For his sleep training do you believe that it should be based on his actual age or adjusted age? I’m on your site everyday for at least 30-60 minutes, and while it all makes sense I just don’t know how to get my son to follow. I know sleep is important for EVERYONE and it’s the one thing that is lacking right now. Please any insight and/or advice?

  85. My almost 10 month old recently started waking in the night. We successfully let him cry it out when he was about 6 months old. He would go down awake and sleep anywhere from 6-7:30. About 3 weeks ago he started waking up in the night. At first just once, and now 2 or 3 times. He would have a bottle and then go back to sleep in his crib easily. Lately, he will fall asleep when he is picked up or after a bottle and then will cry when he gets put back in his crib. It seems like it may be separation anxiety, but I’m not sure how to get him back on the right track. Do I just need to let him CIO again all night?

  86. I can’t seem to find any information on how to get baby to nap. What if she fights every nap? I’ve been fighting this for months. I always have to nurse my 8 month old down, and stay with her, or she catnaps. She won’t CIO in her crib, she just cries off and on for over an hour, we’ve even gone as long as two. She goes to bed at night no problem now (thank you Alexis!), in her own crib, by herself, and sleeps 11 hours with only one interuption, yet nap time is torture! This is my everyday fight, and I can honestly say that I have absolutely no idea what to do! I stick close to home to try to put a routine naptime into affect, but it just ends up a fight! I’m at my wits end with this and I have been stalking your page hoping you will be writing another magic article, this time about napping, soon :(

    • That last sentence sounded pushy. Sorry. Maybe you have some naptime insite or could point me in the direction of someone who does? I do really appreciate the help you have provided so far, I guess I am just hoping you might have some ideas :)

  87. My daughter is almost 6 months. 2 1/2 weeks ago she started waking 2 to 3 times a night. She had been sleeping 10 -12 hours a night since she was 6 weeks old. At first she would wake up and stay awake for 2 hours or more. We’ve had some nights that she would stay awake for 30 mins, some for an hour (1-3 times) I have been giving a bottle when she was just inconsolable. She’s been swaddled up until a few nights ago but since she started rolling over in the swaddle I stopped (I feel like she was rolling over because she was awake so much). I took her to the doctor last week and was told she had a “very early ear infection” and was started on antibiotics. Nothing has improved and I’m losing my mind! A few nights ago I started putting her to bed awake but drowsy and when she wakes up she just whines and will whine for up to an hour before I finally give up and go get her. She’s a very happy baby, rarely fusses in the day. I’ve also increased day time feedings. More milk, more solids thinking she wasn’t getting enough calories. She just woke up for the third time tonight cried for what seemed like an hour, keep in mind I had just put her back down 30 mins before she woke up this time, I gave her about an ounce put her back down and now she’s sleeping again. She typically takes 3 naps in the day, 2 are about 1 1/2 hrs and one about 45 mins in the evening. My husband works off and has been gone this entire time. I’m also a stay at home mom, which is wonderful, but I’m just overwhelmed and need advice! What happened to my happy, sleeping baby?!?

    Sent from my iPhone

  88. I have an 8 month old daughter. She has no problem putting herself to nap during the day, but at night she wakes up calling for me, and wont stop unless I nurse her. She does this 3 times a night. I wouldn’t mind it if it was 1 time a night.

    Any suggestions? Do I just not go to her? It’s so hard.
    I want to break this habit if it is one now.

  89. Help my 8 month old son was on a great sleeping schedule in bes by 8 falling asleep by himself sleeping until 6am. I recently went back to work on 3rd shift and now he wont fall asleep himself and is up crying most of the night my mother is with him. When I am home he does sleep thru the night but doesn’t fall asleep on his own this is nuts he was so routine now its out the window please help

  90. I have a 7 month old daughter who was a sleeping champ from 2-3 months of age (slept 10-12 hours straight every single night), and then daycare and probably the 4 month regression hit, and she started to wake up at night. Initially it was just once a night, then twice a night. Now, she’s waking constantly – falling asleep right away, but waking up immediately after she’s put down, and even when she’s “down” she’s waking every 90 minutes to 2 hours. We’re lucky if we can get 3 hours in. Feeding her is the sure-fire way to get her solidly back to sleep… until the next go-round. I want to get her to fall asleep on her own – I really do- but here’s my issue: she is ready to fall asleep when she gets home from daycare at 5:30 or 6 every night. She’s hungry, but she’s also ready to go to bed. I can’t keep her awake after I feed her, because she’s already too tired. She’s not a great napper at daycare (bad days are 1 30 minute nap, good days are 2 naps of 45 minutes nap and an hour long), but given the fact that she’s in a room with 11 other kids, I’m not sure how much additional sleep is possible. We do the white noise machine (both at home and daycare), dark room, etc. We try to do a bedtime routine, though I’ll admit that it’s shortened because she makes it clear that she’s tired and ready to go down – she doesn’t have patience at that point in the night for a prolonged routine. I have tried waking her briefly after she falls asleep nursing before putting her in bed, and while that worked for a while, it now makes her escalate into full on crying because she’s awake and wants to be asleep and can’t figure out how to get there. Any suggestions? Please help. Not only am I tired and worried about the fact that the trend keeps getting worse, but I’m also really concerned about whether she’s getting enough sleep. It’s clear we’ve established bad sleep habits, and I don’t know how to get out of them.

    • One 30 minute nap some days–yikes! Poor baby and poor you. :-( I think you’re right that overtiredness is your first issue here. Day care sleep is such a tricky problem.

      This might sound bizarre and contrary to all the usual “early bedtime requires no late naps” advice, but it sounds like your baby NEEDS a bit more nap so what about a cat nap immediately after day care? If you feed her before leaving, then put her in the car, would she do a 20-30 minute car snooze in the 5-5:30 range? That might be just enough to perk her up for some evening play time. THEN you can establish a nice solid bedtime routine ending with put down AWAKE somewhere in the 7:30 to 8:00 range?

      Right now you have all night waking because a) overtired, some days really extreme and b) perhaps sleep association, i.e. falling asleep while eating or immediately thereafter. I think if you can figure out any way to have a not-overtired-but-sleepy baby AT BEDTIME, with good separation of food and sleep, you’ll get on a better track. And bonus–it’s possible that once she’s less overtired she could start napping better at day care? Fingers crossed for you. Good luck!

    • I wanted to tell you that you’re not alone. My daughter has very similar problems napping at daycare, and is the same age. Her usual day is one 30 min and one 45 min nap. We’ve fallen into a pattern of setting her down for a nap as soon as I get her home (at about 5), because she’s just exhausted. Then I generally have to wake her at 6:30, to eat and have a little time with us so we can set her back down between 7:30 and 8. I feel like this is a bad pattern, but not sure what to do. Even when she’s well rested, she doesn’t sleep more than 10 hours a night, so I fear that setting her down at 6 or so would just be a disaster. (Though I count myself lucky, in that night sleep isn’t too bad – generally one night feed and often one other waking.) Alexis, is this pattern of poor napping at day care that we are both experiencing common? Is there anything we can do? It seems like all the things I read about baby sleep are geared towards sahm or babies with a nanny. I suspect that the problem is too long waketimes, but my day care has tried setting her down at more appropriate times and she won’t sleep – it’s just too much fun. (One day her first nap was extremely late as her and two other girls were just chatting away in their cribs.) I am hoping as time passes it will get better…

  91. Hi Alexis,

    I have been reading your site since my son was born. He is now 6 months and, with much help from your advice, is an amazing sleeper. He goes to bed around 6:00 and sleeps straight through until 6:00 the next morning. However, he only takes very short (20-30 min) naps during the day, and needs these about every 2 hours. This means he is taking about 3-4 naps throughout the day.

    My question is: what would a typical 6 month old sleep schedule look like? He just turned 6 months on Christmas. Am I on the right track? Should I be leaning more toward creating a predictable nap time schedule, or just continue putting him to sleep whenever he gets tired?

    My main concern is day care in February. He will be in a room with children up to 3 who do not nap 4 times a day of course. Therefore, he will only be getting one nap each day which is simply NOT enough. I am so worried my awesome sleeper will turn into a cranky, overtired baby.

  92. Hi! my son just turned 9 months, so we are a little late due to some reflux, etc. But I am determined now to do some sleep training! He goes to daycare during the day and naps well. But within the last month, he fights sleep horribly…we have to do a dog and pony show to get him to sleep! I nursed and he shared a bed with us, moved him to a bottle at 4 months, but we are still sharing a bed! He is eating some solid foods now so that helps sleep. But I am wondering the steps I should take. We have tried a few times lately to nap or sleep in his bed, but only after he falls asleep. He doesnt stay in there very long before he knows I will get him and bring him to my bed. I am afraid that he wont nap well in his bed, and I know how important naps are! so do you have any advice on getting him in his bed first? I know I have to do this before we start to sleep train, because its not going to do much good in our bed! I am wondering what I need to work on first, weaning off “bottle to sleep” or putting him in his bed!

  93. Hi, I have been to your site awhile back and we had a great run but are stuck at the moment. My dd is 8.5 months, she usually sleeps 11-12 hours at night with minimal waking, and if she does wake, she puts herself back to sleep (most of the time). Naps are another story. We we’re doing quite well for awhile but now she loves to stand the second she stirs and thus won’t put herself back to sleep if she wakes mid way through a nap. She definitely knows how to get herself back down so that’s not the problem. We keep waking at 30 min or so, stand up, and won’t go back unless I pull her out, rock her, or nurse her. I used to be able to put her down to sleep awake but have been rocking her lately because if she’s awake at all when I put her in the crib, she stands up and starts screaming. Any advice? I keep intervening on the naps because I don’t want to get into an overtired state, but I also don’t want to be creating a sleep prop. Should we go back to cio even if she’s standing and crying? At a bit of a loss

  94. Hello Alexis-Thanks for the great info. So our twins have nailed the night sleep thing. We have a great bedtime routine and they are going down (at 6 months old) between 6:15-6:45 nightly and sleeping for 12 hours with one mid-night feeding snuck in there. However, naps are still a struggle. Our boy is sleeping in 45-90 min nap stints, 3 times per day and a catnap at the end of the day, generally. However our little girl screams at almost every nap and skips some here and there after crying for 30 min. When she does fall asleep, its for 30-40 min at the most 3-4 times per day. We feel like we are always putting her down…. some sites say that we should put her down sooner, than 2 hours, some sites/books say she can have 2-3 hours of awake time. Watching her queues is not working so now we are putting her down at set times to see if that works. We have no fallback options other than holding here, where she will nap in your arms for an hour no problem, but we are resisting that after breaking her sleep association with us for night time….it is heartbreaking to hear her cry when put down after almost falling asleep in your arms! Help!

    • Hey Jason,

      So essentially she sleeps great if you hold her but fights sleep furiously if put in her crib yes? Then my answer is: more soothing. I know she’s 6 months but maybe she can sleep great in the crib at night but needs MORE during the day (swaddle, swing, white nose would be your go to). Because the imperative to sleep is far weaker during the day than it is at night so she may very well need more help during the day.

      Also my 2 cents is that twins need to be kept on a schedule even if it’s not always the easiest option. Your sanity demands that they sleep at the same time so floating about with one sleeping, one awake, etc. is a doomed strategy. Forget the sleepy signs, put her down at the same time every day. 2-3 hours awake is long for a 6 month old although she might be awake 3 hours prior to bedtime, I would lean more towards 2-2.5 tops.

      So both kiddos sleep at the same time. And if one needs MORE then give her MORE.

      Good luck!

  95. Ok, so things have definetly improved with my 9mo. She goes down awake, wakes up once to eat, and makes it until morning. She dropped a nap, and now takes two, good quality naps a day (1.5-2hrs). BUT. its almost like all the hard work I put into the whole “going down awake” thing has gone out the window. For the past two nights, she has been going down just fine at 6:45-7ish, and then waking about 30mins later crying. All out, top of her lungs, shouting out “mama!” kind of crying. At first I thought Id just let her cry it out (because going in to console her was just making it worse) but she will cry so hard that she poops and I need to go in to change her, the whole process making her even more angry. What happened?! What do I do now?!

  96. Hi Alexis, my husband and I have turned to your site for advice since our son was only about 4 weeks old and have found it to be an extremely valuable tool. 2 weeks ago I would have said my then 32 weeker was turning into a great sleeper after a lot of patience and work he was going to sleep by himself at bedtime, 1 MOTN feeding which was down to 4 ounces and his naps were starting to get longer from about 40 min to 1.5 or 2 hours. Now, he is 8 months old and an easy crawler and pulling up and surfing our furniture. This was very exciting until he started doing it in his crib. Now I have to stand over him and lay him down 20 times before he falls asleep otherwise he beelines for the edge and pulls himself to a stand. I obviously don’t mind doing this but I’m worried that if I keep helping him get to sleep now that I’m ruining all of our previous work. He isn’t very sturdy yet and I’ve seen him fall and bump his head when I haven’t gotten there quick enough. What do you suggest is the best way to go about helping him with this newest phase? I try to soothe him as best I can before laying him down but with his new mobility he isn’t a huge fan of me “restraining” (holding) him.

    • I’m facing the same thing! My 8 months old girl has just figured out crawling and grabbing things to stand…Last week she was surfing around the crib for an hour and a half past her bed time. I had to go in and hold her etc. till she was drowsy enough and went to sleep…and I’ve had to do that since then. I think she is going through a growth spurt. But now its been a week, I am not trying to just tire her out before I put her down, but without fail, I put her down relaxed and sleepy and less than 5 minutes later I can hear her. I got the noise machine and the lullaby going on non-stop but the only thing that seems to work is going in and holding her still…she wiggles and cries and falls asleep in less than 5 minutes.

      • JayZ- I can tell you what has worked (usually) for us. I practiced sitting with my son during the day by putting toys next to him that he would need to sit down to get to. Once I was certain that he was able to do it I stopped laying him down in the crib. When he needed a reminder (which was frequent) I would sit or kneel next to the bed and pat the mattress between the rails while I told him “lie down, its night time”. Sitting next to his crib encouraged him to get on my eye level and he would lay himself down. It definitely took some time but now he will usually just play until he gets tired and then lay down and go to sleep for naps and bedtime. Honestly, the other thing that helped was that we usually drop his third nap now (almost 9 months). He is more tired for bed and almost never fusses. Hope it is a quick phase for you, it was especially frustrating for us.

      • Also, as far as standing up after 5 minutes-we noticed this too. It almost seemed like a reflex to me and sometimes I swear he was doing it in his sleep and then would wake up when he was standing! I think its just their little bodies wanting to badly to practice this exciting new skill that they have learned. That should, hopefully, go away fairly quickly with a lot of extra practice during the day.

        • Thank you so much Elise! I will try kneeling next to her bed…(she has bumpers though so I’ll have to remove one of the four sides…I have them tied on the outside so that they are not a hazard)

          She hasn’t managed to stand just yet, but she figured that she needs to grab and pull herself up. I’ve had to do a little of “crying it out.” 3rd nap has been hard to do for about 3 months now…So I just try to give it to her two or three times a week, but I don’t force it either. I found that definitely once she passes the 4.5 hours awake marker, she gets wired…So i try to start the bedtime routine at the 4 hour marker, so by 4.5 we’re done and she goes to bed.

          Thank you thank you! It makes total sense, I’m gonna try that.

  97. Anyone have any ideas?

    My 8 month old son 2 days ago put himself to bed just fine (he goes down awake) and has since he was 5 months old. All of a sudden we put him down in the exact same manor and he screams like a banshee. He recently started pulling himself up so not sure if it is part of that development, maybe part of the 9 month sleep regression. Just out of the blue and it drives me mad because I can’t handle it, but I know he’s fine before we put him in the bed so he needs to just cry I just don’t get why.

  98. When my one year old son had trouble sleeping through the night I bathed him with johnsons baby bubble bath it’s got lavender in which is supposed to be relaxing, I have him lots of cuddles then when he was in his cot I’m play lullaby’s by he goes straight to sleep then I usually fall asleep sat on the floor next to his cot try it’s free music on you tube really beautiful and soothing hope it helps you both get a good nights sleep x

  99. I am at my wits end. I am so exhausted I don’t know what to do. My Son is 8.5 months and was colicky until about 5 months old. At 4 months we tried sleep training but due to the colic we had to stop. He also has reflux but that is controlled by meds now. From about 6.5 months until now he has been sleeping mostly through the night. Occasionally he would have 1 wake up and need a re-binki and go right back to sleep. He started cutting teeth about 2 weeks ago and sleep is ruined. The right one is in but the left is still coming. I gave him motrin but he still woke up 3 times last night. He has been waking up 1-2 times every night for the past 2 weeks, I give him teething tablets and re-binki and he goes back to sleep. I can’t keep getting up with him but CIO has never worked for us. What on earth can I do. I work full time in a high level position with a University and I drive 35-40min each way to get there. I am so Tired I am falling asleep in the CAR. My husband is a shift worker so there is little to no help at night. I need this kid to SLEEP!

  100. Hi Alexis and other readers,
    I am at a loss with my 6.5month old son. He was a fantastic sleeper until the 4 month sleep regression. From that point on his night waking are all over the place.
    He goes to bed at 7pm and puts himself to sleep. We have the white noise going. He naps 3 times, usually 1.5-2hours each time. If not napping well (40mins each time) then it’s a 4 nap day.
    So I try to make sure he’s not overtired, he’s started solids and he eats like a champ. He is still exclusively breastfed and also bf like a champ 4 times during the day. He’s a big boy (as in 99th percentile).
    So he goes down at 7pm and then will be up for the first time anywhere between 9:30 and 1:30. After his first waking, he’s up every 1.5-3 hours. So some nights he’s up 2, other nights it’s 6 times. And each time he wants to eat. It makes no difference if I leave him or put him in the swing…he will cry until I feed him or he falls asleep, usually 1.5 hours.
    I should also mention that he’s sensitive to milk so my diet and his are milk free.
    So anyone else experience the random night schedule? And if so, any ideas what could be causing it? My Dr seems to think I have to feed him more solids…I have increased his solids from one meal to two but no difference. Maybe it’s a habit of randomness??….

  101. Hi Alexis,

    My baby boy is about to turn 6-month. We are struggling with his bedtime and naps. Hope you could provide some tips.

    When he was under 4-month old, he always self-soothed to sleep at night around 10pm within 10 minutes after we put him in the crib. Then 4-month hit it took him much longer to fall asleep. We moved his bedtime earlier but he was fussy about that. In order for him to sleep earlier and quicker, we rocked him to sleep at night. Things got tougher as he got older and started to roll from back to tummy; as soon as we transferred him to his crib he woke up and we had to repeat the process again and again. So we decided to sleep train him. We put him down awake within 2 hours after his wakes up from last nap. We do have a bedtime routine. Now he rarely cries; he sucks his thumb to sleep. He rolls on his tummy once we put him down awake; he’ll suck his thumb to try to sleep as he crawls around the crib. It took a good hour for him to fall asleep coz he and these past few nights, things are worse and by the time he finally fell asleep it’s almost 4-5 hours since he woke up from nap. He’s teething lately but I don’t think he was in pain as he didn’t seem fussy. I don’t know why it takes so long for him to fall asleep.

    He used to be able nap 90 minutes on our bed and now couldn’t nap more than 1 hour either on our bed or his crib. He can nap easily 2 hours on stroller. I feel like a homeless spending hours outside in the hot weather trying to get him nap longer. Most of the time he wakes up 30 minutes and won’t fall back to sleep when he’s in the crib. If I were to rock him back to sleep, it takes at least 20 minutes and it’ll be his feeding time again. I’m breast feeding him and want to follow the 4-hour eat, play, sleep cycle but he’s not a great eater either and wouldn’t take much each feed. If he naps in the stroller, he can go for 4-hour feeding interval but if he naps in the crib, he eats every 3 hours.

    When he was 4.5-month old, he followed a schedule well for a week then things fell through all in a sudden. The length of his naps keeps changing and most of the time he wakes up early at weird times. After night feeds sometimes he just wakes up completely and takes 1-2 hours to fall back to sleep. We want to establish a more consistent schedule for him but he messes things up pretty well; I’m basically working around his schedule, which changes every day, in order to prevent him from getting overtired. Because he takes catnaps, he’s constantly overtired and cranky and not eats well. It takes much longer for him to fall asleep for a nap then how long he naps.

    I heard that after 6-month things will get better but I don’t see the light; in deed, it’s getting more difficult and every day there’s a new challenge.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.


    • Wow your baby sounds just like my 7month old. I now feel like Im not alone. When he was 3-4 months, he was able to take naps during the day every 2 hours and soothe himself to sleep. Then at 6months, when his teeth broke in, he progressed backwards. He refuses to be alone now, suffers from separation anxiety, won’t nap during the day (maybe just 2 naps max 45 minutes each), he will only sleep around 3am for the night but you have to rock him to sleep which is something we stopped doing at 3 months, and as you rock him, he is fighting you to stay awake. The only good thing is, once he sleeps he’s out for 10 hours. I am mortified to teach him to sleep on his own b\c I know this is going to be a battle.

      Any advice would also be appreciated.Thanks.

    • This sounds very similar to my just-turned-six-month old. Would love your thoughts, Alexis!

  102. Hi Alexis,
    Our 6 month old baby girl is our first and she such a joy! She has become a great sleeper until she turned 6 months old. It was practically to the day that she changed in how she likes to be put down. Before this change she would wake between 5:30-7:30am take 3 1-2 hours naps/ day and I would put her down at 7:15pm awake/sleepy and she would play in her crib then pass out for 10-12 hours. She is thriving and doing great. She just started to get her teeth (1 has poked through but not all the way through).
    The only thing that I have changed at the 6 month mark is her formula. I am nursing her 2x a day and then giving formula bottles the rest of feedings/oatmeal cereal/veggies/fruits.

    It was CRAZY I couldnt believe it – I was pretty sure I had hit the sleep jack pot…

    Now, when I put her down at 7:15 (after we do our night time routine) she gets mad and cries for a while and i go in every 10 minutes then make it 12 minutes, etc etc and then at 9:15 I either rock her to sleep or give her gas drops or motrin because I am convinced it is her stomach/teeth. I only gave her motrin 3x the last week because I dont want to give her medicine but i am pretty sure it is her teeth???


    • Hey Kate,

      It’s not teeth or gas or any of that stuff. It’s how she’s falling asleep at bedtime which – if I gather correctly is not happening. Basically she grumps along till 9:15 then you rock her to sleep.

      It changed miraculously at 6 months because of this:

      I know this sounds harsh but these checks and then the 9 PM rocking are all working against you and dragging something out that can and will be a relatively quick process if you’ll get out of the way. So…

      Consider putting her down awake at 7:15/7:30 and then nothing. Yep nothing. No rocking at 9:15. If you must give motrin give it at 7 and then that’s it.

      Ignore fully. That’s my advice. Try it for 3-5 days and then let me know what happens. Sound like a plan?

      • Hi Alexis,

        Do you have any thoughts to my baby’s sleeping issues above?



        • Can anybody help I feel like I’m going mad in the 6 months my sons been here he has only slept 4 one week for 9 hours in the night now he wakes up 5 times if not more in the night he eats food and still has some bottels in day but he just won’t sleep he will have an hour nap in morning around 10.30 ish then another at 3.30 for half hour then bed at 7.30 8 it takes at least 3 attempts for him to actually go down eg I get him to sleep lay him down 10 mins later he wakes up crys then he does this a few times then adventualy goes down then wakes again at 11 and again at 1 and 3 and 5 and .7.30 I try haveing him in bed with me Afta 11 and he just fidgets all night I think it’s colic as I struggle to bring his wind up as he pushes back when I try and just screams until I stop doing he I really don’t no what to do any advise needed ?

  103. Yeah, hope your 6 months is better than mine. I nanny 6 month old twins. One sleeps fine, but the other one NEVER wants to sleep well. They’ve rarely been rocked to sleep so that’s not the problem. She’s put down for a nap and maybe 45 mins later, she’s screaming. Sometimes it’s after 20 mins and she might go back to sleep but it takes a long time and sometimes she ends up waking the other twin. It’s so frustrating! And she seems tired and cranky when she doesn’t sleep. Not sure what to do about it…

    • Hi my name is kitty. I have 6 months old twin boys. I have same issue like yours. One twin sleeps really good and other one sleep 20 min to half hour which takes me to put him to sleep for an hour. And sometime when he sleeps and other twin or his older sis wake him up with noise. This twin is very light sleeper and very sensitive to sound. I don’t know what to do. Please do let me know if u have any idea.

    • It prob depends on how many total hours of napping she’s getting. If the naps total a few hours a day, she’s probably fine, but what other symptoms does she have?

      My daughter has a sensory processing disorder and she was impossible to get to sleep. Ever. Still is. SPD can affect a child’s ability to fall asleep and transition from asleep to awake (and scream their heads off quite a bit). Might want to look into that.

  104. Alexis —

    My 6 month old daughter sleeps through the night from about 8pm to 6am, and has done so since 4-5 months. I helped her “connect her sleep cycles” by waiting a minute or two to see if she’d fall back asleep, and sure enough, it took only a few days before she slept through. She’ll still wake me once occasionally for a nursing snack or because she’s uncomfortable from teething (working on the bottom two right now), but it doesn’t happen regularly at all.

    The problem is: daytime naps. She takes like 4 or 5 tiny (30-45 minute) naps. Occasionally there’s a long one in the afternoon (1-1/2 hrs). Occasionally there is a tiny 10 minute nap. I don’t understand how her successful night sleep can be so different from these choppy daytime naps!

    The other challenge is that I have an older daughter who is 2 years old, and I work from home. I am swamped, and can’t quite figure out a plan to get these naps longer and more consistent.

    Here are the things I might be screwing up: (1) still nursing her when she seems sleepy until she’s *really* sleepy; I cannot seem to figure out how to feed her ahead of naptime so that I’m putting her down full but awake–because I cannot predict her naptime and plan ahead! and (2) not letting her fuss, maybe, when she wakes, until she sleeps longer? She howls and gets worked up almost immediately upon awakening. And it’s not the type of cry that settles easily — when I helped her sleep through the night, it was a fussy whimper-and-flail that I suspected would work itself out, and it did. In the daytime, she howls. I find myself picking her up quickly — sometimes so she doesn’t wake her big sister (who has a whopping long 2 hour nap every day). At other times, big sis comes along to “check” on her beloved little sis whenever she starts crying.

    How can I help my awesome night-time sleeper sleep like a champ by day?

    • Hello I am having the same problem and my little one is 8 months next week I have given up on putting him in a crib and have been co-sleeping with him but I am regretting that these days. You said you work at home? What do you do? I have been looking to get back to work but I need a specific schedule so working at home sounds great.

  105. Our 6 month old daughter is not sleeping well at all. We put her down around 8pm and she’s up every hour or less until 3am. She then sleeps til 7 am. She naps at 10am and that usually lasts for an hour. Today she napped again for 20 minutes twice. We are very concerned about brain development. She’s already crawling and trying to stand up. Any advice would be appreciated. She’s a light sleeper, has reflux on medication, and falls asleep better when upright.

  106. Hello,
    My LO is 6months this week. I’ve been trying to get her to go down for naps and sleep for the night in her own. I’ve tried everything from about 4.5 months when she regressed. Here’s what out schedule looks like:

    7am awake
    8:30am nap
    12pm nap
    3pm nap
    5pm solids, snuggle time
    6pm bath
    6:30 (asleep at this point) and only wakes once for MONF

    The issue:
    1) I can only ever get her to take two naps yet I know she’s tired. She’ll cry and cry … 15-30min then nap or cry and cry up to 40mins plus … and have a second and third wind than ready to play.

    When she falls asleep she’s a great sleeper… rarly a 30-45min napper, mostly 1-2hours and sometime in the past 3 and I am sure she could have kept on sleeping but I tend to wake her as I am scared that it will interfere with night.

    Should I not wake her from long naps?
    Is she sleeping too much at night and / or naps that it may interfering with her wake time?

    2) I’ve tried everything from patting, shushing, rocking etc nothing every works other then adds fuel to her fire. so I have learned I have to stay out of this equation. CIO so far has worked the best as she’ll actually get to sleep supposed to me egging her on and CIO longer by soothing her.

    3) I only recently started her on solids before that I exclusively breastfeed. Therefore I feed on demand which was 10min feeds. Now that she is getting older I am trying to change her feeding schedule / routine (eat, play, sleep)… Now its like she want to snack all the time, 5-6mins feeds, when she wakes she demands milk and again before I put her down. I am trying to change it gradually but it doesn’t seem to be working…….

    I am pretty sure she thinks my boobies / milk are her only way to sleep. Although, I know she self soothes at night.

    How do I change her feeding schedule?

    Any suggestions would be great.

  107. My little fella is 6 months old. He has a a really bad go with acid reflux. He’s always been a horrible napper but would sleep well at night up until about the 4 month mark. It’s been downhill since then.

    We have had to put him back on the swing instead of thee crib. Now that he can roll to his stomach that’s all he tries to do in his crib. But the moment he gets over he starts screaming and will throw up. He has a dependency to his pacifier and I’m sure doesn’t know how to soothe himself. He tries but he ends up scratching his forehead to pieces no matter how short we cut his fingernails.

    How do you sleep train such child? CIO scares us because when he gets upset it’s terribly difficult to soothe him. Forget it unless you pick him up. Things are so bad. We want to make a change. He’s not sleeping much. But really have no idea what to try. I know he would be such a happier baby if he was getting enough rest.

    • Matt,

      Refluxing kiddos need MORE soothing MUCH longer than non-refluxing kiddos. He may need to be swaddled in the swing with a paci till 9-12 months. I don’t say this to bum you out, but sometimes understanding that your timeline differs from other kids helps reset expectations.

      If flipping causes problems then that’s yet another checkmark in the “swing” column. Even if the swing isn’t on, it holds them upright(ish) which helps and keeps them on their backs. Swaddling would help with the face scratching.

      Anyway it’s what I would do (and DID with my own 2 refluxers). Swaddle, swing, white noise for 10 and 13 months respectively. Give it a try for 1 week and let me know if things don’t improve!

      • Wow, thanks Alexis for the swift reply. Pleasantly surprised to get a response from you, I’m sure you are super busy.

        Just want to let you know how amazing I think this website is. My wife and I have had a horrendous past 6 months. For the first three weeks of our little guys life we lived in the Children’s hospital. Your website makes us feel like there is hope.

        We’ve been using the swing again for about a week and a half now. Both naps and night. We aren’t able to swaddle him. He freaks out. I don’t think he likes not being able to touch his face. Not to mention he won’t hold his pacifier in on his own. We have to (kind of) pro it up with a lovie.

        We do use a noise machine. Have been since he was a month old and I noticed he conked out when my wife would blow dry her hair. Not sure it helps a lot. Then again we’ve never not used it so I don’t know what the difference would be without it.

        At nap time he sleeps for 30 minutes then on the dot…awak and can’t get him back to sleep. Nights vary but most of the time he wakes up at about 11pm, 11:30pm, 3am, 3:30am, 5am, 5:30am sometimes 6 and never sleeps past 6:30am.

        He spits up all the time. LOTS. Even two hours after feeds.

        I know you have lots of things going on. We really appreciate your help. In any form you can provide.

  108. My 7month old schedule is now messing up. How do I arrange arrange the schedule to (eat, play sleep routine) when feeding coincides with nap(s)? And how do I get LO to take longer 30-45min naps? Or perhaps Lo is getting enough sleep in 24 hours? LO sleeps 11-12 with 1-2 night feedings and takes a total of 1.5- 2hours of day time sleep.
    Is that ok?

  109. Hi Alexis,

    I have been reading your recommendations and explanations and I can’t seem to figure it out for myself.

    This is my story:
    Alex is now 8 and a half months old. Since birth, he seemed to be a difficult day sleeper. He hates cuddling, rocking, cradling, etc. He was born in our mid summer so maybe he just didn’t like being held too much as that just made both of us hotter (although I breastfed him till 2 months)! So, swaddling didn’t even happen.

    Then from around 3 to 5 months he started sleeping through at night. From 19:00 to anything from 5am…like a set clock, with no complaints going to sleep! But still the days were a scream! Everybody said suck it up you are lucky! I tried CIO for a while because it was just so exhausting, then I started carrying him on my back until he would fall asleep and then I would put him in his room and he would sleep maybe 30-45 mins.
    He is getting big now and the back carrying isn’t working for me any more.
    Since he was 7 months old, I went back to working half day and we have a nanny now…but she is religious about back carrying (she is African, and that’s the way they role here….and although it works, and there’s some good stuff connected to baby carrying…I don’t think it’s in my genes to do it any longer)…
    So I’m back at CIO…

    I could tell the nanny that carrying is over…
    But I remember the first time I tried CIO it never got better!! Like weeks!! And he will just not settle getting into the swing of falling asleep.

    He hates swings, bouncers, all that. Bought them all, wasted money!

    Currently at night, he goes to bed around 20:00 now, without a fuss, wakes anything from once to max 3 – 5 times if he is teething, but he will drink his bottle and go back to sleep. No dramas…

    But the day naps! Man, I don’t know what’s happening there. And we will be going on holiday soon. Not sure what our neighbours by the beach will think about this day time screaming!

    Ps: I could not even get him to suck a pacifier since birth! I know there are pro’s and con’s to it, but it helps to soothe at least. Bought different types of pacifiers, tried selling them to him with milk on, peanut butter (thank goodness he doesn’t seem allergic), honey, chocolate syrup…and then just gave up.
    I think it’s ‘Mummy or nothing’ in his head!

  110. Hi i have a 7 month old and i think i have made a rod for my own back and i need help please. Since my little boy was born i have rocked him to sleep on naps and bedtime. Latley hes become a massive struggle i no longer rock him for his naps he just sleeps if i put him down to sleep in the living room he sleep literally 15 mins a times 3 times a day usually about an hour after his feed he will have 15 mins otherwise hes happy playing. But bedtime is the biggest struggle ever. He will have his bath and pjs on and then have his bottle about 7pm every night he gets sleepy having his bottle but then hes wide awake. I am trying to put him in his cot straight after his feed but he just stands in his cot

  111. Hi Alexis (and others who may have a similar issue),

    Thanks for your website. I read a good deal of it before we had our son.

    Our son is 6 mo old and has either GERD, EE, or some similar condition which has made eating painful enough that, since he was three weeks old, he’s almost always refused food when hungry if awake. We’ve worked with a number of specialists and tried nearly everything we’re able to do at this stage. We are only able to feed him when he’s in a sleep state or very near sleep (closed eyes, body limp), and since keeping him growing is our first priority, sleep and eating are as linked as they can get. It’s very, very far from ideal; we lay with him during naps to try and get him on both ends of it (the first stage, and then right before he wakes). Aside from the difficulties seeing someone we love so challenged in such a basic way and the energy it takes to manage feeds like this, I’m aware that his sleep is less than ideal for him, and for us. (He sleeps about 8 hours at night with us, breastfeeding every 2-3 hours which is again needed, and if napping solo will only nap for very short time)

    I’m wondering whether you’ve worked with/heard from parents whose children were sleep-feeders and who needed to continue it just to keep them nourished but who also wanted to give their children other associations so that whenever the dream-feeding is no longer a necessity (may this be soon) they’ll at least have a reference point for helping themselves to fall asleep.

    Thanks for your time.

    • Hey Laurel,

      I do know somebody who had a similar situation, in fact she wrote this amazing piece on food allergies:

      You are entirely correct – when you have to choose, food trumps sleep. If “eating while sleeping” is what you need to do to ensure baby thrives, then you just keep on trucking with it.

      You’re sort of stuck there, until you figure out that you aren’t :( What can you do in the meantime? Not a whole lot but you CAN:
      – Have other sleep association. Have some part of your pre-sleep routine so it’s not all about food. Could be books, songs, diaper change, etc. Have her sleep in the dark and use white noise, maybe introduce a lovey.
      – Work on having her sleep at consistent times – day and night.

      So having non-food associations + schedule consistency lays a bit of groundwork for the future. And in the meantime, you do what you need to so she gets the food she needs.

      Good luck!

  112. Hello Alexis,
    I am loving your articles! My 7 month old is having a sleep issue opposite to that of most of my friends. He has always been scheduled with feedings and we have always had play time after feeding and prior to napping. He began sleeping through the night at 4 weeks (5-6 hours) and he has only progressed (10-11 hours) and is consistant. At night we are able to put him down awake and laughing. We have a routine of bathing, feeding, brushing teeth, story , song and bed. The problem arises with napping. In the past we had to rock him to sleep and gently tip toe away from the room. We would put him down at first yawn. At six months we began to put him down awake, following the same bedtime routine sans the bath. He will fall asleep most days after 10-15 minutes of crying (which he does not do at night). After falling asleep he will only sleep for 20-30 minutes and wakes up screaming. I do recognize that his nap location is inconsistent- his crib, daycare and my mother in laws one day a week. For a baby that is able to sleep so well and self soothe at night I am so frustrated. I understand that rocking him for naps did not help as well as multiple locations. I am not sure what to do after his 20 minute naps. He is often so mad that I have to rock him to calm him. Also to note, he has a great temperament during the day. I am concerned that his development will suffer with lack of day time sleep. Please advise!!

  113. Do you have any advice on how to get my 6 month old to nap and be alone to play for a minutes in his pack and play. He isn’t very happy when I am doing other things. Mind you we have a very small one br house so I’m rarely or never out of his sight but out of his sight or not you would think he is being tortured, by his extreme crying/tantrums. I can’t make dinner or do laundry or dishes without him carrying on in a scream and cry fest. Its only when he’s in his pack and play and maybe a few times in his bumbo seat but I don’t put him in that and leave him very often because he is getting bigger (almost 7months old and weighing 17 lbs) and will tumble out of it. But when I do leave him in it I put it on the floor to avoid a tumble. I don’t know how to get him to be calmer when left alone. Usually if he can see me, he is almost totally fine. But when I walk away he isn’t happy. He will sleep through the night in his p and p but he does not nap well in it, nor does he play in it. In order for him to sleep for a long period of time and know he will get a good long nap, I have to have him on me in the rocker recliner. How can I make my baby want to be in his pack and play, to nap and play? I have layered it with a few thinner blankets. And he uses a pacifier, mostly at the beginning of lying down or getting to sleep, then he spits it out. I don’t have it full of toys. Its just him and the blankets and paci in there.

  114. hi Alexis,

    Is there such thing as too much daytime sleep? My son is almost 6.5 mos old and he’s still on 3 naps/day. What is appropriate nap time for this age? The first 2 are usually 1.5-2 hrs and the 3rd one is usually 30mins. His total daytime naps is at least 4 hrs and sometime 4.5 hrs. I’m concerning because his nighttime sleep is usually only 9 hrs and if we re lucky that night, he gets 9.5 hrs. He has gotten 10-10.5 hrs only a couple times before. He doesn’t know how to self soothe yet. We usually rock him until he’s asleep or sometime drowsy. We have to do that 2-3xat night. I still nurse one motn which I don’t mind because I believe he is hungry and usually takes 4oz. His bedtime is anywhere from 745-815pm and wake up time 545-645am. When we tried bedtime at 730-745am he wakes up at 545pm because he only sleeps 9-9.5hrs max total at night so we’re shifting bedtime to 8-830pm and he seems to sleep until 630-645am. Ideally and realistically we would love for him to get 10 hrs at night. Then how much nap time should he take total? And how long each? When should each nap start? Of course we still follow his cues when to put him down but it’s hard someyime because he doesn’t show too many cues. Most of the time we just rock him to nap when it’s been 2 hrs since he woke up. TIA

  115. How do we get a 6 month old off the bottle at bed and naps. Which turns into frequent night waking and short naps. Even if he has ate a full feeding a half hour before hand he will cry untill we give in. Any recommendations ?
    No luck with a binky either

  116. My baby is 6 1/2 months. She slept so well at night and only woke once for a feed previously but at nearly six months she stopped sleeping in her cot entirely. She would fall asleep and when I put her in her cot whether drowsy or asleep she would kick her legs or roll over then wake up and start crying every 5 to 15 minutes. I pick her up and she falls asleep instantly before I’ve even had a chance to get her to sleep but then I put Herr down and she is instantly awake and crying again. Beforehand she would gurgle and suck on her fingers and get herself to sleep that way. I could put her in her cot then go “shhh” and stroke her nose and she would close her eyes and I’d leave her to fall asleep. Now it is impossible. I’m weaning her now but nothing has changed.

  117. Hi can I have some advice? My little girl slept right through never had any problems but these last couple of days I’ve been up and down every hour cause she’s started crying/ winging ect but as soon as I go in and give her back her dummy she goes back to sleep then a hour or so later I’m up again. Usually when she used to go to sleep if she lost her dummy she’d sleep right through still I was wondering if I could get any advice on how to keep her settled throughout the night she has just recently got both her bottom teeth through at the same time so I wasn’t sure if that was why?

  118. Hi Alexis,

    Can you help? I have been tearing my hair out…

    We started to try controlled crying with our 7 month old boy, but after one week he has become a nightmare in the day and just screams hysterically if he’s not on my lap he refuses to even play – so as it appeared to be seperation anxiety we stopped the CC…..

    However now, NOTHING works. I give him a bottle at 7 and at 7.30 he goes in the cot drowsy but awake, and sleeps straight away. But when he wakes in the night or for daytime naps he just won’t settle whether I feed/rock/swaddle etc.

    Please help! Any advice welcome as we’re now both crying every day.


  119. HI Alexis,

    I was recently told about your site. I have a 7m old. He had sttn from 2-4m and then for about the last 3 months (i honestly cant remember when it started) he has gotten up every 2-4 hours for a bottle. He is eating 6-8oz each time and most of the time he is up every 3 or less hours. We are working parents and so we are not sure what his feeding is like at daycare. She says hes eating 5-6oz every few hours but she has also had the smae small can of formula and we have since gone through 3-4 big cans at home. So that isnt adding up to the amount of food he is eating. People have suggested he has reversed cycle but everything i have read it seems to onle happen with nursing babies. He can fall asleep on his own because we tends to put him down awake. HIs naps can be s struggle since his Dad doesnt listen and always puts him in his swing but for me as long as the area he is sleeping isnt really active, TV going or dogs running around he can fall asleep. and will sleep 1.5-3 hours for his big nap and then 2x a day he will sleep 20-60m. Do you have any suggestions? I am told to elimate a bottle or let him CIO but if he’s eating that much he is obviously hungry and if we dont tend to h im he gets hysterical.

  120. Hi! My 7.5 month old daughter was a great sleeper, then we moved across the country and I chalked the changes in sleep location etc to be the cause of her bad sleeping now- up every three hours! NOT! It’s been s month and yes we have two teeth now so there’s that issue too- but still waking up, stranger danger in full effect and crying when she gets put down is all pointing me to your tactics of training Her (better) as I did try this allbeit not consistently enough, to go asleep on her own.
    My question is if I shorten nursing sessions to when she is drowsy- this is how she is going down currently-then what? Just put her down and leave? How long do I deal with the crying as there will be crying! Should I be trying to schedule feeding earlier than nap times? Btw- I’m the worst scheduler, maybe ever. first time mommy here and sleep deprived this last two months. :-/

  121. Hello, I’ve read through these posts and being this is my third baby you’d think I’d have some clue by now but I find myself second guessing. I have a 6 month old with silent reflux issues. He’s on meds and is strictly breastfeeding but because it took some time to get sorted out (we thought potential allergy-because I’ve been through that too!) he has been “unintentionally” co-sleeping. I tried to slowly transition him into his crib by sleeping in his room etc but no dice. He was back in bed with me after getting worse over a period of 3 weeks. So even last week we were nursing to sleep co sleeping and waking/nursing endlessly in the night. Some for comfort of reflux, some for hunger, and some because I was simply there and it was easy for him I assume.

    So as far as the reflux, both the pediatrician and GI doc say it’s fine to let him cry if He is at an angle but I want to be sure I’m doing everything I can before, as you say, ending up in cry it outsville. I’m not opposed to it but want it to be a last resort which it seems is where I’m headed.

    Right now I’m trying to get him out of my bed as a first step so I’ve reintroduced the swing. It’s in my room to start. I’ve been nursing to sleep which works fine if I out him into the swing asleep. He wakes 2-3 times to nurse then back into the swing asleep. The past two nights we have been working on our object permanence issues and try to let him go to sleep on his own. This results in him crying it out in the swing, and me wondering if he’s going to cry it out why not do it in the crib once instead of over a few transitions…

    My thought was to first get him into the swing instead of my bed, then to get him going to sleep on his own in the swing, then to move the swing to his room, then slow it, then get him into his crib, then work on night weening.. When he was sleeping in the crib with me in that room he was nursing to sleep and waking a lot and needing to nurse rock pat to sleep… Should I skip the swing and incline the mattress, letting him CIO there while putting himself to sleep awake? This seems endless and still has already involved crying it out in the swing, What am I doing wrong, I’m so confused.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  122. Hi!

    I was happy to read that somethings are going well and somethings aren’t..
    My baby girl Evangeline is just shy of 6 months.
    She has always been a good sleeper and only wakes twice during the night!

    Our problem is, she won’t sleep in her cot.. she used too sleep in the top part, but we had to take this out as she was managing to put her leg over and we were worried she would fall out.. now she is sleeping at the bottom of the cot (its like a camp cot) and now she wont sleep at all.. I’ve tried everything!

    We were co-sleeping and then she was sleeping in her cot, and now we are back to co-sleeping.. Even if i do move her from sleeping to the cot she moves sooo much she wakes up! (She moves in our bed as well, always rolling and going onto her tummy, bum in air etc etc..)

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I have tried everything to make the cot a happy sleep orientated place.. but nothing seems to help!

  123. Hello alexis. I came to your website seeking advice. I have a nearly 6 mo who has consistently woken about 1-3 times per night. Once I can handle, 3 times I cannot so well. Up until recently, he would feed to sleep (but only ever for bed) but for a while he stopped doing this, or started taking ages to do it & I was becoming stressed. This, plus a bout of waking 3x a night made me consider starting to put him down awake. I started the pick up / put down method with almost immediate success. The first night it took 15 mins & he was asleep, the second 5 mins and the third 2-3 mins. Then it went downhill. He would start to cry as soon as we entered the room for bedtime & picking him up no longer soothed him, he would cry louder, arching his back etc. I persevered & only went in when he really cried rather than whimpered & he continued to EVENTUALLY fall asleep. However, he then started waking all evening, something he has never done before, culminating in 1 night where he would not sleep unless on me, screaming every time I put him in the cot throughout the evening & night. When he has fallen asleep alone, it does not seem to help him soothe in the night, in fact his night wakings have only increased. A week in and I have reverted back to feeding him to sleep (which he currently lets me do) and we are all getting more sleep. Why do you think this is?

  124. My 5.5 month old has never been a great sleeper. At 6 weeks, his 2hr naps became 30 min naps (so was having 5+ naps a day), but he was doing 5-3-3hr sleeps blocks at night with a 6:30-7pm bedtime. The first 2 or 3 sleeps were usually in his crib, and then I would take him into my bed because he a much harded time falling back asleep in the early morning, and would scream if I put him back in his crib. I was nursing him to sleep at bedtime and when he woke up at night, but at 3 mths, the nursing to sleep at bedtime stopped working, so I started putting him down drowsy after bouncing for 5-7mins (swaddled) with checks every 5 then 10 min if he cried that long, which wasnt often. He still woke up after 5-3-3hrs, and I would nurse him back to sleep and either put him back in his crib, or keep him with me, based on how restless he was while nursing.

    At 4.5 mths, he got a nasty cold and changed to 2-2-1-1-1… sleep blocks at night. At this point he also started falling asleep when nursing again. I have stopped the falling asleep while nursing for the most part (assuming I don’t pass out). However, at 5.5 mths, the poor sleep has continued even though I put him down drowsy but awake.

    I started cry it out with 10 min checks to get him to at least 12 or 1am for his first feed, but after a week and a half, he is now waking up every hour (instead of every 2 hrs) and still has some really bad screaming fits that require that I pick him up and rock him (otherwise he gets crying hiccups and cant’ sleep at all). However, sometimes he falls back alseep after less then 5 mins of crying. He has one arm loosely swaddled, the other is out. I am working on putting him down unswaddled by the end of this week.

    The additional challenges are that I only have one bedroom, so I have been sleeping on the couch until his first feed, then I bring him into bed with me, where he sleeps 2-3hr chunks between feeds. I know the taking him into my bed isn’t ideal and have tried putting him back in his crib, but his screaming and crying only get worse as the night goes on, not better. And the couch is pretty uncomfortable.

    His naps are still pretty much 30mins, but as long as his crying is just complaining crying, I don’t go in for 10 mins after he wakes, so he will occassionally go back to sleep for another half hour. At this point, he has 3-4 naps a day, depending on whether any are longer then 30mins.

    Any thoughts on what I can do to improve things?

  125. Hi! I’m going crazy with my almost 6 month old girl. I have a two yr old boy that slept great at this age, only getting up once a night, but my daughter went from getting up two times to now what seems like ALL the time! It’s been two weeks of this…she gets a bath around 6:15, bottle at 6:30, and sleeps by 6:45/7. She usually goes down pretty easy, but then wakes 3 hours later around 10, and I give her a paci, which may last 30-45, and she continues this until she is fed again! At 6:30 she eats about 8oz of formula and we have been putting Tylenol in it because we think it’s teething. She then may go down for another couple hours but wakes again around 4/5 and I try paci again. She eats solids about two times a day around 10 and 5. She did have a bad cold when this all started but now when she doesn’t go back down I put her in her swing so that I can get a few hours. She sleeps worse now than when she was 10 weeks! Her naps are around 9, 12, and 3 give or take 30 min. And they are not that long, about 30-60 min. The morning one is usually 45-60. I just don’t know what to do. I am worried about CIO because I have a two yr old sleeping on the room next door and he’s already being awakened by her getting up so often lately. Please help!

  126. Im having trouble with my 6 month olds daytime naps. I’ve been nursing to sleep both daytime and nighttime. (although during the day she fights sleeping like crazy.) How do i change her to a eat, play, sleep routine when feeding usually coincides with naps… I usually nurse her to sleep at nighttime, I’ve been waking her then putting her down in her crib and it seems to be doing ok falling back asleep on her own.. only this does not work during the day. any tips? thanks!

  127. The 2nd thing happened with our first born, Alexis. We had 0 friends with kids and only family advice to go on and poor book choice :D. All in all an excellent combination and a disaster waiting to happen. Day by day our life truly did turn into a disaster.
    Our son would wake up EVERY hour and a half and could only be soothed by breastfeeding. Later we learned that we had developed a wrong sleeping association where he thought he needed to eat to fall asleep.

    When you speak of gradually doing things it really resonates with me because with our second born we were totally prepared and expected the worst and practically treated her sleeping as a minefield :D. Thankfully, day by day, we taught her how to fall asleep and sleep by herself.

  128. Please help! My 6th month old daughter is all of a sudden not sleeping at all through the day. This has been going on for about 2 weeks now. She use to nap great through the day now she won’t nap unless I’m nursing her. Soon as I go to put her down she wakes up, she’s only taking 10-15 min cat naps while nursing then she wakes up. This in the long run makes her overtired and then she’s extremely fussy towards the evening. I’ve ruled out teething, growth spurt. I don’t know what to do. This is causing me stress and anxiety. Any advice at this point is welcome

  129. Hi Alexis,
    My 8 month old still sleeps in a swaddle and a non-moving swing, but she is really outgrowing the swing already. It’s hard to get the straps closed and I don’t feel comfortable keeping her in there any longer… The swing is fisher price. Any suggestions for something else with a 5 point harness that i can switch her to? Thank you!

  130. My 8 month old grandson has never slept through the night. First 3 months, co sleeping, with relatively smooth transition to his own bed. We’ve never had issues getting him to sleep, and he’s been put to bed fully awake, but tired, since 5 months old.
    He never took to the binky, but he seems still to have strong need to suckle. He gets a 4 oz. bottle of formula, that he handles on his own.
    He goes down by 8:00pm, and a few hours later, the night train takes off:

    11pm: thrashes about in bed, blindly seeking bottle. If he can’t find it after about 30 seconds, I put it to his mouth, immediate sucking, but not trying to get water in bottle. Uses bottle like a binky, and I have to rearrange it so he gets water, and not air.

    Between 2-3am: Repeat above, except that he readily takes in water (2 oz.), and he cries out upon waking.

    5:30am: Fully awake, playing in bed, babbling. Change his diaper, give 3-oz. formula, then we go away. He’s in our room, but his own bed. We have only necessary interactions with him, letting him watch a short video, play, babble, etc., without us. Never been a problem, unless there was another issue, like his current teething. Then we hold him, walking and humming a few minutes, before putting him back to bed. He usually falls back to sleep around 6 am, until 7am, his usual wake up for the day time.

    How can we break the night bottles, when he has a strong need to suck, still?

    I can’t figure out what we’re doing wrong with the night waking.

    His teething really kicked in about a week ago, and he’s getting 2 bottom teeth at same time!

    He has not discovered object permanence, as separation anxiety hasn’t begun, and when covering a toy with a napkin, he simply crawls past it. Out of sight, out of mind.

  131. hi Alexis,
    Have found your website really useful, but have one question…
    We’re focusing on ensuring our 6 month old son naps well by putting him down awake at the same time every day (not directly after a feed) and not going in until he’s had enough sleep (ie 1 hour in morning, 1.5 hours midday & 0.5 hours afternoon) even if he cries (bore to sleep)… He usually cries on waking – we ignore it if he’s not had the minimum amount of sleep and he resettles after 5-10 minutes. However, if he cries on waking after he’s had a decent snooze we do go in to get him up – is this re-enforcing the fact that if he cries he gets attention, and if so how do we break this cycle?
    Also, we’ve a night routine where we wind down and he gets put down awake and soon settles himself no problem. Unfortunately where we live has very thin walls/ceiling and are conscious of neighbours so one of us sleeps in with him and soothes him when he wakes and cries – am assuming this is counter-productive? Should naps and night sleeps be consistent and if he self settles during naps he should do the same at night (despite neighbours)?
    Many thanks

  132. Do you have any advice for me and my 9 month old- I have trained him to happily go to sleep alone, a few minutes of grizzling then he is out for at least 1.5 hrs, but this is only for naps. Night times are very different. He goes down at 7, the wakes again at 9:30 a His cot is in my room, and from then he wakes consistently through the night, at least hourly. He fights to get to my breast, and cries until I pick him up. Sometimes if I feed him and Plop him back in his cot, he will fall asleep immediately, but wakes shortly after, for more of the same. I’m tearing my hair out and SO SO tired. I a, desperate and willing to take your harshest advice. Anxiety through the roof!

    • Why would I give harsh advice? Who do you think writes this blog, Joan Rivers?!?

      “fights to get to my breast” this sounds like a sleep association. So I would look at your bedtime routine and try to separate out all nursing. So whatever your bedtime routine is, put a 20 minute gap in there so nursing is REALLY separate from bedtime. So maybe it’s: boob, bath, jammies, book, hugs, crib. Start there and see what happens. Good luck!

  133. I can’t even. Night 3, He just slept 7.5 hrs without waking. Me too. I weep at your feet, O, merciful Goddess of Zeds, I weep at your feet.

    • “I weep at your feet, O, merciful Goddess of Zeds, I weep at your feet.”

      Would it be weird if I demanded my friends and family started calling me Goddess of Zeds? Because seriously, how cool would that be?

      So glad things got better :)

  134. Hi,
    My son Lincoln is almost 8 months now. We had a rough go with Colic in the beginning and after that cleared up we had some sleep issues to deal with. Things have definitely gotten better over the past 3 months. He wakes 1-2 times a night and almost always goes right back to sleep after I feed him. My question has to do with how he falls asleep. We used to use the 5 s’s to get him to sleep during the colic period but stopped that around 5 months and went to some CIO techniques. Whether it’s naps or bedtime he still cries himself to sleep every time. We’ve tried putting him in his crib earlier, later, followed sleep timing suggestions, etc. but he still does it. Maybe this is his way of winding down? It kills me to listen to it 4-5 times a day! Do children who cry themselves to sleep eventually grow out of it?

  135. Hi Alexis,

    Our daughter is 6.5 months old thank G-d. She’s always been a bad sleeper. For the first month and a half, she nursed nearly around the clock and slept probably a total of 8 hrs a day. From 2m-3m she slept about 7 hrs at night, waking up once or twice. At 3 months, things got worse. Getting her to sleep takes about 20 minutes. Then she wakes up after an hour. If I succeed getting her back to sleep, itll be another hour and then wakes up, repeat until morning.I resorted to co-sleeping because I just couldn’t take getting no sleep. In our bed she wakes up about 5 times, I nurse her back to sleep, or give her a pacifier.
    I’ve tried sleep training. First we did cio, which was a failure, and then we went to babysleepsite consult, which was also a failure. Basically I was supposed to teach her to fall asleep in her bed. We did transition of falling asleep in my arms, to falling asleep in my bed without paci or nursing. That went fine but when I tried to put her in her crib, it didn’t work. I would pick her up when she cried but it got to a point where it was constant crying. The site told me to let her cry, it wasn’t cio because I was with her. This didn’t work. Our daughter is very, very, very stubborn, in other aspects as well. I figured out that fighting her isn’t the answer. I just don’t know what the answer is. I’m so aggravated that I haven’t slept properly in do long and that I can’t have any time to myself or to get anything done, and that other people have babies who sleep through the night! Please help, thank you.

  136. Hi Alexis.
    I have a 7 month old daughter who’s been sick for the last week with a cold. Understandably she’s been up twice a night to feed, whereas before she was down to 1 feed and back to sleep no problem. She now occasionally is wide awake after a night feed and won’t fall asleep but hangs out (not crying) for up to 2 hours before she falls asleep.
    She’s always had a hard time napping (short naps til about 5 months). I’ve tried for the last 2 months to work on getting her to self soothe. Some naps she falls asleep alone (I do not nurse to nap) and sometimes she can cry for up to half hour before I finally go in to pat her. She nurses before bed but I make sure she’s awake before I put her in her crib. Most nights she falls asleep alone except the last few nights when she’s been sick.
    My question is…. Should I wean her at night to just 1 feed again? Or none? She’s gone from 8pm-5am multiple times before. Wake up is 7/7:30am. And should I continue past the half hour mark of cio for naps?
    How do I night wean? It’s so hard listening to her cio for half an hour and she still doesn’t stop. Even after I’ve fed her.
    Thanks so mich

  137. Hi Alexis,

    I just wanted to say thanks! My 6 1/2 month old has been waking for 1 feed at night for the past month or so and in the last week I have had 3 nights where she has slept through the night (7:30pm-6:20am, no feeds!). We have always been consistent with putting her down awake (first in the swing and then in her crib) and leaving her room before she falls asleep for naps/bedtime since 4 months. It wasn’t always easy and she definitely protested in the beginning but now our hard work and dedication towards teaching her how to fall asleep on her own is paying off!

    Happy Holidays from a well rested family :)


  138. Our almost 7 month old son has always had sleep issues. He needed to be wrapped like a burrito and sleep in the swing for the first several months. 2 broken swings later and we refused to buy another swing plus he is a mover and is all over the place when in the crib so I worry about him unattended in a swing these days. So we switched to the car seat and then transitioned him to his crib where he did ok for a few weeks. He also was transitioned out of the swaddle and doing fine for a period of time. But for the last 2 months I have been up ever 2 hours (on a good night), some nights every hour. He is breastfed and started solids, we got rid of the nuk, and he falls asleep on his own for bed and naps (we used the Ferber method-which worked great for our 1st kid). However, at bed time he wakes up after sleeping for 30 minutes, settles after 10-15 minutes of fussing, and then often wakes up 2 more times before we go to bed around 11pm (when I nurse him just so I can get to sleep) We have tried the car seat again (worked well for a few days and then it stopped working and we were up every 1-2 hours again). The only way to get him to go back to sleep and stay asleep for another 1-2 hour block is to nurse him (but I usually end up falling asleep while nursing him and end up back in my bed for a half hour before he’s up again). My husband and I are exhausted, at wits end, and have no clue what to do with him! He used to sleep ok (3-4 hour chunks in his crib, 6-8 hour chunks when he was in the swing) so we know he is capable of sleeping longer stretches. What do we do with him so he can sleep better and we can sleep? Thanks.

  139. Hello! Thank you for this article, but I have a few questions. You say that baby needs to learn to fall asleep on her own. My almost 7 month old girl screams and screams when I try to put her down for a nap, and that’s WITH rocking, story time, binky (I know, we’re working on losing the binky). At night she sleeps swaddles in a rock and play and does pretty well, but again, were helping her fall asleep. How do you transition to falling asleep on their own? Do I just leave her to scream until she falls asleep because I’m not sure I can do that, but as of now she does not take naps unless she’s in the carseat and were running errands, or if she happens to fall asleep I her swing, and then it’s only about 20 minutes. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Help’

  140. Hi my 6 month old son sleeps well during the day one short nap and two long naps . He has a normal bedtime routine and self settles by 7.15 pm at the latest. He usually wakes between 9-10 and settles back with no issues. Then I head to bed and that’s pretty much it for him, he wakes every 45 mins to an hour. , grunts moans cries. He feeds every three hrs during the night . I have tried everything apart from cio as I have a 2 yr old I don’t want disturbed, any help would be greatly received.

  141. Hi! I have read your website throughly and wanted to thank you! With your worlds of advice I was able to teach my then 4.5 month old to fall asleep on her own, we used your swing method and after about a month she was taking consistent lengthy naps and sleeping very well through the night… I have a few questions/ need help…

    My daughter is 6 months today and will usually get up 1-2 times a night to nurse… She consistently takes 3 naps although the second is usually long the first and third switch on and off between the short and long nap. We start her bedtime around 7 and after bath, story and nursing or a bottle she is asleep by 8:15. She was getting up 1 time (which was around 5ish, when I would get up for work so I would feed her anyway, this was a 7.5 to almost 9 hour stretch). Sometime she would get up at the 6.5-7 hour mark and I would feed her then top her off before I went to work… As of the last week, she will get up after 5-6 hours. She has had the sniffles, she is teething and has just started rolling…

    Do you have any advice to help her sleep longer… She is almost exclusively breast feed and we just started solids a few days ago. I still get up once a night to pump but would like us both to start getting more sleep.

  142. I feel like I’ve missed the mark on getting my baby to self soothe…she has never taken a pacifier and she has nursed to sleep. She is 8 months old. What is the best way for me to start putting her to sleep awake? Right now she goes down after nursing and wakes you an hour later hysterical. My husband has more luck putting her back down. We are trying not to pick her up out of her crib, instead we shush her and rub her head while she lays in the crib bit she just bawls her eyes out. I can’t even handle it, she doesn’t let up and I end up bouncing her our nursing her because I an so tired and she is so hysterical. This is not sustainable and I don’t know what to do. My older daughter was amazing at sleep from the beginning but nothing is working with my 8 month old.

  143. Hi Alexis, I love your site and check it about once a week for advice on whatever sleep issues we are facing! Right now we are in the slowly getting worse camp and I wondered if you have time to offer some of your great advice.

    My lovely little girl is two days short of being six months old. I have worked so hard from the beginning at teaching her good sleep habits, and with good timing she would fall asleep by herself, without a whimper, in her crib. She was napping three times a day, and then sleeping 11-12 hours at night, waking to feed once or twice (textbook). I used a peanut swaddle from around 3 months because she would startle awake. Because she was due to grow out of it around 6 months I started blanket swaddling with one arm free about four weeks ago during daytime naps. She took a while to get used to one arm, but then went back to falling asleep happily about half the time, the rest I’d pop a dummy in her mouth when she got distressed just to help her settle herself. She’d always spit the dummy out.

    Since i’ve started trying to let her sleep with her arms free things have gone rapidly downhill. It’s been about two weeks now and she has needed the dummy for every sleep. In the meantime her teething has become more of an issue, and we have started her on solids, plus she’s managing to sit up just about … so there are lots of changes. But I’m so so worried that all the hard work and progress we made is being undone. Plus she is so tired :-( She has bags under her eyes but she is struggling to fall asleep – I often have to cuddle or feed her to sleep now, and things are getting worse. I’m pretty sure she still needs three naps, but this morning I tried for almost an hour to get her to sleep (she was yawning when I put her down) and she just got very distressed.

    Should I go back to swaddling her again in the day? I’ve ordered a zippadee zip in the hope that it will help her transition from the swaddle (blanket swaddling just isn’t working – she can get free). I can’t bear her tired little face any more :-(

    I’m struggling also because I have to fit in school runs around her naps! I would be so grateful for any advice you have to offer.

    (Her current bedtime is around 7-7.15; she wakes around 7-7.30, then was napping from 9.30-10.30ish; 12.45 for anything from 40 mins to 1.5 hours; then again at 4 for 30 mins. She’s recently done a couple of 2 hour naps at different times of the day, but then refused to take a nap at tea time. I know she can’t reasonably go 4 hours without sleep, but she fights the teatime nap and then falls asleep on the breast at bedtime. Should I let her nap at 5 and put her down later?)

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