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?



  1. 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!

    • Angel Emma Megan

      The sleep routine of infants are important to understand because it’s the most important aspect to help a baby sleep now and also foster good habits as they grow up and become mature individuals. If your baby is not sleeping well or waking up regularly, this article is for you.

  2. 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 ?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!!

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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.


  19. 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.

  20. 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. :-/

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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?

  24. 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?

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. 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 🙂

  34. 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?

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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 🙂


  38. 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.

  39. 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’

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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?)

    • Any luck or changes? Sort of sounds like my baby…falling asleep great on his own for bedtime and naps, no bad sleep associations, only good ones (book, prayer, song, white noise). once he hit 6 months, he won’t fall asleep on his own, cries when we put him down awake for naps and bedtime.

  44. Alexis,

    My son is six and a half months old and his nap time has taken a nose dive or maybe it is normal? His naps are predictable in that we know when to put him down but his naps are short. Now, I should give you some context:

    – nighttime sleep is 11.5 hours 730-7am
    – we reccently stopped swaddling in the day. He has been unswaddled at night for months
    – his current scedule in the day is:
    Wakeup, eat and play 7-9am
    Naps at 9 am for 30 min
    Wakeup, eat, play 930-12pm
    Naps (most days) at 12 pm for 1.5 hours. Usually they have been 30 min
    Wakeup, eat, play 130-4pm
    Naps 30 mins
    Bedtime 7pm

    You mention naps at this age are unpredictable and are short. Why is that? Any advice on improving his first and second nap?

  45. Hi Alexis,
    fantastic blog. My wife and I have been reading all of it to try and get our 6.5 month LO to sleep well. I guess she is going through both the object permanence problem and sleep anxiety – we have clearly seen her troubled after, for example, getting to sleep in her buggy during a stroll in the park and being confused crying when waking up at home. The current situation is that she is constantly moody, having trouble going to sleep even in our arms (slightly better with mom) and waking up 6 or more times during the night.
    What we know:
    – she was able to get herself to sleep since at least 3 months, but things started to get worse recently. The best scenario is that we put her down, leave the room, she sleeps for 10 minutes and wakes up crying. That’s when all hell breaks loose.
    – her daily naps are super short: 20 minutes max, sometimes just 5.
    – around 4 times during the night she needs nursing to get back to sleep, but every night, at least one or a couple of times, she refuses the breast after waking up.
    – we started with solids a week ago, but she is still nursing the same as before during the day (and more at night because that’s how we soothe her back to sleep).
    What we don’t know:
    – how to help her sleep by herself if she cries immediately when put down? After around 10 times of “down and up again”, she is so sleepy that she cries with her eyes closed when we make the slightest move to put her down. We then restart rocking her in the arms and she stops crying. We immediately try to put her down again (as she is already almost completely sleepy) and the story repeats until she is indeed completely sleep in the arms. The only time when she is calm enough to be put down and not completely sleepy is when we first put her down. After she wakes up the first time (20 minutes later) we don’t find any opportunity to put her down while slightly awake but not crying.
    – is she teething? We didn’t see any signs of teeth.
    We are worried because this happens with her mother but with me the situation is even worse. During the weekends she used to be fine with me patting and rocking her to sleep (during the day), but now she asks for her mother all the time. And mummy is going to back to work part-time in 2 months (she is a chef and works 3pm-11pm). I’m going to be at home these days and I’m afraid that it will be a compulsory CIO if she simply won’t go to sleep if mummy isn’t at home.

  46. Hi Alexis, please help me!

    I have a 7 month old daughter who used to sleep really well through the night waking up once or twice to eat then falling right back asleep. She is such a light sleeper and has always been a light sleeper which quite frankly, sucks. Anyways, recently she will not sleep unless I nurse her to sleep. I am a single mother so I don’t have a partner to help me get her to sleep. I don’t know what to do to get her to fall asleep on her own and not wake up when I shift into a different sleeping position. I’ve tried letting her cry it out because she does have a little pack n play that I use as a crib since the one I bought was stolen. I have fed her changed her and placed her in the pack n play to nap or sleep at night and she will just continue to cry. i’ve waited 45 minutes at one point she didn’t cry the entire time but would wake up every 10-15 minutes and start crying again. I just want her to not have to depend on me so much. I want to start working, but I can’t do that with the direction shes going now. I don’t know what to do i’m so tired and I just want to be able to put her to sleep without having to be next to her the entire time.
    i’m a single mom and i live with y dad who is a trucker so hes gone for days at a time so i literally have no help.

    thank you in advance i hope u give me advice,


    • Hey Cindy,

      This is hard stuff and you are in good company – MANY people struggle with this. So there is no quick “here do this one thing” answer to this. But let’s consider a few things:
      – Start with bedtime. Bedtime will be easier than naptime.
      – Make sure her bedtime is the same night every night for at least a few nights.
      – Do a pre-nurse bedtime routine so it’s not just “nurse then sleep.” Try bath, jammies, books, songs, nurse as a starting point.
      – If you can try to cuddle her to sleep (so no nursing but cuddling). In this scenario you would tweak the routine to be nurse, bath, books, cuddle. You lie next to her – not with her ON you – with her NEXT to you. She can get upset with you and you’re welcome to sing or patt her belly or what have you. Just commit for 3 nights.
      – If THAT works you continue doing that but you gradually put some space between you and her. So you’re near and present but not touching. Continue putting more and more space.
      – If THAT works, try putting her in the PnP and you’re nearby while she falls asleep.

      This whole process might take 2 weeks. The key is firm commitment. It’s OK if she gets upset with you. Nursing is out and you keep moving things forward

      If THAT sounds unappealing, cry it out will definitely work. The key is to let her work it out. Honestly the fact that she dozed, cried 10 minutes, dozed again doesn’t sound bad. It actually sounds rather encouraging. So you could try the plan I outlined above and if you feel it’s NOT working for you, CIO is a solid backup plan.

      I hope that helps Cindy!

  47. It is biologically normal for babies to nurse to sleep until they outgrow the need. It’s also biologically normal for babies to wake up throughout the night. I’m sure as adults you wake up at least once in the middle of the night. You might roll over and go back to sleep, but you still wake up, because that’s what humans do. I would love to see some research to back up your claims.

    • If you nurse your child to sleep at bedtime they’ll continue to demand to nurse at night not because they “need it” but because they’re trained to associate it with sleep. There is ample academic evidence behind this – take a quick peep at pub med and see for yourself (or I link to various research articles within posts). There is also links to academic research in the post that discusses how babies sleep.

      If you want to night nurse because it suits your purposes, I support that. But please don’t suggest that I’m tossing about things that have no basis in science or have done no work to back up my assertions because it’s simply untrue.

  48. Hi Alexis, my baby girl is 6 months old. She was waking all through the night and having many short naps through the day. I’ve started to let her cry it out and put her in her cot awake. The night time is now amazing! I put her in at 7pm, she cries for approx 30mins and then sleeps 12 hours. But the daytimes have gotten worse she won’t sleep AT ALL. Have you any advice? She is now on formula & 3 meals a day (following save our sleep guide) Thanks

  49. Hi! I used your suggestions and techniques to teach my now 6 1/2 month old baby to fall asleep on own. THANK YOU! I recommend your site to ALL my new mom friends to help their babies sleep. And I am eagerly waiting for your book!

    BUT…. After his 4 month sleep regression, we had a very good month of sleeping on his own. As soon as he hit 6 months tho, he seems to have fell into a regression. He cries when put down at bedtime and for naps instead of just falling asleep on his own like he used to. He doesn’t have any (bad) sleep associations, just a little wind-down routine of books, prayer, song, white noise. It used be great to be able to put him down and walk out and he would fall asleep in a few minutes. Any suggestions or insights? Is this just a regression? Separation anxiety? We end up having to cuddle or rock him to sleep now which is so frustrating bc I feel like we are undoing all the hard work we did in teaching him to sleep on his own. He’s taking awhile to fall asleep even with us helping him. But once he is asleep, he doesn’t wake the rest of the night, maybe once in the early morning for a feed. (Except last night he woke up twice which was really unusual). I’d appreciate any insight on this. Thanks!

    • How long should I wait this out to see if it’s just a phase? I’m so worried about making new bad habits of cuddling to sleep. Now that he’s 6 1/2 months old, is CIO the only option? I had taught him to fall asleep on his own before using your gentler methods (swing, gradually lessening rocking/cuddling at bedtime).

      • So turns out it was just a phase/regression and he went back to falling asleep normally like he used to! But he does seem to go thru these phases/regressions once in awhile for some reason. Who knows why…babies are so confusing!

  50. Hey Alexis,
    My son is a week away from being 7 months old, and I’m afraid I’ve ruined him! I have nursed him to sleep for quite a while now, and he is 100% attached to it. From 2 months until about 6 1/2 he was honestly sleeping through the night (with rare occasional few nights where he would wake up once or twice.)
    But since he turned 6 1/2 months old, he’s begun a horrible sleep regression. I will put him in his crib (asleep) and maybe an 1 hr to 2 hrs later he will wake up crying for Booba as we call it.. So I will feed him and try and put him back in his crib, and he refuses to go back to sleep in anything but our bed next to me. Help!!
    P.s I’m typing this from next to his crib where for the first night I am trying out the camp out method? So far so good, but I still need your advice!!

    • Laura,

      It’s been a few weeks but you see that the root issue is right there in your comment – nursing to sleep works GREAT for ~6 months then BOOM no more working 😛 The key is to not nurse to sleep AT bedtime and it sounds like you’re already on it. Good luck!

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