Are You Keeping Baby Awake Too Long?

Are You Keeping Baby Awake Too Long?

One of the most commonly held baby myths is that, “babies will sleep when they are tired.”  Life would be simpler if it were true….but it’s not. Helping your baby fall asleep, figuring out when they need to sleep, and making sure they get enough sleep is pretty much the bane of every new parent.

How long should your baby be awake?

Newborn babies generally sleep a lot (according to Dr. Weissbluth newborns average between 11 – 18 hours of sleep per 24-hour period). However baby sleep is generally broken up into 7-8 “naps” varying in length from 15 minutes to 4-6 hours.

Most newborn babies (under 8 weeks) can’t stay awake very long (I sometimes refer to this as a baby’s “window of wakefulness.”) Although it varies by baby, most newborns can stay awake no longer than 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Some may not be able to stay awake more than 30 minutes at a time. This is generally the maximum amount of time you want your baby to be awake at any point throughout the day.

So hypothetically this means that if your newborn baby wakes up from a nap at noon, she will need to go back down for another nap around 12:45. Assume she takes a 30-minute nap and then wakes up (now its 1:15 pm). Then she would be ready to take yet another nap at approximately 2:00 pm.

As babies get older their window of wakefulness (maximum time they can stay awake) gets longer, the naps generally get longer, and the number of naps they need gradually decreases and becomes more predictable.

How do you figure out how long your baby should stay awake?

A few newborn babies will fall asleep after a certain amount of time no matter how hard you try to keep them awake. Some babies will give very good clues that they are tired so you can settle them down to sleep as soon as they look a little glazed over, rub their eyes, yawn, etc. Some will stay awake far longer than their bodes can handle. You’ll know THIS is your baby if they stay awake for 1.5 hours or longer and then have a grand mal meltdown.

You’ll know you’ve figured out how long your baby should stay awake when she falls asleep really easily. If it’s a struggle to help her fall asleep (assuming something like hunger, tummy gas, etc. isn’t preventing her from falling asleep) you’re either trying too soon, or you’re trying too late.

As a general rule you should use the guidelines in the table below. I know you’ve been told “all babies are different” but in my experience almost ALL babies fall within these guidelines. Thus if your baby is vastly off the grid that I’m suggesting here, you probably have an overtired baby on your hands.

Baby Age Time between Naps Nap Duration Number of Naps per Day
Birth – 6 weeks 45 min – 1 hour 15 minutes – 4 hours  4-8
6 Weeks – 3 Months  1 hour – 1 hour 45 minutes  30 minutes – 2 hours  3-5
3 Months – 6 Months  ~2 Hours  30 minutes – 2 hours  3-4
6 Months – 9 Months  2-3 hours  1-3 hours  3
9 Months – 12 Months  ~3 hours 1-2 hours  2

Is Your Baby Awake TOO Long?

Most parents keep their baby awake too long. It’s the #1 most common baby sleep mistake. People might tell you, “My baby just doesn’t need that much sleep.” Um….no. Just because they’re not sleeping doesn’t mean they don’t need to sleep. If your newborn baby is awake for 6 hour chunks of time during the day you have a sleep problem. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us. But let’s acknowledge it and work on fixing it rather than assuming that your baby is just different.

Most babies will let you know they’ve been awake too long because they’ll become fussy and difficult to soothe. Very happy babies will sometimes throw us a curve by hiding the fact that they are overtired by remaining calm and happy even when they’ve been up for a very long time (1.5 hours or longer). However you generally don’t want to keep your baby up for long windows of time (regardless of how delightful they are) because regardless of their behavior – overtired babies sleep poorly.

So put on your baby detective sleep hat and play around with your window of wakefulness. Once you’ve figured it out you can pretty much use that as a gauge throughout the day.

How long will your baby sleep?

Anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours. Some pediatricians will advise you to wake up your baby for scheduled feedings for a few days/weeks after they are born (this is common with preemies or other babies that might need a little extra love and food for a while) but once you get the green light from your pediatrician, you generally shouldn’t wake sleeping babies.

Should your baby be kept awake longer after longer naps?


How long your little one can stay awake should remain relatively consistent throughout the day (the one exception to this rule is during the Witching Hours – see below.)

What about “Cat Naps”?

Little babies are notorious for nodding off for a few minutes here and there. The most common complaint is that they’ll fall asleep for a few minutes while nursing but then wake right up again when the breast is removed. Was this a real nap? Or do we wait for another hour before trying to put them down again?

Every baby is different but as a general rule, anything ~10 minutes or longer constitutes a REAL nap. Meaning if your baby falls asleep while nursing and then hangs out there for 10 minutes (lets face it we all do this from time to time) you will likely need to wait for an hour (or whatever your baby’s window is) before trying to put her down for a nap again. Similarly if she falls asleep for 10 minutes on the way home from the mall, you will have to wait an hour to try to put her down for a nap.

Some babies transfer well from the car well – they can be removed from the car while sleeping and continue to sleep happily in their car seat which is now sitting in the living room. If this is your baby, lucky you! If not you have two choices:

  • Accept the occasional car “cat nap” as part of life.
  • Plan for the car “cat nap” by bringing a nice latte and magazine with you. When your baby falls asleep in the car, park somewhere comfortable, leave the car running, and enjoy some quiet time while she sleeps.

What is the “Witching Hour”?

For most babies the Witching Hour(s) fall somewhere around 5:00 – 11:00 pm. This is a time of day where babies are generally fussy and will stay awake for a longer period of time. Thus it would not be unusual to have a newborn baby who is awake but generally unhappy from 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm. After this long window of being fussy and awake, most babies will then have their longest period of sleep (2-4 hour for a baby who is only a few weeks old, 3-6 hours for a baby who is 1-3 months old).

This is generally the ONLY exception to the window of wakefulness. So if you find your baby fighting sleep in the evening, it may simply mean that you have found your witching hour. While this can be exhausting as most parents are running out of steam at this time of night, it’s totally normal.

If, however, you find your newborn baby staying awake for 2-3 hours at a time at other times during the day, she probably needs additional help falling asleep or there is some unknown factor which is keeping her awake. Don’t be too quick to assume that “your baby is simply different” or that “she needs less sleep.”

Note: You can find an overview of baby and kid sleep by age here. It includes the average amount of time babies can stay awake between naps. At the bottom of the post you can download a printable version to keep as a cheat sheet. How cool is that?
Add subtitle text (1)

Please Subscribe to My Newsletter!

It's free, full of insider tips that don't make it to the blog, and each time you do it's like giving me a little hug. And I love hugs!

Awesome! Keep an eye out for a confirmation email in your inbox.


  1. Thank you so very much for this article it confirmed what I believed was happening with my little girl, she is only 6weeks and stays up for over 2hrs. I am looking forward to observing her sleeping signals and getting her some more rest.

    • Welcome Rashidah! Some babies give great sleep signals (newborns tend to be a little more vague – they start looking away, getting fidgety, sometimes they yawn) and some (like mine) give none. I simply had to go by the clock. Good luck with your new baby!

    • Hello I have been trying to research my babies irregular sleep patterns. He is 8 weeks old and doesn’t seem to have any pattern during the day…at all!
      He will remain awake for 6 to 8 hour intervals I’ve asked the doctor about this and he just says that is unusual, but every baby is different; this of course is extremely difficult to digest! During the 6 to 8 interval we will try everything from rocking, soother, swing, bouncing, leaving him to cry for a few moments, and of course feeding, and changing and then we start all over again. He does sleep 4 to 5 hours at the night which is nice, but the rest of the day is exhausting, I know he is tired because his eyes are red and he yawns, but he fights sleep, and because of this he needs to held during this time as well.

      So my question is what do we do?

      Thanks for any reply

  2. Do you have any tips for how to sooth and calm your baby during the witching hour? My baby girl is 5 weeks old and between 7-11 she is extremely fussy and it’s hard to know what to do for her. I try feeding her, burping her, changing her. Last night around bath time when she was in the bath she was calm, but once she was out,dried, and dressed she started being fussy again. This is a very emotional time for both me and baby.

    • Great question (and definitely worth it’s own post). But here is my top 3 suggestions for you to weather the storm.

      1) If she digs baths then keep her in the bath! Don’t use soap (can be overly drying), but consider it warm water play. If the water gets cold but she’s still happy, empty the tub and refill it. Let her hang out in there until she tells you she’s had enough.

      2) Change the scenery. Take her for walks, go for a drive, take care of errands. Often mixing up the scene will provide enough stimulation to distract babies from being fussy.

      3) Change the chair. This is a great time of day to move her around – bouncy seat, bath, your lap, partner’s lap, etc. This is also the BEST time to ask for help – friends, neighbors, grandparents. You’re exhausted after caring for a baby all day but THEY aren’t. You make dinner, take a shower, etc. while somebody else soothes your fussy baby for a while.

      Hope this helps – good luck!
      PS. Fussiness peaks at 6 weeks and then gradually starts to get better. So MOST of the worst is behind you. YAY?

      • hi thier, love the site but just a quick question my baby girl is only just 7 weeks old and has only over the past week began the ‘witching hour’ but the whole time, from around 6 or 7 until 8 or 9 feeds constantly then after that has her big sleep why is this? Is it normal for her to want to feed 2 or 3 hours straight?

        • My little boy went through similar at 3 weeks…and put on almost a full pound that week. I think his was due to a growth spurt. Maybe something to look into?

    • Try putting your baby in a wrap. Not a swaddle, a wrap baby carrier, on your body, and turn on a loud bathroom fan or vacuum (something very very loud). This always works with my 7 week old when nothing else calms him.

      • That’s what i do, too! I have a 5 week old and this week the vacuum has been my friend. Swaddle and vacuum and she’s out in 5-10 minutes. :)

  3. This article has helped me so much!! our 3 week old baby is finally getting the sleep he so desperately wants and needs!! Thank you!!

  4. This article and the others related on your blog have truly saved me from insanity, THANK YOU! I had no idea that babies needed to nap so much (and need help knowing that they are sleepy). After the babymoon phase, I would keep little Arthur up until he totally freaked out, and then cried with him because I didn’t know what to do to soothe him- I didn’t realize he just needed to sleep. We’re almost to 5 weeks, and it hasn’t gotten easier yet, but I’m looking forward to after his crying and fussiness peaks and we can all start sleeping better.

    • Minnie,
      I’m so happy to hear you are no longer insane – YAY! You aren’t alone in getting thrown by this. Almost EVERYBODY struggles to figure out when kids need to sleep. Before I had one I fully believed that they would simply fall asleep when they got tired. But….they don’t.

      I just posted a sleep guide from birth to 3 years and added a downloadable cheat sheet that might be useful. Baby Sleep: What is normal. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi, our baby girl is 3 weeks old. We try to bath and feed her in the evening at about 18h30. We are done we everything and then we try to calm her and put her to bed, but she is wide awake. It takes a lot of effort, and eventually no dinner for us, to get her to fall asleep 3 hours later. Sometimes I have to feed her again. She is not fussy, or crying during the 3 hours being awake, she actually looks happy… Any advise?

    • Lalla,
      My guess is that you are trying to put her to bed WAY too early. Newborn babies tend to go to bed much later than we would like, 21h-23h is not unusual for a 3 week old. So yes your dinner will likely be challenging to eat at the same time. Life with a newborn means doing things in shifts (you eat, he eats, you sleep, he sleeps, etc.). This time of night is typically known as the witching hours because babies generally won’t sleep and are often fussy. So it’s great that your baby is happy (many MANY parents would happily trade with you).

      So my advice is to simply accept this for what it is. Know that it is temporary, that her bedtime will gradually move up to closer to 19H and someday you and your partner will be able to eat dinner at the same time.

      • Thank you so much for your response, it helps a lot. She is actually staying awake for periods of 3 hours during the day somewhere as well. Problem with her long awake time, is that she only have 4 feeding sessions during the day. There is not much I can do about this, because she simply will not fall asleep sometimes, no matter what I do…

        • Sometimes in desperation you may want to try a long car ride, walk in the stroller, or walk while using a baby carrier. I know these are not ideal for you but it may be needed now and then when you’re having rough days.

          It get’s better. Really, I promise :)

  6. This was a great read and provided lots of relief… thank you! I started realizing my son fights naps. It started at 6 weeks of age. Since then, I’ve tried to religiously make sure he doesn’t get over tired but it’s not always possible to get him to nap in time before he gets over tired. He sleeps 11 hours at night and then anywhere from 2-5 hours for naps during the day (depending on where he is sleeping). Does this sound ok? Sometimes his naps are only 30 min, sometimes two hours. I worry that when he is taking short naps, that his brain isn’t getting what it needs to grow as well. Obviously, I’m a first time mom. :) Any insight or reassurance? Thank you again!!

    • Sorry, he is 3 months old this week.

    • I need to do a post about nap consolidation only I can’t think of a headline that includes “nap consolidation” that anybody would actually want to read :)

      Here’s the deal – your son sounds FANTASTIC. Nap consolidation means instead of taking 6 itty bitty naps, babies take 2 chunky naps with a 3rd variable nap. Life gets easier, naps are more predictable, and longer naps make everybody happier. All YOU can do to expedite the development of nap consolidation is do your best to keep him from getting overtired & be as consistent as you can. The rest is brain chemistry.

      You can no more rush this than you can make his teeth come in faster.

      ps. Your son will be fighting naps for the next 4 years. Welcome to motherhood 😉

      • Hi Alexis,

        I was posting on my friend’s computer… this is “Jen”. Thank you so much for the encouragement… we’ll keep trying. I’m working on the swing technique right now… :/

        • Happy to help. And thanks for the kind comments (comments make my day!).

          If it helps you feel any better, you should see your son settle into some degree of predictability re: naps over the next 1-2 months. He’ll settle into 2 decent naps and a 3rd variable nap (the late afternoon nap may happen but be only 20 minutes, or may NOT happen). Usually by 6 months they’re napping on the clock – you know WHEN they’ll be napping and for HOW LONG.

          It’s really wonderful when that happens 😉

          • Hi Alexis,

            I’m glad I came across this! My son is 7 months old and is throwing me for a loop. He self settles now but still occasionally fights naps especially the third one! He sleeps through from 6:30 till about 6. We start the day at 7 with a feed. His morning nap is between 8:30 -9:15am for about 1.5hrs. His afternoon nap is between 12:30 – 1 and the length varies. His total daytime sleep right now is about 2.5hours or less. He always protests the third nap although his super fussy, hyper behavior by 4-5 leads me to believe he needs it!

            He has also gotten really good at hiding when he is tired. There is little sign and sometimes if I put him down too early (2hour mark), he gets upset. Too late and he is overtired and protests for some time. I just wish he could be more predictable with his naps! Any advice on making that happen? Also, is he getting enough rest?

            • By the way, please offer any suggestions you have on getting him to sleep in a car seat or stroller. He used to pop down without issue and stay asleep even at mom’s group then I started sleep training so he would self soothe at 4 months old and he also got so much more alert. Now he mostly sleeps in his cot! Which is great but that means little social life for mom what with the small window of wakefulness, feeding, solids….

            • Thanks for posting Sherri. I too, have a 7 mo old who struggles with naps. Today she only slept 1.5 hrs total- am 20 min., noon- 45 min., and eve 20 min. She’s been a short napper from birth, but it worsened at 6 mo. after teething. She wakes from napping and refuses to go back down, sometimes playing otherwise very upset. However, we just started sleep training, so I’m wondering if this pattern is due to her inability to soothe herself or if she’s just overtired constantly. I’d so appreciate your thoughts and direction Alexis for these older babes.

  7. wow, never know about the “witching hour” or in my case 6 hours! Bub will normally wake up around 7/8pm from afternoon nap and is fussy and won’t go to sleep until about 1am. This has happened for the last few weeks now (she’s 11 weeks old) and i’ve tried having a routine with her. Put her down in her co at 11pm and see if she’ll go off on her own which she generally does but will then sneeze and wake herself up or after ten minutes will wake up anyway and then she starts to bawl and bawl and I try to leave her cry for a bit to see if she’ll self soothe by which time she has worked herself up into such a frenzy theres no way she’ll go back to sleep! So I end up anyway going to pick her up and she stops crying right away! Some people say she’s too young for CC but she definitely realises already that if she cries mummy comes. How long should i leave her cry for?

    • Hi Rebecca,
      I would definitely not leave your 11 week old to cry. This won’t accomplish anything productive and will likely just leave you AND her feeling pretty miserable. I also wouldn’t worry about her realizing that if “she cries you will come pick her up” because at 11 weeks this isn’t about “rewarding the crying” it’s really that she needs more soothing than her cosleeper provides.
      – Is there any way to help her gently fall asleep earlier? Even for a newborn being awake 5 hours is a really LONG stretch of time. Warm baths? Infant massage?
      – Are you using other soothing techniques (swaddling, loud white noise, paci, etc.) to help soothe her to sleep?
      – Maybe the cosleeper isn’t the best place for her to sleep just now. Have you tried the swing? (See post below).

      I don’t know why she is sneezing after 10 minutes but lots of babies have a hard time settling themselves to sleep at this age so I suspect that maybe she isn’t sleeping at all. Maybe she’s just lying there for ~10 minutes before she gets frustrated enough to start crying.

      I hope these suggestions help? Good luck!

  8. Than you so much for this article. Our days have been very inconsistent. I think I am mostly trying to figure out how long she should be awake after she wakes. She is 8weeks and am trying to start the EASY method. In the past if I couldn’t figure out why she was so fussy, I would nurse her to sleep… Guilty,but I and she, needed some relief. The cause of that though, is that she tends to be a snacker, or eats every 2 hours. If I am trying to get her on a 3 hr timeframe, and she wakes 45 min before her next feeding, should I make her wait ( if she seems content)- but then she would be sleeping by her next feedingand/or fall asleep at the breast. Also, sometimes she will take naps that could go over 4 hours during the day. Should I wakue her? Side note: she is an excellent night sleeper, and easy to put down, 7 or 8- 2-3 and then 3-6 or7. Thank you again for your help!

    • Michelle,
      I just realized I never responded to your questions – HOW RUDE OF ME! So sorry to leave you hanging there. OF course ages have passed so you may not even HAVE this question anymore but…

      I rarely wake sleeping babies (occasionally it happens to maintain bedtime) as generally the assumption is that if they’re sleeping they need to sleep. I’m also a fan of feeding babies on demand during the day and working to space things out at NIGHT.

      To be honest I’m not a BabyWise fan either 😛

      So if you want to work with BabyWise that’s OK. But my advice is to let them sleep when they’re sleeping, nurse on-demand during the day, and work on spacing feedings out at night.

      Again so sorry for not responding earlier :(

  9. My 8 weeks old baby cant stay awake for more then 15-20 mins and very rarely 30 mins during day time. He sleeps for 1-2 hrs and wakes up for feeding then stay awake for only 15-20 mins and sleeps again. Is this notmal?

    • Miriam,
      Your baby may just be a big sleeper, in which case congratulations. But I have not run into any 2 month old babies who can’t stay awake for longer than 15 minutes. So while PROBABLY everything is just fine, I would encourage you to talk to your pediatrician about it.

      If your baby is awake for 15 minutes and then sleeping for 1-2 hours, my guess is that he is sleeping more than the average 2 month old (read this…)

      While this could just be what his body needs I think it’s worth checking in with a doctor just to make sure it’s OK. Some reasons babies sleep too much? Low milk supply (don’t panic! this is RARE), apnea (ALSO RARE NO PANICKING!), or some sort of food allergy (gluten, dairy, etc.) which prevents proper absorption of nutrients. If babies don’t get enough nutrients (because of allergies or low milk supply) they tend to sleep a ton to conserve what they have.

      PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE don’t panic! Probably things are wonderfully fine and you are blessed with a happily sleepy baby. Talk to you Dr. and do me a favor – check back in and let me know what you find out. OK?

      I’m not a pediatrician and I haven’t run into this (mostly people I know suffer from NON sleeping) so I would really appreciate YOUR educating ME on this.


  10. Hi, thanks so much for this article. I am just wondering if you can help, I have a wonderful gorgeous stubborn five week old boy. He sleeps well at night from around 9 pm only waking up for his feeds, and has done since birth so I am pretty lucky. However during the day, he literally refuses to go to sleep. He will stay awake for upto 7/8 hours and he fights sleep where he is so alert and wants to be nosey, however he obviously gets really overtired and grizzles and the longer he goes, the worst and harder it is to get him to settle. I have had instances where he gets so overtired there isn’t anything I can do to get him to sleep and we both end up in tears. I’m a first time mum and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get him to nap-I put him in his Moses basket in the same room as me and he won’t sleep. My mum and grandmother say to let him cry as long as be is fed, clean etc as I am making a rod for my own back and I tried this today but he got really distressed and I cried again where I felt so bad doing it. He will sleep on my chest at night and sometimes during the day but I can’t get anything done-it’s ok saying to leave things but it isn’t realistic to not be able to have a shower etc because the baby is grizzling. I feel like I am walking blind and my partner is equally clueless. Any ideas how to get him to nap successfully during the day, do I just put him down and let him cry as I sit in a chair next to him so he knows I’m there?

    • Ps I forgot to mention that I take him walking for at least an hour at around 11am. He usually falls asleep eventually, but it’s when I get home that he won’t nap. I also swaddle him most times he goes down so he feels comforted and use a pacifier when I feel he will take it. X

      • Aimee – I read your post to my wife — we were very sorry to hear about your struggles — and she insists that I post here to recommend using a baby sling if you haven’t tried one already. I know this is none of my business — it’s Alexis’ blog — I’m just the messenger…

        We spent the first two-and-a-half months of our son’s life with a similar, difficult situation and getting a baby sling was extremely helpful (we now own about 5 different ones). The Ring Sling (we used Sakura Bloom) was good for when he was tiny, then we started using the Mei Tai (or BabyHawk); now we love the Ergo.

        My wife says to talk to people at the sling store for techniques on how to get it to work and try it in a dark room (Alexis’ post about baby swings covers this as well).

        It turned out that our son had some reflux issues that made it hard for him to be horizontal — Alexis can tell you all about that — and he would only sleep on our chests. But we also set up all kinds of habits that later made it harder for him to nap.

        Also, had I read Alexis’ post about baby swings, we might have had more luck — in particular, the jiggling technique looks awesome (not to mention the demo is funny to watch) ( If I could go back in time, I would tell myself about this technique, which says a lot because previously I had elaborate fantasies about going back in time to tell myself killer stock tips or how to get laid.

        We bought a Mama Roo, by the way, but our son didn’t like it — I think a cheaper, more traditional swing would have been more effective.

        – Matt

        • Hi Matt,

          Thanks so much for replying. Since visiting this website I have uploaded some White noise onto my iPod and although it didn’t help get my LO to sleep, he is taking a longer nap than usual now-2 and a half hours. It took me 2 hours and some more tears-mummy is tired too-but at least its a help. I also have a Baba Sling so me and my boyfriend are going to have a go with it tonight. Someone has also leant me a baby bjorn so we will experiment with that too. Unfortunately in the UK-where I live-we don’t have sling stores and methods like these aren’t very talked about which is a shame. The advice all the healthcare workers have given is ‘cry it out’ but it goes against my instincts-my boy finds it upsetting to go to the toilet/have hiccups so he isn’t going to be able to self-soothe to sleep. I hope I can find some more methods to get him down and sleeping but hopefully the more he does it, the better he will get? Its hard knowing what to do when I pick him up and hold him to me and he grizzles and likewise when I put him on his bouncy chair/the bed/his moses basket! Aimee x

          • Aimee,
            1) Don’t let him cry. He is too young and this will likely just leave you and him sad and frustrated. Later, when he’s older, this may be something that you may want to do but he’s a newborn baby so your goal is MORE soothing (not less).

            2) Try a swing. Most newborns sleep poorly just lying on their backs in a crib, moses basket, etc. Loud white noise, swaddle, pacifier, swing – LAYER it all on.

            Check out these articles:

            3) He probably can’t stay awake longer than 1 hour and as soon as he IS awake too long he’s now jacked up on stress hormones which make it even harder for him to fall asleep. So basically you want to start your sleep routine after he’s been up for 45 minutes.

            3) Do WHATEVER you need to do to help him sleep. Maybe he needs a soothing warm bath (no soap, just a short soak to soothe him), nursing session, swing session, etc.

            My “nap desperation” move was a car ride (I live in the country where this is easy). If nothing else was working we would go for a drive. It blew for me because the car had to be moving for this to work but it got the job done (and I learned where all the drive-through coffee shops were).

            But assume that if he is awake all day he is DESPERATELY overtired. Start in the morning and see if you can make things better by REALLY focusing on getting him to sleep BEFORE he is overtired. If he wakes up at 6:30 AM then start your soothing plan at 7:15. If he is awake for hours and hours it’ll just be harder for you to get him to sleep (and you both end up frustrated and crying yes?).

            4) Some days are just crappy. Don’t beat yourself up if he isn’t getting the sleep he needs EVERY day, just do your best, use ALL the soothing tools you have, work towards helping him get more sleep and it WILL get better.

            Also? Things are hardest at 6 weeks so you should be seeing SOME improvement soon.

            ps. Everything Matt said is 100% right.

            Also Matt lives in New York City. Most Americans don’t have fancy sling stores either (it’s not just you ;).

          • We love our ergo! That and him sleeping next to me at night and latching on once in a while for comfort is saving our lives, no exaggerating!

  11. I loved reading your article… It made me feel normal. I have been obsessed with trying to get my little girl to sleep better. I’ve read “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” which has helped me so very much! Mostly, everything I’ve tried has worked. My only obstacle I have is she falls asleep great (I even lift her arms to make sure they are limp before putting her in her crib) but then she wakes up, like clockwork, about 30 minutes later overtired and crying. It then takes me an hour to get her back to sleep. I have actually held her for the 30 minutes to try and quickly get her back to sleep, but have failed. All in all from the time I start feeding her to the time I can finally walk away from her room is usually about 2 full hours. I just do not understand why she falls asleep fast but then wakes up miserable 30 mintues later. My sleep schedule is around 6-6:30pm when she starts getting fussy, I give her a nice bath, she loves her bath but then gets upset while I change her so I walk around my very dim house to calm her down. We then head to her room(which is so cozy and sleep inspiring with nice baby music playing in the backgroud) we feed and then she is quickly asleep….. which then leads to the crazy 2 hour cycle…….Any suggestions?

    • Hey Sheryl,
      It’s really common to have babies take short little naps and wake up really cranky. And you may not be able to fix it right now (sometimes naps organically get longer as babies get older).

      But from what I gather, while you’re slathering her with soothing stuff while GETTING her to sleep, once she IS asleep, she doesn’t get much soothing.

      So I’m going to strongly suggest you reconsider her sleep environment. I would work on having her sleep in the swing (very few newborns sleep well in a crib), ditch the music for loud white noise, and work with swaddling and possibly a pacifier. You basically need to give her TONS of soothing to help her sleep longer.

      This may not magically fix things although it may make a huge improvement. But it’s definitely going to make things start to work better then the crib+music.

      If you haven’t already you might want to check out some of these?

      Good luck!

  12. Sorry forgot to add that my little girl is 7 weeks old……

  13. Alexis,
    I have a almost (1 week away) 6 month old. His day naps are not consolidated yet, so about 3 30 minute naps (in crib or swing); night time- he usually wake every 3 hours for a feeding…occasionally, leaves out a feeding, but I mean OCCASIONALLY. I tried letting him sleep last night in the swing and also all naps today. He has been cranky and irritable and sleep patterns were no different in the swing than in his crib. Any thoughts on what I can do to help my little guy?

  14. Wow, this site is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing the info. I pretty much read all the content around 2 am this morning… My 3 week old has never slept well and to top it off is going through a growth spurt as evidenced by constant eating and fussiness. My question relates to wake times: so for a 3 week old, it is 45 min to 1 hour. He usually nurses for about 30 min, so would I need to get him down for a nap 15 min after he eats? Putting it all together with the recommended 8-10 nursings per day, would his approximate ” schedule” be: 7 am – nurse, 7:30-8:00 -awake. 8:00-9:30 or so- nap. Is this right? Thanks again!

    • Ally,
      With newborns (you have a JUST born baby really) there is no such thing as a schedule. But you’re right in that if your just born baby can only be awake ~45 minutes and it takes him 30 minutes to nurse then yes, after nursing you two would have 15-20 minutes of hangout/diaper changing time before he would be ready to sleep again.

      He would sleep for as long as he’s going to sleep (with newborn it tends to vary a lot) and when he wakes up you would repeat the process. If he napped for 1.5 hours then the schedule you suggest is correct. However if he sleeps for 30 minutes he would then wake up at 8:30 and then would probably be ready to nap again at 9:15/9:30.

      Hope that makes sense!

  15. Hi, my baby boy is 5 weeks old, I generally let me nap as much as he wants during the day, and get a 1/1.5 hour awake period early morning and late afternoon. At night his bedtime routine of bath etc starts at 6, he goes to sleep after a feed at 7pm and then can sleep till anywhere between 10.30 pm and 12.30 am. He sleeps really well at this time, some people have told me I should wake him at 10.30 pm to feed him to try and stretch out his long sleep past that time. I want your advice regarding this, should I be treating his 7pm sleep as a “nap” rather than “bed time”? Or if this is his best sleep period is it fine to encourage it and let him stretch out his night time feelings in his own time?
    He usually wakes at 1am, 3/4am, 6am and 7am. He is breast fed. Also should I let him sleep as long as he wants during the day as ALL the advice I get from friends and family is to wake him up so he can sleep more at night…. So frustrating!!! Many thanks in advance (first time mum here)

    • When you have a website that is entirely dedicated to giving out advice it always feels a little strange to poop on other people who give out advice.

      But you are being given bad advice.

      1) Don’t wake up your baby during the day. Waking him up will just make him sleep deprived and unhappy. It will not make him sleep more at night.

      2) I’m a little confused but it seems your baby is sleeping from 7 PM – 7 AM with 3 night feedings (1 AM, 3AM, 6AM). The 7 AM doesn’t count because that’s just breakfast.

      This is NORMAL FOR A 5 WEEK OLD BABY! Three feedings a night. Yep. That’s pretty normal. Most babies will want to eat 2-4 times a night at this age.

      Personally I wouldn’t change a thing. Except I would stop taking advice from other people 😉

      • Emma, thanks for your post, and Alexis, thanks for your reply! I was eagerly waiting to see what you’d say, Alexis, because Emma, this is the SAME current sleep schedule for my 8.5 week old son and I’d been wondering the same thing.

        Alexis, thanks so much for your blog…I found it about a month ago when searching for info on infants sleeping in swings and found your Ultimate Baby Swing guide. I’d watched the Happiest Baby DVD and read multiple sleep books, which all basically said he was too young to sleep “train” before 3 months…so what’s a parent to do in the meantime?? Enter the swing!. Allelujah!

        Like Emma, I then quickly devoured all the info on your blog and have read through all the comments. SOOOOOO helpful, thank you!

        • Thanks so much for your reply Alexis, it is hard to take in all the advice and know what’s right and what’s wrong. I guess all babies will follow their own pattern, which is fine, but when people tell you to wake them it’s hard to know what to do!

          He does generally sleep till 1am, but some nights he wakes at 10.30/11pm for a feed which is fine, some people have told me to “dream feed” him at this time if he doesn’t automatically wake, to try and get him past the 1am feed and straight to 3am! I tried it a couple of nights but it did not make any difference, he still woke at 1am regardless, so we have now decided to let him be, knowing he will eventually push his 1am feed further on and drop it all together once he is ready!

          I wont wake him up in the day time either, which I very rarely do to be honest! This blog is great and has helped me so much!! Many thanks again!

        • I totally hear you – the idea is that everybody is supposed to be sleep deprived and miserable for 6 months and then the “training” begins. Also? I hate that word. Training. It sounds like something unpleasant. Really sleep should be a good time for everybody (not getting sleep is a bummer, but anything that makes sleep happen should be generally fun).

          When babies are older and are eating all night long you definitely need to “work” on it. But newborns? Seriously. They were just born. They get to eat when they want to :)

          • Exactly! I agree. I hate that phrase too. We’ve been trying to learn to follow my son’s cues for eating and sleeping since his birth (he’s exclusively breastfed), though didn’t know how to make heads or tails of them all until we started logging his sleep/wake cycles about 3 weeks ago (he’s 9 weeks now), and lo and behold! the pattern described by Emma emerged–just seeing a pattern feels liberating!

            Your guides have helped me to find a way move my baby from sleeping on me all the time (I couldn’t bear for him to cry when I tried setting him down!) while still honoring his needs for sleep, attachment, a feeling of safety and familiarity, but still getting some sleep myself. My bedtime is now 8pm every night, but I’m sleeping! 😉 And we’re starting to incorporate some additional routines, like lullabies, and have some goals to work towards over the next few months from your guides too. I don’t feel completely clueless and incompetent now as a first-time mom.

            Oh and swaddling is essential for us! I’ll be happy when that reflex diminishes.

            • Thanks so much for the kind words :) And you’re not an incompetent first time mom. You’re just a first time mom.

              Everybody (who is a mom anyway) is a first time mom at some point. The good news? You never have to be a first time mom again 😉

      • Hi Alexis –

        I always feel guilty waking up my 4 week old breastfed baby during the day. I wait until it’s been 3 hrs since his last feeding, but there is a HUGE part of my instinct that says to let the kid sleep and just feed him when he wakes up. He’s a big boy, no problems with weight gain or anything.
        My worries relate to keeping a good milk supply. I had problem with this with my first baby, so I’m paranoid. if I don’t wake him up, fine, I can pump, but what if he wakes up RIGHT after I pump and then I don’t have milk to feed him. (This is what goes through my head. I don’t like the idea of giving him the expressed milk that I just pumped.) Any thoughts or experience with this?

        • Sadly I do have experience with low milk supply and it blows.

          For starters, do you know of a good IBCLC who could work with you? Some insurance companies will reimburse you for a few visits and even if they don’t, it’s a worthy investment. Pumping generally may be something to consider and an IBCLC would be a great resource to help you figure out if, when, and how to work pumping into your baby’s feeding schedule.

          Also you should know that with each subsequent baby you produce more milk. So you may NOT have a low supply anymore. Again an IBCLC could help a lot here.

          My gut says to let him sleep. There are lots of factors that go into milk supply and time between feedings is just one. Hydration, sleep, and frankly your body’s ability to produce are all in there. Also your baby will demand what he needs and if the feedings are spaced out, presumably he’ll demand MORE from you. Given that nursing works on a supply/demand basis, this will also help stimulate supply.

  16. Sorry please ignore the typos… Sleep deprived mum here!! :)

  17. Great article on sleep. My little guy sleeps 10 -12 hours through the night because I put him down throughout the day with 2 hours of wakefulness. Dr. Weissbluth’s book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was extremely helpful.

    • I like Weissbluth too. Although it can be hard to figure out (there are good tips hidden throughout but they can be hard to find). But Weissbluth and Ferber are definitely my go-to books too.

  18. Alexis —

    I wanted to tell you how helpful this website has been to me. My daughter is 7 weeks old now, and previously I had been waking her up during the day to feed her every 2-3 hours, and she was so so cranky, and she’d snack and nap every 60 minutes or so which was really annoying and was making my nipples sore!

    Since reading your site I’ve been swaddling her during her daytime naps as well as at night and letting her sleep as long as she wants, which have resulted in 2 and sometimes 3 hour naps during the day. I’ve actually been able to get work done which is AMAZING. We also started letting her take a nap in the evenings from 7-8:30 or so, which helps with the witching hour. Neither change has had a negative effect on her sleep at night — she usually sleeps from 9:30-1:30, 2:30-5, and when I’m lucky 6-8. So thank you!

    I was wondering about making the transition from a “nap” at 7PM to going to bed at 7PM. I feel like she might be moving towards that…. Currently this “nap” occurs in my husband’s lap or on the swing in the living room. She sleeps in a co-sleeper at night. Should we just let her fall asleep on us like she usually does and then see if she sleeps through her wake up time at 8:30PM, carrying her upstairs very very carefully? Or should we try to put her to sleep in the co-sleeper at 7 and then see what happens from there? We have a crib in her room, but were hoping to make the transition from co-sleeper to crib in another 2-4 months or so. We might consider going to bed with her at 7:00PM since my husband has to get up so early for work, so that is a possibility too.

    Any thoughts you might have would be really useful to us.

    Thanks again!

    • Woo hoo! Thanks for sharing your success :)

      You are right about transitioning the nap to an early bedtime. She may not be ready to do this but it’s definitely a great goal (if it doesn’t work tonight try again in 3-5 days, etc.).

      You could try a few things. Put her directly down in the cosleeper at 7:00. Sneak her upstairs (I’m less optimistic that this will work but you’re welcome to try). If putting her in the cosleeper doesn’t work I might play around with putting the swing in your room and putting her in the swing (next to your bed) at 7:00 (this is probably the most likely option to work). When she wakes up to nurse you could put her back in the swing or move to the cosleeper.

      Let me know how things go!

  19. Hi! I’m a new follower, and have nap questions! My baby is 6 wks today and just won’t do naps. I know he needs to sleep, but I’ve played around with timing his wakefulness, and nothing really seems to work. Plus, he takes 45 min to nurse, so that means he should be going back down to sleep soon after! I’ve tried swaddling, rocking, bouncing, the swing, etc, and it’s exhausting! Any tips?

    • It IS exhausting! And 6 weeks is the worst (literally, baby crying peaks at 6 weeks).

      Yes if he nurses for 45 minutes he should be going to sleep directly after. Where do you think the phrase – babies eat, sleep, and poop comes from?!?

      So I would definitely work on putting him to sleep after eating. Actually I’m surprised that a solid 45-minute nursing session doesn’t PUT him to sleep.

      If you’re really struggling I would fall back on motion – babywearing, strollers, or car rides. (Some babies scream in car trips, others fall asleep instantly). None of these options really give you a break but they might help him catch some sleep. Also are you using LOUD white noise? Swaddle+swing+LOUD white noise often work well as a set. If he’ll take it, add the pacifier for extra soothing sleep points.

      Hope that helps!

  20. My son’s witching hour starts around 3pm, it is sooo difficult getting him to nap after this! He goes to bed around 5.30-6pm though so not too long to wait. I find if we go out for a walk that soothes him and he often falls asleep with the motion. My daughter was exactly the same, although she would only last 30 mins to 1 hour between naps for ages, whilst my son can last a bit longer but I find he goes to sleep quicker if I put him down for a nap sooner.

    • Truthfully? You don’t really WANT your baby sleeping after 3:00. Early bedtime trumps late afternoon nap EVERY time. Lots of people have babies to DO catnap all evening long which means their babies don’t go to bed till 9:00/10:00.

      Trust me, you’re the lucky one :)

      • When you say you don’t want your baby sleeping after 3:00pm how does that work when his bedtime is around 8:30? That would leave him awake for 5+ hours? To stick to the 1hr – 1hr 45min naps shouldn’t he be taking a nap between 3 and 8:30?

        For info my son, Brennen, is six weeks old and sleeps 3-5 hours twice a night (from start to start of nursing) and then 1.5 hours for a total of nine or so hours of sleep a night. He wakes up regularly at 5/530 and for whatever reason won’t sleep more than the 1.5 hours after then.

        Your website, even tho I just came across it, makes so much sense and for today has worked well! Thank you!

  21. Hi, my 3.5 wo old will not settle at night and isn’t sleeping more than 1.5hrs at a time. During the day, he is sleeping for 1.5-2hrs after every feed. How can I get him to go for longer stretches at night??

    • Hmmm…not much to go on there. The good news is he’s napping like a champ during the day. I’m assuming you are nursing every 1.5 hours at night?

      To improve things at night I would use LOTS of soothing (if you haven’t already check out ideas here:

      Once you are giving him TONS of soothing at night, I would maybe play around with gradually reducing the amount of time he is allowed to nurse at some of his night feedings to encourage more calories during the day vs. less at night. This is NOT CIO or anything, just popping him off a little earlier then he might on his own.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks alexis, sorry for the brief info…posted very early in the morning (Australian time). the biggest thing seems to be getting him to actually sleep. we soothe him and try a few different techniques but as soon as we put him to bed, he sparks up. Sometimes I think he has wind so I spend a lot of time burping him. he is getting enough sleep during the day but just not distinguishing night from day. Any tips on how to improves would he lovely. thank you.

        • My advice above still holds. Lots of newborns sleep all day and party all night. This harkens back to when they were in your tummy – they would sleep while you were moving (day) and party while you were still (night). So he’s just continuing to do what he was doing in your tummy.

          I’ve spoken to a number of specialists (honest) about this and the advice I gave you above is what they told me. Keeping baby awake more during the day won’t help. He’ll figure it out on his own (probably in the next 3-4 weeks).

          Also as for putting him down in his crib, very few newborns sleep great in cribs. If you’re struggling I recommend working with a swing (see link below).

          Good luck!

  22. Hi. Well our little darling 3 week old will stay up with the best of them. At the moment she has been awake since 10am it is now 10pm. We see all her signs of tiredness. We follow all tips and hints given to us. We swaddle we use white noise we do everything possible. She just wont fall asleep easily. If she does fall asleep it is a very light sleep and not many last longer than 40 mins, then she’s awake for hours once more. This is a daily occurance and doesn’t seem to have any pattern on the time that she will or wont sleep. Any tips or advice would be very helpful. Thank you.

    • 12 hours awake sounds pretty miserable:(

      I would definitely slather on soothing (see ideas here – use ALL of them)

      40 minutes is a fine nap for a 3 week old, you just need MORE of them. Newborns can be tricky and they generally need LOTS and LOTS of soothing to sleep. If nothing else is working I would try babywearing, taking her for a stroller ride, or a car ride. Often even the most overtired and non-nappers will take a nap when carried, strolled, or driven around a bit. For a longer term solution I would really work with swaddle, white noise, and swing.

      I know it’s exhausting but it does get better. Good luck!

  23. Can’t wait to try your take on baby’s sleeping patterns. However it seems my LO is a little different in many ways in terms of how she sleeps. She is 3 wo, exclusively BFd co-sleeps and has been napping 15min-2hrs during the day always after feedings. She has never dozed off on her own. Her “witching hour” starts way later than most — 11pm. Aside from a couple of 15min naps at the breast she is fussy throughout the night. Last night she was inconsolable until 3am, slept until 5am and again was fussy until about 7am. That’s actually when I also get the bulk of my z’s — til 10am. Then it’s back to every 2 hours now. Most days she also sleeps for 3 hours from 3-6pm. I’d like to know how to make her “witching hour” earlier. I feel I can deal better with an earlier time especially since DH will be going back to work soon and I would have to bring older DS to school myself. I can’t afford to be awake until 7am. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

    • OK – so a 3 week old is not expected to fall asleep on her own and thus it is TOTALLY normal that she is nursed to sleep at this age. Nights sound like a nightmare however, not entirely out of the norm.

      When she was in your belly she slept while you moved = all day long. Then she was awake when you slept = all night long. She’s just continuing this pattern.

      While I generally advocate to never wake a sleeping baby, I AM suggesting you do that. I would gradually start waking her earlier in the morning (9:40, 9:20, 9:00, etc.).

      Her “night” is largely midnight to 10:00 AM. We want to gradually shift it back so that it’s closer to 8:00 – 6:00 AM. This will move her witching hour earlier and have her up at a more reasonable hour that coincides with your need to take kids to school and such.

      Sorry you’re having such a rough time but I think gradually pushing back her “morning” will get you where you need to go!

      • Thanks for the advice Alexis! We woke her up progressively earlier and to our surprise,baby girl went from waking up at 9am yesterday morning to 6am this morning with a much earlier witching hour last night. Hopefully this pattern continues. I’m kind of skeptical though, since she made such a big (3hour) jump that may also be attributed to the fact that yesterday was no ordinary day. She had her first Dr’s appointment and had 2 vials of blood drawn to double check her bilirubin levels. She then slept most of the rest of the day only waking for 2 second to latch on and BF half asleep every few hours until around 9pm. Either that or she’s finally growing out of her nocturnal stage. It could also be that she got the hint when we started to wake her up earlier. We’ll keep you posted.

    • Geline, we’re with you. We can spend more than an hour trying to get our 4 wo down for a nap only to have him wake up 20 minutes later. It’s frustrating because we know he is tired and still can’t get him to fall asleep.He eats for 45min-1 hr, gets a diaper change and then we try to get him to sleep.

      • Glad to hear we’re not alone! Hang in there — we both know our little ones will eventually grow out of this and in the end our sleepless nights will all be worth it.

      • Have you had any luck with the swing? The 20 minute nap is a bummer (especially when it takes so long to get him to fall asleep in the first place) but the more soothing you can layer on, the more likely it is you’ll get a longer nap. Swaddle, white noise, swing, pacifier – really you can’t OVER soothe a newborn. Maybe try playing around with a darker room. Although newborns are largely blind some are pretty sensitive to light. Hope things are getting better!

  24. I have a 7 week old baby boy. He insists upon being awake from 7 am until 2 pm maybe with a couple cat naps. No matter what i do to soothe him works. Not the swing, cuddling, feeding, rocking, walking, car rides. Nothing works. He eats about 1 pm, grins, snuggles in my arms and starts his 2 hr naps. He does sleep in the bassinet after i put him there once hes asleep. He appears to know where his is and according to family if were both sleeping we coo at each other back and forth. How do i get him to sleep during this huge fussing time. He sleeps fine at night goes down 7 pm till 12 at the latest. All 3-4 between waking, change food burp then cuddle to sleep for an hr then back in his bed. Why wont he sleep in the morning. Hes so stubborn. Thanks.

    • Jackie,
      That is a loooong window of no-sleeping fussiness. How about a stroller walk? Ride in the car? Seriously – maybe a 30 minute drive in the country (if in fact you LIVE in the country) is just the thing to take the edge off that huge window of no sleeping. I would think about doing whatever you need to (baby wearing, stroller walk, car drive) to get at least a dribble of sleep happening in that 7 hour stretch.

      Once it’s at least happening (AT ALL) then you can work on helping him to sleep in his bed or swing.

      Let me know if you find something that helps, OK?

  25. you are so sweet to respond to everyone on here! I’m shocked honestly!
    I’m confused I guess on the bedtime “time”. I guess I just haven’t thought of my 4.5 week old’s sleep in terms of “naps” and “bedtime”, because newborns sleep so much. She has generally slept in 2-3 hour increments no matter if it was during the day or at night. So we don’t have a schedule or a routine really and that’s what worries me a little. I read somewhere (in Baby 411 i think) not to let them sleep during the day longer than 3 hours or they’ll get their days/nights mixed up. So if she’s ever slept longer than 3 hours (which she usually does not do), I have woken her. After reading this though, I’m guessing you’ll say that I don’t need to wake her.

    I’m also wondering why we had such a bad night last night. She was up every hour from around 10:30pm until 8:00 am.
    She is usually extremely hard to put to sleep. She constantly has to be bouncing in her bouncy seat (which i have to do manually)… if i stop, she wakes, until she’s in a super deep sleep – which generally takes longer than i have the stamina to bounce her in the wee hours of the morning when all i want to do is sleep!! I’ve tried a swing but she doesn’t like it. I swaddle and use a paci.. the only other thing i haven’t done is the LOUD white noise. We have a bear that plays the mother’s heartbeat sound but it isn’t very loud at all. Do you recommend a certain white noise machine?

    I’m also at my whits end when it comes to her awake time during the day. She is not happy if she’s not being bounced in her bouncy chair. She may be okay for 5 minutes at a time in a swing or laying on a play mat or even sitting in the bouncer without me bouncing it. But after that time, she starts crying until i come over and bounce her. This makes it to where i cannot get ANYTHING done and am stuck on the couch all day bouncing her! Maybe its that she’s overtired?? I don’t know. I generally do put her in the bouncy after about 45 min or so of her being awake.

    Do you recommend having them nap in a quiet, dark environment during the day? I read (from the same people who said that if your child sleeps less during the day, they’ll sleep more at night… so i’m thinking you’ll disagree!) that if you let them nap in a room where everyday activity is going on and the shades are open an there’s noise etc, that they’ll eventually get the picture that it’s daytime and it’ll help with day/night reversal.. I’ve also heard that if you get them used to needing it to be super quiet when they nap, you’ll always have to tip toe around them but if you have them nap where it’s noisy, they’ll get used to it.

    lots of random thoughts and questions… sorry! and thanks in advance :)

    • Meagan,
      Generally I love the Baby/Toddler 411 books for practical digestible advice. But no I generally don’t believe in waking up babies unless it’s in the late afternoon/early evening where a huge nap can mess up bedtime. But 3 hours is a pretty long nap so I would be surprised if you frequently hit the 3-hour limit anyway, no?

      OK lots going on here but I’ll do my best:)
      – Probably your heartbeat bear is not enough white noise. Check this out (there are lots of hints on how to get good loud white noise in the post and others shared their ideas in the comments)

      – The bouncing thing sounds pretty draining. But it also sounds like she is a REAL motion junkie. So my major advice is to work with the swing. Read the post below, try the varsity techniques. Make sure the swing speed is on HIGH. Make sure she is swaddled you are using loud white noise. Pacifiers are great too if she’s into it.

      – Is she overtired? It doesn’t sound like it (not if she’s taking 3 hour naps). My guess is she’s getting enough sleep and is simply fussy constantly because she’s a newborn and that’s what they do

      Crying peaks at 6 weeks so if it helps any, things should gradually get easier from here on out 😛

      – You use white noise because it’s soothing for babies. That whole issue of “babies getting used to utter silence so you had better make noise” thing is bunk. I think grandma’s keep floating that theory? (When in doubt blame grandma!)

      As for where they nap, as your baby get’s older she’ll need to nap where it’s dark and quiet simply because she’ll be too alert to nap if there is a lot of activity/light going on. Right now you can probably have her nap wherever you want (at least for the next 3-4 weeks or so).

      In my experience, and from the doctors I consult with, the day/night reversal works itself out on it’s on and that keeping baby awake/exposure to light won’t make a difference.

      When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night you do want to keep the lights low and level of activity low. This is not party time – this is sleep time. During the day, between naps, yes, it’s party time.

      Does that answer your questions?

  26. Alexis, our 4 wo used to be a dream. Napping for 2 hours after being awake for an hour. But now he’s a monster to get to sleep. He is EBF and usually eats for 45 min to an hour, after which he gets a diaper change and we try to get him to go back to sleep. (He usually falls asleep while eating). However, within the past couple days he has become a nightmare to get to go down for a nap during the day. He will be awake anywhere from 2- 2 1/2 hours before falling asleep. We do all the soothing techniques from Happiest Baby on the Block, and that will get him calm, but not asleep. It’s rather frustrating. Any advice?

    • Lea Ann,
      What jumps out at me is that he s nursing for 45in-1 hour (30 minutes a side?). That is a long time. I am not a lactation consultant but it might be time to talk to an IBCLC? (Note you ALWAYS want an IBCLC vs. LC if you can find somebody reputable nearby).

      He’s taking a super long time to eat. At 4 weeks, basically his entire “awake” window would be spent eating. And he’s probably snoozing while nursing so long. I mean nursing is SO soothing, how could he not nod off when nursing for such a long period of time? I’m wondering two things:
      a) Why does it take him so long to nurse?
      b) Are these super long nursing sessions (and probably brief nursing naps) mucking up his ability to take a real nap?

      If he naps on the boob, even for a few minutes, he may not be tired enough to sleep when he’s done.

      Anyhoo…that’s my thought.

      • Thanks Alexis. He started out not nursing very well, but now that he is 6wo he is only nursing 20-30 minutes and much more efficient. He falls into the extremely fussy/colic category described by Dr. Weissbluth in his Healthy Sleep Habits book. So we’re just hunkering down and waiting it out. It is still taking 1+ hour of rocking and soothing to get him down for naps but at least he is easier at night.

        • :( To add to your arsenal of soothing stuff:

          – warm baths (can take multiple baths a day if it helps!)
          – car rides/stroller walks (car ride was my go to on a rough day)
          – LOUD white noise (seriously don’t be stingy)
          – Let others take baby. Seriously other people will be much more effective in soothing her than you are. It’s absolutely unfair but it’s 100% true.

  27. Hi Alexis, I am so glad to have found your website, my 4 week old was sleeping so well, 4 hour stints at night and approx every two hours during the day. Then he hit the two week mark and started a feeding frenzy, fed up to 10 hours during the day rotating side to side cat nap of 15-20min then waking and rooting again, during the night the longest stretch between feedings was an hour, after a couple of days we tried to stretch the feedings but he’d just cry unconsolably until he was fed again. This went on for 10 days… he’d gained 385 gms in 10 days which the nurse sad wasn’t good as we’d stretched his stomach from all the feeding, my bigger concern was the huge lack of sleep as he developed thrush and then got an abscess, he went two days just crying unconsolably while the medications kicked in and sleeping approx 5 hours over broken stints during the day. The infections have now cleared up and I’m trying to get back his sleep patterns, he slept 10:30pm-3:00am, feeds for 30mins one side, change him, 30 mins the other side he went back to sleep 4:15 – 6:30, I fed him for 40 mins then he went back to sleep 7:30 – 8:15, I gave him a top up and changed him and he went to sleep 9:00 – 11:00 am. Then no matter what I tried, swaddling, rocking, singing, white noise, nursing he wouldn’t go back to sleep until 14:30 (this is still amazing as he hasn’t slept during the day so far this week and yet today he has had 3 big naps during the day all thanks to reading your website and just finding out that he was overtired, not a baby that doesn’t need to sleep for 10 hours straight!). But I was wondering is it a matter of trying to shrink this big sleepless gap gradually? How long do you swing the baby before it is considered a tactic that isn’t working? I had him swinging for an hour and he just went from gazing to crying by the end?
    Thank you so much in advance for your advice.

    • Wow….I can’t really figure out what the problem is because there is SO much going on in your comment! Hmmm…

      So it sounds like a growth spurt/sleep regression (constantly eating + fussy). I’m not sure why the nurse was concerned as this is pretty typical behavior? Then you got thrush (I hope you’re both getting treated yes?).

      Now if I understand you he’s actually sleeping semi-OK right? His “night” is from 10:30 PM – 8:15 AM (a bit shifted but generally OK for a newborn). Then he takes a great nap for you at 9:00 AM. Then he’s awake for 3.5 hours.

      So this is the problem right? The 3.5 hour window?

      It’s hard to say why given that you’ve had medical problems + a growth spurt. But yes – if he’s been in the swing AN HOUR and isn’t sleeping, it’s not working. That happens sometimes.

      Every Mom needs to have her desperation move in those cases – mine was a long drive in the car. What works for you? baby wearing? stroller walk? This is not for everyday but those extra rough days where baby needs sleep and NOTHING is working.

      So if it were me, baby wakes at 11:00 AM. If by say 1:00 PM nothing is working (and I mean NOTHING) I would probably pop him in the car for a 30 minute drive/nap. Or whatever suits for you.

      Does that help?

  28. My baby girl (15 weeks old) never goes to sleep without crying for a little bit first, normally it is 3-4 minutes but if its over 5 minutes we go in rub her back and comfort her till she stops then leave again. If she is still crying after another 5 minutes, we repeat the process until we give up and just get her back up again. No matter when we put her down hr after she’s been up or three hrs she still cries. Lately in the evenings she will literally scream all evening unless we put her in her basket and play white noise to her, this has been going on for the last 2 weeks or so. She listens to white noise from 8ish till her last feed at 11.30. We get her out of her basket, turn the white noise off, sleep-feed her and then put her back down. she then sleeps till anywhere between 4 and 7. Is this normal? if she sleeps 8-7 with two feeds lasting 30mins each how long should she be sleeping in the day?

    • Some babies just cry a little to fall asleep – it’s just how they’re wired. So I’m not worried that she cries for a little bit at bedtime.

      Is she getting enough sleep? You don’t tell me enough to know but you can check the link below (what is normal) for some good guidelines. For a 3+ month old her bedtime is pretty late. I’m sure you too aren’t so keen on the long crying jag in the evenings. I would work on an earlier bedtime if you can with LOOOONG soothing wind-down (bath, massage, feed, books, rocking, etc). I know the witching hour is no fun for anybody but she should be old enough for evenings to be less-rough and bedtime to start sliding earlier.

      Also the patting to sleep is fine-ish for now but you’ll want to gradually wean off that if you don’t want to run in all night long to pat her to sleep. Ideally by 6 months you’re done with patting? You can check out the sleep through the night series for more on this here:

      Good luck!

      • Her bedtime was 7.30 but it’s more like 8-8.30 now as we wanted to get to bed earlier ourselves now. Before I would bath, feed book at 7-7.30 then feed again at 9.30 and 11.30 and then go to sleep. Now it’s bath, feed, book, bed at 8-8.30 then feed at 10.30 then get to bed. The reason I feed her again in the evening as she was sleeping through the night but her weight wasn’t going up as much as I would like so I started feeding her more. We have started doing the technique where we keep her awake a certain amount of time, seems to be 1hr 15 – 1hr 30 and then she will sleep for roughly 45mins sometimes a little longer. She is still needing white noise to sleep from 8.30 till last feed 10.30. I think that she is actually sleeping to much :s

        • I’m actually concerned that you are concerned about her growth. Most 15 week old babies are MORE than capable of getting enough food. They simply won’t LET you not feed them enough because they’ll DEMAND food. Thus you can trust them to make sure that they get enough food.

          So why do you think she isn’t eating enough? And why do you think she is sleeping too much?

          Does your pediatrician have concerns that your baby isn’t eating enough? Has the doctor used the phrase, “failure to thrive?” Or is this something that you are concerned about and your doctor isn’t?

          I ask because it is VERY VERY rare for a 3 month old baby to not be thriving. It is also VERY RARE for a 3 month old to sleep TOO much.

          So I’m concerned that there is the possibility that your fears are coming from maternal anxiety. Sadly this is something I know more about than I care too. It’s REALLY common and almost ALWAYS un-diagnosed. If your pediatrician feels your baby is healthy then it might be time to talk to somebody about anxiety. I know this is neither funny or related to baby sleep but I’m throwing it out there. Because it’s not just YOU (really it’s not). And parenting from a place of fear never feels good.

          Anyhoo….all my best.

          • My little one was following the 50% line of the growth chart and then on her 12 week check up she dropped down to the next line and I alone was worried about this. I’m from the UK and the nurses/midwife didn’t say anything about it to me, they didn’t seem concerned. I decided to start feeding her more because of this and on her 16 week check up he was back on the 50% line. I feed her every 1-2hrs in the day and then last feed 8.30ish, then 11.00ish and the last couple of days she has been sleeping till 5.30ish. I try to get her up between 7 and 9 and then throughout the day till bed time I keep her up for around 1hr 15 and then she sleeps for 45mins. In the day she seems to go down quite well only a little bit of fussing. But as the day goes on it gets harder to put her down. By bedtime she won’t go down, she literally screams and screams and the only way she will sleep is with whitenoise playing, it is as if she isn’t tired. I feel she sleeps too much because I’m sure she sleeps longer than the 15hrs it says 4month olds should be sleeping and as I said she always seems wide awake in the evening.

            • Calissa,
              If it helps at ALL everything you’ve written sounds 100% normal to me. I’ve known perfectly healthy babies who have hovered at the 2% growth line for a year. I’ve known delightful little babies who bounce around on the growth chart. Sometimes the variation can be attributed to taking a big poop prior to your appointment one day and not the next 😉

              But what you describe (sleeping schedule, eating, fussy in the afternoon, etc.) sounds REALLY normal. Now I’m not a doctor so this may not allay your fears, but I DO know many many babies.

              So I still stand by my initial idea – I think you can trust your baby to make sure you give her the food she needs:)

              Good luck with everything!

  29. Thank You for the amazing advice! I have been referring to this article over & over again…. sometimes just to reassure myself that I am doing “okay” with my 3 week old. It is so hard, but SO rewarding to have a newborn. I was concerned because she was staying awake during the day more than I thought she should. Sure enough, a little walk around the house with her snuggled in my arms does the trick! Mommy needed to get up off of the couch and be a little creative 😉

    • I wouldn’t beat yourself up about not being so creative at 3 weeks. Most Moms’ with a 3 week old are too busy bleeding and crying hormonally to really tackle any creative problem solving 😉

  30. Hi Alexis. I preface this plea with the observation that you are an absolute SAINT for answering all of us flailing mommies. I really need your help (and the help of any of the mommies who are reading this and have some wisdom to extend). Here’s the sitch:

    Baby deets: 20 weeks old, boy, 18+lbs
    Day sleep: averages 2.5 hours per day broken up into several 20-30 minute naps
    Night sleep: 8PM-7AM with average of 3 wakes per night (the last one around 4AM and he is up for a good hour typically for this one but the first two he generally nurses and goes back to sleep)

    I’m dying with this schedule! To add fuel to my tired fire, I have an 18 month old that I have to love, feed, change and prevent from wrapping the lamp cord around her neck all while managing my little boy. I’m feeling pulled and disorganized and generally unsettled about how things are going and I’m desperate to get my little boy on a schedule of sorts to create some stability for all of us.

    So the questions then:

    (1) FOOD. He’s a big boy but I think I’ve gotten him that way by allowing him to tank up at night. I would very much like to change that but he cries if I don’t nurse him and his sister is sleeping in the room right next to us and is a light sleeper. Is there a way to move his eating to daytime primarily w/o making the nighttime harder than it already is? I’ve tried offering him the boob every 2 hours during the day. Doesn’t help. I’ve tried adding rice cereal with bm to his diet. Doesn’t help. I’ve tried spacing his day feeds out more in hopes that he would eat more at each one. Doesn’t help.

    (2) SLEEP. He does fall asleep on his own for most of his naps so I know he can do it. Generally when I see first sleepy sign (usually eye rubbing for him), I take him to our room, close the blinds, sing to him a bit while I swaddle him and then I kiss him say “Night, night” and leave. Oh and he has one of those Fisher Price aquariums that I then turn on and he watches for 5-15 minutes and then grizzles himself to sleep. We typically do this rigamarole around 9AM, 1PM, 330PM and 6PM.

    However when I try to do a modified version of this at bedtime, he absolutely flips his lid. Last night, he cried on and off for 1.5 hours while I floated back and forth between him and his sister. He had woken up from his last nap around 4 and he was absolutely tired at 6 as he usually is so I did the above and left him. He was beside himself. B/c I was also facilitating dinner for my toddler, I couldn’t just stand there and rock him so I would leave him for a few minutes, check on my daughter and then return to him, pick him up to comfort him, put him back down and return to my daughter. Rinse, lather, repeat what felt like a hundred times until he finally passed out on me when I picked him up at 745. Sigh. It was not good. Then he was up at 10:30, 1:30 and 4 (for an hour but he did have to poop so at least there was a reason) before getting up at 7:20 this morning. Yawn.

    The question is: HOW DO I GET HIM TO GO TO SLEEP ON HIS OWN AT BEDTIME W/O SUBMITTING ALL OF US TO THE TORTURE THAT IS LETTING HIM CIO? I used CIO with my daughter and it worked wonders and quickly but she was 10 mos and that is a far developmental cry from my son’s 5 mos so I hesitate to use it with him at this point.

    The bottom line is that I just don’t have time to coddle him to bed at the times that he really needs to be coddled to bed in order for him to be rested. I’m on my own a lot at bedtime and have to be able to manage getting both babies down at a time that works for them but so far have been largely unsuccessful. I’d appreciate ANY advice you could offer. I’m totally exhausted and frustrated and exhausted and frustrated. And exhausted. And frustrated.

    Hugs to all you mommas out there…


    • Wow that is not a small comment 😉 Let me see if I can get my head around this…

      – It’s GREAT that he’s generally falling asleep on his own for naps. But there are two things to keep in mind:
      1) The part of the brain that manages day sleep is different from the part that manages night sleep. So the fact that he can do something during the day has no bearing on what he can or can’t do at night (meaning his learning at one part of the day doesn’t necessarily influence the other).

      2)The fisher price aquarium is probably keeping his naps short. Seriously I hate these things (and yet EVERYBODY has them). More on this later….

      – How are you putting him to sleep at night? I get the sens that you are rocking/nursing to sleep but it wasn’t entirely clear. You can try night weaning while continuing to rock/nurse to sleep but it generally goes poorly. So as a general rule you need to solve the “fall asleep alone” problem BEFORE you can really tackle the “wean off night nursing” issue. Does that make sense?

      Have you read the Sleep Through the Night series here?

      Part 1 explains why the fisher price aquarium is not really helping and also why the “fall asleep alone” issue needs to be address FIRST. Part 3 talks about how to gradually wean off night feedings. Although as mentioned – this likely won’t go smoothly until the “fall asleep alone” issue is addressed (although you are welcome to try – I’ve been wrong before ;).

      If you want to avoid CIO it will be rough but I would start by having Daddy put him to bed. Dad’s are far more effective at getting babies to fall asleep with less intervention then Moms are. There is no magic egg to this – you literally just do less and less (gradually). Give him LOTS of soothing – although at this age you’re sort of limited to a great wind-down bed routine and white noise. If all else fails I would consider CIO but not the “go back in every 5 minutes” sort. I would think about the good night, we love you, and you leave kind.

      Let me know what happens – OK?

      • No small comment is right! Man, I just re-read that monstrosity. The desperation is just oozing through it LOL.

        I didn’t know about the day/night sleep brain thing! That makes a lot of sense b/c he does seem like an altogether different boy at night. So if I let him CIO at bedtime (the further down this sleepless bunny path I get, the less opposed to that I am), I obviously have to do it after his feedings in the night as well. That’s tricky b/c of said toddler next door.

        Well Alex (aka Sleep Saint) you’ve given me a lot of good stuff to mull over. I’m going to go sleep on it… not! (I’ll keep you updated.)

        • “So if I let him CIO at bedtime I obviously have to do it after his feedings in the night as well. ”

          Not necessarily. Many babies are half-asleep already when they wake up for night feeds so often you can slip them back in their crib without “waking then for CIO” in the middle of the night. At least that would be where I would start. If it seems that it’s confusing the “how we fall asleep” issue then you may need to wake him to ensure he’s fully asleep after night-nursing. But I would start with the assumption that CIO really only needs to happen at bed-time.

          Do keep me updated – I love to hear how things turn out :)

  31. I have to say I love your blog! Thank you !!!
    There is so much useful information and conversation !

    I’m a first time Mama :).

    Well my beautiful little lady was born and we have spent 6 blissful weeks together! Now the day after she was turned 6 weeks her fussiness started almost like she was bored? ( so yes im embarrassed but I went out and bought infant toys hahah she could careless ) After reading your blog I think I have been letting her sleep on demand rather then paying attention to the age sleep chart, I have remedied that today!

    I have been struggling with soothing her or figuring out what soothes her. My go to is hopping in the shower draping a wash cloth over her body ( for extra warmth) and swaying side to side letting the warm water run on her tummy or her back if I’m holding her face to chest. Shes out within 5 minutes. But a shower many times a day isn’t realistic especially when people ring your GD door bell because your dog escaped and your husband isn’t home and you have a towel half way on. Not to mention diapering a sleeping girl on you is something I attempt and mostly regret.

    So I have been searching for more soothing techniques to add to my arsenal.

    We tried the white noise radio station that was just a no go for us.

    After perusing your site I saw a funny picture of you holding a hair dryer :) So tonight I tried it!!!!!! Just like our shower she couldn’t resist letting go and sleeping!!!!! SWEET SWEET sleep! No fussing no crying just relaxing and sleeping,took all of 8 minutes or so although I probably stood there for another ten to be sure. I’m considering buying a cheapy hair dryer from Walmart. I don’t wanna kill my good one. BUT I have to be honest I haven’t used it since she was born! Hahahah yes I’m night of the living dead over here! Makeup what’s makeup?

    Well sorry this comment is so long winded! I just really wanted to say THANK YOU! And everyone should give the hair dryer a go!! I have never even heard of it! It’s Genius!

    • Nikki,

      Well that is something. Wow. I feel like there is a great idea for an article in here something. And it would have something to do with the crazy lengths we will go to to soothe our little ones to sleep 😉

      I certainly didn’t post that picture of me (not a proud moment I’ll admit!) to encourage other people to do what I was doing. Really it’s there to make it clear that I’m not laughing AT you, I’m laughing WITH you.

      But really a hair dryer is not a realistic answer. I mean it may be OK here and there but as you’ve realized, keep it up and your hair dryer will quickly turn into a large plastic paperweight. And also it’s probably a bit too loud for regular use. Your goal is ~55 dB which is roughly the volume of a shower. Which clearly works for your shower-to-sleep baby!

      Actually I wonder if the snuggle + loud white noise was really what “worked” when you guys showered? If so it should be possible to recreate without the whole wet + naked part 😉

      I would play around with everything here:

      Swaddling, LOUD white noise, pacifier, swinging. Sometimes when babies are little we are forced to measures of desperation (ie 8 showers a day) but as they get older it takes less desperate acts to help them to sleep. Hopefully you are done showering except for the usual new mom pattern of 1X a week 😉

  32. really need some advice, my second child is 9 weeks old and since his injections has been really fussy and irritable. he usually asked for bed at 8pm ish then slept 4 to 5 hours, fed then went back to sleep til 7am. right now we have had 3 nights of him refusing to go down and screaming until he finally falls asleep at around nine.hes struggling to take even 3oz now and use to take 5-6oz. last night was the worst we ended up downstairs at 3.30am with him in his swing as he refused to go back down. we have been reading healthy sleep habbits, happy child and it works great for daytime he goes down great for naps within an hour and a half of being awake. please help what should i do. sorry its so long winded but im very over tired. oh and the poor mite has a hellish cold and cough.

    • 1) Super fussy
      2) Not sleeping
      3) Eating less
      4) Has terrible cold/cough
      5) Got shots

      Well there are lots of things going on there. Injections+bad cold could explain everything (sometimes getting a shot can really throw things for a loop). So it’s not clear if you have a sleep problem per se or are just suffering through a particularly rough spell with a sick kid.

      So my best guess (which isn’t all that rock solid frankly) is that you are just being loop from a cold (possibly exacerbated by a sleep regression). Which really doesn’t tell you anything helpful other than I’m sorry and I hope it get’s better soon :(

  33. Hi there, after reading your article my baby boy seems to be a little different with his sleeping patterns at night. He’s now 4 weeks old and for the last week he’s been having heavy sleeps from around 7pm until midnight where he wakes for a feed. Then will sleep until 2ish wake for another feed generally not settle again for another decent sleep until 8am.

    Our midwife suggested we try and keep him awake and fit in plenty of feeds at nights from 7pm – 10pm. Is this correct and if so do you have any tips to keep him awake? We’ve tried everything but he won’t wake.


    • So you and your baby are up from 2:00 AM till 8:00 AM? Yikes. Then how does his sleep go from 8:00 AM till 7:00 PM?

      To be up all night is rough. TO have a baby not sleep for 6 hours is also rough (he MUST be overtired at that point no?).

      My guess is that this is just a slightly unusual version of “baby up all night, sleeps all day.” This happens naturally because when baby was in your belly he naturally slept while you were out and about and then was awake all night when YOU were sleeping. This goes by many names – reverse cycling, day/night reversal. To a certain degree ALL newborn babies do this.

      In my experience, and from the doctors I’ve asked about it, trying to keep them awake during the day doesn’t help. They basically sort this out on their own sometime between 4-8 weeks. So I wouldn’t really encourage you to keep him up and as you’ve noticed, when a newborn wants to sleep THEY WILL.

      I would however make sure there is lots of light and activity during the day. And when baby is up at night, keep the lights and activity low. Keep working on soothing back to sleep (even if it’s frustrating and not particularly working right at that moment). Layer on LOTS of soothing a la:

      I know that this is a frustrating phase but it will pass :(

  34. Hi, this article was very helpful, thanks for sharing. We have a 7 month old girl and we did the sleep routine from “Let the Children Come” and she has been sleeping 12 hours a night since she was 6 weeks old. I know we are very lucky!! However, she still naps at least 3 times a day for 1 hour plus each nap. This seems like a lot, when do we know when she is ready for two naps a day? Should we start shortening her bedtime sleep? Thanks

    • I’m glad it worked well for you although I’m generally not a fan of any “parent directed feeding” plan a la Babywise et al.

      As for 3 naps dropping to 2? Well that can happen anytime between 9-12 months. Generally the 3rd nap gets shorter, then happens some days but not others. It may become a 5 minute nap that happens on a car ride or what have you.

      I’m not sure why you are asking about shortening her bedtime sleep? My general answer is – NEVER! Seriously night sleep is FANTASTIC and better is more. When her 3rd nap is done you will find her bedtime shifts up to closer to 7:00 PM and most babies are on a 7:00 PM – 6:00/7:00 AM sort of schedule from there on out. Hope that helps?

  35. My baby is 6 weeks old. During the day she is very alert and happy. She tends to stay awake 1-2 hours and then sleeps again until I wake her to feed (3 hours between feedings). I have been trying to get her on a better schedule between day and night. She is a bit mixed up. I usually wake her up 15-20 minutes before its time to eat. I’ll change her and talk to her first. At night between 11pm-3am she will have a 3 hour period after eating that she simply will not sleep. She is fussy at times and just seems to want to play at others. I can barely keep my eyes open at this point. J thought keeping her awake more km the day time would help her sleep better at night? Apparently not… Help please?!

    • Ps. She’s eating 4 oz every 3 hours.. 6 oz a couple times during the day on some days

    • If I let her she will sleep 3 hours at a time all day long

    • Clearly I need to post about this because it seems there are a lot of people struggling with the whole day/night reversal thing and yes it blows big time.

      Basically the theme is that when you were pregnant your baby slept when you were out and about during the day and was up all night because you were no longer walking around (you walking = soothing sleep). So now that she is out of your belly she’s simply maintaining the same routine she had while IN your belly.

      In my experience, and from the doctors I consult with, trying to keep babies up all day will just result in a tired baby. They will figure this out on their own sometime between 4-8 weeks. You DO want to provide lots of light and activity when they are awake during the day. And you want to keep the lights dim and activity low when they’re up at night. (Literally – light helps our body produce “awake” chemicals so low light at night, bright light during the day helps).

      What you have is a late witching hour. Most babies do this from 7:00 – 11:00 PM. Yours is happening from 11-3 PM. Super sucky for you, but not really THAT unusual.

      This is one of the many things people talk about when they talk about how exhausting newborns are.

      So unfortunately I have no magic cure for you except to suggest that you and your partner sleep in shifts so that you can share the load of this night parenting grind. Keep the lights low. And know that it will soon get better :(

      • Hi! I just stumbled upon this site and had a question. My problem is almost the opposite of everyone else’s. My son is over 11 weeks old. For the past 4 weeks approximately, he has been sleeping through the night. He takes his last feeding, about 4 oz, around 9-10:30 at night. He does not wake up until 7-9 am the next day. He has gone over 10.5 hours between feedings. When he wakes up, he eats voraciously. He is gaining weight, but is more long and lean. Not at all a fat baby. I’m worried that he should be eating more frequently. Currently at 11 weeks and 2 days, he weighs 11 lbs 6 oz. should I be waking him to feed him? I feel horrible doing so but am scared he is. It eating enough.

        • It’s not common to have a 12 week old sleep 11 hours a night. BUT…:
          – Not all babies are fat. Seriously! Some are big, some are small. Like snowflakes – they come in all sizes. And every size is wonderful.

          – It is VERY rare to have a baby who won’t get enough food from you. They all but DEMAND it. Have you ever tired NOT feeding a hungry baby? Seriously – it’s practically impossible.

          – Talk to your pediatrician about it. If the Dr. is happy with growth and consumption during the day (which I’m assuming you know) then I would let baby sleep and assume his body will make sure he get’s as much to eat as he needs.

          – So sayeth the mother of 2 long and lean babies :)

  36. Hi, I have only recently stumbled across your blog and love it!

    I have a catnapping 14 week old. Has been catnappping since 6 weeks and just over the last few weeks has been getting increasingly grumpy and irritable all day and only until recently started driving me crazy. I was all ‘I’ll just go with the flow’; that’s not working anymore.

    Up until 6 weeks, he was such a good sleeper, I remember I once said something along the lines of ‘I think my baby sleeps too much’, silly me.

    His bedtime is around 6:30-7pm, has been since about 6 weeks old, and he generally wakes around 7am with a couple feeds overnight. Night time is okay at this stage.

    I have recently been letting him self settle, putting him down awake. He usually protest cries/grizzles for anywhere bewtween 3-10minutes. At night time, he often goes to sleep without a sound. But as the day goes on, he’s more overtired and it takes much long to settle him.

    I struggle to get him down before his overtired because he tends to yawn, well all the time, and by the time I see tired signs he’s already grizzling and harder to get to sleep. Should I put him down with his first yawn in the morning?

    He seems to be awake for only 1 hour max before he wants to go back to bed, he is 14 weeks old and I would have thought by now he’d be up for at least an hour and a half.

    What kind of consistency can I create with a 45 minute napper? For instance, he generally feeds 3 hourly, can go to 3 and 1/2 hourly, but when he catnaps it’s really difficult to be consistent. When he wakes his not hungry, but difficult to resettle, and by the time he gets back to sleep, he’s hungry. I’m really stuck and it’s driving me crazy. I can’t seem to do the EASY style routine with a catnapper. I end up feeding him then putting him down so he can get some sleep but it puts the whole day out of wack in terms of feeding on waking etc.

    Will he really extend his naps? I can’t seem to do anything right. Please help?????

    • Mia,

      My thoughts:
      – I would get rid of Babywise (I assume that is what you are referring to by EASY yes)? This book is not your friend. Chuck it.

      – You can’t do a whole lot to fix a 3 month old catnapper (check the short nap post I linked to below).

      – Do all the soothing stuff that I talk about here:

      This may not fix the short nap but if you do all these things then you KNOW you are doing ALL YOU CAN. When you are doing ALL YOU CAN and baby is still (fussy, taking short naps, etc.) then you shouldn’t feel like you can’t do anything right. You’re doing what you can and baby is doing what he can. It’s really that simple.

      – Babies are all different. Only awake for 1 hour isn’t a concern for me. Sure it makes it hard for you to get out of the house and I’m sure you’re feeling a bit sick of being home all the time. But it get’s easier and very soon you’ll see that window open up.

      – All babies nap better in the morning and become gradually more fussy through the afternoon. You’re right – it is due to the fact that they get overtired as they get closer to bedtime. But this is TOTALLY normal. Afternoons are rough for all new Moms!

      – I’m not sure what you mean when you say he feeds 3 hourly. So I guess I can’t really answer that question?

      I would let go of the schedule idea. Dump Babywise. This is not time to have a schedule, it’s time to be a little Zen about things. Babies. Just. Do. It’s frustrating. You want to have some predictability. But it sounds like your baby isn’t ready for that.

      Probably not what you want to hear – but it’s true :(

      • thank you so much for your comment. I had an epiphany over the last couple of days about the whole thing and i feel so much happier and so is bub. I’m going with the flow and not getting stressed about what others think is the best for MY baby. There is just so much pressure out there that your baby should be in a routine or they’re going to be out of sorts when they’re older.

        Ernie is going to sleep by himself which is great and I’m working on the tired signs to make sure he doesn’t go down to late. I’m feeding him when his hungry and not going by a strict routine. He generally feeds every 3-4 hourly by himself and he goes to bed at around 7pm every night.

        We’re having fun and thanks to your blog I’m feeling so much better about my mothering skills!

        Thanks so much

        • when i said he feeds ‘by himself’ i mean i breastfeed him when HE’S hungry and not on a routine. mostly during the day it’s about every 3-4 hours give or take, at night he has a 6-7 hour stretch from 7-12 or 1am then depends on hunger after that, but anywhere from 3am to 5am, then on waking.

          I really can’t complain……and I don’t mind getting up in the night, I’m use to it now.

          I find there is a lot of pressure out there to have your baby sleep through the night.

          I have a great baby! dammit! ha ha

          • At 3 months? Who pressures people with a 3 month old? When your baby is eating his first birthday cupcake and still up all night long THEN they can raise an eyebrow about it. But anybody who is making you feel like a failure because your 3 month old doesn’t sleep through the night is simply misinformed about what 3 month old babies are like 😉

  37. What a great website! Thank you for it.

    I have a question about feeding frequency in relation to sleep patterns. My 8 week old sleeps from about 11pm-4:30am, then 5:30am-8:30am. She eats well during the night and her first morning feed around 9am. However, during the day she doesn’t seem very interested in eating, even if I space feelings out to 3 or so hours. She takes a 30 min nap around 11am, and another one around 1pm, and then a long nap around 3pm. But her long nap can be 1.5-3 hours long. When it’s long, she misses a feeding. Since she feeds at 10pm (before bed),5am, and 9am, that means I still should feed her like 4 or 5 more times a day, according to the 7-8 meals per day rule. But I can’t really get her to eat that many time between the 9am feed and the 10pm feed, ad when she does eat, it’s not much I don’t think (though I don’t know how much it is for sure because I ebf). Any thoughts? And do you recommend waking her up from the long nap in order to get another feed in? Or is 5 feeds a day enough? She’s 8 weeks and about 11.5lbs, and was born at 8lbs 11oz… Any help would be great!

    Oh, and also, during her witching hour all she wants to do is nurse (comfort suckle) from about 7:30pm-9pm… Should I try puting her to sleep in bed instead?

    • That last part is not clear… I meant that she nurses/comfort suckles and FALLS ASLEEP. We then wake her up around 10 to take a bath and feed her and put her to bed.

    • My husband has a PhD in fluid dynamics and I keep explaining to him that if he could invent a “milk gauge” for nursing moms we could sell it for MILLIONS. It would be part of your nursing bra and it would simply read out volume pre and post feed. Literally I think we could sell these for $1K and people would buy them in droves.

      Alas he has not yet invented such a device.

      Well you can’t make your baby eat more than she wants to. If you offer the breast often and she says no thank you the you’ve done all you can do. It could be that you are simply a champion producer and she’s a really efficient nurser.

      But let me be very clear (since you’re like the 5th commenter to bring up the food issue) – if your doctor is not concerned with her consumption/growth then I’m not either!

      Usually the problem is that newborns are INEFFICIENT eaters and nurse CONSTANTLY so if she’s happy and growing then consider yourself lucky :)

      If you’re REALLY curious, you could reach out to a local IBCLC. They’ll generally have a medical-grade infant scale. They’ll weigh your baby before and after nursing and it gives you a really good idea of how much she’s consuming. This would help conform (and maybe make you feel better) that she just get’s a ton of milk in during fewer nursing sessions.

      I don’t recommend waking her to eat but taking a 3 hour nap in the late evening for a 11:00 pm bedtime is not ideal so I would definitely play around with shortening this nap and pushing bedtime up. It’s not critical (she’s young) but something to think about for the coming weeks!

  38. Hello
    I have a 10 week old baby girl.She sleeps well at night go down about 11 pm and wake up at 7 for feed(i am breastfeeding) then go back to sleep and wake up for the day at and have her first feed at 10am.her naps during the day are not regular at all between 30min-2 hours and i get really confused with feeding her during the day she finds it difficult to stay up for long periods i know she gets tired after being awake for 1 hour but some how will not want to settle for nap unless i give her another feed( i use to feed her every 2-3 hours)but now will turn out to be nearly every hour or 30 min.I feel like i am doing something wrong or should be doing it different.Can you also help how can i get her to go down for night earlier than 11pm we do have a set bed time routine. Please help

    • For 10 weeks she is sleeping like a CHAMPION – WOO HOO! Really she IS sleeping through the night. So if she’s not eating all night long that it’s entirely normal that she’s going to need to eat a lot more during the day.

      So she has this 12 hour stretch (@night) with only 1 nursing session. If she ate ever 2-3 hours during the day then she would barely eat 4-5 times a day. Newborns need more food than that. So really you should be happy that she’s excited to nurse all day long and is giving you these great long nights.

      Because the alternative would be to have her eat less frequently during the day and then nurse all night to compensate. REally this isn’t a problem – its the IDEAL scenario. Honest!

      Her “night” is shifted late (11:00pm – 9:30 am) so the answer is to gradually start waking her up earlier in the morning (9:15, 9:00, 8:45, etc). Simultaneously start gradually pushing bedtime earlier (10:45, 10:30, 10:15). Ideally you would continue until she’s going to bed somewhere in the 7:00 – 8:00 pm range and waking up around 6:00 – 7:00 AM zone.

      Good luck!

  39. My baby is 7 weeks old and the longest stretch he sleeps through the night is 3 hrs. He has multiple naps through the day, with the longest naps (2 hrs) in the morning. He is put to bed at 9pm, with a quiet evening of bath and snuggles, although the evening is when he is most fussy. Any suggestions for getting him to sleep in longer stretches through the night? He is a breast fed baby. Thanks so much!

    • For starters, that sounds ENTIRELY normal. Newborn babies (7 weeks is still itty bitty!) don’t sleep for long stretches at night so for him to wake up every 2-3 hours is pretty much what newborns do. So while I understand this is not a party for you (nobody digs being up all night) it’s just part of the process of parenting a newborn.

      However you might slightly increase some of those windows by making sure he has TONS of soothing. Have you read and tried everything here?

      If so then you’re doing all you can. It will get better, and he’ll start consuming more during the day. But this is what everybody was talking about they talk about how exhausting newborn babies are 😛

  40. My question is, is it ok to let my 6 week old sleep in his swing or chair during the day or should I use his crib for every nap? I feel like he spends all day in his room.

    • If you mean baby swing or bouncy chair (with straps) then yes it’s OK for him to sleep in those places (just wanted to be clear that you weren’t talking about a grown-up chair :). But I wouldn’t worry about him spending too much time in his room. For starters, this will change. Rapidly and soon. So if he is sleeping well IN his crib, I would simply enjoy the calm. And it’s not like he’ll be bored or need a change of scenery because he is SLEEPING and thus could care less about it at the time. Plenty of time to take him out to play, look at colored lights, pet the kitty, etc. when he is awake.

      • Thanks for the reply. What about going to sleep with vibration? His bouncy chair and bassinet have vibration which he loves but will he get used to it and not sleep well without it once he goes in his big crib? I try to only use it in times of desperation (there are a lot of those right now) because I don’t want him to not be able to sleep without it.

        We are fairly certain he is suffering from painful reflux that he is being treated for but we only started the meds a few days ago so they aren’t working just yet I don’t think. I elevated the head of his bassinet with a towel, but he is still awake most of the night crying/fussing in his sleep or wakefulness. He is breast fed and eats most of the time every 3 hours. Sometimes 4 hours and on a REAL good night, we might go 5 hours at the beginning of the night. Any ideas of what to do about he constant fussiness during the night? I just started a bedtime routine yesterday and getting him to sleep last night was painful. It took an hour and a half. I’m trying to tell myself it will get easier. OK, I’m rambling….sleep deprivation :) Any thoughts or ideas…Thanks


          Have you read all the reflux articles here? I strongly recommend you consider a swing (discussed in the what to do about reflux post). I think you’ll have much better results a la reflux then you are getting with the bassinet/towel.

          Also reflux is generally not “fixed” with medication – it will require a combination of vigilance, lifestyle management, and meds. So even when the meds kick in you will not be “done” although things should get a lot better.

          And finally – your baby is a newborn. Things that work for a newborn generally only work for a little while. So if for now he’s digging the butt vibration for God’s sake – USE IT! In a few weeks he’ll probably decide he’s not into it anymore. Take advantage of what your baby likes and USE IT! 2 weeks from now he’ll hate it but he’ll love warm baths. Then he’ll grow tired of warm baths and will want to be carried constantly. This is the way of babies.

  41. Hello
    My mostly happy 4 week old baby will start getting fussy around 5 pm and either be grumpy until she goes to bed between 12 and 2 am. Or she will have a meltdown that lasts for a couple hours. I thought it might be extreme gas and tummy aches because her face will get red and she will throw her legs around. We will also try to give her a bottle or paci during this time and she will suck a little and then look at me like she’s in pain and then cry and cry and scream to where she almost can’t breathe. If we are able to soothe her for a few minutes she will usually then accept her paci. But then she will melt down again. I’ve been trying for a few days now to get her to sleep more during the day but she gets a lot of stimulation when I have family over to help me. But it seems her meltdowns aren’t as bad if I try to get her to nap more. Do you think her being overtired is the big issue or it could be a gas problem? I dont know what to do for gas, ive tried the drops and they dont work. When she sleeps it seems she sleeps right through that gas. Any advice is appreciated!

    • Sounds like pretty standard issue witching hour stuff to me – it’s miserable, fairly predictable, and nothing seems to work.

      I would do WHATEVER works – this may mean giving her multiple warm baths (no soap) in the evening. Taking her for a long soothing car ride, baby wearing, stroller walks, etc. Some babies can be distracted out of the witching hour (take her to the mall, grocery, etc. see what happens).

      Everything here is worth trying:

      White noise and swaddling can also be helpful tools for super fussy times of day (it’s not just for sleeping!). Ask for help. Have Grandma come over. Switch off with your partner in the evenings.

      It will get better. You’re right to try to push bedtime but if it’s not working – give up! Trying to make it happen for ages will just leave you and your baby frustrated.

      This shall pass. You’re probably at the tail end of it. I promise :)

  42. I KNOW my 2 week old is overtired but he simply won’t go down for a nap during the day. I’ve tried all of the tips–swaddle, white noise, feed then sleep, the five S’s right in a row. Last week he went for naps AND he began sleeping in the bassinet at night. Now we have to hold him just to get him to sleep at all. I can’t figure out if it’s gas or just a fussy baby. Tips? Articles? HELP. I’m exhausted.

    • Well here are my primary articles but it sounds like you are totally on the right track:

      Newborns can be REALLY hard. I would ditch the bassinet and go straight for the swing (the 5th S). Babywearing might also be a temporary fix. Car rides can sometimes be an effective way to help baby sleep. Warm baths, LOUD white noise (volume of a shower running), tight waddle, put him in the swing. Turn the swing on high.

      You may need to hold him for a few weeks – this is life with a newborn. If the swing is absolutely not working (definitely try more than once!) you may need to accept this in the short-term. This is when you watch a lot of TV and have the neighbors bring you meals. Hopefully Grandma is there to help too.

      None of this is probably what you are looking for but this is the first few weeks with a newborn. And why new moms all look so bleary 😉

  43. Hi. I have a 4 and a half month old…. He is exclusively breastfed. He is still not sleeping through the night and I’m getting pretty frustrated. He had two nights a couple of weeks ago where he did sleep through but after that has gone back to feeding every 3/4 hours at night… I nurse him when he wakes up and then take him back to his crib in his room – sometimes he will wake up and start to scream and sometimes he will continue to sleep after the nursing…. Should I try and space the feedings at night? My husband has tried to walk with him, sing to him, change him at night when he wakes up and has slept for 2 hours, however this doesn’t work the majority of the time and has to be nursed back to sleep. What can we do to change this? Is this normal for an almost 5 month old? Any advice? Please let me know your thoughts!

  44. Hi my baby is 6 and half weeks old.naps fine in the day, try not to keep her awake any more than an hour and half at each time! feeds between 4-5hours is this ok? drinks between 6-7 oz! its the night time..she ends up staying awake for nearly 4hours in a from 4,5 ish she stays awake till like 8, cries most of the evening :( do i need to try get her to have a nap.. then a bottle and have her bedtime a lil later?i have been trying to get her to bed early. but maybe its worth trying for a lil later?x

    • I believe you have a standard witching hour issue going on yes? If so that is definitely normal. Unpleasant but normal.

      I’m not sure what you are asking when you say feeds 4-5 hours. Are you saying your 6 week old only eats 4 times a day (every 5 hours?) if so yes that is a bit unusual. But if your pediatrician says all is well then I guess that’s who she is.

      Again I’m not totally clear but I think you’re saying that your baby goes to bed at 8:00 PM yes? That is probably reasonable for a 6 week old. If she’s ready to go down sooner that would be great but generally babies just WON’T sleep during the witching hours. You can try and see what happens but don’t get too frustrated if nothing is working. Just shrug – wait a week – try again. Babies are just like this :)

      • Hi, no she feeds 5times in a day, drinks anything to 5-6oz! her gaining wait is fine. trouble i have..i was using normal aptamil one, but she had bad wind, which i thought was colic? started using infacol, but infact then made her not poo for days on end which was unlike her! so i then went onto aptamil comfort but since using that she is still not pooing very often again!! shall i just go back to aptamil 1? as she was pooing twice a day? when do they start sleeping through the night?
        and also can u give them farleys rasks mashed up in there milk yet? someone said the other day you can!

        • I don’t know why she’s having a problem with different formulas – I would definitely run it by your pediatrician as I would be curious to get their take on why she stopped pooping. The gas may not be related to the formula at all (it’s hard to know). If she is intolerant to something in the formula it could result in her being really gassy. But some babies simply get gassy because bottles allow way more air into their system than nursing. So it could be a bottle issue, it could be that the nipple on the bottle is too large, or any number of things.

          I know you are super tired but it’s not normal for a newborn/6-week old baby to sleep through the night. Check out the baby sleep what is normal link below. Some babies may start sleeping through the night as early as 3 months but I think 6+ months is probably more normal.

          Also I would definitely not add any cereal/biscuit to her bottle at 6 weeks! Here in the US the general advice is no solids until 6 months. At 6 weeks her digestive system is not yet equipped to handle solid food and this will NOT help her sleep better.

          Sleep is almost never about food. Food will not help her sleep better. Although it could make her tummy hurt as she is too young to process it. Lots of people think that food is the answer to their sleeping problems and it almost never is.

          I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you. Best of luck!

  45. What a great article! You can’t imagine how helpful your summaries are!

    I found your blog 3 days ago and I’ve been reading it since then nonstop. I am FTM and I EBF. My daughter is 6 weeks today. She is a happy baby and almost never cries. We started doing Babywise right after she was born. However, I discovered Dr. Weissbluth when she was 3 weeks and we’ve been following his advice since then.

    She typically takes 3-5 naps during the day, has her witch hour from 6pm-9pm and then wakes up at 3am and 6am.

    Our questions are:

    (1) After 6am feed (~20 min), she typically falls asleep right away. I thought that it should be “considered” breakfast and I’d expect her to be up for some time. Then she sleeps until 9am. Is that ok? Should we change it in any way?

    (2) During the day, she only naps in Ergo carrier. She used to be able to sleep anywhere. Within last couple days, I wasn’t able to get her to sleep anywhere but Ergo. We tried everything (crib, bouncer, car seat, swing, etc). I know how important the naps are for her so I don’t mind walking around for 1h-2h while she sleeps. Is is okay for her to nap only in Ergo? When we try to put her down (after we feel like she is in deep sleep), she wakes up after 5 minutes. The same happens if we stop walking with her. Any advice on how to get her to nap somewhere else so I can actually get stuff done?

    (3) When does one typically do bedtime routine (bath, massage, PJ’s) with babies less than 3 months old? We do it at 6ish but her with hour is until 9pm. Should we do it earlier/later? Should it be always at the same time?

    Thank you for all the amazing work you’re doing!

    • I just want to add that at night, we also get her to sleep in Ergo. We walk around with her starting at 8pm and she is typically asleep by 9pm. Then we transfer her to the crib in her room around 10pm. My husband does the dreamfeed (pumped milk in the bottle) at 11pm. Then I breastfeed her at 3am & 6am. After those feedings, she falls asleep right away and sleeps without any issues in her crib with white noise in the background.

    • Zuzka,
      OK lots of stuff here so I’ll try to address it all.

      1) Throw Babywise away. Don’t give it to the local library or a pregnant friend. Just toss it. This book is not your friend.

      2) 6:00 AM is not breakfast it is still a night feed as it sounds like her “night” is 9:00 PM – 9:00 AM. This is pretty typical for a 6 week old. If it doesn’t start shifting earlier you might need to nudge it along (am working on a post on this) but for now it’s probably OK.

      3) Since her bedtime is actually 9:00 (and not 6:00 though you might like it to be!) I would do your bedtime routine closer to 9:00 PM. Whatever you want is fine as long as it’s a routine you can enjoy for years to come. Bath, boob, book, bed is a popular setup. Some people like songs, infant massage, etc. It should be something everybody enjoys!

      4) Walking in the Ergo is fine here and there but it’s not OK for ALL the time for 2 key reasons:

      1 – Eventually your back will be a painful mess of knots and it will KILL you. Also you can never nap while she is napping. So logistically this is not a good long-term plan.

      2 – As she gets older you will effectively teach her that THIS is how she sleeps. Thus over time this will become the ONLY way she sleeps.

      So while the occasional Ergo nap is fine for you both you don’t want this to be what happens 100% of the time.

      I’ll tell you what I tell everybody else who says their baby only sleeps while being carried – work with the swing. I know it didn’t work but I can all but guarantee that if you lived here I could come to your house and get her sleeping in the swing. However since you don’t live here you’ll have to take the article below and figure out how to make it work all on your own 😉

      Since she’s doing great in her bed at night it’s totally OK to do crib for days and bed at night.
      Hope that helps!

      • Alexis, YOU ROCK!!!! My daughter slept last 3 naps in the swing (~1h long) and I am a very happy and rested mommy! We used blackout curtains, Graco swing on level 6, my shirt underneath her, double swaddle and loud white noise. Worked like a charm! YAY!

        Thank you so much for all your comments and great blogs. I have couple more follow-up questions.

        (1) From your other posts, it seems like one should slowly decrease the intensity on the swing so eventually the baby sleeps in a non-moving swing and easily transitions to the crib for the naps. Is that correct? Should we aim for 3 months and do CIO at that time? She is 6-7 weeks now.

        (2) What would you recommend for bedtime? Should we also use the swing to help her fall asleep and then move her to the crib when she is asleep? I am worried it might wake her up. My husband has been doing Ergo for last 10 days and I would like to make it easier for him :)

        (3) I can’t wait for your article on how to deal with her late (8am/9am-ish) wake-up time.

        (4) In your “what’s normal” article, it says that her naps should be about 0.5h-2h. Sometimes she sleeps more than 2h (e.g. 2.5h lunchtime nap). Should I wake her up after 2h by stopping the swing?

        (5) I don’t know what to do about her evening naps (5pm-6:30pm). Should I let her sleep as long as she wants or wake her up? She will be too overtired if she skips it but she gets mad when I wake her up :(

        • 1) You “test” the lower speed and see if she still keeps sleeping like a champ. If so, keep going. If not, she still needs it. She will likely be out of her swing by 3 months but maybe not. I wouldn’t schedule CIO just yet – our goal is to avoid it if possible (it’s a backup plan if all else fails).

          2) If your husband is carting her around in the Ergo for 1+ hour each night then yes I would try the swing. You could try moving her to the crib if you think you can do so without waking her up. Generally people just stick with the swing. ALso if it takes so long for her to fall asleep in the Ergo, maybe you’re trying too soon? Play around with when to start the bedtime routine so that she’s actually falling asleep at the end of the routine.

          3) Short version – start gradually waking her up earlier in the AM :)

          4) I don’t advocate waking babies once your DR has told you that she is eating, peeing, and pooping just fine (usually this happens a few days after you get home). So unless there is any cause for alarm with her eating and stuff (very rare!) then let her sleep!

          5) At 6 weeks I wouldn’t sweat the late nap. As she gets closer to 3 months you’ll want her waking up earlier in the morning and going to bed earlier at night. As that starts to happen you’ll want to “protect” your earlier bedtime by getting rid of or shortening the late nap. For now you can sort of go with the flow.

  46. Hi Alexis,

    Thanks for your blog. Was searching the web for the ideal nap durations and came across this site and have been engrossed for the last 2 hrs. My 8 wk old has been overly tired and cranky since I can remember. From now am going to put your advise to practice. Thanks for the blog and all the best.

  47. Hi, I am completely desperate and hoping you may be able to give some advice. I love your site and have been reading it since I discovered it. My 8 week old boy will not sleep longer than 10 minutes at a time. Majority of the time it’s 5 minutes and 7 minutes and maybe once a day 10. 1 week ago I got a 40 minute sleep out of him in the rocker with the vibration on. At night he sleeps really well, I have had the same nighttime routine since 2 weeks and the last week he has slept from 6-12 feed then 12.30-3 feed then usually up between 4.30-5.30 when his daytime awake marathon begins. He cries all day because he is so tired but I just can’t seem to keep him asleep. He won’t go in a carrier and I can usually get him to sleep by rocking his bassinet or breastfeeding but 5 minutes later he is screaming and I can’t resettle him. What’s harder is my toddler who from 1 year old slept 6pm-5pm now wakes up 5+ times a night since the baby came home from hospital. I can’t sleep day or night and I just can’t find a solution myself. If he sleeps long stretches at night, then why not through the day? I must be doing something wrong. Financially a swing is out of the question but don’t think it would work as a rocking, vibrating chair rarely has any affect. Thanks heaps :)


      He sounds miserable and YOU sound miserable :( I would slather him with soothing. If you can’t afford a swing (or borrow one) I would reach out on Craigslist (or whatever you have locally if not in the US) and simply ask for one. I know if some struggling Mom asked for my swing for no money I would hand it over INSTANTLY. Just something to think about as an option…

      I would use all the soothing at your disposal – swaddle, loud white noise, paci, swing. Just because the vibrating chair doesn’t work doesn’t mean that the swing won’t (they’re very different creatures).

      If you’re nursing I would consider going dairy free. It’s not easy to tell but anytime somebody has a really unhappy baby your first go-to guess is a dairy issue (10% of babies have this). Reflux is a lot less likely at this age but also a possibility to consider:

      As for the toddler, what you are describing is so common I need to coin a term for it (new baby nightmare? big brother bed boycot?)

      Basically your toddler’s world has just been rocked and while new baby is clearly sucking up tons of time and energy, one way to guarantee some 1:1 time is to get up all night long. This is totally behavioral and understandable. But also fixable. There are lots of good suggestions here to help him feel more accepting about these changes:

      Will be putting together a post on this common issue (so common you’re the 3rd person to bring it up this week) but basically it’s a lot about filling his emotional tank during the day, setting and enforcing firm boundaries at night, and rewarding him when he responds positively.

      Hope that helps!

  48. Please help!!!! My daughter is 6 1/2 months old and I thinly she is in a loop of overtiredness! She is in her crib and wakes up constantly all night long. I’m not a CIO Momma but I don’t know what else to do. She had been like this (bad) since 4 months. She’s not hungry all the time, I am breadtfeeding but she also eats 3 meals a day. I’m losct… she training me :( when she wakes up crying I do go to her as I feel that is my job. When I pick her up she melts my shoulder other times she keeps crying, that’s when I try to feed her. Sometimes I don’t even have to pick her up just soothe her with a tummy rub. She HATES being tired and she does not handle growth spurts well. Please help I’m desperate.

  49. This post has helped me tremendously!!!
    My little one is 9 weeks old and I was keeping her up way too long between naps. A few weeks ago she was catnapping all day and then would have her witching hour from 7-9 and then pass out and sleep really well at night (9-9 waking up only twice and going back to sleep without any help from me). This would be fine but it would take her like an hour of me soothing her for her to sleep for 20 minutes!

    Then, I read your post and knew that I was keeping her up too long. For the past two weeks I have been working on getting her to nap BEFORE she is tired (usually start putting her down somewhere between 45-55 minutes of wake time) and I have to settle her after 30-45 minutes of sleep to elongate her naps (rock her). That is the good news.

    The next step we are working on, that I would love your advice on is the evening. After waking up at around 7:30AM, she gets in 3 good 1 -1.5 hour naps until about 5PM. For her evening nap (around 5) she usually has a catnap (20-30 minutes) and then I can’t tell if that is the start of her witching hour or if she is over tired. She is easy to sooth (does not cry much but is just awake!) we pushed her bedtime routine back so that the bath and all the other soothing stuff happens during her witching hour – 7:15 start the bath. I can usually get her to take another cat nap (hello swing!) sometime between 5 and 7. Here is that bad news: She goes to bed at 8:30 and then wakes up at like 10 and goes crazy until like 12. It seems like either- I pushed back the witching hour OR she is so over tired that she is waking up.
    Any ideas??

    • Actually Sarrita (lovely name!) I think what is happening is the standard “party all night” thing babies do. Well newborns do this. I believe (can’t back this up) that this happens because this is when you were sleeping and as you know, when she was inside your tummy, she slept when you were out and about and was awake when you slept. Which now is not so fun for you.

      So you have this horrendous 10-12 window to deal with. How do manage?
      1) Keep lights low. OK so she’s awake. Keep things dark. Dark is your friend.
      2) Keep trying to put her to sleep.
      3) However don’t make yourself NUTZ trying to put her to sleep. If she absolutely won’t go to sleep then put on an ipod, sit in a comfy chair, and just hold her in a dark room.
      4) Try putting her to sleep gradually earlier – 11:45, 11:30, 11:15, etc. Over time you should see this window getting shorter.

      Check back in in ~2 weeks and let me know if you’re all done with your baby’s night party. OK?

  50. I wish my little one would have a witching hour of 5pm to 11pm. Instead he likes to hit his right between 1am and 5am. I work at 6:30am and have been only catching an hour of sleep here and there. So now I will try to narrow down his awake window and see if there is something that is a miss. But for the majority it is any where from 30mins to an hour except his witching time.

    Please wish me luck,

    Tired father

  51. my 7 week old will not sleep more than 20-30 minutes at a time, and she is so tired and fussy. Not sure what to do…she doesn’t go to sleep well during the day, but at night she goes 6-7 hours once we can get her down. she goes to bed kind of late (10-11)…is there something I am doing wrong? I can not put her down drowsy but awake, she just cries.

    • Hi! I have a 6 week old boy (3rd baby,first boy)
      Im no expert, but please swaddle honey!.. It helps so much
      Lay the baby blankey (shoild be large and thin muslin is best)
      Anyway lay the blanket down square in front of u.
      Place baby in middle with shoulders at edge of blanky
      Take right arm hold down next to body! Wrap right
      Side of blanky around baby and tuck under back
      Do same on left.
      Pull bottom of blanket up so feet are touching the blanket but
      Not smushed tight bring edge of bottom blanket to shoulders (fold in half if too long) wrap right side around tight and same on left tuck end into fold to sucure.
      It helps.. Look up happiest baby on the block!
      Oh- a hair dryer or vacume running while my oldest was n a swing
      Was only way she would sleep for awhile.
      U cant spoil a newborn.. Hold her make her feel safe and dont put her down till she is truely n hard sleep.. Remember u held her 24/7 n u so anything less is a rip off for her.. Keep n mind this too shall pass.. Try white noise.. Hope something here helps..

      • Shannon,
        Miah is totally right (thanks Miah!) so definitely take her advice to heart.

        Have you read everything here?

        More advice to take to heart. Swaddle, loud white noise, swing. These are major tools for you.

        Also – putting a 7 week old down awake is HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO HAPPEN. Seriously. When she is 3-4 months this will be major homework for you. Now your goal is to have her sleep and it’s absolutely OK to put her fully asleep and THEN put her down. I’m assuming you mean “down in her crib” but I swear that “down in a swing” will result in longer naps 😉

        Also? Fussiness peaks at 6 weeks which is RIGHT where you are. This is stressful but also totally normal. The good news is that in very small ways, things will get gradually better as you go on. The worst is behind you. Yay?

        • Thanks alexis!
          Some more things I thought about
          Babys need to feel safe to go and stay asleep
          That meens parented to sleep. Nursed or rocked
          Or sang to sleep
          Look at other animals, they nurse or snuggle
          Their young to sleep.
          Laying a baby down is odd and promotes
          Panic. Not sleep. Untill a baby is around 2 yrs old
          When an object (toy or person) is removed from
          Sight they really think its gone, like off the face of earth
          Which is why some babies cry at peek a boo

          Another thing is try sleep aid soap or lotions
          Baths with mom are calming too. My kids all
          Enjoyed nurseing in the tub. I nurse all kids till
          2 years old!

          The baby may also have gas on her tummy. Try a warm was rag on the tummy. Hold baby in your arms on her tummy faceing down. Some babies only like being held onr or two ways..
          Oh check out fits my oldest hated tags.
          Ill say a prayer for shannon. Fussy babys are stressful
          Hope mine and alexis ideas help having a 6week old I feel
          Your pain..

    • This is EXACTLY my 5 week old daughter! It’s nice to hear someone else having the same problem!
      This past week she’s gone from being an amazing sleeper to resisting sleep during the day at all costs! She’ll sleep for about 20 mins if I’m holding her or walking her in the pram but she wakes up as soon as I put her down. Eventually at about 3pm she falls asleep on me and gets into a really deep sleep and I can put her down (I sit with her asleep on me for an hour sometimes cause I’m too scared to move her!) then she has a long sleep for 2-3 hours finally! Then it’s another battle to get her to sleep again for the night and it usually takes till about 11pm for her to fall asleep on me so I can put her down for the night. Once she’s asleep for the night she does a good 4-6 hours before waking for a feed and then going straight back to sleep after (thank god!).
      Hopefully this is just a phase that will pass soon!

      • Newborns need a TON of help to FALL asleep and STAY asleep. Anytime somebody tells me that a long walk in the pram works my first piece of advice is to work with the swing. Why? Because your baby is telling you that motion works! And because is a swing is a lot easier to work with than having her only nap on you :)

        Layer on the soothing. You can’t give a newborn TOO much soothing to sleep. More = better at this age. Everything here should help some?

        Good luck – it gets easier!

    • I love the Miracle Blanket for swaddling. Works like a true miracle.

  52. Try keeping night time pitch dark as well. And keep the day time bright and exciting. Even at night with my little one, I breast fed, changed, and cooed her in the dark so she didn’t expect too much excitement in the day. Swaddling is awesome until they learn to break out of a swaddle – which was 2-3 months for me. Also try watching sleep cues . At the first yawn / rubbed eye – try helping your little one go down.

    • Yep – light (or lack of) actually helps our bodies produce melatonin and seratonin (hormones that help regulate sleep) so you are right on the money there!

  53. Hi Alexis, ever since i came across your blog, our life has gotten so much easier. I was watching over my LO’s naps like a hawk, and he was getting better and better at napping and sleeping at night.

    This is why it’s so frustrating that all this hard work is now going down the toilet as i went back to work (mostly my choice, I am just not good at anything else to occupy me…) and my 4mo baby is now in daycare, where nobody cares about putting the baby for a nap. It’s up to the baby to fall asleep if he chooses to, and mine never chooses to: he needs to be put to bed just at the right moment and to be given a chance to fuss it out before he falls asleep. As a result he hardly ever naps during the day.

    Whenever i pick him up in the evening he is whining and rubbing his red eyes. It makes me cry when he crashes on the way home, just one hour before his bedtime. His night sleep has not been affected so far probably because he is just SO exhausted, but I am afraid of what is to come.

    Or maybe I am worried for nothing and the baby will learn to nap, the hard way? What do you think may happen?

    PS this is one of the best and most expensive daycares available in this country (Switzerland). Problem is women are expected to stay at home with children here, and childcare is seriously underdeveloped…

    • Wow. I mean just…wow. I thought Switzerland would have AMAZING childcare?

      Waiting for baby to fall asleep on their own is not amazing. And they won’t compromise with you on that? Here in the US I have a generally pretty low opinion of most childcare (there are good ones however) but I have found that most will work with you on napping. They have every incentive too because a happy well-napping baby makes their life easier too right?

      Well I don’t want to freak you out but I would definitely try to push the issue. Because at 4 months I have a hard time believing that not sleeping all day won’t soon result in poor sleeping at night. And frankly it’s just not good for him.

      Maybe he’ll learn to nap the hard way out of sheer exhaustion but most kids won’t just nod off to sleep without some structure. I mean I hope I’m wrong but…I worry that it won’t happen at all or it will eventually happen because he’s just. so. tired.

      As a bossy meddling American I would go in there and make myself very unpopular with the people by making a big stink about it. Probably not the best course of action. Maybe there is a more gentle European way to handle things so that they can accommodate his needs a bit better?

      • Don’t get me started on childcare in Switzerland! Not only you have to pay tons of money. You also have to be on a waiting list for 1-2 years and you basically don’t have a choice…
        I have tried to gently tell them that it’s not up to the baby whether he naps or not, and yet he regularly goes for 4-5 hours without sleep there. But to make things worse the other day they told me he “did not want to eat”, and they threw away most of my milk. so he started screaming on the way home, and then we had a 40min feeding marathon, when he emptied my breasts twice and also finished most of the milk i prepared for the next day. He stopped only when he fell asleep while eating. He falls asleep while eating every day now, and I can’t possibly even start a bedtime routine.
        I remind them EVERY DAY to be more persistent in feeding him and not keeping him awake more than 2 hours. I am afraid to be more pushy as they may just start lying to me…
        These people do everything to make a working woman feel guilty…
        Alexis, please come to Switzerland and teach those people how to do their job!!

        • Yikes….that is uncool on so many levels (NEVER EVER EVER THROW OUT BREASTMILK PEOPLE!!!)

          I’m sorry I have no ability to fly to Switzerland and bully the daycare ladies into feeding your child on a reasonable schedule. But you have my best wishes on finding a compromise with these ladies :(

          • Thanks Alexis
            Things here are still not improving, they keep throwing away my milk and not working on the naps. I am becoming unpopular but to no advantage…
            Just a follow-up question. My lo would normally sleep at 8pm. But as he is so tired and hungry after daycare it’s more like 7pm now ( he crashes while eating, unwashed and unchanged). Could it be better to let him take a quick snack and nap at 6.30 pm ( when we get home), and then shift his bedtime to 8-8.30pm and do the routine and let him learn to fall asleep by himself?
            I am going to try that but wonder if there are some hidden issues with this…

            • Personally I would just go with the earlier bedtime. Longer consolidated sleep is generally more “restorative” than a nap. Also at a certain age an earlier bedtime is generally better for him so a 6:30 nap could, over time, start pushing his bedtime WAAAY back.

              Basically if his daycare sleep is going to hell in a handbasket your best case scenario is to help him get as much quality, uninterrupted sleep at night as is reasonable.

              :( good luck

          • As another working pumping mother I find this just totally shocking and horrifying. So sorry you and your baby are getting such bad treatment-nursing and working is hard enough without your care provider sabotaging your success AND your baby’s naps!

            Is there any alternative to this daycare situation? Could you afford to pay a bit more than their already astronomical rates to hire a nanny to come to your house instead? Probably more expensive but also more effective than paying for Alexis to fly there and knock some heads for you. :-)

            • It’s only shocking because there don’t seem to be any other daycare alternatives. Most people I know have yanked their kid out of daycare at some point (various ages, various reasons) but at least in the US there are a plethora of options. Sure the quality of daycare varies greatly but at least so does the choice. It’s the idea of being stuck in your questionable daycare that makes it so heartbreaking….

            • Thanks for your support Kate, I just really prefer daycare because I am afraid to depend on just one stranger who will be alone with my child all day. In daycare my lo is surrounded by several educators and other children and their parents coming and going, and no abuse is possible… And he loves to be among other people.

              And Alexis you were right as usual. All the 6.30pm nap did was give him energy to fight me when i was putting him down to sleep for the night and total hrs of sleep at night went down by more than an hour. So now back to 7-7.30pm and trying to squeeze in some short routine to avoid object permanence problems in near future. Thanks again for sharing all your experience and knowledge with us.

  54. my baby boy is now 3 months old. He’s pretty much always been a good bedtime sleeper but seems to always fight his naps. then i thought maybe hes awake too long so have been trying naps sooner. When he is awake i usually always have to hold him because he will cry if i dont…. helpp

    • How can I help? I’m a bit fuzzy on what is going on. When he is awake you have to hold him. Do you mean when he is awake? Asleep? If you mean when he is awake then welcome to the club – most babies don’t like hanging out on their backs that much. Although you might find this changing shortly as he’s at the age when things like play mats and bouncy seats with light up musical doo-dads will start to be more interesting.

      If you mean you have to hold him when he sleeps then I suggest you do all of the following:

      I know he’s at the upper range but I would go back to the newborn soothing stuff to help get him out of your arms for at least a few minutes during the day. Good luck!

      • his naps are working a bit better. but haha no thank goodness i dont have to hold him while he is sleeping. but when he is awake during the day, he always wants me. i am constantly having to hold him to keep him from crying.

        • Sounds pretty standard. Things should ease up as he gets older & takes more interest in toys, tummy time, etc. But most babies luv to be held. Might help to invest in some comfortable baby wearing options? My personal fav is the Ergo.

          Things should REALLY ease up for you 3-6 months. So at least if you can put him down for naps you get some personal space then!

  55. I’m having a completely new sleep issue, and I think you can help. My daughter is six months old this week and a FABULOUS sleeper — I credit you with much of this as at about five weeks I discovered this site and figured out that she was being kept awake too long and since then, she has slept like an absolute dream.

    I could just use a few tips to get “re-oriented” on my growing baby. Up until a few weeks ago, she kept shockingly short awake times (1.5 hours tops) and would fall asleep within, I kid you not, 30 seconds of me putting her in her crib and her finding her thumb. Now, we put her to sleep at about 2 or 2.5 hours (when she shows signs of tired), and she absolutely will not fall asleep until the 3.5 or 4 hour mark, and bed time has gotten frustrating. Swaddling works when she doesn’t break out of it.

    Here’s a typical schedule:

    6:45a – awake
    8:30a – nap (some struggle)
    10:00a – awake
    12:00p – nap (a bit more struggle)
    1:30p – awake
    ????? nap; attempts start at 3:30; sometime down by 4:30
    6:30p – bed, but if a 4:30 nap, later (ugh, struggles)
    No night wakings/feedings

    So yesterday, I decided that it would be irresponsible for me to let her stay awake from 1:30 to 6:30, so I rocked her to sleep at 4:30 and let her sleep an hour, and then made her bedtime 7:30 (which she still fought). I go to sleep at 8, and really can’t keep a later bed time even if I wanted to.

    Any tips for nailing down that afternoon nap by 3:30 or 4? I’ve considered trying to keep her awake longer in the morning so that the second nap ends later in the day (best case scenario, 3:30). And I’ve wondered if it’s time to have her cry it out. I’m not averse to it, but I’m not sure it’s the right solution to this kind of issue.

    Thanks so much in advance!

    • The 3rd nap becomes a struggle as your baby gets older and is working towards not needing it anymore (although she still needs it). So I don’t think you have a sleep problem – I think this is pretty standard, if frustrating, stuff.

      I would accept that from 6-9 months (and possibly longer) the 3rd nap will probably be a bit shaky and accept that this normal and OK. Maybe she won’t always take this nap in her crib? Maybe the 3rd nap will work better if you take her for a stroller walk? Babycarrying? Maybe you plan errands so you’re out in the car at that time?

      I think she is working towards not needing her 3rd nap but is too young to go from 1:30 – 7:00. Most kids hit this phase a little later but yeah – the 3rd nap gets rocky but you aren’t done. So it’s a tradeoff – making the nap happen is a bit of a hassle but the upside is that she is happy and bedtime isn’t such a struggle.

      Hope that helps!

  56. Hi Alexis,

    Again, thanks for all this great info. I found the chart particularly helpful as I read Dr Weissbluth’s book & found it good but the info is a little disorganized, so it’s nice to see it in a quick access form.

    My baby is 3 months + 1 week & I have been tracking her eat/sleep/diaper pattern since she was 4 wks old. I wanted to follow her own rhythm as much as possible – and luckily she naturally fell into a healthy baby sleep pattern. Looking after her was easy as nursing solved any complains, feeding any hunger & also soothing to sleep as needed. Thus she was really easy to put down for naps (within 1-2hrs) and night-time she fell asleep easily (time varied, gradually got earlier). She usually wakes only once/twice per night and sleeping a total of 13-16hrs. Easy, happy baby, hardly cried at all.

    Last week she was cranky in the evening so I moved her bedtime from 8-9pm, to 7pm (still cranky), then to 6pm – which meant that her 5th nap was kind of cut out. She was fine with this last week, and slept well although woke up one extra time to feed at night, which I’m ok with for now. She still continued to sleep until around 8 am in the morning, and her first nap is either directly after her first feed (within half hour) or within about an hour usually. So she has been getting loads of sleep.

    But this week she has just started crying when I try to put her down for her naps, especially her 2 afternoon naps. I’m assuming this is because she has become really aware of her surroundings & is totally distracted when feeding and trying to get to sleep??? Since Dr. W’s book says to soothe within 2 hours, that’s what I was doing. I would let her go 2 hrs, but since she started whining I thought maybe she was overtired so I was trying to get her to nap within 90 mins, then within 75 mins, neither worked, it still takes at least 2 hrs of wake time in the pm to get her to nap – sometimes up to 2.5 if she is worked up. As a newborn I used to just let her drift off herself on my lap after nursing & that was so easy, but I have been making an effort to put her into her co-sleeper to sleep for the last few weeks, and I have been nursing her on our bed before transferring her. She now complains & cries when I put her on the bed. Am I trying to put her down too soon??? As a result I am doing more soothing these days than when she was a newborn… just when I should be easing it off.

    Also these last few weeks she only naps for about 30-45 mins unless I sleep with her and nurse her back to sleep, she used to take some longer naps before. Why is this going backwards?

    Thanks. Sorry for the long post.

    • Why is she backsliding? I don’t honestly know. But I DO know that babies don’t improve on a linear basis so this is pretty normal. I think people expect a step-wise progression from newborn mayhem to calm and predictable baby sleep. The reality is that babies are more of a two-steps-foward, one-step-back progression.

      Why are her naps becoming a bit of a mess? Also hard to say. Certainly the fact that she is becoming more aware is in there. She may also be sliding into the 4 month sleep regression.

      You don’t mention what sort of soothing you provide when she sleeps but it could be that while she didn’t need as much when she was younger, she clearly seems to need more now. Swaddle, white noise, and swing might all be the answer to your nap struggles. BTW – it’s TOTALLY OK to have her nap in the swing and sleep in her bed at night.

      Also I would continue to play around with pushing bedtime up. Her night is a bit late (sounds like it’s about 9:00 PM – 8:00 AM) and I’m wondering if things might go more smoothly if that was closer to 7:00 PM – 7:00 AM? Not that you HAVE to do this, but it’s something to think about.

      I would definitely work with the swing for naps vs. co-sleeping as the swing frees you up to have Mommy time. Co-sleeping for naps is delightful here and there but quickly becomes a habit that can be hard to break out of.

      Hope that gives you some useful thoughts!

  57. Hi Alexis,

    Thanks so much for the sleep chart you have posted here – it really helps to get a sense of what should be happening. My baby is 15 weeks old, and except for a couple of freak occasions, has never slept more than 3 hours at a stretch. At the moment, she wakes up every 1-3 hours throughout the night. I have been trying to get her to sleep in her cot, and know you are meant to put babies down when they are sleepy but still awake, but she hates it and screams blue murder if I put her down awake. Her crying escalates very quickly – she isn’t the sort of baby who will easily calm herself down. When she wakes in the night she wants to feed but often falls asleep again quickly (usually in bed with me after the first few hours).

    I am starting to think napping may be the key to her sleeping better at night. During the day she is very active and the only way I can get her to nap is to dance round the room with her until she falls asleep. When she does, it is always on me and if I put her down, even as gently as I can, she wakes up instantly and cries. Even if she stays on me and naps, it is rarely for more than half an hour at a time.

    Is there any way I can get her to nap for longer, or is there another tactic I could try to get her to sleep longer at night?! My friends’ babies are all sleeping 6-10 hours at a stretch already and I feel like a bit of a failure! – but do genuinely think she is just very alert and hard to settle.

    • Becky,
      Whenever somebody tells me that their baby only sleeps when they bounce them around the room my first response is to say this:
      USE A SWING!

      Seriously – you’re telling me she loves motion. OK use it!

      You’re also using co-sleeping to provide a lot of sleep soothing. This is 100% OK if you’re into co-sleeping. However if you’re doing it out of desperation then you need to find other ways to provide her with soothing that don’t involve a) your boobs and b) your bed.

      Do everything here:

      I know she’s not quite a newborn but when I read your comment I hear a baby who is seeking more soothing than she is getting. So it sounds like she’s not ready to sleep well in her cot. You can fight this but it sounds like you are loosing that fight 😉

      OR – you can accept that she needs more soothing and give it to her with co-sleeping and constant nursing.

      OR – you can use other techniques (swing, loud white noise, possibly even a paci or swaddle at least in the short-term) to help her get more sleep.

      I wouldn’t feel like a failure. You can’t compare babies. Some get teeth early. Some get hair early. Some sleep well early. This doesn’t reflect your parenting, it just is what it is. All you can do is make sure you are giving her every opportunity to become a happy sleeper (hopefully taking some of my suggestions 😉 and have faith that it’ll all work out. Hopefully soon!

      • Thanks Alexis! I have just been reading through all the links you put on that newborn sleep post. The two big things I haven’t yet tried are 1) swing and 2) white noise. I am going to try the white noise first and see how I go. If that doesn’t help I’ll try the swing – the only reason I’m reluctant is that having been trying to get her into the cot for ages now, I’m worried I’ll confuse her?!

        I am not against co-sleeping and am happy with it in a way, but equally I feel a bit bad as my husband is relegated to the sofa (our bed is quite small and it just feels too cramped with three of us in there) so in the long term it isn’t going to work too well. I’m also worried that if she exclusively co-sleeps for months then it will be really difficult to wean her off it.

        Her latest thing seems to be sleeping for half an hour and then waking up – not just during the day but at night too. Not ideal!! In fact, I hear her doing it right now. Never sure how soon to go through… occasionally she does send herself back to sleep after a couple of minutes’ crying, but other times it escalates…

        • Personally if Daddy is on the couch then co-sleeping is not for you. However if you don’t want to co-sleep for the long haul (or if Daddy wants back in) then really NOW is the time to get her out of your bed. It doesn’t get any easier as they get older – trust me. Your soothing options become more limited with age. A 4 month old that will happily go into a swing will become an 11 month old who flat out refuses to sleep anywhere but with you.

          So fair warning.

          White noise is the easiest and best soothing option around – good luck with that! It MAY not solve all your problems but it is always awesome to use for kids under 1.

          I would really push her when she wakes up 30 minutes later. Or if you aren’t comfortable with that then into the swing she goes 😉

  58. I’m having trouble with my almost 6 month old doing constant catnaps. I’ve tried short wake-times, I’ve tried longer wake-times and he still seems to always wake up after 30-40 minutes! Am I doing something wrong here? He sleeps great at night, usually 11-12 hours without waking. He doesn’t have any sleep props, well other than at night he is swaddled with one arm out (trying to get rid of the swaddle, slowly) and for naps he has both arms out. He falls asleep for naps and nighttime on his own, no rocking or paci. I just don’t know how to get him to nap longer!

    • Well I get why you’re frustrated. 30 minutes is barely enough time for a quick shower and a bagel.

      When younger babies get stuck in short-nap land it’s almost always because a) they are overtired b) they’re not ready yet (developmentally) or c) they aren’t getting enough soothing.

      At 6 months you would generally expect b) to no longer be an issue (although it’s not impossible).

      So that leaves you with overtired and/or not enough soothing. If you’ve played around with sleep window and he sleeps like a champ at night then my best guess is – more soothing.

      What would I do? Short term:
      – Arms back in the swaddle (at least 1). Which would you like better – longer nap or no swaddle?
      – Loud white noise.
      – Possibly use swing for nap. In fact if you have one I would DEFINITELY try swing for nap. You won’t cause any problems by having him nap in the swing and sleep in his bed at night.

      You may only need the swing for nap for a few weeks but it may help get you over the hump from having a short-napping newborn to a longer napping big boy.

  59. I wanted to say thank you for this information! This has been so helpful. My LO has been going to bed around 9:30 and waking up at 5:20. I feed him a bottle and he goes back to bed until 8:30. After that he usually eats, plays and then is down for a nap! I was worried that he was napping to often, since he was only staying awake for an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. After reading your article it made me feel a lot better, and I realize he is doing just fine!

  60. Hi Alexis!

    My girl is 11 months old and here schedule is pretty predictable:
    7am: awake
    9-10:30: nap
    1:30-3:30: nap
    *6:15: bed time
    *7 – 8:30: asleep time

    So it’s those last two starred items that have become frustrating! I’m not sure if her bed time should be earlier or later to ensure a less fussy sleep time. She used to fall asleep predictably by 7pm, but the past few weeks she’s been wired and tired. Any advice is appreciated!!


    • Hmmm…Well your daughter is an amazing sleeper – nice chunky predictable naps, awesome amount of sleep at night.

      I’m thinking that as she gets older the 6:15 bedtime is TOO early. For starters if she’s not asleep for 45 minutes AFTER bedtime, what is going on between 6:15 and 7:00? Is she just playing with her toes?

      Younger babies need a 3rd nap. At a certain point (between 9-12 months) they stop taking that 3rd nap and this leaves them really tired and thus they need a super early bedtime to make things work.

      My guess is that she’s outgrowing the “I need a 3rd nap but wont’ take one” phase so she can be awake a bit longer. If she’s waking up at 3:30 I would try to time the bedtime routine so that you’re putting her down in her bed at 7:30 (so a 4 hour window between nap and bedtime). I think she is just getting a bit older and probably wants more playtime before she’s ready for bed.

      The good news is that once her bedtime settles comfortably into 7:30 it’ll stay there for YEARS. So you won’t have to figure this out again :)

  61. I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you! I started reading your articles when my baby boy was approximately 6 weeks old. We have a 2 and a half year old daughter who has always been a bad sleeper and I suspected that it may have been due to, among probably a million other things, me letting her stay awake too long before getting her down for naps. So, I read and read and read and within a matter of a few days, my baby boy was taking naps for at least an hour and sometimes 2 and a half hours. We used a combination of the vibrating laydown chair, swaddle sack, dark room, sleep sheep (white noise) and it was ahhhh-mazing! He is now 16 weeks old and I can just swaddle him, put him down in his crib when he is sleepy, turn on the sleep sheep, pat him on his tummy and just walk out of the room and viola! he goes to sleep on his own. I have told everyone I know about your page because it helped me SO MUCH! I wish more than anything that I had stumbled upon your writings when my daughter was an infant. Perhaps now I can take all the extra rest time I have with my son and hopefully channel it into getting my toddler to go to bed before 10:30 p.m. so she can wake up naturally before 10:00 am!

    • Peggy,
      Thank you and CONGRATULATIONS! Great work and awesome naps so good for you!

      Hint: If you want your daughter going to bed earlier (and you DO – Mommy needs some quiet time too right?) you’re going to need to manage her wakeup. I would start waking her up 15 minutes earlier every day or 2 until she’s going to bed and waking up in the vicinity of 7:00. Hopefully your baby boy will be on a similar schedule soon and then you can have a few glorious hours of time to yourself every evening :)

  62. Quick question about naps for the 6-9 month old. Your chart above lists 3 naps until 9 months old, but my 6.5 month old recently started resisting his evening nap like it was his job, so based on surfing the internet, I discovered that at 6 months some babies do drop to 2 naps. Does this seem reasonable to you? If so, how do we do this transition? We’re consistently in a place where 3 naps is too many (he fights them or they only last 10-15 mins) and 2 isn’t enough. Also, if I put him to bed any earlier to compensate for losing the 3rd nap (current bedtime is 7:30-8 and generally was waking around 7), he’ll just wake up earlier (normally around 6 if he’s in bed by 7). He’s also started waking in the middle of the night again (sometimes 11pm, sometimes around 1-2) so I definitely think we’re doing something wrong.


    • Lauren I posted a similar question for Alexis above too cuz my son was going through the same problem, with the same kind of night wakings. It was driving me crazy because he had otherwise been a perfect sleeper. At first I thought it might be the calorie intake during the day or teething. However after having tracked his sleep for 3 weeks, I am now thinking it must be the transitioning from 3 to 2 naps. Depending on the day sometimes he still does 3, sometimes 2, but that inconsistency was creating a 1-2 hr variable in his daily shedule and this disrupted routine I swear is at least a partial cause of the night wakings. The problem though is he will do 2 solid naps with perfect wake times when we are at home, but short choppy on the go naps if we must be out or he “accidentally” falls asleep on the way home. The other problem is when I thought he had “perfect” 2-nap days, it’s turning out that he is actually getting too much sleep during the day, thereby eating away his night sleep. I say that because he’d still want to sleep at around 7 pm based on habit, but then he couldn’t do a full 12-hr cycle like before because he thinks he has slept enough. Also, on the day when he’d have a great morning nap but 2 shorter afternoon naps (overall still less than 2 long naps and under 3 hours), he’d STTN. I wouldn’t have minded that he took 2 long naps and went to bed later, but that would mean a 4 hour window before bedtime and we’d have a scream fest. My conclusion now is to just ride it out and wait until he can take 2 long naps consistently PLUS organically handle longer wake times, in hopes that the problem would solve itself. These are my hypothesis so far. I am so dying to hear what Alexis has to say and to suggest.

      • Tina,
        I’m not sure I have a clear picture of what is going on but I would be pretty shocked if the problem is that he’s getting too much sleep during the day.

        In the last year I’ve answered 800 comments and (God save me) 500 emails and only ONCE was this an issue. And that was a pretty unusual case involving a really immature preemie baby. There are lots of reasons why babies will wake up/eat at night but sleeping too much during the day is almost never the cause for an older baby (am assuming your baby is no longer a 3 week old).

        There are, however, lots of really common reasons why a 6+ month old baby would start waking up/eating at night. Object permanence, sleep association, sleep regressions, teething, overtired, etc. are all super common.

        You’re probably in the same boat as Lauren – you may need to go for a stroller walk at 4:00 ish to get that 5-10 minute nap in. Just enough to take the edge off but not so much to make him “not tired enough” for bedtime.

        Good luck with this transition!

        • Thanks Alexis!

          Actually I didn’t mean that my baby was getting too much sleep in general. I meant that his naps had started to lengthen (hence with an increase in day sleep), but his bedtime and night sleep had not even’ed out accordingly, which seemed to have affected his night sleep.

          From 5-7 mo he was doing 6:30-7pm – 6:30-7am for about 12-13 hour nights (occasionally 14 hours). He was doing 4 30-45 short naps a day adding to about 2-2.25 hours. Then suddenly his naps lengthened to 1.5-2 hours, and with a third nap, he was sleeping 3.5-4.5 hours during the day. After doing some analysis of his sleep, I started noticing that, concurrently, he was wanting to sleep only 10-11 hours at night, instead of his usual 12-13 hours, which made sense to me. Except, the transition wasn’t smooth.

          1. If he did 3 naps ending at 5:30 sometimes even 6 (and if he didn’t he’d have a scream fest by bedtime), his bedtime would be pushed closer to 8pm which was WAY too late for him. Possibly that caused night wakings.
          2. If he did 2 naps he’d have a 4-hr window before bed and, like I said, a scream fest at 6:30 or 7:00. That plus scratch head rub eyes yawn yawn fussy fussy at 5pm. Again, he’d have night wakings.

          At first I thought it was teething. But even with tylenol he’d have night wakings. Then I thought maybe it was food (we exchanged comments about this somewhere else). However, I honestly don’t think that’s it because the amount of time spend at my boob hasn’t changed. Meanwhile, his solids increased, and the stuff I feed him are fairly high in calories (predominantly rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, yogurt, plus 2-3 servings of fruit and vegetables).

          Then after some trial and error, and obsessive analysis with my iPhone app, I started noticing that if he got just about 3 hours of naps, he’d STTN. If he got less than 3 hours, he’d STTN, but with a scream fest at bedtime. If he got more than 3 hours, he’d go to bed happily, but wake at night.


          This past week, I stopped forcing the third nap. He’d fight and fight and fight like it’s his arch enemy – fine. In addition, I’ve done what I never did – wake him from naps in order that he naps just about 3 hours during the day. Finally, these past 2 nights I put him to bed at 5:45-6pm (about 30-45 min earlier than usual) and he slept through. Fingers crossed I haven’t jinxed myself for tonight, the third night.

          I’m still figuring this new routine out. I just hope I’m not doing anything crazy…..

          • Forgot to mention he turned 8 months yesterday.

            • Tina, I second Sara’s suggestion about using a latex nipple! My EBF baby wouldn’t take anything except latex when we tried to get him to take a bottle before starting daycare (at 3 months). We also started with a playtex nurser borrowed from my SIL and now use the cheapo Gerber bottles and latex nipples from walmart.

          • I have to say i noticed a similiar thing with my daughter…on the very RARE days that she gets more than 3 hours worth of daytime sleep, she seems to cry more at bedtime…unfortunately (fortunately?) the days that that happens are few and far between. Her morning nap has started to somewhat lengthen to 1hr-1hr 15 min (once in blue moon ill get 2 hours) but sometimes its only 45-50 min…the middle nap in the afternoon is usually only 30-45 min (occasionally ill get an hour) and then the 3rd nap which always happens in the car on the way home is anywhere from 45 min to 1.5 hours depending on how the other 2 naps went…
            I remember one momentous day when i picked her up from daycare and she had done a 2 hour AM nap and a 2.5 hour PM nap (woke up at 3ish) and thought WAHOO! however, bedtime that night at 7 was a nightmare to say the least…
            Tina, when did your son finally consolidate his naps? was it after 6 months? i’m starting to wonder why my daughter hasn’t completely done this yet… Her nights are pretty good, about 630-7 to 545-6…although she just popped 2 teeth and has been waking up a bit earlier 5-515 ish which i’m hoping stops soon! She always goes back to sleep after the initial wake up until about 745-815 ish….i know she doesnt have an object permanence issue (no nursing/rocking to sleep even at daycare-i asked, they say she passes out on her own) and i dont think she is over tired so i dont know whats up?

            • Hi Sara,

              I think baby sleep is so much harder than anything I’d have to do in my entire life.

              My son started consolidated his sleep at 7 months, when he started taking 1.5-2 hour naps, and went from 4 to 3 naps. Then very quickly at 7.5 months showed clear and strong resistance to that 3rd nap, and as I described above, started to have a huge variable in his routines depending on whether he took that 3rd nap or not. Now at 8 months it’s clear that 3rd nap just ain’t happening. He’s still transitioning though, and so far it seems the super early bedtime is working. Some days he is perfectly happy up 4 hours at a time. Most days about 3-3.5 hours at a time. I think I just have to wait until his body can consistently handle longer wake times for his schedule to settle back down again.

              Meanwhile, I’m trying to wean him from nursing to the bottle, which he’d never taken (never liked the paci either) and that’s more miss than hit and plan miserable for everything, yet a must for us to go through for me to go back to work. Terrible.

            • Tina for some reason i cant reply on your comment below…i know how you feel…i had no idea about baby sleep..i thought they just slept in their cribs when they were tired and that was that…boy was i nieve to say the least,…my daughter is so much happier when she gets wnough sleep…i envy my friends whose kids can party on for 3,4,5 hours at a time and be okay…sadly emma cannot…she needs her sleep and is not quiet about letting us know lol

              I wanted to offer my 2 cents about the bottle…i had a huge problem when she was 3 months in that she started refusing to take a bottle (she is ebf but my husband gave her a bottle a day starting at 1 month)… We found that the playtex nurser with the brown latex nipple worked best and if u can have someone other than you give it…it may take a few days and some tears but he will get it…and then just be sure he gets a bottle a day before u go back so he stays used to it…i thought my daughter was never going to eat while i was at work but she guzzles it down no probs now… Shell even take it from me but i prefer to nurse if i can…good luck!

            • Laura and Sara thanks for the suggestion! I went and bought those nipples yesterday then realized I needed playtex bottles to go with them (DOH!), so couldn’t try them. By then I’d already tried like 8 diff kinds of bottles, the sippy cup, sippy cup with the stopper valve, baby travel mug, straw cup, blah blah blah. So I decided to try an open cup, and finally, it worked!

              Really should’ve just tried the open cup as he’d started imitating us with the cup since 5 months, instead of going through all that agony. Day 6 of weaning and he took in 2 oz this morning and 4 oz this afternoon. At least now I know there’s a way for him to consume his nutritional requirements while I’m gone. Now we have 4 weeks to perfect his cup drinking skills 😀

    • Lauren,
      Most 6 month old babies are going to have a hard time going from the 2nd nap all the way till bedtime without some sleep (unless their 2nd nap is really long and chunky in which case YAHOO!). But I hear you – the 3rd nap becomes hard to come by/variable in length.

      What I would suggest is this:
      1) Don’t sweat an official “crib nap” for the 3rd nap but try to encourage a brief catnap by going on car rides, stroller walks, baby carrying, whathaveyou, at whatever time his 3rd nap should organically happen (I’m assuming say 4:00ish). Doesn’t have to be long 5-10 minutes is probably fine.

      2) If the mini 3rd nap isn’t working for you (which will probably happen as he gets closer to 9-10 months) that’s OK, you don’t need to force the issue. But when that happens organically you WILL want to shift his bedtime up closer to 7:00. That might shift his night from 8:00 – 7:00 to 7:00 – 6:00. But that’s OK and really pretty typical.

      If you try to keep him awake till 8:00 PM he’s going to be overtired because he’ll be awake TOO long (hypothetically from 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM which is a huge 6 hour stretch for a 9-12 month old baby). This could lead to protest crying at bedtime, more frequent night wakings, etc.

      So even though 6:00 am seems uncivilized, it’s pretty standard for babies and the early bedtime is worth it to not be up all night. Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for the reply! I just wanted to update since I made some progress in this area. Since posting I’ve discovered that the 10pm-12am “wakeup” is actually a night terror. After carefully observing my little guy for a few days we realized that he never actually woke up during these episodes. His eyes are pressed shut and he doesn’t react to me talking to him or touching him. After about 15 minutes he quiets down and sleeps the rest of the night. Although he seems young for it, the description otherwise fits what I’ve read online.

        We’ve since returned to the third nap and for the most part these wakeups stopped and he went back to sleeping through the night. So it seems my kid is extra sensitive to being overtired (even though he shows no signs of it during the day)

  63. Hello. I must say that I am so thankful that I stumbled across this site :) The helpful hints and great advice are so much more comforting that some of the other sites that I have read. I would usually log off my computer with a feeling of dread and defeat at what I was NOT doing to help my baby sleep.

    I did however have a question regarding my newborn son. He is 3 weeks in 2 days and I wanted to know about evening naps. He seems to nap for at least 2-2.5 hrs from about 1-8pm with windows of wakefulness ranging from 30 mins to 1.5 hrs. Sometimes there are 2 hr windows between naps which worry me since you suggested that he should only really be awake at the most 1hr 15 mins. Should I be waking him earlier than 8pm for his last nap?

    Lately he has been asleep in between 10-11pm and will wake for a feed between 2-3am then again at between 5-6. When he does wake at this time he is much harder to go down again so maybe I should be keeping him up then? haha sorry if this sounds so confusing, I am quite new at this.

    • Shereen,
      Well here’s some not so alarming advice for you – at 3 weeks you don’t need to sweat the details. So he’s awake for 2 hours – GREAT! So he’s napping at 8:00 pm – GREAT! Newborns are a bit all over the map so don’t beat yourself up trying to shoehorn a schedule, putting on makeup, or other such things.

      2 hours are probably a tad long but it sounds like overall he’s doing pretty great on sleep. His bedtime is ~10 and he’s eating 2X a night. It sounds like his wakeup is ~8:00 am which is pretty standard for newborns. Eventually this will all shift earlier but no need to fuss about it today.

      I would probably try to help him go back down at 5:00 AM if it’s working (some days it might not, because some days are like that). It’s really early for YOU. And a 5:00 AM wakeup makes his night pretty short.

      If you’re struggling to get him to fall back asleep at 5:00 AM you should try all the tricks here:

      White noise, swaddle, swing, paci – do it ALL. Hopefully that will help him navigate that last wakeup. If you can avoid it don’t change his diaper as diaper changes are really stimulating.

      You’ll be fine – we were all new at it at one point and somehow we all stumble through :)

      • I just love this site!! So fun to read yet learning at the same time…BONUS!! haha :)

        Thanks for the quick response back to me. I am really now trying to determine whether or not my son is just plain fussy, has slight colic or if I am keeping him up too long. Whenever he is awake he is generally fussy, not really crying, but seems unhappy. I am toying with a few thoughts as I have mentioned even down to reflux so it’s a detective game at the moment. He does sleep pretty good at night which I am good with. His naps can be good too but I am thinking maybe I should wake him from his nap (tabbo I know) if it goes over the 2 hr mark??

        I read over your sleep chart outline for babies his age and it did list that naps can be anywhere from 15 mins to 4 hrs.

        I am slowly learning to stumble my way through this and let go of that cookie cutter idea a lot of the other sites try to enforce. I just want to try help my little guy out anyway I can.

        • I wouldn’t get too worked up over reflux unless you REALLY think he has it (most kids are not symptomatic till 6+ weeks and it’s pretty rare – less than 2% of babies). The most honest reason why your baby seems unhappy? He’s a newborn. Newborns are unhappy, difficult to soothe, and generally fussy. Fussiness peaks at 6 weeks so you’re at about the midway point – WOO HOO!

          Seriously I wouldn’t chase medical explanations when “newborns are fussy” is probably the most likely cause. Ask your dr. about waking him up. Generally if they’re eating well, producing diapers, I wouldn’t sweat a long nap here and there but your pediatrician may have different thoughts.

          (Seriously newborns are not a ball of laughs. Unfortunately however, dealing with a newborn baby is required to get to the 6-12 month babies which really ARE a ball of laughs!)

  64. Hi
    I have a 4 week old and she sleeps great durin the night (most nights ) but stays awake between 3-5 hours during the day. Nothing settles her we tried wrapping, nursing, leaving her in the bassinet, giving her a dummy, giving her a feed.
    Most of the time she’s awake she is happy but starts to crack it during the last hour as she is exhausted and so am I.
    Any advice.

    • Sonya,
      I’m not saying that it’s easy but you definitely don’t want her awake that long – at 4 weeks that is way too long. The answer is you want to do everything here:

      Not some of it ALL of it. You want to literally soothe her to sleep by giving her LOTS of soothing. Swaddle + loud white noise WHENEVER she sleeps. Swaddle her, turn on the white noise in a dark room, THEN nurse her. If she doesn’t fall asleep nursing then right after nursing either rock her in your arms or put her in a swing/baby rocker. Pop in the paci if it helps. I’m not at all surprised she’s not napping well in her bassinet – that rarely works.

      Rock/nurse her until she is asleep – at 4 weeks it’s not that reasonable to expect that she’ll just fall off to sleep on her own (she may but it’s unlikely) so putting her in the bassinet and hoping for the best probably won’t work well.

      Think about the fact that she can probably only be awake 1.5 hours. So when she’s been awake ~1 hour you want to start working on soothing nap stuff – change diaper, swaddle, start nursing session, etc.

      It’s not always easy to find the right combination but always use swaddle and white noise + whatever else she responds well to. Good luck with your baby!

  65. I have been working with my 5 month old to fall asleep on his own. He has been doing very good, there have been a couple trying days but for the most part I can put him down fully awake and he will fall asleep on his own. My question is the last couple days he has been fighting sleep (naps are always 2 after he’s been awake). Instead of going to sleep after being awake for 2 hours he will fight and complain in his bed until the 3 hour mark and then fall asleep. He went through the 4 month sleep regression at 2.5 months (i’m not sure if that has anything to do with it). He also learned to roll onto his stomach from his back, and then cries until I turn him over- I had to do this 7 times last night and once in the middle of the night. So do I let him stay awake for the extra hour or let him complain in his bed for the hour? Thanks Lauren

    • Ooof. That’s no fun.

      1) Give him TONS of tummy time during the day so he can practice moving back and forth. The sooner he masters this skill the sooner you won’t need to help him.

      Also? Kids often start sleeping crappy when they’re working on a big new skill like this so hopefully you can help him learn it more quickly so that he can go back to sleeping.

      2) 3 hours at 5 months seems a bit long. I would vote for maybe 2.5 hours and see what happens. Sometimes babies are so worked up that they might not fall asleep for a long period of time. So it may be that “worked up” is why he’s awake for 1 extra hour vs. “not quite tired yet.”

      Definitely play around with it and see if there is a magic amount of time that minimizes the fussing and not sleeping cuz I think you’re on the right track there.

      • Awesome thanks so much! I have been trying to play around with it and usually leave it up to him. Some days he will stay up only 2 hours without a nap other days it’s 2.5 or even 1.5! We just got back from holidays… I went on a holiday last month too and it took almost 2 weeks for him to back to his old routine. Hopefully it won’t take that long this time. I also find that if I wait too long to put him down (after he shows that he’s tired) he goes into a MAJOR meltdown and the only way to calm him down is to bring him into my bed and lay with him (then I fall asleep and end up sleeping with him all night, but thats another bag of worms). Baby steps and I hope that by the time he’s 1 he will be able to be a pro sleeper!

  66. Hello, I’m
    A little confused now my almost 3 week old has been sleep 3-4 hours between feeds at night but not sleeping much at all during the day example yesterday only slept 3 hours
    No I have been told to pretty much feed and talk for a little then put back to bed and that at this age they r not up for more then 1.5 hours no matter day or night, now your taking about bed time etc and I’m not sure what u mean as she always sleeps in her bed and if she shouldn’t b up for longer then 1.5 hours how does she have a bed time and morning time if that makes sense?
    She has had 2 sleeps today one was 3.5 and she is asleep now and it’s after 6 I’m now Gettinh worried she won’t sleep tonight, I have also be told that sleep promotes sleep

    • Also if I gets to say 7 and she is still in a nap of say 3 hours do I wake her?

      • Hey Ashley,

        I was in the same boat as you…worrying about my baby’s sleep schedule at 2 weeks old. What I’ve learned from this site and from time is…you don’t have to worry about the sleep schedule and/or consistent bedtime for a few more months. Have you looked at Alexis’ post “Baby Sleep: What is normal?” Up to 6 weeks, my little one was all over the map when it came to “bed time”. Also, Alexis says as long as there is no medical problem and your pediatrician says ok…I would not wake her up. I question myself a lot on that. I have found that even if mine sleeps really late into the evening because of a long afternoon nap, it doesn’t seem to affect his nighttime sleep that much. And as far as day sleeping goes…Get her in a swing!! The swing saved our sanity after 2 weeks of napping on top of me with no potty breaks or lunch breaks. Check out Alexis’ article on the swing guide for swing hating babies. All her articles in the Newborn Sleep Survival guide are great.

        Good Luck! And remember she was born “2 seconds ago” as Alexis says so don’t worry too much about bad habits…just concentrate on getting her to sleep.

    • Well look at that – I don’t need to answer comments anymore because other people are doing it and frankly, doing a much better job than I do. Well said Anna!

      Ashleigh, if you pediatrician says she’s doing fine (growing, wet diapers, eating enough) then you don’t need to wake her up. Newborns sometimes will take HUGE naps. And sometimes will take itty bitty naps.

      “Bedtime” is what time they go to sleep for their longest period of sleep at night. For a newborn “bedtime” might be anywhere between 7:00 – 11:00 PM and might change each day (for now).

      Also if she’s sleeping 3-4 hours between feeds at night + ~3 hours of napping during the day then it sounds like she’s doing really well.

      Sleep DOES promote sleep. Anna’s advice is 100% right. For the first few weeks you need to relax a bit and go with the flow. It’s hard because you want to do everything “just right” and be the best for your baby. But she’s a newborn so things like “schedules” and “bedtime” aren’t going to happen right away.

  67. Hi, I hope you can help! DD is 13 weeks and a great night sleeper, she goes down without a peep. Naps are another story – most of the time we get an absolute meltdown before hand. I don’t see ANY tired signs, in fact today she was laughing and delightful an instant before screaming, so I can’t work out her awake time. I’ve tried 1.5 hours, earlier, later… Nothing seems to stop the meltdown and it’s so hard to calm her down – I’ve tried all the usual soothing methods. I just don’t understand, at night she goes down at 8pm-ish no trouble :(

    • Lots of babies give you -0- tired signs which is why I’m more a fan of using the clock (it’s more reliable). My guess is that she’s overtired. Once she’s overtired (been awake too long, had a short nap, etc.) then often the rest of the afternoon can be a slog.

      For example, the AM nap gets blown because she slept 5 minutes on the way home from the grocery. Now she’s overtired so even if you sinch up the timing on nap #2 it’s going to be a downward spiral till bedtime.

      Not ALL babies are like this – some are really fluid about sleep – but some are super sensitive to short naps, missed naps, or being awake too long. My guess is you have one of these babies.

      I would vote for shorter awake times – it may only be an hour. And TONS of soothing – dark room, swaddle, loud white noise, etc. Don’t let the fact that she is delightful suck you into believing she’s not ready to sleep 😛

      Hope that helps!

  68. My baby just turned 4 months. He sleeps well at night from about 8 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. with usually one night awakening to breastfeed. The problem is naps. I have figured out that he tends to have wakefulness of about 2 hours. The problem is that once I rock him a bit and put him down, he wakes up crying and I have to pick him up again. I read about putting them down while they are awake, but sleepy and I don’t know how to do that. Any advice would help. (He hasn’t taken a pacifier since birth, until 2 days ago, I used it to calm him to go to sleep.)

    • Well at 4 months you definitely need to master “put down awake” (consider this your homework for the next 4-6 weeks yes?). What soothing are you providing? At 4 months I would go with dark room, loud white noise, and swaddle (seriously the swaddle is your friend even if you think it isn’t).

      The pacifier is probably no longer your friend although it’s not do or die – if it’s helping you put down awake for now, you might want to stick with it.

      Another thing to try is when you put him in his crib drowsy if he wakes back up, try jiggling the crib to help soothe him to sleep without picking up.

  69. My 11 week daughter is a terrible day time napper. She will sleep pretty good at night, down bw 830-9pm, up bw 1-2am for a fed, then back down till 5-6am. I am okay with this but during the day she will rarely nap. I’ve tried to duplicate what we do at night, white noise, dark room, pacifier, but she wakes up and cries within 2-5 minutes of being put down. She will fall asleep in our arms but as soon as we put her down she’s up. I’ve tried the crib where she sleeps at night, a bassinet, swing, and our bed. The only way to guarantee a nap is to have her sleep on our chests. I take her for walks and use the car. On the rare occasion she has a good day of napping she is the happiest baby in the world, I love it. But usually she doesn’t nap and her fussiness builds all day. I feel like we try everything out there, do you have any other suggestions or recommendations? Can’t help but feel I am doing something wrong : (

    • Helen, Diane, and Liz,

      Funny how it seems like you all have very similar situations! I strongly advocate for the swing for all naps! My son was the same way…slept good stretches at night but never during the day. At 2 weeks, he would be awake for 3-4 hours at a time, fussing and complaining usually, especially if I put him down. The swing worked wonders for us. Sometimes he would go in no problem (swaddle, paci, white noise, dark room); but other times he would complain a bit after I set him in it or seem to be wide awake. I would wait 10 minutes and see if he would calm down, and usually he would. If not, I try to rock him a bit, reswaddle, and try again. Sometimes I figured out he needed his diaper changed and that worked magic. He never cried very strongly or worked himself up. I think it might be worth trying the swing consistently for a few days, and check out Alexis’ post on the Swing Guide for swing hating babies.

      Good luck!

      • Anna,
        Can I hire you? Seriously. Of course I don’t make any money so I would have to pay you in good wishes. But honestly you comments are so kind and supportive and really really great :)

        • Ha! I’d love to (I need all the good wishes I can get), but no one can replace you Alexis…I just repeat what I’ve read on your site that has worked for me :).

    • SWADDLE.

      Did I mention how key swaddling is? For all babies under 4 months it’s a must and will make all the OTHER soothing (white noise, paci, etc. work that much better).

      SWADDLE. And everything Anna said.

      Also? If you put her in the crib and she wakes up, try jiggling the crib to see if you can help soothe her back to sleep IN the crib. If you have no luck with that then the swing might be worth a go as you have one. You know she likes motion cuz that’s why the stroller/car works so well.

      Swaddle, dark, white noise, paci and possible swing. That’s the ticket.

  70. Our daughter is in her 7th week and her schedule seems to be all over the place. Couple things, I guess… I’m trying to figure out what her “bedtime” is. What is the difference between bedtime or just another nap?

    The one thing that seems kind of consistent is that she takes her longest nap in the morning sometime around 8-9 am until noonish or longer and is crazy fussy/crying during the evening hours until midnight, though sometimes she takes an evening nap only to wake up to be fussy again. How do we determine what is “bedtime” and when she’s out for the night? Also, is there a way to have her take her longest nap at night instead of during the morning? (She still gets up every couple hours to eat throughout the night).

    Secondly, her feedings seem inconsistent. There are times when she sleeps 3 hours at a time and other times when she wants to eat every hour. I know there is cluster feedings, but I don’t know if that’s normal since there is no long sleep session to follow the cluster feeding?

    Lastly (sorry for the haphazard note), there are times when she fights eating and sleeping. Is she just overtired or just doesn’t want to do either? When fighting feedings, she kicks and screams with both boob or bottle. When fighting sleep, I try to swaddle her and soothe her but she tries with all her might to get out of the swaddle (screaming in frustration in the process) and kicks me. Is this just normal fussiness?

    Thanks and I HEART YOUR BLOG.

    • 1) She’s 7 weeks old so yes bedtime will bounce around. Sometime it’ll be actual bedtime. Sometime it’ll be a nap. It sucks but this is normal newborn stuff.

      2) Keep swaddling that baby! Yes the fight it but the swaddle makes all the OTHER great soothing stuff you’re doing work better. Make sure the swaddle is tight and her arms are flush against her sides.

      3) The evening stuff you describe is classic “witching hour” which she’ll eventually grow out of. It’s a grind, you just soothe her, cluster feed, etc. what have you until she outgrows it.

      4) Her LOOONG AM nap is probably a continuation of night sleep. For example if she’s awake and fussy from 7:00 PM till 11:00 PM and then “sleeps” till 7:00 AM. Then has a huge nap from 8:00 – 12:00, that’s not really a nap. It’s still her night.

      So as she gets older what you’ll see (and you’ll help foster) is an earlier bedtime so that the whole big chunk of sleep will shift earlier. See link below for more on that.

      Newborns are inconsistent, fussy, challenging, etc. This is natures way of controlling the population. It WILL get better though :)

      • Thanks so much for the reply. I read your bedtime post, but bc her long morning nap varies on end time – how do I gauge waking her up 15 minutes earlier? Is anything longer than 2 hours not a nap but still part of her night?

        Also, at times… she has a tendency to sleep less than 2 hr increments at night but then sleep 3 hours chunks during the day. Are her days and nights mixed up and how do we remedy that?

        • The “waking baby up early” thing is really for kids who are up RIDICULOUSLY late ALL the time. I get the sense she is bouncing around a bit which at 7 weeks, is pretty normal. I would give her a few more weeks and see if things don’t settle into a more consistent pattern organically before trying to wake her up.

          If you DO go that path, then just pick a consistent(ish) time and start making that “morning.” Meaning if she naps anywhere between 8:00 – 9:30 AM, then make 8:45 morning. If she wakes up earlier, so be it. Otherwise try waking her up.

          Her days and nights ARE mixed up. AGain totally normal. Time will resolve most of this. Also make sure you are feeding a TON during the day. If she’s taking 3 3 hour chunky naps you may want to start waking her up just slightly sooner (try 2.5 hours – see how that feels). Make sure your day is BRIGHT LIGHT and night is DARK. If she is up at night, keep her in a super dark subdued room. Like candle light dark.

          All babies do this. It blows. And then they sort themselves out by 2-3 months. Honest :)

  71. quick question, so at 12 months, do i get to stop watching the clock for how long she has been awake? (please say yes!) At what point can they transition to 1 nap a day? and at what time does that nap usually happen? ok, sorry that’s more like 3 questions! thanks alexis!

    • Sorry you only get one question and the answer is YES!

      HAHA OK I’m making myself laugh there. But that is mean so forget I said that.

      Generally by 9-12 months you aren’t watching the clock so much as putting baby down for nap at set times throughout the day (often ~9 and ~1 with a ~7 PM bedtime but those vary by baby).

      So the clock is still involved but you aren’t timing the minutes from wakeup anymore.

      Most babies transitioning to 1 nap sometime between 12-18 months. Often it’s not a binary – need 2 naps, no longer need 2 nap. So it might be, baby takes 2 naps every other day?

      When they take only 1 it’s the afternoon nap that sticks around. It might move up a bit too. So if they WERE taking an afternoon nap at 2:00 PM, it might shift up to 12:30. Or not – play it by ear. If baby is melting down, earlier PM nap. If she’s happy and doing fine, then it’s probably OK.

      Then if you’re lucky they’ll take that PM nap till they’re 5.

  72. Hey Alexis!

    I love your website and that you answer to everybody!! Good luck!

    My little girl is now 8 weeks old. When I read that post about keeping baby up too long – it made total sense! I am so happy I read about it!

    1)At day time she takes about 30min-45min naps. being up 1 hour-1,5 at the time. Should I be worried that the naps are not longer?. I put her in the swing and she is still awake. she fusses a wee bit, but then drifts off. Rarely she does an hour nap aswell. I have lullaby music playing the whole time. (we don´t swaddle as she just kicks it open with her hands…she hates it so much. she also hates car rides!!.so weird)

    2)At the evening she takes the longest nap. 2-3 hours. and it falls between 6pm-10pm. (so 7-9 or 8-10 or 6-9)
    I have been treating it as a nap and we are up after that..take a bath..and read a little to her. Or is this start to her night sleep?

    3)I will try to put her down around 11-11.30pm. I am guilty of nursing her to sleep at night. She will feed..and then nibble. I leave..and she will wake once. I feed again..or she will just i was a pacifier and drift off to her night sleep. She used to sleep 4 hours and then 3 more..and then 3 more. so we wake up around 12 or 1pm. I know its too late…should I be worried? I myself like sleeping in..but I have read that babies need before midnight sleep. How will I fix it?

    Now for 2 nights she has been sleeping 6-7 hours in a row! first i was worried about my milk supply, but i was reading a lot and other people said, mothers milk will figure itself out. And she does nurse much often at day time now.

    4)How do you feel about nursing to sleep? didn’t find anyone in the comments doing it. But in internet I found that so many mothers are doing it..and it works for them

    (we don´t co-sleep. she sleeps in another room on a big mattress that’s on the floor. She doesn’t move around yet. I just lay next to her to nurse her to sleep. and then when she wakes up at night i just lay next to her again and she falls back asleep. Month ago we tried the crib thing but she would wake up all the time)


    • forgot to add that the 6-7 sleep chunk happened without the 6-8 longer nap. as we were out visiting people.

    • Annika,

      Yep – newborn babies take lots of little naps all day. Is the 3 hour nap in the evening her “bedtime”? Probably. Newborn babies do lots of strange sleep stuff ALL of which is normal.

      How do I feel about nursing to sleep? Look EVERYBODY nurses (or feeds) to sleep. This is so common I don’t think you find much written about it because it would be a lot like writing an article about how useful diapers are 😉

      But here’s the deal. At some point you need to NOT nurse baby down to sleep because if you don’t THIS will happen:

      So at some point pretty soon you need to help your baby find ways to sleep that don’t necessarily involve your boobs.

      Also – and clearly you are writing from a different country (which is one of the many very cool things about the Internet) and I understand that the standards of what is considered safe for babies varies widely across different countries. So I hope you don’t feel judged or criticized by what I’m going to say because I DO understand that where you are, having your baby sleep on a mattress on the floor might be the norm.

      But I do want to suggest that this is not a safe choice for your baby. Even very small babies can surprise you by rolling or sliding off a surface you think is safe. Babies roll off couches ALL THE TIME. Mostly they just get a bump on the head. But sometimes worse things can happen.

      So I would find a way to help your baby sleep in the crib even if the result is more night wakings than you would get if she’s on the floor. Crib, swaddle, loud white noise (maybe from an old radio), would be a great start.

      And yes for most people milk DOES sort itself out. Really, breasts are pretty amazing things :)

      Hope everything is going well for you!

      • Thank you so much Alexis!

        There is no 3 hour nap anymore. All her naps are 30min. Like clockwork. I put her in the swing now and leave..and she will coo herself to sleep in 20-30 min. Love it! When I stay in the room (even if she doesnt see me), she will be more fussy.

        I will also try to get the bedtime earlier somehow. she now wakes up 11am every morning. (progress from 1pm)

        the mattress is huge and very low…Almost half the room. But yes, my next challenge is to get her to the crib…and trying to get rid off nursing to sleep. I thought that the reason she sleeps 6-7 hours at night time – is that she gets a lot of milk before she falls asleep. (cluster feeding for an hour without spitting anything up!). As much as I love nursing her to sleep..i know it will bring trouble later..and sometimes I just want to put her to sleep..that might end up being quicker than an hour.

        She is a happy baby allmost all the time! lots of cooing now. After almost all the 30min naps she smiles at me..but sometimes she will be fussy…So i know she didnt get enough. (as she slept an hour on me while visiting friends). so she is capable of 1 hour naps…I just cant figure out how to make them longer.

        We now have a soother. but only for car-rides and stroller she hates them both!she didn’t want it at first, but when she is extra fussy, she will take it!

        Annika :)

  73. Great article! New mom here, and of course I always thought keeping your baby awake during the day will help him sleep at night. I was also told this by many a “experienced” mothers who said I should try and play/stimulate baby for as long as I could during the day so he’ll sleep long at night. But what it’s left me with is a fussy, whiney baby that I believe is over stimulated and overly tired making it really difficult for him to fall asleep! I believe his quality of sleep is very poor too. My baby sometimes stays awake for 2-4 hour stretches during the day, and I have encouraged this!! Any suggestions on how to get him out of this routine now? How can I get him to sleep more, he just turned 4 weeks. Thank you again! Great article!

    • I never cease to be stunned by the amount of bad advice given to new Moms. This bad advice comes from well-meaning in-laws, experienced Moms, pediatricians, neighbors, you name it. But man is it bad!

      So yes keeping baby awake all day is definitely BAD advice. How do you break free? Help your baby fall asleep with MORE soothing. At 4 weeks I would do everything here:

      Minimally start with swaddling, loud white noise, and possibly a pacifier. If that’s not getting you anywhere, I would try the swing (especially for naps).

      At 4 weeks you’re unlikely to have success with putting him down awake so your short-term homework is just to help him sleep more and not have him awake for long stretches during the day. So if you need to swaddle, rock, nurse, etc. him to sleep, for now, that’s totally cool.

      Good luck with your new baby! And finding some different experience mothers to hit up for advice 😉

  74. Hi Alexis – thanks so much for this article! I honestly thought that my 6 week old had something wring with him because he gets tired after an hour! Now I realise that this is normal for any 6 week old and probably even more so for him as he was low birth weight and presenting premature (but he was only actually 1 week early) when born.

    He does get very overtired and I’m going to use the swing technique, it sounds great. I do still have one problem though…

    My little gherkin likes to take all of his daytime naps in one giant chunk in the afternoon (about 6 hours in total) waking just once for a feed and dropping back off as his feed ends. It’s like he has 2 nighttimes. The main problem with this is that during the morning and evening he is awake longer than his hour and he gets massively overtired – he spends most of it crying. Any idea how I can go from big sleep to naps? Like reverse sleep consolidation! I tried keeping him awake just a few minutes after the feed and this made him refuse to sleep all the rest of the day…

    Thanks in advance.

    • Little gherkin – I love that! Such a cute nickname :)

      Most babies are awake for a long chunk during the evening where they are overtired and really fussy. This is called the witching hour and it’s one of the many things that blow about parenting a newborn.

      There isn’t much you can do at this point. As you’ve noticed, trying to keep him awake is largely an effort in futility. When he IS awake during the day, expose him to as much bright light as possible. When he IS miserable and awake at night, try to keep the lights really dim (like candlelight dim) and the activity level low.

      There are multiple theories in various books about how to fix this sort of day-night mixup. But the truth is that every pediatric sleep specialist I’ve hit up tells me the same thing:

      Time will fix this. Light helps a little too. So light and time are the answer to your dilemma.

  75. Hi, I found your website recently, and it has really helped with getting my 3 month old down to bed earlier at night. My concern isn’t like most people’s, because I am afraid that my baby sleep TOO MUCH.

    Here is his schedule – has been consistent for a week now, and it seems to be working well.

    7:15-8am – wake up. He will eat about 15 minutes after waking. He is awake for about 45 minutes until he gets cranky again.
    8am-10:30am – nap
    10:30am – eats and will be up for 1-1.5 hours
    11:30-1:30 – nap
    1:30 – eats and will be up for 1-1.5 hours
    2:30- 4:30 – nap
    4:30 – 5:30 – eats and will be up for 1-1.5 hours
    5:30 – nap
    7:45 – I have to wake him up to eat. He would easily sleep for hours, but I’m afraid if he goes to bed at 5:30 he will wake up at a weird time.

    He will then be cranky until he goes to bed. Sometimes he falls back asleep.

    His bedtime routine is a walk in the stroller (he usually cries through this whole walk because he is so tired), bath, book, bottle, bed. He always falls asleep on his own with no trouble around 9:30pm.

    Should he just be going to bed much earlier? I’m afraid he wouldn’t sleep through the night, mainly because we just stopped waking him for dreamfeeds. He naps no problem, and I put him down for a nap because he gets cranky from playing. I lay with him and he falls asleep pretty quickly, sometimes he wakes up just to go back to sleep.

    Any insight? I feel like he sleeps all day. Is this normal for 3 months?

    • Is he eating enough? Growing? Producing wet diapers? Is your pediatrician happy with how he is doing?

      If YES then me too!

      Some babies sleep like newborns a little longer than others. Yes he’s 3 months and “sleeping like a newborn” but this won’t last forever. In fact the 4 month growth spurt is right around the corner and my guess is that things will change a lot after that.

      Should you put him to bed earlier?I would, if only to avoid the cranky stroller walk of fussiness that you’ve got going on. 8 AM is actually a REALLY early wakeup for a baby so yeah he’s probably ready for bed earlier (say 8:00 maybe?) and then yes he WILL wake up earlier (maybe 6:30 AM?).

      But that would be a far more typical baby “night” then 9:00 PM – 8:00 AM.

      Good luck with everything!

  76. What do you do if your baby falls asleep on her own sometimes, in the middle of the day. For instance, she may be playing on her playmat, or playing under her mobile, and at some point falls asleep without any intervention. Do you wake her if it’s not at the time she “should” be napping, or it might interfere with her normal nap/bedtime? Or do you just let her sleep if she’s tired? If she’s falling asleep on her own, I’d hate to wake her and make her think it’s the wrong thing to do.

    • I generally don’t wake sleeping babies. If she’s doing this often then I might wonder if your “normal naptime” needs to be re-evaluated. If it just happens here and there randomly maybe she’s just having an off day. The internet is filled with pictures of babies sleeping in exersaucers, boppies, etc. who were playing one second and sleeping the next. It happens.

      Here are some fun pictures that may make you feel better about it:

  77. Hi there. I stumbled across your website via google search. What I have read I have found very insightful, thank you.
    My little boy will be 3weeks old tomorrow. He is a big boy (he was 9lb 10oz at birth & was 10lb 4oz a week ago) He feeds a lot, is this due to him being big?? Initially he slept well but for the past few days has slept terribly at night – only managing 2hours max (previously it was 3-4hours at a time) He is also only cat-napping in the morning now (anywhere between 30mins to 1.5hours) then wakens needing fed & then naps again for a short time. He has a better sleep early afternoon for 2-3hours or so. He has a really unsettled time at night which lasts for at least a couple of hours before he crashes and burns & falls asleep on his daddy’s chest. I am breastfeeding, on demand. He feeds a lot but only for about 10 mins or so at a time. he “snacks” quite a lot inthe evening/night. On the whole he feeds well but needs fed often & often/nearly always falls asleep at my breast. He does not have any sort of bedtime routine or a certain time we try to put him down at. I am struggling with lack of sleep because he had been up so often during the night these past few nights. When he wakes at night he doesn’t cry but just won’t sleep! He is in a crib, not in bed with us. Please could you advise where I am going wrong & if there is anything I could try to help him sleep more at night. Thank you in anticipation :)

    • Hello – this sounds like the 3 week growth spurt, which is normal and certainly not you going wrong. A classic sign of a growth spurt is that he is waking up more often for feeds in the night, but also some babies will sleep more when in a growth spurt and I understand from your post that he is sleeping more in the daytime. Finally, the snacking could simply be cluster feeding which is another sign of a growth spurt. I found the 3 week growth spurt to be the hardest one, but it really does pass and then the feeding settles down and he will possibly sleep even better than before the growth spurt (mine did!). Just sit it out and rest assured that it passes in a few days. The next one is around 6 weeks.

      You also mentioned the fussy evening time – I am yet to meet a baby who isn’t fussy in the evening! My Auntie was a midwife for many years and she believes that it is caused by all of the gas and undigested food from the day. My theory is that they are processing all of the exciting things that they have seen/done during the day! Either way, it is common and is known as the ‘witching hour’. Use it as an excuse for a cuddle.

      I hope that this is all correct Alexis and that you donn’t mind me replying!

    • Hey Rosie,
      Everything Kristine said is true.

      And you know what is ALSO true?

      HE’S A NEWBORN! He’s doing totally normal stuff…
      – Eating constantly. For a newborn 10 minutes is NOT a snack, it’s a meal!
      – Cat-naps. Welcome to newborn babyhood!
      – Did sleep well, now doesn’t. Why? Because birth is hard on him too! Babies sleep a ton for the first few weeks because they’re recovering from birth. Then they “wake up.” What he did for the first 2 weeks wasn’t really him. THIS is really him.
      – Fussy in the evening for a few hours? Hell yeah! This is the witching hour I talk about.
      – Eats every 2-3 hours at night? Yep.
      – Cluster feeds in the evening? Check and check.

      You don’t describe any sleep problems. You describe a newborn.

      Do all of this:

      It may help. If it doesn’t at least you’ll know you’re doing all you can. At least use white noise and a swaddle whenever he sleeps. Minimal soothing for newborns. If you want, try a swing for naps too. See if that helps.

      But really – this is just classic newborn stuff. And one of the many reasons Moms of newborns look like cat food 😛

  78. Hi Alexis.
    Thank you for all the great posts. Oh, were should I start? It will be a long one but I’m desperate for answers or guidelines. Bear with me…

    Our son will be 4 months old by the end of October. Our first one. He is breastfeed. Since day one he has a hard time sleeping or falling asleep himself. Our hospital told us to carry him and co-sleep safely with him so he can get his needed sleep. So we did.
    First week of his life he was not gaining weight (nursing was very challenging & painful but I was stubborn about it) and our PD told us that we either start supplementing him with formula or I have to feed him on the clock every 2 hr from the start of the feeding (that means 30-40 min of feeding time, then baby has about an hour of sleep and then I have to wake him up for another feeding). I did it for one day and I could not stand seeing my baby boy more miserable and overtired. I decided, I will listen to my baby and he will let me know how much, how long he wants to eat and how often. I pumped extra in the meantime to top him of sometimes with the bottle. It worked.
    He is sleeping in our bedroom from day one. At first in the Rock-N-Play and then when he was two months old we transitioned him to crib in our bedroom. Seems not to make any difference at first. We were swaddling him for the night and using bathroom fan as a white noise. He would be rocked to sleep. We tried swing, he hates it. He seems to sleep 3 – 4 hr in between feedings. He would sleep 6 – 7 hr per night. I was always worried that this is not enough especially since during the day he barely took naps.
    Our lactation nurse advised us that maybe he is not kept warm enough or not eat enough to be comfortable to fall asleep. We took that advice changed some things and HURRAY! My son now takes one or two naps during the day 1-2 hr long. We also were using car ride at the evening to help him nap. It seemed to work till one week.
    On his 2 mo. checkup he got 6 different immunizations (I blame myself for letting them give him all of it rather than take it 1 – 2 at the time). He didn’t take this well. For a week since, every feeding he will throw up significant amounts of food right after each feeding (never had that problem before). That will make him upset and then he would like to eat more often rather than normal schedule every 3 hr. The PD told us that he probably has acid reflux, he needs medication… I want comment what I think about this.
    His night sleeping suddenly decreased. He would spit up during sleep, and that scared me. We stopped swaddling him and switched to sleeping sack. That helped with throwing up. Now we are from 6-7 hr per night down to 5 hr per night. I told myself: it’s temporarily”. He also would vomit in the car seat each time we would go somewhere and from now on he will scream his head off the moment he is put in the car seat. No more daddy driving around the neighborhood to give baby time to nap and mommy time to shower. He hates driving in the car since.
    It seems like when this ended he went through his grouts spurt and again no sleep, more eating and fussiness. Or something else – a thrush, or diaper rush or something else.

    During the day he would be happy, bubbly baby trying to baby talk, smile, turn to sides and play in his play area. It looked like we are OK. We had so far maybe 2-3 times night that he will pull 5-6 hr sleep, eat and fall asleep for another 2-3 hr. We got to the point that he was able to be rocked to sleep and then when he woke up earlier, to be shushed to sleep in his bed, without picking him up. He would also sleep deep and no noise would wake him. I thought that we are getting somewhere and he will get better with time and we will slowly work on him to teach him fall asleep by himself or with little or no rocking. I can wish…
    Last 5 days and nights were a hell. My husband works late sometimes and sometimes he is not there at night either.
    From the start I tried to start night routing around 7 pm. He will not fall asleep or fall asleep and wake up in five minutes later till 9:30 – 10 pm. Then finally longer sleep. Not in last 5 days. At first I thought he is going through another trough spurt but now I question that.
    He started by being more fussy at the evening and appeared sleepy, then he would not fall asleep till midnight despite my efforts of rocking, caring, etc. He would sleep in my arms but not when put down. After midnight he manages to sleep 3 hr, feeding and 2 hrs. Next day almost no sleep, small nap at 9 am and then at 5 pm. Fussy baby, even during nursing. He would not want to come off the boob.
    Another late night, even shorter sleeps after midnight. Now takes 30 – 60 min of rocking to have him fall asleep and any small noise will wake him up. All 4 days and nights my husband was not there to help and I just was diagnosed with mastitis in one of my breasts, my wright wrist is dislocated. I’m in pain and sleep deprived.
    Last night was even worse, only 5 hr of sleep total. Most of it while carrying. He is no longer happy, bubbly baby that wants to play and learn. He falls asleep during each nursing in day time but no longer at night. He gets frustrated about it or wakes up 14-25 min later and fuss. He just wants to be held and rocked all the time. We have grandparents stopping by sometimes but all they do is carry him, rock him to sleep and only down time he has is during diaper change.
    My baby is sleep deprived by now.
    Also in last 2 weeks he is drooling a lot, constantly chewing on his fingers and demands pacifier. He used to be rocked to sleep without it, now he refuses to fall asleep without it.
    I read all your articles and million other and feel like I’m hopeless or lost due to being too tired.
    What am I doing wrong? Is he confusing night and day? We do use similar white noise for day naps, maybe that is it? Is us rocking him constantly made it worse?
    And one more thing: If I hear one more time from someone “It will get better” I will go crazy! I’m that desperate!

    I hope you didn’t fall asleep half way through this. Thank you for your time and letting me get the steam out.

    • Isabella,
      Well it’s been over a month since you wrote your story and I’m sorry for just seeing it now (I get many many questions and sometimes on old posts, they get overlooked – my apologies for that).

      It’s hard for me to get a handle on what is going on but since you said it’s reflux I’m going to go with that. Have you read this?

      I think he is seeking lots of soothing because his tummy hurts. The article above talks about treating reflux with lifestyle changes and medication. Check it out and try EVERYTHING. Also (and this is in that post) you will want to cut out all diary and possibly soy from your diet. Many refluxing kids respond well to dairy free diets. Specifically the milk protein.

      The carrying is exhausting and the fact that he cries so much suggests that he is stil really uncomfortable. The seeking to nurse constantly or get a paci also sounds like a baby who is demanding MORE soothing. So really all my advice boils down to:
      1) Treat the reflux (is he on meds? is it the right meds? Enough meds?)
      2) Give him TONS of soothing. Loud white noise, swaddle, rocking paci. Forget weaning off this stuff – embrace it. He loves rocking so work with the swing. I swear that is the best bet for him to sleep, even if it takes a little work to help him sleep in it. Check the post I link to below for more details on this.

      As a Mom who lived through EXACTLY what you are talking about I can tell you this – it won’t last forever. You will survive this. I promise someday you’ll laugh with your husband about how shitty it was when your beloved baby was young and cried all the time and never slept. Promise.

  79. This is just a tip for anyone needing to break a screaming baby/overtired cycle:

    1. Go to YouTube and search “Baby Got Colic” and you’ll find a white noise video.

    2. Turn up the volume quite loud and the turn the screen away from you and the baby (very creepy visuals!).

    3. Watch your baby instantly calm down and possibly fall completely asleep in a matter of minutes!

    I found this video sometime in the middle of the peak of week six fussiness and it saved me many times. I try to save it for when I really need it because I don’t want it to lose its magic and also the creepy visuals and cyclical noises kind of make me wonder if it is feeding subliminal messages to my baby. Haha. Except I’m not totally kidding. So I wait until I don’t care as long as the baby calms down! A 10 minute clip of the video is free to watch or you can buy the audio for $10 on ITunes. I finally did that because it was a lot easier than searching for the clip and avoiding the images. I promise I have no affiliation with the makers of the video/audio I just want toD share something that worked a lot better than the hair dryer/vacuum for our fussy little one.

    • Great – free white noise! Except for the whole subliminal messaging thing. Seriously you are making me desperately curious about this creepy visual white noise video. Let me go check this out…

      Holy hell did I just watch The Ring? Seriously that video is like the creepiest thing ever.

      Honest you can get tons of white noise apps for free or like $.98 that won’t give you nightmares.

      I’m going to have to sleep with the lights on tonight 😛

  80. Thanks for this wondeful blog. I have a 4.5 week old and have been dealing with what I learned now to be the witching hour(s). My first did not have this so it’s completely foreign to us. She starts to get fussy around 6pm and it lasts until around 10-10:30.She sleeps and nurses very well during the day but during this one window she refuses to nurse, pulling away and crying. This feels like a long window to not nurse, she then sleeps until at least 1-2pm so even longer, total approx 8 hours. I know that this will pass and eventually she will want to nurse at bedtime but I’m worried about what it will do to my supply. I thought about pumping but I cannot do it during her 5-6 hour witching hour is over, which is around 11pm. If I pump at this time will it protect my supply so I am later still able to nurse her around a 6-7pm bedtime? I’m very worried…also isn’t she starving with this 8 hour window? It’s actually longer since her last full nursing is at 4pm…

    • correction:

      This feels like a long window to not nurse, she then sleeps until at least 1-2am (not pm) so even longer, total approx 8 hours.

    • Generally having a nice break is sort of awesome no? If she’s not interested in nursing then I would just go with it. (Note: I’m not a LC specialist so feel free to run it by somebody who is if you’re really anxious about it).

      Also presumably she is getting plenty of eat the rest of the time so I’m also assuming your supply is just fine. Boobs are remarkably flexible producers so maybe they’re just making all the milk she wants during the other 16 hours of the day?

  81. Alexis, so happy to know your blog exists! It’s made even better with many parents’ postings and your replies that I can relate to and pick up advice from.

    I am a new mum of a 3 week plus old daughter. I was so looking forward to maternity leave and the time with her for the next five months.

    Baby girl is on exclusive breastfeeding and I have had been on a 2 hour schedule. Sometimes baby girl will sleep 4 hours straight sometimes she won’t sleep. Mostly, she sleeps well in the day, falls back to sleep almost after nursing for at least 30 minutes (tried gently waking her up to make sure she is really full + pees and pops well too as a side check). She will only sleep at most 2-3 hours at night, sometimes shorter. The longest sleep always and only happens in the day. There’s no regularity in her schedule at all, and I am just rushing to catch sleep, eat or bathe after I am done with her feeding, ready to be “summoned” by her whenever she needs me next.

    I read that I shouldn’t wake her up if she is sleeping well in the day which is what I am doing. She will do that fairly regularly till night time, just that the nap time starts decreasing, 4, 3, 2.5, 2hours. By the way, we bathe her in the morning, before her next feed at about 9-10am (it’s a grandparent’s order that we have to bathe the baby before 12noon to avoid catching a cold and i personally think it’s ok so far as the baby enjoys her bath). At night, she typically stays awake after feeding at least once. It’s either at 2 plus am or 4 plus am or 7plus am and then she will continue to stay awake and refuse to go back to sleep for 4-5 hours straight. It has been happening for 1-2 weeks and I can’t continue on alone without disturbing my hubby’s sleep, who will lose focus at work later in the day. Basically, her witching hours are not in the evening but random!

    We tried rocking her, cradling her etc. the moment we see her yawn. But she will just stare at us and curious about the surroundings. Sometimes she wants to be nurse again in which I will give in to her requests, and she will fall asleep for a while but be waken up soon before we manage to reach the crib. All these are not a problem in the day at all.

    Sometimes I wonder if it’s my milk supply but if I hand express there’s milk. The room is air conditioned and cooling at 27degc, she’s swaddled when put to sleep (except legs in which she likes it out), room is dim. We will struggle for few hours, handing it over to daddy but then she will want to be nurse again. Sometimes daddy helps to calm her but it’s the crib problem again. Otherwise we will throw in a formula bottle so she can be more full and continue to sleep (in which she weaves and out but longer).

    Is there something we can try? Before chancing upon your website, I was told to wear her around so we ordered carrier waiting to be delivered. We do not have a swing and not planning to get one as our budget are tight. It is just strange to me that my baby witching hours are all over the place!

    • Lucy,

      Here’s the deal (and it’s been a few weeks so I know you figured this out already but you aren’t alone in being tripped up by this and others will read this so I’m going to answer as though you just wrote this yesterday)…

      Your baby was JUST born. When you have a baby who just popped out a few weeks ago everything is unpredictable. All the baby books talk about schedules, consistency, etc. But the truth is that none of that applies to your baby.


      When your baby is just a few weeks old everything is a bit of a mess. Sleep, consistency, etc. You put baby down for a nap. Should YOU take a nap? Will she sleep for 20 minutes or 2 hours? WHO KNOWS!

      This is life with a shiny fresh new baby. It is temporary. And exhausting. And frustrating.

      Also this makes me laugh: “it’s a grandparent’s order that we have to bathe the baby before 12noon to avoid catching a cold.”

      So the cold germs go away after lunchtime? Hee hee – I love picturing your grandparents and their bathing rules. Thanks for sharing :)

  82. Thank you so much for such a practical and helpful site. You are such a lifesaver to mothers everywhere. :)

    I’m really struggling to figure out whether I’m keeping my little guy awake for too long or not long enough. I am hoping beyond all hope that you can help me here. I know the obvious answer is “too long,” but recently, I’ve been wondering if that’s not it (or if there’s some other error I’m making along the way).

    He’s four months old (almost exactly) and has been especially struggling with sleep the last three weeks (your post on sleep regression was very helpful BTW!). He’s never been a great sleeper, however. He’s much too active and alert to wind down by himself and always fights sleep even when I know he is tired and catch him early. (He has always needed to nurse or be rocked to sleep.)

    We used to rock him in a car seat (to music) until he drifted off, but recently switched him to a swing. That worked great for the first couple days. There are two problems, however.

    1. The schedule he has fallen into himself is a short nap in the morning (30-40 minutes), a super-long one in the early afternoon (we’re talking 2.5-3 hours) and a short or non-existant one in the late afternoon (another 30-40 minuter if he takes it). Is this a concern? I’d really like him to be getting longer naps for his first and third (since I’m worried he’s not getting rested enough at those times to continue through the day). Could he just be consolidating all of his sleep to that second nap? Like I said, I feel like I should be trying to get his other naps longer, but I’m not sure how to go about doing this since he’s already in a swing. When he wakes up after the short period of time, I try to increase the soothing things around him, but even that doesn’t work.

    2. Lately, he has been refusing some of his naps. I will see signs of tiredness (rubbing the eyes or getting grumpy usually – never yawns) and will immediately start our short pre-nap routine. I put him in the swing and he sits in there (ocassionally letting out a fuss or two, but generally calm) forever. I even turn on loud white noise (the vacuum) to calm him. But he just won’t sleep. The odd thing is that the intervals he’s staying awake for seem to be pretty short. This morning, it was 1 hour, 25 minutes before he rubbed his eyes. I always go ahead and try to put him down anyway (despite how short the awake period is) when I see him rubbing his eyes or getting grumpy. Is it possible he’s undertired at this time?

    His night sleep has also been wacky lately. At his two month appt, I happily told the doctor that although his naps were still all over the place (common at that age, I know), his night sleep was going well. He was sleeping for a 5-7 hour block and then a shorter 2-4 hour one. He would wake up, nurse, and go back to sleep. Bliss.

    Lately, that has completely changed. He has been more difficult to go down (is waking up the second I put him in his crib these days after nursing to sleep) and has been getting up SO much over the past few weeks. He’s gotten slightly better this week, but has consistently been waking up at the 4-5 a.m. range and actually BEING AWAKE (where no amount of nursing will send him off again because the kid is just alert and up). I usually have to try putting him down twice (ocassionally a third time even) so that he’s finally SO tired, he gets into a deep sleep early and lets me move him to his crib. The 4 a.m. thing is also really bizarre. Last night he had his longest stretch of sleep in almost a month (5 hours 45 minutes) but only totaled 8.5 hours for the night. That’s also been pretty regular. I checked my sleep long and all week, no matter how hard I try to get him more, he’s gotten 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep at night (and usually almost exactly 8.5).

    Just this week, I decided to try (again) to put him down when he’s drowsy but awake (so he can learn to get himself back to sleep better). I try nursing him until he’s ALMOST asleep (eyes closed, but i can tell he’s still awake) and then moving him to his crib. He immediately wakes completely up and starts sobbing. I wait a few minutes to see if he will calm down, but then go back in and nurse him to sleep (again, once or twice). I’m going to continue with that, though, in hopes that it will catch on for him. Do you have any other advice? Anything you notice I’m doing wrong or could try?

    I’m a bit thrown by his “short-long-short” nap schedule (and would like him to be napping longer at the other times so I know he’s rested) and want to make sure he’s getting the right amount of sleep he needs for the entire day. His below-average amount of night sleep and odd “awake hour” at 4 a.m. are really preventing that. Any help would be SO appreciated. Thank you so much. I imagine it can’t be easy answering everyone’s (quite specific!) questions, but I appreciate it more than you realize. :)

    • Kaye,
      It’s been a while since you asked but I’ll answer just in case you’re still wrestling with this…

      1) I’m not worried about his nap schedule. The fact that he takes ANY long naps at all is pretty awesome. Most people are stuck in short-nap land so 1 long nap is better than no long naps right?

      2) As for the 4:00 AM thing this is a pretty common ailment. My advice is more soothing. Maybe instead of the crib you put him in the swing then? Swaddle? Basically babies have gotten JUST enough sleep to effectively fight sleep. But NOT enough so not falling back to sleep is a bad idea for everybody. So if there is a way to give MORE soothing at 4:00 AM I would do whatever it takes (provided it’s safe yes?).

      3) I’m thinking your son is showing early signs of object permanence. In which case he’s an early learner – WOO HOO smart baby! Thus your REAL homework is to get going on that whole “put down awake” thing which is super hard. But honestly the key to better sleep for you all :)

  83. What about sleeping too much? Is there such a thing? My son is 11 weeks old and has been sleeping 10-12 hours a night since about 6 weeks. This has been amazing and we love it, but he also takes long day time naps from 2-4 hours on average. He is only awake for about 1-2 hours at a time. Sometimes his naps are so long that he only gets 2 naps in. He’ll sleep 12 hours, wake for 1 hour in the a.m., go down again for 3-4 hours, then wake again for another 2 hours and go down again for another 3-4 hours. I often will have to wake him up if his 2nd nap goes into 4+ hours as I am afraid he is trying to sleep through the night at that point and am worried he may wake up in the middle of the night (say he goes down at 5p, then I’m thinking he’ll wake in the middle of the night or as early as 5a), so I end up waking him by 9p if he does not wake up and then he ends up sleeping too late the next day because he won’t go down again until 11p. I feel like his sleep is messed up, but not sure how to fix it. He also seems to sleep more than most babies at this age. I cannot do anything much outside the house either as he has a breakdown if he is not able to go to sleep 1-2 hours after he wakes. My pediatrician did not think there was anything wrong with his lengthy sleep habits. Any suggestions?

    • Not sure if this matters, but I EBF and he is growing appropriately/at the 50th percentile in weight, 85th in height.

    • Laura,
      I understand that you can’t get out of the house. This is why I recommend TiVo to all new Moms. And in fact you’re INSANELY lucky.

      Because no parent of a newborn can get out of the house. Only yours is taking awesome mongo naps so YOU can nap, shower, cook, chat on the phone, etc. Most moms spend all their hours of the day soothing fussy babies to sleep who then sleep 20 minutes, wake up to resume their fussing. And it’s an exhausting grind.

      So if your pediatrician is not worried and your huge healthy baby is growing like a champ, then I am not worried. Thus my only advice to YOU is to enjoy this quiet time you are having. There will be days where you will look back fondly on the quiet solitude of your happy sleeping baby. Trust me, this is the problem everybody else WISHES they had :)

  84. My son is 8 weeks old his a big boy for his age weighing in at 15lb 4…..his started sleeping through the night witch is great :) the day consists of short cap naps and maybe one sleep for a hour- 1.5 , he usually has a little nap from around 5or6-7or 8 pm I’ve been bathing him around 9pm after his bottle,feeding him again and try to get him in bed by 10.30 pm -11.30 most of the time he does but the last few days his been staying up till 1am which is not great as by this time I’m knackered. Have you got any advice for getting him down a little bit earlier I’d even sacrifice him maybe not sleeping through the night in order to have him I bed at a reasonable time as he also gets quite fussy and wants to be constantly held or fed. Do you think it might be the early evening Nap he has or maybe I’m bathing him to late. I have tried to get him in his bed earlier but he whines and I won’t leave him crying for longer than a few minutes.
    Any advice would be much appreciate :)

    • Natalia,
      Have you seen the post linked below? Hopefully it mostly answers your questions.

      I think at 2 months a catnap at 8:00 PM is probably not great. Maybe 7:00 becomes the cutoff for his last nap of the day. Maybe even closer to 6:00. Play around with it and see what works.

      Also you want to make sure that your soothing routine is happening near bedtime. Baths are awesome but if you’re doing it at 9:00 and his bedtime isn’t till 10:30 or later, then they’re not really associated with each other. Whatever the soothing bedtime routine is should happen ~30minutes prior to bedtime.

      Also help him get to sleep earlier, as with all newborns, my advice is always MORE SOOTHING. Are you doing everything here?

      Hope that helps!

  85. Thank god for this website. I never knew you had to help your baby know when it’s nap time and now he takes naps regularly throughout the day and is so much happier. My son is 10 weeks old and is napping about 2 hours from 8-10, 11-1, and 2-4 is that too much sleep during the day? I ask because he sleeps very well fRom 7p-1130/45 the from 12-245. After his 3am feeding he only sleeps in half hour naps and is restless the whole time until his next feeding at 7am…are the daytime naps affecting his sleep?? Should I not let him catnap around 5? Its like clockwork he’s up at 4 no matter what and won’t settle to sleep in his swing he has to be with me and even then is very restless

    • Emily,

      I don’t like to wake sleeping babies unless there is UNDENIABLE evidence that they’re sleeping too much. Sadly what you describe (crappy sleeping from 3-6 AM) is actually pretty normal. So I’m not inclined to suggest that something needs to change.

      Keep up with the soothing at 3:00 AM. If co-sleeping works for you to sleep from 3-7 then go for it. Or keep working with the swaddle, swing, white noise trifecta to see if you can get some smoother sleep going that way.

      Good luck!

  86. Hi. I’ve been worrying like mad about my baby boys naps (or lack of!) but was relieved to read here that it may just be that he’s not learned to consolidate his naps yet. He’s 8 weeks old – should he be getting a bit better by now?! He’s a 20 – 40 minute kid. I try to make sure he’s not up for longer than he should be as he generally gets tired after an hour to an hour and a half. It means I’m up and down all day and its really frustrating! I can get him to have a couple of hours in the morning if I hold him for the first hour and hold his arms to get him past his first lot of jerking. He’s always had a really strong startle reflex and this wakes him up in the day. I do swaddle him tightly but the jerks still get him. Any advice?? Or reassurance that one day he may nap longer?!

    • More swaddling. Maybe a double swaddle? And whatever soothing you can. At 8 weeks you have ALL options available to you so experiment with everything:
      loud white noise (always)
      TIGHT swaddle
      swing (maybe?)
      pacifier (maybe?)

  87. Hi please help. I have a 2 week old. I don’t expect her to have any sort of sleep pattern but she is good as gold during the day. Then we get to the early hours ( 1 – 2 am) and she screams none stop for about 4 hours. Nothing helps. We take her out in the car she falls asleep come home and put her in her crib and she wakes up and screams again. I try to feed her but she acts as if she can’t latch on and then throws a huge strop, thrashing around screaming.
    Please any advice would be appreciated. I feel so useless as I don’t know what to do with her. I am a first time mum x

    • Hey Sharon,

      You aren’t alone – this is REALLY common stuff for newborns (just the first 4-6 weeks promise!). It sucks. It’s hard. It’s exhausting.

      Do everything here:

      Honestly the answer for newborns is almost ALWAYS more soothing. If your baby likes car rides – why does that help?

      Answer: motion and loud white noise

      So start with those. Swaddle, LOUD WHITE NOISE, and maybe a baby swing. Possibly a pacifier too. Do everything I talk about in all the posts I linked to above.

      This is temporary. More soothing will make it bearable for everybody. You’re going to be just fine :)

  88. We have a 14-week-old boy who is a terrible night sleeper. He is still waking up every 2 hours at the beginning of the night, and less than every 1.5 hours towards morning to nurse. He takes 3-4 naps a day, from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and he rarely goes more than 2 hours between naps. He is generally a very happy boy and we almost never experience “The Witching Hour”. His bedtimes are a bit inconsistent. He was in a good routine earlier, but after a week of fussiness due to teething his bedtime is all over the place, 10.30 one day and 1.45 am another day. What would you advice me to do? I was told to try to keep him awake for 3-4 hours before bedtime, so that he would get really tired and sleep longer. Is that a good idea?

    • In a word….no.

      Trying to make a baby tired is a bad strategy. Tired babies sleep poorly.

      It sounds like you’re struggling with two fundamental problems:
      1) Bedtime inconsistent and too late
      2) Eating all night long

      As far as the bedtime thing, if he were 4 weeks old, what you describe would be totally normal. At 14 weeks I think he needs a little help to get onto a bit more of a consistent, earlier schedule. I would pick a time that seems reasonable based on your experience (maybe 9:00 PM?) and work on having a consistent bedtime. Do a LONG SOOTHING routine. Make sure you are putting him to sleep with lots of soothing – white noise, swaddle, maybe a swing (?). See if you can’t at least work in that direction even if it doesn’t lock in all at once?

      The other issue is the eating all night long. Is he eating constantly because he is hungry or just needs more soothing? I’m going to guess the answer is “more soothing” thus the issue is, how can you provide him with more soothing without having to whip out the boobs? Again swaddle, white noise, and maybe a swing would be the answer.

      Unless you think he is hungry (which I’m less inclined to think) in which case maybe it’s time to talk to a good local IBCLC to see what we can do to get him taking in more calories during the day. Note: this is LESS likely than the “he just needs more soothing” option above so I wouldn’t panic about this, OK?

      Good luck!

  89. Hi Alexis,

    Thank you so much for sharing your expertise so generously. I wondered if you have any suggestions for what a “schedule” should look like for babies that are in the 5 x 30-minute nap per-day category.

    Our 10-week old (+ 2 weeks over due date) daughter sleeps great from 6pm-7am (feeds at 12 and 4), but is extremely alert in the day & fights naps like there’s no tomorrow, especially after 11AM. She also wants to feed every hour in the PM and gets overtired, which makes it hard for bedtime. I resort to the swing in the PM, with your nifty jiggling trick. (how do we wean from the jiggling?)

    She can only stay awake 50 minutes or so and I am feeding on demand (which has been anywhere from 1 hr to 9 hours apart). I’m scared it’s part of what makes naptime/bedtime difficult — no clear routine, and sometimes, esp. around 11AM, sleepy time coincides with hungry time. Sometimes she shows tired signs really early (30minutes) without having been fed, so I don’t know whether to feed her or put her down. (Usually what happens is she fights being put down and gets OT and super hungry so I end up feeding her). So should I change on demand to feeding when she wakes? That would mean feeding about every 1.5hrs, when she might not be hungry.

    She no longer goes to sleep from nursing, but I also wonder if it’s okay to put her in the swing right after nursing as I think of all that milk slushing around in her belly. She has mild reflux (we know because she swallows back down and has a chronic cough, because she’s otherwise a happy baby that is putting on tons of weight).

    Also, if a child looks happy when waking but yawns right away, does that mean the nap wasn’t long enough? She used to nap very inconsistent lengths from 20 min to 2 hours, but the last nap longer than 30 minutes was at 8 weeks. We’ve tried everything to extend her naps to no avail (put her in early, put her in just right, put her in late, swing, car ride, stroller ride, white noise, jiggling, always swaddled, jiggling just before 30 min mark, …). She refuses the paci with a vengeance.

    Sorry if that’s a lot of questions!

    – Stephanie

  90. Also just wanted to mention that last week she was waking one extra time in the night (growth spurt), and this week she keeps waking 30 minutes after falling asleep for bedtime. Is this because she’s overtired? She used to be even more overtired (before we knew about napping!) and this never happened…

    • I’m posting an update at 4 months. After implementing progressive changes to her routines, we’re at a point where our daughter goes to sleep happily awake in crib for every nap and bedtime with absolutely no fight – and falls asleep within 5 to 15 min. Yay! However, she is still feeding all the time in the day (but goes up to 10hours without feeding at night) and can only stay awake 1 hour tops and is a crappy napper, taking only 3 to 4 x 45min naps per day. She seems happy when we find her after a nap, but then she rubs her eyes almost immediately after we take off the swaddle. We finally caved and got a baby monitor to see what’s happening in there, and she actually is awake for a while before she cries…. so her naps are even shorter than we thought! I have found that if I leave her there she won’t go back to sleep and is basically using up all her “awake” time in the dark in her crib, so I now just pick her up and we move on. Anyway, just thought I would offer that perhaps our daughter is just a crappy napper and there’s really not much we can do about it!

  91. Hi, Alexis –

    I’m having a lot of trouble with my 6 month old and her night time sleeping. She is a great napper, and I’m starting to wonder if perhaps she is napping too long? She is up (in her crib) anywhere from 5-9 times a night and often stays up for 2+ hours around 10 or 11. She will often nap for up to 4 hours a day. People have advised me to not try and put her down for bed for 4-5 hours from her last nap, so she has been only napping two times (ending around 1:30) for the last couple days. Does this make sense to you or should I give her a third (shorter) nap and push her bedtime back (she wants to go to sleep SO early – sometimes before 6pm). She goes to bed fairly easily, but she just won’t STAY asleep.

    Thanks so much! Your site is great; I’m hoping to get some good ideas and start working on this ASAP!


  92. Hi, I have a 6 month old who used to be a great napper but over the past few weeks has now gone from 45-2hour naps to 20-30min naps and nothing will put her to sleep again for longer. She normally sleeps at night 8pm-8am and goes down well if she has had her naps but when she hasn’t napped well she struggles to get to sleep. For her naps we have normally followed the 1.5hr waking rule (so she has normally 4 naps a day) and until recently this has worked well. We have tried increasing and decreasing her awake time but still to no avail and she often wakes up tired. She is able to self sooth and has done this since about 3 months old. She will occasionally have longer naps in the day but rarely recently. If you have any suggestions this would be much appreciated.

  93. Thank goodness I found this website! I am a first time mom and my newborn was born four weeks premature. He was born Oct 17 but was actually due on Nov 12. So, his birth age is about 7 weeks but his adjusted age is only 3 weeks. I believe when it comes to sleep I should be using his birth age of 7 weeks. He is exclusively breastfed and today was a frustrating day as my little boy did not nap very well. I know that he was up for much too long as he was fussy and would not let me put him down for most of the day. I’d hold him after nursing him until he falls asleep then put him down in his bassinet(which is in our room) only for him to wake up 15-20 minutes later. This went on all day from about 9AM to 7PM. He finally went down after a short feed and diaper change around 7PM and is still sleeping (it’s now 8:30pm). I am going to use the timing you provided and watch his sleep cues tomorrow. I will make sure he is only awake for NO LONGER than 1hr 45mins in between feeds. At night he is usually eating at around 12:30am, again around 3am, and again around 6am. He will generally go back to sleep again until about 8:30-9am. I’m still watching to see what his “witching hour” is but have yet to determine if he has one. I have a few questions…

    1. How can I determine his “morning” time? Is it the 6AM feed or 9AM when he is up again? I am so exhausted these days that I don’t even know when my “morning” time is.

    2. How can I figure out what his bedtime is? I am trying to start a little routine but am struggling because his baths aren’t as often as we live in a very dry climate and its winter so I don’t want to dry out his skin.

    3. I don’t have a “swing” but I do have a Mamaroo (its a motion baby seat) will that work?

    4. Should his naps be in a darker room? Or should I have him nap in the living room where I can be near him?

    5. During nap time can I have the TV on? Or does this inhibit his sleep?

    6. When should I start the 1 and 1/2 hour wakeful count? From the time he wakes or after he feeds?

    Sorry for the bad grammar. I am just a first time mama trying to help my baby boy sleep healthy so that he can grow well! please any words of encouragement for a stressed out mom! Thank you

  94. Hello,

    just wanted to share my observation. You mention in the post that a 10 minute nap is a real nap and you have to wait an hour to put baby down again. I have a catnapper and followed this rule but found out that sometimes this doesn’t work with my baby. Sometimes he wants to sleep longer but needs my help. How do I know? If he wakes up crying he is not done sleeping. He wants to sleep longer but cannot do the transition from one cycle to the next one without my help which usually means me reinserting the dummy or my boob in his mouth :)

    Another thing I noticed is that my baby’s window of wakefulnes isn’t consistent during the day. It depends on how long his previous nap was. If he napped for just 30 minutes or less (I hate those) he will be tired after about 45 minutes. If the nap was at least 45 minutes he can go on for about an hour/hour and 15 minutes.

    Does anyone else have similar experience?
    And Alexis, have you got around to putting up the donate button? Your site is such a lifesaver, I’m sure most of us would love to at least help cover the cost of running it :)

  95. Hi Alexis,

    I have just come across your web site and think it is fantastic! I have a 10 week old who is generally an excellent sleeper. However, she does not nap well during the day. I found this particular post very helpful as I think some of our problems stem from me not trying hard enough to get her to nap during the day, and at the right times, and this is leading to a cranky little girl!

    I am breastfeeding on demand and as she generally sleeps through the night (10pm to 5.30am) she feeds a lot during the day, particularly from 5pm she will feed almost constantly. I see that as a necessary step to get her through the night and don’t mind at all. However, as she spends a lot of time on the breast (mostly for food, but often I suspect also just for comfort) I was wondering how this works with your chart and time between naps? Is a breastfeed counted as awake time? If she wakes and feeds for 40 minutes does that mean I should be looking for sleepy signs 20mins later?

    Apologies if someone has asked this already, I had a quick look through previous comments but couldn’t see a similar question.


  96. Hi
    I have a beautiful 3.5 month old gal… And she is a terrible napper
    She takes four to five 30 minutes( u can set ur clock by it) naps and by the end of the day , she gets overtired…She hates to sit in car seat and cAnt sleep in car…so in result we r literally on house arrest…
    Her nights were better but recently it has also changed… She use to sleep for 5 hrs stretch and now it has become 2.5…
    Her awake time is 1.5 hrs…before that she doesnt wanna take nap… After 1.5 hrs she dozes off in 5 min… And after 30 min she is wide awake… Her short naps r killing me…. She takes her naps inher crib, i have tried swing, pacifier, feeding her, left her in crib for a while but nothing works… Her naps r like that from 2nd month

  97. My gosh I hope you can help, I am desperate!

    My 8 week old can self soothe but cannot sleep for longer than an hour day or night… I try and put her in her cot for every nap, swaddle with white noise and at night she tends to fall asleep during a feed so we put her in asleep but the hour waking is like clockwork – occasionally shell go back down with a head stroke or quick cuddle but the second half of the night after her 2am feed, she’ll pretty much be awake unless we hold her.

    I am dreading bedtimes now and I need some sleep desperately!

  98. This site has been SO helpful to me and my 6 week old baby girl. She is not a good sleeper, but by following suggestions found here ( sleep in swing with swaddle and white noise), encourage naps after 1 hr of awake time, things are slowly improving. She will now sleep 2-3 hrs at a time during the night and is much easier to put down for naps since she isn’t so tired. 2-3 hours may not sound great to some of you, but we have had nights where the longest sleep was 30 minutes and i got no sleep at all! So, thank you! Every other book/website gave advice that didn’t work and just made me feel like i was doing something wrong because my baby wouldn’t sleep in crib, go to sleep on her own, follow a schedule, etc.

    There is one big issue that we are still having though. During the night (and sometimes during naps), she will cry out very loudly over and over while still asleep. My husband calls it “sleep screaming”. This typically happens later in the night (after about 1-2 am). When she first goes to bed ( around 8 pm), it doesn’t happen as much. I don’t know if this is normal or if she is in some kind of pain or distress. I am getting very little sleep because of this since I have to look at her constantly to see if she is really awake or not. Should i pick her up when she does this? Is there anything i can do to help her? No one I know has ever heard of a baby doing this, so I hope someone here can offer some advice!

    • Hi Betsy, my baby sleep cries as well! Sometimes it is a precursor to her waking up, but other times she will cry in her sleep and then keep sleeping for hours. She has been doing this since she was born (now 13 weeks). It wakes my partner and I up at all hours and so can be annoying (although at least she IS sleeping). I have asked a couple of maternal and childhood nurses about this but never really got a satisfactory answer. The best was simply that she has a mild sore tummy or wind and that we should just leave her (which we do – i always wait for open eyes and obvious awake signals before picking her up). I don’t have any advice but just wanted to let you know your baby is not the only one. I would be interested to hear others views.

  99. My 6 month old only takes 30 minute naps. Any tips or is this normal??

  100. just kidding i found your other post :) thanks so much these tips are awesome!

  101. My baby is 6 months old and I’m trying to teach him to sleep in his crib for bedtime and naptime. He’s used to sleeping in my bed at night and infant seat for naps. He was taking 2 naps a day one around 1 1/2 hours and one around an hour and sleeping about 5-6 hours at night before waking to nurse. Now he’s napping only about 30 min in crib if that with screaming prior. And at night he’s up every 3 hours with only nursing to sleep. Growth spurt or routine at this point? He’s def not getting enough sleep!

    • If you are trying to get him used to the crib, perhaps put it next to your bed until he is used to sleeping in it with you beside him? Then it’s only one step removed from your bed where he is comfortable.

      • I just wanted to comment on this real quick. We’ve been having our now 5 week old son sleep in a crib next to our bed since he came home from the hospital. It was very rough at first and we occasionally still have rough nights but he is now starting to nap in it during the day as well. Sometimes he will even simply “hang out” awake in it for a little while! It’s just getting them comfortable in the crib until they’re used to it and feel secure. Best of luck!

        • Sounds like he misses you! Try putting an item of your clothing that you have worn as his sheet in the crib…. twill comfort him and help him sleep longer.

  102. I have a question. What do you do when your baby has his days and nights mixed up? He sleeps so soundly during the day. I can run vacuum with loud music and drop something on the floor and he doesn’t budge. But at night I play his loud white noise and still have to tip toe…. if the floor creeks he wakes up!! ugh! nights are so bad. I try to keep him awake from 8-10pm so he will sleep at night but all that ends up happening is he is awake ALL NIGHT LONG! I bounce him and he will sleep but as soon as I stop bouncing him he wakes up. I ended up bouncing him for a total of 5 hours last night. When he does sleep he only wants to sleep for 30 minutes. Then he basically sleeps solid from 12pm to 8pm when a couple feedings in there

    What do I do?

    Also, I bought a swing today so I hope that helps!

    • Also, forgot to mention he is going to be 5 weeks on Tuesday. He cries all night long. If we stop bouncing him he gets upset. His witching hour seems to last all night. During the day he is a happy baby when he is awake.


      • Hopefully the swing will work! I have to resort to that with my little one sometimes .. I also have been co sleeping so I can breastfeed her while laying down in the middle of the night.. That might be worth a try if bub won’t settle? It’s not a solution but at 3am with no sleep under your belt you’ll try anything !! I’m trying to find a bedtime routine to start my daughter will be 3 weeks on Friday fingers crossed we can get something going lol

        • Co sleeping to breastfeed backfired on me!!!
          Up to when my baby was 3 months old she would fall asleep on her own and wake up a few times to feed.
          Because I was tired I decided to put her in bed with me to feed her. BIG MISTAKE, now she is almost nine months old and can’t take her out of my bed and she wants my boob every two hours or less. So I haven’t been sleeping for the last six months and dad has to sleep on the couch.
          I feel like a failure and because I can’t let her sleep on her own in my bed I have to go to sleep with her at 8 pm and forget getting up at night to even go to the bathroom, I’m afraid she would crawl out of the bed.
          I wish someone could help me at this point.
          This has caused my marital relationship to have problems.

          • Hi Claudia,
            I was in the same situation as you until a week ago. My LO is 5 mo and was cosleeping and nursing every 2 hours (or less!), probably about 8 times a night. Sometimes he wanted to also be held. Finally last week I started using CIO (the Feber method) as me and my lovely boy were exhausted. I wasn’t ready to totally drop all the feeds, as I was also trying to get him to sleep alone, so it’s probably taking a little longer to work but we are only a week in and I feel like my little man and me are doing so much better.
            On the first night I carried out the usual bedtime routine but just before he fell asleep I put him in his crib. Predictably we woke and cried. It lasted 45 mins, for the rest of the night he woke every so often and cried a little and I also fed him on 2 occasions.
            Over the past week I have gradually moved the first feed later and dropped the second feed. He now goes down without crying and when he does wake in the night he settles himself within a few minutes.
            I would recommend reading Dr. Feber’s book as it has some info about how to decrease the night feeds. It seems like a tough thing to do to a baby but I think allowing him to learn how to settle himself to sleep is an important and positive lesson. Good luck, just remember that you’re an amazing mum and your LO will learn a new skill that will help him as he develops.

          • Dear Claudia, you are NOT a failure – you are a success as you will end up with a securely attached child as an effort for all of your hard work and your husband’s support if he is able to give it. It’s really tough I know as I’m going through the same thing right now and went through this with my first child who is now four but believe me it pays off. The children who are the most attached to you as a baby seem the most needy in a lot of ways yet by responding by giving your love and care (and breast milk) as best you can around the clock your baby will grow into a securely attached independent toddler and child. This is because by doing what you’re doing you will teach them that you are always there for them and they don’t need to feel so anxious. Pethaps you and your husband could read Dr Sears information on attachment parenting and sleep for validation of your approach. You are going against the grain in our western society which makes it much harder but keep going if you can. I’m not suggesting you don’t try other tips like the swing to get you both more sleep, just that you don’t need to turn to sleep training methods which leave the baby to cry if you don’t want to, especially if it doesn’t feel right for you and your baby. Elizabeth Pantleys books ‘The No Cry baby sleep solution’ and ‘the no cry baby nap solution’ are excellent. Keep going you wonderful mummy. My husband says to tell your husband it’s really hard right now but it gets so much better in the longer term and it means you will get more time together and less stress in the longer term as your baby grows into a secure and well adjusted toddler and then young child. Much love and compassion for your lack of sleep – it can make you feel really low and anxious cant it? If so maybe see your doctor / other health professionsl for some support too if you need it

            • PS sleep training methods are fine too if you decide this is what’s right for you & your baby – only you can decide what’s best for all of you and getting more sleep is crucial to your and on turn baby’s well being in longer term

            • Ret thank you for your words. I don’t think we can let our baby cry for too long. A couple of nights ago she didn’t want to go to sleep and kept crawling around the bed. I put her in the swing and cried for 25 min. I couldn’t let her cry any longer and when I went to check on her, daddy was holding her. He doesn’t care if he has to sleep on the sofa, he refuses to let her cry it out. She falls asleep on the swing a lot of times but she wakes up 3 or 4 hrs later that’s the maximum I sleep in a stretch. At the same time I think she is 9 months old and the swing is going to be small for her pretty soon, so is it actually wise to get her get use to sleep in it?
              And the only way she naps is in the swing so I don’t know whats going to happen after that..
              Thank you again, I feel better knowing I’m not the only mom that goes through this and It will eventually pass, I just hope is soon enough.

            • what a beautiful and well versed response. So wonderful to see other moms lifting one another up…..bravo. And thank you from my heart… your words reassured me we to are on the right track !!

          • Hi Claudia,

            I saw your post and felt compelled to tell you that by no means are you alone! My son is 16 weeks today and since he was born he has slept in our bed since we follow Dr Sears attachment parenting and it’s easy for breast feeding. 

            About 6 weeks ago I  became accustomed to waking frequently for feeds. So accustomed, that I was waking when he was sound asleep. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to feed him anyway and now HE is in the habit of waking every 1-2 hours for a feed! He cries if I don’t feed him within moments of waking. It’s completely normal for babies his age to wake frequently but I still beat myself up about it.

            I also felt like a failure of a parent. It’s so easy to fall into that thought pattern when you’re scraping a mere 4-6 hours of broken sleep for months on end. But in reality, all we are doing is whatever we can to ensure the happiness and comfort of our children. 

            I am by no means a baby expert but there are some things that I have started to implement in the hope of getting  some more sleep. 

            1. I have taken a guard rail off his previously unused cot and attached it to our bed as a kind of extension of our own bed. Some say that this is risky with regards to SIDS and such so keep that in mind before trying it! But the reason we did this was so he was still very close to me at night, but  less likely to wake each other up and there is more space for my partner and I. The first night we did this, my son slept an extra hour in one sleep and my partner only woke once instead of 4-5 times. 

            2. I have introduced a number of sleep associations so in a week or two when he is used to them I can start to remove my breast from the sleep process. The things I have introduced are: a comfort blanket, white noise and a sleep sack during the feed as he goes to sleep. I have also started to rhythmically tap his waist during this feed. I will explain that more in the next point.

            3. I read in Elizabeth Pantley’s no cry sleep solution that if you have a frequent habitual waker that if you wake up 15 minutes before the usual time and wait for them to start to wake and put them back to sleep using your usual tactic that after a few days to a week they will sleep through that time. I have found that my son wakes up whenever I feed him so I have introduced the rhythmic tap on the waist to hopefully put him back to sleep before he wakes up. I want to wait a week or two before doing that though so he is used to it though. Then, when he no longer wakes to feed, I will keep the other sleep associations in place and remove that one. 

            Obviously none of this stuff has worked yet, but I am hoping that the research I have done on this is enough to break that habit! 

            I hope something of what I’ve said is helpful to you in some way. The last things any mum should feel in this situation is a sense of failure or aloneness as we are neither! 

            Good luck!

            • Marlie thank you for your advice. I’m trying the patting and whispering a lullaby too. It only works sometimes.
              You are still on the right track and your baby is in the right age to change his habits. Mine is nine months already and it’s harder now.
              Good luck and let me know what worked for you.

            • I just read your post and had to tell you that it was so encouraging reading someone else that believes in attachment parenting. I co sleep with my little guy and have been so criticised from everyone, in laws, family friends, strangers…it’s gotten so my husband is beginning to question if we are doing the right thing. I’ve felt quite alone at times in doing this but I am determined to give him the best start I can give him. I was happy to read others that believe in attachment parenting as well. Thanks.

          • Claudia,
            I was having the same problem with my 8 month old baby. It was worse because I work nights and I was watching her all day. My LO was sleeping late in the morning with me and waking every two hours at night with Dad. On my nights off all she wanted was to nurse while in bed with me. I finally decided to try the CIO method. She cried 30 minutes the first night but slept 8 hours straight. Second night cried 7 minutes and slept 7 hours before waking. CIO definitely helped. I just used the section on this website called “Are you ready for Cry it out.”

            Good luck.

      • Have you tried swaddling? My daughter was 3 weeks old yesterday and swaddling is the only way I can calm her down at night–even though she sleeps happily without it during the day!

  103. Hi Alexis! Good article, thanks for sharing this information!
    I have a 7.5 month old boy, at the beginning I had problems with cat naps but during the night he has been always a good sleeper. Before Christmas we were finally in a point where he slept from 8pm to 8am straight and took 2 naps of 1.5 or 2 hours each (refuses to take a 3rd nap but he was totally happy and well rested) then he got sick (he got a cold) and his first teeth came out, and after that he started waking up earlier in the mornings (6:30 or 7am) but he doesn’t cry, I know he is awake because we have a video monitor and he just stays awake in his crib turning around until I pick him up at 8am and now because of that he is tired during the day, and he started doing the same in his naps, he will sleep 1 hour and stay another half an hour in his crib without crying or making any sound…I have tried puting him down for a 3rd nap but e won’t take it…. Any suggestion?

    • My son is 7.5 months right now. We are going through what you’re describing with your son. He was doing great on 3 naps with night sleep from 8am-8pm. He stopped wanting to take his 3rd nap, shortened his naps slightly, and was waking an hour earlier in the morning. With losing the 3rd nap, but still too much awake time until 8pm, we started putting him to bed closer to 7:30. Now we get him down around 7pm and will do so until he can extend him awake time. (He currently has a cold and seems to be teething, which is affecting his sleep). I was afraid expecting him to be down for 12 1/2 to 13 hours at night was too much, but he does it. The best sleep book I’ve read is “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” The doctor who wrote it again and again suggests earlier bedtimes to solve waking too early and night wakings. It doesn’t seem logical, but it really does work! Sleep begets sleep.

  104. Alexis, I don’t know if you’re still responding to questions on this thread, and I tried to read through all the Qs and As to see if this has already been asked but there are a whole lot and I’ve got a not sleeping baby to contend with! In a nutshell, baby sleeps ok at night from about 10 or 11pm to 8 or 9 pm, waking to eat at around 3 and 6. She’s 7 weeks. Problem is that during the day she hardly sleeps at all! My question is if you have any tips for helping her calm down. She doesn’t like her swing. She has a vibrating chair that she will sleep in but it won’t put her to sleep. Rocking her/holding her/dancing with her has limited success. She doesn’t like her paci. White noise helps her stay asleep but won’t put her to sleep. Same thing with gentle music. Hates baths. Hates massages. The worst is during the witching hour – yesterday she SCREAMED from 5pm to 12am and I tried EVERYTHING. I know she needs to sleep more than 3 20 minute naps between 9am and 11pm, which is basically all I’m getting from her now but I don’t know how to get her to sleep. Help???

    • I had a very similar experience with my daughter. She was inconsolable to the point where she couldn’t finish eating because she was so tired. I read all the books and nothing seemed to be the magic solution however I did pick up bits and pieces from each one.
      I found Sophie was a bit easier to deal with when I swaddled,shushed and bounced her. It would take a few minutes to calm her but the swaddling made her pay attention to the other things I was doing. I did have to learn to un swaddled her without waking her though because she is a stomach sleeper.
      It is kind of hard at that age because they are kind of young for any type of sleep training. We found there were a few nights when we just put her in her crib and let her cry for a few minutes…she was going to do it anyway. When I went back in she usually settled for me after a few minutes.
      Good luck!

    • Sounds like my little man at 7 weeks, it was so hard but it does get better gradually. What worked for us was swaddling him and bouncing on a huge yoga ball. Also because your little one is only 7wks its ok to nurse her to sleep. Alexis also suggested somewhere making your nursery super dark during the day (foil on windows) to help with naps. What else? Our son seemed to hate baths and then we started making water a bit warmer and it became the most effective calming tool for us. Hang on in there.

  105. Love this site! I’m very frustrated with my 3 month old, as this is my second child who refuses to sleep. :( Am trying the 2-hour-awake thing…Failing so far today. That is, still wont settle even when I’m meeting the 2 hour interval. How long should I keep on this before giving up entirely?!;(

    • Have you tried shortening the awake time? My 7.5 month old can only do about 2 hours of awake time. At 3 months, he was still closer to 1 hour up at a time. This may not fix you’re problem instantly since your child is probably overtired, so stick with it. Hang in there, and don’t give up! It will get better, and your efforts will pay off.

      • Jenni – Thanks for your suggestion! I really needed it today….rough, rough nite last night with baby waking every hour to hour and a half.:( I am now HOPING that if I can help him sleep more during the day his nights will get better again? He used to make it for 4, sometimes 5 hours at the first stretch…then he had a cold and now its just awful. Awful, awful. But I digress…Making some small progress with naps. At least he’s napped in his swing (ie, not ON me) several times in the past few days. Trying to be good about watching the clock, etc. He has to take the morning “nap” in the car b/c I am taking my 4 year old to pre school. Will that mess everything up? Anyone else dealing with that? Also, now that he’s napping a bit in the swing, he’ll wake up several times during a one hour nap. Like, several times. I can give him the paci back and he settles again. Is this another clue/sign that he’s sleep-deprived?! Thanks!

      • Hi Jenni,

        My 3 month old is also awake only for an hour. At what age did the awake time increase to 1.5 and 2 hours?

  106. I have 3.5 month old twins who don’t sleep enough during the day.

    They sleep from around midnight till 4, 5, or 6 and then will go back to sleep for a little while, but after that it’s pretty much impossible to get them to sleep every two hours. Last night they went 8 hours without naps. On top of that, they still want to eat every 2 hours, which often interferes with getting them down for a nap, by the time they are drowsy, they are hungry again. They almost always fall asleep on the BF pillow, and sometimes I just stay still for hours on end so they can get some sleep, but it’s not comfortable for me.

    It’s especially the early afternoon nap that I find impossible to achieve, and I’m really not sure how to get them into a drowsy state, and then if I do, how is baby supposed to react once I’ve put him down “drowsy but alert”. What if he cries? Fusses? Gets the hiccups?

    They will sleep in their beds at night, but it usually doesn’t happen until they are utterly exhausted after a midnight or one am feeding. Before that we are bouncing them in their little chairs, or swinging them in our arms, anything to keep them from fussing. I feel like I am abusing them by not getting them enough sleep, but I also feel like they are so overtired now that they will never be able to do it. Do you have any advice?

  107. This site has provided me with some amazing advice! The swing has become our new “go to” for naptime and we are planning on trying it this evening for the initial bedtime (around 7 or 8 pm). For now, he thankfully seems to have no issue being transferred to his crib after his 10 pm dreamfeed (pretty sure it’s because he’s in such a sleepy state of mind). Anyway…to get to my question. I’m struggling with my LO’s third nap of the day in regards to being awake for too long. Though I put him down for this nap within an hour and fifteen minutes of his last waking, he is very difficult to get down and then to stay down. He tends to only sleep for 20 to 30 minutes at this time of day. Then he ends up waking up around 5. Our bedtime routine tends to start around 7. I always struggle with knowing what to do at that point. Keeping him up from 5 to 7 is definitely causing problems. It took us until 9 to finally rock him (in our arms) to sleep last night. I figure there has to be a better plan. Should I try to put him in his swing for another “mini-nap” at 6:30? Then maybe I could wake him between 7 and 7:15 to start the betime routine?

    Thoughts, suggestions,…

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Hi Erica,
      I am not sure how old your baby is, but I know with my baby it was easier just to start his bedtime routine a little earlier. So if he wakes at 5, and he struggles to stay up until 7, I would just start his bedtime routine earlier, and put him to bed earlier, instead of giving him another nap, then having to wake him and then put him down again. I usually start my son’s bedtime routine at 6:15/6:20 and he is sleeping around 7 pm. He is 5 months old.

  108. I know I have a chronically overtired 6-mo baby, but I didn’t realize he should be able to stay awake 2-3 hrs btwn naps. He can’t make it 1 hour before he’s tired again. He goes to daycare, one of those school types where there are 7 other babies btwn 6 wks and 1 yr in the room with him. No separate nap room. All babies on their own nap/feed schedule. And my guy is not the type to ignore anything. Any suggestions on creating useful sleep cues at daycare? He takes a security blanket to the crib. I just gave them a small white noise machine, but I’m not sure it can really be loud enough to block much out, but we are giving it a try. I’m starting to worry he’ll never really nap (xept wknds) until age 1 when the next classroom he’s in will instigate a daily nap time for all kids at the same time.

    • Amanda,
      Try swaddling, I have a, now 10 month old, and I swaddled him, for naps, until 9.5 months. I would completely describe him as you did, “not the type to ignore anything”. Hopefully he will get used to it sooner than later. It’s also, just a difficult time for naps too, I know that at 6 months all of a sudden my 5×30 minute napper completely reset to a more normal 3 nap a day baby.

    • My son is 6 mo as well. He doesn’t sleep through the night and we co-sleep for breastfeeding. He recently started waking up every 2 hours to eat or just to nurse back to sleep. I do not nurse him to sleep during the day or to bed. His naps are only 30-45 min and he’s tired again after only an hour or hour and a half. His naps at daycare are much longer than at home and he’s up longer too. I’m off for the summer and I feel like I’m doing him a disservice :(. He eats solids after his first nap and at dinner time. He gets a small playtime to wind down, books, and I nurse him. He then put himself to sleep and he’s down for about 2 or 2 1/2 before he wants to nurse. I’m so confused! I feel like he should be up longer after each nap, but he becomes super over tired and then any nap is impossible! He ends up with 3-4 naps a day….help!

      • ” He gets a small playtime to wind down, books, and I nurse him.”

        Because you’re nursing near bedtime (even though he falls asleep on his own) he still has a strong nurse=sleep association. Try putting some space between nursing and sleep and see if things don’t improve.

        PS. Naps are often rocky around 6 months. Keep putting him down awake and try if you can, to have his naps happen on a schedule (it’ll help).

        Good luck!

        • Thanks! I’ll try it! Any suggestion in about how much time to wait until I put him to bed after nursing? Maybe make that the first part of his bedtime routine?

          Also, I’m doing the swing for naptime as suggested for him putting himself to sleep. It’s working wonders, but I feel like he’s stilll no where near putting himself to sleep in his crib for naps. We are hoping to have him in his crib full time before I start back to work in aug. And we aaa REALLY don’t want to do CIO!

  109. I have a 4month old that is a great night sleeper. She will sleep from 6:45 or 7 until 3 or 4 to eat and then go back to sleep until we wake her up at 6 to leave for daycare. I’ve been noticing lately that she is needing to take a nap around 4 or 5pm and then she’s sleeping until almost bedtime! She generally takes 4-5 hours of naps during the day but I want to make sure she doesn’t stay awake in the evening more than 2-2.5 hours. Any suggestions?

  110. Hi Alexis,

    Thank you so much for this invaluable site – I’m addicted.

    My son is 10.5 weeks and I’m trying to work towards him sleeping through the night. He is a solid napper through the day and is generally pretty good at sleeping every 1.5 to 2 hours. Sometimes I feel like he sleeps too much during the day as these naps can go for over two hours. He is usually up during the witching hours of around 6.30pm – 10pm, and will then sleep for over six hours until 4.30am.
    I am trying to work towards him sleeping through the night – should I aim for an earlier bedtime or try to push the 4.30am feed forward?
    Last night I tried an earlier bedtime of 9pm and he ended up needing two night feeds – at 1am and the usual 4.30am. There have been days when he has not napped as much or he has a later bedtime and he wakes closer to 5am for a feed.

    I would love your advice and a full night’s sleep!

    Thanks Alexis!


  111. Hi Alexis,
    Very very helpful blog, I am addicted to it, cannot stop reading it. Have a question about naps. So my daughter is 10 months old. According to the charts that you kindly provided, she should nap twice a day, and her awake time should be 3 hours total between the naps. Here when it gets tricky. She wakes up at 6-6:30 AM consistently (sometimes 5:30, I am trying to get her back to sleep, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not), so she has her first nap at 8-8:30 am, sleeps usually 1 hour or 50 min. So her second nap is around 12 PM (also 1 hour tops, would not sleep for longer), and she absolutely needs her 3 nap around 3:30 (which is so so hard) and she naps for 45 min or so. Bedtime is usually 7 PM, and by 7 PM I mean she is already asleep. She has had some issues with her bedtime since she was 8 months old, I posted our story here….we are in prgress of getting her sleep through the night. Sometimes she is tired after 2 hours of being awake and I have to get her into the crib. I know that fixing bedtime first would probably help with her naps, but is it normal for her to nap 3 times at 10 months?

  112. My baby turned 2 months yesterday, and she sleeps in her crib, she even go to sleep without me rocking or holding her I can lay her down with hewer binky then she sleep,

    But when she was some weeks she was just like how you guys baby are, butwhen you breast feed babies get use to sucking, especially during late hours when they suck nd fall asleep that’s why when you take your breast out they wakes back up try replacing your nipple with a binky (pacifier).I didn’t want her to have one but that’s What helps her sleep threw the night, nd she only wants it when she’s sleepy

    Hope this helps some new mom’s, and that it make sense no time for proof reading my baby is waking up,
    Also I’m a first time mom as well

  113. Hello. I’ve used this site for bedtime and had such huge success, our little man sleeps 730-6/630 on his own. But naps are a different matter. My life (and rapidly drawing to a close maternity leave) has been taken over by napping obsession!

    So I started letting our then 6 month old sleep on me for naps during bedtime sleep training. We fell in to a nice routine and he stared having lovely long naps! But now I’m going back to work soon and I need to get him napping in his cot. So here’s the problem… I don’t know when his naps should be. He is impossible to read, quite often grumpy even when he isn’t tired, when he is tired he doesn’t show it (he actually stifles his yawns, can you believe it?!) I just don’t know where to start.

    Sometimes he seems tired after an hour of waking up, sometimes two, sometimes three! I just don’t know where to start. I know nap training will be even more difficult if I don’t time it right but he’s nearly 8 months now and I still don’t know what I’m doing ha ha

    Oh yes, and he gets long naps on me no matter when it is. Except sometimes he throws in 30 or 40 minute naps, so I can’t take that as a guide for when it should be.

    And one last question. I read somewhere that at some point/age you can stop worrying about how long he is awake and move to scheduled naps instead. Is this true? When???

    Any help would really be appreciated.

  114. I’m hoping some of you awesome experienced parents can help me. My 6 month old takes 2 really good (swing) naps each day, but the 3rd is dicey and often impossible. If he misses it, and I am following the rules of not letting him get overtired, not being awake too long, etc, he’d have to go to bed for the night at 5. That’s just TOO early. I’m even cool with a 6:30pm bedtime, but 5? No. SO, do I treat that 5 o’clock (been up since 2:00pm, cranky baby) time as another nap, with real bed at like 8:00? (Do babies nap at 5 or 6 pm when theyre 6 months old?!) Or try to push second nap out later and move bedtime up? Right now, he’s insanely overtired by 6:00pm after awakening from his second nap around 2:00 or 2:30pm. So much so that it takes over an hour to get him settled and he’s up every
    45mins all night! I’d appreciate input of course from Alexis, but any moms or dads, too!

    • Hi Melissa,

      Will your baby sleep until morning or wake up after what seems like a nap-length of time? My 6 month old has the same challenge with the last nap. I do let there be a 6pm nap, although I try to put her down earlier, within 2-3 hours of her last wake-up. I’ve noticed she has sleepy moments at various times in her wake cycle – around 1h33mn, 2h5mn, 2h40mn, so I try to put her down nearish then, which often means a 40 mn nap sometime around 5 or 6 pm. Then her night goes 8pm-6:30am. No doubt about it though, the last nap is the toughest. I think its just the end of the day witching hour – no matter how well she’s napped, the evening is the most tired time. So I don’t have any suggestions – just to say we have the same experience.

    • Our daughter dropped the 3rd nap right around 6 mo. When the 3rd nap became an absolute slog we played around with gradually lengthening her awake times. She settled into this basic schedule after about a week: up at 7, nap 10-1130, nap 230-4, bed at 7. I will say she dropped naps very quickly- it was like a switch had been flipped and suddenly she was happy being awake longer periods. She would still nap if we put her down earlier, but we found out that she was still happy if we kept her awake longer (and overall she was still getting about 15 hrs of sleep a day).

      That being said, if he turns into a crankypants in the late afternoon, why not try the late nap thing like Jpk mentions for a while and push bedtime back? Maybe even a little one if you are trying to keep bedtime earlier? Like a stroller or car ride just to keep a handle on everyone’s sanity. :)

  115. Hi Alexis
    I have 12 week old twins and I am having a bit of trouble regarding the hour/s before bedtime.

    They usually wake up for the day between 7-8 and will nap an hour after that for about an hour and then after each feed (feeding is every three hours during the day) they can nap anywhere from 1-3 hours. However, I start to fret when it’s around 4-5 because we start bedtime routine around 715.

    My son seems to become tired much earlier than my daughter. So I’ve been trying to get them to sleep from 5-6 and then keeping them awake until bedtime, but from 6-7 they are TERRIBLE monsters! Well, that is until after an hour or so my daughter becomes a delight and my son is still a monster dozing in and out of sleep.

    I’ve already moved their bedtime earlier from starting the bedtime routine at 8:30 to 8:00 to 7:45 and now at 7:15. I will go as early as 7 but my daughter doesn’t seem tired and will whine when put down at which point we re-feed her and put her down ( although this doesn’t happen always but lately)

    Any tips on what to do regarding nap time? One time my daughter slept from 6-630 but this didn’t help putting her down sleepy.

  116. Hello!

    We have been using this site since our little guy was born, to great success. However he is 11 months old and now has an issue with his afternoon nap – he chats, blows raspberries, bounces and fusses for the whole hour.

    Sam has always slept relatively well for his naps, he will usually cry for a few minutes and then eventually fall asleep for usually about 1.5 hrs. This afternoon nap stand-off is new. There has been no change in routine, he is usually up for around 3 hrs +/- 30 min before his afternoon nap and there are the usual sleepy signs (eye rubbing, yawning and fussy). When I go to get him after his hour of chatting/fussing he is a happy baby, but I know he needs that sleep.

    Any tips on how get him to actually sleep in the afternoon?

    • Hi Emily! Our daughter dropped the second nap around 11 months. Did the same thing- playing happily in crib instead of napping. We let it go for a week to see if it was consistent. Then we experimented with her schedule- instead napping 10-1130 and 230-4, we kept her up until 1130. She was sleepy but not upset so we tried it for a couple days and suddenly the longer awake time was perfect. Now it’s up around 7, nap from 12-230 (or 3) and bed at 7. And she only gets about 30 min less sleep overall- usually one 2.5 hr nap (but sometimes 3 hrs) instead of two 1.5 hr naps. Just something to consider. Good luck!

  117. Hi. My little guy is 19 weeks old this Thursday. Up until two weeks ago, he was sleeping wonderful. He is solely breastfed and would wake to feed twice a night unless cluster feeding. I would put him to sleep between nine and ten o’clock at night and he would sleep until three in the morning when he would feed and then again at five in the morning. Then sleep until about eight o’clock. He would take regular naps during the day, at least three at about 45 minutes each. But about two weeks ago, he started to wake up every two hours after I put him down. Sometimes he will feed other times her just wants his pacifier. If this isn’t bad enough, lately he has started to fully wake at 4:00 in the morning and start to play. He doesn’t feed he just rolls around, kicks his legs, swings his arms and babbles to himself. At first I tried to nurse him back to sleep but this didn’t work, he only stayed up longer, keeping me and my husband up until seven in the morning when he decided to fall asleep. This morning, when he woke at 4:00, I tried to feed him and when that didn’t work, I rolled away from him and pretended to sleep (he cosleeps with us) after thirty minutes of him rolling around and giggling, he started to cry. I turned back to him, he fed and slept another two hours. He is still napping well during the day. But my concerns are the waking every two hours after being such a good sleeper, could this be his teeth or is it something to be concerned about? And, this waking up to play at 4:00. Am I not stimulating him enough during the day? Or is it the opposite and I’m over stimulating him? I’m a first time mother and question everything I do. We just want our good little sleeper back soon. I can handle this waking every two hours and even the playing at 4:00 for a while, but eventually I am going to need some decent sleep and with bfing him, my husband can’t take a feed during the night or anything. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Laura! For the night waking it sounds like a suck-to-sleep association. When he comes out of a sleep cycle he feels like he needs you or the binky to get back to sleep (other than the times he is actually hungry). Alexis recommends at least 20 minutes between eating and sleeping- maybe meal time and bedtime is still too close together for your little guy?
      And maybe the binky is transitioning to frenemy now that he wants it re-plugged? We gave our daughter a bunch of binkies and she figured out how to find and re-insert but that doesn’t work for everyone it seems.
      My sympathies on the early morning. Our daughter did that for about 3 weeks right around the same age. She would wake up @ 5 am and play for about an hour before going back to sleep (feeding her didn’t help). We just let it ride (didn’t go in to her) and she eventually stopped waking up so early. Tricker when co-sleeping though- as you say it’s hard when he knows you are right there. And I am sure you are providing the right amount of stimulation during the day. He’s just figuring out this sleep thing and it’s not easy!
      Hang in there!! These babies change so quickly you never know what to expect!

    • I think you are dealing with the 4 month sleep regression (wonder week 19). My LO did this for 2 weeks right around 19 weeks and then suddenly went back to sleeping normally (waking once to eat-although she gave that up a few weeks later too). One night was so bad i ended up driving her around in the car at 4 am while we both cried. That was one of my lowest points as a mother! I think you just have to ride it out and try not to introduce too many bad habits. If the sleeping doesn’t improve after a few weeks, though, you may have to consider sleep training. Give it some time though. 4 months is a very common time for temporary sleeping issues.

  118. How do I sooth an over tired baby??? I’ve tried swaddling, white noise, rocking, bouncing, she would still be wide awake and screaming. She is so hard to sooth sometimes it’s time for another feed and she would be up for 6 hours….. Please help this tired baby…

    • By the way, my baby is 7 weeks old. Any steP by step advice would be much appreciated!!!

    • Aww, she’s still so young, I remember those difficult days. To be honest, I just held her A LOT and rocked and shushed her A LOT. Putting her down at night was a nightmare because she was such a light sleeper, and she was held for naps until 8 weeks.

      Assuming you are not referring to crying during the witching hour, have you tried using a swing or a sling/carrier or just going out in a stroller (in the carseat)? I know my baby hated the carseat in the beginning, so getting her to sleep in the stroller was hard but eventually she did after a few tries. She’d cry for the first 15 to 20 minutes but then she’d fall asleep. She always hated the swing but now she’d sit in it and watch TV while we ate dinner, so that’s an improvement. She still doesn’t sleep in the swing.

  119. Thank you so much for such an article .
    I’ve been searching the net to see if my baby’s sleep habits were wrong but it turned out the opposite he takes naps for only half an hour and stay awake for 1H30M I thought that this is not healthy but depending on your schedule it’s totally normal

    thank you so much

  120. My 8 month old just started skipping her afternoon nap, so she stays awake for about 7 hours. That seems like a bad thing to me but she stays happy for the most part and sleeps as usual during the night. Should I worry or do anything?

  121. This is a really interesting article. I have a 2 week old who has already found the ‘witching hour(s)’. He will sleep throughout the day no problem, waking for feeds then napping again. But after 9pm he comes alive!!! And doesn’t want to sleep anywhere. I know it’s only early days and we don’t have a routine yet, but I want to try and get out of bad habits early on. We spent 3 hours trying to get him settled and asleep last night, ad tonight is looking like it could go the same way. Any recommendations? Thanks.

    • What we did was try to get her to nap/sleep before the witching hour and that worked quite well for us. Also, we did a lot of the 5S routine per Dr. Karp (Happiest baby on the block) when she didn’t nap through her witching hour and that also worked too.

  122. hello i am in desperate need of advice/help, my 3 month old was sleeping good from about 9 weeks, well sleeping good to me, about 5 to 6 hours at night from about midnight to 2am, but in the past 2 weeks he totally has his nights and days mixed up, he naps all day for about an hour or 2 at a time and stays up allllllll night till about 6am to 7am, then sleeps till about 3 pm, well about a week ago it went up to 9/10am but he is only sleeping for about 4 hours, we have 2 other children so its hard for us because our other kids require us to stay up too.. i dont know what happened or what caused this and i work while my husband watches the kids, i had the last 3 days off so we tried to keep him up during the day andhave done everything at night by trying to get him into a routine and nothing seems to be helping, i think it made it worse because in the past 3 days he sleeeps around 9/10 and wakes at 12, i think he may be over tired from us trying to switch him back to nights (and i thought 12/2am was bad) weve tried the cry it out method but that seemed to backfire also, with him waking himself up because of him crying soo much, we tried letting him self sooth but when we try to comfort him by patting his back it only makes him more frustrated and cries harder. i feel like weve tried everything.. nothing will put him to bed, we keep it dark in the room, he falls asleep when im breast or bottle feeding but wakes up maybe 10 min after he falls other two kids did not have a problem like this.. anyone with advice would be greatly appreciated

  123. Oh my goodness… I just found this and read it… and I was dying to get to the part about how to “fix it”… and it isn’t there haha!!! HOW DO I FIX IT lol? My 4 week old son will stay awake for HOURS in the morning! Maybe with a cat nap or two in there… We are dying over here!

    • If it wasn’t for this website, I too probably would have had a baby that stayed up for hours during the day. What I ended up doing was just forcing her to nap by swaddling her and then rocking and shushing her in a dark room with white noise until she fell asleep. And then I’d hold her because she’d wake up as soon as I put her down or just take a catnap. I held her for naps until 3 months when I could no longer stand holding her and just accepted the catnaps, which consolidated when she learned to fall asleep on her own at 4 months.

  124. If anyone can please help with advice or tips on how to get my baby to nap with out me having to rock her for an hour and a half. And if i put her down she wakes right back up, its exhausting, i love my little one but she is a little fighter. She is almost 3 months and i think i have got her customed to think falling asleep in my arms is way to go. I need to break this habit. Her bedtime is great, its the daytime that is the hard part. She doesnt get her naps in like she should because either i try to put her down and she wakes up or she only sleeps for like 30-45 minutes. She is just so overly tired during the day. Anything be so helpful. Im afraid to do the cry it out method. =/

  125. I have tried, swings, lulabies, music, pacifier, soothing her, i dont know what to do. She just wont nap unless i rock her for an hour and a half and hold her the whole entire time.

    • I would try soothing her until she is drowsy but put down before she is asleep. This works for mine. It’s very touch and go as i think this is a sensitive age .. mine will be 12 weeks Friday. I do not rock her to sleep anymore…. i know it sounds harsh but i want her to have the skill of falling asleep on her own :)

      Does that help?

  126. Thank you! Somehow no one ever told me a cat nap counted as a nap – I thought I was doing something wrong or she was just a troublesome baby. What a relief!!

  127. Desperation has driven me to post on here. I have a 7 week old who will NOT NAP. I’ve tried everything, swing. Swaddle, pacifier, holding him, rocking him, wearing him. The only thing that works is sometimes driving him around but I can’t do that every time he needs a nap, I have a 3 year old! He doesn’t need a change, he is burped, he’d is fed and fed again (it sometimes takes so long to get him down he gets hungry again. He will be up for 2-4 hours at a time much against my attempts to sooth him to sleep after the first hour of wakefulness.
    I am so at the end of my rope my doctor prescribed antidepressants for me, I simply cannot handle this anymore, help!

    • Hi Kristine,

      My babe was the same and only nursed to sleep, as she is EBF, 5 months later and she is still the same. Will not sleep otherwise except if she is in the car.

      Recently I discovered she has slight tongue tie and upper lip tie. So if you little one is still hungry, like she was, perhaps he too may have one.

      Tongue tie/ upper lip tie restricts their feeding ability (though you think they have fed long enough) and can cause huge amounts of gas due to improper latch. Also they tire, and though they may seem adequately full, may still not be.

      The othe thought may be silent reflux? My babe suffers that too

      I suggest if you with Facebook joining ‘breastfeeding/ mama talk’ private page. They are my helpline and you have so many mothers offering endless ideas and support.

      Good luck!

  128. What time should I try to put my 2 month old down for the night? I’m afraid trying for 7 or 8 will backfire. If she does her long stretch of sleep from 8-1, them I’m up every hour or 2 for the rest of the night. Lately, she is ridiculously fussy in the evenings and is going down around 9-9:30. Would putting her down earlier help?

    • Hello,
      By 2 months old you should try and establish a bed time routine. Bath, feed and bed and should be waking for one feed at night. If your baby has a bath, and feed at seven at night put them down and let them wake when they like. Feed them at 1or 2 when they wake and then wake them at 7 in the morning again to start a day time routine of feeds 7,11,3,7. If your baby wakes between 1 and 7 at night try resettling before you assume they are hungry as I feel that’s where most of us go wrong that we are just quick to feed so therefore they are learning that if they cry they get a cuddle and fed.. Hope it helps. I have a now 5week old that sleeps between feeds during the day and then sleeps from 7 till 7 at night 4 out of 7 times a week usually or may wake for one 20min feed

  129. My 6.5 month old sleeps 11-12 hours at night with one waking but she only naps for about 35 minutes 3 times a day. She falls asleep on her own in her crib and I put her down when she’s been up for about 2.5 hours. What can I do to get her to take longer naps? I feel like her naps are getting shorter!

  130. My 3 month old’s awake time is only an hour. Should I try to stretch it, or just wait for it to change? Thank you.

  131. Ok, I have the opposite problem. My almost 3 mo old doesn’t stay awake long enough. She gets fussy after about 1 hr 15 min to 1 hr 30 min, so I put her to sleep and she goes right down. I haven’t really been concerned about her inability to stay awake. Should I be? She was staying up for even less time before I read this. After I read it I tried getting her to stretch her awake periods a little longer!

    • Also, I guess I’m wondering if it’s possible for a baby to get TOO much sleep. My daughter sleeps from 9/9:30pm to 5:30-7 each night. Then I feed her and put her right back down and she sleeps for another couple hours. Then, as I said, during the day she is only awake for 1hr15m – 1hr30m at a time and takes naps for 45m-2.5hr (varies quite a bit). Is that TOO much sleep???

      • She’s getting lots of day sleep but her night is actually on the short side (see article linked below). So from a “round the clock” perspective she’s probably right where she should be.

        If you want to slightly cut back on day sleep and see if you can coax her into longer nights that might be something to nibble on. Try slightly shortening her nap time and gradually pushing bedtime up, see what happens. Or don’t – it could be that she’ll organically do that all on her own in a few weeks. Babies are mysterious like that 😉

  132. Hi… i came across this article when i searched for how long a 5 week baby should be awake? My 5 week baby seems to sleep fine in the day with one or 2 3 hour sleep at a stretch and the rest of the nap being cat naps and also awakes maybe 45 mts once or twice between these naps. But most of the evening she is awake from6.30 or 8 pm and she stays awake for upto 4 or even 5 hours …between ths she has many feeds and sometimes even fall asleeps after a feed but she is wide awake like a happy child as soon as i put her in the crib…then finally she sleeps ONLY for 2 or 3 hours at a stretch in the nihht aftr 4 or 5 long hours of awake time and aftr that she wakes up for feed every 5 mts ..10 mts or max being 30 mts. She only cries when she is hungry or tired…..but im soooo tired of not getting sleep in the night.

    • This may be good news or bad news but I’m afraid everything you describe here is perfectly normal for your baby’s age. The bad news is there’s not much you can do about it except nap during the day when she takes those long 3 hour stretches. The good news is that she’ll work out the difference between night and day and switch her longer stretches to night sometime in the next month or so.

      Keep reading this site! Tons of useful information for you, check out the newborn baby tab. You’re lucky you found it so early, I promise it will help you a lot. Good luck and enjoy that tiny baby!

  133. Everything use to be easy. Slept from 6-8 hours straight and two good naps a day. Now she is 7 months and no longer naps during the day amd has been struggling to fall a sleep at night. Lots of crying and screaming til she actually does. She now has been waking up after only 3 hours and will not go back to sleep uslees we feed her and co sleep in our bed. Any suggestions???

  134. Thanks for the good advice given! My 2 month old started to catnap and would stay awake for 3-4 hours in the afternoon. Then she would cry/feed/fuss for 1.5hours before bedtime at 730pm. As she is a reflux baby, I have been putting her to nap in her rocker.

    Today, I followed some of your tips to swaddle and put her to bed at the first signs of sleepiness (yawn/eye rubbing), which is slightly after an hour after she wakes. Plus I let her sleep in the cot instead of the rocker. It worked! She fussed a little but went to sleep on her own. I figured the rocker in the living room was probably too stimulating. As a newborn she had no problems but maybe too stimulating for a 2 month old with increased awareness.

    The only slight issue is sometimes she has to feed before going to sleep. I think that’s partly due to the reflux. She can’t drink alot at one go so gets hungry fast. Keeping my fingers crossed for better naps!

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

  136. I have a 9 month old who is struggling with sleeping through the night. From about 5-8 months she did great only waking around 4 a.m. to nurse. But for the past month she has been an awful sleeper waking about every 2 hours. My husband and I decided to use CIO. Last night was the first night. Our normal routine was diaper change, pj’s,quiet playtime in room, book, rocking with bottle and put to bed awake but drowsy with a pacifier. But now we realize that we should not be using the pacifier or rocking and nursing her just before putting her down. So our new routine is rocking with bottle,diaper change, pj’s,quiet playtime in room, book, bed with no paci. So I have a few questions:
    1) Is it ok for her to use her paci for naps? And can I rock and nurse her to sleep or at least until she is very drowsy for naps.
    2) Is it ok for her to take longer naps while we are doing CIO at night? Today she has slept 3.5 hours which I know she needs because she cried for an hour before falling asleep and then another hour in the middle of the night when she woke. I am just afraid she won’t sleep tonight if she naps too much today.
    Thanks for the advice! This is NOT EASY!!

  137. Hi
    I have a couple of questions about this. I am certain my 11 week old gets overtired, however, how do I get her to sleep more? Sometimes she will be awake from 12-4pm, dose for 20 mins then be awake til 9pm she gets really grumpy but fights sleep. She has also started waking herself by thrashing about. She has never liked swaddling. I tried easy for a week but ours was more like eaeasaeas over 4 hours! I found it too stressful not to follow her cues and couldn’t do it!

    I’m desperate to persuade her to sleep and not to wake herself thrashing. She is just so alert and nosy! She will go off in her pram but it is more cat napping and I dont feel its good quality.
    She is ok at night and goes about 4 hours between feeds (breast).

    • Hi Lyndsey,
      Don’t know if any of this will be helpful for you, but it worked for us so I’d thought I’d at least share in case you find any of it useful for your daughter. Our son (13 weeks) was definitely getting overtired and would “fight” sleep because of this. Then, because he was overtired, he would sleep short, fitful stints as a result and usually wake up crying or shortly thereafter. He also doesn’t give very obvious sleep cues so we were keeping him up way too long because he seemed happy and interactive. But then we’d wonder why he’d melt down so quickly, be obviously tired, but then take 20 minutes naps (in stroller, crib, wrap, etc.) after us spending way longer to get him to go to sleep. Then, we tried the swing (with all the varsity techniques Alexis suggests except the pacifier)! It has been SO helpful in getting him decent naps (4 or 5) during the day. We also realized that although he CAN stay awake a lot longer, he falls asleep with the least amount of crying and stays asleep the longest if he is in the swing within 45-50 minutes from his last sleep. It always seems really short and I can’t believe he’s tired already, but, alas, he ALWAYS falls asleep within 90 minutes from his last sleep, usually closer to 60-75 minutes. He also has always hated the swaddle, too, but we realized that for his sleep we had to keep doing it because, otherwise, his free arms would startle himself awake 5-20 minutes into every nap and then he’d be crying and unable to go back to sleep. We don’t pay much attention to keeping him on any particular eat, play, sleep schedule, but rather just feed him when he’s hungry (breast). We’ve become pretty militant about his sleep though because he is much, much happier and take much better naps when we are. Hope something in there helps you and your daughter. Good luck!

      • This sounds a bit like my 12.5 week old. We discovered that she loves to nap in her swing about 2 weeks ago! Before then, she was a serial catnapper (anywhere from 20-40 mins). I swaddle her (her arms also go wild – hasn’t quite got control of them yet but I can see it starting to happen), put the dummy in and stroke her forehead for a minute and she’s out for hours! It’s awesome.

        However, then my stresses began about her getting used to napping in the swing. What happens when she outgrows it?! So we went back to cot sleeps and the catnapping started back up. THEN, I discovered this blog which has made me feel so much better about using the swing. At this stage, my stance is that I need to work on getting her into a sleeping routine with the aid of the swing, then at a later stage go through the swing weaning process.

        What are your thoughts about swing weaning? When do you think you’ll do it?

        • Milly,
          Here’s what ended up working for us. Our son is now 13 months old. Since my son ended up actually sleeping in the swing for naps, we kept with it. Not that it was easy to get him to sleep, but at least he would sleep. It took using “Varsity Techniques” plus some (white noise on the ipad hooked up to speakers, moving swing with the jiggle, with black-out curtains, while holding the pacifier in, AND, intermittently turning the vacuum on when he’d get hysterical – this calmed him immediately for some reason) for probably 4 months before he started to go to sleep easily with no special techniques whatsoever. BUT, at least he would sleep, unlike everything else we had tried. So, we kept with it. He was a big boy and started to outgrow (weight-wise) the swing when he was about 10 months old. At this point, he was falling asleep very easily and peacefully in a stationary swing and taking two long naps a day, waking happily. So, my husband unhooked the chair of the swing and built a simple little wood frame for it that he attached to the swing so it could safely sit on the floor. At 13 months, my son still happily sleeps in his swing chair for naps. So, so, so many benefits to having him nap in this way and he loves it! He sleeps in his crib at night, but we figure that as long as the swing chair works for naps, we’re going with it. Whatever to get him to sleep. With as many other sleep cues we have, at his age, and with our very consistent daytime schedule he knows when its time to go to sleep, so I have no worries whatsoever about transitioning him to the crib for naps when its time. Its just that I have no interest in messing with something when its going well. Had I to do the first year over, I’d stress WAY less about creating “bad” habits and do what it took to get everyone some sleep, one day at a time: do what works until it doesn’t work anymore, then find something else that works. Hope that helps and congratulations on your new little one!

  138. I feel like crying of relief reading your website.
    Thank you for doing that FOR FREE, to help us with the hard issue of baby sleep.
    Your website is so helpfull! I found every answer to the question I had, it helped me much more than midwives or relatives advices. It is like you are describing my baby behavior (he sometimes made me feel like the worst mum on earth) and give solutions (which make me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel!!!!)
    Thank you sooooo much!!!

  139. This chart has been bang on for my babe.

    But I’d like to know average time awake before bedtime??

    It seems like it’s longer than what’s on the chart. Is this normal? We’re in the process of trying to figure out the right time.

    • From my experience and what I have read here and it seems that awake time is longest between the last nap and bed. My six month old is awake less than two hours before his first nap, a bit more than two for the second, a bit more than two before the third, and 3 before bedtime. Alexis has recommended a 2, 3, 4 hour wake time routine for older babies down to 2 naps. What you wrote sounds normal:)

  140. Help please! I have a 7 week old baby that REFUSES to sleep. I would say on average he gets 5-8 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. I KNOW that is not ok! And I KNOW that he is exhausted (overtired), he screams all day every day He has been this way for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried everything it seems but I’d still like some suggestions. How do I help him nap, especially during the day? Preferably without having to use my boob as a pacifier/ sleep aid which is what seems to be the only thing that is working at the moment (I know, I know, all I’m doing is creating a sleep crutch that’s going to be harder to break later on but I’m desperate!)

    • Hey Mrs. Woog,

      Step #1 – worry about getting him to fall asleep and stay asleep and THEN…

      Step #2 – worry about sleep crutches.

      My point being, he’s only 7 weeks old so you don’t need to worry about sleep crutches today.

      My advice is to lay on the soothing. Most newborns do really well with ALL of the following:
      – swaddle
      – white noise
      – swing
      – paci

      I would do all 4. If you’re having a hard time getting the paci to stay in, experiment with gently pulling it out. This will actually get him to suck harder. Yes you’ll have to stand there doing this but for the short-run it’s better than you being the human pacifier and will help him adopt to using the paci.

      That’s your best “goal” option. If that fails maybe he’ll sleep better while swaddled in the Ergo. You don’t want him always sleeping in the ERgo but for rough days it might be a good option.

      Also remember that babies are their MOST MISERABLE at 6 weeks so you’re JUST over the hump. The worst is behind you and things will start gradually getting easier. I promise!

      • Thanks! I’ve put him in the swing (tried to swaddle but when he’s swaddled I can’t snap him into the swing so I just tuck him in really tight) and I turn on the vaccum in the same room the swing is in. He still refuses to take the paci but I will keep trying the pulling out thing (he’s actually taken to “chewing” on my nipple recently :( much like he does to the paci). But doing this I was able to get him to sleep for a 2 hour nap the other day!!! We’ve also downloaded a white noise album that we put on repeat throughout the night and he’s been sleeping so much better. I didn’t use it before because I was worried about the sleep crutch thing. It actually helps my husband and I to sleep better as well because we can’t hear his little squeaks and grunts throughout the night (oh who am I kidding, my husband never heard them to begin with lol). Thanks again for the advice…anything on getting him to suck instead of chew on my nipple??

  141. My son is 6 mo as well. He doesn’t sleep through the night and we co-sleep for breastfeeding. He recently started waking up every 2 hours to eat or just to nurse back to sleep. I do not nurse him to sleep during the day or to bed. His naps are only 30-45 min and he’s tired again after only an hour or hour and a half. His naps at daycare are much longer than at home and he’s up longer too. I’m off for the summer and I feel like I’m doing him a disservice :(. He eats solids after his first nap and at dinner time. He gets a small playtime to wind down, books, and I nurse him. He then put himself to sleep and he’s down for about 2 or 2 1/2 before he wants to nurse. I’m so confused! I feel like he should be up longer after each nap, but he becomes super over tired and then any nap is impossible! He ends up with 3-4 naps a day….help!

  142. Is it possible for a baby to sleep TOO much? My baby has always slept more than this chart says. Like, right now my 10 month old’s schedule is to sleep for about 11 hours at night, then take 2 or 3 naps each day, often for 2-3 hours each. I’ve tried playing around with her bedtime to see if I can get her to sleep longer at night versus during the day, but it seems like no matter when she goes to bed (and actually, no matter how much she sleeps during the day) that’s how long she wants to sleep at night. I’m not that concerned, more curious. Thanks!

  143. I am ready to move my 7 month old daughter to her own bed. She cries as soon as I lye her down so I’m leaning over the rails for a minute until she falls back asleep. Daytime napping lasts only about 15 minutes unless I lay downwwith her. Please help, what can I do to her sleep longer and on her own. She has always slept with my husband and myself and she still nursing.

  144. Hi, my son is 5week today and last 10days his schedule has completely changed. He is very fussy, hard to put to sleep. Wakes up at 4 am and may sleep next anywhere from 1:30pm to 4pm after he has had shower. In these 9 to 12 hrs I need to feed him every 15-30mjn, frankly he just is interested in shallow sucking and falls asleep on my lap… After 20min I put him down but he wakes up in 5 min. He doesn’t like swaddle and fights and cries till his hands and arms aren’t out, his legs aren’t little loose. This process of shallow feeding , rocking, trying to get him sleep continues and has left me tired. Tried pacifier but I need to be present there putting pacifier… For as long as I wish him to sleep. I feel he is only in rEM whole time and deep sleep doesn’t hapen. Once he sleeps in afternoon which is again a very tough process … He slews till long hours.. Deep slee.. Wakes up for 15-30min three four times for feed and at same time I do nappy change. Overall sleeps only 9 hrs. Is co sleeping as I find it easier for myself. Once in deep sleep can put him in his crib .. He has no issues with that. Till he was 3.5 weeks he was entirely different though even that wasn’t easy, he would take cluster feed of 2-3 hrs and then slee p for 3-5 hrs. And same cycle used to continue, on an average around 12-14 hrs of sleep. Which has now reduced to 9-10hrs. Any tips will be helpful.

  145. Wow, KEEPING your baby awake?? My baby is awake much of the day, unless I take her for a walk. Short of CIO nothing works for us. And how does this account for cluster feeding, or, for that matter, feeding at all at under 2 months? How on earth is there time for all this soothing and sleeping?? It doesn’t add up.

  146. Help! I really think I’ve had enough. My little one is no longer little as such as she’s 9.5months. We’ve struggled with naps and sleeps which feels like forever! We have had big changes ofovinf house which made an impact originally. Ok…so she used to only nap after having a breastfeed. Now she no longer wants a breast feed naps never happen in the cot. She just screams and I have tried cry it out for an hour and then give in. I reverted to the pram or car for naps which was working but now she just screams in them. Sometimes like this morning she wakes early and was up at 5:30 but has just screamed and refused to sleep in all 3 options (cot/car/ pram) and its 11! She did this yesterday and eventual passed out on me for 1.5hours at 11-12:30 but then refused to have an afternoon nap. Consequently our already bad nights of wakening atleast twice was made worse with an additional cry out. She does go off to sleep at bedtime well-ish (between 7-7:30) do atleast we have that! Also a recent thing for her is refusing the breast so I’ve been offering formula instead so don’t know if this has an impact. Sorry for my ramblings but any advice would be much appreciated!
    Thanks Emma x

  147. I keep reading not to let your baby become overtired and to listen to their cues, but I can’t find any advice on HOW to get baby to sleep when they give these cues. How do we get a baby who have these daytime naps to prevent over tiredness??
    I also feel there is conflicting advice (not on this site but many different things I’ve read) about daytime napping. Should the baby be in their room/a quiet place to nap? Or in a louder, more public place to help them distinguish day from night? Please help. I am confused, tired, and dealing with an overtired baby.

    • -Once they give the cues, start your soothing routine (dim lights, white noise, swaddle, sing, whatever you do) and put them down.
      -They should definitely be in a quiet place to nap. The loud ‘public place to help them distinguish day from night’ is for awake/activity time during the day.

  148. Hi there, I am a working mom , with a 4 month old son, who is BFing. He sleeps pretty well at night, 8ish to around 3am then to 6-7am. My problem is nap time during the day. I try and have the baby sitter follow a schedule, so I can feed my son right before I go to work and I right when I get home at 4:30. So she is suppose to feed him around 10:30 and at 1:30. Problem is that when she puts him down for a nap, he tends to sleep over 2 hours and misses his scheduled meal times. Eventually this led to him not sleeping well at night so I asked her to wake him up if he went over an hour past his feeding time or had been sleeping for over 2 hours. He is back to sleeping okay at night, but it has been a month now and she is still having to wake him to eat. Is this okay, or should I just let him over sleep? I thought by now he would have adjusted!

  149. I am going to kindly disagree. Some babies do need less sleep than others- that is on most websites. My baby is sadly one of those babies, but he is so happy and content all of the time. He does not show a single indication that he is tired – and I’ve researched a lot of them. He is 9 months now and is up for 6-7 hours at a time. He is sleeping a total of 12-13 hours a day. Most sites say the average number of hours a 9 month old needs is 14, but that babies can fall 2 hours above or below. However, to get this amount of sleep, the baby literally needs to be awake more than 3 hours at a time. I also think that newborn babies will sleep when they are tired if given the opportunity and they are in a calm, safe environment (like snuggled with their mom). When they are older they seem to need more effort made. this “modern” idea that we need to regiment and dictate every area of a new baby’s schedule is kinda ridiculous. If we would just do what came naturally and followed our instincts we all would be happier, more well rested with happier babies rather than coming up with rule after rule to try and dictate their schedule.

    • Well it seems like you’ve found a solution that works for your family which is really what we’re ALL trying to do. And that’s awesome!

      But as others will likely read this I do want to point out a few things for clarification:
      – Most 9 month olds cannot stay awake longer than 4 hours max. What happens when they’re awake for longer stretches is that the sleep pressure continues to build and cortisol levels rise. Now not all babies give outward signs that their cortisol levels are rising – some babies are just extremely pleasant and adaptive. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. And typically elevated cortisol leads to less sleep because it’s a stimulant.
      – Also I take issue with the hint that I’m suggesting that parents dictate every area of a baby’s schedule. Truthfully I think I make fairly flexible suggestions here. The reality for many families is that babies won’t just nod off to sleep when they’re tired and the whole “They’ll sleep when they’re ready” chestnut has sent many a family down a bad path. So while your baby in particular has responded to this approach, I would wouldn’t criticizes others who have done things different because the vast majority of babies WON’T just nod off when they’re ready and assuming that they WILL leads to chronic sleep deprivation all around.

  150. I realize this article is a couple years old, so I hope it’s still notifying you of comments!!

    I have a question which will likely make lots of mamas want to punch me in the nose, and I totally get that! My 2 month old sleeps really well at night, anywhere from 8-10 hours, with a couple of 11 hour nights thrown in here and there. I don’t know how this is happening (other than constant prayer for a good sleeper the whole time I was pregnant), but I am NOT complaining. My question is, does this change the amount of time she needs to nap, or lengthen the time she should go between naps? She’s not very consistent with her naps, and they are often only 30 min or so. I am glad to trade day time sleeping for the peaceful nights, but I don’t want to be keeping her awake too much during the day if she needs more sleep.

    • I still get notifications of ALL comments, but jump in on old posts far less frequently 😛

      No this doesn’t change anything. So if your 2 month old can only comfortably stay awake 1.5 hours between naps, that shouldn’t be stretched out because she’s a champion night sleeper.

      PS. Enjoy the fantastic night sleep! I would take that over chunky naps any day :)

  151. Hi Alexis,

    First, I LOVE your site. It has made me feel so much better about my son’s sleep! I do have a question about short naps and wake times. My son is 4 months old and still only naps for around 30 mins at a time. He seems tired based on his cues after around 1.5 hours (or less) most days. This means that we often have 5 short naps a day. A typical day will be naps at 9, 11, 1, 3, and 5. He will occasionally surprise me with a 45-50 minute nap and they are coming more frequently but still are not the norm so it’s hard to drop that late nap if we want him in bed for the night later than 5:30.

    He sleeps from about 7pm to 7:30am with one or two feeds in the night. What I’m wondering is whether I should push him past his obviously tired cues during the day to get to only 3-4 naps a day as this is what I read is appropriate for his age. It does seem harder to get him down when I stretch his wake times but I’m struggling with the 5 naps a day. Or, should I be putting him to bed earlier until his naps consolidate (please, oh please God let them consolidate!).
    Any advice would be so appreciated! Thank you!!!

    • PS: he can pretty much put himself to sleep with minimal shushing at this point after a few weeks of pick up/put down. Not sure if this is relevant but wanted to mention it just in case.

  152. Great advice. But please look into positional asphyxiation. One should never leave a newborn napping in a car seat. It can (and sometimes) does lead to death. Please, please stop advocating for parents to put their children at risk. It’s not worth another minute of quiet.

    • I’ll grant you this 3+ year old post could use some updating based on more recent research. The amendment would address preemies and very young babies where positional asphyxiation is a risk. But for healthy full-term babies older than a few weeks old, the occasional car nap (for most) is simply something that will happen. I’m not advocating for them because they want a another minute of quiet, but because if you’re traveling with children in the car, they’re going to happen.

  153. Thank you for this article! After just one day of intentionally putting my 10-day-old down for more naps, she slept much better last night. I hadn’t ever heard of “overtired” so it was all very helpful. My question is whether or not feeding time is included in the time between naps. Right now, as we’re still getting used to nursing, my little girl can take 45min-1 hr per feeding. If the window between naps is about 45min – 1.15hr max, this would mean putting her right back to sleep after she’s done eating. Is this correct? Thank you!

  154. My son is 7 months old. On a sleep schedule, but no matter what time we get up the morning he wake up and STAYS AWAKE till 6 In the freaking morning!!! I put him down before he falls asleep and he does just fine, but sure enough in the middle of the night he wants to play and gets mad and screams when I ignore him. I’m so tired. Every thing I’ve read is for babies waking up all through it the night but why I’d my child up literally alllll night?, his naps are completely normal

  155. My son is 7 months old. On a sleep schedule, but no matter what time we get up the morning he wakes up at 1am and STAYS AWAKE till 6 In the freaking morning!!! I put him down before he falls asleep and he does just fine, but sure enough in the middle of the night he wants to play and gets mad and screams when I ignore him. I’m so tired. Every thing I’ve read is for babies waking up all through it the night but why I’d my child up literally alllll night?, his naps are completely normal

  156. Just wanted to say thanks for this article. My daughter is 11months now and we were struggling with her not sleeping (quite happily) anywhere near the recommended amount, and naps were very difficult. When I read your article and realised that she should only be staying awake 45mins at such a young age, the change was almost instant!

    I have found myself referring to it throughout the year to check if I should be changing the awake times throughout the day and it has served me very well!

  157. I am so glad I found your website! This is all extremely helpful information and very entertaining! :) My baby is 15 weeks and I have learned very quickly I know nothing about babies and sleep. I read the 90 minute nap solution book, and so we have been putting him down every 90 minutes after he wakes up, which seems to be working fairly well, and I think he’s starting to get used to that schedule. However, his naps are still not that long, so as a result, he’s still taking 4 naps, and usually a later one at around 5:30/6:00 (depending on when he woke up from the last one). When should we start dropping this nap and moving bedtime up to an earlier time? Right now he goes to sleep at around 8:30/9:00ish. Thank you for your help!

  158. I just want to thank you for the information. I found it so hard to find anything about sleep and how much my little one needed. He was sleeping so much and that honestly made me very worried. I have a much better grasp on his mood now and thanks to your chart I know that he is fussy because he needs to go down for a nap. Thanks so much :)


  1. The Ultimate Baby Swing Sleep Guide For Swing Hating Babies | Troublesome Tots
  2. What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night - Part I | Troublesome Tots
  3. Baby Sleep What is Normal? | Troublesome Tots
  4. Your Nemesis, The Short Nap - Troublesome Tots
  5. Hypothalamic amenorrhea vets - fifth wave! - Life's Journey Forums

Leave a Reply