Dr. Karp Interview Part I Baby Swings and Safe Sleep

March 16, 2013 |  by  |  0-3 Months, 3-6 Months, book review, featured, Karp
Dr. Karp Happiest Baby on the Block

Most of you know who Dr. Karp is. If you don’t? Well he’s awesome. And frankly the fact that he’s awesome probably trumps the fact that he’s a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a USC professor, and a best-selling author. Further, as you can see from the picture above we’re practically BFFs (there is a small chance that I’m overstating that fact and this may simply be a photograph taken after he spoke at a conference). Most of you know him from his great Happiest Baby DVD. I’m hoping to make sure you know him because of the great book The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep (available in paperback on March 19th – WOO HOO!).

Seriously peeps, this book is right up there with Ferber and Weissbluth in the “must buy” category.

Anyhoo for a wide variety of reasons Dr. Karp is an all around cool guy. He was catapulted into the category of uber-cool when he agreed to an interview by Skype where I could pepper with him with questions about swaddle-hating babies, pacifier problems, baby swings, the eat-play-sleep method, and a whole slew of other things.

However since apparently nobody will watch a YouTube video longer than 3 minutes (this is internet law, right up there with thou shalt not seek baby help on Yahoo Answers) I’m breaking our interview into small chunks and will be posting them here in a series. There is a lot of fantastic baby sleep insights here and I encourage you to subscribe to my newsletter (over there on the right) so you’ll know when everything gets posted.

[NOTE: This IS Dr. Karp although he looks like he’s speaking to me via the witness protection program which has blurred his face to keep his identity a secret. Sadly it’s just a poor internet connection. But you can hear what he’s saying and that’s the important part right? RIGHT?!?]

Introduction to Dr. Karp.

If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Karp then start here with a brief introduction on why I love him so.

Are Baby Swings Safe?

I’ve been pretty clear in my support for baby swings as a powerful sleep aid. Clearly not ALL babies need the swing but lots of newborns do well in them and plenty of older babies nap like champions in a good baby swing.

But invariably the question comes up – is it safe? Clearly the AAP recommendation is that babies sleep in their cribs at all times. And certainly the goal is that eventually your baby will be happily sleeping in the crib too. And for this reason I always suggest you run the idea of your baby sleeping in the swing by your own beloved pediatrician.

Dr. Karp has also long been a proponent of baby swings. He talks about the power of motion for baby soothing in his Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. But what about the safety issue for sleep? I asked Dr. Karp this question, check out the video to see what he had to say about it.

Looking for more from Dr. Karp? If you’re struggling, it might be time to find a local certified Happiest Baby educator for some hands-on support. Or pick up his great book which will be available in paperback on March 19th. Or simply learn more about the great work that Dr. Karp does on his website.

I’ve got more great stuff with Dr. Karp you won’t want to miss out on. Subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll let you know when it’s available. Next up how to get out of reinserting the paci all night long!

Anybody relieved to have a pediatric celebrity back up your decision to let baby nap in the swing? Excited by the prospect of video content (yay or nay on the video stuff)? This is all new ground for me and I welcome your thoughts!


  1. You geeking out about meeting and interviewing Dr Karp is equivalant to me meeting and being able to interview JK Rowling (which hasn’t happened…yet).

    • Great intro to the series. Looking forward to more from Dr. Karp.

    • Right there with you. I have this (totally Geek – don’t judge me!) fantasy that I run into Joss Whedon and he invites me back to his cool California bungalow for a dinner party when all his Firefly peeps are in town. Sadly this hasn’t happened yet either.

      Man I need more celebrity friends ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. Rats! I tried to check out the video but it came up as “unavailable.” Is this because I’m logging in from the UK? I’ll have to check again next week from elsewhere.

    • I was able to see it from Japan, so I don’t think it has international restrictions. Just in case you want to check again.

    • Ugh – please don’t tell me this isn’t working for the UK. My technical knowledge of YouTube = zero. Prior to this week my knowledge of YouTube extended no further than “it’s a place people go to watch the Gangnam Style” video.

  3. Love Dr. Karp! The only thing thats kept us going have been his 5 S’s routine. Without his book and video I dont know what we would have done. We still struggle but I think we struggle much less using these techniques. We have a 12 week “motion junkie” as we call her, and the swing is our only option for getting her to sleep. Love the videos, can’t wait for more installments!!! Would love some info on getting a breastfed baby to take a bottle, and also how to get our little girl to go to sleep at a normal time versus 4am like its been for the past month.

    • Amy,
      Probably it’s because I have low blood sugar and need to eat but I find the fact that your identicon (purple guy in the corner) has a unibrow really funny ๐Ÿ™‚

      Work with the motion junkieness! Karp won’t be talking bottles but I definitely have much to say on that. Have you tried swaddling her and using white noise when trying to get her to take a bottle? Also make sure YOU aren’t present. Get somebody else to do it. Expressed BM works better than formula (step 1 – get her to take the bottle step 2 – intro to formula).

      Also I’m a big fan of getting all babies to take a little formula here and there. I know I KNOW that lactavitsts frown on this but a little formula never hurt anybody. If you wait till they’re older they’ll refuse it so best to get them used to it here and there when they’re younger ๐Ÿ˜›

      4:00 AM blows. Have you see this?

      • That emoticon is too funny! And so are you! Yes, 4am does indeed blow. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve read the article you mentioned, and I think we have a combo prob. Day/night reversal and overtired. After keeping a sleeping/feeding log as Dr. Karp mentioned in his book, and realizing that I should feed her more during the day so she can stockpile up for nighttime, she has been sleeping better. I wonder if for other moms that might help with sleeping as well since eating & sleeping seem to go hand in hand. For her naps, which usually only last 30 mins on the dot, I put her down 15 mins earlier. I’ve also switched up the white noise to something more constant. Her bedtime isn’t the same every night but it is earlier, between 10pm and midnight with the exception of one night. This changing bedtime makes it difficult to wake her up 15mins early since I never know when it will be. Thoughts on this?

        In your other installments with Dr. Karp do you talk about white noise? I’m always worrying its too loud or too quiet. Also, do we have to worry about doing the wake-sleep technique between 3 and 4 months? I feel like we’re in a grey zone where she’s not a newborn, but not a 4 month old yet. She was born 2 weeks early, does that affect the timeline of when to consider her no longer a newborn?

        I’m definitely going to try your advice on the bottle situation as well. And I agree with you 100% on the formula thing. My breastfeeding friends would probably burn me at the stake for saying this, but breastfeeding is hard work and although I’m doing something amazing for her, I don’t want to spend the next 9 months pumping and calculating how much milk is in the freezer. Into to formula now = less probs later on. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Hi amy! Our babes are the same age so i’m a little extra curious about your scenario. My LO was 3 weeks early and is currently 3.5 mos old. What would happen if you put yours down between 7-8? Things were all over the place for us in the beginning and most nights we held our baby downstairs while he slept then carried him up when we went to bed. Around 2.5mos we started “putting him to bed” upstairs. Whenever the late afternoon feeding was, like 5 or 6pm, we’d do the bedtime routine – boob, bath, swaddle, bed. We also follow the 90mins between naps during the day but extend that a bit before bedtime to make sure he’s really tired. At that age he was still waking every couple hours to eat so even though we put him to bed (swing next to our bed) I would still have to go up and feed him around 9ish then we went to bed too. One day he just started sleeping through the 9/10pm feeding and now goes 7/8-1-3a.

          We use a white noise machine as loud as it goes but we live in a city and have street noise. At my parents house in the country its dead silent and baby sleeps just as good there with no white noise. So use your instincts on volume, I don’t think it can be too loud.

          I read this site front to back early on and have always put baby down awake for naps and night. Sometimes it means and extra trip up the stairs for soothing but most days if I follow the 90 minute rule and cues then he’s tired enough to fall asleep. Our swing also has a mobile that you can turn on separate from the songs and sometimes I put that on and he kind of zones out to it. Lastly, after some experimenting I found that if I followed the routine and I knew he was tired then simply walking out was best instead of hovering and putting the paci back in every time it fell out (he’s awake but quiet when I walk out).

          • Sorry, one last thing! Re: putting down awake at this age – it took a while before I could consistently put him down awake for naps. At first I went up and down the stairs during naps and did as much soothing as required but tried to stop short of putting him all the way to sleep. If he’s in the swing I leave him in there and rub his head. There were also occasional naps in my arms if the soothing period was longer than 15/20mins – at that point I was more concerned with getting the nap any way possible. In the past week or so if I try to hold him when he’s super tired he strains and wiggles and cries out, almost like he’s begging me to put him down! I don’t know if he’s already forming habits at this age but I thought starting the put down awake thing early would only make things easier later on. Knocking on wood now!

            Good luck! Decide on a plan, stay consistent, and one day (hopefully) it just clicks. Not always easy but you can do it!!

          • Kristi! Thanks for your response! I hope you’ll have even more insight for me, I feel really isolated and desperate right now. As far as putting her down, I put her to sleep in the same place every time which is in her swing and in our bedroom. I’ve found she has a 90min awake period too and sometimes it’s even shorter so I put her to sleep at least every 90mins, but if she’s seeming tired I put her down whenever she needs it.

            As far as “picking” a bedtime, I find it so confusing. It’s like all the articles say that we as parents choose a bedtime for a baby, but that’s not the case for us. I put her down every 90 mins and am now using a bedtime routine around 7pm, but regardless of what we do, she will still wake up every 30 mins (on the dot) until between 2 and 4am. I can’t make her sleep longer, if I could I suppose I wouldn’t have a problem. ๐Ÿ™‚ The past week she has gotten better after I tweaked her feeding schedule and am feeding her more often. She will usually go to bed between 10pm and midnight, and stay asleep for 4-5 hours, get up for a feed, then go back to sleep for another 2-3 hours. It’s a different time each night though. Will this ever change???? But last night was miserable. She was overtired but wouldn’t sleep. I nursed her to sleep twice only to have a screaming tired baby. This went on until 3am. She’ll have a string of really good days and then a day like that where I feel like I must be doing everything wrong.

            The other thing I’m struggling with is how long her feeding sessions take. She takes about an hour to eat each time she feeds and by the time she’s done eating there’s barely anytime left to do her bedtime routine! Let alone play with her or take her on a walk. And since she won’t take a bottle I’m feeling really lonely like I’m doing most of the child care, even though my hubby helps out with EVERYTHING he can. I’ve tried the suggestion from Alexis, but it hasn’t worked either, although she at least didn’t scream the whole time my hubby tried to give her the bottle. She at least tongued it which is more then she’s done with a bottle in weeks.

            She has been a pretty fussy baby and it takes everything in our arsenal to get that girl to sleep! Putting her down even remotely awake is impossible! If she wakes up at all while setting her down she screams. When will I know she’s ready to do the sleep-awake technique??? My baby will never lay down unattended while awake without crying. ๐Ÿ™

            Having the 90 minute awake periods is so hard too! Between the hour long feeding sessions, burping her, changing her diaper, and 5-10mins of play time (if we’re lucky) it means I cant go anywhere!! Literally I haven’t left the house in weeks, except to take her on walks. If she would take a bottle it wouldn’t be so bad, but as of right now since I’m the only one who can feed her it means I can’t do anything, including taking naps. I’m so sleep deprived. And so much for trying to get this baby weight off!!!!

            Any encouragement or tips are welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚

            • Amy,
              Bless your heart!!! I really don’t have any evidence based tips for you because this is my first go round also! I did want to tell you how amazing you are! It’s all hard even with a pretty easy baby so I really can’t imagine what you’re going through.

              For the first few months I had an oversupply and heavy letdown which really frustrated my LO. Every feeding was a screamfest with choking, coughing, and purple crying. When my husband was here he’d calm him down and we’d start over but most of the time I was here alone. It was really rough and I felt so emotionally fragile and never left the house, except for walks. Progressively my supply regulated down and now things are so so much better. It may seem impossible now but things will get better!

              Have you seen a lactation consultant? They can observe you feed and weigh LO before and after to see how much she’s getting. This helped so much for me – my baby always ate for less than 10 mins and some doctors were pressuring me to get his feed time up. Come to find out he transferred 2oz in 6mins (at 2 weeks). So I at least knew he was getting fed although he was melting down. The LC also pointed out when my LO was just pacifying.

              Re: playing. Don’t obsess over this. I also got discouraged when my serious baby didn’t want to play for very long, or got tired too quickly, or wasn’t smiling ear to ear all day long. Then I came to realize that he’s pretty sensitive to stimulus – he prefers gentle play, walks are perfect when he’s in the mood, his happiest period is first thing in the am, etc. When I put that all together and accepted it as part of his personality it helped me cater to his preferences instead of thinking he should be behaving like a textbook baby.

              Have you tried feeding while baby is in a sling or carrier? Or do you have an outdoor space where you’d feel comfortable during a feed? A change of scenery may break up the day.

              It’d be great to have this baby you could put down awake in her own crib for long naps and unbroken night sleep. But your girl is telling you she’s not ready. You won’t mess her up by rocking her to sleep. You have to do whatever you can to relieve some of your stress right now. Keep trying whatever you want to implement but don’t spend half the night with a screaming baby if rocking her will do the trick.

              It sounds like you had a couple of good nights thrown in there!! I still keep a feeding/nap log. If you don’t already, taking notes may help you see some patterns. It might even be something small – ex. my baby does better if his last feed is after 7. 6:50 is ok but 7:10 is better, so I have husband distract him until then. What if your husband took her for a walk to give you a break? If I’m gone my baby can go longer between feeds, even if its only 20 minutes.

              Last thing. If you need a break during the day put baby some place safe and take a shower or step outside for a few minutes. I found a hot shower (and maybe some crying in there) helped me reset a bit.

              Hang in there Amy!!!! You’re doing great!

            • I was going to chime in here but Kristi has done such an amazing job any input from me would be irrelevant. Kristi – can I hire you? Sure the pay is zero and there are no benefits but um…how about it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks Alexis! I think the video is a great format for you! Very exciting that you got to interview Dr. Karp! Congrats!

    When my now 8 month old was about 3 months old you saved me from having to spend 1/2 my day bouncing Parker to sleep (and to stay asleep) in the Moby. We made the transition to swing sleep without tears. I also successfully used the swing to put him to “bed” awake and to have him start putting himself to sleep. I’m very grateful.

    Now at 8 months Parker now takes two naps (between 45 mins and 2.5 hours, usually at least 1.5 hours) and sleeps at night in the swing. He is also still swaddled (and loud white noise, dark room, good nighttime routine etc).

    I feel like it is time to start transitioning him to the crib. He is 22 lbs and yes our swing goes to 30 lbs but he is starting to look slightly uncomfortable and our 4th motor just died. Yes, you read that right. Ugh.

    I have borrowed a swing for a few weeks and need a plan to wean from swaddle and swing. (I’m sure he can roll over in the swaddle as he is very very mobile). I’ve read your article about weaning from the swing but wanted to check with you about combing it with weaning from a swaddle.

    His swing is right next to his crib in his room.

    My intuition is to go in this order:
    Start with Bedtime and keep naps in moving swing with swaddle?
    1. Moving swing plus swaddle but with one arm.
    2. Moving swing with two arms out.
    3. Still swing.
    4. Crib unswaddled.
    5. Repeat for naps.

    Should I stay at each step until he is going to bed without crying? How do I know it is time to go to the next step?

    Thanks for everything! I hope to one day right out my success story of how your articles helped keep us sane in the sleep department but need to tackle this last hurdle first!


    • Why ditch the swaddle? Why not keep it? So what he’s 8 months, lots of babies are in it till 1. If he’s not flipping, I might be inclined to switch it up so that he’s in the crib WITH the swaddle.

      Then your plan is to put him in the swing not moving work towards crib, THEN think about one arm out. I’ve always been pro swaddle an an hour chatting with Dr. Karp has done nothing to move me from my swaddle loving position.

      Am also working on a post on so-called “swaddle weaners” (ps. does ANYBODY have a better name for these?). There $$$ but the feedback seems to be that they’re REALLY helpful.

      • Thanks for your quick reply Alexis. Hearing from you always makes my day!

        OK. I just checked after he woke up from his nap. I put him on my bed swaddled and it took about 2 seconds for him to flip over. So, crib sleeping will equal no more swaddle.

        I did purchase the bigger sized Merlin Sleep Suit a few months ago because they had a sale and I wanted to try it. But it didn’t work in the swing and he has now grown out of it before we were able to use it.

        So, would you still keep using the swaddle and wean from the swing and then transition him from the motionless swing swaddled to the crib not swaddled? Or would you do my plan above?

        PS. Is “Saying Sayonara to the Swaddle” a better title? ๐Ÿ™‚


        • Check the post I JUST got out (more video – is this a good thing?)

          So yes I would go back to your original plan of wean off swaddle THEN off the swing.

  5. I am so glad to have found your website, Alexis! We discovered the swing when my now-7 month old was 2 months, but were still missing something โ€“ turns out it was white noise, which has saved our night times! And it is great to hear Dr. Karp reaffirm the use of swings. Thank you!

    I hope that you can help with our current sleep problem, though. Nap times are just awful. Some background โ€“ baby fits Dr. Karpโ€™s description of a baby that needs movement to a T. Bedtime is great. We have a routine of dinner, bath, bottle and NPR (we read a lot during the day โ€“ public radio just seems to calm her at night!). She goes into the swing while still awake and falls asleep on her own. Right now the swing is at about 50% power and is next to her crib in her own room. We use loud static and a small blankie, no more pacifier. She sleeps from about 6:30 pm to 6 am, and wakes about once per night most nights for a quick feed. She is tiny, so I am not worried about night weaning until she gets a bit bigger. Unless there is something unusual going on (like the terrible 1 week six-month regression โ€“ thank goodness for your site because I was sure that this was going to be our new normal), no problems with night sleep, and I know that we need to be so thankful for that.

    Her morning nap is cake, too. She gets fussy around 8:30, and we go for a run. She falls asleep in the jogging stroller for about 45 minutes โ€“ 1 hour. If she is having a rough time falling asleep, I put one wheel off the road onto the grass or find a bumpy sidewalk and she falls asleep. Afternoon naps, however, are killing me. She has never slept well during the afternoons. Naps have always consistently been 30-45 minutes. We used the swing for naps from about 2-4 months, and it was hit or miss. At about 4 months, she seemed to be getting the hang of falling asleep on her own in the swing for an afternoon nap, but after a few week of this she would only sleep there if she was sleeping when I put her down. We never moved beyond the short naps. For the past 6 weeks or so, however, the swing isnโ€™t working at all during the day. We have blackout curtains up, and a routine that is similar to bedtime but much shorter. When I put her down in the swing asleep, her eyes pop open immediately and she becomes hysterical. If she is still awake, she becomes hysterical as soon as she realizes that I am going to put her in the swing. This is the same kid who gets excited to go to the swing at night. She wonโ€™t sleep in the crib yet at all, so that is not a feasible option right now for naps. It has gotten so bad that I gave up last week and held her for her naps (she sleeps well that way, but only if we put her to sleep by bouncing on a yoga ball), and she slept for 2-hour stretches from 1-3pm. She was like a different kid โ€“ none of the afternoon crankiness that we have with the 30-45 minute naps. But this is just not sustainable, and I know that if we keep it up it will become a harder habit to break. I just donโ€™t know what to do to get her to sleep on her own for naps. This is a frustrating place to be, because I know that she is capable of falling asleep on her own. I have thought about trying to put her in a stroller and walk in the afternoon, at least to break the habit of letting her sleep on me, and then going from that to the swing. Do you have any advice for our situation? Eventually I am going to have to clean my house!!

    • You don’t have a swing problem, you have a put down awake problem. And yes the fact that she does it at night SHOULD in theory transfer for the day. But it doesn’t. Nap skills don’t transfer to night and vice versa. It’s unfair but I don’t make the rules, I just blog about them ๐Ÿ˜›

      So your baby has developed object permanence and is non what we call “hyper-vigillant” which is why naps are a disaster. And of course in desperation you’ve moved in the direction of holding her all day which is creating new nap problems for you, namely that she’ll only sleep while being held now. Which clearly is not where you want to be right?

      The answer is (you won’t like it, I know you won’t but it really IS the answer) is to put her down awake for naps. Have you read this?

      It’s long – read the WHOLE thing. But that, fundamentally, is what you’re struggling with.

      • Thank you so much for your reply! I have read this post, but I just re-read if for the reminder. I put her down awake for a nap this afternoon and gave up after 10 minutes of crying, and the nap never happened. I guess I should have calmed her down and then left again for another 10 minutes. I just need to resolve to keep it up. Thank you, again!

  6. I got a fancy gracco elefante swing because it also had vibration, 4 swing directions and 3 levels of reclining plus the seat is removable. But I was surprised at how inclined the most reclined setting is and now I’m worried about slumping!

  7. Hi, I just found your site a few days ago. Thank you so much for all of these resources!

    I have a question about the book. I found Dr. Karp’s 5S techniques to be a great help for my now 2.5 month old son. But I feel like the biggest idiot because I don’t know how to connect the dots between calm baby and sleeping baby. Will this book help with actual sleep advice, not just soothing advice? The first review on Amazon basically says it just rehashes the same advice in the other books; in that case, I think it would just frustrate me. I’m afraid my son is seriously sleep deprived (averages 10-11 hrs per day).

    • Hmmm…hard to say. As somebody who writes about babies and sleep there is a certain truth to “well it’s all been said before.” In my head I like to argue that I say it BETTER but that’s subject to personal perspective ๐Ÿ˜‰

      If you’re new to my site start here:

      This may help you connect the dots? But I do think the book is really worthwhile (and it’s in paperback in three days if that helps at all ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Thanks for your reply! I have read most of your site by now and I agree that you do say it BETTER and clearer than others. I’ll check out the Kindle sample of the new book. I don’t think the paperback will be available in my country yet (Japan).

        I have started trying an earlier bedtime for my son and I’m hoping that will help. Right now he is ten weeks (9 from due date) and the longest consolidated sleep is 4 hours. He wakes up twice at night and I nap him every 90 minutes during the day, but he is still not meeting the minimum required hours of sleep. I really want him to be healthy and on the right track for sleeping well. Do you do paid sleep consultations?

        • I do when asked by cool people ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m happy to help but I will throw out this thought:

          Babies are their HARDEST at 8 weeks. So at 8 weeks they cry the most, sleep the least, and are generally fussy and challenging. So you may not have a “problem” per se, you may simply have “a 9 week old baby.”

          So you’re JUST over the hump of “the worst.”

          If you want to hire me, send me an email and we’ll set something up. But I want to throw out the possibility that things may simply be the best there going to be right now?

          • Thank you! I will wait a few more weeks then and see how it goes. So far the earlier bedtime seems to be working out okay for us. Now he’s getting 12-13 hrs/day. Since he’s my first baby I am kind of afraid of “ruining” him.

  8. Thanks so much for all your advice. The swing really saved us. I’ve always wondered about the fully reclined comment though. Where do these so-called fully reclined swings live? Fisher price only seems to go to 45 degrees or so.

    • My guess is that by fully reclined they mean “as reclined as possible”???

      These ones are pretty reclined (more like a bed than a seat) but when I used one with my then big 4 month old, I already felt like he was too big for it. They seem ideal for a newborn but not so much after that.

      • My lo uses that model, and she seems to fit pretty good still. She’s almost 8 months old, 20 lbs, and it fits her swaddle and a blanket as well. Her feet come just off the edge of the swing, but they’re not hanging and there’s no furniture around for her to kick so I think she’s still safe.

    • Any full-sized swing you’ve bought in say 2012 will be fully reclined. The “old” swings are like bucket seats so baby is literally sitting straight up. The fisher price swings are more like rocking beds.

      Swings go up to 25-30 lbs so most babies can MORE than comfortably nap in them until ~6 months. They may not NEED to (lots are out of there happily by 3-4 months) but a full-sized baby swing should outlast your need for it.

      • Whew. We started with the Fisher Price My little lamb cradle n swing. Then after watching Dr. Karp’s video and reading his new book, all stressing “fully” reclined, I would lay in bed at night in a panic, worrying that my baby swinging happily away in the corner was in danger of suffocation or something, thinking I had to find a way to get him pretty much flat. So I went and bought the Fisher Price Zen that advertises a recline position…which turns out is not technically flat either, though I felt better about it. That is until I found that the my little lamb swing has the same recline, just without the obvious button at the front! If only I had read the manual. Oh well, at least having 2 swings saved us from carrying a swing upstairs to our bedroom every night and then down to the living room every morning.

  9. Mini success story – although our son would go to sleep at bedtime in his crib, I was having a very hard time getting him to go BACK to sleep after night feedings around 3-4 months. Enter the swing. I could feed him, put him down drowsy or even grumpy, and he was asleep in minutes. And I was able to get way more sleep, now that I didn’t have to spend 45 minutes rocking him and 30 minutes worried he was going to wake right back up.

    He is now 5 months and able to sleep all night in his crib (only eating around 3-4 am) and we are moving to the crib sucessfully for naps too. I credit the swing with his ability to go down awake as well…we did that for naps in the swing, and now he is doing great at bedtime.

    When we have baby #2 I will be using the swing much earlier to get better sleep for all of us! I would have never thought of it myself – this website truly saved us – thanks, Alexis! Hope this helps any new moms out there that think their baby will only ever sleep while held, or never be able to self soothe – I had both those thoughts, and my husband and I are so amazed and thankful that our little dude is figuring out this sleep thing so well ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thank you!

    I just put my 4 month old to sleep in her swing with white noise and I can see her on the video baby monitor. She has loved sleeping in the swing from the beginning. She has reflux so the slight incline of the swing also helps with that issue. I started off using all of the S methods, but now she no longer likes a swaddle because she has started to suck on her thumb or hand instead of using a pacifier. I had been feeling guilty about the use of the swing for putting my daughter to bed, but it was the only thing that has worked consistently!

    Thank you again!

    • And reflux kids almost universally sleep poorly when flat on their backs so a bit of elevation makes gravity your friend. Glad you’ve got a good plan that works for you – took me AGES to figure out how to handle reflux when my guy was a baby!

  11. Hi Alexis — So excited about the Dr. Karp videos! I love the format. I have been following your blog since our now 6.5 mo son was about 6 weeks old, and I have passed your site on to several friends. I wanted to (finally) post a comment for three things, 1) to thank you and tell you how awesome you are, 2) share our success story because at least for me, it was encouraging to hear from others who went from a bad place to a happy place, to know it was POSSIBLE and 3)ask one question ๐Ÿ™‚

    1) YOU ARE AWESOME! I seriously am not sure what we would have done without our swing, and I am not sure I would have used it (or been able to convince my husband it was a good idea) without your advice. It is such a breathe of fresh air to have someone talk about baby sleep in an honest way, and not pretend that if you just follow XYZ advice/rule/schedule then it will work out. What it isn’t working? Then obviously you are doing it wrong! Again, THANK YOU.

    2) After buying a swing at about 8 weeks it totally changed out lives, our son is a TOTAL motion junky. It still took a while to get to longer naps, and putting him down awake was a HUGE battle, but nighttime got much better immediately and at least we were functional enough to then tackle things one at a time. First was putting him down awake, which I will say took FOREVER, it was a good 6 weeks (maybe longer) of working on it every single bedtime and nap time until it finally just “clicked”. It was about the same time we introduced a lovey to him, which he adores now, so not sure if that was the tipping point or if it was just an age thing. We also made a change from nursing at bedtime to bottle feeding (expressed milk) which I think was pivotal in getting him to consistently sleep through the night (I have never had a supply problem, but it turned out that before bed he just needed more than I had at that exact time, with a bottle I knew he was getting enough food to keep him stuffed up through the night). Next was getting him into his crib…I followed your advice, and had swing not moving, etc, but I kept trying and trying, each time was a total failure. Again, it finally just worked one night and we never turned back…naps were another story though, and we were within 2 pounds of reaching our 25 lb swing limit (he is a big boy) when our nanny had the idea of swaddling him again for naps. We did it, and he is back to sleeping long naps happily swaddled in his crib (it is quite funny to see this giant of a baby all rolled up an swaddled!). If you would have asked me 3 months ago if I thought our son would sleep 11 hours at night, and 2 1.5-2.5 hour naps, I would have laughed, and laughed, then maybe cried, because I didn’t think it would ever happen!

    3)I do have one question…what are your thoughts on feeding schedules? I am totally on board with feeding when your baby is hungry, not when the clock tells you too, but days when we have been 100% on demand it only sort of works. What I mean is that he ends up snacking a ton, not taking full meals, and as a result has shorter naps (wakes up hungry) and is generally more cranky. We tried in the beginning to do a sleep/eat/play schedule, which absolutely didn’t work for us…we now feed right after waking up, and before going to sleep, which has been working great for quite some time. However, I don’t think I would have been able to figure that out, if we hadn’t tried the sleep/eat/play first. So I guess my question is are there any best practices on how to get to a good schedule that works for that particular child, or is it just trial and error? At least for us, eating has been very closely related to sleeping, so I find it a little hard to talk about one without the other…but perhaps our son is just more sensitive than others in this area.

    OK, I am done now, sorry for such a ridiculously long post!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • This doesn’t really answer your question but check out Dr. Karp and I chatting about eat play sleep (will be in a post later but it’s up on YouTube).

      There is a fine balance between “snacking all day” and “feeding on demand.” So as a general rule you DO want to space out feedings so baby IS hungry and will HONESTLY eat vs guzzle a tiny bit and then be off and done. This is especially hard as babies get older because they’re DISTRACTABLE by just about EVERYTHING (the cat, the movement of air, the fact that there is a light on in the building). So most older babies turn into “snackers.”

      I would say as a general rule yes you want to put a gap of a few hours between feedings. But you ALSO want to tank up prior to naps because you don’t want a “sort of” hungry baby going down for a nap only to wake up starving 30 minutes later.

      PS. Thanks for the great feedback ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad you find me honest. I may be many things (a slovenly housekeeper, unable to style my own hair, have the handwriting skills of a small child) but I try to keep it real over here ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Love this website!! I bought Dr.Karp’s w book today. I was readin Weisbluth but he’s just so confusing and at times contradictory, in a sleep deprived state I just couldn’t make sense of it all! Which is why inlovenhour website, quick easy reading for those of us who only get minimal sleep!!

    At the moment we are dealing with a 3month old who likes to fall asleep around 8:30-9pm and sleeps till she eats at 3 or 4am then sleeps again till 9:30 or 10am!! I feel like that’s not normal. Weisbluth has made me think I need to be waking her at 7:30 for her 9am nap, but the whole day is awful if I do that. She only naps for 4min tops! Which means if in wake her she’s had three naps by 12:30 some days. I’m hoping Dr.Karps book will help she’d some light on what seems like a crazy sleep schedule.

    • There are lots of nuggets of gold in Weissbluth but you are 100% right about how it is impossible to find those nuggets in a sleep deprived state! Actually, if it makes you feel better, I’m not sleep deprived and I still have a hard time with that book.

      I wouldn’t just wake baby up at 7:30 AM because a 2 hour drop in night sleep might blow up on you. Have you read this? Might be a few tips in there to get bedtime sorted out.

  13. Alexis, you’re truly a selfless person and I’ve learned so much not only from your posts but also your detailed responses to comments. So, thank you! I followed your Karp endorsement and started sleeping my baby in a swing around 2months. He is a very good night sleeper and napper, even before the swing. When we travel he transitions effortlessly to napping and sleeping in the Rock n Play. He’s now 3.5 months old and we have several trips planned this summer starting in early May, where the swing and rock n play won’t be present. He has been sleeping in the rock n play for 3 days. Last night I thought I’d try flat sleeping in the pack n play after his 1am feed. My thought was he’d be so tired he wouldn’t be too bothered by being flat. You can see where this is going. It took 45 minutes of soothing (as opposed to the usual which is zero soothing) then he slept for 45 minutes, 50 minutes of soothing then wanted to eat and I was so tired I put him back in the Rock n Play after eating and he was asleep immediately. My plan is to try again in another week or so but are there any additional tips for the transition to flat? He can obviously sleep without motion, is swaddled (arms only) and we use white noise. Thanks for any insight!!

    • Hi Kristi,
      Wow! You have a great sleeper! Why mess with that? I just want to share my story with you because I, like you, used a rock and play (LOVE that thing!) was totally worried about not having LO sleep in the crib.
      My LO is now a year and sleeps great in his crib. BUT
      he slept in a rock and play until he was 7 months old (until he started trying to roll over in it). We had ups and downs (sleep regressions, illness, etc) but for the most part he did great in the rock and play. We also swaddled arms only until he was about 5 months and he started breaking out of the velcro swaddle. Then I sewed shut the arms of a sleepsack. This lasted a few weeks-then we took one arm out, etc. I found the rock and play great for this transition because it still kind of cuddled him. The first time we started the crib transition (before he could roll over) he freaked out and wouldn’t sleep. So back into the rock and play he went. A few weeks later we transitioned him to the crib for night sleep (he was 6 months, I was going back to work soon and I wanted to have it done before then), but kept the rock and play for naps and for the 4 am wake-up. His transition wasn’t seamless-there was about a week of fussing at night but nothing horrible. After a week or so he flipped to his tummy in the crib and is a tummy sleeper. At 7 months he started trying to flip in the rock and play so naps went to the crib. Again, no big deal with the transition.
      Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to let you know that you don’t have to rush to the crib. If your LO is sleeping great in a swing or rock and play, enjoy it! When the time is right, he will transition just fine.
      One final note-we went on a trip about the same time as you (LO was 4 months) without a rock and play and it was hard. So hard that after two nights of holding him all night we drove an hour to the nearest Target to buy a rock and play. Is there anyway you can fold it up and pack it? Maybe tie a bungee cord around it and put it in a stroller bag? Maybe even take it apart for the trip?
      I hope this helps!

      • Thanks, jen! Actually after I posted the comment I thought about trying to pack the Rock n Play. The alternative is checking the pack and play which is just an easier shape to pack but much bulkier. Either way i have to bring something so I’ll definitely be investigating a way to bring the rocker! I know you’re right about babies doing things when they’re ready – I just envision a terrible transition if I wait too long!! But last night was terrible anyway so I might as well enjoy my decent night sleep with the rocker! Also we have so many trips this summer that realistically he won’t be in the crib until June at the earliest (6 mos old) so I should probably just relax for a while ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Also? You’ve got the dreaded 4 months sleep regression looming (I always feel like the bearer of bad news when I bring that up but it’s TOTALLY true) so I wouldn’t be rushing to remove any helpful tools from your parenting arsenal quite yet if you don’t HAVE to. Sometimes timing is everything ๐Ÿ˜›

          • Picture me with my fingers in my ears – “4 mo regression, la la la, I can’t hear you!” Still hoping my babe is the exception to the rule, haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Couldn’t reply to you upthread but just had to say re: your job offer, I’ll take it! my terms are when it’s time for my darling boy to transition to the crib you have to put us through this aussie sleep school i’m reading about here ;0 wouldn’t that be lovely? Keep doing what you do, it’s such a help!!

  14. Hi Alexis!

    I discovered your site a few days ago and it’s been so helpful to see different techniques and viewpoints fairly discussed and put into context!

    We are working on getting our 4.5 month old son to go to sleep on his own at night. The only way to get him to sleep in his bed (he sleeps in an Arms Reach co-sleeper next to our bed) is to rock him to sleep in our arms first, then lay him down. I have read the post about putting baby to sleep awake and using the swing to do so. Right now, we use the swing just before bed time as a wind down, but not to get him to sleep in it. If I understand your post correctly, I should let him fall asleep in the swing and let him sleep in it all night? Up until about a month ago, he actually did sleep in the swing all night. I am worried that using this technique, he will revert back and we’ll struggle with getting him to sleep in his own bed again. By the way, he has fallen asleep on his own in the swing for naps, so I think he should be capable of falling asleep in the swing for night sleep.

    • Sadly the fact that he has figured it out for naps doesn’t translate into his night sleeping skills. Unfortunate but true ๐Ÿ™

      I think if he’s sleeping great at night then you could:
      a) Use the swing. This is not a big backwards step its a sidewise step and you would likely be BACK in the co-sleeper relatively quickly (see post below).
      b) Use the co-sleeper and the wake to sleep method. What am I talking about? Keep your eyes out – another Karp post is coming shortly ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Hi Alexis,

    Thanks for the video its awesome, great job and keep it coming ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just thought to give my 2c worth with swaddling…my son hated the swaddle and was breaking out of it from the minute I put him in it, having said that the angel wrap worked better to help him wind down before he would fall asleep. I did get an ergo cocoon which has clips on the arms so it goes from a swaddle to a sleeping bag when we went to sleep school (6 months) Lucas was in a swaddle but would scream to have it put on and would break out of it within minutes then at 6 months he started to roll onto to his tummy so I only wrapped one arm for a week then I changed him to the ergo cocoon and he was fine (I think relieved in fact) as he started to sleep on his tummy. I am planning on using sleep bags until I can no longer find them (2years) as its now part of his sleep cues, bath, bottle, bag-sleep and he can roll around as much as he wants without getting tangled in blankets or getting cold!

    • What is sleep school? Can I go there? Is that where you go to school and sleep all day? If so that sounds a lot like my high school experience ๐Ÿ˜›

      • He he he I wish…in Australia we call them sleep schools, we went into a mother-baby unit in a hospital and stayed for 5 days. The first couple of days the nurses looked after Lucas when it came to sleep time i.e. settling etc this gives us mums yes some time to sleep ๐Ÿ™‚ then the 3rd day we do all the settling which includes rocking baby on his side or a pat on the bottom or rubbing their back anything that will settle the baby without picking them up, so that they learn that the cot is a good place to be and sleep in, then when they get the hang of that we do controlled comforting i.e. they grizzle a few minutes we go in do a pat and walk out! By day 5 master Lucas went from 20 min naps and waking every 2 hours to 2 hr naps and 6 hr stretches with one night feed (6 months).

        • Oh yes I’ve heard of these. I think it’s a BRILLIANT concept. In the US parents get -0- sleep support and then we’re all shocked at the numerous studies that show we’re raising generations of sleep deprived kids.

  16. First, I love your site and cannot tell you how many times I’ve recommended it since I found it!

    Second, I could really use some advice. My daughter is 18.5 weeks old. Two weeks ago, she was diagnosed with an ear infection which made for a few nights of bad/no sleep. The ear cleared up right away, but now for the past week and a half she’s been having a tough time (aka: I’ve been having a tough time). She’s waking up every two hours for the first part of the night, then every hour until morning. I try to soothe her back to sleep but end up nursing her every time. I thought it was a sleep regression at first so I followed your “do what it takes” advice and was just trying to get through the night. Now that it’s been a while I’m not sure if it’s still a regression, if it ever was a regression or if we’ve fallen into “the trap”. She’s still waking up every 1-2 hours to nurse. Two nights ago, we started putting her into the swing, swaddled, with loud white noise and a paci, but I admit defeat around midnight when she’s screaming and won’t go back into the swing. Then she ends up nursing, in bed with us, unswaddled.

    How do I know when the sleep regression is over and I just have a (temporarily) bad sleeper? How do I know when it’s time to “do what it takes” to get through the regression or when it’s time to buck up and do the tough stuff? Should I take that away the paci now? Should I start the swing to crib transition plan? Should I just go straight to the crib because it honestly can’t get too much worse than it is now? I havenโ€™t had a even remotely close to decent nightโ€™s sleep in more than two weeks and really havenโ€™t slept at all in the last couple of days.

    • Oh, and she had been sleeping in a Rock n’ Play before we started trying to get her in the swing the last few nights. Do you think it’s necessary to get her in the swing? I planned on using your swing transition technique to get her to fall asleep on her own at night (which she will do in the swing for naps). I can (I should say “could”) get her down drowsy but not sleeping at night sometimes but not always with the Rock n’ Play. Maybe she doesn’t need the motion step since she was can/could fall asleep alone with the Rock n’ Play??

      • Hmmm….that’s a toughie. This could be a growth spurt. Do you feel she’s eating constantly during the day? Or are you spacing feedings out TOO much during the day and she’s “making up for lost feedings” at night?

        I guess the question is – is she really hungry? I’m inclined to say she is. Why? Because you’re giving TONS of soothing and you say she’s basically SCREAMING for anything short of a feeding. And when you are nursing constantly does it seem like she’s actually eating (vs. snacking?).

        So why would she be sooo hungry?
        – unusually bad growth spurt
        – nursing issue (maybe it’s time to check in with a good IBCLC to rule this out) such as fast letdown, OVER supply, low supply, inefficient nursing, etc. Don’t panic – these are rare and generally easily fixed

        That’s if food is really the issue. If it’s a super strong suck=sleep thing then you would want to work your way out of paci use to try to break out of that. If sleep is a nightmare I’m not sure if I would try to wean off the swing. I get what you’re saying – how can it get worse? But if you remove soothing options then you’re putting more variables into the equation (make sense?) so I might hold off until things are a bit more sorted out at night.

        Sorry – no easy answers for you ๐Ÿ™

        • Thanks so much for responding even if there is no easy answer for me!!! (I feel a little like you did when you got your email response from Dr. Karp about the motion sleep studies for infants!! We’re now bff’s! :-))

          She’s in daycare during the day so I know they have been consistently feeding 12oz of breast milk, occasionally 14oz, so nothing has changed on that front. And evening/morning nursing hasn’t changed too much either. The mornings have been slightly off since this whole mess started but nothing too major.

          The first time she wakes up at night (or the first time we put her down some nights) she EATS so I think you’re correct and she is actually hungry that time. The later times it’s more snacking/comfort sucking. I thought the snacking could possibly be due to teething, regression or maybe just a comforting habit she picked up those bad nights with her ear? Last night, I held off nursing in favor of soothing (lots of shushing, butt pats and some bouncing/rocking) unless it had been more than two hours which did result in less feedings but more paci use. It didn’t take too long. Just a few minutes to get her back to sleep but she went back in our bed. So maybe she wasn’t actually hungry the other times, just wanting to be comforted?

          And yes, I do think you’re right about the suck=sleep relationship. She has developed a strong suck=sleep relationship between her early and continuous paci use and the more recent night time nursing.

          Our ultimate goal is the same as everybodyโ€™s: Get her to sleep in her crib, in her room with no paci. What order would you suggest making the changes in? Iโ€™m thinking 1) Break paci habit. 2) Back to Rock n’ Play from our bed. 3) Rock n’ Play to Swing transition. 4) Our room to her room. 5) Swing to Crib transition. Or skip the Rock n’ Play and go with 1) Break paci habit. 2) Our bed to Swing transition. 3) Our room to her room. 4) Swing to Crib transition. Or even start from our bed straight to a swing in her room?? Or break paci habit last?? I donโ€™t know. Itโ€™s all so confusing when youโ€™re knee deep in it!

  17. I’ve been working on getting my 14 week old to go down awake in her swing. We rock her till her eyes are drooping and set her down. Lately she has just been hanging out in there quietly awake for like 30 min. Do I leave her in there? Does it count as a nap? Should I go back in after 10 and jiggle the swing? I just feel like I’m neglecting her a little, although she seems content.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Content = win in my book. If she’s comfortable and happy hanging out, where’s the problem? If she hangs out for 30 minutes (happily) and falls asleep then GREAT! If she’s crying, fussy, etc. then you have work to do.

      Also she’s young so I wouldn’t LET her cry in there. But if she can hang happily for 20-30 minutes and fall asleep for a while then great. Are you also using white noise and swaddling?

      • We are using white noise and swaddling every time (before your help we weren’t swaddling for naps!).
        I could never let her cry for that long, I can barely go two minutes!
        I am happy when she is in there content. the problem is she never falls asleep. She “plays” or hangs out for 20-30 min and then starts fussing. My dilemma is when I go back in there do I work on getting her to go to sleep still or has enough time passed that I just wait until her next nap.

        • If she’s just been hanging out and no sleep has happened then I think you need to help her sleep. Otherwise you’ve just skipped the nap and are well on your way to “overtired baby land” and frankly it’s a poor place to take a vacation ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Hey alexis,

    this really has nothing to do with this post but i wasnt sure where it really belonged…any tips for transitioning a 14 month old from 2 naps to 1? when she takes her AM nap we have a really hard time getting her down for the PM nap. But doing 1 nap in the mid-day is a bit of a slog b/c shes cranky by 11am and exhausted at bedtime which is causing her to wake up early (like 530AM)…any advice to would have is much appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

    • For a while you may need to stick with a solid AM nap and a PM nap that happens in the car, in the stroller, etc. The PM stroller nap needs to be just long enough to keep her from being exhausted at bedtime but not so long/late that she has a hard time falling ASLEEP at bedtime.

      It’s a temporary phase as she’s working from 2->1 but you may need to do this for a month or so. Good luck!

  19. Hey Alexis,
    As everyone seems to agree, I love your website. I read almost all of it during nighttime freding sessions! As a first time momma it has definitely helped me with many of my sleep questions. We have my little boys sleeping in the swing for naps and bedtime. He does great at night, but naps are another story. He will usually nap for 30-45 minutes in the morning but I never can seem to get him to take an afternoon nap so of course by evening he is super cranky! Also, he is a big baby. He was 10.1 pounds at birth and now is 12 weeks old and about 18 pounds. He is also very long, about 25 inches, and is starting to look uncomfortable to me in the swing. I am afraid he is going to outgrow the swing before he masters putting himself to sleep. I think we are almost ready to try sleeping in the crib at night. Would it be okay to sleep in the crib at night and still use the swing for napping? Any tips for improving nap time? All this sleep stuff is stressful!

    • Hey Lindsey,
      He’s probably ready for the crib at night – most babies make this transition earlier and move out of the swing for naps later.

      But I’m thinking you have a bigger problem than “baby growing out of the swing” – you have a “baby never naps” issue no? Your 3 month old baby naps for a total of 30 minutes A DAY? Phew. You and he both must be in need of a break!

      So for naps I wouldn’t be rushing him out of the swing during the day because you’ve got a pretty hefty nap struggle on your hands there. Have you read this?

      At 3 months he probably shouldn’t be awake longer than ~1.5 hours. I don’t mean to imply that you aren’t trying and that getting him too nap isn’t a huge slog. But if he’s only sleeping ~30 minutes at a pop he should probably be taking ~4 naps a day? So I would stick with the swing and make naps your #1 priority before working on getting him OUT of the swing.

      Good luck!

  20. Hi Lindsey,

    I am not Alexis…but I have been an avid reader of her site for the past 8 months, so here is my best stab at what she would say:

    1. Yes fine to do different for naps and night time sleep. They are regulated by different parts of the brain so no risk of “confusing” your baby. You seem confident about how to do the transition at night, but if not then there is this article on that:

    2. Short 30-45 min naps are fine and very normal (just annoying for you) at this age. VERY NORMAL. DONT LISTEN TO ANYONE ELSE!! Worth reading this one if you haven’t already:

    3. Alexis would treat 12 weeks like a newborn and so she would say slather on the soothing for naps in order to help – so white noise, swing and swaddle. And maybe the “varsity swing technique”?:

    4. At 12 weeks I think my son could only stay up for about an hour at a time, so I he was having 5 naps a day. I wonder if it would help you put your son down more often (“sleepy signs” or no “sleepy signs”!!). Again, don’t listen if people are saying he isn’t tired… give it a try and see what happens! This post is good for that:

    Hope some of those are of help ๐Ÿ˜‰ Best wishes. I found 12 weeks very hard.

    Alexis, have I spent too long on your blog?! My 8 month went to bed about 7:45 last night and woke at 6:45 and I heard not a peep for the FIRST TIME EVER!! And I credit you ๐Ÿ™‚


  21. Dr. Karp saved my life…

  22. Hi Alexis! My husband and I have been reading your blog for months and absolutely love your thoughts and ideas on baby sleep; thank you so much for your help!
    So our 6.5 month old baby girl, after about a month of travel/sickness, we ended up coming to the solution of CIO. For the past 1.5 – 2 months we’ve been trying to use the swing to try for longer naps and help with sleep at night. Because she’s so used to her swing, but still will not fall asleep on her own more than 25% of the time, we decided to do cry it out.

    Our question for you is what is your thoughts on cry it out and using the swing? Yes continue to use swing or no go straight to the crib for CIO?

    Just fyi, we did the first night of CIO last night in the swing, and to our disbelief, she didn’t cry/whimper once. Crazy, considering the previous nights! However, naps today were awful, even me standing behind the swing secretively and shaking it didn’t help! Anyways just curious on your thoughts on the swing and CIO. Thanks Alexis for your website and all your help!

  23. Thank you SOOO MUCH! for this. My husband has been worried that our 4 1/2 month old is still in the swing. He’s worried about the pediatric recommendation to get the baby into the crib but she WILL NOT DO IT without crying and she’s still too young to cry it out. This gives us some peace of mind.

  24. Hi Alexis,

    I was reading an old reply to a reader’s comment ( and I felt like she was describing my child!

    I am having a similar issue with my daughter. She used to get to bed around 8:30-9 and sleep for 6-9 hours. She is five months now but for the last three weeks she has been getting up constantly at night.

    We get her to bed b/w 745 – 9pm. Our routine is massage, swaddle, book, and boob. She use to nurse to sleep but stopped doing that. After about 35-40 minutes of sleep she will wake up and take anywhere from an 20 minutes to an hour to get to sleep. But that won’t last long because she’ll be up again almost every 2-3 hours.

    I try all of Dr. Karp’s suggestion. We use white noise. She has a paci that helps get her to sleep and if it falls out (once she is asleep) she won’t wake up. We sush and pat when she is up. She is swaddled. The room is dark. She takes pretty good naps throughout the day, anywhere from 45 mins to 2 hours.

    She wakes up around 5:30-6am every day and I use to keep her up for as long as she could (30-40 mins) but lately I am just so exhausted I pull her into bed with me and she goes to sleep.

    Should I start waking up with her at 6am again? Also, what else can I do to make sure we are on track for good sleep habits. She won’t sleep in the swing anymore.


  25. Hi Alexis!

    Would you consider including a transcript of the videos, so those of us who are not wanting to wake our sleeping or almost sleeping babies can still find out what was in the video?


  26. Stephanie Heger

    Hi Alexis!

    My husband and I are grateful we found your website!

    We are exploring the idea of trying to get our 8 1/2 month old to learn to fall asleep on his own, with the aide of the swing, as we are still waking up twice (or more) times during the night to nurse. Is he too old?

    You read our minds – we have read numerous “sleep training” books and still don’t know where to start – we feel like we’re failing and we’re exhausted!

    Generally, he goes to bed around 7-8PM, if he wakes at 12, should we let him cry in swing OR should I still nurse him and then put him back to sleep in the swing? Please help!

  27. This is all great info but can you please tell me recommendations for strapping baby in swing while swaddled. I feel like it is not an easy thing to do with our swing. (pardon me if I missed any other comments like this). Thanks!

  28. Hello,

    I’m really pleased I found this post as I am thinking about using a swing and could really do with some advice…maybe you could help?

    We discovered Happiest Baby in the first few days of our baby’s life and have been swaddling her and using white noise ever since. She is now 3 months, however
    we’re having a bit of trouble with her sleeping, and the swaddling/white noise no longer seems to be as effective. She goes from being calm to crying hysterically very quickly whenever we try to put her down for a nap, even when I think I’ve spotted her sleepy cues early on.

    We’ve never been able to get her to settle without rocking or feeding her…I guess she’s a bouncy baby! She tends to catnap alot during the day, anywhere between 20-40 mins, but also occassionally has 1-2 hour naps. Her napping is very irratic and all over the place, and she seems to be quite irritable most of the time and yawns a lot. In the last month or so she has sometimes slept for 10 hours straight in the night, but this will only last a few nights in a row, and then she returns to waking once or twice.

    I’d really like to try and give her a bit more consistency and help her be more content…also I’d love a bit of regularity to stop me going insane! I was thinking a swing may be what’s needed to help her nap for longer periods during the day, and to help her self settle at night. I’d like to eventually be able to wean her off rocking and feeding her to sleep and thought a swing could aid this? We can’t rock her ourselves anymore as she’s nearly outgrown the pram and will need to transition into her cot soon (which we can’t rock). Also, I’m concerned that feeding her to sleep (which I only do at night), will eventually cause her to start waking even more.

    My thougts were to use the swing for all naps and night sleep, and firstly begin weaning her off feeding to sleep at night by gradually waking her after feeding over a period of days/weeks, and placing her into the swing awake. After weaning her off the feeding, I was hoping we could then wean her off the swinging until she is happy sleeping in her cot, and then finally we could wean her off the swaddling. Does this sound like a good plan to you? Being a bit sleep deprived myself I’m not sure if I’m thinking logically. My main concern is introducing the swing at night time…she could potentially be in it for up to 10 hours and I don’t know whether this would unsettle her even more…especially as she has been sleeping in a motionless pram up until this point and is sometimes able to sleep for 10 hours like this.

    I’m sorry for waffling on, and hope I’m making sense…just really could do with some sound advice.

    Thank you so much.

    • Hey Katie,

      I think in general its a good plan. Depending on what is happening at night she may not even need to be in the swing the – I would start with it for naps and see how things fall out organically. Also I wouldn’t rush to ditch the swaddle – that’s the LAST thing you need to worry about.

      Priority #1 – improve naps (20 minutes isn’t ideal)
      Priority #2 – Put down awake (she falls asleep IN the swing)
      Priority #3 – Wean off swing – check it out:
      Priority #4 – crib

      Once she’s happily sleeping in the crib THEN you can see if she’s ready to be out of the swaddle. But don’t rush it – you’ve got PLENTY of time on that score.

      ps. Once you improve naps (hopefully you can make 40 minutes the minimum?) you can worry more about consistency. It’s hard to be consistent if naps run the gamut from 20 minutes to 2 hours. 4-6 months is probably a more realistic timeframe for that anyway.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks Alexis,

        Have been trying the swing for naps for the past 3 days…quite a few tears first few days, and then today she went in awake & fell asleep on her own without me in the room! ๐Ÿ™‚ I did a little deranged victory dance…hopefully not get too excited too early and she will continue to sleep in it. I did notice that putting her in it at the right time (i.e. well fed, and not overtired) made a huge difference.

        Currently also trying Karp’s wake and sleep method at night time after she falls asleep feeding…fingers crossed for this one too.

        Thanks for your advice. I don’t feel so like I’m being dangled off of the huge mountain of motherhood when some one else is giving me confidence with my decisions ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Tonight I resolved to trying the swing for my 15-week old’s frequent nightwakings. He woke up at 1, I nursed him, then I placed him, nearly asleep, in his swing with a pacifier, white noise, and started him at full speed. Two minutes later, he’s fully awake, babbling excitedly to the little animals dangling above him on the swing. Gahh! I understand this is likely 4-month-sleep regression 101 but this is week 3 of super frequent night waking and I am out of ideas! How do I get him to sleep longer stretches after he wakes up once? Does he need more soothing ( if so how much?) or does he need sleep training??

  30. Hi Alexis! I am so happy to have found you and your website!! The information you have posted has been a great help with my 3 1/2 month old son. He is what you call a “crappy napper” but for the past two days, he has been napping like a champ, swaddled and in his swing. I have a couple of questions though… How can I swaddle AND buckle him in? Is it safe for him to sleep in his swing during the night? Currently he is cosleeping and it’s not working so well… I think one reason is that because I am so close, he can smell me when he wakes up and wants to nurse constantly.

  31. My little girl will be 4 months in a couple weeks. Right now, she falls asleep with her binky, a blanky, her ocean sound and her lights on the ceiling. She falls asleep great, within minutes of being laid down…but she is up every 4 hours on the dot. Sometimes she will wake up and only eat 2oz before I put her back in bed.

    Now, if I put her in the swing she still falls asleep right away but she will sleep for 6+ hours.

    Is she greeting too old for me to let her sleep all night in the swing? I’m back to work now and I have little to no night help. I’m exhausted!!!

    Any advise you can give me is so appreciated!

  32. I’m hoping you can answer a question for me. I noticed it has been a while since there’s been activity on this site, but I thought I’d try anyway.

    My baby girl is 4 months old. I never put her down awake, and am now kicking myself for it. She will go to sleep for naps swaddled (she’s not rolling over yet), with a paci and just me holding her. At night, I bathe her, change her diaper, put her in jammies and feed her to sleep. She only wakes up once for a quick (10 min) feed.

    I’m wondering if she’s too old to use Dr. Karp’s put baby awake to sleep method? I haven’t tried to wake her up after I put her in her crib, but I’m certainly willing to try. Do you think she’s too old now to use this method?

    • What do you MEAN there hasn’t been any activity on this site? How dare you sir!

      She’s definitely not too old to try the wake to sleep. Independent sleep is crucial (she’s only waking up 1X a night so it’s not a problem today but it will be so it’s great that you’re looking to make changes now). Try:
      – Wake to sleep
      – Feeding her before bath and holding her to sleep
      – put her awake in crib and jiggle crib until she falls asleep

      All are fair options. Pick a method and try it for 3-5 nights before conceding defeat – change is hard and nothing works amazingly on attempt #1. Good luck!

  33. It looks like the video might be missing from this page, I’ve tried to view it a few times but there’s just a blank! Any chance I can find it on youtube or something?

    I have a month-old first baby who typically won’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time. Our Fisher Price swing arrived today and I am looking for all the reassurance I can find that it’s safe to try overnight. Thanks!


  1. 4 Essential Baby Sleep Power Tools - Precious Little Sleep

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