Menu

The Monumental Guide to Short Naps AKA Everything You Need to Know to Vanquish Crap Naps

solving short naps for babies

Before I gave birth I imagined a halcyon future where my baby would take 2-hour naps all day during which I would blissfully spend exercising, assembling a Pinterest-worthy baby book, binge-watching Outlander.

You know, all the stuff you guys probably do all day.

So you can imagine my surprise when my first nugget was born, and instead of 2-hour naps, he would take super short naps. Worse? Those micro naps were hard to come by AND he was a huge crank for 20 minutes after those naps. So my entire day was spent trying to get him to nap, desperately wishing he wouldn’t immediately wake up from his nap, calming him down during his post-nap fuss, and generally obsessing over the fact that short crap naps had become the bane of my existence.

Sound familiar?

Short Naps: A Plague on Your House

Persistently short naps are common, frustrating, and exhausting because:

  • Short naps (and sleep deprivation) generally lead to more disrupted night sleep, which leads to short naps. It’s a vicious circle.
  • You never get any breathing room during the day.
  • Short naps = frequent naps = challenging to leave the house because it’s almost always “time for the next nap” = isolating.
  • Short naps tends to result in a lot of sleep obsession (furiously tracking everything, looking for patterns, trying to recreate the magic juju of that one time he took a long nap, self-flagellation, etc.).

Getting babies to take long naps is challenging which is why it’s unsurprising to hear some people come to the conclusion, “My baby must not need that much sleep!” Which while technically this could be true, it’s highly unlikely. So let’s assume your baby does in fact need sleep and focus instead on how much nap sleep they should be getting and how you can ensure they get it.

The Ideal Nap Duration

How long should naps actually be? It’s a hard question as never in the history of time has the medical community agreed on the ideal amount of sleep for children. And the reality is that there is huge variability in the actual amount of nap sleep kids are getting. According to Weissbluth the nap range for babies is wide, anywhere from 1.5 – 4.5 hours a day, shrinking just slightly to 0-2.5 hours per day by age 3.

But the problem inherent with any survey of infant sleep is that you’re simply capturing how much they actually sleep vs. how much they should sleep. So the low-end numbers in these ranges invariably include some pretty sleep-deprived kiddos whose parents are likely first-timers who have been convinced “babies will sleep when they’re tired” (not true BTW) and thus have 3 month olds who are awake all day long.

But I digress…so what is an appropriate amount of nap sleep aka how do you know if you have a short nap problem?

Babies are born with an undeveloped intrinsic sleep regulation system, so instead of structured “day and night” sleep, they sleep for random durations scattered somewhat evenly throughout the day. As a result, newborns naps range anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours so by definition, however long/short your newborn naps are, it’s totally normal. Despite the oft-quoted (and entirely terrible) advice to “keep them up during the day so they’ll sleep better at night” the reality is that this sleep maturation process is largely developmental and resolves without or despite your interventions by the time they are 2-4 months old. Exposing newborns to bright light when they’re awake during the day and keeping the lights very dim when they’re awake in the middle of the night may help (and certainly won’t hurt, although the research isn’t entirely clear).

However, for most babies older than 2-4 months, normal naps fall within the ranges of normal baby sleep outlined here. By approximately 4-5 months babies have a somewhat mature sleep cycle of about 50 minutes (this gradually lengthens to adult levels of 90-110 minutes by school age).

Thus anything over ~50 minutes is a pretty solid nap as they’re successfully getting through one complete sleep cycle. If they nap longer (1.5-2 hour naps are grand) that’s even better, but ~50 minutes is a respectable length. Unfortunately many of us are stuck with 20-40 minute naps (which occur when your child transitions out of slow-wave sleep) that are often amazingly predictable (ex. 32.5 minute duration). So for older babies, typically anything shorter than ~50 minutes is officially a “crap nap”.

Top 10 Causes Of and Solutions For Short Naps

As mentioned, occasional crap naps are an unavoidable part of life and are not something to worry about. However chronically short crappy naps are problematic and something you want to do what you reasonably can to improve. A strategy to lengthen short naps starts by identifying why your child takes short naps. Also it’s likely that there are multiple reasons your baby takes short naps, so there may be 2-4 issues from this list that are locking you into persistent crap naps.

01

Sleep Association – Object Permanence Issues

If your baby is older than 4-6 months and isn’t falling asleep independently, the same sleep associations that leads to frequent night waking also leads to crap naps. This is by far the #1 reason babies take short naps.

02

Baby is Overtired or Undertired

When babies are overtired, their bodies produce excess cortisol (a stress hormone and stimulant so being awake too long between naps can result in a short or nonexistent naps. Alternatively, as babies get older the amount of time they can and need to be awake between naps gradually extends. This additional time is necessary to accrue sufficient sleep pressure so that they can successfully fall asleep.

03

Environmental Issues

This is rare because most parents are almost obsessively careful about ensuring that their child’s sleep environment is more luxurious than a Turkish Spa, but anything that might make your child uncomfortable (itchy jammies, ambient light, loud noise) could undermine nap duration.

04

Hunger

Also fairly rare, but some babies take short naps because they go to sleep almost hungry. The “eat play sleep” method frequently leads to hunger-induced short naps.

05

Maturation of Intrinsic Bioregulatory Processes

Here’s some fancy science talk you can drop at playgroup to impress the other parents with your mad sleep knowledge. Simply put, it just means your newborn baby hasn’t yet matured enough to nap longer. A 9-month-old who takes 20-minute nap has a nap problem. A newborn who takes 20-minute naps is “a regular newborn.”

06

Mirco Naps

The pressure to sleep (aka sleep drive) builds up while your child is awake so they can fall asleep and stay asleep at naptime and bedtime. Unfortunately, sleep pressure quickly dissipates when they get even a tiny bit of sleep, so a 5 minute catnap while nursing, in the car, etc. let’s all the sleep air out of your nap balloon.

07

Not Enough Soothing

The biological compulsion to sleep is very strong at night but relatively wimpy during the day. Thus it’s harder for babies to fall asleep at naptime which is why so many people feel their “baby fights naps.” And most babies would prefer to party with you anyway so fighting sleep seems like a winning strategy. However you can bolster the sleep drive at naptime by using layering on more soothing than you use (or need) at bedtime. For babies under 6 months this often includes some combination of swaddle, swing, white noise, and possibly a pacifier.

08

Inconsistency

Newborns are amazingly flexible and can often nap almost anywhere and under any circumstance. However as they get older (3+ months), they need to nap in the same place/environment throughout the day. Sure the occasional “on the go” nap is fine but consistency is like gardening: no matter how hard you try, bugs will eat all your tomatoes. No wait, wrong analogy. Consistency is like gardening: the more effort you put into it, the better your pumpkins grow.

09

Pre-nap routine

Newborns don’t need help to transition from play to sleep time, older babies do. By 3 months you’ll want to have a brief, consistent, soothing pre-nap routine that both signals to your child that “it’s time to sleep” and enables them to successfully transition from play-mode to sleep-mode.

10

It’s Habitual

What if you’ve got an older baby and have done all the right things and have a shiny gold star next to all the potential issues I’ve listed here and you’re still locked in on 32.5 minute naps? The answer is that your child may have simply habituated to a shorter nap duration. Which is a bit more challenging, but not impossible to remedy. However the answer is a bit long so let’s dig into it further below.

Breaking the Short Nap Habit

Sleep Myth #573 – if you do all the right things, the result will be long consolidated and predictable naps.

If you are actually doing everything right (see list above) and there is no underlying medical issue (reflux, food allergies, etc.), you may still be stuck with crap naps. Babies are creatures of habit and so even after all the root causes of napletts have been removed, they can remain entrenched in their short nap sleep-wake cycle. And remember, the sleep drive for naps is relatively weak and (most assuredly) most babies would prefer to not be sleeping. So as soon as they slide out of the deep sleep phase their eyes POP and they’re calling for you to come get them.

There are two essential strategies to try to break out of this pattern:

Disrupt the Sleep Cycle

Usually the nap duration is military-precision predictable: you know exactly when your child is going to wake up. Which is helpful, because you’re going to set a timer for ~5-10 minutes prior to the time your child will be waking up. Wake them just slightly by jostling them while they’re still in the crib (not enough so that they’re standing there waiting for you to pick them up but enough so that you see a bit of eye fluttering). Often this will disrupt their sleep/wake pattern just enough so that they navigate back into deep sleep, thus extending the duration of the nap. Continue this pattern for 5-7 days, after which your child should have RE-habituated to the new longer nap sleep pattern and voila no more short naps for you.

People are often resistant to this strategy because they fear simply waking their child up resulting in even shorter naps. But it’s often extremely effective and, worst-case, if you do inadvertently wake them up fully, you’ve only shaved a few minutes off an already short nap so really, it’s not a big deal.

Bore to Sleep

Read a few chapters of my sleep book aloud, your child will quickly become bored and fall back to sleep. I KID.

It’s not easy to fall back to sleep after a short nap (even a micronap can relieve the sleep pressure) and even harder when the alternative to doing so is “play with you.”


“I would much rather nap than play with my most awesome parent,” – said no child ever.

Sometimes you need to remove “play with you” from the list of options. So for 2 weeks, naptime is 1 hour. If they wake before 1 hour is up, you leave them to chill in the crib until 1 hour after the start of their nap. If they fall back to sleep – great! If not – OK naptime is over after 1 hour. Initially there will be some tears: this is new, they’re used to you coming to play, and won’t be happy about the change in plans. However if you stick with this for ~10 days, you’ll find most babies will get bored (the ideal sleep space is safe and dull) and with no viable alternative, will fall back to sleep.

“But elsewhere you say post-nap CIO is a bad idea, right?”

Right. And the reason is that you have to be doing all the right things for post-nap CIO (which we’re going to call Bore to Sleep) to work and 87.3% of people aren’t doing all the right things. Because doing all the right things is hard and frankly, a little confusing at times. But in this scenario (older, healthy baby, and naps have been otherwise perfected) Bore to Sleep may well be the right idea.

Short but Not Crappy Naps: The Exception to the Rule

Are naplettes always a problem? No! The last nap of the day is almost always short. Most babies should be awake for a long-ish period of time before bedtime as they need this longer stretch to accrue a significant enough sleep debt that they can fall asleep and stay asleep at night. So you don’t want your child taking a mammoth late nap as this interferes with the bedtime process. Typically the last nap of the day is short, ranging from 30-45 minutes for younger babies, dwindling to 10-20 minutes as they reach 6-9 months in age.

So that’s it, all the tools you need to go forth and vanquish the specter of short naps forever. Or at least until your child decides to stop napping altogether. Good luck and tally ho!


225 Comments


  1. Firstly thank you! We had a little boy who woke every 45 mins through the night. He know sleeps 7pm – 6.30 am (with a 5.00am feed) thanks to your advice.

    We are still struggling with short naps though. He sleeps for 30 mins usually but then will unpredictably take a longer nap, up to 1.5 hrs. I would love him to take longer naps and to be more predictable in when he has them/if he has them. Sometimes is 1st nap or sometimes 2nd nap.

    We self settle in a dark room in cot, with a mini bed time routine. Ben will wake at 6.30 and then nap at 8.30, 12.00 and 4.00. He often wakes crying. He has a comfotor, no paci and white noise. We have tried wake 10 min before and leaving him to see if he re settles. He is not hungry and has had no health issues (so far).

    Do I just have a little boy who does not need longer naps!

    Thank you and hope u can fix this to!

    • I have the exact same problem! He sleeps so well at night (one brief, 5 am wake up), but only takes 30 minute naps. It’s so frustrating because o have been working since 2 weeks old to get him to sleep well. I don’t know what else I can do!

  2. Sorry, should have been clearer, often no long naps in the day and that’s the main issue!

  3. Hi, I have a 7 month old boy. We had to sleep train him at night as he was waking 5/6 times wanting to be rocked back to sleep. He is sleeping now from 19:00-5am (bf)-7:30. His naps are only 30min at a time and I’ve tried everything. I have his awake time as 2.5hrs and he takes 3 naps a day. He is so grumpy when he wakes up, I assume he is still tired. Any advice on how to get him nap better please? I read you mentioned to leave him in the cot for an hour from the start of the nap, do I go and reassure him every 5min, he usually cries.

    His schedule is as follows:

    5ish breastfeeding
    7:30 wakes up
    8:30 oats
    10:00 nap
    10:30 formula
    12:00 lunch
    13:00 nap
    14:30 formula
    15:00 nap
    17:00 dinner
    18:00bath, breastfeeding and sleep all before 19:00

  4. We have use sleep training for bedtime and it has worked great for our 6 month old. She is putting herself to sleep and waking only once to nurse and goes right back down afterward. However, naps are still a problem and we would like to begin working on them. My concern is that she is home with me two days, with my mother two and with my Mother in law for one day during the work week. Will this inconsistency in location and caregiver affect her ability to adapt if we try to keep everything else similar?

    • Hi Kate! I would love and appreciate knowing how you sleep trained your little one! And also, it feels like you have consistency within the routine–your little one is always two days with you, two days with Mom, and one day with MIL, no? Isn’t that consistent enough?

  5. What kind of pre-nap routine would you suggest?

  6. Hi, my son is 13 weeks old and I have started to find that previous strategies for helping him to nap no longer work. He was napping for 50min 4 times a day then awake for 2hrs but would only go to sleep in my arms. At night he feeds to sleep and stays down for about 7hrs. It is now taking a lot longer to get him to sleep and rocking him in my arms no longer works, he’s basically going until he passes out from exhaustion and crying, but is now only sleeping for 35 mins max unless he’s in his buggie. I find a lot of advice tends to be up to 3 months and then 3 months onwards so I feel like we’re in a translational phase. Any advice would be so gratefully appreciated as my poor little boy is getting so overtired and I feel like a failing mum.

  7. I’m currently in the middle of CIO with my 12.5 month old, and I think he may have hit the “Burst” point a few days ago because everything about going down was taking longer whether for night or naps. Last night he slept 8 hours straight no outbursts (yay!) with a total of just around 11.5hrs, and this morning he finally fell asleep for his morning nap after 50 minutes of crying at 10:25. He’s been asleep since, meaning 2h25m so far. I’m wondering if this will negatively impact his afternoon nap and going down for bed tonight. We’re now on day 9 with some bumps in the road on days 5-8. I’m trying to just keep my head down and push through. Any thoughts?

  8. i have a 3month old who goes to sleep himself with no help, no paci or anything. Its near impossible to get him back to sleep an he only sleeps for 30min. Hes only awake for 1.5hrs sometimes (rarely) 2hrs max. Any tips for longer naps please?

  9. I have a 5 month old who was taking great long naps in her crib through last week, and all of a sudden this weekend stopped taking long naps. What were once an hour minimum to an hour and 45 minute naps in the morning and around noon are now 30-45 minutes. I haven’t changed anything in the routine, she naps in her crib and before naps I read to her in a little seat, wrap her in her sleep suit (baby merlin magic sleep suit) and I rock her in my arms for a minute – minute and half and put her down…her eyes flutter she cries out and bam – asleep…but she can’t seem to make it back to deep sleep when she comes out of the first cycle. Am I putting her down asleep? Am I putting her down awake? Should I go directly into the crib after putting her in the sleep suit and let her fall asleep on her own without the rocking? Maybe this doesn’t seem like a terrible problem, but I go to back to work in two weeks (Teacher and SAHD for the summer) and my mother in law will be watching her and I want her napping well so she doesn’t go insane!

    • Would love to hear the answer to this as I have the same question: at what point does an eyelid flutter count as asleep? Also FWIW (moot point now as it’s been months since you originally asked), I transitioned my 5-month-old from the Merlin suit to the sleep sack just after she began rolling over before she hit 5 months and her sleep improved greatly.

      • Hi! I don’t believe an eye flutter really counts as being awake enough. Baby should be tired, but awake. Eyes almost closed is probably too close to being asleep, the baby would still have a sleep association with you. Unless it’s working of course and baby isn’t waking up at night!

  10. Hi there! I have a 7mth old. She’s formula fed. She sleeps like a champ at night (so we think atleast!) goes down at 830 at the latest. We put on pjs, play, feed, lullaby plays in her room, and we put her to sleep awake. She will roll around and play for a bit if she’s not sleepy, but within 10-15 mins she will fall asleep. Without us having to check in on her at all. She will wake once through the night, to be fed which is between 5-7am. I have thought a few times that she may want to be awake for the day, but it’s more of a dream feed. She cries till she’s fed, then falls asleep before she’s even finished her bottle. She goes back to sleep. She wakes at different times each day, for 3 weeks she was waking at 1030. Then for 4 days it was 8am now for the last weeks it’s been 9am. I don’t mind when she wakes up, I’m a stay at home mom. So time doesn’t matter to me. Our biggest problem is nap time, she used to be a great napper when she was in her swing. At 4mths I tried to transition her to crib for naps (she’s been sleep in her crib at night since 6 weeks) but it was a nightmare for both of us. She screamed for 30 mins straight. Even if I reassured her, and soothed her. So after a week, I gave up. Talked to doctor about it, and they said to wait till she’s older to try again. Fast forward to 6months, we decided to attempt napping in crib again. First day, no problem. Our cold. For an hour! Great. Ever since then it’s gone down hill. Unfortunately we’ve become the parents that waste liters of gas so LO can nap. She can’t nap in her swing anymore she hates it. But the crib is the worst thing to her for naps. She screams. And screams. I do almost a similar routine, just no pjs. Playtime, feed, play music, make it dark, and put down to sleep. She has a soother, her blankey and a stuffed animal she holds onto. She gets them all for naps as well. After 20 mins of going in at 5 minutes intervals, she will sleep. But it’s a 20 minute nap. Maybe 30 minutes if I’m lucky. Then she wakes up crying. (She wakes up in the morning happy and babbling to herself) and then of course I have a miserable baby for an hour. She will nap in the car for an hour. I’m just lost at what to do. I debated about trying to get her to nap in her play pen. We don’t use it at all for anything. So wonder if she associates that to nap she will go down easier? When my parents watch her or my in laws, she will nap on a big bed with pillows around her. I haven’t got her on a schedule during the day for naps yet only because of the time she wakes up at. It being all over the place. Majority of the time she will nap at 11 if she’s up at 8/9. But of course not in the crib. I’m not sure what else we should do. Hope you can shed some light !

  11. Hi there Alexis – First, I’m loving your blog. It has helped our family so much over the past month: longer period of sleep at night – hallelujah! – and fewer tears at bedtime. Thank you!

    I have a question about napping and noise. How important/is it important to be quiet around Baby while she naps? And if I’m noisy during naps will she learn to be a deep sleeper despite ruckus? We, in the summers, live in a one room cabin in Alaska. I plan to use her nap time as my get-stuff-done time but I hate to cut her naps short with my washing dishes, doing laundry (the generator right outside is loud), etc. all in the same room where she’s sleeping. I feel like I figure out her sleep pattern and start a quiet project during light sleep but, of course, as soon as I think I’ve pegged her as deep-sleeping and pick up my noisy project she surprises me and wakes up. Also, how/when does tolerance or difficulty with noise while sleeping change as they age? Thank you, thank you!

  12. Hi, we too are dealing with increasingly short naps as we are sleep training at 8 months old. We are able to put her down awake because she generally CIO for 30-40 mins. Then she wakes up 30 mins later. This used to be 45 mins and prior to that she had 2 hour sleeps at least 1x/day. You say bore them to sleep which is essentially CIO but can you be more specific? Do you still do the 10 min check ins or leave them to cry? I haven’t gotten up the guts to try to wake her before she wakes but that could also be because she keeps waking earlier anyways!! Could you provide some insight? Thanks.

  13. Hi! My 9mo definitely has a nap problem! And a sleep problem for that matter… I found this article very helpful, but i have a question… Is it okay / advisable to apply both methods simultaneously (Disrupt the Sleep and Bore to Sleep)? Or is it better to start with one, say disrupt the sleep first to reestablish a proper sleep cycle, then move to the other “bore to sleep” if needed?

    Thanks so much!

  14. Hi, thanks for all the information, very interesting and helpful! Our 9-month old is having 2 solid naps a day (mostly 1.5 hrs each), so all good. However, I nurse her to sleep so I need to finish with that! We sleeptrained her at night and she learned to fall asleep on her own. During the day I don’t know how to do that though, as she wouldn’t put herself to nap independently. How can I teach her that? Is it a good idea to try your method for night weaning of nursing her one minute less on each boob for naptimes as well? Thanks in advance!

  15. Hi Alexis,

    Over the last week, I have read pretty much every article on your blog and a tonne of the comments too which have been very helpful! So thank you! However I’m still in need of some help, more like an SOS or life raft.

    I’ll be honest, I had no idea I was forming bad habits, I just figured it would just happen (lol to the newbie first time mom). As a newborn she would sleep anywhere, so I’d just let her. There was no real commitment to sleep until I realized suddenly it was hard to put her to sleep and she wasn’t sleeping during the day. Just screaming.

    Today is day 4 of using a mamaroo to help my babe fall asleep. I have been so consistent it hurts (my husband admitted if I hadn’t been so committed he would have give up days ago) I do a routine for naps and bedtime but seem to be gaining little to no ground. Previously, on someone’s advice I tried CIO in her crib before doing my research, which left me slightly traumatized. I tried CIO for about 10-12 days and had the same pre-nap/bedtime routine.

    My sweet 12 week old will fall asleep and can nod off by herself with her soother, then 10-15 minutes later she is screaming because it’s fallen out. I or my very supportive husband settles her down and puts it back in again, then repeat continually until nap time is done. We do this until she gets a good long stretch (30 min plus) or it’s time to eat again, which means we can play this game for upwards of 3 hours. There is the odd time where she somehow makes it past this point and I make sure we disrupt her sleep cycle to keep her going. However these times are rare and inconsistent.

    We tried different soothers, and found that a MAM pacifier stays in her mouth the best and I no longer have to sit by the rocker and hold it in her mouth. We have tried pulling it out of her mouth when she is drowsy so she doesn’t fall asleep with it in her mouth. I guess I’m asking- should I take away her soother, even though she hasn’t gone through her sleep regression yet? I am not yet sure I can handle another bout of CIO however I have cried more then once because I am not able to get anything else done during the day because all I do is put in her soother.

    Furthermore, her nightsleep has now become fragmented, where before she would cry all day and sleep most of the night from 10 (her last feed) waking up at 3-4 to eat, then wake for the day around 8, now she goes to bed at 730 (which she is yawning and tired for) we play reinsert the soother for an indeterminate amount of time, usually till I feed her at 10, then she wakes up screaming at 12, or 2 or 3 randomly. I will admit she doesn’t sleep in her mamaroo for the night. I figured that was ok because you said that babies need more help to nap then sleep at night. When does this get better? Or should I be changing this routine as well?

    Any advice or support is welcome.

  16. Help!! My almost 7 month old self settles for all sleeps but the past two weeks will not sleep longer than 20 minutes for day sleeps no matter how much resettling I do she will not fall back to sleep. Do you have any advice on what we can try she sleeps well at night as long as she gets enough day sleep with inevitability means I have to take her for a long drive at some point.

  17. Thanks for all the info. I’ll try a few things.
    Although what I am finding hard is that my 4 months old often wakes up crying after a short nap. I know he doesn’t have a problem falling back asleep on his owns since at night he wakes up I feed him and then can sleep again fairly easily. But during the day, he’ll fall asleep (either in our arms or in the crib) and can wake up every 15 to 45 minutes crying. I rock him a bit and he goes back to sleep. So either he has a short naps (20-40min) twice or three times a day or he could have a decent longer nap but he keeps waking up crying. Just trying to understand why he wakes up crying. Although being grateful that he sleeps a bit more now since he had a lot of colics and almost didn’t sleep at all (and when he did it had to be stomach to stomach with mommy or daddy).

  18. Our sensitive, night-nursing, up every hour 9-month old became a 10-month old who now puts himself to sleep and is finally night weaned (7pm-5am) – all thanks to this blog! Alexis you are my hero!

    Naps, however, are still a total mess. We’ve been nursing to sleep and it’s getting harder and harder (read: impossible) to just drop him in the crib asleep. Knowing our baby – a persistent little fighter – it’s going to be a battle. Current plan is to do our nap routine at the appropriate times, put him down awake, and let him cry for a half hour without going in. I know he’ll cry the full time at every nap for many days.

    Here’s my question – I can commit to a couple weeks, but how long could this take? What then? He won’t be getting daytime sleep (except carseat naps). Will that screw up our nights (which were a disaster until only a few weeks ago)? Should I not mess with a good thing (sleeping at night…omg it’s amazing) and just deal with the awful/lack of naps for a while? Has anyone had success with a similarly sensitive baby? Help!

  19. Hi Alexis!

    I really enjoy your blog—as others have said, it’s so nice to get information without being beaten over the head with it. I just learned for instance from this site that my four month old should be sleeping after two hours awake and already she is a lot happier . . lol. I am wondering if you can speak to my situation. She is a great night sleeper in general, always has been. She nurses to sleep and then her dad rocks her until she’s out; she generally wakes up a couple times in the next hour crying and she gets rocked again (but not nursed) and then is out for the rest of the night (usually she’s completely asleep, without anymore cry wakings, from 9 pm to 6 pm, though she starts sleeping around 7:30 most nights). She wakes in the night but often goes back to sleep of her own accord without crying; however, sometimes I hear her poop and change her and once she’s out of her crib we either nurse or rock her back to sleep. I’d like to eliminate the need for the hour of needing to be rocked again in the beginning but our real problem is naps: she naps by being rocked in a bouncer with vibrations on but will wake thirty minutes in, and despite returning to rock her some more, she often won’t go back to sleep, or if she does, she continues to wake every few minutes after that requiring more rocking. I don’t think we can afford a swing. She used to be nursed to sleep for naps too until she started getting distracted, and thus not nursing, and thus not napping—she got super cranky which is how I landed on your site! My husband and I are thinking perhaps we should stop nursing her to sleep at night and replace it with the bouncer and that this will help her take naps in the bouncer. What do you think of this?

  20. Has anyone tried to nap train at 12 months or later? My almost 1 year old has put himself to sleep completely independently at bedtime for a couple months now, but I’ve kept nursing him to sleep for naps. Bad idea. Now I have a nap disaster on my hands.

    Tried testing the waters with naptime CIO and he just cries and cries…which I’m not scared of anymore LOL. But wondering if it can actually work to get him napping at this point, or should I just give up and try for a car nap every day? How long should I let him cry (1 hour?) and for how many days?

  21. Hi
    I am lost. 12 weeks baby. No naps during the day. I know the signs. I do everything. If I am lucky she is down for 20 minutes (I put half baked in the crib from my arms). My days are a complete nightmare. To bed she goes ok. Extending the naps did not work. She wakes up by the clock. We want to try CIO for this.
    WHAT DO I DO?

  22. I have the same problem!!! He is 4 months 2 weeks, my days are horrible I cannot do anything. I am frustrated because I feel like I’m constantly trying to put him to sleep, deal with wake up crying, and again!

    Is he overtired? Or he cannot transition from a sleep cycle to another?

    Please help 🙁

    • At 4 months your life goals are:
      – independently falling asleep
      – LOADS of soothing
      – age appropriate wake times

      Waking up crying is just something that some kids do – they wake up cranky. And yes this makes nap suck because each nap = fussy wakeup.

  23. What if disrupting the sleep cycle doesn’t work and they still wake up at the 45 minute mark? Do you continue trying it?

Leave a Reply