Your Nemesis, The Short Nap

February 23, 2012 |  by  |  0-3 Months, 1 YO, 3-6 Months, 6-9 Months, 9-12 Months, naps
baby naps too short?

Update 4/14/2015: A more comprehensive and detailed post on the causes of and solutions for short naps has been published. Everything here is still true, however if you’re looking for even more details on strategies to dramatically lengthen your child’s naps, check out the new short nap post.

A short nap is generally anything between 10-45 minutes. Sometimes short naps sneak in during car trips or while nursing or taking a bottle. Sometimes a temporary sleep regression, ear infection, or ferocious bout of teething will result in short naps. But for some of you, short naps are simply a constant part of life. If so, you’re probably pretty keen to help your baby take longer naps because…

Short Naps Suck

There are many reasons why short naps suck but the big three are:

  • You’ll spend longer putting baby to sleep than your baby actually sleeps.
  • You never get break.
  • Babies who take consistently short naps are generally unhappy babies.

Really, neither you nor your baby is particularly happy about short naps.

The Short Nap Myth

You can’t make your newborn baby nap longer. Some babies will start taking longer naps earlier than others. There is always some Mom in the new baby playgroup that will tell you that their baby takes 3 hour naps all day long because of the magical book they read. Nope. Their baby is taking long naps because she is biologically ready to do so.

Want Long Naps?

Newborn babies will often take itty-bitty cat naps all day long until they consolidate their naps into longer chunkier naps. Nap consolidation can happen anytime between 6 weeks and 6 months. If you are the parent of a baby under 6 months you are probably pretty keen to have your baby consolidate naps. Parenting a cat napper can be exhausting and frustrating.

Sleep consolidation also reflects the maturation of intrinsic bioregulatory processes.

Unfortunately you can’t force a short-napper into taking longer naps. There are internal processes within your baby that need to develop and you can’t make it happen. Generally people refer to this as your baby’s circadian rhythm although it’s actually rather complex and involves multiple parts of the brain. You don’t need to know the specifics although you can impress your friends by dropping this quote (from the NIH article).

Just know that you can’t MAKE it happen and if yours is the last baby on the block taking short crappy naps, it’s not necessarily because you are failing as a parent, you have a bad baby, or because of that one glass of white wine you had when you were pregnant.

Short Naps For All Eternity?

You can, of course, delay nap consolidation by keeping your baby awake too long resulting in them becoming OVERtired. Overtired babies generally take short naps. If your baby is less than 6 months old and you’re doing everything you can to keep your baby from being awake too long, you’re providing lots of age-appropriate soothing, etc. and your baby STILL takes short naps, then it just means she isn’t ready to take longer naps yet. It’ll come.

However if your baby is older than 6 months and still taking short naps then you may have a problem.

  • The #1 reason babies over 6 months are taking short naps is that they’re not falling asleep on their own yet.
  • The #2 most common reason (which is actually related) is that you’re still using pacifiers and/or bottles at bedtime.
  • And #1 & #2 are almost always compounded by…
  • Keeping baby awake too long.
  • Lack of consistency (where they sleep, bedtime/nap routines, etc.).
  • Chronic sleep deprivation (tired babies are generally crappy nappers).

If you’re still rocking/nursing/bouncing them fully to sleep, or putting them to sleep with a pacifier or bottle, I can pretty much guarantee that they’ll take short naps forever. Helping your baby learn to fall asleep without you/bottle/pacifier is NOT EASY. Neither is getting your kid out of diapers, dealing with bullies, or having the condom talk. And yet these are all things you’ll have to do.

Similarly you are no longer the parent of a newborn who could easily sleep whenever and wherever it suited. As the parent of a regulation-sized baby it’s time to get serious about making sure you are home at nap time, using consistent routines when it’s time for sleep, and having your baby sleep in the same place round the clock.

How Long Is a Long Nap?

A long nap is generally around 1-1.5 hours although some lucky moms have been blessed with 3 hour nappers. You can identify these parents because of their healthy glow. And the fact that they’re about to get their first novel published.

So good luck getting your short napper to take long naps. Feel free to share how and when you achieved nap nirvana!

{photo credit: yoshimov}

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  1. Our baby started doing the 30 minute nap thing at 6 weeks old. Nothing we tried made any difference. Until we started putting her to sleep on her side. I know it’s a no-no, but instead of her getting a 30 minute nap this morning, she went for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Admittedly, that’s the longest she’s ever napped, but she usually takes two 30 minute naps and two longer naps (hour to hour and half) during the day. This is instead of 6-88 or so 30 minute naps, and she (and I) would still be miserable all day long. So if you’re at the end of your rope (and after 3 months of 30 minute naps, we were), try side sleeping!

    • Hey Amber,
      I can’t suggest side sleeping or tummy sleeping although you’re right some kids sleep like champs on their tummy. But I am glad that both of you aren’t miserable all day long anymore!

      • Has “drowsy but awake EVER worked for anyone… EVER??? Just makes baby madder and more frustrated. It’s impossible to put them down after a few attempts. Also, tried “teaching to fall asleep” using swing for past 7 days and DOES NOT WORK. Baby is 4 months old.

        • Yes – so far drowsy and awake has worked. We started at about 4 months old. I started with naps, because I could not afford to have my 4 month old whimper or whine or cry at night while my 3 year old was going to sleep or was sleeping. It took a good 3 to 4 days – and he was mad the first time I tried it – I picked him up several times to comfort. The key thing I learned is that you hold them as usual until they are relaxed and nearly asleep (peeping eyes, fluttering eyes), and gently put baby down on mattress. I picked him up to comfort him if he was upset and laid him back down drowsy the first 4 days until he got use to falling asleep with me in the room but on his crib mattress. after that, if he was upset i would gently put him on his side to rub his back, he would find his hands to comfort himself by putting them to his mouth and when he relaxed i would gently let go of his back. I did this for a few days, and eventually I would move myself away down his crib or sit on the floor of his room until he fell asleep by himself – where he didn’t see me, but i could get to him easily without too much effort. it took about 12 days to get to this point with the back pat to comfort him. Day 13 an onward I was started leaving his room as soon as I placed him down in the crib. He would fall asleep in about 5 minutes. (note I have the room darkened a bit with some cloth and I have a whitenoisemaker – and a monitor so i can hear him). All in all the first 4/5 days is the most work where I had to find out what worked for my baby – I wasn’t comfortable with the cry it out method. The key is you must stick to it, don’t worry about having to pick him up, or rocking him to comfort him/her to calm them down. The key is that once they are calm place baby back in the crib drowsy – the main factor is that baby must fall asleep in the crib so they get use to it as their method of sleep (we use to rock baby to sleep, until it started not working because he would wake up when we placed him down). Next step is to start having hubby or someone else put him down so he gets use to it without always you putting baby down to sleep.

          • Drowsy but awake is definitely a challenging process. If you try it when they’re too young it doesn’t work. If you try it when they’re too old, it rarely works. If you try it too abruptly things go south. So there is a combination of timing and finesse that have to line up for a successful “drowsy but awake” transition.

            What Maureen describes (above) is a great sample of a patient yet consistent transition to drowsy but awake. Thanks for sharing!

            • I have a three month old who will turn four months on February 2. He has slept 10 hours straight at night since he was 9 weeks or so but continues to have difficulty with naps. He will take 2-3 30 minute naps in his crib but will sleep 3 hours if I have him in a sling/carrier. He’s generally a happy guy but does get fussy when he fights going to sleep. I keep an eye out for his tired signs and keep to the 2 hour awake window as a guideline. I’m so tired of wearing him all day. I read Maureen’s post and her method sounds like it could work for him but I have a 2 year old so I’m having a hard time spending the time I need to get the baby to sleep. I’d love some help/advice.

          • Hi Maureen and Alexis, just wanted to thank you both for all the comments and advice you have posted. I’ve been rocking my son to sleep until he is totally passed out until I read on your website that it’s the worst I can do :( so I decided to do things differently before its too late and I’ve been trying to do exactly what Maureen described for the drowsy but awake and today was a lot more successful than cold turkey yesterday where all my 4 month old son did was cry his heart out, which in turn made me cry :( today not only did I do drowsy but awake and picked him up to console him every time he cried or did some winning, but doing this turned his usual 30 minute naps into 1h45 in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon… Such a blessing. I hope today is the sign of even better sleeping days to come.

            Thanks sooo much for all the precious advice.

        • Just want to be clear, I always picked up my baby during the first week of the “put down drowsy” training, when he was upset or started to cry. The comforting actually helped him become comfortable with me putting him down to sleep in his crib by himself, because he knew I was there. Eventually he became use to his crib as a source of comfort.

          • My DD is 4.5 months old and I am trying to start this at nap time. I have an almost 4 year old as well. Do you include nursing/bottle during this process? Also how did you keep your 3 year old out while you did this. My little guy is constantly busting in the room and interrupting the process.

        • Gloria, drowsy but awake has worked for my baby on the whole, but it’s been a process to get there. I know the whole “cry-it-out” thing is very controversial, but nothing else was working for my baby til I tried it. She’s very strong willed and is very easily startled by noise and movement, thus, she WILL NOT sleep in a carrier, while being rocked, or in a moving car (if she does, it’s only after screaming for a stretch, and she’ll nap for maybe 10 minutes before something startles her awake). She’s also never taken to the swing. For her first CIO, it went about a brutal hour before she fell asleep, but now she typically falls asleep on her own between 5-20 minutes of fussing and takes good naps. I don’t know if this is for you, but be encouraged to know that my DD wouldn’t take to the swing either. It was her bed or nothing. Also, she naps on her tummy (I know, I know, but we’ve taken all the precautions, and she’s got a beautifully shaped head and very strong neck muscles because of it. Plus, it’s the only way she’ll sleep). Best of luck!

  2. I’m still working this out with my 4 month old. Do you recommend working on putting them down drowsy but awake at nap times too? My son is pretty good at this at night but not so much during the day. Acts like he’s going to miss something.

    • Drowsy but awake is definitely something you need to do around the clock eventually or this will happen:

      It is harder to do for naps then bedtime. At bedtime most babies are too tired to fight you about it. Naptime they are tired but not AS tired and thus is more of a challenge. He’s still young but ideally over the next month or so you would be able to put him down awake. Good luck!

      • hi Adrienne/Alexis, my baby is the other way around, he falls alseep no problem during naps. It’s bedtime he seems to fight whether i put him to bed ontime, a little early or a little late. But it is also the time his brother and dad come home. wondering if it’s because of this? I actually did the “drowsy but awake” during his naps.

        • Well if the Dad and brother are laughing/playing in the other room it could definitely work against you. But my guess is that what is happening is that the part of the brain that manages day sleep is DIFFERENT from that which manages night sleep.

          So he’s effectively learned how to sleep for naps but the part that is working at night HASN’T yet learned. However I know from your other comment that you masterfully handled nap training and thus have every confidence that you can use the same techniques at bedtime. I know it’s frustrating because you feel you already DID all that good work but sadly, this is the way of things;)

          Good luck!

      • hi
        Will drowsy but awake work for my 6.5 month old baby
        Or it’s too late..he is a catnapping since birth & my night are terrible too

  3. Mary Margaret Jackson

    Thanks for this post! It is really frustrating to have a baby that will ONLY nap in 30 minute increments, and it is good to be reminded that there is nothing wrong with that, at least not yet. My son is four months old and just started daycare. Even the daycare providers were laughing at how my son has a very accurate internal clock that only lets him sleep for 30 minutes on the nose. I have a couple questions that I’m hoping to get your thoughts on. You say to be consistent with how we put him down, and we are when he’s at home, three days a week. But he’s at daycare four days a week. Will that wreck our consistency? My other question is about pacifiers. Is cold turkey our only option? And if our son still needs to be swaddled, is it fair to try taking away his current form of sucking if he can’t get to his fingers to suck? We’ve tried napping/sleeping at night without, and it results in no sleeping. He has been a big comfort sucker since day one and it is the one thing that really calms him down when he is upset. Should we just try again in a few weeks? I’m basically at my wits end about the pacifier – I had to replace it 7 times last night, in addition to nursing him twice.

    • 1) Daycare – Ideally there would be some consistency between daycare and home. I would talk to them about what their routine is vs. yours and see what you guys can do to sync up somewhat.

      Although to be fair some babies are pretty good at doing it one way THERE and another way with YOU. Still good daycare providers are generally flexible.

      2) Pacifier – I call what you are doing the paci shuffle. In my opinion, once you are doing the paci shuffle, it has ceased to work. And yes – pacifiers are pretty bianary – you either give it to him or you don’t. If you continue to give him the pacifier you can expect to do the paci shuffle until he is 2 years old or figures out how to put it in his own mouth (you’ll notice other parents putting their kids in cribs that are literally filled with pacifiers hoping to make this happen).

      I would try swaddling him with one arm out. This keeps some of the soothing benefit of the swaddle but also creates the opportunity for him to get his hands in his mouth. Although he’s a bit young so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s unable to get them in there quite yet.

      Hope that helps?

  4. Short naps could happen to adults as well, I think. I usually felt weary and tired after waking up, and I went to my doctor. He suggested me to use a sleep cycle watcher (available for smartphones as well), which indicates my sleeping cycles and wakes me up when I’m in the REM phase. It’s very useful.

    • Is that because you were sleeping TOO long and woke up feeling loggy/wonky?

      As a rule you don’t want to wake up babies but their naps/brains are far different from ours.

  5. Just saw this – and it answers my first question from before. Thanks!

    • No worries – lots of people have questions about short naps. Of course all the questions are the same, “When is this going to stop?” 😉

  6. What a perfect post! We only had maybe 2 naps that lasted longee than 30 min – eve during the babymoon. If a 5 week old only takes ridiculously short naps ( 15 min tops) would you recommend trying to get him back to sleep? Or once he is up that’s it – the cycle starts all over? If so, this kid ends up eating every hour! Trying to get him back to sleep every 5-15 min is exhausting also… Makes me laugh at “sleep when your baby sleeps saying”. Thanks for writing and for replying to every comment – this is a life saver for sleep deprivation. (btw all the bases are covered – swaddle, swing, white noise, pacifier)

    • Hi Ally,
      5 weeks is a rough time (statistically 6 weeks is the hardest and then things gradually ease up). 15 minute naps are rough but I don’t generally find babies fall back to sleep that easily. So maybe his pattern for now is sleep 15 minutes – awake 45 minutes. Thus he would sleep 15 minutes out of every hour? That’s a rough cycle for you though :(

      Are nights somewhat better or is he literally nursing every hour round the clock (ie 24 nursing sessions a day)?

      • Thankfully, we do get a longer stretch from 10 till 1 or 2. After that, we’re back to the short cycles. We went through this a couple of weeks ago which I attributed to the 3 week growth spurt (which incidentally lasted a whole week). After that is when we had a couple of days of 1 hour or even 1.5 hour naps. Now, we’re back to not sleeping and eating every hour – every 1.5 hours. So I’m guessing this is the beginning of the 6 week growth spurt (he is 5 weeks old today)? We have been religious about making sure we keep his awake times to max 1 hour 15 min between naps. Also, I’m pretty sure, I don’t have a supply problem (I’ve been taking every possible measure, like extra pumpings, eating supply boosting foods, lots of water, etc.). What makes these short cycles worse is that he nurses for a full 45 minutes. Maybe he is just a big eater and is working me hard now to make sure he has enough food ?! :) Thanks again for all your support. This site is a favorite on my iPhone, especially while I’m awake for 45 minute stretches in the middle of the night :)

        • Yikes! Well I’m happy to entertain you during your evening adventures (my own source for filling downtime is because even if I don’t actually go to movies anymore I liked to know what’s going on ;).

          But that sounds rough. Both the fact that he is up/nursing SO much at night. And the 45 minute nursing session (generally 10 minutes a side->20 minutes total is the norm, if you can call anything with nursing the norm since things vary).

          Probably everything is going great. But if I were you I would probably check in with a local IBCLC.

          I had low milk supply and it was a huge party (she says sarcastically) of pumping with a hospital-grade pump, taking prescription supplements, and drinking so much water I floated to the bathroom every hour. And while my baby was getting almost enough it was just a tad short of what he needed (my tank was probably 5% low). But the pattern you are describing sounds a little familiar so while probably it’s just a sleep regression, a good IBCLC might confirm it for you.

          (Please don’t freak out – probably everything is just fine, OK?)

  7. My baby is now almost 7 weeks old and has just started sleeping through the night–she goes to bed between 10-11 PM and wakes up between 6-8 AM. (YAY!) After breakfast, she usually goes back to sleep for a couple hours. Then she cat naps ALL DAY, only sleeping for about 20 minutes or less at a time, and only in my arms–she won’t stay asleep in her swing (where she sleeps so wonderfully at night). I know this isn’t good for her because she just gets crankier and crankier as the day goes on–the only thing that calms her down is my breast. I basically just let her nibble all day long to keep her happy. However, I go back to work next week, so this option is going to quickly go away! Do you have any advice on getting her to sleep longer during the day and not need my breast so much for comfort?

    By the way, I posted a couple weeks ago about having the ten year-old swing. You should be happy to know that we bought the Fisher Price My Little Snugabunny swing–and me, my husband and the baby all LOVE it. :)

    • You say she won’t stay asleep in the swing but she’s only sleeping for 20 minutes in your arms. How much worse (than 20 minutes) could the swing really be?

      I would slather on the soothing (swaddle, white noise, dark room, nurse to sleep fully) and then work the swing. I would also play around with other techniques to help soothe her just to give your poor nips a break :p Car ride, stroller walk, warm bath, babywearing, what have you. Maybe she’ll take a longer nap if you take her for a long mid-afternoon walk. Not ideal in the long term but might give you a bit of a reprieve for now?

      Glad to hear the Snugabunny is working out!

  8. Yep, this is my nemesis .. right now actually. Can’t seem to do anything about it either, which is really frustrating. At almost 6 months, I never know if I’m going to get 30 minutes or 45 or 1.5 hour, but one thing I know is that the more I want the long nap, the less likely I am to get it, or at least it feels that way. It makes it so hard to have any kind of schedule. Erg is all I can say.

    • If you wanted to get scientific and keep a record, you would likely find that the 45-1.5 hour naps are gradually becoming more frequent. But probably really slowly that it feels like it’s barely happening :(

      Also? I think you are 110% right about long naps never coming when you REALLY want them. I think parents give out this nervous/desperate energy when they REALLY need a long nap and, just like dogs, the babies pick up on it. I swear this has been my experience too. If you try to take a nap yourself – baby is up 15 minutes later. If you sit on the couch flipping through an old People magazine you stole from your pediatrician, baby sleeps 2 hours.

  9. Ok so my 5.5 mo old boy was only napping on me -like couldn’t put him down once fell asleep. About a month ago I started trying to really work on this and he would only take 35 min naps. Three of them. Now he will extend one of them throughout the day but never more than one. And he’s tired. And because of it goes to bed REALLY early.

    My question is: if I rock him instead he will sleep 3×1-2+ hour naps. Is it better to leave him there to try to help him learn to do it himself but end up with a lot less sleep or to go in and rock him?

    And number 2 since I’m constantly leaving him trying to extend naps I have trouble sticking w any kind of nap schedule in order to keep him from getting too tired – is there a way out of this to a more consistent routine?


    • I totally get where you are coming from. But here’s the dilemma – if you hold/rock him for NOW he’ll take longer naps. But you are setting yourself up for an object permanence problem (if you don’t already have one) – see here…

      I wouldn’t worry about the schedule. I WOULD worry about how long he is awake between naps. See below.

      As for your short nap = too early bedtime dilemma, I would probably stick with his normal short nap bed routine during the day. However for the last nap of the day maybe you wear him, take him for a walk, or drive. Whatever will result in a LONG nap but spare your arms. So he’s generally napping in bed but we squeeze out a decent end of day nap so he’s not going to bed at 4:00 PM.

      I believe this will keep you on track to NOT have an object permanence problem so that he can ORGANICALLY develop longer naps. But also not have to face the short term nightmare of an exhausted baby who goes to bed too early.

  10. Hi,
    My 12 week old will sleep 4-5 hours at night, wake, nurse back to sleep, but naps only 20 minutes in the day. If I pick him up after 20 minutes, he can fall easily back to sleep in the sling on me, so he can sleep more, it’s not just that he only needs 20 min naps. We put him down asleep…I know that’s bad, but he will cry cry cry cry if we don’t. Tried CIO, goes on and on and doesn’t let up. I think he’s too young? I don’t like it anyway! Any tips for easing him to sleep from groggy? It’s worked a few times, but then still a 20 min nap after that (or less). Any ideas for a baby who needs more than 20 mins but can’t cycle himself back through the sleep cycle yet (at least not in teh day?)

    • 1) I don’t advocate CIO for such young babies!
      2) Few 12 week olds can put themselves to sleep (you’ve still got time!) See here for more on that….

      Where is he sleeping now? You don’t specify but my big suggestion for newborn short nappers is to use the swaddle, white noise (LOUD!) and a swing. Most newborns will take crappy naps in a crib. And it sounds like he needs more soothing (that’s why he’ll take a huge nap in the sling but not his bed). I would work with more soothing to see if you can’t break the 20 minute barrier. Good luck!

      • My LO is 11 weeks old. I have tried to do “drowsy but awake” to no avail. He will only sleep for 30 minutes at a time for each nap, but if I hold him I can get anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours out of him. Did I try the method too early? Should I keep trying? I’m going back to work in a week and I want to make sure he’s going to be okay since I don’t think the daycare providers are going to be able to hold him for his naps. He goes to bed around 8pm, sometimes earlier depending on his day and wakes 2-3 times a night to BF. during the day I usually do the eat, play, sleep thing. I really try to make sure I’m getting him down for a nap within that two hour time frame, but the nap longevity just isn’t there. Thoughts? Advice?

  11. Okay, you say that the time to start teaching babies to sleep without you is 3-6 months because of object permeance. But I shouldn’t let my baby CIO until he is 6 months. The problem here, is I cannot put my 3 month old to sleep without me being in the room. He will go to sleep when he is drowsy but awake most of the time in the swing, swaddled, and with loud white noise. BUT, I have to be sitting there with him, sometimes singing to him. Without seeing me, he screams. How can I train him to fall asleep on his own between 3-6 months if I’m not supposed to let him cry it out until after that?

    • Hey – don’t yell at me, I don’t make the rules, I just blog about them on the Internet.

      Everybody has that thing they have to do to help their newborn sleep. Usually it’s nursing or rocking, so yours is a bit unusual in that it’s “letting him look at you.” And this is probably exacerbated by the fact that newborns are essentially blind and he can’t see you if you’re too far away. But like everybody else you’re going to have to gradually get him used to NOT seeing you to fall asleep. Or yes you’ll likely be facing CIO.

      If I were you I would very gradually move back away from him (maybe 6 inches a day) so he get’s used to you being farther and father, but so gradually he (hopefully) doesn’t notice. I would also put a small piece of cloth that smells like you in the swing with him (like a 6X6 inch square that you stuff in your bra when he’s not sleeping). Put it behind his head so it’s not an entrapment hazard but he can smell it. This may help him feel comforted by your presence without YOU actually being there (because you’ll be getting blurrier to him as you move yourself farther away).

  12. Maybe you can help me :s

    My 10.5 month old son finally learned how to sleep at night 2 monhs ago. I didn’t know about your site then, but we used a book that suggested many of the same recommendations. Finally, he went from never sleeping longer than 1 hour (ever!), to sleeping through the night.
    Althougb I have been SO grateful for our night time sleep, I still envy the parents of babies who nap. I tried everything that worked for us at bed time (routine, consistency, putting down tired but not overtired or asleep, etc) but nothing seemed to work. He would cry through the entire nap time, then he actually stopped sleeping through the night!! So out of fear of loosing his bed time sleep, we gave up on nap time training almost a month ago. Now, I nurse him to sleep in the morning and he sleeps in my arms for 1.5 – 2 hours, and I take him for a drive for his 1 hour afternoon nap. We now have a happy and well rested son; however, we can’t do this forever.
    In one month I go back to work and I would really like to know that he is able to nap before then.


    • Well I don’t know what your super secret night method was. And that information would probably be helpful :)

      But I hear that after almost a whole year your arms are probably pretty tired, you don’t want to cruise around every day, and you don’t want to add this to the stress of going back to work.

      (To be clear I’m all for the occasional car nap of desperation – it’s a tried and true technique! But 11 months is a lot of miles to clock in the name of sleep).

      Are you nursing him to sleep for naps daily? The good news is that he is ABSOLUTELY capable of napping JUST fine. If you hold him he’ll take a rocking morning nap. And it sounds like his afternoon nap is solid if you’re driving. Am guessing the nurse+hold routine wasn’t working so well in the afternoon?

      But this validates that he is TOTALLY capable. There is no hidden medical issue. There is not some random thing preventing him from sleeping.

      So without knowing more details, I would probably take the short-run hit (possible disruption of night sleep) and go back to training for naptime. Now again I have the caveat here that I don’t know the whole story of how you are handling this. And it’s entirely possible that it’s not the right method for your baby.

      But you’ve taught him to sleep one way (nurse to sleep, held) so it’s totally possible to teach another way.

      Also – if he digs the car I would TOTALLY use LOUD white noise and possibly the swing for nap time. YES he is a big/old baby for the swing but it just MAY be a way to transition without as much drama as the crib. Also? If the car works then you know he a) LOVES LOUD NOISE and b) LOVES MOTION. So you want to work that in as much as you can.

      Please do let me know how things work out, yes?

  13. Hi I’m wondering if you can give me some advice. My 24 week old baby sleeps really well at night, goes down on his own and unless he has a tummy or teething problem he does 11 hours. I got into a bad habit of letting him nap on me during the day which I’m now trying to break. I find he goes down ok but will wake up 45-50 mins later, whereas on me he would obviously go for longer. Is this developmental and will after a while increase or if you have any advice on how to increase it I’d be very grateful! Great blog with lots of really useful information. X

    • Actually a 45-50 minute nap for a 6 month old baby is pretty good. In fact there are plenty of other people here in the comments who DREAM of getting a 50 minute nap from their 6 month olds 😉 So I hear you – it’s shorter than if you cuddled – but it’s not desperately short.

      At 6 months consistency is key so unless you care to have him nap on you until he is 3/4 years old I would definitely work with the crib. No it is not as soothing as lying on you and his naps will be shorter. Hopefully you can help provide soothing via other means – white noise, a lovey (if he takes one, etc.) and over time he’ll take longer naps in here. But my sense is that he is USED to sleeping with you and it’s normal for it to take a while for him to get USED to sleeping in his bed.

      • Thanks for that – good to know its not too short. I’ve been worrying that he’s not getting long enough naps that may impact nighttime sleep. I have introduced a lovie and he holds it tightly, he also sucks his thumb so plenty of self soothing going on! Thanks again for the reassurance.

  14. Hi Alexis
    Just wanted to share my weekend nap experience (when my hubby is around to give me a fresh perspective on things).
    Normally if my baby wakes up screaming and fighting his swaddle 30 mins after i put him down for a nap, i just say to myself “curses”, and go pick him up to play/nurse etc.
    I watched my husband turn some crappy 30 min naps into beautiful 2 hour naps by not giving up and reinforcing/adding the soothing layers (e.g. swing, swaddle, paci etc) and the baby actually went to sleep again! if nothing else worked, he would take the baby on his laps and LO would happily keep on sleeping. Limiting, but this is what i believe iPad was created for :)
    I applied the same technique to my LO’s night sleep. I would normally give up at 6am, but today he slept that way until 8am (have to admit that the last leg was on my laps).
    The big difference is that instead of a cranky baby i get a smiley happy baby after the nap, and it’s worth a lot!

    • Way to go Daddy! Sometimes you can extend a short nap with extra soothing. Sometimes you can’t. I just say this so you don’t feel super frustrated if some days it doesn’t happen. But it’s a GREAT thing to try because babies are unpredictable (sometimes in really great ways ;).

      And yes on the iPad!

  15. Hi! I have a 15 month old that still takes short naps. She had pretty bad reflux and has never napped good. She does pretty good at night; sleeps 12 hours and only wakes up about every other night needing help to calm down and go back to sleep.
    Naps are pretty awful. The first nap is 30 minutes and I typically can’t get a second nap anymore. The second nap used to be 30 minutes in the afternoon. Now she will cry the entire time. So I thought it may be time to transition to one nap a day. I’ve done this and it’s still only 30 minutes. I would give up but she’s so cranky and whiny it’s making me crazy!!! Please help.
    She sleeps in the crib with white noise. Half the time she falls asleep on her own and the other with me walking with her inher room. No paci, bottle, nursing.

    • It’s hard to say because if you aren’t really managing the reflux (which is hard to do) that certainly would explain why naps are short. Refluxing kids are generally crappy nappers but often sleep OK at night, because they’re EXHAUSTED from not sleeping all day. Do you think you have the reflux under control with drugs/lifestyle management?

      The walking to sleep is definitely not helping you and could also be leading towards short naps. Check this out:

      At 15 months you don’t have a ton of options other than being consistent with your routine, loose the walking to sleep, and use loud white noise. It’s hard to keep a toddler propped up to help with the reflux which is why generally medical/lifestyle options are your only alternative at this age. If you suspect reflux is still an issue I would probably talk to your pediatrician about starting or increasing his medication.


  16. Hi Alexis,

    I have a just shy of 6 months old boy taking short naps. He sleeps well at night from 7pm until around 7am and wakes up once between 2:30 and 4:30am to eat and he goes down no problem at bedtime (no paci, usually fusses for 5 minutes or so and then passes out). Nap time, however, has been all over the place. I only keep him awake for 2 hours and I watch for his tired cues (eye rubbing, ear pulling, yawning) and put him down immediately. We have a pretty short nap routine, but it’s always the same – play 3 minutes of lullabies, let him cuddle with his stuffed bunny, then I’ll swaddle, turn on the white noise and leave the room.

    I just stopped giving him the pacifier at nap time a few weeks ago and it wasn’t a big deal at all. He started to consolidate his naps right after I took the pacifier away (he used to take 4 30 minute naps, went to 2 30 minutes in the morning and one long PM nap) but then last week he started going back to the 30 minute naps 4 times a day. Any idea on what I could be doing wrong or should be doing instead?

    • Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Why are his naps fluctuating? I don’t know! This is the way of babies. Could be the 6 month sleep regression (yes this is actually “a think”). Could be teething. Could be it’s just where he is at.

      But it sounds like you are handling things perfectly in which case you just stick to what you are doing and let him work it out on his own.

  17. Hi, I’m a first time mum to a gorgeous 11 week old girl, whom my family all describe as a placid, easygoing bub. Which she generally is, unless she’s tired or hungry. When she was about 6 weeks old a friend gave me a swing, which I started letting her nap in during the day, as she usually nods off within 5 minutes and sleeps for up to 3.5 hours!! However I am worried about her becoming reliant on the swing, so I keep trying to put her in her bassinette for at least 1 daytime nap. These mostly only last 30-40 min and I have to rock her to sleep before putting her down. In the end she becomes overtired and cranky and we resort to the swing.

    I have 2 issues, firstly, is she now waking up cranky and crying in the swing because of the crappy bassinette naps? Or is the sleep quality in a swing as poor as I’ve read it is on other sites? Secondly, you mention that they can be transitioned from the swing into the cot but how exactly do you go about this? Is it just cold turkey and persevere until they eventually get it? Am I worrying unnecessarily? Should I just go back to letting her have all her naps in the swing and worry about it later? Or keep trying the bassinette every day?

    • Check the post below (swing guide) for more information on how to get babies out of the swing.

      She is JUST 11 weeks old. Chances are that within the next 4-6 weeks she won’t need the swing anymore. But I don’t believe that forcing the issue with 1 crappy short cot nap is really doing you any favors (sounds like it leaves you with a crabby tired kid yes?). Gradually weaning off the swing should be a relatively painless process when their ready. If it’s NOT a) gradual and b) painless then you’re trying too soon (generally). So I would get her used to a non moving swing using the method I outlined below. Once she is happily sleeping in a non moving swing THEN you move to the cot.

      Also there is no evidence that motion sleep is less restorative than non motion sleep. That whole theory comes from Weissbluth (who I love in general) because of his opinion that if HE doesn’t sleep well on airplanes, then babies don’t sleep well when moving. Obviously everybody is keen to be done with the swing eventually (as we are all keen to eventually wean off the swaddle, night feedings, etc.). And you’ll get there – sooner than later, I’m guessing.

      Check the post below – I think it’ll help clear things up for you a bit?

  18. My 5.5 month old baby has been a short napper since she was born. Right now she is sleeping from 8pm until 7am. She takes one 1hr long nap from 8am until 9am & then she will have 2/3 half hr naps throughout the day. She is very happy & does not seem to need to take longer naps. Why do you stress that it is important that babies nap for longer? I’m just curious. I thought it doesn’t matter once she is getting her total required sleep time per day.

    • Why? Because longer consolidated sleep is considered more restorative. Which doesn’t mean that you have a problem – if you’re doing all the right things (consistency, not letting her get over tired, etc.) then she’s sleeping fine! It’s just that many parents AREN’T consistent, DON’T have good sleep associations, and DO let their kids stay awake too long. Which is guaranteed to result in kids who are overtired and thus take short naps because they can’t sleep any longer even when they need to.

      So yes it will be a good thing when she’s taking a 1 hour nap AM and PM. But the fact that she’s already doing so in the AM is a great sign that she’s well on her way!

      • Thank you for your reply. I’m very consistent with her sleep & to be honest I wouldn’t have known that she needs to be put down after being up for a certain length of time only for your sleep guide. I would have been waiting for signs of tiredness which then means that Isabel has gotten over tired & it’s harder to get her to sleep. So thank you for your excellent guide. It really is such a help : )

  19. I’m one of these dolly mums who tries to ‘fix’ my lo sleep! He is eight wks and I think we’ve been going through 8am spurt/regression. He has been good at settling but last couple of days has needed paci and woken up every 20mins in the day and at 5am this instead of 7:30am. My question is I read (baby whisperer) that I should stay with my baby for twenty mins till he’s totally asleep, or should I leave him awake and let him moan? He moans and shouts a lot, if it turns to a hard cry I go to him. What would you suggest at this age and going forward? Thanks

    • Honey he’s only 8 weeks old! If he is just moaning you could test him by seeing if he can fall asleep on his own but it’s TOTALLY OK to stay with him while he falls asleep! At 8 weeks he’s going to need TONS of soothing and that is totally normal and OK! Swaddle, white noise, lots of snuggling, swinging, pacifier, etc. Great! He’s a newborn baby – this is what they need!

      What about going forward? I think this will help you sort that out a bit?

      Basically you want to gradually move forward towards helping him sleep on his own. Most babies start to get a handle on this around 3-4 months. Some later. But 8 weeks? Generally not. Hopefully this helps you relax a little bit? :)

  20. Hi Alexis,
    How do you know when a nap is complete? Our 15 week old has been extremely fussy/colicky/with reflux since day 1. We feel like he’s finally, finally starting to get out of that phase. Yayyyy!!! However, he rarely wakes up happy from naps. He often wakes up crying or full on screaming. If we get him up, he just acts drowsy the whole time until his next nap (which is oftentimes even shorter than the previous). If we try to extend his nap, we are rarely successful and end up spending more time soothing him than he actually sleeps. Just to clarify, he usually does a pretty decent stretch at night (6-8 hours) and then is up every couple of hours after that. When he wakes up for the day (usually between 5-6am) he doesn’t last very long (about an hour) and then he’s down for his first nap of the day. This first nap is always his best (1.5 – 2 hours). And then the short cat naps, grumpy, tired baby cycle begins. We end up getting so tired and fed up that we start his bedtime routine around 5:30-6:00pm with him actually falling asleep around 6:30-7:00. Any advice? I just want a happy baby! He’s so sweet in the morning but practically unbearable by evening. :(

    • Hard babies are HARD. The term “fussy baby” seems so cute and delicate when what it describes is just HARD.

      I’m sure you are doing TONS of soothing as this is probably how you’ve survived the past 15 weeks. And if so this may not be a problem you can solve.

      Lots of babies wake up cranky. They’re basically a bit disoriented, popping out of sleep during a sleep cycle where they just feel “off” and while they need more sleep they aren’t yet capable of getting through the “awake” part of the sleep cycle to fall back into a deeper level of sleep. So you end up with short naps followed by a cranky baby.

      PS. Both of my kids were like this. This is why even now when they’re older, TV time comes after afternoon naptime. So when my 2 YO would wake up cranky I would let him spend his cranky time camped in front of 20 minutes of TV. By the end of WordWorld he wasn’t cranky anymore. This doesn’t help you at all, but I’m just sharing that I’ve been there and even if it doesn’t get better, as they get older you have more options to handle it 😛

      Other than giving him tons of soothing (white noise, swaddle, swing, etc.) when he sleeps to help him navigate the awake cycle there isn’t much you can do to break out of this. Some of it is age and development. And positive thinking. It’s a grind but it won’t always be. But I’m afraid I don’t have a fix for you :(

      • OMGoodness! I think we may be on to something with the whole swing thing. We started putting him in the swing (while swaddled and with the pacifier) for both naps and night. Since we’ve started doing that, he’s been sleeping from 7:00pm-6:30am with one quick feeding around 3:30. He’s also been taking two 2 hour naps and one 30 minute cat nap at the end of the day. Our incredibly unpredictable baby is slowly starting to fall into a routine. I can honestly say I never thought this day would come. :)

        I can’t believe you had two hard kids. My husband and I have always wanted a big family, but now we’re scared to death that we’ll end up going through all of this again. Everyone tells us that there’s no way we’d end up with another one as high maintenance as this little boy has been. Now you have me scared that there is a possibility… :)

        P.S. Thanks so much for this site and all the information. I know we’re still really early on in this new routine, but even if it only lasts for a week- it’s been amazing! It feels so weird to wake up not feeling completely exhausted from the night before. Thanks again for your quick response. I’m definitely a new believer in the swing. :)

        • First? My kids BOTH had reflux. So you can’t compare my experience with “average baby stuff.” Second? About 1/3rd of babies will be fussy. Each time you give birth you roll the fussy dice. This time it came up snake-eyes. Next time it may come up snake-eyes too – there is a 33% chance that it will. But that means there is a 66% chance that it won’t.

          Trust me, when that kid turns 2 the prospect of another baby will seem like a good idea. I don’t know why this happens at 2, but it does. Like clockwork 😉

          Glad to hear you’re having such great success!

  21. Hi Alexis,
    I’ve got an issue that’s driving me up the wall! My little girl is 4 months old and she sleeps like a champ during the night for the most part (goes to sleep at 8pm, wakes up at 1am and 5am for a feed then goes straight back off the sleep with her white noise on) but daytime naps are a nightmare. I take her up to her room when she seems to be getting tired, or at least every two hours. I change her, sitting with her in a rocking chair, sing to her for a bit or look at a bedtime story book cuddle her into she’s drowsy but still awake, put her white noise on, give her a kiss and leave her to it. She fusses for a few minutes, but doesn’t go into a full cry and sucks her thumb and doses off. So far so perfect, right? Yeah, well 15 mins later- always 15mins without fail- she wakes up screaming inconsolably and I have no idea why. I go in and her eyes are wide open, she’s kicked all the blankets off and the only way to calm her is to pick her up. She’s clearly still tired and after calming her, she goes back to sleep but either won’t be put down or will only go back to sleep when I lean over the cot with my face right next to hers. Then sometimes she’ll have a nice long nap but sometimes she’ll just keeping waking up like this every 15minutes. I just don’t know what to do- why is she freaking out like that? I always try to feed her (breastfeed) about 20mins before a nap so that she’s not hungry but has a chance to bring up any wind before laying her down and she’s in her room where she sleeps happily at night. I try to be consistant with the routine but this has been happening since she was 8 weeks old so i’ve tried tweaking things a bit but I’m obviously doing something wrong! Please, please give me some ideas, I’m so frazzled by the end of the day and she’s such a happy kid the rest of the time. Thanks!

    • Well she’s definitely not hungry so at least you’ve ruled that out!

      I don’t know why exactly this is happening but my best guess is that a) she needs more soothing and b) its a bit of a learned behavior. My guess is that she would sleep just fine if you took her into your bed and cuddled with her the whole time (I’m assuming you’ve tried this as WE ALL DO, am I right?).

      It’s great that you’re putting her down awake but it sounds like she dozes off (she’s unlikely to be FULLY asleep in 15 minutes) and then freaks out for some mysterious reason. She’s realized she’s alone? Maybe her thumb pops out of her mouth and THAT is the issue? Who knows. Contrary to what you might have heard I don’t read babies’ minds 😉

      I feel like this is my default answer to everything but – I would give her more soothing! And at 4 months the only real thing you have left in your arsenal is the swing. It’s totally OK to use for naps and then have her in bed at night (this won’t impact her night sleep). Also make sure her room is DARK and the white noise is LOUD.

      Also – not that you asked – but no blankets. Blankets are a SIDS hazard so no blankets <1. And frankly they cause problems - kids get tangled up in them and cry. Plus babies move so much the blanket rarely stays on anyway. Sleep sacks are fine. Or just turn the heat up a little :)

      Let me know if you try the swing - would love to know how things work out!

      • I’m having the same issue here… Although she has never never ever used a swing. She would scream bloody murder from day one. She sleeps through the night without a problem but naps are anywhere from 20-40 mins. Not sure what to do at this point, she will sleep fine in my arms or god forbid the middle of my bed ( I don’t even have to be in it!!). I know this sounds stupid but could it have anything to do with her recently Rollin development?

  22. Hi Alexis
    I wonder if you have any advice for me. My daughter is 7.5 months old, and a cat napper. Naps are usually 30-40 minutes, every now and then she will do a longer nap. I put her down after 2.25 – 2.75hrs wake time depending on how she’s going. She won’t go back to sleep after a short nap and I have long since given up trying to resettle! We took away her dummy about 6 weeks ago as she was waking many times overnight for her dummy we’ve worked hard on self settling, . She goes to sleep no problem most times, i just need to put her in her sleeping bag and say goodnight, and can self settle during the night although she is still having one night feed. is there anything I can do to help her nap longer or do I just accept it and hope that one day she will just nap for longer of her own accord?!

    • Well by almost 8 months you would typically see things improving. And the paci was definitely working against you so you could say “well up until then she couldn’t nap longer because the paci was tripping us up.”

      But if you are putting her down awake in her bed with no paci at naptime and she STILL naps for only 30 minutes then you’re doing just about all you can. 2.5 hours sounds about right. Hopefully the room is SUPER dark and you’re still using LOUD white noise.

      And you’re right – resettling rarely works. So I’m going to go with, “hopefully things get better soon (or already have as it’s been a few weeks).” Sorry – probably not what you wanted to hear 😛

      • Thanks Alexis – and you’re right. EJ is just over 8 months and naps have started to stretch out to 1 – 1.5 hours (finally!) with the odd short one chucked in there to keep me on my toes :-)

        By the way, I think your website is fantastic and has been invaluable for me as a newbie mum. I always look forward to reading your new posts! So thanks again :-)

        • Hi just wondering if you did anything different? My little boy is 6months and we have dropped the dummy for night and naps this last week, naps have always been 30mins but could sometimes resettle with dummy (obviously not now!) he still only naps for 30 mins and goes to sleep in own so can self settle?!

  23. Alexis, I am at my wits end with DD. She is 12 weeks old (3 months next week, and a twin with DS). She has been mostly spoiled as my mother has been living with us, and we found it was so easy to just let her fall asleep on us. In anticipation of my mother leaving soon and me taking care of the twins solo I have been stopping rocking them to sleep and stop letting them sleep on us.

    Two weeks ago I started putting her to sleep in the rock n play in the nursery. When she starts to act drowsy, I turn off the lights, turn on white noise and swaddle. I rock her in my arms while standing until she is drowsy. I put her in the rock n play and rock her some more. I have been trying to get her drowsy and fall asleep on her own. Everyday she fights me when I try to rock her myself. I usually have to pick her up a couple times from the rock n play before she is drowsy enough. It still takes her 5-10 to fall asleep in the rock n play with some rocking. Then she only sleeps for 30-40 min and I have to go in and hold her again and rock her to drowsy and she’ll sleep somemore.

    I have tried short and long wake times and she still fights no matter what. Today just now I did the same routine and she just cried and cried in the rock n play. I was trying for 20 min to get her asleep, which stinks when she might only sleep for 30 min. I gave up and had DH take over and she proceeded to throw a major crying fit and took several minutes to be consoled.

    I am trying my hardest not to rock her to sleep and not let her sleep on me -which is the easy way out. Is this fighting naps something she’ll grow out of? I’m at my wits end as I spend almost half of her nap time trying to get her to sleep. And with DS to put down to naps too (DS has not been very good either) it will be difficult for me to do it all. I feel like I’m doing something wrong for naps and should try a different approach but don’t see what to do. i hear of people just being able to put their kids down and they fall asleep on their own. Is this something she’ll learn eventually???

    • So you’ve (or rather Grandma) has taught her that she can only sleep ON you. So I would temporarily forget the “put down awake” part and focus on the “not sleep on you” part.

      And I feel as I read your comment that you are telling me that motion is AWESOME for her. Yet you put her in the Rock and Play which only rocks if you make it. She wakes up from a short nap and you run in there to manually rock her to sleep. And then work to sneak her back into the Rock and Play. Which leads me to wonder…


      Seriously. She loves motion. If you want her to not sleep on you forever, or for you to have to rush in there and try to resettle her with motion – that really is the answer.

      Once she’s learned to not only sleep ON you, you can work on putting her in the swing awake and letting the swing provide the soothing to sleep.

      Also is she 12 weeks old adjusted (twins are often a bit early)? So you want to treat her as her adjusted age. So probably she is still a “newborn” so falling asleep with considerable help is, for now, OK.

      Based on her adjusted age she may need to go down between 1-1.5 hours after she got up. So yes when you have a rough day and it takes 20 minutes you now have an overtired baby who is fighting naps.

      But I hate that term because it implies that she is fighting your will. She’s not. She’s biologically not able to fall asleep without considerable help from you. Further the more tired she gets the more cortisol her body produces which makes it even MORE impossible for her body to shut down. She’s not doing anything about this – it’s not a conscious effort. It’s simply that at this point her body isn’t ABLE to do it.

      But that’s not what you’re looking for – you want help and my help is the post below. Embrace the swing. Swaddle, and loud noise. I think this is your answer.

      • Alexis i read your swing post. Do you recommend putting them in a dark room with the swing for naps. I have noticed both kids seem to cry when i take them in the dark room for a nap. If i turn on the light they usually stop crying

        My twins are 38 weekers.

        I am having a really hard time with sleep cues and awake time. I have tried putting them down at the very first cue-a yawn, or later when they seem more tired. And at varying wake times. It seems to be totally hit and miss on whether they go down easy or with a fight. Is this normal? Any thoughts.

  24. Hi Alexis,

    Thanks for this amazing website! I’ve got a question about naps and bedtime… My 5 month old sleeps through the night, roughly 7:15pm to 7 or 7:30am. She USED to take 2, 2hr naps from approximately 9-11 and 1-3, with a catnap from about 4:30-5 to get her through until bedtime. Recently her naps have started turning into catnaps. Sometimes that are still long, but more often than not, they are short. Also, her awake time has gone down, with 1.5 hours being about all she can tolerate before getting super cranky. Now, I realize that I have a champion sleeper at night, and I don’t really have much to complain about. However, these absolutely refuses to take a 4th nap, no matter what. So on days when she has 3 naps that are over by 3pm, she is up almost 4 hours before bed! Obviously this doesn’t work. And on days that she does take decent first and second naps, she is starting to skip the third nap as well! So, this also means that she’s awake from about 3 until 7… I can’t seem to figure out a schedule that will get us *happily* to a good bedtime. The earlier I move her bedtime, the earlier she wakes up, so I don’t even know that an early bedtime would solve anything, because it would just shift all of the naps earlier, too…? It doesnt seem like a growth spurt to me, because her nursing habits have remained the same, and she continues to sleep 12 hours straight at night…Any thoughts??? I feel like I am spending my entire day trying to get my daughter to sleep or to stay asleep. Today I put her back down for her 2nd nap after only being awake for 1:20 because she was already rubbing her eyes. This means that the nap schedule is shifted even earlier than usual! Shouldn’t a 5 month old be able to stay awake longer than this by now???

    • P.S. my daughter is still napping in her swing. She was moved to her crib for naps around 3 months, but her 2 hour naps turned into 30 minute naps ( I tried letting her fuss herself back to sleep to no avail), so back in the swing she went. I’m just scared to move her back to the crib again, for fear she won’t ever nap!!! Is it ok to keep her in the swing, or do you think I should try moving her back to the crib???

    • Your baby is napping terribly in the swing – the crib is definitely not going to make things better. So no, I wouldn’t move her back just yet 😛

      Honestly nothing jumps out at me here. You don’t specify but are you still rocking/nursing her to sleep OR do you put her awake in the swing, turn it on, and leave the room? If the former then she’s definitely old enough to have an object permanence problem a la:

      Usually this hits day and night sleep but it’s possible that it’s only impacting her days. Yes? No?

      Pacifiers or any timed devices can cause problems too.

      Otherwise I don’t have a good answer although it does sound a bit sleep regressiony to me (doesn’t have to involve copious nursing!). The real question is what to do about it.

      If the answer is – it’s an object permanence issue – then continue reading the series of the link above for more hints. Otherwise – for the short term – I would make naps happen by any means necessary. If she’s not sleeping in the swing then what about a car ride? Yes I’m suggesting that you may need to drive your baby around for 40 minutes at 3:00 in the afternoon. For now.

      What about a stroller ride? Personally I like the car ride because it’s summer and it’s HOT AS BLAZES. Where the car has AC and a cup holder for the iced latte you got at the drive through 😉 But my point is OK – you can’t fix the short naps and it’s certainly frustrating to have an awesome napper go south on you. But you can to triage temporarily. And see what develops in the next 2 weeks.

      • No, it’s not an object permanence issue. She’s goes to bed at night in her crib awake, and into the swing for naps awake. She doesn’t take a paci, and has no timed devices. She goes down with white noise that stays on all night and through every nap. I have tried getting her to sleep in the car, but she just fusses and rubs her eyes instead of sleeping! How ridiculous, that a baby won’t sleep in the car..! Sounds like I’m stuck just waiting it out and hoping it gets better!

        Do you have any posts about traveling with a baby? I’m flying with her when she is about 9 months, and though it’s still 4 months away, I’m already stressing! 😀

        • Don’t stress now – it doesn’t accomplish anything 😛

          Whatever happens on the airplane happens. Lots of babies sleep the whole time because its LOUD WHITE NOISE. If your baby is one of those airplane cryers then so be it. If other passengers give you “the look” tell them to suck it. Feel free to tell them I said so 😉

          Your 9 month old will be eating food so bring lots of yummy snacks (puffs, cut up fruit) and other distractions (toys, books, etc.). You might want to bring a babywrap to help her sleep on the plane ON you. Her ears may give her trouble but there isn’t much to do about that other than nurse and hope it helps the pressure equilibrate.

          The flight is finite – you’ll make it. It may go easy, it may blow, but eventually you will land and then voila – it’s vacation time! Enjoy 😉

          • Hi Alexis,

            So, since my original post here, my baby (now 6.5 months) started taking better naps again. I originally wrote to you because my swing-sleeping 5 month old had stopped napping well. Once she started napping well again, we decided to take the plunge and move her to her crib. She is starting to get too big for the swing, and with a vacation coming up (in which we won’t have a swing available to us), we decided we needed to get her into the crib for naps. She sleeps 12 hours straight at night in the crib, so I KNOW she can do it! :-) However, her 1.5- 2 hour swing naps have become 40 minute crib naps. What gives??? She sleeps with white noise and a small lovey, in a very dark room. I’ve tried shortening awake times, lengthening wake times, feeding before nap, NOT feeding before nap. EVERYTHING. Is this something I just have to wait out, and hope it gets better??? She usually wakes up from the morning nap moderately happy, but wakes up tired and cranky from the second and third naps. I just feel bad that she seems tired all the time! She isn’t making up for it by sleeping longer at night, either, so she’s getting at least 1.5 hours of sleep LESS than she used to in the swing. She literally starts rubbing her eyes and pulling her hair after being awake for 30 minutes sometimes! And, no matter how poorly she naps, she WILL NOT take a 4th nap. EVER. Not in a car, not in a stroller, not in the swing… So, it’s only 3 naps no matter what. Any thoughts???

  25. This page has been an interesting read because I have been going through the same thing, and it’s driving me nuts. My baby is nearing the end of week 6, and ever since the middle of week 4, she has been taking 1 hour catnaps throughout the day. The problem is that next hour after she wakes, nothing I do seems to calm her (holding/rocking/swing/white noise/etc), and you can clearly tell she is very tired. I am not quite sure what more I can do to help sooth my baby. It’s like my baby is looking for comfort, but I am not providing what she needs.

    She can sleep through the night w/o any problems, and I do swaddle her, and she sleeps in her crib. For her naps, I swaddle her, and she sleeps in her crib just fine (only for that first hour).

    • Oh Honey – that’s not a sleep regression that’s a NEWBORN!

      Two thoughts:
      1) Fussiness peaks at 6 weeks. So you’re in the thick of it.
      2) 1 hour naps from a newborn are not catnaps. They’re pretty awesome. 20 minute newborn naps are catnaps.

      And yes when she is awake she is pretty miserable. Also if she’s sleeping through the night at 6 weeks THAT. IS. AMAZING.

      Personally I think she is doing spectacularly well and while parenting a fussy newborn is a grind, from a sleep perspective all I can say is CONGRATULATIONS! You got a great sleeper there:)

  26. Your website has been a godsend for me, as I’ve been totally stressing out about sleeping training my DD.

    We totally embraced your swing advice for sleeping at night last week when DD started her 5 week fussy period, and we had a hard time getting her down for bedtime. Right now we only do it for bedtime because it’s a battery operated swing, so I have to get up every hour or so to get it back swinging. Don’t worry . . we have a Fisher Price plug in swing coming into today. I am so looking forward to the longer sleep tonight. At 6 weeks, she will sleep 5-6hrs in her swing at night right now.

    My question or problem is this. DD is 6wks old, and I noticed in the last couple of weeks that her naps are getting progressively shorter throughout the day. Her first 2, one starting at 7is the other at 10is, are usually about 2hrs long. The ones in the afternoon are generally 1hr or less, and as it gets closer to evening, forget it, she just won’t take that one last nap before bedtime (we try for 9-10pm). As an example, last night, after she woke up at 5:30pm (after only 45min nap), she would not go down for another nap, not even a short one. Is there something I can do about these progressively shorter afternoon naps? And is this night fussiness, refusing to nap, just part of the peak 6wk fussy period? Cause, as you probably guessed, she’s really hard to put down for bedtime (and we do it all, swaddle, white noise, massage, rocking, bf’ing, swing).

    Any help/suggestions would be really helpful!

    • What sort of battery powered swing requires you to re-swing it every hour? I think you have a BROKEN swing. Ah well – new one is on the way!

      Naps WILL get shorter throughout the day. 2 hour naps in the am – FANTASTIC! Yes they get shorter. It’s great that she isn’t napping after 5:30 because her bedtime is moving up. (see post below)

      This is all GREAT stuff! Her bedtime will shift forward which is awesome. She’ll be a bit fussy in the evening but all babies are. But being awake and going through the witching hour will help “prime the pump” for her long period of sleep at bedtime.

      I’m guessing that her bed TIME might be off. Too early, too late? Hard to tell but I would play around with that. Could be the 6 week regression but my spider sense is guessing it’s the timing.

      • Thank you so much Alexis for your quick reply. We got the new swing in last night and she slept 7.5hr thru the night! And is working wonders for her nap right now. The other swing, the battery operated one, shuts down after an hr to save on battery juice. Won’t be using that one except for fun times.

        Anyways, we currently try to have her down to bed between 9-9:30pm, starting her routine at 8:30pm. I’ve noticed though that when she’s up at 5:30-6 she’s getting tired/fussy by 8pm. Should we be starting her bedtime routine earlier, say around 8pm? We’re trying to get her bedtime early now since when I go back to work in Sept, I leave for work at 8:30pm (I work graveyard), and I’d like to still be part of her bedtime routine.

        • See post below – generally speaking as babies get older bedtime shifts up to somewhere in the vicinity of 7:00 pm. so yeah I would start working towards an earlier bedtime. Which also seems ideal for your work schedule. Good luck!

  27. Hey Alexis, me again! You helped me so much with getting my daughter to fall asleep on her own at bedtime and she is now STTN. I wanted to seek your advise on naps…
    Quick background…started ‘sleep training’ at 3 1/2 months using the swing…took about 1.5 months of lowering speed, turning it off etc..she was able to fall asleep on her own…at 5 months exactly she went into the crib and now sleeps from 7p-6am…then back down until ~8…she even goes in all smiley, rolls around and passes out! i am so happy!
    She turned 6 months yesterday…so now for my nap questions…She is at a daycare 5 days a week…there she sleeps in the Pack n Play…when she is home with me on weekends I still use the swing for naps…Her awake time is now up to about ~2 hours although sometimes i notice a little more/a little less but i watch her like a hawk for tired signs and put her down at the first sign…So when she is home with me on the weekends she goes down somewhere btw 9-10 into the swing and sleeps for 1.5-2 hours (goes in awake, minimal fussing)..the afternoons vary…if we are out and about she’ll sleep in the car for about an hour around 1-2 (depending on the am nap) and then about 30-45 min around 430-5. If she is in the car she falls asleep with no fussing, at home even in the swing sometimes she fusses for 10-15 minutes, no biggie. At the daycare, she uses the pnp and sometimes in the morning i can get a 1- 1.5 hour nap in there sometimes its only 45-50 min…the afternoons are kind of a mess..usually she’ll only do like a half hour or so around 1 and then shell pass out at 440 when i pick her up in the car until about 6 (she is still able to go to bed at 7 so no probs there yet)…

    Randomly a few weeks ago when she started rolling onto her belly she did 2 hours in the am at daycare and then 2.5 hours in the pm…i was so excited..i was like YES! she consolidated her naps…so that weekend i tried putting her in the crib for her am nap thinking well if she can do it at daycare…well no, she only slept for 40 minutes saturday and 50 minutes sunday so back in the swing she has gone at home…and she hasnt napped that long at daycare since!

    So i guess my question is, am I doing something wrong? is it bad that she does swing with me and pnp with them? and what gives with all the inconsistency? They do have a swing there but they dont really like to use it plus since she CAN nap in the pnp i dont know if i should force the issue..also, how do i go about transitioning her at home to the crib for naps? do i gradually lower speed/shut off like i did for nights? At what age is it bad that she is still napping in the swing? I realize that she may be in the midst of the 6 month regression but her night time sleep is still good so idk..She is definitely getting the 12-14 hours a day (usually she’s closer to 14) but i know it would be better for her to be taking longer naps..any advice you have is GREATLY appreciated…and i would def donate to your site, this information i have gotten here has saved my sanity! you are a genius!

    • Just a quick update..her naps have gone down the tubes at daycare the last couple of weeks…she was good this weekend with the swing (1.5 hrs in the AM and then 1hour then 45 min) but daycare has been like 30 minutes…please tell me this is the 6 month sleep regression?! (she was 6 months on July 25) Night time sleep is still awesome though (7p-6 ish)..ughhh…short naps really do SUCK! she is so tired/cranky at daycare when i visit during lunch and when i pick her up! :( any advise or is it a this too shall pass thing?

      • Daycare is a tricky thing. Few babies will take a great nap in a PNP, especially if they aren’t use to it. A PNP really offers the least amount of soothing. Also depending on the environment, many daycares are often too bright and too loud (they don’t have the space to create a dark room with white noise). As babies get more alert then this can make naps at daycare really short.

        Also – how are they getting her to fall asleep for naps there? Are they rocking her to sleep and THEN putting her in the PNP? I’m guessing so. If I’m right then THIS (below) is the reason her daycare naps have gone to crap.

        As for napping at your house in the swing, most babies do well with the crib for naps by now so it’s definitely worth a try using the same method you used for bedtime. If her naps get super short she may need a bit more time but I’m guessing she’ll do great because she IS a sleeping champion :)

  28. Hi Alexis, after reading the articles on your website we purchased the snugabunny swing which became a lifesaver. My daughter was doing a 3 hour nap in the morning, a 2 hour nap in the afternoon and about an hour in the evening. I nursed her to sleep at night still and then was able to put her into her bassinet beside our bed and she only got up twice in the night between 9 pm and 7 am to eat. She is now 9 weeks old and for the past week she wakes up at the 40-45 min mark in her nap and will lay staring at the mobile/mirror on her swing (to me looks like trying to put herself to sleep) before starting to cry. Not sure what happened to her nice long naps! She is grouchy a lot of the time now, these 45 min to an hour naps are just not long enough!

    • Is the swing on? (I ask because a lot of people turn them off to save batteries and this will result in what you describe). Is the room dark and are you using loud white noise? Is baby swaddled?

      You don’t say so I’m not sure. But basically you want to do ALL of this stuff to give her SO much soothing that she can successfully navigate a sleep cycle. Right now she’s waking after 1 sleep cycle (or 45 minutes) so generally at that age the answer is to give her MORE soothing so that when she goes through the awake cycle, she falls back asleep (unlike now where she is getting stuck in the “awake” part).

      • The swing is on. No batteries, we have the one with the ac adapter. Loud white noise, yes, dark, no and swaddling, no. She has now returned back to taking her two and three hour naps on her own. She still wakes up but is able to stare at her mobile for a little bit and put herself back to sleep. Maybe just a bit of a phase she was going through. I find her nighttime sleep changes frequently as she grows as well.

  29. Hi Alexis! My LO is 4.5 months and is taking really crappy naps. She sleeps good at night. But always falls asleep while nursing. Nighttime it’s hasn’t caused a problem YET. But I am sure it’s coming. As I am seeing a slight deterioration (an extra wakening). She usually would only wake once now twice. Anyway…naps I nurse and put her asleep in her crib and can only get 30 to 45 minutes. I know I need to stop the nursing to sleep just afraid to take the leap. Would the swing be a good choice at this point? Is she too old or still ok? I also use white noise for both naps and swaddle only at night. I have a 4 year old who was an awful sleeper. I don’t want to go through that again. I would like to make CIO the very last resort. Thank you :)

    • Do you have a swing or one you can borrow? 4.5 months is a tad on the old side so I hate to have to you drop $100 on an experiment. But yes for naps it could very well help a lot. So if a friend will give you a good newer swing to try out it won’t hurt. As you see in the comments, lots of babies sleep like champs in their cribs at night but still swing nap till they are 6-7 months old.

      • Thank you. I would gladly spend the money if it would help she and I ween from nursing to sleep. It’s hard to break that habit when it works. I know down the road it won’t from experience with my first. Never heard of the swing approach until like a week ago when I found you. I have already been telling all my friends about your site. It’s fantastic and wished I would have found it before I stupidly spent money on sleep coaches. Desperation and deprivation make you do crazy things. :) I will post my progress.

        • Who are these sleep coaches? Occasionally I see them here and there on FB but I’m getting more and more comments from people who say things like, “I paid $$ for a sleep coach and things didn’t get any better.” Which I frankly find a little concerning 😛

  30. My daughter will be 4 months on 8/19 and has been catnapping for the past two months. I can barely get 45 minute naps out of her, most are 10-30 minutes every 1.5-2hrs, and the periods of wakefulness get shorter as the days goes on since she is not getting the full nap that she needs. She used to nap in her swing for hours and stopped doing so at about 2 months. She sleeps beautifully in her crib at night (started sleeping 6hr stretches at 2 weeks old and now sleeps about 11hrs at night…occasionally she’ll wake up for a feed after 8-10hrs). Most naps are in my lap after she falls asleep nursing since she’ll wake up when I try to move her, making her even grouchier. Also should add that her car and crib naps are also about 20 minutes, so I am out of ideas! I feel that I’m depriving her of daytime sleep since she is a hot mess at the end of the day!

    • UPDATE: I have been lengthening her morning and afternoon naps (in the crib) all week by gently wiggling the crib mattress and it seems to be working. As for the downside, as soon as she started napping longer, she started waking up at night to eat again (hasn’t done this since 5 weeks old). The nap lengths have been anywhere in the 1hr-2hrs range. I just found it really odd that her her night sleep got messed up after I started playing around with her nap schedule. Coincidence?

      • That IS rough and you’re probably both a hot mess by the end of the day :( There is a short nap and then there’s 10 minutes which barely even qualifies. Hmmm….what to do?

        I would stick with the crib at night but I’m wondering about the swing during the day? You say you stopped at 2 months but on the other hand you’ve been wiggling the crib which leaves me wondering if she might not still need it. I’m still thinking MORE soothing – I would go back to swaddle, loud white noise, and swing for naps (keep the night scene the same since it’s working). If the crib jiggling is working for you that’s OK too I’m just thinking that the swing would automate the jiggle for you (I’m assuming that you’re running in there at the first peep to jiggle away, yes?)

        Also the reason she was probably not eating at night was because she was constantly eating during the day (fussy baby, no way to soothe her, never sleeping = lots of opportunities to nurse). It’s pretty normal for a 4 month old to eat 1X a night so personally I think you’re better off with her napping well and eating 1X at night than being miserable and eating constantly all day long.

        So I wouldn’t call her night sleep “messed up” I would just say that she’s probably not glued to your boob all day because now she’s actually sleeping. And that day sleep is great for everybody (restorative, less hot mess in the evening, you get a break).

  31. Hi Alexis

    I’ve been reading your articles with some interest over a few weeks now, and am very impressed by the time, effort and generosity you put into your site.

    A wee question about napping if you will.

    Little George is nearly 13 weeks. We got off to a bit of a tricky start because I had problems with breast feeding – a long story in itself, involving weight loss, tears and low milk supply and very little sleep for anyone. He still breastfeeds, but is supplemented by formula and expressed milk, and we are all much better rested (although I of course feel a total failure for not managing breastfeeding properly – I know, it’s not my fault, I need to get over this etc). He generally feeds four hourly or so in the day.

    I really can’t complain about his sleep in general. We put him down awake at about 7pm after a nice bath and massage, he will get himself off to sleep and we wake him at 11pm for a feed. He will go straight back to sleep until about 3 or 4 when he wakes for a small feed and will then go back to sleep on his own until about 6.30 or 7. Last night he went from 11-5am, and I was able to pat his tummy a few times to get him to 6.30 without the small feed. So it looks like we might on the way to sleeping through from 11-7, which is great.

    Naps, however, are a bit more of a challenge. He will get tired (as per your 1.5/2 hr rule) at 8.30ish, and will go down in his moses basket on his own. BUT. At almost exactly 40 minutes later, he will wake crying. If I get to him in time, I can get him back off for another hour or so with a bit of tummy rubbing for about 10 mins. However, leave it for any length of time and he works himself up and is very hard to settle again – and he still seems tired and 40 mins doesn’t seem to have refreshed him. He can’t get himself back to sleep on these occasions. Same thing happens for his lunchtime nap usually. In the afternoon, same thing, but 40 mins usually keeps him going until winding down for bed at 6.30 or so.

    I can get him to nap longer if I take him out for a walk, but quite often if I stop walking for long, he’ll wake up. Also, I’m thinking that relying on the motion of buggy walking for naps isn’t the best habit to get into at this stage and isn’t terribly consistent for him – and I’m thinking it isn’t really the right time to introduce a swing either.

    A few times he has slept for 1-2 hours on either nap (generally when I have an appointment to take him to and waking up after 40 minutes would suit us very well), and woken up on his own refreshed and in the best of moods. He is generally like this if I get him back to sleep for an hour or so after he has woken up early.

    My questions;

    Am I a bit obsessed about Georgie’s sleep and do I need to relax a bit and go with the flow (you can skip this one as I think I know the answer, it’s just that my instinct is telling me that consistency and predictability is probably quite good for the little guy)?

    Should I be persevering with trying to get him to have a few longer naps, or should I just let him wake when he wakes? I’m conscious you say that some babies don’t or aren’t ready to consolidate their naps, and I wonder whether I’m doing the wrong thing by shussing and patting him back to sleep. The really wierd thing is that at the start of his naps and at night time, he is so good at getting to sleep in his moses basket all on his own (after a bit of complaining sometimes, but only really for a few minutes).

    Should I wait for him to be able to have longer naps on his own?

    Any comments would be most gratefully received and I’m sorry for blathering on for so long

    Louise and Gorgeous George x

    • Please give yourself time on the breastfeeding thing. I also had a terrible time- the OBs and lactation nurses weren’t able to help us resolve it. Finally our fabulous pediatrician pointed out that we had to do what was best for everyone; baby is important but not the only person who matters. So while it still sometimes makes me upset, I know that we made the right decision (it has just been taking time to make my peace with it). And I’m sure you realize there is a potential PPD element (with the sleep anxiety/obsession, too) that could be exacerbating the situation…
      Women are so hard on each other over breastfeeding and it is unfortunate. Feminism is not only about having options, but feeling free to exercise those options without the fear of being judged for the choices you make. We should respect decisions that other women make even if it is not what we would have chosen. That would have a far more lasting positive impact on our kids’ lives (esp our daughters) than breastfeeding.

    • Sounds to me like you and your little guy are doing just great! 13 weeks is tiny still and he’s really doing well. I’ll let Alexis respond more fully, but my two cents for you is YES it is a GREAT time to introduce the swing for naps! We didn’t do it until 5 months and I so wish we’d started earlier. I predict Gorgeous George will take much better naps with a swing. :)
      Also, I don’t think you’re doing the wrong thing at all by patting him back to sleep after the infamous and horrible 40 minutes–it works and he sleeps longer, so yay for you!

    • Paige and Kate are both 100% right and 100% kind to share their stories with you :)

      As a fellow low-breast milk producer let me say that it TOTALLY sucks. However it is how your body was built. Just like your hair color and the number of toes you have, how much BM you produce is almost entirely out of your control. Even all the “treatments” (and I did them ALL – herbs, drugs, pumping, etc.) have not been shown in academic studies to change things very much. I don’t particularly like my hair color. I didn’t appreciate having low milk supply. Both of them are beyond our control (well except for the hair color so feel free to go out and change that if you like ;).

      George is a newborn so you need to SLATHER him with soothing! Placing him in a moses basket to nap is not sufficient. LOUD white noise, DARK room, SOLID swaddle. A pacifier is great if he’ll take it. Start there and see what happens. Still up every 45 minutes then yes GET A SWING! It’s fine to leave him in the moses basket as night as it’s clearly working for you.

      No you can’t force longer naps if he’s not ready. But you can definitely do everything you can to help nudge them along :)

  32. hi, alexis. naps…ugh. my nearly 7-month-old has the hardest time with naps. he’s a short napper – 40 minutes max, and even that is rare. usually more like 25-30 minutes. nighttime sleep is 10-12 hours straight and it’s 50/50 whether he nurses to sleep or puts himself to sleep. i had been rocking (bouncing, really) him to sleep for naps for awhile when that stopped working, he just refuses to get sleepy in my arms. fights to keep his eyes open, keeps making whining/groaning noises, will NOT let himself fall asleep. lately i’ve been just putting him down anyway and letting him fuss and cry and going back in to soothe him every 7-10 minutes until he falls asleep, it can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes. but it’s still a short nap! once he’s up i leave him in the crib to give him a chance to fall back asleep (has never happened), and don’t get him until he’s starting to cry so at least he can get more quiet time in there alone if he’s not actually sleeping.

    as far as sleep aids – i haven’t swaddled him in a long time, he started hating it. no swing here, we travel quite a bit and i didn’t want to get him hooked on something i wouldn’t always be able to bring with me. no paci, he’s never been a fan, but he does have a lovey he likes to cuddle with and suck on. white noise – yes, but doesn’t seem to help much. don’t have a car so that’s not an option for naps. he falls asleep very easily in the stroller if he’s ready for a nap but his little eyes still pop open around the 30-minute mark!

    awake time is 2-3 hours, as soon as i see yawning, eye-rubbing, and/or tired crankiness off we go to start the naptime routine – read a book in his dark and quiet room, sit for a minute in the chair w/ lovey, rock a bit and put in crib. we do 3 naps a day, once in awhile 2 if he sleeps really late or if he battles me so much on the first one it pushes back the whole day’s schedule. so are longer naps just something i need to wait for him to grow into? is he always going to fight me on taking a nap?

    • just as an example…right now, he’s been in his crib for 45 minutes. i put him down 2 hours after being awake, he was yawning and rubbing his eyes and getting cranky. i rocked him a bit and he got a little drowsy. put him down. he happily talked to himself for 20 minutes. started to cry, i went in at the 10-minute mark to soothe and his eyes started closing. left, 5 more minutes of crying and then stopped and now 15 more minutes of laying there and talking to himself. now approaching the 3-hour mark of awake time and NO signs he’s going to fall asleep anytime soon. ugh!!!!

      • KB,
        I think you’ve got a few things going on here so I’m just going to throw out what I’m hearing and hopefully something will resonate…
        1) When he’s yawning, eye rubbing, getting cranky it’s TOO late. Yep – those are all great signs that he’s OVERtired. So if those things are happening at ~2 hours of awake time, you need to start working towards sleep a bit sooner. Try around 1:45 or so – play around with it to see what works. But your goal is BEFORE you see those behaviors.

        2) I think you’re wrestling with object permanence stuff:

        This is making it harder for him to FALL asleep and I think might be tripping you up when you go in to soothe him to sleep. The 50/50 at might is probably going to blow up on you at some point too (maybe not but if it does now you’ll know what happened yes?)

        3) I think it’s probably time to let him fuss it out but I would probably try without the visits every 10 minutes. In a strange way that actually encourages him to stay awake. And you’re right – babies almost never fall BACK asleep once they wake & cry so it’s great to let him have quiet time if he’s happy but if he’s woken up and crying, probably best to go get him.

        4) For now I would think more about putting him down before he gets too tired and not worry so much about a schedule. I mean consistency of schedule is definitely a goal at 7 months but I think the “overtired” thing is eroding your ability to successfully create a schedule. But with a few tweaks hopefully things will improve and then in a few weeks you could work towards consistency of schedule (which will also help).

        Good luck!

        • Thanks Alexis! Yes I am now letting him fuss it out more, and only going in for brief soothing if he’s having a real meltdown (which is very rare). He’s had a few 45-minute naps in the last week which hopefully is a sign of moving towards longer, more successful naps.

          I do feel like I am on somewhat of a schedule with him that’s working – wake, eat, play for an hour or 1.5 hours, nap, eat, repeat. I’m sure once I start to feel really in control of the day he will change it up on me :)

          As for the 50/50 thing at night, yeah I know something’s gotta give at some point. He is actually nursing to sleep less and less these days, so I put him down awake and he will usually fuss just a bit (5 minutes) and put himself to sleep. I will eventually switch up the bedtime routine so that nursing isn’t the last thing, but probably won’t do so for another few months.

          Thank you for your response! Your website has been a godsend.

  33. My daughter just turned 6 months yesterday. So far we have never had any issues her going to sleep on her own at night in the crib. She sleeps for ~ 10 hours at night. She stopped night time feedings around 3 months. Till last week she use to take 3 naps – am (1-1.5 hours ), pm (~ 2 hours), and late pm (30-45 minutes). All naps are in the rocker with me rocking her to sleep. At least once per nap she would wake up in middle of the nap and so we would rock her back to sleep. Since last two to three weeks her wake time between naps has increased to 3 hours. But last entire week I had hard time to put her down for the late pm nap. She would start crying…literally protesting to not to go to sleep. Somehow she got tired and went fell asleep for ~30 min nap. But last few days she does not want to fall asleep at all for the late pm nap. She protests even harder now. So finally I gave up. But we shifted her bedtime to earlier time. I have two questions/concerns if you can help. First should I keep on trying to have her take her 3rd nap? Second how can I help her take her naps in the crib?

    • Pritesh,
      Thank you for your kind words!

      Here’s what I would consider…if moving bedtime up is working (she’s not a hot mess at bedtime and she’s still sleeping well at night) then it’s PROBABLY OK. I say PROBABLY because lots of people give up on the 3rd nap too early which creates this huge window where baby is awake from 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM (as an example) which is just too long. But having a 4:00 PM bedtime is also not reasonable.

      So if it’s working then it’s not an issue. If it’s not working then I would suggest something that will make the 3rd nap happen (even if it’s brief) such as a stroller walk, baby carrying, car ride in the early afternoon. Often babies stop taking “real” 3rd naps before they can make the stretch from nap #2 to bedtime so in those cases you just sort of have to wing it (take a nice cruise in the car every afternoon at 3:30 or whatever) for a month or 2 until they CAN make it to bedtime.

      As for the rocker, the key is to gradually wean her off the rocking. So basically you’ve taught her to rock to sleep and it’s working great. Now you need to gradually reduce the amount of rocking both when she’s falling asleep AND when you re-rock her mid-nap. The goal is to put an awake baby into a non-moving rocker and leave. Once you’ve achieved that goal the crib should work just fine.

      Sounds like her sleep overall is great and a well-rested baby is generally pretty amenable to change so I think the rocking-weaning shouldn’t be too hard at this age. Good luck!

      • Thanks for your reply Alexis. So glad you are helping us and so many others!! I am now very confident that she is completely out of the 3rd nap need. We have shifter her bed time earlier by 1.5 hours and so far it seems to have been working fine. She sleeps total of ~10-10.5 hrs at night.
        We are still on the hook for naps though. We are continuously trying to reduce rocking for naps. She continues to wake up after 30 or 45 minutes in her nap but then falls back asleep after little rocking. We tried not to do anything when she wakes up mid nap. We found out that she won’t fall asleep again without rocking. So I think we are getting closer and closer to CIO for naps. But are really really afraid. We didn’t have to put any extra efforts with her to get her trained out of paci and swaddling for bed time. My gut says its going to be difficult for nap time. Any special suggestions on CIO for naps? Any idea on how long CIO for naps takes to have an effect? We both work full time so my mom-in-law helps us to take care of our daughter from 8 to 5 and therefore we will have to rely on her for CIO for naps. Making my mom-in-law understand about CIO is another thing (and that’s after we make a firm decision that we want to try it). Thanks again for your help.

        • I wouldn’t necessarily advocate for CIO for naps yet. For starters, it doesn’t always go smoothly (which is extra difficult if your MIL has to navigate it solo). Secondly, I do believe it’s possible to gently wean off the rocking. Rocking is the easiest thing to wean off of. I’m not saying it’s EASY, just that it’s the easIEST.

          She has a big “rock to sleep” association. Could be far worse (she could only sleep while affixed to your breasts and trust me, that is MUCH harder to wean off gently). Also in the short term, it doesn’t seem like it’s a huge problem to pop in after 30 minutes and rock her for a few minutes to keep things going. So there is no critical imperative to make something happen tomorrow right?

          At naptime make sure she can’t see you (crouch behind her). Have a consistent routine and continue to use loud white noise. See what you can make happen by rocking her until she is drowsy THEN leaving. Or stay where she can’t see you – either is fine. Perhaps your MIL can make some headway with gradually decreasing the amount of rocking – both when she is put down AND when she wakes back up. Give it a few weeks – Rome wasn’t built in a day. See what happens, she may surprise you.

          If a month has gone by and you aren’t making any headway CIO might be an option. But I think you still have quite a bit of wiggle room to make some changes without a lot of crying so I’m going to send my positive hopes your way :)

  34. Alexis, sorry I forgot to mention how much we have used your website. It has been of tremendous help. Thanks so much!

  35. Hi Alexis,
    I found your website via google and it has changed everything for me! My 6.5 month old had been waking every hour for the last 6 weeks and I was walking around like a zombie. With the help of your website we decided to let him CIO and it has resulted in him sleeping from 7:30pm to 7am, whilst only getting up for 2 feeds. I feel like a new woman. So thank you!

    The issue I’m having now is trying to get him to sleep longer during the day. He wakes at 7am, and is ready for a nap at 9, it takes me up to half an hour to put him to sleep and them he only sleeps for half an hour. He take another nap around half 12-1, for 30 mins, and a last nap at around 4, for 30 mins. By his bedtime he is very grumpy and we struggle to get him through his bedtime routine without him crying.
    My question is whether half 7 is too late a bedtime for him considering he has only slept an hour and a half in the last 12 hours?

    And, once he has settled well at night, should I do something about getting him to nap on his own during the day-any advice on how to go about doing that, or will that settle itself?

    • Dear Zombie Lady,
      If he’s crying at bedtime I’m inclined to vote for an earlier bedtime. Play around with it and see what happens. Perhaps 7:00, some babies as early as 6:30. It’s like a science experiment – try it out and see what happens!

      How are you getting him to sleep during the day? I guess advice on how to get him to nap on his own really depends on how you’re helping him fall asleep in the first place. Given that his naps are so short I’m assuming you’re rocking/nursing to sleep yes?

      I guess this because the fact that he’s taking short naps AND it takes him a long time to fall asleep is a big clue. The “takes forever to fall asleep” thing is a symptom of object permanence/hypervigillance:

      So however he’s falling asleep the way out of this pattern is to get him to fall asleep on his own. I am working on a CIO nap post which can sometimes work amazingly well but not always (bedtime CIO is a much more solid strategy, naps are trickier).

      Weaning off rocking to sleep is a bit easier than nursing/feeding to sleep so perhaps if that’s the case you could work on gently weaning off that by simply doing less of it.

  36. I have three questions on naps and would LOVE your input:
    1)What do you think of nursing or extra swing jiggling to extend a 30 minute nap for a 7-month old? Our son often stirs or wakes up after 30 minutes into his nap. He naps in his swing and sometimes if I sneak in and jiggle it when he starts to stir, he goes back to sleep; if that doesn’t work, I can pick him up and nurse/rock him or lie down and nurse him. Will nursing him back to sleep or lying down with him teach him bad habits to expect that?

    2) Also, he’s usually drowsy 1.5 hours after being awake. If he only took a 30 minute nap, it feels like all we do is try to nap all day. Is 1.5 hours normal for being awake for a 7 month old?

    3) On a related note, we’re struggling with napping schedules. Weissbluth talks about keeping a baby up until the next “scheduled time” for a nap if he didn’t take his morning nap (no snoozing during awake time) but everyone emphasizes not letting your baby get overtired. What gives? If my son only sleeps for 30 minutes at 9am, he’s super tired by 11am and there’s no way he’d make it to the 1pm that Weissbluth suggests.

    • Dayn,
      I’m only getting a small picture of what is going on with you guys but I sense there is a bigger issue and my spidey sense wonders – how are you getting him to fall asleep? Are you nursing him to sleep? And if so THAT is the root cause of all your problems. Yes?

      At 7 months no I wouldn’t go nurse after 30 minutes because at this age your broader goal is to work away from nursing to sleep for a variety of reasons. I would stick with swaddle (possible at 7 months), a dark room, LOUD white noise, and consistency of wind-down routine. If he wakes up after 30 minutes and can go back to sleep with a little head jiggle, great. Otherwise OK – short naps happen to the best of us. (So no don’t lie with him or nurse him unless you’re having a miserable day and really need him to sleep longer.)

      1.5 hours awake is a bit short (this chart would be more typical):

      That being said if your gut says THAT is the longest he should be awake and that keeping him awake longer results in an overtired miserable baby then stick with it! Every baby is different.

      I don’t like to think of schedules as much as “not keeping awake too long” By 7 months you do tend to see this organically sort itself into a consistent schedule but if a) naps are short and b) he can only be awake 1.5 hours the yes you’ll be taking more than 2-3 naps a day and will feel like you are napping constantly. So your baby is taking 30 minute naps every ~2 hours?

      If you CAN keep him awake longer I would try that to see if it helps him take a longer nap. I’m just curious to see what would happen – perhaps he doesn’t accrue a sufficient “sleep debt” in 1.5 hours and thus can’t sleep more than 30 minutes? (I doubt this is what is happening but as always, it’s worth testing the theory to see what happens).

      • Hi Alexis,

        Thanks so much for your response! I don’t nurse him to sleep for naps or nighttime, but I do nurse him right before I put him in the swing, but he’s always awake when I put him in the swing for naps. Then he fusses a little and I jiggle the swing to get him to fall asleep. So, he’s more dependent on the swing jiggling than nursing to fall asleep, which is starting to be a problem.

        As far as for how long he’s awake between naps, I’ve tried to respond right when he seems to get drowsy (rubbing his eyes/nose, glazing over, etc.) and it seems to be after 1.5 hours and then with wind down/nursing and swing jiggling, he’s asleep after 2 hours total of being up (1.5 hours up plus 15-30 minutes wind down). But, maybe up a little longer would help him nap longer? I feel like so much of what I’ve read says respond right when he has any sign of being drowsy, but maybe I’m too eager and he could go longer. Our nighttime sleep has deteriorated so we’ve focused on doing whatever it takes (lots of swing jiggling) to get good naps and like I said, nursing him if he wakes up after 30 minutes to try to extend the nap, but maybe need to ditch that idea.

        Also, we’ve been on vacation so it’s been hard to sort out a new schedule, but he’s always shown signs of being drowsy after 1.5-2 hours and he’ll nap for 30 minutes or sometimes up to an hour or 1.25 hours.

        Anyway, you think trying to keep him up longer could help extend the naps or get us a better schedule? Sometimes I think he wakes up from a nap sleep cycle because the swing is just on and it’s not the same jiggling he fell asleep with.

        • I just read & responded to your other comment about the head jiggling and and YES – this is the root problem you guys are having! Check out that response because that’s really the issue – you are 100% right on the money.

          • Thanks so much! But, if we are messing with night sleep (no more jiggling) should we leave naps alone for now? Ie give him naps however possible (even jiggling) while we are fixing night time?

  37. Hello there,
    I stumbled onto your website and thought you might be able to help me figure this out. My 8-MO, who is my third, has taken to short napping. His schedule looks something like this:

    6:45pm – 7:00am sleeps beautifully through the night
    somewhere around 9:30 am- 10:00 he’ll fall asleep in his own bed and he’ll sleep anywhere from 30 min to an hour and a half. I lay him down, give him a pacifier and then leave. Sometimes he’ll fuss, and I’ll have to go back a couple times to soothe him. Mostly he’ll just play and then fall asleep. This nap’s no problem.

    The afternoon nap is the problem. He can stay awake all day, from 11:00am until bedtime. He can also fall asleep in his bed, in the car or in the stroller, usually for 30-45 min. The problem is he doesn’t want to sleep until around 2:00, and I have to pick my other 2 kids up from school at 3:00. The nice part is that he’s happy. He plays, “talks” and shows an active interest in his surroundings.

    I’m the one who’s suffering!!!!! I need an afternoon break.

    His napping habits changed last month when he started teething. In this short period he’s also learned to sit up, do the army crawl and has been seen trying to pull himself up to standing when in the playpen. I try to keep him out of the playpen!

    My question is this: is this a phase that I just have to get through or do I need to learn to accept that this is his pattern?

    Great site, by the way!

    • Carolyn,
      Your picture is lovely and you look far too healthy and put together to be a mother of 3 😉

      Technically he’s doing great. He takes a nice chunky morning nap and then can stay awake 3 hours (which is pretty typical at 8 months) which means he’s ready for his 2nd nap at 2:00. Only that conflicts with your afternoon schedule. So he’s doing everything he should be – it just doesn’t line up with the rest of your life.

      So….can he nap from 2:00 – 3:00? That would sort of be ideal. I would put him down for a nap at 2:00. Dark room, loud white noise, consistent routine that doesn’t involve the pacifier (because that can trip you up for naps). If he plays, talks, etc. in there for 1 hour then it’s his quiet time. Should he be napping? Yep. Can you force it? You could if you didn’t have 2 other kids who need you and you could work around his schedule. But OK he’s sleeping GREAT all around so I wouldn’t sweat it. If he doesn’t fall asleep then 2:00 – 3:00 is his quiet time, you catch a break, and then you go get the older sibs.

      If he falls asleep in the car at 3:00 so be it. It’s not negatively impacting bedtime and it’s better that he takes a nap in the car at 3:00 then be awake from 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM so for now that may be the compromise that makes it work for the whole family?

      Good luck!

  38. Hi Alexis,

    I found your amazing site while desperately searching for info on sleep regressions. Here’s our situation: Benjamin, 4.5 months, went from 2 2-3 hour naps a day to 4 30 minute naps. We nap him in a swing, with white noise. I put him down drowsy, after nursing, though I don’t nurse him totally to sleep. He still takes a paci, I don’t want to try to wean him off it right now if he’s having a sleep regression. We’re also dealing with 2 hour middle of the night wake-ups. The good news is that he is generally a good night sleeper (down at 7 up between 5-6), just not right now. He’s also pre-teething. These 30 naps are killing all of us as he’s exhausted and so are we. I don’t know if this is a case of him not being ready for long naps as you mention above, because this short nap business is new. What’s happening?!? Any advice would be awesome!


    • Hey Tara,

      What do you mean by “2 hour middle of the night wake-ups” – do you mean he wakes up in the middle of the night and is up for 2 hours? So he’s taking itty bitty naps all day long and then sleeps great at night except for that 2 hour window when he is playing Texas hold-em with your partner?

      To be honest I’m not sure if I have a clear picture here but if I had to take a stab at it I would say this:
      1) Make sure “put down drowsy” is more awake than asleep. Often people think they are putting down drowsy but the kid is effectively asleep (or unaware – same difference) so you’re stuck. Also?
      2) Nursing just prior to sleep can cause sleep association issues in older kids where even if they’re WIDE awake when you leave, they still want to nurse every time they wake up because from their perspective, it’s sooo closely associated with sleep.
      3) The paci could be the culprit. It falls out when he is sleeping so he wakes up and BAM – where did the paci go! I suspect if you sat next to him and manually kept the paci in his mouth he would keep taking longer naps.

      At 4.5 months I can’t swear you have a huge object permanence/sleep association with nursing and the paci but my best guess is that it’s the root of your problem. I hear you about the teething but I would suggest tackling the teething with medication and loose the paci. Also work towards more of a separation between nursing and put down (nurse, book, THEN bed – that sort of thing).

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks, Alexis.

        Yes, he will wake up at like 2:30 and be WIDE awake for two hours. Then, since he’s been up for two hours, he wants to go back to sleep. Nice for him, not so much for me as I have to get up and get ready for work! Last night was much better though. He woke up at 1 for a feeding after going down at 8 and then slept until 6 this morning. He seems to need the paci to go to sleep and if he’s really struggling with getting to sleep, then I have to put it back in a million times. Usually though, once he’s asleep, he doesn’t really care about the paci. We might be coming out of the woods on this, though I don’t want to jinx anything. The past two days he’s done the super short naps but has had one really long nap both days. I think you make a good point about the distinction between drowsy and awake. I need to work on separating the boob from sleep, at least for when I put him down for the night, but what about the middle of the night? He nurses in bed with me and then goes back to bed, usually without waking up. Is this OK or also a no-no?

        • The middle of the night feeds don’t tend to trip babies up so unless you see evidence to the contrary, I wouldn’t sweat too much about “put down awake” at 3:00 AM.

  39. Hi Alexis! My almost 7 month old is still sleeping in her swing for naps and even worse…I nurse her to sleep for naps. I don’t nurse to sleep at night, but she still after doing CIO a couple of months ago cries for a good 10-15 minutes at night before going to sleep. So I’m really afraid that I would never get her to sleep for naps if I didn’t nurse her to sleep. I’m thinking she would just lay in her crib and cry (like she does at night) but then never fall asleep. Also, I tried putting her down in her crib instead of her swing (nursed her to sleep) and she only took a 20 minute nap when she usually sleeps for 1 1/2 hours. I know these are two bad habits I need to break, but I’m wondering how to go about it? Any suggestions?

    • Well I would work on using the swing to put her to sleep for naps instead of nursing.

      Basically most kids are out of the swing for naps by ~8 months (some are in till 10). So while it’s time to come up with an end-of-swing plan, it’s going to be a LOT easier to get her out of the swing then it will be to break her out of the nurse to sleep habit. So I would make that your #1 goal.

      I would REALLY work on trying to use the swing to help her fall asleep using the techniques in the post linked below. She’s a bit old for a swaddle probably but use a consistent routine, dark room, LOUD white noise, and try to use the swing to soothe her to sleep. Since she already associates the swing with sleep this may go more easily than you expect.

      You can continue to nurse her right at nap time for now but ultimately you’ll want to switch up the routine so that it’s somewhat removed from plunking her in the swing. nurse – book – swing would be a great target routine.

      Once you’ve conquered THAT, then getting her out of the swing and into the crib for naps is less likely to be a huge ordeal. There may be some grumbling when the time comes but it’s rarely a nightmare (most babies are totally OK with it or cry 10-15 minutes).

      PS. I’m not saying any of this is easy but the fact that she’s already used to the swing gives you some maneuverability in breaking the nurse-to-sleep habit. Good luck and let me know how things go OK?

  40. Hi Alexis,
    We have an almost 4 month old, Cameron, who up until about a week ago didn’t do too shabby when it came to sleeping. He would take a few naps during the day, and sleep for two 4-5 hour chunks at night, usually waking up once to eat (sometimes twice, if he went to bed earlier).
    Then, about 8 days ago, that stopped. The first days, he had some crappy, very short naps, waking up a few times during them to get his paci, and at night he started waking up every hour/hour and a half, sometimes to eat but sometimes to be walked around. Then we would put him down and he would really fuss and we would have to pick him back up. The days after that, the naps got a bit better again but at night, until today, he is waking up a lot more (usually every 2/2.5 hours). When he wakes up, he usually is hungry, though I have noticed that at least once he just wants to snack – I’m assuming he wants to suck). A few more times he will wake up fussing and wants us to walk him around for 10-20min.
    Since at the beginning of this period, he was waking up so much wanting his paci, we at first thought it was worth a shot to try and get the paci disassociated with sleep, so we wouldn’t be stuck in the next year getting up half the night to put the paci back in his mouth.
    Because I was desperate to get us all back on track sleepwise, I started reading, and came across Dr. Karp’s new book, and your website (so happy about that – thank you very much for all the great info!).

    Turns out we were doing everything wrong, when it came to putting baby to bed (for ex. putting baby to bed sound asleep, no bedtime routine, no white noise) … Our first baby was a great sleeper (no thanks to us), so we never really needed to read up. Until now.

    Anyway, we now have him sleeping with white noise (a dishwasher – he was already used to falling asleep to the sound of our dishwasher at work, when he was in the swing in the kitchen sometimes, so I figured it would be an easy transition).

    We have also started a bedtime routine (bath, boob, books, bed at 8), where nursing is not the last thing before bed. He goes to bed at 8 so we can first put our toddler to bed, at 7.30.

    He was already swaddled and he is still swaddled. We no longer give him a paci to fall asleep, and he’s doing pretty good going to sleep like that at least.

    We have been trying to put our baby to bed (also for naps) drowsy but awake. He is not happy about it in the beginning, but we do pick him back up and walk around the room for a few minutes at first, until he settles down and gets drowsy again. Then we put him back down. If he fusses too much, we jiggle the nap nanny (he has severe reflux and sleeps in the nn; we have decided to not put him in the swing in his room, since we had already changed so much) a little, and I pat his belly and shhh. If he still really fusses, we repeat. After about 5-10 minutes of doing this, he is usually ready to go to sleep. We leave the room when his eyes are still open. When I put him to bed, he will sometimes fuss until I nurse him a little, but if that happens, I also put him down still awake, and I leave the room before he closes his eyes.

    As I said, the naps aren’t bad. He will sleep about an hour most times, and will sometimes fall back asleep for another hour or so if I bring him downstairs and put him in the swing in the kitchen.
    But he is still not sleeping great at night, still waking up about 2-4 times, which is worse than before last week (he would wake up sometimes, but put himself back to sleep – he does that less now.).
    So I am beginning to second guess myself about everything… Were we wrong in taking his paci away for sleeping now, since he is not even 4 months? Or is he maybe outgrowing his swaddle? Or is white noise not his thing? Or should we just put him to sleep in the swing, even though he is no longer a newborn?

    I feel like I’m no longer objective, so if you have any ideas that might help us make changes for the better, they would be very welcome. Thanks again for a wonderful site!

    • Man, I didn’t realize I had written such a long rambling post.. sorry about that, can you tell this has me frazzled a little bit?
      Just a quick update: things have slowly gotten better a bit.
      Naps are 45min-1hr, he starts yawning after 1h30 and then I put him down again. After reading some of your comments about it being best to put baby down more awake than drowsy, and about the difference between let fuss a little and CIO, I decided yesterday to put baby in nap nanny, kiss and say nite nite and then walk out the room. He fussed for like 4 min and then slept an hour. This has happened twice now.

      At night, he hes given us a few nights again where he has slept longer stretches the first part of the night (3hr, eat, another 4hr and last night 6hr straight). he will eat and go back to sleep without issue. The problem that remains is the early morning hours, though. After that initial long stretch of sleep, and after he has eaten and dosed back off, he will start waking up more frequently, like every hour, 1h30, and needs to be soothed. Patting on belly doesn’t help. He wants to be walked around or nursed, but will only suck a few times and go back to sleep. We have stopped giving pacis at night since he lost the at it was waking him up, but me being the human paci is not an option either. The way I see it, it leaves two options: we put him in the swing (he is already swaddled, with white noise on), or we see how he does if we let him fuss for a few minutes. My hubby isn’t a fan of the swing, even though Cam is clearly a motion junkie, and he says if we do put him in the swing, it should be for the entire night and not the remainder of the night, which I suggested. Fuss it out a bit is alright by me (not CIO at this point, too early), but we have a toddler sleeping in the next room and don’t want her waking up. Any suggestions on what might work best?

      • Katrien,
        In regards to your original post everything you described sounded like a sleep regression (the 4 month is generally the worst):

        However since clearly you’ve navigated that – YAY – the question is what to do now?

        So to answer your specific questions – I would stick with white noise ALWAYS till 1 year (and possibly after). And I would stick with the swaddle.

        Dr. Karp says swaddle till minimally 4 months and reflux babies are often swaddled far longer (mine was solidly swaddled for 10 months).

        Reflux kids are really challenging because there is no good way to know what is going on in there without doing something invasive. So you’re constantly watching the behavior and trying to suss out how his tummy is feeling. Also reflux babies are prone to food issues (milk protein intolerance is common). And they are constantly outgrowing their meds. So you’re never DONE managing it, because the reflux is always leapfrogging your efforts.

        Until they outgrow it then – PHEW – what a relief THAT is.

        I think you guys are actually doing great. If he’s a motion junkie then USE THE SWING. It combines the upright angle which helps his reflux with the motion he loves. I have no issue with him going in the swing in the middle of the night if that is what you want to do. Lots of babies start out the night in their crib and then end up somewhere else.

        Really either (all night or part of the night) is just fine. I would also consider putting him in there for naps. Please tell your husband that when you have a refluxie baby you need to take whatever soothing help you can get :)

        The fuss it out you suggested is AWESOME. Let him fuss for 4 minutes if he needs to. That is NOT CIO and is a great way to help him learn to settle himself. Congratulations!

        Also don’t make decisions based on fears of waking up the toddler. Older siblings are remarkably deaf to baby issues. You are tuned into baby noise but they could care less. Very rarely will a toddler wake up because you have a crying baby 😛

        • Hi Alexis, thanks for responding, I really do appreciate it.
          This is our second ‘reflux baby’, so I know what you mean when you say it can be a challenge, unfortunately.
          My son is on prevacid, and he is doing great now, luckily. With my daughter, I had gone on that total elimination diet for 6 weeks, before prilosec was kicking in (I initially had a tough time finding a pediatrician who would take me seriously and put her on the right medication), since I was desperate for her to feel better. The diet didn’t really make a difference for her, so I mistakenly assumed that mspi and reflux are unrelated. This is why I had not even tried to go dairy/soy free with my son. However, after reading your post on reflux, where you said that half of reflux babies do have food issues, I figured it was worth a shot. Well, I noticed a difference 4-5 days into the diet! (tmi) No more green, mucusy poo, and he is so much less gassy. His reflux issues don’t seem to only be caused by this, since the difference is not dramatic. BUT there definitely is a difference, so I’m suspecting he has a mild dairy/soy intolerance.
          I’m also taking your advice on not basing our baby sleeping tactics on our toddler. I HAD been doing that, and had sometimes been nursing him a bit for his afternoon nap, so he would go to sleep faster, since Isabel is then napping as well. This is probably too inconsistent, so as of today, no more of that.
          I read somewhere else, that if you catch them getting sleepy early enough, even before they are yawning or rubbing their eyes, they go to sleep much easier. I tried this just now, and I just kissed him and walked out the room. He didn’t even really fuss, but just put himself to sleep! I feel that we are slowly making progress, and you have been a huge help!

          • Last night, after an initial 4 hr stretch, he was up every hour again (sigh). So we have moved his swing into his bedroom and as of today, he is napping/sleeping in there. Fingers crossed.

            • Well congratulations on figuring out the soy/dairy connection! It blows as almost everything you want to eat has milk protein in it (booo) but hopefully that + feeding his inner motion junkie will help you break out of this “up every hour” stuff.

              I feel like us reflux Moms should get a special t-shirt to let people know that we are dealing with Olympic-level baby challenges and thus should be forgiven for being (insert: unkempt, crabby, unorganized, tired, wrinkled, etc.).

              Good luck with it 😛

  41. Amazed by all the helpful information — and the good writing and wit that make it easy to digest :)

    My daughter is 9wks. She goes to bed between 8:30-10:30 (usually at 9:30 or 10) and sleeps 8-10 hrs at night with no waking/feeding. After she wakes, she eats a big meal (breastfeeding) and immediately takes 2-3 hr nap. She used to continue to take 1.5-3 hr naps through out the day, but recently, with the exception of her loooong morning nap (immediately after a long nights sleep!!) she has refused to take more than a 30-45 minute nap! Should I be concerned? She is relatively easy to get to sleep at night (swaddle, rock, lay down, give paci/sing/ jiggle her a bit with hand on chest if she wakes up.) The same routine used to work for nap time, but now she is getting fussy at nap time and fighting sleep. I don’t allow her to stay up for more that 1 hr 45 min – 2 hrs, and go for nap time earlier of she begins yawning or fussing, but she is increasingly fighting her naps! She used to nap just fine in her crib, but now it seems in her sling or on my chest is all that works. She even wakes from her swing after a short time (30 minutes).

    We did just return from a 4-5 trip to my sisters, where she slept great in her pack n play. Before the trip and even during, she slept great and even began sucking herself to sleep with paci when layed down awake but drowsy. Now things have deteriorated at home!

    Are 30 minute naps long enough? Is her long morning nap immediately after waking a bad habit?

    • Erin,

      Here long morning nap isn’t really a nap – that’s part of her night sleep. So her “night” is 9:30 PM – 9:30 AM. As she gets older this will shift up to 7:00 – 7:00.

      So no this isn’t a problem I just wanted to clarify that the 2-3 hour nap isn’t really a nap. So your problem is the short naps all day.

      It’s REALLY common for babies to struggle with long naps. You don’t specify but at this age you still want to give TONS of soothing- swaddle, loud white noise, swing. The swing is far better then her only sleeping on you because you don’t want to teach her to only nap ON you because eventually you will want a free minute of the day right? So I would start to get a little consistent about where she naps and if it were me, I would work with the swing.

      Also I think you’re probably keeping her up a bit too long between naps. Try shooting for something closer to 1.5 hours or so and see if that makes a difference. Being awake 2 hours is actually a tad long for a newborn so I’m guessing that she’s getting overtired which then guarantees you a short nap. Cutting this window shorter won’t guarantee you a big nap but it’ll definitely be a step in the right direction. Good luck!

  42. Also, that long morning nap happens in my bed after baby is nursed to sleep. That never seemed to interfere with her other day naps — she would nap in her crib or her bouncer or swing after being lulled to sleep in a sling or with swaddling/rocking/paci. Since returning from the trip, she has wanted to be nursed to sleep for all naps or carried in sling.

  43. Hi Alexis,
    I am making my way through the posts and comments on your blog, have to do it 5 mins at a time. I’ve got a few questions but for now all I have time to say is have you thought of doing a post on MOTHERS in LAW … and navigating the early months of motherhood with them – especially when you don’t have a mother of your own..! Nightmare!

    • I’m sorry your MIL is a nightmare :( But yeah that is a great idea. I think it’s really about establishing boundaries with family which is hard when you’re exhausted and hormonal. Will definitely think more about that :)

  44. Hello, I wondered if you could help us. I am based in London and it seems we don’t have pediatricians who give us advice like you guys over the water do – I mean, we have GPs (doctors) but mine knows nothing about babies at all (his admission). Then we have Health visitors – whom we visit every month for the first 6 months with baby – but you only get your baby weighed and have 3 minutes with them, and usually their advice is completely unhelpful and contradictory.

    My baby was born in April so he’s 4.5 months old. Birth was great. It was the next 3 months that weren’t. Along with 7 weeks of breastfeeding challenges, tongue-tie etc -all fine now – I went completely crazy reading the books but none answered questions about my particular baby. We’d been specifically told in our ante natal classes only 2 things about life after the Birth;
    1) sleeping with your baby, preferably in your bed, is best for everyone
    2) feed “on demand”

    They seemed to make sense to me at the time but I then began to realise they might lead to more problems than they solved.

    a) sleeping with baby if your bed isnt big enough leads to excruciating shoulder / neck / back pains/lighter sleep/destruction of intimate life with partner
    b) if you feed the way the baby wants, ie snacking, it encourages grazing so baby never gets full, therefore leading to shorter naps. Yet i couldnt force him to eat more in one go.

    On top of 20 minute naps (which take at least an hour of pushing/rocking/nursing to happen) we also had COLIC for 3 months (week 3 to week 13/14)
    this was HELL. (have you done a post on colic?)

    Not least because it meant
    a) late morning waking times as evenings spent crying
    b) no chance to attempt self soothing training or getting routines and good habits into place

    SO we now have a baby who is used to sleeping right next to mum with boob on tap, and who generally won’t go to sleep for naps or nights without pushing/rocking or feeding.

    I bought a swing on your advice, but it’s second hand fisher price and it seems the batteries (vastly expensive) last 30 mins the give up, and it doesn’t take rechargables!! and he isnt very keen on it.

    I want to get him in the cot now. Next to the bed first, then when he sleeps though the night he can move away from our bed. But the maximum time he sleeps for is 3-4 hours then wakes wanting to feed. In the evenings he finally goes to sleep between 10 and 11pm ( i never have the evening to myself) wakes 3-4 hours later, then every 1.5 or 2-3 hours after that wanting a quick suck (for comfort?) then straight back to sleep. It would obviously be more disruptive if he slept further away from me because he’d have to wake up more in order to get my attention – and i would have to wake up more to get out of the bed, and would find it harder to go back to sleep!

    so i dont know how to get from A to B, bed to cot, snacking to proper feeds, night wakings to all night sleepings. AND he always wakes up if we ever dare to transfer him from where he’s fallen asleep!!

    but thanks for any input..

    • Emma,
      I don’t think the US offers enough support to new Moms. But apparently what we have is LAVISH compared to what is going on in the UK.

      Yes co-sleeping and being a human pacifier all night will work great for sleep if it works great for the parents. But RARELY does this work great for the parents. Also – as you’ve sussed out – what exactly is the end game of all this co-sleeping and human pacifier stuff? Are you signing up to do this for the next 3 years? And if not, how exactly do you break out of it?

      So here is the dilemma….

      You had a rough start with a colicky baby, every nursing problem under the sun, and lack of support. So you did what ANYBODY would have done – whatever you needed to just to get through the day. Now you have a 5 month old baby who has been taught that the only way to sleep is on Mom’s body, and generally affixed to the boob.

      In case you’re not depressed enough you’ve got other problems going on too – soothing for 1 hour to get 20 minutes of sleep is so exhausting I feel like taking a nap just reading about it. Also bedtime is too late so while I can’t quite suss out how much sleep he is getting at night my gut thinks the answer is “not enough.” So probably he’s a bit overtired as you all are.

      Getting him into the cot at 5 months without crying is not going to be easy. If you didn’t put that out there as a requirement I would say, ditch the battery-eating-monster and go buy a NEW swing and work with that. I would go back to TONS of soothing (swaddle, swing, loud white noise). You say you’re rocking/pushing him for 1 hour to make naps happen. Wouldn’t a swing help minimally by automating this whole backbreaking process?!?

      But if that is not an option then you’re going to have to struggle to get your 5 month old baby to learn a completely new set of sleep associations. Because the only consistent ones he has NOW are your body + your boobs. The first thing to work on would be to work on rocking him to sleep without nursing. If you can break the “will only sleep by nursing” habit you’ve taken a major step forward. I’m not saying this will be easy but that would be step #1.

      I would swaddle then rock to sleep in a dark room with loud white noise. No more nursing to sleep. Once he is asleep try to put him in his crib. His naps will probably be short but no shorter than they are now.

      Once you’ve climbed this hurdle then step #2 would be to start rocking less and less. If you put him down semi-awake and he freaks I would re-rock/soothe and try again. Repeat until sleep happens.

      All of this can be a long and frustrating process which I hate to suggest to somebody who MUST be a bit beat up after all the challenges you’ve had already. But it can be done if cot+no cry+ no swing is the plan.

      Anyhoo – I wish you much success with this. Please check back in a month and let me know how things are progressing!

  45. PS I’ve realised he has a window of wakefulness of 1.5 hours or max 2 hours, so I always look at what time he wakes up and make sure that in 1.5 hours’ time I am “creating the conditions” for him to go to sleep. If I just left him on the bed he would wimper for ages then start screaming.. so he he has generally 30 mins-1 hour in the morning, 1 hour-2 hrs over lunch, and 30 mins-1 hr in the late afternoon.
    PPS he spits out any dummies / pacifiers
    pps sorry you’re probably thinking “Jeeeez, dontcha realise this is all normal and you just have to get through it!!”

    • Well it is normal – ish. But it sounds like London is a bit of a rough slog for new Moms. In many ways VT is a New Mom haven as I had TONS of lactation support (all paid by insurance which was helpful), pediatricians who offered more meaningful support than “nurse more and co-sleep”, etc.

      Also? Congratulations on figuring out how long he can be awake! That is a huge, really really useful piece of information that is not at all easy to suss out. Sounds like his naps are going great now that you’ve got a handle on the clock. Something to be proud of!

  46. My lo is 8 1/2 months old and is a cat napper. We don’t have any of the problems listed as to why he is cat napping, but he started this at about 8 weeks old. Now, at 8 1/2 months, he sleeps 12 hours at night, being put down wide awake with no pacifier and a steady routine, and will take 2-3 45 minute naps a day. He is up about 2-2 1/2 hours in between naps. I’ve tried everything to get him to nap longer but nothing has worked. If none of the “problems” apply to his situation, why is he not taking longer naps? He may just be a cat napper!!!

    • He could be – I mean babies are so different far be it for me to say that he couldn’t just be a bonified cat napper. But I’m guessing that he just hasn’t consolidated day sleep YET.

      And thus his day WILL come. If you’re putting him down awake, have a great consistent routine, and are giving as much soothing as you can (which at 8 months is really just a dark room + white noise), and he takes 45 minute naps, than you’ve done all you can do.

      But I’m guessing that he just hasn’t developmentally reached the whole nap consolidation thing (which is different from night sleep consolidation which means that consolidating at night and consolidating during the day can happen at two different times). So hopefully he’ll get there when he’s ready!

  47. Alexis,

    My 7 month old still sleeps in a swing for naps. I tried for 3 weeks to put her in the crib for naps, but ended up with a tired baby for 3 weeks. She would fall asleep easily in the crib, but would only sleep for 25-40 minutes in the crib. She would wake up unhappy and tired. Even CIO didn’t help get her to go back to sleep. She sleeps 12 hours at night in her crib no problem! And web taking naps in her swing, she sleeps anywhere from 1-2 hours! We use white noise and she has a small lovey. And ideas? Or, is it just not the time to transitio to the crib yet???

    • Is she napping in a non-moving swing? Just to recap the steps to getting baby OUT of the swing are:
      a) Put baby in swing awake, turn swing on, turn on loud white noise, leave room.
      b) Put baby in swing awake, turn on loud white noise, leave room.
      c) Put swing next to crib, but baby in swing awake, turn on loud white noise, leave room.
      d) Put baby in crib awake, turn on loud white noise, leave room.

      If you try skipping one of these steps the transition won’t work well.

      If the swing is still swinging, I would FIRST work on getting baby to nap in a non-moving swing. Does that make sense?!?!

      Also it’s not unusual to have babies sleeping like rock stars in their crib but still napping in the swing for a while. 7-8 months isn’t so strange. If things are going REALLY poorly, wait a few weeks and try again. This is the zen of babies.

  48. I have a question. I know you are a big advocate of the swing Alexis and honestly it has saved my husband and I many….MANY…sleepless nights because to be honest she loves that damn thing so much. I am happy to oblige her and put her in it but now she is only wanting to sleep her naps in it as well. So for naps (which are now extended because she sleeps in swing…thank God) and bedtime she sleeps in the swing exclusively. also I am having to turn it on high for her to stay asleep longer. She is 7 weeks old and I am also starting with naps by putting her down drowsy. For naps she is sleeping better about 1hr-2hrs but I use a pacifier to help her go back to sleep if she wakes and fusses too much. I try to wait it out a little but then she goes full ape on us and won’t settle back down. For bedtime she does not get a pacifier and sleeps fine with a bottle at 3 bedtime at 8:30 and wakes up again at 8:30am. I am so nervous about being able to transition her to a crib. When is the best time to transition and how can I get her to not want the constant swaying of the swing? I am okay with it now but I am a HHHUUGGGEEE planner so I like to have a plan formulated for the future. Also, should I not use the pacifier at all? I have only been doing it for about a week now. I am just trying to get her to sleep in her crib and to be put down while drowsy and not have us rock her to sleep every night. Am i trying too soon?

    • Deep breath. IN with the good air OUT with the bad. Deep breaths.

      OK so baby is 7 weeks old. In the broader scheme of things she was born 5 seconds ago. So while planning is great (failure to plan leads to babies who are up all night on their 2nd birthday so I’m happy you’re thinking ahead) it’s a little early to go into Defcon 5 freakout about baby having a dependency on soothing tools such as swing, paci, etc.

      Also? Crying peaks and sleep is the WORST at 6 weeks so you’re literally just coming off that whole thing.

      You have a solid 2-3 months to wean off the paci. Pacis are GREAT when babies are little. Your goal is to be done with it by 3-4 months.

      The swing is a tool. You’re still getting great swing out of it which is awesome. Check the post below for more ideas about how to use it to teach baby to sleep and then transition to the crib.

      At 7 weeks I wouldn’t sweat the fact that she needs the swing on high. I would start playing around with putting her down awake in the swing (but it’s OK if it’s not working, you still have time). Most babies are ready to sleep in their crib at night at 3-4 months. Some are napping in the crib then too but some are also still napping in the swing till ~6 months.

      Also if you aren’t doing so, I would definitely encourage a tight swaddle and loud white noise. You basically want to give her LOTS of soothing sleep associations so that when you start to wean off some (paci, less swinging, etc.) she still has other sources of soothing sleep cues to work with. So at 7 weeks your sleep stuff = dark room, loud white noise, swaddle, paci, swing.

      At 3 months it might look more like = dark room, loud white noise, swaddle, swing (on speed 3).

      At 5 months your plan might be more like = dark room, loud white noise, swaddle, crib.

      At 6 months = dark room, loud white noise, crib.

      ps. Am working on post about when and how to wean off stuff however the GI bugs have been so vicious around here that one member of my household is constantly vomiting which is really putting a crimp in my ability to get on the computer 😛

      Good luck with your new baby! Everything will be fine :)

  49. Hi Alexis – Just another first time mother who is obsessed with 1) my baby’s sleep and 2) your blog here!

    I’m just writing to thank you so much for this short naps post. I must have read it 5 times during the month that my son was taking up to 6 30-45 minute naps per day. I was exhausted and felt like all I ever did was put him to sleep all day. At 10 weeks he suddenly started sleeping like a newborn at night (up every 1.5-2 hours -ARG!) but started taking long naps again (yay!). This week his nighttime sleep is back to normal (up to 11 hours with 1-2 wakeups) and he is taking two 2-3 hour naps a day plus a short evening one. PRAISE BE!

    Not to sound like a mom who I would have wanted to PUNCH IN THE FACE a few weeks ago but he is sleeping so much that I kind of get bored during the day and am really happy to see his well rested little self when he finally gets up. After a full week of the long naps I am beginning to let myself think that nap consolidation has happened and that this is not a fluke. I guess we’ll see! Anyway, I am NOT writing to brag but to say to anyone else struggling with the short naps:

    1. Hang in there and keep putting them down for those short naps even if it is taking up your entire day!
    2. Your baby will (hopefully) figure the nap thing out at some point when s/he is ready. Soothing and routines help but s/he will probably just nap when s/he is ready to do it!

    • Thank you for sharing your success! It’s so easy to think, “Well I guess the rest of my life will be spent trying to get my baby to sleep” and forget that a) they get bigger and b) it get’s easier.

      You’re bored during the day?!? Gheesh – I have so little free time my house is never clean and organized in entirety. Like I can keep 2-3 rooms in passable condition but if you start wandering about you’ll quickly find that the “clean” rooms are just an illusion because I shoved everything in the closet which one must never ever open. I’m about 300 emails behind (not a joke) but am constantly behind because the second I sit down at the computer one of my kids instantly has a crisis.

      So enjoy these brief moments because trust me, you will blink and they will be over and you’ll remember fondly about the days when you had 4+ hours of nap time to yourself and now you never even get to experience the small joys like going to the bathroom by yourself 😉

      • Ah! I gloated way too soon. We are back to fighting just to get a short nap. I have no idea what changed/changed back but I shall soldier on and hope it is just some kind of growth spurt/regression/Wonder Week.

        Bored no more

  50. Alexis – Ack! Help! We’ve got a terribly short napper on our hands.

    My 5.5 month-old was a very colicky baby and continues to be fussy after being up only 1 hour. We aim to have her in her crib by 1 hour 10 min (or 1.5 hours max).

    We sleep trained a few weeks ago and slowly but surely, her night sleep has gotten much, much better.We used to rock her to sleep for 30 minutes, but when she started shrieking and getting riled up, we let her CIO. She went from multiple night-wakings (6-10X a night) to fussing a bit before bed (maybe 15 minutes) and generally sleep from 6/6:30 to 6:30am with two brief wake-ups to feed. So, I was hoping that as her night sleep got better, her naps would extend. But this hasn’t been the case.

    We take her up to her room at the first sign of a yawn (if it’s earlier than 1 hour 10). The room has black-out curtains and the same white noise running constantly. I usually nurse her and sing her a lullaby and rock her a bit and then put her in her crib wide awake, usually with a pacifier. This week, she has been SHRIEKING as we lay her down and will do so for 10-20 minutes before falling asleep. If we go in to attempt to soothe, she often gets MORE worked up and crazy. This is the same loud crying we heard when we were CIOing out for night sleep (which has fortunately ended). She almost always usually falls asleep after 10-20 minutes, but man does it suck to hear her cry so much! I’ve even tried rocking her to sleep and this only makes her more mad, seemingly.

    Right now she is taking about 4 naps a day. We are lucky if one is 50 minutes long. They are usually 30 minutes on average and she always wakes up mad. Her last nap usually ends around 3, and she refuses to go down after that (unless we wear her in the Ergo and go around the block, which works 75% of the time). This means we are pushing 3 hours awake before her bedtime (6 o’clock) and she’s a cranky lady by that point. I can’t imagine putting her to bed any earlier than that. She’ll usually sleep a 7 hour stretch before her next feed.

    Help! It’s been this way since she was 4 months old and her naps have gotten shorter! We aren’t against CIO for naps, and honestly it seems like that may be our only option at this point, since our methods don’t seem very soothing. Yet, I hear CIO for naps can take a long time, and frankly, it’s just so. much. crying!

    Should we be stretching her AT or shortening it? Should we resort to a swing/swaddle (which is how she napped from months 0-3)? Will the crying ever end?? Do I need to institute a longer soothing routine? Take the pacifier away?

    Thanks so much for your help.

    • Heather,

      Welcome to motherhood! It’s a long unceasing slog of baby soothing and short naps. What a party, right?

      Well it definitely sounds like you guys have had a rough time and I’m not entirely sure why. Have you tried a milk-protein free trial? I just throw that out as 10% of babies have issues with milk protein and your baby seems unusually sensitive so I start to wonder if there isn’t some small underlying issue making things extra hard for you. Food allergies or (mild) reflux are the most likely bed. Could be nothing but it’s worth a try if you haven’t done it.

      If baby is crying for 20 minutes and sleeping for 30 that seems pretty rough all around.

      If it were me I would encourage swing over pacifier only because the pacifier (at 5.5 months) is going to result in object permanence/short nap issues where the swing won’t. It sounds like she’s sleeping great at night so keep using the crib at night and use the swing for naps. This might be a great tactic to get longer naps and to help her fall asleep solo with less crying.

      I would also try stretching the time awake a bit to see what happens. You could be stuck in a cycle where she’s not awake long enough and thus CAN’T take a longer nap. So it might be an interesting experiment to try keeping her awake a tad longer for 2-3 days (try 2 hours) and see what happens. She might be cranky for a bit but if the experiment results in longer naps I would stick with it (if not then OK she’s not ready yet).

      I’m also a fan of the swaddle for naps. Lots of babies still need to be swaddled at 6+ months so if that helps it’s a far better sleep soother than the paci (again pacis fall out – it’s not that pacis are bad per se, but the falling out causes problems).

      So I would probably start with the swaddle, see what happens. If nothing improves add the swing. Combine swing, swaddle if necessary. Try widening how long he is awake to ~2 hours. Think about this as a science experiment. Try for a few days before you decide the experiment is a failure.

      Good luck!

      • Hi Alexis – Thanks for your helpful advice. Our daughter did have a milk protein sensitivity and I’ve cut out all soy and dairy since she was 8 days old. And she was on reflux medicine for about 4.5 months.

        We’ve stretched her awake time and this seems to be going better. She can tolerate about 1.75 to 2 hours and even 2.5 hours in the afternoon without freaking out, so this is progress. Yesterday she slept for 1.5 hours in the morning, but this happens only once or twice a week. Here’s hoping that she can continue stretching out her sleep!

        Night sleep is still meh. She goes down at 6 (sometimes without crying, sometimes crying hard for 20 minutes) and has been waking up at 11:45 almost on the dot most nights, then around 3:30 or 4:30 and then 6 (sometimes as late as 7:30). If she’s waking at the exact time every night, is this an habitual night waking? Should we attempt to sleep train for this waking? We are still feeding her twice a night. She goes down without a pacifier.

        Thanks so much.

  51. Ergh. I should also say it looks like we are going through some sort of sleep regression, as well. Last 7 nights, she has been going down at 6 (fussing or crying hard for 20 minutes, so 6:20 asleep). And then crying out between 9:30 and 11:30, sometimes waking and crying HARD (in which I go in and feed her) or falling back asleep after a little squawk. Then she’s up at 1:30, then 4, then 5:30, then 6 or 6:30. We end up ignoring one or two of these night wakings (we always feed her twice a night) but last night was rough, so we ended up feeding her three times. So, looks like my above comment regarding our daughter’s “great night sleep” should be modified a bit.

  52. Hello
    My baby is 6 months. She is sleeping through the night 7pm-7am with one dreamfeed. She was napping swaddled in the swing until about 1 week ago, when we began the transition. We needed her out of the swing because would couldn’t travel to see our family or head up to our cottage, as they had no swing. In the swing morning nap would be 1.5-2 hours and the same for the afternoon nap. Awake time 2-3 hours. i started transition with just the AM nap. It went great, she naps about 1 hr 45 min. then a few days ago I did the afternoon nap. they were just 45min-1 hour long. she wakes pretty happy so i don’t mind that they are shorter but she seems to rub her eyes for quite awhile after the nap, also then we have this limbo period where she is tired again before bed but it is to late for a nap and too early for bedtime. this wasn’t a problem before because she had longer naps in swing which allowed her to wake up later so not to much time awake time before bed. I nurse her before each nap she usually falls asleep and wakes slightly as I put her in crib. Could this be an issue but if so why isnt it affecting her AM nap? should i try to get in an extra nap or just stretch her until bedtime?
    Typical day:
    7:15 wake
    9:45 nap
    11:30 wake
    2:15 nap
    3:15 wake
    7:00 bed (the stretch between wake and bed seems to be too long and she is super cranky by 6ish)

    • It’s pretty normal for naps to be slightly shorter in the crib as it’s just not as soothing as a big bouncy swing. It’s also pretty normal for babies at 6 months to take a 3rd nap.

      If it were me I would take her for a walk (babywearing, stroller) around 5:00ish. You don’t want her taking a huge mongo nap that would blow the 7:00 bedtime you’ve established. But 4 hours is too long for her to stay awake at 6 months. I think a 10 minute stroller nap at 5:00 would take the edge off so she’s not melting down at 6:00 but not soooo much that she can’t fall asleep at 7:00.

      Play around with it, see what works. But I think you need a 3rd catnap to make it through till bedtime. Most babies need this till 9-12 months….

  53. Hi Alexis,

    Thanks for a great resource! Do you have any tips on how to eliminate using the pacifier to sleep? I know that people suggest starting at nap times, but is there anything else that can help with the transition?

    Thank you!

    • Working on a post on this but my quick and dirty advice is to make sure you give her LOTS of soothing sleep cues. Depending on age my default advice is:
      – dark room
      – loud white noise
      – swaddle
      – swing
      – paci

      If baby is sleeping happily with all this great soothing then removing one of the cues/soothing sources is less of a disruption to the routine.

      More to come soonish….

  54. I posted on the sleep regression page last week and have been trying to get my LO to sleep a lot to make up for travel and being sick but it hasn’t been going great.
    My 4 1/2 month old has been getting about 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours since he was born. He used to sleep 9 hours at night (bedtime 10-11) and then he would have 1-2 2 hour naps and 2-3 45 min naps. Now he usually has 3-4 45 min naps and sleeps about 11 hours at night (bed time 7:30-8:30).
    What do you think about the idea of putting him to bed later or get him up earlier in order to get those nice long naps in during the day?
    The above question is somewhat theoretical since we seem to also have a nap time paci issue. We don’t have to use it at night. I feed him 2-3 times a night now but he can put himself to sleep afterwards even if he seems wide awake. He does seem to need it for naps as he has a really hard time falling asleep without it. I have been giving him a lovey and a blanky but am stumped as to how to get rid of the paci.
    Anyways, this is probably also playing into the crappy nap situation, but I’m very curious to know what you think about the correlation between total sleep hours, night sleep and nap lengths.

    • This morning has been a classic example of my above question:
      My son fell asleep last night at 8:30pm. I dream fed him at 10:00, he woke up to feed at 1:30, and then woke up to feed again at 5:45. I put him back to bed at 6:00, wondering to myself if I should keep him up. He slept until 8:00.
      As always I kept on the look out for sleepy cues and noticed at 9:00 that he was starting to yawn. So into bed he went.
      We have been working on no pacifer for naps and yesterday he did great (2/3 naps paci-less with about 1/2 fussing). It should also be noted that he had had less overnight sleep than last night – sleeping at 8:30 and up at 7:00.
      So, back to today. After putting him down for his nap, he cried/screamed for an hour and a half and then needed to be fed so I had to take him out of bed. I put him back to bed since it had been well over 2 hours since he had been up. He hasn’t cried since feeding him and now, after being awake for about 3 1/2 hours, sleep still doesn’t seem to be in sight. I think I’m going to give up on this nap entirely.
      SO, what am I doing wrong? Is my above observation correct – I should have kept him up at 6:00 otherwise he would have had TOO many night sleep hours? Should I have given in and just gave him the paci? Or did I do something else wrong?
      To bad babies don’t come with troubleshooting manuals :-s

      • Things are slowly getting better with the munchkin, I think. I’ve figured out that if the LO goes to sleep at 8:30pm and wakes up at 6am, and I put him down for naps after 1.5-2 hours of being awake (I’m pretty sure I put him down TOO early in the above scenario), he will go for 2 1.5-2 hour naps and 2 45min naps, which is what he was doing before the sleep got all messed up. He still wakes up 2-3 times a night, but I’m hoping that nights will settle down once good naps get back into place.
        So, coming back to my original question/observation – it seems like, for my son at least, the total number of sleep hours in a 24 hour period always stays the same (+/- 1 hour). If he sleeps tons overnight, the naps really suck. If I limit his overnight sleep, his naps are way better. I know I should let sleeping babies lie, but if naps suck then we have a really rough day with grumpy baby.

    • Marina,

      If I had to choose between a long consolidated night of sleep or big chunky naps, I’ll choose the long consolidated night of sleep. Also 11 hours of sleep at night is the norm (generally any less than 11 is TOO little and only a few lucky Moms have babies who will sleep 12-13 hours a night).

      So I can’t imagine 11 hours of sleep at night being a problem.

      I’m also a fan of an EARLY bedtime so can’t really recommend keeping him up later in order to sort things out. Keeping babies up later generally results in an overly long window of being awake in the evening which leads them to be overtired at bedtime (which also usually sets you up for multiple night wakings). So when in doubt, earlier is better.

      As for the crappy nap situation its not super clear to me how/where he is napping but definitely at 5 months there is a good chance that the paci is part of the root problem. He falls asleep with it, it falls out, he goes through 1 sleep cycle (45 minutes) and gets upset about the “missing” paci and whammo – you’ve got a short nap.

      Ideally you’re giving him lots of soothing sleep cues. At 5 months I would definitely be a fan of:
      – DARK room
      – LOUD white noise
      – swaddle (for naps)

      This is your best bet to maximize the length of his naps. Using a swing at naptime is also generally helpful.

      ~1.5 hours between naps at 5 hours sounds about right so I think you’re right in your assessment that you weren’t keeping him up quite long enough. It’s a moving target so it’s pretty normal to be a little off at various times.

      I wouldn’t necessarily suggest letting him scream in his crib for so long. It’s just unlikely to be that effective a tool at this age and I think you still have a few tools in your arsenal to sort naps out without so much crying. I would put it in your back pocket as a backup plan if things aren’t any better in a month or two?

      Bottom Line: I wouldn’t cut the night short but I would keep working to help use soothing techniques & timing of naps to improve the nap situation without shortening the night. Hope that helps?

      • Hi Alexis,
        It does help, thanks!
        I’ve made a discovery over the last few days. After reading your suggestion to another reader to give a bottle after BF, I decided to give it a try since he kept waking up day and night earlier than he should be and he was always hungry. I understand that growth spurts happen but it shouldn’t be lasting for 2 months. Turned out that even though the kiddo seemed satisfied, he wasn’t full. I’ve been topping him up after every feed during the day and his naps have become better. I should have realized a long time ago that I had a supply problem since it was a problem for the first couple of months. He still gets up 3-4 times a night but I’m hoping that will work itself out eventually too.

        • Do you have a good IBCLC nearby you could call on? Just a thought. Low supply is an issue. I have absolutely no scientific evidence to back this up but I think it’s way more common than people think. Maybe 10% of nursing Moms?

          Anyway I am one of those Moms too and have no problem with a little formula here and there to make BF work for all involved. But it IS something that maybe you can improve upon. Also some babies, when offered a bottle, realize that it’s a lot easier to get food from a bottle than from a breast and they start to become lazy nursers. A good IBCLC can work with you to make sure this doesn’t happen or may even be able to get your supply up.

          Anyway it’s something to think about?

  55. My son is 11 weeks old and is cat napping all day long. We swaddle, use a pacifier, and white noise. It doesn’t matter whether he’s in his carseat while we’re driving, in the stroller, in the moby wrap, in his bassinet, or crib…naps are 30 minutes tops. He is such a light sleeper. My husband is certain the reason he wakes up is because of his pacifier falling out. He will not go to sleep at all if he’s not swaddled or has his pacifier, and when we put him down drowsy but awake he’ll go right to sleep as long as the paci doesn’t fall out before he’s asleep. He used to go right back to sleep when we go in and give him a pacifier after waking up after 20-30 mins of napping but not anymore. I try to put him down after 1 hour but he still seems way tired (and grumpy) all the time. What would you recommend we do? His night sleep is pretty good. Wakes up one or two times between 9 and 7. (Except last night was a bad night and woke up 4 times)

    • If he’s a sensitive baby (sounds like he is) I would swaddle him, crank up the loud white noise, and put him to sleep in the swing. That’s what I would do.

      It doesn’t guarantee you longer naps but it sounds as if the paci falling out IS guaranteeing you short naps. The swing is a more consistent source of soothing so it may help him navigate those sleep cycles and get past the 30 minute mark.

      Continue having him sleep in his crib at night as that is going well. But when you have a newborn baby who is sleeping poorly and the “paci falling out” is tripping you up, I think your best bet is to ditch the paci and use something equally soothing for naps a la the swing.

  56. Thanks for you response! I like the idea of the swing since it’s something you can gradually wean your child off of. I was getting stressed about the whole paci issue because I knew with the issues we’ve been having we needed to take it away but had no idea how since he’s so dependent on it! My only worry though is if it will mess with his night sleep. He sleeps in his crib and he’s been sleeping a 7 hour stretch and then another 3 hour stretch, and sometimes another stretch after that. Should I limit the swing so it doesn’t mess with night sleep? Don’t want to mess with him sleeping so well at night in his crib.

    • What do you mean by “limit” the swing? Are you worried that if he sleeps well during the day his night sleep will go to hell?

      The answer is – almost never. Generally the opposite.

      Also? You GOT to loose that paci. Now or a month from now. Instead of sweating what the good naps do to his night sleep I would consider what the swing CAN do to help gently wean off the paci. Because you are definitely in the homestretch before the paci starts to become your nightmare. Not like it has to go today. But it has to go soon. So this is a great time to get naps happening and gently loose the paci before poor naps and paci problems start disrupting sleep around the clock!

  57. Hi Alexis, I also wrote you a reply on the sleep regression page. My 17 week old baby girl seems to be going through a sleep regression. It started with shorter daytime naps. I can rarely get her to sleep more than 45 mins at a time during the day. She literally wakes up at the 45 minute mark like she has a timer in her. She has a small window of awake time between naps which is about an hour- hour and half at most since 3 months of age (under 3 months was 30-45 mins of awake time betweeen naps). The regression started about 2 weeks ago and was just effecting her daytime sleep until now. She was sleeping from about 10pm or 11pm to 5pm or 6am then back to sleep after her morning feeding until about 9am or 10am. It started with her waking once per night and now it is twice. I have to nurse her for her to settle back to sleep but she is fine once she eats which is usually a quick feeding more like a snack. She used to nap very well during the day from 1-3 hrs. Her naps would always decrease in time as the day went on and so she would nap better earlier in the day. Now she naps poorly all day. She typically naps 4-5 times a day. She has always been swaddled but learned to roll over from back to tummy at 3 months. Since learning to roll I also transitioned her from a rocker bassinet at 3 months to the cradle at night and crib during the day. This I believe is also contributing to her sleep regression but I can’t feel comfortable that she is safe in her bassinet rocker anymore. I still swaddle her because I have yet to find her able to roll while in the swaddle but my days are numbered before she masters that (I was thinking about trying one of those Magic Sleepers in place of the swaddle). She only settles while swaddled and me holding her while patting her back so she loves the security of it. Once calm I put her down drowsy which she usually doesn’t protest much and will fall asleep on her own (most of the time). The key is getting her to stay asleep for more than 45 mins during the day. She wakes so miserable and cranky. I am not as worried about her night sleep because I believe if we can improve and extend her naps that her night sleep will also improve. She has just been so cranky lately and doesn’t seem to be happy. She smiles less and fusses more and I feel like it is getting hard to get through my days with her so fussy and cranky. I’m thinking she needs to go to bed earlier like 8 or 9pm since she is so tired by evening. I have tried putting her down at 7 or 8pm only for her to wake 30-45 mins later. This is even after moving our bedtime routine to 6pm which is bath, nurse and books. I’m hoping that maybe it just takes some time getting her used to a new sleep schedule. Anything I can do to try and extend her daytime naps and improve her overall sleep? Thanks!

    • Hey Christine,

      You are answering your own questions. Seriously – re-read your comment because all the answers are in there. Honest!

      You took her out of the rocker bassinet and she’s not sleeping well in the crib. OK so she’s not ready for the crib but the rocker bassinet isn’t safe (full disclosure – I’m not really sure what a rocker bassinet is but whatev).

      She needs to be swaddled but is close to flipping over or may already be able to do so while swaddled. Anyhoo it’s a risk.

      She’s up too late.

      Her naps are short and crappy.

      So – you have a poorly sleeping baby who needs to be swaddled but needs to do so safely so she doesn’t flip over. And the answer is? The answer is? Seriously you do know what the answer is.

      It’s a swing. It’s far more soothing and she can’t flip over cuz she’ll be strapped in. At least for naps as this is your best bet to help get her naps to last longer than a single 45 minute sleep cycle. Also loud white noise, which you don’t mention but hopefully are using?

      That’s what I would do. Swing, swaddle, loud white noise for naps.

      You can probably leave her in her crib (also with swaddle and loud white noise at least until she flips over) at night. I think the little “night snacks” are probably related to a) habits formed during the regression and b) sleep deprivation due to crappy naps. I think if you get the naps on track and just ignore her a little bit when she wakes to snack, she may just grumble for 5 minutes and go back to sleep.

      Also as you point out, her bedtime is too late. But as you also noticed, plunking her into bed 3 hours earlier isn’t going to cut it. You need to start more gradually – try 15 minutes a day. You also may need to wake her up earlier in the AM to make this happen.

      Because her night is 10:00 PM – 10:00 AM and it probably should be a lot close to 7-7. Start waking her up earlier and putting her down earlier. This will help many things. One of which her “day” will more closely align with the sun which helps her body produce melatonin (sleep hormone) because she’ll be sleeping when it’s dark at night which is always a good thing.

      Anyhoo that’s what I would do. Lots of babies are still napping in swings till 4-6 months so it’s not as crazy late for this as you might think. It also gives you a safe way to maintain the beloved swaddle.

  58. HELP! Your website has been so helpful for encouragement for improving sleeping, but we need some serious help for naps. I know you’re working on a nap training post, but any suggestions are really helpful.

    Our baby boy is 8 months old and for the last two weeks, we successfully worked on check-and-console for nighttime and baby boy goes down with <10 mins of fussing at night and sleeps until either 2 am or 4am for feedings. I'd like to wean to at least only one feeding, but that's ok for now.

    The issue is we really need to tackle naps. While night training, we worked on getting good naps however possible. This usually meant either, jiggling in the swing (yes, we're the former swing jigglers) or nursing/lying down together. He'd often wake up after 45 minutes of jiggling in the swing and I'd often lie down with him to extend his nap to 1.5 or 2 hours. But, I can't lie down with him forever, no matter how sweet and cuddly it is. I've tried patting him in the crib, dancing with him until he's mostly asleep and putting him in but to no avail. He's always had a short nap cycle (30-45 minutes) even in the swing and only sleeps longer if I lie down with him and he's mostly nursing the entire time. I know we need to get him to fall asleep on his own to help him extend his nap time.

    I think a consistent routine of putting him in his crib and leaving, even if he cries the whole time is the best thing for him, but I'm struggling with a couple things:
    1) If he cries through his whole nap, when do we try again? He's 8 months so wait another 2-3 hours? Or try again sooner?
    2) Should we be working on a consistent time frame/schedule throughout the day (e.g., up at 7am, nap at 9am, etc.) to help set his internal clock? Or just focus on awake times of 2-3 hours?
    3) He needs a third nap and I've thought I'd let him fall asleep on his own (or fuss) for his first two naps and then get him to nap in the baby carrier for his third nap. Does that make sense?
    4) Should we move up his bed time if his naps are really awful?
    5) Do we stay the course even if night time goes south because naps are lousy?
    6) Any other suggestions for nap training???

    I've thought of using the swing, but he only really responds to the serious jiggling, not turning it on and if he's going to protest in the swing, I feel like we should just move the protesting to the crib. And he's getting too big for the swing and I feel like it's time to be consistent for night time and nap time.

    Any thoughts are soooo appreciated!! Anyone else have any experience working on naps for an older infant or doing sleep training for naps? Thanks!!

    • Ugh…OK here goes.

      1) Yes you try again in 2-3 hours.
      2) The consistent schedule will come organically when he’s napping better so I wouldn’t sweat it right now. You’ve got bigger problems, yes?
      3) I’m OK with the 3rd nap happening in a carrier. Just don’t make it so long that it blows bedtime (he’ll probably be tired but a consistent bedtime is more important).
      4) It’s OK to move bedtime up a little but you don’t want it TOO early. So don’t move it much more than 30 minutes?
      5) Yep
      6) Maybe let him cry in the swing. He’s already a huge motion junkie. Perhaps he’ll cry less that way. The big issue with nap CIO is babies cry through nap, get progressively more overtired during the day, and this can go on for many days. So while I get that he’s huge and you’re just sick and tired of the whole swing thing, it may be worth consideration just to help minimize the crying.

      Once he’s falling asleep at naptime in the swing you could pretty quickly go the gradual wean off method and get him into the crib within a few weeks.

      Or you could argue that it’s better to pull the bandaid off all at once. Honestly I could convincingly argue either way. But I’m leaning 51% towards letting him cry in the swing for naps.

      Let me know what you do and how it goes, OK?

      • Thanks so much for the response! We’ve given it a try in the crib for the last week and it’s been lots of crying and little napping. Ugh….So, now he’s over tired and mommy hated hearing so much crying and having an overtired little guy. Sigh….Maybe we’ll go back to fussing it out in the swing. Or do a much more gradual approach of weaning off soothing; though now he gets upset when I get near the crib to put him in….Or try again in a few weeks and just continue letting night time sort out. Night time felt much easier/better.

  59. Hi Alexis,

    I’ve written to you before, but as my mother-in-law says…as soon as you think you have it figured out, it all changes. So I’m back for more advice.

    My 8-month-old boy was starting to transition to longer naps. I was so excited, as he’s been a catnapper for a long time. He was starting to go 1-2 hours every other or every 3rd nap. Then about a week ago he went back to 30-minute naps, and instead of waking up happy as he always has he’s been waking up hysterically crying. I could live with the short naps if he woke up refreshed, but that’s no longer the case. I always let him cry for a little bit (depending on how upset he is) and once in awhile he’ll fall back asleep for a little longer, but that’s rare.

    Falling asleep for naps (and nighttime) is 100% on his own. No nursing/rocking/shushing to sleep whatsoever. I put him down totally awake and he falls asleep in under 5 minutes pretty consistently with no or very minimal fussing. His awake time is 2.5-3 hours. At the advice of another website (I forget which, I’ve looked at so many) I tried extending his awake time a bit. I know you’re not an advocate of that, but I figured why not try. When I pushed him from 2 hours of awake time to 2.5 (and sometimes a bit more), that’s when he first started taking longer naps. But now it’s all fallen apart.

    Those days when he was getting good long naps, he would have 2 naps. But when the first and second are short I end up having to go for a long stroller walk to get him to take a third, because he fights that one to the point where it won’t happen unless we’re using motion.

    I don’t know if this is related or just a coincidence, but the last week or 2 he’s been waking up very early, like 5:30 or 6 and just happily babbling to himself for maybe 20-30 minutes and then falling back asleep until 7:30 or 7:45. But he’s been sleeping through the night for several months.

    So is this nap problem just a minor regression/growth spurt/wonder week/phase he’ll move out of in another week or 2? Or is this hiccup in the transition to better naps something I need to work on fixing? If so, how??


    • I’m guessing this is a hiccup/regression/growth spurt. They do often come at 9 months and he could just be early. Or there is some other mysterious thing going on which is also likely beyond your control.

      So if you’re putting him down awake, you’re consistent, then you’re pretty much doing all you can do. Thus the answer is – wait it out. And maybe go get a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

      I would keep up with the 3rd nap in the stroller or whatever as otherwise he’ll just be a mess at bedtime. So I fully support that idea. But otherwise you’re doing everything you can do and hopefully this to shall pass. Soon.

      • Ahh, thanks. This too shall pass. Every nap I keep crossing my fingers, hoping it will be a long one. A pumpkin spice latte does sound pretty good, though. Thanks, Alexis!

  60. Hi Alexis, I stumbled across your blog today, probably looking for a magic answer to napping problems because I’m so at a loss with my 6.5 month old. I have been sleep training since day one, a mixture of Babywise and Baby Whisperer. He’s been sleeping through the night since about 7 weeks, and for that I’m grateful! His naps were about 2 hrs. in length, and all I saw were blue skies, until about 3.5 months. He stopped napping well for at least 2 naps a day, and I feel like his waketime has been a moving target that I can’t seem to hit. And because I can’t get his naps right, I feel like it’s a big reason why he’s still waking up earlier than 7am, which is our target time. He was often on the shorter end of waketime, so I have been conservative in moving it. But I just can’t seem to figure him out. Any suggestions? I have tried getting him down by 2 hrs., and that has backfired many days, so I put him down early, and then he still sleeps 30 min. So this affects the rest of his naps.

    No sleep props, he puts himself down alone, is happy when he wakes UNTIL the evening. We barely make it till bedtime. He’s also popping some teeth in.

    I refuse to believe he “doesn’t need much sleep” like so many people say. I know he needs better than 3 little spurts that don’t get us to bedtime.

    Anyway, thanks for any help you can give me! I’m weary!

    • What time is he waking up in the AM? I get nervous anytime somebody references Babywise because it’s one of the many books I have major issue with. I also get nervous with the idea that there is a “target wake time.”

      I mean if such a thing existed I would set my “target wake time” at 9:00 AM and stop getting up at the infernal 6:30 AM my 2 children insist upon.

      But here’s the reality – babies, toddlers, and younger kids are almost exclusively early risers. This is due to their circadian clock. It’ll change when they’re teens. The whole thing about teenagers not wanting to go to bed at night and can’t get out of bed in the morning? Not entirely due to the fact that they’re teens. Their circadian clock literally SHIFTS. This is a pretty firm biological chemical function that is hard to change regardless of how much you might wish to do so.

      So….to answer your question…..7:00 AM may simply not be a reasonable morning time for your child. Many kids are wired to wake up earlier 5:30 AM, 6:00 AM, etc.) and it simply is what it is. You can call this a failing on your part to work the “system” of the books you are reading but I would suggest that the thing that is failing is “the system.”

      As for the short naps this is really common. Newborn babies often sleep better and then things go south at ~4 months for a variety of reasons. People get frustrated like this is a major step back. And we would ALL enjoy chunky 2 hour naps all day long. And you’re right he DOES need it.

      But there is only so much you can do. Provide as much age-appropriate soothing as possible, be consistent, provide a soothing sleep routine, don’t let him stay awake too long. If you’re doing all these things then I would put the books aside and accept that for now, he’s taking short naps. He won’t forever. You’re doing all you can. It’ll get easier.

    • I am in the same position as you. My baby is 7.5 months and was sleeping until 7-7:30 was going down for naps at 9:30-10:00 sleeping for 1:15-2 hrs and then taking a great afternoon nap. then she started to wake earlier.. I tried adjusting her naps accordingly but I can not seem to get it right.. she seems either under tired.. plays in crib for 45 min or more and then takes short nap.. or over tired plays for 15 min in crib then takes a 30-45 min nap.. like you I dont care that naps are short but she gets soo overtired by the evening that she is a disaster and has now become chronically overtired. I can NOT get her to take a 3rd nap.. she never was good at car or stroller naps and will not do it when she is overtired. Did you find any solution or have any insight for me.. i too am a weary mama!!

  61. This is a great site and I’m glad I found it! My baby girl is 12 weeks old. She’s always been a good night sleeper and has been sleeping 8-11 hours without waking for several weeks now (typically 730pm bedtime, wake around 5 or 6am, nurse and back to sleep in my arms til 730). THat’s my first question:

  62. This is a great site and I’m glad I found it! My baby girl is 12 weeks old. She’s always been a good night sleeper and has been sleeping 8-11 hours without waking for several weeks now (typically 730pm bedtime, wake around 5 or 6am, nurse and back to sleep in my arms til 730). If she wakes before 6am I can generally get her to sleep on her own without being held until 7/730. If she wakes after 6am, the light in the room makes it harder for her to get back to sleep so I hold her. All this to say, I have very few complaints about her night sleeping.

    Until about 8-9 weeks, she would nap (although usually on me or in the car) for 2-3 hours. I worked on getting her to nap in a napper in her nursery vs. on me and achieved this pretty quickly. I also went back to work (from a home office) and had a nanny start around the same time. Ever since this time, she gets down for her nap easily (swaddle, scream, shhh and rock) and is asleep within 5 minutes and then put down in the rock and play napper. But…..she wakes after 45 minutes on the dot.

    About 30% of the time the nanny or I can get her back to sleep by holding, shh-ing and rocking her, and then she’ll nap for another 2 hours or so. But more often than not, the nap is over at 45 minutes.

    We are vigilant about not letting her get over-tired so she wakes, gets a bottle or nurses if I’m available, plays, and is back down for her next nap an hour and a half after she wakes.

    Problem is this makes for 5 naps a day. Typically 8:45-9:30, 11-11:45, 1:15-2, 3:30-4:15, and 5:45-615 (last nap is shortest).

    It is exhausting, and it doesn’t leave much time for any outings or activities.

    Do I have any hope of getting her on a more regular 3 naps a day cycle? What can I do to help this along, without disrupting her great night sleep?

    ALso, she currently sleeps at night in a bassinet in our bedroom and I’d like to move her to the nursery but am also afraid of doing it at the wrong time or the wrong way. What is the best age to do this and what is the best way? I’d also like to wean her off swaddling at the “right” time too!

    Thanks for any help!!

  63. Hi Alexis,
    Here’s hoping you are able to point me in the right direction. My girl is 13 weeks old and is a very well behaved baby in general, unless she is overtired…(we will get to that!)
    Until 8 weeks old, she slept wonderfully. Lots of naps during the day, really wherever we set her down she would sleep. She slept at night in a basinette in our room. At 8 weeks we transitioned her into the crib and her night sleeping is great, still. She generally goes to sleep between 730 and 8pm (after at least an hour of “nursing” to sleep…I know this is part of the problem) and sleeps until 630-7am with one to two quick wakes to eat.
    Right at that 8 week mark, however, her naps became 20 minutes. You could set a clock by her. She has literally done one long nap on her own in the last 5 weeks. I say on her own because she will sleep in my arms in the rocking chair for as long as I’d like her to.
    Most days I deal with 20 minute naps for the first 2 naps of the day and then hold her for a long (1.5-2hr) nap in the afternoon and the short (1 hour) evening nap just to ensure she actually sleeps during the day.
    Here are the nap (and night sleeping) details – dark room, swaddle (although she really doesn’t like it much), no pacifier (refuses), rock to sleep before putting down in crib (never nurse to sleep before naps, just at night). I have a swing but she has never fallen asleep in it…ever. She used to do a nice long nap in it if we put her down asleep but the swing was not moving. Now if I put her in it moving or not, she wakes at 20 minutes.
    I usually keep her awake time around 1.5 hours (one hour tops after waking up in the morning) and she usually falls asleep fairly easily although in the last week it seems to be getting tougher, she fights it more.
    The other issue I’m having is that because she wakes up so early and is so tired, she decides she is hungry far before she should be. As it is, she usually goes only 2-3 hours between feedings but when she is so tired sometimes she will cry for food (soothing, likely) as early as 1.5 hours after the last meal.
    I know that i shouldnt be holding her for every nap, and trust me, it would be nice to not spend 5 hours a day in the pitch dark nursery, but there comes a point where you will just do whatever you have to to get a nap in.
    I’m not sure what my next step should be at all, or what I should be focusing on. Weaning the swaddle so she can soothe with her hand? Putting her down awake? Stop nursing to sleep at night? CIO? I am at my wits end. Anything you could tell me would be great. Thanks in advance,

  64. Question here about self-soothing. I’ve always thought we were lucky, because my 3.5-month-old son has been able to self-soothe at bedtime for a number of weeks. Our routine is bath, boob, lullaby, bed. His eyelids get heavy on the boob, but he is never fully asleep when we put him in his crib — often, in fact, he “talks” to himself for ten minutes before drifting off for good.

    But naptime is a different matter. Unless he’s in the car or on my chest, he sleeps for EXACTLY 45 minutes, and I can rarely put him down drowsy but awake without a good amount of protest. I try to watch for his sleepy cues, but he’s a fairly happy baby until suddenly, he’s not, so I end up watching the clock and doing a sort of bounce-and-nurse-and-shoosh-and-lullaby routine (and, occasionally, a paci, which we never use at night) until he drops off, or else I’ll nurse him in bed if I want to nap myself. This puts us at around 4-5 naps per day, depending on how vigilant I am. Dark room, white noise, etc.

    After reading Weissbluth, I chalked his behavior up to the fact that daytime sleep develops differently, and figured I’d just have to wait until the magic day when his naps began to consolidate. Now I’m wondering if I’m leaning too heavily on the suck=sleep association and setting us up for further problems. For what it’s worth, I work from home part-time, and the nanny I’ve hired to take care of him seems to be able to get him down fine just by bouncing (with the occasional stroller nap), and she never uses a paci. But when I’m on nap duty it rarely seems to be that easy.

    On the one hand, hey, 45-minute naps are not so bad, and short intervals of wakefulness are par for the course at this age. One the other hand, I don’t want to do anything that might delay nap consolidation, because I sure am looking forward to it! Should I work on moving nursing to the front of the queue at night? Ditch the pacis once and for all? (They were clutch between 5-10 weeks but have gradually become less important as he gets better at sucking his thumb.)

    Argh! Thanks.

  65. I don’t know what’s wrong with my kids…or what am I doing so wrong….I can’t get either kids to nap. It’s insane. My first one has always been a horrible sleeper. Even after professional sleep training, she still wakes 1 to 2 times a night and she is almost 3. She has cut out her nap completely. When she was little, for the first 18mths, it was 30mins naps, never could train her.

    Now 2nd one comes along….slightly better….She fusses for sleep a lot b/c her naps are short and wakes from them after 30mins a lot with gas or spit up. Then she fusses to go back to sleep immediately. She falls asleep fast nursing, but then once I put her down, she wakes in 5 to 10mins. Sometimes it’s gas again from nursing, other times, she just jerks awake. Today has been super awful. 1st nap, put donw, 5 mins massive burp w/ big spit up (yes, I burp her b/f putting her down but maybe she doesn’t finish burping b/c she passes out and is completely out cold sucking), then 5mins, gas again…then slept 30mins, woke gas again. Then nursed back to sleep, and slept antoher 30mins, and woke happy. So thought she was ok and it has been 3 hrs since her last “real” feed, not counting the in between snacks…didn’t want feed, just fussed. “played” w/ her to keep her from crying for an hr, then tried to feed again..not that interested but drank some…then spit up etc…kept her awake so she would do all the spit ups b/f nap again…fussed like crazy for sleep, guess she can’t even stay up for 1.5hrs??? Then she passed out once she latched, I put her down 5 times, repeated where she woudl latch, pass out, hold her a bit, put her down 5 mins, wake, again…5 times totalling almost 2 hrs. I give up. So no real nap yet….the first cut up one was early this morning at 6:30am! it’s now past 1pm! I am going nuts. Now I should offer a feed, but she likely will fall asleep on the bottle and then haev gas issues again.

    the one times she slept long, like 2 to 3 hrs when she has been up 4 hours due to visitors or something uncontrollable. I know they are not supposed to stay up like that, so I don’t try it at home on purpose…keep her wake time under 2 hrs.

    I mean, I am so thankful that this new one (3 mths old, btw) sleeps overnight, unlike my first who woke every hour for the first 8 mths, but this is getting really frustrating. Why can’t I have ‘average” babies.

    • Because who wants an ordinary baby when you can have an EXTRAORDINARY one, right? :-) At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

      Do you have a swing? This napping insanity is screaming for a swing to me. If you haven’t already, I would read everything on this site about getting babies to nap in swings. I think it would be especially helpful for your gassy uncomfortable tummy little one, and I wish I had done it at 3 months. Didn’t find this site until we were losing our minds at 5 months, however.

      This stage when they are shifting from newborn style napping into 3-4 naps per day with slightly longer wake times is really hard. Hang in there, you are doing great!

  66. What would you recommend for a 8-mo old who is in daycare 5 days a week? We have always held him to get him to fall asleep. For quite a while he has either STTN or wakes up to eat once, but we’ve always put him in the crib asleep so we are just starting to CIO at bedtime. So far he’s done great — Cried 30 min one night, 10 min or less the other nights. (Twice we started CIO but then quit when he got sick — darn daycare germs! So I’m sure the inconsistency doesn’t help either. We have not yet tried CIO for naps.)

    However, naps have been a disaster ever since he outgrew the Rock and Play around 5 months (or rather, he tried to roll and climb out of it!). At home, he normally only naps in our arms now, and that’s only after lots of crying and walking him around trying to get him to sleep. Quite often he starts screaming as soon as we carry him to the nursery, like he’s mad he has to stop playing to nap! We’ve tried watching for sleepy signals, watching the clock (e.g. attempting a nap after 2 hours of wake time), etc. and nothing works. His naps are totally unpredictable, normally 30 min or less, and we don’t get a break all day since we have to hold him! He will occasionally take a short nap if we take him for a car ride too.

    At daycare, he used to nap well in the swing (we never used a swing at home), but now he often only takes 15-20 min naps at daycare too, in the swing or crib. Some days he only takes 1 or 2 15-min naps all day! Daycare claims they’ve tried “everything” to make him sleep, but since it’s a center I’m not sure if they can do much CIO in a room with 5 other babies!

    I know he needs more sleep — he usually sleeps from 7-7:30 pm to 5-6 am, with only a few short naps, and most days he’s very tired and cranky in the afternoon/evening but still fights sleep until his bedtime bottle! Or he falls asleep in the car on the way home from daycare and we have to wake him up for dinner and bath which also makes him cranky…

    • Jen,
      You are very unusual and lucky in that you’ve been putting your son down for bed asleep and he happily sleeps all night – YAY! So technically I’m not sure CIO at night was needed. That being said it sounds like he BARELY cried so yay for that too!

      But it sounds like naps are a bit of a mess. You never get a break. He’s seriously exhausted. And daycare can’t hold him (which wouldn’t really work all that great anyway so….). So he’s cranky all day. He’s cranky when you go get him which means you probably aren’t enjoying YOUR time with him. So all in all, not a party, yes?

      At 8 months of COURSE he doesn’t want to separate from you and go into a room by himself. Also he hasn’t learned to sleep on his own so that is working against you. Have you read this?

      This is fundamentally your nap problem and, in a way, the solution.

      • Thanks! I had read that link earlier and was hoping if he learned to sleep on his own at night, naps would get easier 😉

        Recently we were able to keep him home from daycare for a full week while family was visiting, so we started doing CIO for naps. When he returned to daycare, they started letting him fuss a little in the crib but they don’t let him cry for a long time.

        The first 2 days were rough, but now he’s fallen into a pattern of quickly going to sleep in the crib for naps, but he usually wakes up after 30 minutes. We let him cry for 10-15 min when he wakes up; on rare occasions he goes back to sleep but not usually. Only twice has he taken a nap longer than an hour. I still don’t think he’s getting enough sleep but he doesn’t seem quite as cranky in the evenings… At daycare he also usually only naps for 30 minutes, but is starting to nap in the crib instead of the swing. At home we read books before naps and bedtime now, and he seems to like that so he no longer cries as soon as we walk into the nursery :)

        He also seems to be on a solid 3 naps a day schedule (at least at home, at daycare sometimes it’s only 2 short naps!), and he always acts tired 2 hours after waking up. He will be 9 months in a few days and everything I’ve read says he should be on a 2 nap schedule by now. He was born a little early (37 weeks, 5 lbs due to IUGR) but he’s growing at a good rate so I don’t think that should be much of a factor by now.

        He’s still sleeping about the same at night — bedtime at 7:00 (sometimes he goes right to sleep, sometimes he stays up rolling around in his crib for 20-30 min but rarely cries), usually wakes up between 5:30-6 am.

        I guess there’s not much else we can do at this point? Just keep letting him fall asleep on his own in the crib and hope he starts napping longer eventually?

  67. Hi Alexis, just wanted to give you an update. I took your advice and started napping my daughter in the swing to extend her naps (still sleeping in crib at night). The first week went great and I was getting 1.5-3 hour naps sometimes. This week is a different story. She is waking in her swing around 45 mins just like she was doing in the crib, and most of the time can’t settle back down to sleep. I let her fuss for 10-15 minutes or so to see if she will go back to sleep. Sometimes she does and sometimes she can’t. She is so miserable and cranky when she doesn’t nap long enough. If the swing isn’t helping her transition sleep cycles, I don’t know what else to try. I always put her in the swing drowsy like she was doing in her crib, she goes off to sleep fairly easy but has trouble staying alseep long. I’m hoping it is just a phase but this has been going on for a month and I’m getting so exhausted (as is she). Her nighttime sleep still hasn’t improved much either. Last night she woke every 3 hours to eat. I’m starting to think it’s a feeding issue with her. Not sure if it’s related but I did have an oversupply problem my first 3 months but that seemed to calm down just as the sleep disruptions started. She still nurses fast (like 3-5 mins per feeding) and gets frustrated with my fast letdown but the Lactation physician I have been seeing told be not to worry since she is a more efficient eater now and probably gets what she needs per feeding. I also find it hard to time feedings and naps now. Since she typically eats every 2 hours and is awake 2 hours at a time, I am feeding her when she wakes and also before she goes down for a nap. If she falls asleep while nursing I wake her just enough when I put her down so she knows she’s in her swing and she settles herself to sleep. She used to be such a good sleeper until 3.5 months. So far this has been the toughest stage. It’s all very frustrating.

    • Sorry to hear that :(

      I have no easy answers for you. The 4 month sleep regression/growth spurt could definitely be in there.

      I also might be curious to possibly get a second opinion on the fast letdown? 3 minutes of nursing is pretty freekin fast. One of the issues with fast letdown is that they fill up on the watery fore-milk but don’t tank up on the fattier hind-milk so in essence babies are getting enough calories but need to eat constantly due to the fact that their diet is essentially calorie free.

      If so your theory that she’s constantly hungry might be right on the money. This may be helpful?

  68. Hi Alexis,
    I just wanted to let you know that at 5 months plus 3 weeks my little one finally beat the 30 min nap mark. There was nothing that I could do to extend it, I had to wait until it was his time. Thanks for all your advice, I must have read this article once a week for the past 8 weeks, trying to decipher a clue.
    I was wondering if you could write breifly on the upcoming time change and how babies adjust. I am preparing myself for some early mornings.
    Thanks again, Julie

    • That’s pretty much it – babies wake up early for a while and then, God willing, they sort things out. Daylight savings blow (especially as studies show it doesn’t actually save on electricity or anything). But generally you muddle through for a few days and then life goes on!

      Congratulations on breaking the 30 minute nap barrier!

  69. Hi Alexis,

    My little boy is a couple days shy of 12 weeks old. He had been taking decent naps (ranging from 45 min-2.5 hours on average) but recently started taking short ones. Actually for a couple days earlier this week he seemed to not want to nap at all and would end up resisting long past his normal awake times (leaving both of us very cranky). But the last couple days he has started napping again but waking up anywhere from 20-50 minutes after he starts. I totally understand that he’s waking up at the end of his sleep cycle, and have tried going in and shushing him and jiggling his swing to get him back down but no luck (yes, he is napping in a swing with white noise, swaddled, and in an aluminum foil window dark room :) Just won’t take a pacifier.). I am trying very hard to not keep him up too long–he’s only awake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes between naps. I do nurse him before putting him down which does make him fall asleep in my arms, but he always wakes up when I move so I don’t think I’m really putting him down asleep.

    So I guess what I want to know is: is it our fate to wait this out or is there anything else I can do to help him extend the naps? And if I go in to try to help him fall back to sleep, how long should I try before giving up? Or am I making it worse by going in and possibly making a partial wakening a full one?

    The second issue is: with all these short naps and an awake time of only about 1 hour 10-15 minutes between, he’s averaging 5 naps a day (which I know is more than your handy chart suggests at his age), and still somehow leaves him with a really long awake time before bedtime at 8pm, which leads to a very fussy baby at that time of day.

    Help! And thanks!

    • Alison,
      I think this is happening:

      So yes you’ll have lots of crappy little naps which leads to MANY naps during the day.

      As for fussy at bedtime, what about shifting it earlier? Move it 15 minutes a day to something closer to 7:00 (depending on how long he’s awake)? Check the link below for more thoughts on bedtime. But my guess is that 8:00 is just too late for it.

      • Thanks! We actually did start moving his bedtime up even before reading your response. Yesterday we put him to bed about 7:20, and I plan to keep moving it up to 7. It seems to help us avoid some of the evening fussiness.

        I’ve also been committed to putting him down awake and it is going pretty well. He protests a little at naps, but generally seems to fall asleep within a couple minutes or less. And this is in the crib. So, yeah!

        The main issue now is that nap length is still short. They average 40-50 minutes, with the occasional nap as long as 1 hour 20 minutes but usually that’s with some wake up and fussing in the middle. A few times I’ve managed to successfully go in and shush him back to sleep and a few times he has done it himself without me going in, but the vast majority of the time he cannot go back to sleep. This still leaves us with lots of little naps throughout the day, since he still seems to get tired after an hour and 15-20 minutes of awake time. So, for example, today he was up at 6:40 am, 1st nap at 7:50, up at 8:40, 2nd nap at 9:55. If he follows his pattern he’ll be ready for 3rd nap by 12, 4th nap by 2, and 5th nap by 4.

        He is now 3 months and 1 week old.

        So my new questions are:
        1. Should I even bother trying to extend naps or should I just get him up after 40 or so minutes when he wakes and nap him 4-5 times a day?
        2. Should I try to keep him awake longer between naps? His drowsy signs are telling me no, but I know (from your chart) that at his age, expected awake time is 2 hours.

        Thanks so much again. I’d be lost without this site!

        • Revision: as of today it appears that he’s back to the 30 minute naps. If it was truly a regression, would it really go on this long? We’re starting week 4 of crappy naps…

          • Re-revision: Progress! The past few days he is going down for naps with a few seconds of fussing and starting to sleep for longer periods, sometimes more than an hour and once this morning, for almost two! Keeping my fingers crossed this is not just a fluke!

            Now onto the next challenge: In two days I go back to work and he will be in the infant care at my school. No more dark, quiet room or white noise. Are we screwed? Is there anything we can do to help him (other than keeping all the other sleep associations as much as possible)?

  70. Hi Alexis,

    I love your site, I read & re-read the information & posts/replies over & over for inspiration & reinforcement!

    Background on Baby D is that she has reflux, which we started treating at 6 weeks. She had to be held to sleep for the longest time (thanks to hubby & insisting that she never ever cry). Then this progressed, she had to be held & have her pacifier. Then she needed to use me as a human pacifier – and then worse still this just didn’t seem to work. At about 4 months I let her CIO out of desperation – miraculously we have been getting her to sleep 10-11.5 hours straight at night now (7:30pm to 5:30/7am)…

    Baby D is still the crappiest napper EVER! She recently transitioned to 2 naps as she refused to take the late afternoon nap, I’d guess this has been about 3 weeks. She no longer uses a pacifier (2 weeks now). She is up for 2.5-3h in the morning, she’ll usually sleep for 45-90 min for this nap.

    The afternoon nap is usually about 2.5-3 hours after she last woke up, for this nap she consistently wakes up 20-30 mins into her nap & can cry from 15-30 min before going back to sleep. I’ve tried putting her down for her nap around the 2 hour mark after waking but she tends to cry for about 20 min before sleeping, and still wakes up about 20-30min into her nap… Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Do you think it’s better to put her down earlier, or continue with the 2.5-3 hour mark? I look for her sleepy cues and that’s usually after the 2.5 hour mark – less active, yawn, eye rubbing…

    • Oh – I forgot, her sleep associations remain the same – dark room, white noise (loud), put into a sleep sack… She didn’t have too much trouble without the paci as I took it away for bedtime about 2 months ago. She cried maybe 15 min the first nap, 20 min the second nap – and has been fine since then. She fusses for maybe 5-10 min if at all before a nap. But – it’s the dreaded short naps I’m having trouble with!

    • Oh my – I’m forgetting to include so many details. She’s a week shy of 8 months old…

    • I have no major insight. I will say that if she’s looking tired at 2.5 hours then THAT’s probably when she needs to sleep (not 2 nor 3). So I would start your sleep routine at 2.25 hours with a target towards putting her down at 2.5.

      At 8 months you’re a bit stuck as there isn’t much soothing you can provide. Definitely use LOUD white noise. Personally I consider 90 minute naps a success. If she cries for 15 minutes to sleep another 30, it’s not awesome but it’s OK (I think the crying is worth the extra sleep she’s getting).

      Also make sure she’s not hungry. Some people try to put their babies on schedules which spaces out day feedings leading to hungry babies who take short naps because their tummies are empty. You didn’t say you were doing the EAS(Y) system (hate hate hate btw) but just in case I’m throwing it out there.

      The only other idea would be to use a swing for naps. She’s a bit old but reflux babies are often crappy nappers who stay in the swing FAR longer than non-reflux babies. So having a refluxing baby who naps in the swing till 10+ months is not that unusual.

      Hope that helps!

  71. Great article. I have a two year old who was very hard to get to sleep. I have read so Many sleep books. The 90 -minute sleep program book worked bet for her until 6-7 mo. Then I read Ferber. She learned to sled sooth for night sleeP fairly easily (2-3 weeks), but it honestly took months to get her to fall asleep for naps. I would try for a few weeks until my pod would kick in and stop– Rock her to sleep! Finally when she was 26 months I stuck it out. Took 5 weeks. It’s a miracle. She falls asleep for nap now and sleeps two hours.

    • I sort of hate the 90 minute sleep program. For all babies, at some point, they will need to be awake 90 minutes between naps. If you read this book when your baby is in that window it’ll work great! However if you read this book before OR after it won’t work. So it’s a good book only if you try it at exactly the right time 😛

      Phew 5 weeks is a rough slog. So glad it worked and now she’s taking gorgeous 2 hour naps!

  72. Just wondering if anyone else is experiencing short naps with mom but long naps with other caregivers. My 8.5-month old was a cat napper early on but then at around 5 months, started taking longer naps (1-2 hours). She does this for me occasionally but often still takes 30-45 min naps. Meanwhile, for the nannies during the week, the pattern is reverse. She’ll mostly take long naps (1-2 hours with occasional 30-45 min ones). My theory is that she knows it’s me and wants to play with me. I remember my twins (2.5 years old) doing that too, so I think that might be the case but wanted to get others’ perspectives on this.

    • Same thing here. My 11-month-old will take 2 to 3 hour naps at daycare during the week. We normally get 30-minute to 1-hour naps at home on the weekend. Once in a while he will have longer naps at home.

      Daycare has a pitch black nap room with a box fan for white noise, and I use blackout curtains and a box fan. I swear it’s because my son knows I’m in the house so he doesn’t sleep as soundly.


      Babies will almost ALWAYS take huge naps for people who aren’t you. It’s entirely unfair and almost unilaterally true!

      I think it has to do with the fact that they prefer you AND that most Moms are sort of anxious about naps (where the babysitter or whatever has none of this). Imagine a huge fog of anxiety around you whenever you put your baby down for naps. Like dogs your baby picks up on this and voila – 20 minute naps.

      I used to have a mother’s helper who would help my 9 month old son take 2.5 hour naps. For me? 30 minutes. So I essentially paid this 16 year old girl to sit on my couch an magazines while my child slept.

      Money. Well. Spent.

  73. Hi Alexis,

    Another update on my daughter’s nap progress. She just turned 5 months old this week. I took her out of the swing for naps and back to the crib a few weeks ago. I am still keeping her room dark with white noise and night sleeping in her crib. It’s been a few weeks and we have made some adjustments and lots of progress. Just wanted to share in case someone is going through a similar situation. Our issue was her waking around 30-45 minutes into her naps and not being able to get herself back to sleep. I have figured out with my daughter that putting her down drowsy just wasn’t working for her to learn how to go back on her own. The only thing that has worked is putting her down FULLY AWAKE. When she would show sleepy cues, I used to bounce her a little in my arms to make her drowsy and put her down drowsy but awake and she would drift off fairly easy but wake early from naps. I couldn’t understand why she would fall asleep on her own and wake early. Now I realize that she really WASN’T falling asleep on her own. She was relying on me to get her to that very sleepy drowsy state where I would put her down with her eyes open but in reality she just couldn’t keep her eyes open. She wasn’t falling asleep on her own after all. It took some practice but what I did was as soon as I see her sleepy cues I softly sing her a song so she knows it’s sleepy time and then put her in her crib fully awake. Her new association is falling asleep all on her own in her crib. However, I don’t leave her all alone to fall alseep. I started out by stroking her forehead and rubbing her belly as soon as I put her down telling her in a soft voice “it’s ok, I love you and it’s sleepy time”. I stay in the room and sit on a chair where she can’t see me (figured out that upsets her more to see me) but I talk to her every minute for a few mins then every few minutes until she falls asleep. The first few times she took about 10-15 mins of fussing and some crying to fall asleep but now she drifts off in a few seconds to a minute at most without needing me to stroke or rub her. I would stroke less and less until she didn’t need it at all. She has also learned to use her thumb to soothe herself (new to her since she was used to being swaddled for 3.5 months and didn’t have access to her fingers). Once she is asleep her thrumb comes out of her mouth. She now sometimes gets up once a night for a feeding or sleeps all the way through the night. I put her down between 7-8:30pm and she wakes sometimes between 11-2 for a feeding and goes right back but lately has been sleeping through the night most of the time til 7-8am). Her naps have also improved. She takes 3 a day. She is consistantly taking one really long 1.5-2.5 hour nap a day, a second decent hour nap and a shorter 45 min third nap in the eve. We sometimes get a shorter nap during the day but when that happens it follows with a very long nap. She is also teething and just cut her first two teeth within a week of each other at 5 months old. I think teething might have played a role in the short naps and night wakings but believe her not knowing how to fall asleep on her own was the main culprit. I have also adjusted her feeding schedule where I have her nursing every 3-4 hours instead of every 2 hours which has helped her take more per feeding and I believe has also helped in keeping her full longer extending her sleep. That wasn’t easy to do and took some work with holding off feedings to get her hungrier to take bigger feedings. This took a few days to adjust her. None of this was easy but it took consistancy and patience and about 2.5 weeks for her to get it. In addition to teething and cutting teeth, we have had to deal with turning back the clocks and hurricane Sandy during all of this with no power and heat for over a week and she hasn’t been thrown off a bit. She is a MUCH happier baby and I feel like we are finally on a schedule and in a much better place!

    • This is an AWESOME CASE STUDY!

      Tired peeps – READ THIS!

      Also your insight on putting down awake vs. “putting down drowsy” is entirely on the money. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go back and read her whole comment because it’s a key point that MANY MANY MANY people get tripped up by!

  74. Hi Alexis! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. I just wanted to say, if this can be of any help to other parents, that my baby was a short napper until last week (3 months and one week old), when it changed. I had been training her for more than a month, not letting her be asleep for more than 2 hours, swaddling, etc., but her longest naps lasted 45 minutes (much better than the initial 10 minutes) and sometimes it took me an hour to make her sleep. Last week, I was told to put close to her nose one of my “dirty” shirts, or my pajamas shirt. I did it and… TARAAAAA!!! She did not only sleep for an hour but slept ON HER OWN.

    I’ve been doing this since last Friday and it has worked every time. She even took a 2 hour nap, which was something I had only seen when she was 1 week old. I don’t know if this will be like this from now on, but I am so relieved!

    So remember: a dirty shirt with your smell is one of your best weapons :)

    The bad thing about this is that she is not sleeping that well during the night now, although I don’t know if this is related to the fact that she sleeps better during the day. She asked for her pacifier every 2 hours tonight. That’s not good. AT ALL. I will now browse all your posts in order to find a solution to this.

    Thank you!!

    • Yay! Or BOO! Depends on which part of your comment I am looking at 😉

      Could be the 4 month sleep regression. Could be the pacifier blowing up on you. But I DON’T think it’s because she’s taking good naps.

      Contrary to some sleep myths good naps do NOT lead to crappy nights. The opposite is true but good naps = good nights.

      See paci post below which may or may not help?

  75. Without fail, after 45 minutes of napping, my 4.5 month son will cry. I used to go in and get him when he cried, but one day I was on the phone and could not get off. Lo and behold he stopped crying and fell back asleep for another hour!! I now have the 5 minute rule. If the crying escalates for the full 5 minutes, then I figure he’s ready to wake up and will not fall back asleep and chalk it up to a short nap. A lot of times though, I wait about 5-10 minutes if the crying isn’t escalating and he’ll fall back asleep. It’s a wonderful thing!!

  76. Our 4.5 month old is taking naps of around 25-50 mins and it is driving me insane….. If we put her down for a nap on time it takes her up to 30 minutes to go to sleep. If we are too late, it takes 90 minutes of screaming. Unfortunately she doesn’t give good cues and gets very over stimulated. She is also being phased out of being held, rocked AND nursed to sleep, so she is putting up a fight. If she wakes up after 25 minutes should we try to push for a longer nap, or just leave it be?
    By the way,your site is fantastic, it is so helpful, I’m learning all sorts of things I didn’t know :)

  77. Hi,

    Our baby boy is a little over 3 months old (Aug 2 birthday) and we have started the Babywise cry it out method for nap time 2 days ago. The first day was a bit rough (first nap didn’t happen, he cried for an hour) but he slowly started learning how to self soothe (second nap cried less and fell asleep for 30 min). We actually modified the model a bit on the second day (we don’t let him cry that long) and we soothe him longer than :30 intervals and he has been getting himself to sleep in the first and second naps. His naps for the most part these past 2 days (we are on day 3 now), have been pretty short (20 min, 40 min, 30 min, 15 min). The third nap of the day didn’t happen the first day he cried the whole time, but today, we just put him down for his 3rd nap and he has fallen asleep, not sure how long it will be for.

    Prior to this we would stroll him or drive in the car and he would sleep for like 1-2 hours so we know he is capable. We also introduced the crib this week along with the sleep training (he was sleeping in the rock and play in our room next to our bed). So this week he has started napping on his own in his crib and sleeping at night in the crib. For the night time routine, we still nurse (breastfeed) him to sleep, haven’t had him cry it out yet. He has always slept from about 11:30pm – 3:30/4pm, feed and then wakes up around 6:30-7:30/8am. The night time routine consists of 10:45pm bath, nurse, bed (with white noise, nightlight). Twice he has slept through to 5am, but that is a pretty random occurrence.

    Tonight we are going to try and put him to bed by 8pm and we are going to try feeding him prior to the bath and literally letting him cry it out a bit. I feel like the nursing at night is throwing off the progress he is making during the day. He is pretty tired by 8pm (the witching hours) and last night he self soothed himself on the couch and fell asleep. He woke shortly after and when I fed him at 9pm, he passed out for an hour and a half. We woke him (I know we probably shouldn’t have woken him up) for his bath and put him back down with some nursing. I tried to keep him drowsy and awake, but he was pretty much asleep he may have opened his eye a bit when I put him in the crib. He slept til about 3:30am to feed and then fell asleep to almost 8am. He has never slept all through the night, long stretches. I don’t have an overabundance of milk which is probably why he woke up more but have been pumping to keep up the supply and by feeding him at every 3 hours, I am able to give him a good amount (before he seemed to be snacking since it was more on demand and he would fall asleep all the time on the boob).

    We are thrilled that we were able to move him out of our room (feel like it is a sense of accomplishment) and he seems to be doing ok in the crib (though from the posts I am reading 4 months is going to regress…not looking forward to it).

    I don’t think he is sleeping enough. When he was younger I got him to sleep a little more through rocking, strolling, nursing etc…but now that he is 3 months I am trying to help him learn to sleep unassisted.

    We have never used a swing though we manually swung him, strolled him, drove him etc… but I think we are beyond that now. He does love motion to go to sleep, but he has learned to self soothe to sleep and we don’t want to regress.

    I have thrown a lot at you, but wanted to get your opinion on what we are doing and if we are doing anything wrong or what advice you might have. Not sure if reflux is an issue for why his naps are shorter, but since his night time sleep hasn’t been affected yet, it leads me to believe he is just adjusting to falling asleep on his own and isn’t as secure so isn’t sleeping as well? In the past, he did use to nap for about an hour when I put him in his rock and play after nursing him in the afternoons. We do swaddle, for his naps, I have left 1 arm out so he can self soothe, but at night I swaddle both arms, so that could be the difference for the longer sleep. But if I swaddle both his arms, I am not sure what he will use to self soothe. He doesn’t really take to a pacifier.

    On a side note, he hasn’t learned to roll over yet, are you supposed to stop swaddling once he can roll? Also, if he rolls onto his side and falls asleep, am I supposed to move him back? He is on his side now and I don’t want to go in to touch him since he is finally napping in his crib.

    Thanks and sorry for the long winded comment.

  78. I think this is all great but I have to say I don’t think that using a pacifier will guarantee that your baby will take short naps forever. That’s not the case with my baby and most of my friends still use pacifiers. Believe me when I say I want to wean my almost 1year old from the paci, but she only uses it for sleep and many times it falls out without a problem for her. She also was the queen of short naps and every now and then still sneaks in a short nap, but I agree it’s a developmental thing and when she was ready, she started taking longer naps! It was brutal until we got there and I know we’ll still hit bumps in the road.

  79. Hi. My daughter will be six months old next week, and we are still in 30-minute nap purgatory. She puts herself to sleep with no pacifier/bottle/breast 100% of the time at night (sleeps 7-7 and usually wakes up once to feed) and 90% of the time for naps. Am I doomed???

  80. Hi, i know every baby is unique, can you give me some insight about how to help my 5.5 month old to go thru sleep transition?

    -started sleep train @ 4 mo, now can put him down on bed with pacifier and fall asleep within a few minute (need to go back if pacifier falls but usually just once)

    -day nap: never sleep more than 30 min. Try to soothe him by patting and placing pacifier back. Mostly didn’t work. After reading your blog, will pick him up and get him back to sleep. Will sleep longer (1 hour or more) if put on the swing.

    Q: by extending his nap like this, would he be ever learn to sleep longer on his own, on bed?? without me helping?

    -night sleep: put down around 7:30-8p, would wake up around 11p. I usually feed him again (plus changing diaper if necessary) but he can wake up at 2am, 5am again. I know he isn’t hungry, can’t be. Even if i feed him, he will only eat a little bit and want to sleep again.

    Q:how to help him to fall asleep on his own? If he can do it when we first put him on bed at 8p, why can’t he do it at midnight? He seems more cranky at midnight (of course, still sleepy and won’t take the pacifier), we have to let him cry like a couple minute, exhaust him a bit and then he will take the pacifier and slow get back to sleep. This process sometimes has to repeat a few times and finally he is asleep in 30 minute later.

    What do you think the problem is? what can we do to improve the situation?

    Thank you so much.

  81. Question: Our 9-month-old goes down well at night, though still wakes up every few hours during the night (so, yes, step 1 is to get rid of one of those night time feedings) At night, we do bath, change, nurse, then two books and a sing to sleep. No fuss after that. But naps are a different issue. He will no just “go down” for a nap. So far we’ve been nursing until drowsy, then putting him down, and bum patting. Then he only naps for 45-50 min, usually. And then he’s still tired because he desperately wants a longer nap. Is CIO the way to go for naps too? Or is there another way? Thanks!

  82. Hi Alexis,

    We had so much success with your help last time, I’m back for more. :)

    We were able to transition our son out of the swing and swaddle and even took away his pacifier (we got tired of the paci shuffle) at about 6 months. We let him CIO and it went amazingly well. Seriously. It only took two nights and he was going down awake and sleeping straight through the night (7:30pm-7:00am) with no wake ups. His naps shortened a bit without the paci. We used to get 2 two hour naps and a 30 minute catnap at the end of the day- after we took away the paci he was taking two 1.5 hour naps. Still pretty good, no complaints from me.

    Fast forward, he’s now 9 months old. For the past week his naps have been getting substantially shorter and shorter. For example, today he took a 30 minute morning nap and a 15 minute afternoon nap. He’s waking up screaming bloody murder. I don’t know what to do. I took him to the doc yesterday thinking he had an ear infection or something, but she said he looked perfect.

    Luckily, his night sleep doesn’t seem to be affected too much. He did have one wake up the other night at 3am. He was awake for about an hour and eventually fell back asleep.

    Any ideas? I’m going crazy here…

  83. I am looking for help because I feel like we have tried everything. Our son is 7.5 months. He has a regular bed time of 7pm. He sleeps until about 4, eats an 8 ounce bottle. He goes back to sleep, but only until about 6. Napping during the day is terrible. If I am lucky, I get one 45 min nap and two 30 min naps. I know he isn’t getting enough sleep, but I can’t figure out why. He doesn’t take a Paci, we use a white noise machine, and we use the CIO method pretty successfully. (I think) Is he going to sleep too early? I am open to any suggestions! Thank you!

    • Chelsey,
      My daughter is 7.5 mo as well and her sleep is almost identical to that of your son. I just started CIO the last few days, but the naps are just terrible. I look forward to getting some feedback.
      Best wishes for you,

  84. Hi,

    I have a four month old who was sleeping 6hours at night until 2 weeks ago now waking 3hourly to feed! He isn’t swaddled anymore but has a dummy to sleep. I’m trying yo figure out how to go back to better sleep!
    He consistently has 3 45minute naps during day and is a very happybaby ge wakes from his naps smiling and happy so I haven’t pushed for longer naps. He is in bed strictly at 7 &wakes for day around7.
    I’m not sure if I need to get him to sleep longer during day ti improve night or if its something unrelated!

  85. Hi Alexis,

    Wow, it took a long time to read all of the parent posts — we all just want what’s best for our kids! I’m hoping you may have some advice.

    I am struggling with an older baby of 9 and 1/2 months. She has always been a 30 minute napper however it was getting a bit better at about 8 months (I was able to occasionally extend a nap by laying her back down and, putting in the soother and pulling her blanket up) and slowly she started having more hour naps than not.

    Then we had a week where she was sick and it’s all been lost. I am back to 30 minute naps, no longer. I have been trying to stick to our old schedule and do two naps a day but sometimes it needs to be three because she’s so tired. I put her to sleep awake for naps (with her pacifier: she still uses it but doesn’t seem to need it other than the initial fall asleep, since she doesn’t wake up at night for it when it falls out and sometimes she even gets up after 30 minutes when it’s still in her mouth). She usually falls asleep easily but is up at 30 minutes on the dot. When she wakes, she’s standing up in a heartbeat, crying immediately. She won’t resettle, but she is obviously tired, rubbing her eyes, yawning, and burrowing in my chest until she “resets” for the next wake period and then gets tired after just two hours (even less first thing in the morning).

    Nights are good, only waking up once or twice and sleeping from about 7 to 6:30/7 (although she wakes up crying and unhappy then too).

    I guess I’m just looking for a) thoughts on how to help her sleep longer but b) how do I best help her manage the 30 minute naps if I can’t get her to sleep longer? Should I keeping trying for two naps or go to three? (even when we do three, she’s still upset and tired).

    Any thoughts at all would be appreciated!

  86. Boy, I’m ready for the catnaps to be over. I mean longer (what if someone up there is listening and decides to give me no naps :|). For the first 3 weeks baby took 3-hour naps, then went down to 45 minutes and it was hell till we figured out that all that crying was because he was tired. Now at 14 weeks we are down to 30 minutes (whether it’s in a swing, stroller or bed). Sure, he’ll nap longer as long as it’s not ME pushing the stroller. Or, he will take a 3,5 hour nap at 5pm effectively making it his bedtime (which is normally around 8pm). My baby baffles me. I don’t have a question, I know I ust have to wait till he grows out of it, I’m just venting and hoping someone will read this and think, OK so it’s not just my baby, which helps so much. Thanks for the site again Alexis. Your karma must be so good you’ll be born as one of our super-spoilt cats in your next life…

  87. Yeah, but HOW do we get them to nap? Mine is 6 months old. She sleeps through the night. We put her down drowsy but awake and she goes to sleep at night, but she WON’T NAP. How do you get a baby to nap? Never mind short naps, she just won’t nap.

  88. Hi Alexis!! So glad to find this blog :) I am a stm to a gorgeous 10 week old little boy. For some reason, probably sleep exhaustion at the time, I cannot remember how I got my daughter on such a great schedule. She still sleeps 12 hours at night, with a 3 hour afternoon nap and she is 2 1/2! This little guy has his night time sleep organization pretty much down. He will go down for the night usually between 930/10pm. He wakes once around 3/4am for a bottle and quickly returns back to sleep until 7/730. We do this routine everyday.

    His daytime sleep however is kind of all over the place!! He seems to be falling into the eat, play, sleep cycle, but, when we get to the sleep part, he will only stay asleep for 30 minutes. If he is in the swing he will sleep anywhere from 30-2 hours. I know this should be answering my question and just let him sleep in the swing, but I just don’t want to create bad habits by letting him count on motion to sleep. He will also have a good rest on me too, but as you all know with an older child, that sometimes just isn’t possible. I’m just afraid he is going to be a catnapper :(

    My question to you is.. what should I be expecting at 10 weeks? He also has reflux which creates issues about lying flat. He sleeps at night in a rock and play. I know I’m probably expecting too much of him right now, I’m just looking forward to some predictability to our day. I read and followed Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child with my daughter, and plan to follow again. Just looking for an outsiders perspective!! :) Thanks so much! So glad to be here!

  89. Hi Alexis,

    I was wondering about premature babies. I have 15 week old twins ( adjusted age is 9 weeks). My daughter naps quite well but my son has a lot of trouble. He’ll basically only nap if he’s lying on the nursing pillow, in close contact to me. When it comes to sleep, should I be looking at their adjusted age or actual? At night, my daughter sleeps in the crib really well (although they both go to bed quite late 10-11pm). My son sleeps in the swing. On occassion, I can get him sleeping in a non-moving swing. Other times, not so much…. Would this have any effect on his naps? Any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated! I love reading your blog!

  90. Hi Alexis, Kareen again,
    I forgot to mention that both babies are swaddled and I play white noise. Both spit out pacifiers so those are out of the question.
    Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season :-).

  91. Well I wish I’d found this website sooner! But saying that I never had reason to search for info because from day 1 I was one if the lucky ones with a baby that understood night time and woke only at 2.30 and 5.30 for feeds. During the day she is such a ‘contented’ and ‘happy’ baby that I didn’t really know or look into the whole napping thing. She just fell asleep when she fell asleep and the rest of the time was smiley…even if sometimes she’d go for 6 hrs without a nap.

    Anyhow I got more clued up on sleep when she got to 4 months (shes now 5.5) and started waking every 1-2 hrs in the night!!!! AGGGGHHHHHHHHH!! I started tackling the daytime sleeping first, she wIllnot sleep in her cot in the daytime so I put her in her buggy in the hall and push it until she sleeps. I am much more able to time this right now and she will sleep for EXACTLY 45 mins and no longer, about 3 times a day. If I let her nap on me after feed she’ll sleep longer (she’ll wake at 45mins with a jolt but go bk to sleep.

    Sooo I have two issues. Is it ok to be letting her nap like this in the daytime? We are doing her bedroom this coming month where she’ll get a new cot (currently in crib in our room, no space for big cot).

    My bigger issuer is the night time thing. From reading your site I feel soooo stupid to have let things get to this point but I’ve been basically feeding her to sleep when she wakes and now it seems I have helped her to develop a habit of eating in the night….sometimes more often than in the daytime! It pains me to write this btw!! We’ve tried to settle her without feeds but if my partner does it she screams until she sees or hears my voice and then she screams some more until I take her. Then she’s calmer but cries every time I try to put her down…and so I end up feedin her. Shes rarely hungry but will nibble away. Because we have hardly ever heard her cry (I know- I said she was a contented happy baby) I think it’s been a shock to us to hear this at night and therefore we have been useless at dealing with it.

    After reading your site last night I was adamant and we did get her back to sleep after my partner giving some sips from the beaker and rocking and then she cried when put back in so I rocked her and put her back in and ‘held’her which seemed to make her feel secure and she eventually fell asleep. We’ve never swaddled her as she didn’t like it. Oh and she suffers from the farts which seem to be the thing waking her up.

    Any advice would be most welcome on what to tackle first as I’m aware we are fast approaching the month stage. I am becoming a bit of a wreck with such little sleep at night and rarely any time durin the day!!

    Have recommended your site to friends with younger babies!!

  92. This website is amazing! :)

    My little guy is almost 18 weeks and I have been dealing with the 45 minute nap for as long as I can remember.

    Things have been quite inconsistent lately but he used to wake between 630-730 then he would be up a little less than an hour, then nap anywhere from 45min-2.5 hours. Then the following 2 or 3 naps in the afternoon were 20min-45min, but usually lasted 45 minutes to the second.

    I’ve tried everything to get him into the next sleep cycle but nothing has worked. I’ve done the shush/pat, hold his chest down during the transition, wake to sleep (dragging him down his crib to stir him), dressing more warm/less warm, staying awake longer/less, adding more feedings per day, CIO… NOTHING works.

    Is CIO only useful for bedtime? I was just reading about it on your site and it never occurred to me that CIO could be useless with napping. Would be good to know so I can avoid the heartache!

    Is there a way to get your baby to consolidate naps? Sometimes he is taking 4, 45 minute naps and I read at this age they should have 3 1.5 hour naps.

    I find my little guy is happy when he wakes but tuckers out really quickly and then it messes up our routine of eat/activity/sleep.

    I really appreciate the help! Thank you :)

    • I also wanted to add that because of the short naps all day long he goes to bed at 6-6:30pm which seems pretty early. I’m not sure how to stop this vicious cycle! It seems like his naps are getting worse.. I’m lucky if I get 45 minutes per nap. He has been super fussy at the bottle so I tried adding a tiny bit of rice cereal (he will never drink more than 4oz a feeding and seems unsatisfied) but it didn’t help him sleep. I’m wondering if I should start feeding him some rice cereal?

      I was reading in “Bed Timing” that sleep training at this age is not ideal so I’m wondering if I just ride this out until he is 5 1/2 months old as the book suggests. Even so, how can you train a baby to take longer naps?!? Not sure what to do anymore… I hate seeing him burn out and get so exhausted by the end of the day. I feel like it’s my fault :(

      • Hi Nicole,
        I’m new to this website, so I don’t know if other visitor’s responses are welcome. Anyway, my son has been the same way with the only difference that his naps last exactly 35 min. The only thing that worked is a cradle-swing (we have “my little lamb”). Now he is more than 7 months and grew out of the swing, so we are back to 35 min naps again. Can’t wait to read what Alexis responds to you. But if you want a temporary solution, a swing may help. I used to put him asleep with my breast and then move into the swing. When he woke up in between the cycles the swing would swing him back to sleep.

        • Hi Olya,

          Thank you so much for replying to me!

          Unfortunately my little guy won’t sleep in the swing. I’ve tried so many times to get him finish out his naps in it but he won’t! He just sucks his thumb and looks around. Only very rarely will he fall asleep in the swing and he wakes up before 45 minutes if he does.

          The stroller is the same problem. He might nap for 10-20 minutes in it then he’s wide awake. I feel like he is just very aware of his surroundings right now and it overstimulates him. But even before he was this curious he never slept more than 45 minutes in the swing or stroller!

          The thing that really sucks is that he used to at least sleep through the night and then he started waking around 4am so we introduced a dream feed at 930pm and that helped for a few days and now he wakes between 3-430am even with the dream feed! Hoping this is a growth spurt (he’s now 19 weeks old)… not sure how long they can last?

          I hope you find a new solution for your short naps! I wish I could suggest something!!

          Take care :)

  93. My 6 month old son never naps more them 30-45 min and when he wakes up he’s grumpy and still seems quite sleepy. He is almost sleeping through the night, only wakes up around 430, 5 to then back to sleep for a few hours and we’ve never used soothers and use all the soothing techniques you write about like loud white noise, and a dark room, he also sleeps with a little blanket. He falls asleep really good on his own at night but it seems to be a fight during the day. my question is once he’s woken up after only sleeping for 30 min should I leave him in hope he falls back asleep?? Will he eventually start to sleep longer??

  94. Mia turned 10 months old on Jan 14 and now seems to have turned into a different baby! I believe she’s teething since she’s biting her fingers and ours a lot. Jan 16th she decided she no longer wants to nurse so I’ve spent the past 6 days pumping and offering the breast but bottle feeding. She sleeps well at night, 7-630 with a feed around 5am. Her naps had been great too with two 1-1.5hr naps each day. As of the weekend she is refusing her first nap. Usually she would nap after being awake for 3hrs. Now we let her cry 15min then give up and try again an hour later. She is showing signs of bein tired after 3hrs but wont nap. We have a great bedtime and nap routine that includes books and loud white noise and putting her down awake. Is she ready for one nap a day or coil both of these changes be due to teething? Any suggestions are welcome!

  95. I am going to give the “drowsy but awake” method a real committment because I always have to hold him to sleep, AND he only naps for 30 minutes. I do have a question though. When I put him down drowsy but awake, his eyes shoot open, and he is not sleepy at all. However he doesn’t usually cry. He just looks around the crib for about 20 minutes then starts to get fussy. But if I pick him up right when I put him down he can fall asleep in minutes. What should I do? S hould I leave him there until he gets fussy? Or pick him up even if he isn’t crying and put him down again when he is drowsy but awake?

  96. Hi Alexis,
    I have a question about naps regarding my four month old. A quick run down: she is able to fall asleep on her own and is sleeping in her crib now. Nights WERE falling into place, but it seems that they have been regressing as of lately (she goes down like a rockstar, but has been waking to feed much more than before). However, this is a whole separate topic.
    In regards to her circadian rhythm, she has (although only a few times) given me longer naps between 1-3 hours. However, the majority of the time I get anywhere between 10-30 minute naps and only a couple a day, sometimes none! My question is: since she has taken long naps previously, does this mean that her internal process (circadian rhythm) is developed and she is capable of longer naps now on a consistent basis? So, basically the question of her internal process not being developed yet is not the reason for our nap/sleep issues? I have read most everything on your sight (which is nothing short of amazing by the way, and thank you for making me laugh!). There is no doubt she falls into the category of an “overtired” baby, so I am sure that is not helping matters. I feel as if I spend mostly all day trying to get her to sleep! It’s incredibly frustrating and I can only imagine how she feels, poor baby. I am not giving up and am willing to do the work in helping her find the sleep she needs.
    Thank you so very much,

    • Chloe,
      Hmm….well newborns (like fresh from the oven newborns) can sleep a ton but then grow into kids who can’t. So my theory is that 2-3 week old babies can sleep a ton regardless of what is going on developmentally because they’re itty bitty newborns. Then they grow into actual babies who CAN’T sleep longer than a single sleep cycle and thus you have to wait for that ability to develop. So if she’s been taking long naps at 2 weeks of age then I’m inclined to say “no” but I’m assuming you mean this has happened more recently in which case I would lean towards answering “yes.”

      But let’s take a step back. What you’re suggesting sounds a LOT like the dreaded 4 month sleep regression:

      So THAT could be holding you down. And also typically a short nap is 1 sleep cycle which could be 20-45 minutes. In my experience 10 minutes might not even be a nap. And you say sometimes she takes NO nap. I’m going to assume that at 4 months she should only be awake 1.5-2 hours and it sounds like you’re struggling with that.

      So I’m wondering if she just needs a ton more soothing? Have you tried the FULL BOAT. What is the full boat you ask? Well…

      – Dark room
      – loud white noise
      – swaddle
      – swing

      At this stage she’s not sleeping at all so your short-term homework is to get her to sleep by any means necessary and THEN put her down. So this may mean swaddling her then nursing her in a dark room with loud white noise until asleep then sneaking her into the swing.

      Over time your nap goal would be to put her IN the swing awake but it’s OK if she’s not there yet.

      Sure she’ 4 months old but lots of babies are napping in the swing till 6+ months and if it buys you 2 months of sleep I think it’s well worth the $$$.

      My 2 cents…

      • Thank you Alexis! Yes, we have had a couple long naps recently. I do everything except the swing. What I have is a mamaroo, not sure if this is equal to the traditional swing or not? She isn’t a big fan of it, so I just dismissed the idea of getting another contraption, but maybe it is worth it at this point because going hours upon hours without sleep is not ok. I am willing to try anything.
        Aside from the swing, I am curious what you suggest doing on what happened this morning. Around the 1.5-2 hour mark, I swaddled her and put her down in her crib, white noise in full effect. She slept for about 35 minutes and then woke up. Would you suggest I get her right away or let her fuss for a bit to see if she can go back down on her own? Or just give in and get her up and try again the next go around about 1.5-2 hours later?

  97. My 7 mo old is still taking crappy naps for 2/3 if his naps. Sometimes all three. His 1st nap is usually good (1-2 hrs) and then the other two are anywhere from 20-40 min. I do the SAME thing every night and a shortened version for naps. Bedtime is 6:30-boob 6:45 bath, then Jammies book song and bed. Nap time is just book song and bed. He sleeps in his crib for nighttime and naptime. Even if I put him in the swing he still only sleeps 20-40 min. Help!

  98. Hi Alexis
    Thank you for this site! I stumbled upon it in one of my bleary-eyed middle of the night google sessions months ago and have returned to it several times since. (sometimes I wish I could retrieve all my google searches from the last year and keep them as a record of my mental state… The time I googled ‘how little sleep before you die’ was probably not a good sign!) I have also recommended your site to many others.

    I was hoping to get your thoughts on my nap situations. My daughter is nearly 8 months old and has never really been a long napper. Her night sleep was great up until about 3 months, and then it went rapidly down hill. I’m sure I perpetuated the problem by nursing her too frequently at night but up until 6.5 months she was still up at least every 2 hours. We finally did CIO (as I was a complete basket case, hence the aforementioned google search!) which worked very well. She goes to bed at 7pm and sleeps though the night now most nights (we are still working on a early waking problem i.e. 5am but that I can deal with).

    Naps are another story. She has never really been a long napper and naps seem to have now settled into 30 minute chunks (sometimes shorter). Every now and then she will have a big nap of 1.5 hours but it is rare. I feel like I have tried everything- shortening awake times (Weissbluth says first nap at 9am but since she gets up so early I have tried as early at 7:30), lengthening awake times (9am first nap, 3 hour wake periods), feeding her right before sleep, not feeding her right before sleep. Nothing seems to help. She has been napping in her crib for months, with black out curtains and a white noise machine. We have a nap time routine (sleep sack, story, song, bed) and she falls asleep on her on (often with some fussing/ crying but almost always within 10 minutes of me leaving the room). I am completely at a loss… Any ideas???

  99. Hi Alexis,

    I love your site – even though I went through sleep training with my older son, your site helped me this time with my son Henry, who is now 7 months old. Wish I would have had this when I did it the first time with my now 2 year old!

    Anyway, I need help with naps with my 7 month old.

    At 6.5 months, we did some sleep training and it worked fantastically. Henry can now sleep up to 10 hours at night and have a feed and go back down for another 2. His bedtime is @ 7 pm and he often wakes @ 7 am (usually waking for a feed anytime between 4-5 am). I am happy with this and don’t need to nightwean yet.

    I wrote to you a few months back about ditching the pacifier. Some background on the pacifier with regard to our sleep training: I have kept the pacifier on a sleepy.tot so he can put it in himself and littered the crib with pacifiers. When we were sleep training, he often fell asleep without the pacifier (can’t keep it in when you’re screaming your lungs out). So, he did learn to fall asleep w/o it. I didn’t have the heart to take it away completely, as he does love it, so I bought a sleepy.tot and now he can sometimes find it and put it in himself or sometimes he doesn’t – either way, he can fall asleep with or without it.

    I tackled night-time and naps at the same time, thinking that we’ll just get the hellishness of sleep training over and done with. Naps have improved but they are not 100%. I realize they take longer but I need some advice. Here’s the problem:

    I put Henry down 2 hours after waking (@ around 9 am) – I often have a hard time keeping him up for 2 hours; he’s cranky and yawning around 1.5 hours of wakefulness. He goes down easily (drowsy but awake) usually only fussing for about 2 minutes. The problem is that he wakes after 30-45 minutes. I have tried putting him down w/o his pacifier (thinking that was the problem) with the same results: fusses, falls asleep, wakes early from nap. I have tried letting him cry for an additional 30 minutes to see if he will fall back asleep (he doesn’t). I have tried going in upon his waking and assisting him back to sleep, which usually works well and he goes down for another hour or so. The same problem pops up in the afternoon sometimes (short naps) but less so if he’s had a crappy morning nap. I usually put him down 2.5 hours after waking from his 1st nap. I often can’t let him cry in the afternoon, as my 2 year old is napping in the next room and if wakes up early from his nap, then god help us all. So, more often than not, I’m going in upon the first waking and helping him back down. He usually gets anywhere between 1-1.5 hours for the 2nd nap. He still takes a 3rd nap as he can’t make it to his 7 pm bedtime if he awoke from the 2nd nap @ say 2:30. On the odd occasion, he has napped longer in the afternoon (up to 3 hours) and if that’s the case, I don’t give him a 3rd nap. The 3rd nap is usually never a problem, b/c it’s only a catnap anyway so waking after 45 minutes isn’t a problem. On average, he’s getting 2.5-3.5 hours of daytime sleep but they’re a lot of work!! If I left him to his own devices, he’d probably only get between 1.5-2 hours on his own, which isn’t great. He’s happier with more sleep, obviously.

    My question is what do I do? How do I get him to nap longer when I’ve done sleep training already? I can’t figure out if it’s the pacifier (doesn’t seem to be since he wakes early w/o having it in upon going to sleep). Is the timing of the naps off? Is he overtired (perhaps, especially in the am) or under-tired? Any advice??

    For what it is worth, he’s still breastfed and is taking solids 3/day.

    Thanks so much in advance.

  100. So, I’m feeling like maybe I made a huge mistake in my daughter’s early months and have traumatized her.

    Her naps have always been short. Or, she has woken after a sleep cycle ALWAYS (or 90% of the time). Starting at 10-12 weeks, I would let her fuss until she fell back to sleep. Which she would, 90% of the time. So her 30-40 minute naps turned into 1.5-2 hour naps. This was fantastic for me!

    Recently we switched her from her swing to the crib and she seems to be doing okay. She wakes after 30-40 minutes and, EVEN IF SHE SEEMS HAPPY, I let her chat to herself for 10-15 minutes and she usually falls back asleep.

    This is major. My son never took a nap longer than 30 minutes until he went to 2 naps a day at 7 or 8 months and even then they were only an hour.

    But now I am all of a sudden wracked with guilt. If she seems happy when she wakes at 30 minutes, should I just get her? Have I traumatized her by letting her hang solo and get back to sleep? When I have gotten her up after the first sleep cycle, she turns into a mess after a short period of being awake so…

    For those of you who are thinking, oh cry me a river with your long naps, my daughter’s night time sleep is a disaster that only in the past few days seems to be getting better. (And by better I mean she’s waking 2-3 times a night instead of 7-8 times).

    If any of you can assuage my guilt (or tell me to just get her up when she wakes up cooing at 40 minutes), I’d really appreciate it.

    Thanks so much!

    • Lee, I’m no expert but I’d say you’re doing a terrific job. If she’s falling back asleep she must be tired and as you say, when you’ve gotten her up she’s tired soon after, so you’re doing the right thing letting her get adequate sleep. Hang in there. I hope night sleep gets better for you – mine was terrible before sleep training as well, up 6-8/night. It’s hell.

    • I have nothing to add except to agree completely with Monique :)

      • Thank you, Monique and Laura! With my son, I never let him cry for even one second and I just thought he took short naps. He’d wake at 30-45 and in I would go. At night, I had to bounce him EVERY TIME HE WOKE (which was every two hours at 5 months). We finally did CIO and it was the best thing we ever did. Now with my daughter, I let her fuss, do her thing, and she goes back to sleep…during the day. Night time is a different story. We’re going to have to do something about it because, as you know Monique, 6-8 night wakings is just untenable.

        Okay, phew. Not traumatizing my daughter. Thank you!

  101. Hey Alexis, remember me (“every single night the same arrangement, I go out & fight the fight”)? Probably not but anyways… I had my son doing great after a lengthy go with CIO for nights. It was a huge debacle. Lived thru it. Happy to report he regularly sleeps 7pm-6am. Yay. However, when I attempted CIO for naps it all went to crap. Then I decided to stick by what you had said & make naps happen however possible. Well, now my nearly 15 mo old will only nap in the car if he’s sleepy or I must bottle feed & rock him to sleep :( then I must hold him cuz setting him down means he hops up screaming. Sigh. I don’t know what to do :( I know this is all my own fault & a self created mess and hey, things could be worse. I just don’t get a break from him, ever. No body will babysit since he won’t nap. I feel like I failed him (& myself) sorry for grammar & spelling errors, I am typing from my phone as i hold him for yet another nap :(

    • I’ve just stumbled onto this site and I see a lot of this posts were written in February but I’m hoping for some advice if any of u ladies can help me out. Like cc I have a little one who will not nap in his crib. It’s all my fault because I always brought him for walks around his nap times an he was always fast asleep when we got home so I let him sleep in da buggy. Now he’s about to turn 10 months and he still naps in the buggy. I’ve tried putting him down for naps in his cot but it takes him ages to cry himself to sleep and then he only naps for half hr max. I repeated da same routine for 4 days and then just reverted ack to naps in da buggy coz he got so overtired and it started to affect his night sleep. He sleeps great at night , from 7:30pm to 7am. He has 2 naps a day from 10:30 to 12pm and 33pm to 5pm but these naps are in his buggy. I’d love to get him napping in his cot. I’d really appreciate any advice …. Thanks

    • How do you get baby to learn to fall asleep on their own without crying it out? That is where I’m always stumped!?

      • Meagan, I did the pick up put down method….it still involves crying but that’s inevitable! The difference is you are there with the baby and they aren’t left alone. It worked very quikly with my then 5 month old son. Within threw days he was napping longer and sleeping through the night 10-12 hours!

  102. As a frustrated and worried mama this article has made me feel even worse about the short naps my baby takes. I now know why his naps are so short and what I’m doing wrong but it dosent tell me how to fix this problem… Now I just feel even more like I’m doomed :( maybe you should add a little more tips or resources a available? Just an idea :) I just wish my baby would stay asleep (he’s only a crappy napper. He falls asleep but only naps 20-30 minutes and once hes awake thats it i cant get him down again. Wakes himself at night cuz he rolls on his belly but I can get him back to sleep quite quickly).

    • Ok, well I’m no expert, but your post tugged at my heart. Please don’t feel like a failure. I believe until 6 months hits, there’s not much you can do for some babies. My sons a cat napper (I hate “crappy napper” sounds so negative) and is a super happy baby. I can get one 3-4 hour stretch at night, otherwise it’s 20-45 for daytime naps and 30 mins – 2 hours for nighttime sleep. I’ve tried almost everything (not comfortable letting him CIO yet). He just wakes to nurse at night, then back to sleep and during the day, he’s done sleeping after his cat naps. He’s awake 1-2 hours between naps. He still cluster feeds in the aftenoon most days, as well. Doctor is so happy with his progress, he tells me not to worry. If the only thing he isn’t doing is sleeping “through the night” or giving us bigger chunks for naps, to be happy. He goes to sleep relatively easy, can sleep almost anywhere and is so pleasant to be around. If your baby is healthy and happy, just give it time. I know, personally, how exhausting and frustrating it is, but take the help of others – it makes a difference. Nap for those 30 mins. May not seem like much (I fight them too lol), but it is. Leave the stuff that “has” to be done for a few days longer (I wear clothes for a couple days before washing lol) and just coast and concentrate on keeping your sanity. That’s working for me lol I have some extra hands around the house, so I started using them and it just helps me stay calm, while on this rollercoaster of “oh you’re baby sleeps? Really. Mine doesn’t” lol

      • Wow, Mal. You just described our 5mo old’s sleep patterns to a tee. Super happy baby, super short sleeper! Only difference is our baby won’t sleep just anywhere. She goes down really easy but only if we follow her sleep/nap routine at home with her swing. No car seat naps for us. I will say you sound better adjusted than I am about the whole thing. Compounding my problem is the fact that she wont take a bottle or pacifier so I can’t split night feedings with Daddy. I haven’t slept 3 hrs in a row since October. I fantasize about a baby that only wakes up twice a night and will nap for a whole hour…but then she is painfully cute and I decide I can last one more day with the baby I got :-) anyway, glad to know we aren’t the only ones out there sleeping in 2 hr shifts. Thanks for sharing!

      • thanks for your optimistic comment, it is what i needed to hear :-)

    • Your story sounds SO much like mine. Around 3-4 months, our son suddenly started moving and rolling more as he tried to nap. He kept waking himself up and wouldn’t fall back asleep. Then, he’d be in a crabby mood for the rest of the day. Here is what works for helping my four month old take naps:

      1. I started swaddling his arms again for naptime. I stopped doing this at 3 months because I was concerned he was starting to roll over. Also, the AAP had published an article where they discouraged swaddling after 2 months. However, I realized my son was napping much better when his arms were snug and couldn’t flail. I checked with our pediatrician, and he assured us that swaddling now is still okay and safe, especially for a hyper spaz like our baby!

      2. I put a large piece of cardboard in my nursery window behind the blinds. Yes, it looks trashy from outside, but who cares? It makes the room darker. This especially helps in the summer when it’s bright out at 7:00 pm and 5:00 am.

      3. I run a fan while he sleeps. This is a sticky issue between me and my husband. He feels this is something our son will become too dependent on and not be able to sleep without it if we’re travelling or as he grows older. I feel it helps drown out noise.

      4. I put my baby down for a nap if he’s been awake for two hours. I start the naptime routine about 10 minutes beforehand. We read a picture book, I sing a couple songs, put him in his swaddle in his crib, and leave the room. I’ve been doing this now for almost a week, and he is slowly getting the hang of it. If I put him down before he starts to fuss and cry, the sooner he falls asleep on his own.

      Since I started using these techniques, I have not seen a 20 minute catnap. Sometimes, he naps only 30-45 minutes, but it’s better than 20. Plus, he is a much happier baby if he goes down for a nap every couple hours. Yes, it makes my life a little more difficult in that I can’t run long errands in the morning, but I would rather have a happy, well-rested baby.

      • Hi Jennifer, does your son fall asleep on his own when you put him down after going through the routine? My daughter just this week started taking 30 minute naps–and she was doing great with some 2-3 or sometimes even 4 hours naps!

        • Interestingly enough, a lot has changed since I wrote that response! In general, YES, my son can fall asleep on his own for naps. He definitely does not need me, a bottle or nursing as crutches to help him sleep. Although sometimes it takes less than a minute after I put him down until he’s asleep, other times it takes 15 minutes of hard crying. We’ve been working on naps for more than a month now and he still cries before he falls asleep. Once in a while I do go back to him if he’s been crying for more than 15 minutes or the crying starts to escalate. Those are the times he needs a little more help settling down. At night, he has no trouble falling asleep on his own. What’s frustrating is that no matter how quickly (or slowly) he falls asleep on his own, his naps are now lasting no more than 45 minutes. Once in a blue moon (a couple times per week) will he nap for longer than 45 minutes. I have no idea what I or he does that makes him nap longer. It seems completely random!

      • my daughter (nearly 6 months) cat naps 30mins every nap, we were still swaddling and saw a little improvement odd one longer, however, stopped swaddling now as started screaming when put in it and wouldn’t go to sleep (i do as you same nap routing and put down awake) goes now on own without swaddle but wakes at 30mins, rubbing eyes, waving arms etc! she has a dark room with whitenoise constantly on, can’t see what else to do, she doesn’t do this at night (i don’t think!) and will do this if in car also, given up on pram as too many distractions, i also have to cover up in car seat in car and if engine stops wakes up before the 30mins!! Hope this gets better as really getting me down, has been going on for months now, last time she had a massive nap was 3months ago!

    • Hey.. Melanie.. How are you getting on now? Your post was February.. Have your baby’s maps gotten longer? My 3 month old only does 30 minute maps on his own.. If he’s in the sling or sleeping on me he does longer but as we all know that’s not really a solution! He has also recently stated waking every 3 hours or less at night. I am so tired!! I’m hopeful that he will grow out of it and that as he develops, things will change. I’m interested to know if things have changed for you. For any of you with cat napping babies. Initially I was really pleased that he was in the cot..I still am! For the first 7 weeks of his life he would only sleep during the day if he was with me or my husband. That was tough!! Hope things are better for you now baby is older :-)

      • Hey.. Melanie.. How are you getting on now? Your post was February.. Have your baby’s naps gotten longer? My 3 month old only does 30 minute naps on his own.. If he’s in the sling or sleeping on me he does longer but as we all know that’s not really a solution! He has also recently stated waking every 3 hours or less at night. I am so tired!! I’m hopeful that he will grow out of it and that as he develops, things will change. I’m interested to know if things have changed for you. For any of you with cat napping babies. Initially I was really pleased that he was in the cot..I still am! For the first 7 weeks of his life he would only sleep during the day if he was with me or my husband. That was tough!! Hope things are better for you now baby is older :-)

    • Yes, this site made me feel like the shittiest mom ever, and the worst part is, we have enough of that with pediatricians and every other person telling you how great CIO worked for them, etc etc. (Let´s see those shrink bills later and compare)

      I feel that although the site is very well intentioned, it actually doesn´t teach HOW to do this, and there is a tinge of judgement in there too.

      What if each baby is different? What if circumstances are different in different families and cultures? I am looking for help so I can sleep (single parent), but all I found here is a list of the things I´m doing wrong, with nothing to replace them! So wrong if I do and wrong if I don´t-

      anyhow, thanks for trying to help anyway!

      • Hey Maria,

        Seriously? THIS site made you feel like the shittiest mom ever? Hmmm…

        I’ll say this. You can’t say that CIO is going to result in “shrink bills” in one sentence and then turn around and call me judgmental in the next.

        Also it’s not fair to suggest that each baby is different while you’re critiquing me. Why? Because never EVER do I say that CIO is the answer for everybody. In fact I work really hard to give lots of people different options depending on what they’ve got going on and what suits their parenting.

        Also I take umbrage to the idea that I’m giving you a list of things you’re doing wrong and giving you nothing to replace them. I offer PLENTY of practical solutions – how to gently night wean, methods to help baby fall asleep sans tears, etc. Have you really poked around that much? I can’t believe it.

        There are so many valid things you could criticize about me. I barely respond to comments anymore. My site looks home-made. There are plenty of topics I haven’t covered. And I DO talk about CIO as a viable alternative.

        Sorry. Maybe I’m tired and cranky after a long week (I am.). Maybe I’ve got PMS (also quite possible). But I don’t find your take-down of my little corner of the Internet here fair at all.

        ps. I’m sorry you’re a single parent. I can’t imagine how hard that must be. And I wish you luck in finding the answers you so clearly didn’t find here.

        • Hi Alexis,

          I was out of line, even if I did not mean to offend you! I´m sorry! That feeling of doing it wrong has nothing to do with you but with me obviously. The thing is, I made the mistake of writing before reading the whole site (being sleep deprived makes me sloppy).

          I was hoping deep down it would all flow naturally as far as the sleeping,(used to when he was smaller and god, as a newborn, I even read novels!) so I felt very overwhelmed by the napping article in particular, I was wishing for someone to say, oh, let it flow, he is a short napper, as opposed to the idea that short nappers are rather unhappy children or something like that which I seem to recall.

          But those are my issues not yours.

          It was not fair, I too was tired and cranky and voilá, pmsing, so I should have measured my words or not spoken at all at least until I had read and tried the things you propose. They just seem hard! I don’t expect parenting to be a bed of roses, of course, but still. And I´m all alone and it just seems easier the third time he wakes for me up to plop him next to me and hope he decides to sleep.

          So anyhow, thanks for calling me on my shit, it´s just sometimes the line between getting advice and feeling judged confuses even those of us who seek the advice.

          And either way, even if you did sound a bit bossy, it´s thanks to people like you who put content on the internet and lovingly curate it (your site, fonts, layout and images are wonderful, you have a ton of material and it´s organized and thorough)that we have a useful internet at all.

          So again, sorry if I hurt your feelings or downplayed your work at all, it was just that it seemed too hard, complex and that I was frustrated and sad last night.


          • Hi Maria – just wanted to say that I think ALL new moms feel alone, but no one wants to admit it! There is no guidebook and no fail-safe answers (although there are helpful sites like this one), I think we all just do the best we can and hopefully give ourselves a break in the meantime. There must be at least 10 times a day I think I’m doing something “wrong” only to find out that my other mom friends have done the same things….hang in there, stay strong and know that you are doing a great job!

  103. Also if I try to move him he wakes up. He used to never to this :S

  104. Hi Melanie,

    I, too, made the “mistake” (actually, the greatest epiphany I’ve had in a while) of finding this article before finding the rest of the site. Before you get too depressed about what you should not have done/be doing (I feel your pain), make sure to check out the rest of the articles (blue links near the top), because the author, Alexis, has the most thorough (yet concise!!) collection of resources and tips on how to get your little one to be a star sleeper that I’ve found thus far. I figure, since you posted just a few hours ago, you might be able to find some optimistic answers before you even hear more cries :)

  105. Naps. *sigh*

    I use to think my now 6m son use to be a good napper. But that was before I realized we had several sleep association issues (co-sleep, nurse to sleep, paci). We’re only a week into FE CIO & making leaps and bounds. But now that I’m not co-sleeping w/ him during nap time, he went from sleeping 1-2hrs+ to 30-45m! After consecutive crappy naps, I noticed it effecting our night time sleep. I don’t know what to do…I feel like I’ve read just about every post on this site. But maybe not. I’m gonna see if I can find some tips.

  106. 8 weeks old. Short Naps. Almost full soothing arsenal (swing, swaddle, white noise, dim, but not dark room). I have tried very hard to get him to be a paci-man, but he will have none of it.

    Just got the swing, it has made putting him down drowsy but awake super easy, but it hasn’t increased the length of his naps… still 30 minutes like 5 times a day. Nights are fine – sleeps in his crib, in his carseat, swaddled. One six hour stretch (oh happy day!), followed by the typical 2-3 hour stretches of early morning. Bedtime seems to be happening at about 7 (although it is still not settled, sometimes 9, sometimes 6:30).

    So, howa ’bout those naps? Any hope for getting them to be longer?Or am I tapped out and have to accept a 30 minute napper?

    • WOW! Do you have my kid or what? My little guy is now 3 months, but our issues started around the 8 week mark too. Prior to this, he had 2 weeks where I put him on his belly in his crib, he whined for 5 minutes, and was out for 2-3 hours. Naps were good, he was up every 2-3 hours at night. Then suddenly around the 8 week mark, he started giving us 4-5 hour stretches at night up to 8-8.5 and then naps starting going south. We are usually at 30 minutes, sometimes 20 or so, where he wakes right before transitioning to deep sleep. He fights sleep when he’s too tired (only naps), and then does early waking, yet for his bedtime (7:30/8ish), he goes down easy and stays asleep, like what the heck?

      I’ve tried everything with naps – swaddling, swing, vibration under his mattress (which worked when he gave me 2-3 hr naps), pat and shush, crying it out. Sometimes swaddle and swing works, sometimes pat and shush works, but more often than not, once he’s up he’s up and is pretty happy and alert for the next hour then starts whining. But in general he doesn’t really cry, except the whiny cry.

      But these short naps are killing me! Its like he regressed from it and its a pain. I sure as heck hope he outgrows it. I am kind of where you are now, do I just accept the 30 minute nap, get him up, continue what we do and try to put him down again, or keep going in once he’s up and trying to get him down for another 30-45

      The kicker is, a couple times a week he randomly gives me a long nap – 1.5 to 2.5 hours, go figure. But there is no pattern or predictability in that whatsoever.

      We have ruled out everything including acid reflux, gas discomfort, etc., He eats well, he babbles a lot and people tell me what a “good baby” I have. Yeah, if only they saw how he naps

      Plus…his night time stretches are not constant, which I believe reflects how he slept that day. Sometimes he goes as little as 4.5 stretch up to an 8 hour stretch (I pray to the heavens for those 8 hour stretches lol)

      • Howdy – I now have a 9 month old, and the short naps basically continued until we finally hit about 7 months, when I weaned him off the swing and the swaddle and started putting him in a sleep sack in his crib. This was *relatively* painless, but it was done. Besides teething and milk supply issues, our routine evolved into sleep from 6:30pm-5:30am, nap at 8am for 1.5 hours and nap at 12:45 for between 1 and 2 hours. I’d of course, love, love to wake up later in the morning and to get an extra hour of nap in the afternoons, but, beggars can’t be choosers!

      • my son is the exact same. 11 weeks, used to take 2 hour naps (although we were keeping him up way to long then) and now that i put him down for naps when he is tired (1-2 hrs of wake time) he sleep for almost exactly 30 mins each time. it is driving me crazy! at night he goes down around 7 and does a 4-5 hr stretch, then up every 2-2.5 hrs after that and up at 7am. so i am nursing him 3 times at night… which is fine but i feel like he doesnt need the last one, maybe its a habit? he always wakes around 12:30, 2:30 and 5:30.

  107. Hi everyone,
    My 7 month old is falling asleep on his own without the use of a pacifier or bottle, but his naps are only an hour long….twice a day! 9:00-10:30 and 1:30-2:30. He’s fine until around 6:00 and the it’s a struggle to keep him up until a decent bedtime (7:00 right now). Any suggestions on how I can get him to take a longer afternoon nap?



    • Sarah-
      I have a baby the same age with the same good bedtime habits but mine will only sleep 20 minutes for naps! It used to be 40 and now it’s down to 20 no matter what I do. You’re not alone!

    • Hi sarah,
      i’m pretty sure babies are supposed to take 3 naps until they are 9 months old. try making the middle nap at 12:30 or 1 instead of 1:30, and then try for a short last nap at 4:30 or 5. my daughter is 6 months and if i get her to go even just 20 minutes at 5 pm she can then go until 7:30 for bed. btw many people would suggest that 6 or 7 pm are perfectly fine bedtimes!

    • Maybe try taking the afternoon nap with your lo, so it will be longer, just to set the pattern and get you both to the later bed time?

    • You’ve got it good, and so does your baby. Anything over an hour nap is restorative and 9 & 1 are natural sleep rhythms for their bodies, hence times they gain the most from sleep neurologically. Agreed, try to change the 1:30 to 1 but don’t worry if it doesn’t work because 1:30 is almost as good as 1. But you may get a longer nap out of the 1 o’clock schedule. And then yes, aim for 4ish nap (don’t start this nap later than 5 and don’t let it go past 6. Moved then between 6 & 8 is best at this age. And with that schedule, you can expect around 12 hour nights.

  108. Your site is funny and helpful, thank you!

    My three month old son is killing us with short naps for the past couple of weeks – 4 or 5 30-45 minute naps daily. I know he’s still tired when he wakes from these short naps – he gets tired faster and is generally more irritable and having less fun. I watch him very carefully for the signs of tiredness and try to begin the nap routine as soon as he exhibits the signs. He’s clearly tired, but he fights the nap like crazy. Nap routine is clean diaper, story with a snuggly blanket, swaddling, and rocking/singing/shhing till very close to sleep. He will be heavy lidded but start fighting sleep like crazy, fussing, arching his back etc. I’m working very hard to achieve laying him down drowsy but awake, and it has happened before and worked, but all too often the minute I lay him down he becomes wide awake and protests my departure. What am I doing wrong here? I skip the story if he seems too tired for it, and I try not to nurse to sleep but make sure that he’s not hungry before naps too. He is breastfed. Bedtime is currently 9 pm, but we are moving it up a half hour each week with a goal of 8 pm. He sleeps fairly well at night – it’s just naps that are our nemesis. I generally get from 9 pm to 3 am, then a feeding, and after that he tends to wake every two hours or hour. Sometimes he wakes during the 9 – 3 period, but can be patted or shh’d back to sleep pretty quickly. I do typically end up bringing him in bed with me somewhere in the 6 am hour for nursing and snuggling to help him stay asleep till I want him to get up at 8 am. Am I screwing this all up?!

    • Martha, my daughter is 3 mo right now and I could have written your post, myself! You posted in February originally–has anything changed or gotten better since then?

      • Well, one thing is for sure,it kept changing!

        He did stop fighting so hard for awhile, and the naps did lengthen – but it seems like every time we get into a groove he changes things. He is now 9 months old on two naps a day, and has started refusing one or the other on a pretty regular basis, and then is a cracked out little monkey the rest of the day. Also, he flat out refused to nap period if i tried to put him down awake. He was the same at bedtime, so we eventually ‘Ferbered’ – used check and console. It was a terrible 2 weeks, but the night sleep is sorted out now. Which goes a long way towards saving my life and sanity.

        But he is again in a phase where he won’t sleep for naps unless I nurse him pretty much to sleep. I feel like a failure, but what can you do? I guess I would just say, keep on trucking, do your best, and eventually it will either be resolved or she’ll be on to the next thing! Wish I had better answers for you, but I’m a first time Mom with no clue!

  109. Sarah,
    Why not just call hour naps good and put your LO down at 6 instead of 7? If he’s not overtired, he actually might sleep longer and not necessarily wake earlier. We have to do a 6 pm bedtime and it just means more adult time for us.


    I agree with the other poster about reading the rest of the site. Focus on night time before naps and then naps will come easier. That’s what we’re working on right as I type. First in his crib nap we’ve had in months, as a result of working on nighttime for the past two weeks.

    I will say all these tips depend on your child. We weren’t/ aren’t willing to do CIO, but now our LO is to the point where he will slightly fuss it out. Prior to a few weeks ago, we would have had painful shrieks and cries. Just now he’s ready for this when our prior sleep strategies stopped working.

  110. Hello,
    I started sleep training my 3 month old using the CIO method. He is doing great during the night and is only waking up once to feed. His naps are another issue. Before I slept trained him I would rock/bounce/pat/shush him to sleep and hold him the entire 1.5 hour nap. I am using the CIO method with naps as well and he takes much longer to fall asleep and only sleeps 30 minutes. I know he needs to sleep longer but he doesn’t fall back to sleep. I have read that we go through sleep cycles and we wake up after 30-45 minutes to go into our deeper sleep. He will not go into his deep sleep by himself. Is it a good idea to let him cry it out for his naps and then after he wakes up, wait 10 minutes then rock him to sleep and hold him for the rest of his nap? After rocking I have tried to put him back down to sleep for the rest of his nap but he wakes up right away.

  111. My daughter is 5.5 months & sleeps thru the night with no problems, has since she was about 6 weeks old. My issue is she has been anti-nap the past month and it’s driving me crazy! I EBF and she will doze while nursing and if I don’t get up she’ll sleep on me for 30mins to an hour. However if I try to put her down for a nap whether she’s already been sleeping on me, is drowsy but awake, or even wide awake nothing works. If she does sleep at all she’ll wake up at 20 mins on the dot. When she was younger she’d take multiple naps throughout the day in her swing with no problem. I used to think she even slept too much! Even now she’ll sleep in her swing sometimes but not often. I don’t want to complain because she’s such a great night time sleeper & I know a lot of parents would kill for that, but it is getting frustrating. I’ve read a lot on the subject (and on your website!) and while we’ve given her all the age appropiate soothing of swaddling, rocking, nursing, bouncing, etc but now that she’s approaching 6 months I’m really scared that she’ll rely on these things forever (and they don’t even work for naps now most of the time!) So basically my question is how do I start to implement the falling asleep on her own methods, and what exactly are they? Just putting her down drowsy? I’ve tried that and it 8 out of 10 times doesn’t work. I do not want to do CIO. Can you please give me some step-by-step instructions to follow? I’d be forever grateful. I was thinking of trying to work with the swing but she’ll be growing out of it soon (and heck I even left her in it for 30 mins today and she still didn’t sleep). Funny thing is she usually is a good napper for my mother-in-law who watches her 3 days a week.

  112. Hi there – AGAIN. I hope you’re doing well, and not too overworked from answering the world’s parenting questions! :) Here’s another for you…

    So, my little lady – 8 months old – is doing really well with her bedtime. She goes right down between 7 and 8pm and pretty much stays down until 4-5am. Then if she doesn’t stop crying within 5 minutes (and I mean crying, not pouting and whining), I will get up and bring her to bed with us until about 6am (7am if we’re lucky). Not bad, and we all wake up (generally) rested. Her dad and I feel very lucky.

    My issue is one I’ve had since she was born: she will not nap unless she’s in my arms (I mentioned this in another post to you). I will try to put her down for a nap in her crib (at either 9-9:30am and/or 1-2pm), and she will usually freak out, but I will let her cry for up to an hour.

    However, she won’t give up. She hates the crib during the day. We have all the “good sleep” trappings: the window in her room is covered, there is an air purifier under her crib for white noise, and I’m *trying* to keep on a schedule (I admit, I’m a bit of a failure at scheduling naps, as I am afraid to put her down if she’s not tired at all or if she’s overly-tired – then I wait until she shows signs of being tired again).

    Only a few times has she fallen asleep in her crib after a few minutes (read: 5-20 minutes), but then she always wakes up crying after 20-35 minutes of sleep – not nearly enough to constitute a real nap. I don’t think these few and far between short naps are enough.

    I’m not sure what to do now. It’s obvious that she associates certain things with napping (maybe the living room where we usually sit and nurse during the day, or maybe just my boobs and lap), and unlike her bedtime, she doesn’t eventually fall asleep when in her crib (at least not within the hour). For the last week she’s been doing this annoying “sleeping for only minutes at a time” thing, even in my arms – can this be considered a nap strike? What is going on with her? Bah.

    Another major issue is that lately she just loves to fall asleep in my arms at around 4pm (probably because she’s refusing to really nap during the rest of the day)- not so awesome, I realize. I manage to get her up by 5-5:15, which means she still hasn’t had a problem going down by 7:30-ish, but I don’t wanna encourage a bad habit.

    Anyway, any thoughts? I looked all over, but there doesn’t seem to be much advice on our situation, or others like ours. Thanks!

    • i have the same issue with my 8-month old son… you’re not alone! i also have no idea what to do, i swear i’ve tried EVERYTHING.

    • AGH I have the same problem…. 8 month old REFUSES to nap. I’m not willing to let her work herself into such a frenzy (60 minutes of SCREAMING) for 20 minutes of sleep. Even if I nurse her to sleep, she won’t sleep more than 30 minutes. Naps have always been a struggle, but things are now worse than ever. At least she goes to sleep without a squeak at night….I also hope for a nap-related post soon!

    • My daughter just turned 8 months and has started fighting her naps more than ever. She sleeps well at night and I had been able to put her down for naps by nursing, rocking or taking her on a car ride (not the best ways, I know, but she would always scream if I put her down awake for naps) but now those methods don’t always work anymore. She would fight sleep and it would take her longer to fall asleep, if she did at all! At daycare, the only way she would sleep was in the swing, but today she fought it and went 7 hours without any sleep! I don’t know what to do or how to sleep train her for naps. I wanted to check in and see if you all found anything that worked for you?

      • It sounds like this must be a normal, age-related thing, since everyone who has posted in response to my post has a baby in the exact same age group. That doesn’t make the struggle any easier, I realize, but it is heartening to know that the napping issue we’ve been having isn’t at all that uncommon, I’m guessing.

        My daughter is now well into her 9th month, and she still refuses to take naps in her crib. She insists on being held and/or nursed for them. I really wouldn’t mind this if I knew that at some point in the next few months she would get over this (or more recently, she has been falling asleep in the car after about 10 minutes). I just don’t want her to be 2 years old and still needing to be held and nursed to sleep at naptime.

        Unfortunately, no one yet has an answer for me regarding our situation: the baby who goes to sleep in her crib easily at night, but refuses to do the same at naptime, sleep rituals (different from or the same as at bedtime) be-damned.

        Anyway, at least we aren’t alone :) If I hear any useful information about this issue, I will be sure to post it!

        • Hello!

          My baby is 7.5 months and I’m having the exact same issue! Sleeps all night in her crib with no problems, yet hates it for daytime naps and her daytime naps are pretty much nonexistant now (except for if she falls asleep in the car or stroller). We do the same ritual as at night. I posted about this issue on Feb 11 when she was 5.5 months and no one replied with any advice. At least back then she’d fall asleep while nursing and would nap on me if I didn’t move… now she never falls asleep while nursing during the day. She’s eating about 3 solid food meals a day plus nursing about 5 times a day and it’s making it even harder to get the naps on track with her eating solid foods. However she takes 2 long naps at my mother in law’s house when she watches her 3 days a week! It’s so frustrating to me that she’ll nap there but not at home. I work part time and my schedule changes weekly as far as the days and times I work so on my days off I always have errands to do and it’s hard to get into a consistent routine as far as timing the naps. She goes to bed at 8pm, sleeps all night w/o waking, and wakes up to nurse at 6am, will go back to bed around 6:30 until 8-8:30am when she wakes for the day (so I guess this is her morning nap) but after that the naps are either 20 mins or non-existant. Can somebody please post some advice? I’m happy to hear that I’m not alone : )

          Here’s what I posted 2 months ago if you care to read it. I don’t use the swing anymore with her because she’s almost outgrown it:
          “My daughter is 5.5 months & sleeps thru the night with no problems, has since she was about 6 weeks old. My issue is she has been anti-nap the past month and it’s driving me crazy! I EBF and she will doze while nursing and if I don’t get up she’ll sleep on me for 30mins to an hour. However if I try to put her down for a nap whether she’s already been sleeping on me, is drowsy but awake, or even wide awake nothing works. If she does sleep at all she’ll wake up at 20 mins on the dot. When she was younger she’d take multiple naps throughout the day in her swing with no problem. I used to think she even slept too much! Even now she’ll sleep in her swing sometimes but not often. I don’t want to complain because she’s such a great night time sleeper & I know a lot of parents would kill for that, but it is getting frustrating. I’ve read a lot on the subject (and on your website!) and while we’ve given her all the age appropiate soothing of swaddling, rocking, nursing, bouncing, etc but now that she’s approaching 6 months I’m really scared that she’ll rely on these things forever (and they don’t even work for naps now most of the time!) So basically my question is how do I start to implement the falling asleep on her own methods, and what exactly are they? Just putting her down drowsy? I’ve tried that and it 8 out of 10 times doesn’t work. I do not want to do CIO. Can you please give me some step-by-step instructions to follow? I’d be forever grateful. I was thinking of trying to work with the swing but she’ll be growing out of it soon (and heck I even left her in it for 30 mins today and she still didn’t sleep). Funny thing is she usually is a good napper for my mother-in-law who watches her 3 days a week.

  113. Hi All,

    I’m hoping Alexis will chime in here as I have a really bad napper. He is almost 10 months old and after 30 minutes or less he wakes crying hysterically, but he won’t go back to sleep. I know he is tired, but I can’t figure out why he can’t put himself back to sleep. I don’t have any sleep associations (NO pacifier, rocking, nursing etc.) I’m baffled and frustrated. He is well fed, goes down roughly the same time 8:30am or 9am depending on wake up time, I have white noise, I sing, I say the same words before I put him in his crib, but I still get 30 minutes. I am thinking I will get black out blinds, but not sure that will help. Does anyone have any advice? I really hope Alexis writes something on naps.

    • Veronica, I had this problem with a boy I baby sit. His mom adjusted his naps… kept him awake longer so he could be tired enough to stay asleep longer. He’s napping great now! (thank goodness)

      • Hi Laura,
        Thank you for your feedback. How many hours did she keep her LO up for? By the time I put my LO down I know he is tired. He wakes early today was 5:50 am so I know by 8:30am he was definitely tired. I think I will adjust, but I’m almost thinking he’s OT vs. UT, but it’s hard to say. Can you give me the LO sleep schedule then I can see if I’m on the right track. Thanks!!

        • The boy I baby sit will be 11 months on march 28, I believe he wake in the morning around 6 or 6:30, he naps at my house around 9:30 or 10 but a lot closer to 10 lately. He sleeps 2 hours. Then he takes an afternoon nap from 3 until about 4:30 when he gets picked up. I’m pretty sure his bedtime is 8 or 8:30. My baby girl will be 9 months on the 25, I’m still struggling with her but typically she can wake up at 7/7:30am nap at 10/10:30 until noon. Then nap again at 3.

  114. My daughter is a very strong willed little 7 month old. She has always been a short napper, waking up after 30 mins and taking 3 to 4 naps a day with a 2 hour wake period. I have wished she would nap longer, however I pretty much accepted this was who she was. I decided to help her self soothe (purely becsuse of her frequent night wakenings of up to 5 times a night) I used to nurse her to sleep, then provide a paci after the first wake ing at 3am once I nursed her.

    I decided to lose the paci and stop nursing to sleep 2weeks ago and being honest she done so well as she didnt even miss it. After 2 nights of crying it out for no longer thsn 20 mins she now goes to sleep without any fussing. In fact she smiles at night when I lay her down and snuggles into her blanket. She now sleeps through the night waking st 6am.

    However the past few days have been a nightmare with naps and therefore extreme crsnkiness to the point to unconsolable screaming for a large part of the day. Her first napat 9am is great. White noise, pram, blanket and rocking the pram usually has her nspping in 5 mins. However her second nap approx 2hours after waking is non existant niw. She went the whole day without a nap. I tried an hour walking and the car, still to no avail.
    Its awful to see her so upset from overtiredness. I cant even settle her. I am wondering if its a knock on effect to self soothing. Becsuse day and night sleep are different could I try feed to sleep for naps without this having an impact of bedtime? Or is this seperation axiety that will pass. Although she doesnt settle when being lifted neither.

    • did you ever resolve this? i am curious because i feel guilty still nursing my 6 mo to sleep for naps. i read somewhere on this site that a pacifier is fine for naps even if you lose it for bedtime because of that nap-nighttime disociation, BUT you’re still supposed to avoid object permanence for any sleep. still, my baby’s hungry time falls right at nap time and she just falls asleep while eating so i keep her in my arms till she’s asleep and then put her in the crib. she sleeps usually 1 hr in the morning, and the next 2 naps are 40 minutes each, usually. at daycare she can usually only muster 20-40 minute naps, and they give her a pacifier there or she falls asleep while drinking from the bottle. anyway to answer one of your questions i (personally, in my situation) have found that nursing to sleep for naps has had NO impact on bed-time.

      • Lara now naps twice a day both for 1.5hours which handmade her a contented happy baby. Its like she is now getting the sleeps she needs. With the paci, it was right for us with taking it away as she never needs it now. I do give her a feed before naps though as I find she sleeps better with a full tum. It tends to make her sleepy and I just have to play white noise (fan sound on app) and she usually drifts off.
        I agree the Paci for naps has no bearing on nighttime, however I just felt it was either all or nothing. I honestly think though that lara was ready to transition to 2naps per day however the white noise has been a god send for making her sleep through her original 30mins nap which is the key to lara being contented and happy.

  115. Hi Alexis-
    I need your help. Please please. I have commented on this site a few times so I’m sorry if I seem to be stalking you.
    My 16 week old boy had finally started sleeping better at night – knock on wood. However, he has said goodbye to naps. I have read your section on naps and how some babies just aren’t there yet. Well he used to take. 2-3 hour nap and now it’s gone! So I know he CAN take a nap, he just won’t! He naps for 20 maybe 30 minutes at a time. He wakes up still tired but I am unable to get him back to sleep. I try my hardest to put him down when he is yawning, etc. He is normally not awake for more than 2 hours max at a time. Do you have any suggestions to help him nap? He sleeps in the swing, swaddled, with white noise. Thank you for your help! I feel like my entire life revolved around his sleeping and it is so frustrating so see The naps get worse! Thanks in advance :) this site has been a life saver!

  116. My daughter is almost 6 months and she has just started rolling. She now rolls in her crib everytime I put her down to nap. Do I let her cry it out or do I constantly flip her over? This of course is a problem at nighttime too. She wakes every 2 hours and needs to be flipped. Please help!

  117. Hello to all fellow parents of catnappers!! We should probably start a support group!
    I too have a catnapper; 9 weeks old and she fits the brief! I know that being under 6 months there is still time for her sleep habits to change, but who knows?!
    After reading tons of websites and forums about this topic and finally, this blog, I have come to one conclusion: as there are so many catnappers out there with VERY similar stories, maybe it is quite normal (although undesirable!) and we must therefore simply accept it. I was getting so obsessed with my little darling’s sleep habits, comparing her to other babies, wondering what I was doing wrong etc that I wasn’t enjoying my time with her. I continue to try and get her napping better but have accepted that that is her ‘sleep personality’. It’s not easy, but I feel a bit more sane!
    I mainly wrote this to let you all know my thoughts are with you; it can be lonely being the mother of a catnapper (especially in a mothers group full of mothers of long nappers! )

    • Hey Lucy, just wondering if your cat napper has gotten better? I have a 9 week old who is also a cat napper (15-45 min, but 30-45min is very rare, maybe once a day at most). I just want to know that it will get better!!!

      • Hi Kristen!
        My bubs is now 15 weeks old and is still a catnapper but has gotten more consistent which has made life much easier. The main thing is that she now goes down much easier for naps and can put herself to sleep w/o as much assistance from me (she could not do that at 9 wks). She now goes down for naps 3 times a day (morning/mid-morning,afternoon) and sleeps for 45 mins each time. When I have the time to go in and resettle her (i go in about 30mins into nap and gently pat her on the back before she stirs to help her slip into the deeper sleep cycle) she will sleep up to 2 hrs(this happens maybe twice a week. She is just not ready yet to sleep long lengths during the day by herself. Nearly everyone I have spoken to have said that catnapping is a fact of baby life that improves as the baby gets older. I even know someone who went to sleep school to solve catnapping problems and nothing worked…until the baby hit 8 months and started sleeping longer….when she was ready! So yes, it does get better….I’m sure your baby will gradually learn the skills he/she needs to nap better. If baby wakes up happy from a catnap, I’m generally happy. If she wakes up grumpy and crying, I usually try to resettle her back to sleep and that’s when she sleeps longer.
        I’m rambling a bit, but I hope I’ve shed some light for you!!

        • Thanks Lucy!! I’ll also go in at 30 min if the nap lasts that long. In the meantime, I’ll continue with waiting it out, it’s nice to know that it does get better!

          • Hi again Kristen,
            Just a quick update to keep you feeling positive. Just now, bubs has gone down for her usual 45 min nap and for no particular reason has passed the 1 hr mark…I have done nothing different apart from really trying to put her down awake. I saw her stir at the 45 min mark and open her eyes but before I went in I watched her and she went back to sleep. This does not happen all the time but it’s a sign of improvement…I bet your little one will improve with time too! Mine from 4-12 weeks was a shocker and I was lucky to get 30 mins out of her and that was with a whole lot of crying!! It will get better!!! (:

            • Thanks again Lucy!

              My baby is a champion night time sleeper, sleeps 12 hours a night and can go for 10 hours without a feed. I wonder if her night time sleep is affecting her day time naps because she’s sleeping so much already. She usually has a 45 min nap sometime each day, so it’s getting there.

  118. Hi there! LOVE this site…thanks for all the great info and support. Our 5 month old son has been consistently sleeping 10 hours at night, but is a catnapper during the day, with 4-5 30-min naps and ends up being pretty cranky by the late afternoon, early evening. Our pediatrician suggested that if we want him to sleep longer at naptime to put him down every day at the same time and leave him in his crib for the same amount of time, 60-90 minutes each nap. We’ve committed to trying this for 2 weeks to see if he “gets” it, but there have been some tough naps the last couple of days. There have also been some great naps…he’ll wake up after the 35 or so mins, fuss for 10-20 minutes and then go back to sleep for another 30-60 minutes. In your opinion, is this an effective technique? Seems like it could work, but also seems like a crapshoot! Thank you!!!

    • Hi Annie, did this ultimately work? I am having the same problem with my 5 month old, who does put himself to sleep for every sleep time, sleeps well at night, but has 4 35-40min naps. I was thinking of trying what you are describing.

  119. I dont mean to be a hated one, but my LO naps like a champ twice a day right now for at least 2 hours. She naps two hours after awakening in the morning and then two hours after she awakens from that nap she naps again. I usually have to wake her after two hours. She would sleep for more than that if I let her. Before you hate me, she is not sleeping well at night. This started at 15 weeks (sleeping poorly) and has not got better. She is now 20 weeks old. I thought sleep regression, I thought early teething symptoms, I didnt change her routine. She does not sleep more than 4.5 hours in a row and that happens only once a night precluded by her waking every hour from 10pm-1am. My question is, when do naps become more of a hindrance that a help? When should I be waking her? Should I be waking her? Does anyone know?

    • I would base it off Waketimes. Her natural morning wake up time should be pretty consistent day to day usually around sunrise for mine. Max wake time for 5m old is 2 hour, 6m is 2.5 hr, with shortest Waketime being the first of day and longest Waketimes before bed. Most 5m old are on a 3 naps. The babycenter community group teaching your baby and toddler to sleep really helped me figure out timing based of my baby’s needs.

      Sample chart although I do not agree with some things like amount of time before responding to nightwakings and the time cutoff for last nap of day (especially since the time change!)

      First nap is probably 1-1.5 hr after wake up
      Second and third Waketimes of 1.75-2 hr
      Last Waketimes 2 hr
      Bedtime approx 12 hr before natural wake up time or more depending on number of night feeds

      If nap refusal leave room and be back in to be asleep at 45-60 min. If skips 3rd nap or just all day crap naps, do early bedtime. BT is usually 530-8. I base all sleep times off sleep signals or max wake time whichever comes first

      I wouldn’t wake her in the middle of a sleep cycle. If she needs to wake, open curtains, turn off white noise, let her wake up. Good naps equal better night sleep.

      Love Alexis’ site for helping baby to fall asleep. Lots of great info!
      I’ve got my timing down ok with my second who is 16 weeks but I’m struggling with the a paci situation while swinging and swaddled. Not to mention she seems to be in the stormy wonder week!

      • Thank you for your reply!
        Since I wrote this my LO (22weeks old)has started sleeping a bit better. I separated her bottle from her night routine (bottle, bath, book, bed)which has helped a bit. Right now she has a bedtime between 630-730 and is waking once a night to feed (the night feed is VERY varied, it can be anywhere from 1230-430), then she is usually up between 630-730. Her nap schedule from then on is a nap within 1.5-2hrs of each wake up, so nap @ approx 800, 1200, 400.
        The last nap is the hardest as it frequently happens earlier than 4pm because her nap lengths can vary. My problem is then I have to end up putting her to bed earlier.
        So right now she is doing about 5-6hr stretches. I am not trying to rush things but when do ppl start weaning off night feeds? I once read that if they are getting up at the same time every night, it usually means that it is a bad habit not a hunger issue, but since my LO is getting up only once a night and it is so varied, I am treating it like a hunger issue (I can tell by her cry when she is going to be able to self soothe back to sleep or if she is hungry). I am committed (in the future) to doing extinction CIO, but am not willing to do it now because I feel that she still needs that night time feed.

        • That’s great. Yes the last nap of day is always the hardest!

          I personally didn’t have to force night weaning. My son was still night nursing twice 6-7 months, once at 8, and dropped it on his own by 9m. I think if she’s only waking once to feed, she definitely needs it. If it was a sleep issue she would be waking a lot more. She’s still young.

  120. Hi Alexis,

    I am a working mom and my 4 month old daughter is watched by 3 different people in 3 different places during the week. Basically naptime consistency is impossible, as is getting her to nap in crib is obviously not going to happen. What is your advice?

  121. So I think we survived the 4mo sleep regression. It started 2 weeks ago (16 weeks of age) and seemed to last a week solid. Now we’re back to roughly the same night schedule as before – bed at 7:30, waking to feed at 1/2 and 4/5, up for the day at 7. I’m extremely consistent for naps and awake periods, put down awake, swaddle, swing, white noise.

    Up until 2 weeks ago LO took at least one long nap (1.5-3hr) per day and sometimes two 2hr naps. ‘Short’ naps were 50mins-1hr 10min. Now naps are 45mins A few days ago he woke at 45min, babbled, and went back to sleep for 30mins but that seems to have been a fluke. What happened to my long naps??

  122. Hi! I have a 4.5 month old daughter. Since she was 2 months old she has been a 30 minute napper. Until she was 3.5 months old, she did all naps in her swing, but has always slept in the pack n play at night, right next to our bed. I stopped doing naps in the swing because I felt like she was dependent on the motion, and often I would need her to fall asleep while we were out, and hoped she would get better at sleeping in her crib/carseat. Rocking her has always been a screaming crying fit session… Although she doesn’t fall asleep on her own most of the time, so I usually have to rock her anyway. Since she was 3 months old, everything sleep related has gone down hill, until the last couple of weeks, where I think we’ve officially hit rock bottom (4 month sleep regression?!) she is now eating every 3 hours at night, and waking up 10-15 times and is simply WIDE awake. Not to mention 4:30-5am is her morning wake up time. I tried moving her into her own room at night, which didn’t make a difference. So, back to the swing we go, and this time it’s for all naps AND nighttime. It is working wonderfully :) last night she only ate once, and i only had to give her the paci a few times and she went right back to sleep. so my questions…

    1. In her swing is the only place she will occasionally take a longer nap. She still wakes at 30 minutes, but will either sit there in a daze for a while until she drifts back to sleep, or will cry for her paci, and then will go to sleep. In her crib, she cries until I get her out of bed. And then is an exhausted disaster until her next nap. Will keeping her in the swing train her to make the transition without motion?

    2. Yes, I swaddle, paci, and use loud white noise. Is the paci the problem? In her crib, she will wake up at 30 minutes and hasn’t lost her paci, yet won’t go back to sleep. I cannot imagine life without it, and therefore am in complete denial that I need to get rid of it, but give it to me straight. :)

    I just can’t figure out if the reason for these short naps is the lack of motion, not tired enough, paci, wants mom, or if she just genetically can’t do long naps. Help!!

    So I’m thinking, I’ll continue using the swing at night and for naps, and my #1 goal is get her falling asleep by herself. Then move on to getting her to nap in a non-moving swing, and then move her to the crib where I will pray very very hard! At what point should I get rid of the paci???

    • #2 is just like my 5.5mo boy. I know he’s still tired when he wakes, but he just can’t seem to settle back into the next sleep cycle. He’s so tired all the time I don’t want to leave him to have a meltdown without the paci. (My first was the same too, but wouldn’t take a paci, and was awful about going to sleep. She eventually improved once she settled onto 1 sleep a day….I think may have even started doing 1hr naps when she was on 2 sleeps??)So I have nothing to offer you but sympathy :)

  123. Hi
    One of my twins is having a hard time napping. My daughter is currently 13 weeks and for about three or so weeks(or more) I have been putting her down for naps in her crib after I have rocked or held her for approximately 8-10 minutes. She falls asleep and I’ve been working putting her down earlier and earlier after she falls asleep. The shortest being around 45 seconds after she closes her eyes and the longest being 10 minutes.
    Well this past week she seems to have regressed- I’ve been having to hold her for over 20 minutes and every single time I put her down she instantly wakes up. I watch very closely for sings of sleepiness as I know if she is overtired it is harder for her to fall asleep and stay asleep.

    Is this common? I know there is a four month sleep regression but she isn’t four months and her night sleep is pretty good.

    • Hi Elna,
      My baby is 15 weeks old and did exactly the same thing a couple of weeks ago. I do almost exactly the same thing as you and she regressed right back to taking ages to settle for a nap and then only sleeping for very brief periods. Actually she screamed as as soon as I entered her bedroom!! This past week has been brilliant and I only rock her for about 5 mins and put her down awake but drowsy and she drifts off. So never fear….I think it has to do with that 4 month sleep regression…just a bit early. It will pass…so hang in there!!

      • Thanks Lucy!
        You know that is my DD’s name! ha..anyways this past week she is getting a bit better with falling asleep but she still does 30-50 min naps. In her 2nd month she would often take 2-3 hour naps and once she hit 3 months things sort of declined and I don’t know why. The only time she takes a longer nap is if i bathe her before nap time or if she wakes up from a nap in like 30 min I put her on the swing and she can fall back asleep and sleep for another half our to an hour but not always.

        • You clearly have impeccable taste in names!! Yes… the 30-50 catnaps are frustrating and I found I was spending the whole day resettling, settling etc in a vicious circle! I have now adjusted to the naps and try now and again to resettle her, especially if she wakes up grumpy. At least u got 2 months of good napping..mine has been a catnapper virtually since birth!! Perhaps your other twin’s good nap habits will rub off on the other!! Good luck!

  124. My 6 month old has started taking short naps in his crib, like 25 minutes long. He used to treat take at least 45 minute naps. We have white noise going, no swaddle any more, a good nap routine. I do nurse him to sleep still.

    The issue – or maybe non issue? – is that he naps really well in his bouncy chair in the bathroom with the fan on. If he is tired I can put him down awake and he will go down no issue. It is not even completely dark but he will nap 1.5 to 3 hours in there! I feel like I need to be moving to the crib especially since it is hard to get him to nap when we are at someone else’s house, and I don’t want him napping in the bathroom forever!

    He has no issue sleeping in his crib at night, and if he doesn’t fall asleep nursing he puts himself to sleep within 5 minutes, no crying. Should I be trying to force the crib for naps or just go with what works?

  125. Hi all, thought to share this as i am addicted to blogs, articles about short naps! My girl is 4and a half months, she took great long naps up until 12 weeks of age, than 45 minutes on the dot! Didnt matter where, the car, the buggy, in my arm…she just wouldnt sleep for longer! Tried everything, became obsessed with the whole thing but accepted it in the end! About a week and a half ago one day she did nearly two hours, since than she had about 6-7 long naps, not every day but 6-7 out of cca 12 days! Done nothing ( except put her dummy back on two seperate naps), but waited for it to happen! Now, it might not be permanent for now but i am hopeful that if she is able to do it now, she will once do it permanently on a daily basis! As i write she has been asleep for nearly 2 hours ( so scared to move that i will be sprinting to the toilet once she is up)! I will be dissapointed if she wont keep this up but will accept it and wont try every possible method as it just drove me insane and to the verge of a nervous breadown! Short naps do suck!

  126. Hi
    I have 16.5 week old twins and for the last couple weeks they’ve been having short cat naps and have only developed the morning nap (used to be an hour but now a half hour).

    Changes that have happened- they used to sleep 11 hours a night with 1 or 2 night wakings for DD but sleeping through the night for DS. Now they sleep 12 hours so I can see the morning nap being shortened b/c of this.

    DS is now waking up at night (started with growth spurt and perhaps now is a habit? Don’t know)and is also taking short naps (25 min to 45 min)

    Every few days they take longer naps (1-2.5 hours 1x or 2x a day)- I wonder if this is b/c of all the cat naps they’ve been taking and the night wakings?

    Anyways- today I decided to not go in the room when DS fussed at 30 min mark and he fell back asleep after crying around 5-8 minutes…good to know that this method might work.

    I’m a little inconsistent with my day nap methods- I usually nurse to sleep and sometimes they wake up when I put them down in the crib and sometimes they stay asleep. But sometimes if a baby is nursing too long or seems fidgety I just put them in the crib awake and sometimes they sleep and sometimes they scream bloody murder (at which point I nurse again).

    I find it hard with twins as I often put one twin in the swing to nap and work on putting the other twin down in the crib.

    Does anyone know if I’m creating bad sleep habits with swing naps and being a bit inconsistent with putting down awake or asleep?

  127. I read this article and quite a few others while tryin to figure out what to do with my 9 month old baby that has consistently been taking 20-30 min naps since 3 months. He is generally happy throughout the day (with the exception of the first hour after each nap), and is almost sleeping through the night but is not yet consistent with that. I have had about 10 naps that have lasted over an hour in the past 6 months. We have never used a pacifier and we do not do bottles with nap. I usually read him a story before every nap (unless we are out somewhere), and put him in his crib. He falls asleep without crying but always wakes within 20-30 min. I don’t see a change ever happening, and I have heard the “wait it out” method, or “touch points” but is my baby goin through a constant touch point since the age of 3 months? Please help! Any suggestions are appreciated!!

  128. Hi all, sleeping issues have been around for us since about four months. By nine months, I thought my problems were over. My guy was taking two two-hour naps and sleeping through the night, aside from his habitual 4/5am wake up to nurse. I’d pull him into bed and we’d both fall bank to sleep. Two weeks ago, he stopped falling back to sleep, instead wanting to crawl and pull up on the headboard. I decided to wean him off of that last feeding. Many resources said I should let him cry it out bc he already knows how to self-soothe, and go in when I wanted our day to start. Well, after 8 days of screaming and neither of us getting sleep, it still hadn’t worked. To make matters worse, now he’s getting up at 4 or 5am for the day. Naps from 8/10:30, then has 30 minute naps at 1pm and 4:30pm. How did my great sleeper regress to a four month old’s schedule?? It’s exhausting. Oh, and if I nurse him after a 30 minute nap, he immediately falls asleep on me and will stay there for over an hour. I’ve tried multiple avenues to place him back in his crib, or soothe him back to sleep without nursing, but he fights it tooth and nail. Any tips are absolutely welcomed.

  129. Just wanted to give some hope to all those mothers of short nappers…. My daughter from about 3 months had never napped for longer than 40 minutes. Despite some well meaning advice from others to try and extend nap time, I just accepted it. I was just grateful she napped for 40 minutes on the dot every time -never less and never more- so it made it easy to plan. But now she is 5.5 months and over the past week or so at least one of those naps during the day will go from 1-2 hours. Nothing I have done has changed. She is just simply developmentally ready now. So if you are going all those good things such as white noise etc it will come! Be patient and hang in there :)

    • Thank you for this comment :-) I have a 3.5 month old who also naps for 45 minutes on the dot, I can literally go downstairs and watch the clock and turn on the video monitor 30 seconds before he stirs. This week for his morning nap I’ve been waiting for 5 minutes before I go in as I’d started to notice that when I’d gone in, his eyes were still closed and he seemed annoyed when I picked him up. Before this he was always wide awake when I went in but this week 3 out of 4 times he’s settled himself back down for another 45 minuutes-1 hour. I’m really hoping that this is the start of him being able to lengthen his naps, so your post has given me hope that this can happen in time :-). I still feel lucky that he naps for 45 minutes, I know people who only get 20 minutes if they’re lucky, but it’d still be lovely to actually be able to get some things done rather than sitting on the sofa for 45 minutes eating biscuits and waiting for him to wake up haha!

      • You are absolutely doing the right thing :)I found if I gave her some time to resettle after the 45 min mark she’d put herself back to sleep (or it became obvious she had enough lol). At some point she stopped waking at the 40 min mark all together and just napped through. Her morning nap was the first to extend and then the afternoon nap happened too. Now she is a great napper most days (2 1-2 he naps and 40 min late afternoon). Last week she began napping only 40 minutes again so I extended her awake time by 15 minutes and it worked a treat.
        Good luck!! It does get better :)

    • Glad I’m not alone. I’m a first time mom and by no means did I expect this lol! My little guy is now 3 months, but our issues started around the 8 week mark. Prior to this, he had 2 weeks where I put him on his belly in his crib, he whined for 5 minutes, and was out for 2-3 hours. Naps were good, he was up every 2-3 hours at night. Then suddenly around the 8 week mark, he started giving us 4-5 hour stretches at night up to 8-8.5 and then naps starting going south. We are usually at 30 minutes, sometimes 20 or so, where he wakes right before transitioning to deep sleep. He fights sleep when he’s too tired (only naps), and then does early waking, yet for his bedtime (7:30/8ish), he goes down easy and stays asleep, like what the heck?

      I’ve tried everything with naps – swaddling, swing, vibration under his mattress (which worked when he gave me 2-3 hr naps), pat and shush, crying it out. Sometimes swaddle and swing works, sometimes pat and shush works, but more often than not, once he’s up he’s up and is pretty happy and alert for the next hour then starts whining. But in general he doesn’t really cry, except the whiny cry.

      But these short naps are killing me! Its like he regressed from it and its a pain. I sure as heck hope he outgrows it. Its like, do I just accept the 30 minute nap, get him up, continue what we do and try to put him down again, or keep going in once he’s up and trying to get him down for another 30-45

      The kicker is, a couple times a week he randomly gives me a long nap – 1.5 to 2.5 hours, go figure. But there is no pattern or predictability in that whatsoever.

      We have ruled out everything including acid reflux, gas discomfort, etc., He eats well, he babbles a lot and people tell me what a “good baby” I have. Yeah, if only they saw how he naps

      Plus…his night time stretches are not constant, which I believe reflects how he slept that day. Sometimes he goes as little as 4.5 stretch up to an 8 hour stretch (I pray to the heavens for those 8 hour stretches lol). Then he gives me a 2.5-3 hour stretch. If I try and put him down after 6:30am, he will NOT sleep more than an hour at a time.

      • As I typed the above post, he woke up after 25 minutes all happy. 15 minutes of figuring out what to do next, I swaddled him and put him in his swing, no pacifier, no nothing and he’s asleep…oy vey

  130. My 10.5 month old son has stopped napping. I spend hours trying to get him to go to sleep but at the most he will go down for maybe 30 – 40 mins. He goes down awake and falls asleep himself but then just wakes up and no amount of settling techniques will get him to go back to sleep. I have tried extending his awake time (from 3 to 4 hours), I have tried reducing his awake time (from 3 to 2.5 hours) to no avail. He wakes once a night for a bottle but has also started wanting to stay up. I have no idea what to do – I was thinking maybe he would sleep better on one nap a day? He remains happy and alert even when he has only slept for 20 mins all day. I just don’t know what to do.

  131. I know how you all feel it feels like right before our eyes these changes happen. Babies are smart they know what they want from you. My 7 month old daughter used to be a good sleeper and napper too. Now she wants to cry at the same time and have her bottle then she sleeping. But then she whines and cries and want me to pick her up to rock her to sleep. I don’t mind when my energy is not as low. She wakes up for another feeding at night and if I’m lucky she will go right back to sleep. I just say to myself that this is a phase or she can be teething or something is bothering her. They are growing up so they can now see and hear everything. Gooddluck this will pass soon and then they will understand what we really say 😀

  132. My 13 month daughter has been sleep trained since 10 months however we just took her pacifier away 4 weeks ago and her naps have been getting consistantly worse; night time has not changed, praise God. Is there anything I can do to help her get her naps back on track? She will sleep for 35 mins then scream until I go get her. I have to get her out of the crib, She won’t lay back down and refuses to go back in the crib. Any ideas?

  133. I’ve always had a short napper and I was hoping the naps would get better. I have a 13 month old who seldom to never, takes longer than a 30 minute nap. We began CIO at 6 months from doc’s suggestion and it worked beautifully for nighttime. He sleeps 11-12 hours per night. However he only takes 2 half hour naps per day. He STILL cries at least 15-20 minutes before falling asleep for a nap. He has never taken or used a pacifier and we only give a bottle at bedtime. Suggestions?!

  134. We did CIO three weeks ago for our 9 month old – huge success – she’s asleep within minutes at night and we got rid of the pacifier, rocking, music, and patting. Last week I worked up the courage to do the same for her naps. She had been sleeping 2 x 1.5hr naps during the day and now they are only 40-50mins long… it might be teeth (she has 6 already!) but I’ve tried going back to 3 naps but this results in more tears all around and less sleep… ideas?

  135. My 10-week old has become completely unpredictable. Yesterday he took two 2.5 hour naps in addition to several short naps. Today he hasn’t slept for more than 30 minutes. And nighttime has become a nightmare- he sleeps from 10-2:30, and then wakes hourly after that. After discovering this site during a 5 am cry session, I moved the swing into our room and have used it for every nap, but he still won’t sleep more than 30 minutes.

    I know it’s too early to sleep train, but should I just keep using the swing and make sure he’s not awake more than 45ish minutes?

  136. Ok… so, my little girl will be 4 months old in 5 days. We started CIO at nights 2 weeks ago and it has worked fabulously. BUT… I need some naptime advice. I currently rock her to sleep and put her in her swing for naps but I want her to start sleeping in her crib so today, I tried cio for her naps. She only cried for about 10 mins before she fell asleep but her naps were super short (one was 50 mins and the other was only 25 mins). So, my question is… do you think that her naps will lengthen out once she gets the hang of cio for naptime? Any additional suggestions would be great too. Thanks!! :)

  137. Just want to say that I had a baby that would not nap, and that insisted on starting his day at 3am (bad days!). We tried everything, including atarax to try to get his body used to different hours. Nothing worked. But as he grew older (age 2, 3) he woke later. Age 3 he was waking 630am and now it’s 7am. We now have the problem that he sleeps so deeply, he wets his bed in the morning. He sleeps so easily now, napping on the floor playing if he’s especially tired. Just wanted to let you know sleep-averse babies don’t necessarily grow into sleep-averse kids…

  138. Hi Alexis,
    Thank you for a wonderful website, it’s a great resource.

    My son is 5 months and has been sleeping really well through the night for almost 2 weeks now (from 7/7.30pm to 5.30am) – and no magic there, he was sleep trained, Ferber method, was a painful first night where he cried out twice but thankfully each episode didn’t last more than 15mins. He occasionally stretches his sleep until 6am but it is very rare, he is an early riser. We are not too upset about it since he’s getting 9-10 hours of sleep however would love to stretch that to 12 hours. He sometimes fusses at night as he rolles on his stomach but we gently roll him back and he continues his sleep. So with this intro, I wanted to ask you a few questions that I believe are related:
    1. How can we stretch his night sleep? Will introducing solids now help? I sometimes nurse him at 5am just to get that extra hour but I feel guilty that I am forcing him to sleep while his bio-clock is telling him it’s morning, so don’t want to confuse him
    2. He is the ultimate anti-napper! He always resists day-time naps and can’t seem to settle into a routine. We tried CIO for naps but it was much more intense compared to our night experience that we couldn’t do it. We are keen on having him sleep well during the day as we realize this is important for night sleep, however we are worried that by continuing to assist him (rocking, nursing, etc) for naps it may become a habit that is hard to phase out. I read in your article that you prefer for night sleep to be fully established before working on naps, how long should we wait? Is 2 weeks enough? And if so is it the same CIO approach for naps?
    3. How do we handle random events? Last night his diaper leaked and he woke up at 8pm crying pretty bad. I had to carry him and change him and it was impossible to put him back to sleep without nursing him, although I put him down awake. He cried for 5 minutes and then slept but he was generally unsettled throughout the night (woke up 3 times on his stomach and fussed for a while before self-soothing – had to roll him back of course). I am not sure if this is related to the wetting or his poor cat naps during the day, but any help is much appreciated.
    Apologies for the long comment but I wanted to make sure I don’t miss anything.
    Thank you in advance.

  139. Hi Alexis,
    My 11 month old daughter is a wonderful night sleeper. She LOVES her night sleep, rarely wakes and on the rare occasions where she does, she puts herself back to sleep with no assistance. She sleeps at night for 12 hours, most nights– 6:30pm-6:30am. 11.5 hours is short for her–we get one of those every 2 weeks on a Monday– and she’s even known to sleep 12 hours and 15 minutes on occasion.

    However, her naps are very short and get shorter by the day. Her morning nap varies between 25 minutes-40 minutes (this week, it was 25-30). Her afternoon nap is 40-60 minutes (most days, its 50 minutes). She’s very good on 1.5 hours of nap per day– no meltdowns. Happy. Cheerful. But she’s been doing 1 hour and 15 minutes of nap a day all week and (actually for most of the month) and she’s been much fussier and having more meltdowns.

    We’ve tried putting her to nap earlier. We’ve tried putting her to nap later. Neither made a difference. She puts herself to sleep, usually with minimal fuss. She does not use a paci. She has never been nursed or bottle fed to sleep. She puts herself to sleep and to nap. However, day after day, she wakes up crying from her naps and has difficulty transitioning through the different nap stages, often crying at the 30 minute point, after which she may or may not put herself back to sleep for another 10-20 minutes.

    I’ve noticed that these nap regressions (we’ve spent months 9 and 10 in varying stages of crap naps) have also coincided with 3 new teeth and several new skills.

    I don’t think it’s time to move her to one nap because she gets VERY tired after 3 hours awake in the AM and very tired after 4 hours awake in the PM. At daycare, she is put for nap with the other children at 1pm and she’ll stay up playing by herself in her crib for an hour, take a bottle and then go to bed. On rare occasions when she is more tired, she’ll nap after a half hour by herself and then wake for the bottle. At home, she’ll go down for a nap earlier 3.5 hours awake and then wake after the same amount of time for the bottle.

    I have her for two weeks at home now that the daycare provider is away on vacation. Is there anything I can do to get her to nap better? Is she just a short napper? I am loathe to interfere with night sleep by waking her earlier or putting her to bed later with daylight savings time coming up. Also, she has an acute sense of her own overtiredness and will throw a fit to get you to put her to bed if she feels too tired. Thus, I am also concerned about pushing bedtime later. I’ve noticed that when I do attempt to push it forward by 15 minutes, she sleeps 12 hours to that point too.

  140. My newborn is 8 weeks now, he used to take 2 hour naps even 3 hour naps, but this 2 last weeks he is being only taking 40 min naps!
    what is going on? help thank u

  141. My LO is now 8 weeks and sleeps well at night since he was about 4 weeks. He goes to bed at 7pm and has a 3.5-4 hour sleep. Then after that he wakes up about every two hours for feeds and wakes up around 7.30am in the morning . The feeding at night works fine with me and don’t really mind it. Trouble is daytime napping. He just fights naps and starts crying as he is overtired. Have tried to put him down when drowsy but he wakes up and starts fussing again. The only time he naps is when being either nursed to sleep or being held and rocked but as soon as I move him he wakes
    up. He only sleeps anything between 5-20 min. It is a constant fight and he only get about an hour daytime sleep in total which is way too little. I don’t mind rocking and nursing him to sleep but is concerned about his well being as he should be sleeping about 16 hours a day. Don’t understand how he can sleep so well at night but not during the day. Hoping it to get better with time.
    Anyone has a good nap routine that they would like to share?

  142. My little guy is 4 months and for the last many weeks he will not nap in his crib, in the swing or even snuggled up with mom or dad. The only way he’ll sleep is in the carrier, in the stroller or the car but you have to be moving. This is all well and good for the odd naps but at 3-4 naps a day this is exhausting.

    Prior to about 3 months he was sleeping well at bedtime and taking reasonable naps during the day ( in his swing). Now as soon as I put him in the swing, crib, etc he freaks. He is also swaddled, loud white noise..the works.



  143. My 11 week old is presenting me with a paradox. About 2 weeks ago, she was starting to take a good 2 hour nap in her bassinet. Then, for some reason, all of her sleep went to hell for about a week and it was utterly impossible to get her into her bassinet for any lenght of time. The past 2 days, she’s been going down for naps easily in the bassinet, but only for 30-40 mins tops. (We cosleep at night, which is not so much a choice, but a hostage situation – but does get everyone good sleep from around 10:30p – 8:30 a with 2-3 feedings).

    So now I’m confused: Do the 40 min naps mean that she hasn’t consolidated her day sleep yet? Even though she just slept for an 1h 15 mins on my lap and used to sleep for 2 hours on her own? And what do I do going forward? Do I keep putting her down in her bassinet, knowing she’s only going to go down for 30 mins and hope that she figures it out when she gets a little older? Or do I keep holding/sleeping with her whenever I can to make sure she gets some decent sleep? If anyone still reads these comments and has any insight I’d love to hear it. Babies are confusing.

  144. I feel like I’m stuck with a bad napper forever. I followed Weissbluth’s recipe for nap CIO and now my nine month old son can put himself down for a nap all on his own, maybe after playing quietly or fussing briefly in his crib. I do a (boob-free) routine, white noise, try to be pretty consistent about time of day, never let him go more than three hours between naps, and I even took away paci. Just a lovey in the crib. I’m still lucky to get one nap that’s an hour each day, more likely I get two 30-45 minute naps. Then I feel like I have to force a third nap which sometimes interferes with bedtime. I got better naps with him when I soothed him down to sleep, even if I did spend upwards of 40 mins getting him down. I’m at my wit’s end! Help!!

    • Hey Kate,

      Here’s what you can do:
      – Have a great pre-nap wind down activity (sounds like you’ve nailed this)
      – Put him down at the same time every day – younger baby naps float but over 6 months you want him sleeping on the clock (9 and 1 are common times for naps)
      – Don’t let the 3rd nap push bedtime. So if it’s early enough that he can easily fall asleep at bedtime GREAT! If not, better to skip it and keep bedtime constant (for multiple reasons).
      – Put him down awake (you’re doing this too)

      So once you’ve done those things, you’ve done ALL you can do. You can’t force things beyond that. And even though you aren’t getting 2 hour naps, avoiding the 40 minute windown you used to have is most excellent. At least now you have created the possibility that he’ll sleep longer (before you were on a dead-end road).

      Now the rest is up to him!

      • Well, I waited a full week to reply to make sure I didn’t jinx it, but your advice got me 1 hr + naps within a few DAYS!!! Thank you! I set a schedule and started putting him down by the clock. It occurred to me that a lot of times no matter when I put him down, he doesn’t actually settle and fall asleep until about 9:45-10 am (derp, maybe that should have tipped me off) so I made his naps 9:45 and 1:45, give or take 10 minutes. Worked like a charm. Bedtime has been more consistent as a result which is also fantastic. I really can’t thank you enough, Alexis!!

        Also, we followed your advice for CIO at night a few months ago and I’m not exaggerating when I say it changed our lives, both for me and my husband AND my little boy who has so much more energy and is noticeably happier. You are a baby-sleep rock star! :-)

  145. I am so confused. 7 month old daughter puts herself to sleep wide awake for night and naps. Started weaning night feedings preemptively, so we do 2 of those/night. She barely makes it an hour in morning till she needs her first nap. Rest of the day she is barely making it 2-2.5 hours. It’s impossible to get her on any sort of schedule and I want to be sure I’m not doing anything to interfere with her napping longer. The longer I wait for naps though, naps become disaster so I hate to wait. We end up sometimes having to give 4 naps/day. Please help!!!!!!

  146. We are in short nap hell!! Please help!
    My daughter is 5 months old. I started reading this website 2 months ago when she wouldn’t nap in her crib. We started using the swing for naps and it worked great! In the last couple weeks her naps are reduced to maybe 30 minutes three times a day. We’ve been trying to wean her from the swing and into her crib. We are on setting 1. We’ve even tried going back to a higher setting with no luck. She was falling asleep on her own. Now she will only fall asleep when held and rocked. She’s always been a pretty good sleeper at night. Over the past couple weeks we’ve moved her from a co sleeper (small crib next to the bed) to her crib in her room at night. She will still sleep pretty well in her crib at night but she’s gone from two 4 hour stretches to one 4 hour stretch followed by increasing smaller stretches of sleep.
    What is going on? Are we weaning to quickly? We’ve been transitioning over weeks. Is it object permanence? Is she going through a growth spurt? Is she more aware? What are we doing wrong?
    We don’t want to get into bad habits by rocking her to sleep and using the pacifier. Help!

  147. Loving this site – Quick Question(s)….Until recently the Short Nap had been my nemisis, Baby Girl would sleep for 15 min TOPs making for a very cranky baby…since I implemented the swing naps have been better (nights are still a mess refusing to sleep unless held or cuddled – we are working on it) 1. What are your thoughts on “Never wake a sleeping baby?” if the nap stretches longer than 1.5 – 2.5 hours (babe is almost 4 months) and 2. How do you feel about swings at night?

  148. Thank you so much for all of your helpful and hilarious advice! You have successfully walked us through helping our 5 month old to go to sleep on his own at night and now he is a 9 months, and completely night weened, it literally took 3 days and he has slept 11 hours ever since AND consolidated his morning nap to finally be 1.5 hours… yesss!! That said, his afternoon nap is still 30-40 minutes… I’ll get him very drowsy about 3-3.5 hours after he wakes from his morning nap, but as soon as I put him down.. he pops up and PLAYS for a solid hour at which time I go in and get him, much to his excitement. He has no paci, no lovey, etc…. What am I doing wrong?!

  149. Alexis,
    I. Need. Help.
    My son has just recently turned 5 months old on the 5th. We have been working on the “putting baby down awake” since he was 3 months and one day old. It went surprisingly well. Our swing has 5 speeds, we went down to 4, then to 3, still no problems. We got rid of the paci (he started sucking his thumb)and no issue. He had consistently been having a 30 minute morning nap, 2 hr late morning/early afternoon nap and then 2 30 minute naps. The last usually ending by 6 and he was down for bed at 8.
    However, the past 3-4 weeks, without any obvious cause that I can find, his afternoon nap has cut to 30 minutes. I’m putting him down awake, he falls asleep on his own, I make sure there is at least 20 minutes between nursing and going down for his nap, I have not turned the swing down anymore and he is half swaddled (has to have that left arm out to get to his thumb). We do kind of struggle on his sleeping cues. Sometimes he goes down at 1 1/2 hrs, other days it’s 2 hrs. I truly don’t understand the fluctuation in times. But I’m trying so hard to put him down when he is not over tired. Many days after this half hour nap, he is still obviously tired but just won’t go back down. I usually let him fuss for at least 5-10 minutes just to see if he’ll go back to sleep, but he rarely does. Now for the last week he seems like he is trying to drop his last nap and after he goes down for the night he has started to wake up after 2 hours and he is up and down all night long, like 6 times a night. Before this he was sleeping 4-6 hour stretches and then getting up one other time to nurse. How could he stop his 2 hr nap and drop his last nap all within 3 weeks? And also be having night problems? He is not teething, he does not have an ear infection, and in the last 3 weeks has not been in a wonder weeks phase. I have NO IDEA what I am doing. I have no idea what I am doing WRONG, more specifically.
    My husband occasionally has him during the day and tells me he’ll sometimes just put him down on the floor play mat and walk away to do something and when he comes back, the baby is asleep and sleeps for over an hour! This has never EVER happened for me. I get the baby that has a break down if I don’t have him napping quickly enough. I feel like I am failing as a mother. I feel like I am doing everything right and I still suck. I am terrified that I will not have him out of the swing by the time he turns 6 months old and I will never have a baby that sleeps through the night.
    Please tell me what I am doing wrong. I am all for criticism if it’ll get him to sleep again. I’m so exhausted. PLEASE. HELP!

  150. I have a 6 month old son and I bottle feed, hold, and rock him to sleep and I find that it works best for us, but not our friends. They would give him a bottle and lay him on the couch and he will fall asleep and stayed asleep so there for anyone that says it is there fault for their child not sleeping for hours on end, take it from me it is not your fault. It is just what the baby wants and they will break the habit eventually. I say if that’s how you can get your child to sleep then do it because the more you do it the more they are going to want to sleep on their own. That’s how my son is know if we rock hold feed or even give him his pacifier and lay him down for naps after he falls asleep in our arms he will open his eyes for a second to see were he is and once he knows he is in his crib it is time to go to sleep. This might not work all of the time but you will get there just hang in there and you will figure out what your baby needs to help them sleep. Most baby’s can’t sleep for long periods of time because there room might be to brighte that’s how I found out our son didn’t want to sleep in his room for long periods of time. Try to make your child’s room a little more darker and see if that is the problem

  151. Hi ladies, I’m a first-time mommy to an awesome four month old who used to not nap at all and then started “spoiling” us with a few rare 30min naps here and there… Until a few weeks ago…

    I think I may have figured out a MAGIC SOLUTION to longer naps (hmm maybe I can get rich fast) – and its called… swimming lessons!! Since we signed the little man up for swimming (30min lessons twice a week at 8.30am), he started having two 2.5 hr naps and great nights. The important BUT here is that although swimming has improved his napping/sleeping overall, its only really good on swim days and falls back apart the further we get from swim days.

    Anyhow, give it a try if you have a pool nearby and good luck!

    And Alexis – thanks so much for your posts, I found so much great info here. Definitely guilty of a few bad habits you mentioned and will be working on changing things.

  152. Hi Alexis, I am praying you can help me. My son is almost 8 months old, and since about 4 months, we are lucky if he naps for a total of 1 hour each day. he goes to bed on his own, with a nice routine: bottle, bath, stories, crib. some days he cries for 1 minute, some days he cries for 10 or 20. Then he usually wakes up once during the night to eat, and is up around 5-6 am and we feed him again and he usually falls back down asleep until about 7am. He then goes down for first nap about 2 hours after wake up, usually 9 and sleeps about 25-30 minutes. Then another nap around 1130-12, and same thing, sleeps 25-30 minutes, and a third nap around 3pm for 20-30 minutes, and then bedtime is usually 6pm. I don’t know why he cant nap longer since he goes to bed awake at night….
    What else can we do. He doesn’t really have a lovey. he has used a paci off and on, but that never seemed to help so we stopped using it. I am really at my wits end here…Help Please!!

    • Did you get it figured out? my daughter was like this too and I thought I’d go crazy. My daughter at night sleeps about 6:30 to 6:30, with one feeding but catnaps all the daytime since she was about 7 weeks old or so (she is now 6.5 months). I might have it figured out by increasing the awake time significantly, even though they are acting tired. She had been getting only 3 30 minute naps when I decided to do this. I saw it on someones blog who had a similar problem.

      • Can you be more specific about how you’ve improved the situation? My baby is 6 months old and has always been a catnapper as well – he typically takes three 25-30 min naps a day…can be quite frustrating. Do you remember what blog you read that helped? What are your baby’s naps like now?

        • See my post below for more details about what I tried. Honestly, I don’t think it was anything specific, at the time I thought that increasing her awake time between naps to 3 hours solved it, because it worked for some lady on a blog. When I first tried it, it worked! But it was difficult to keep her awake that long, so I decreased her awake time down to 2-2.25 hours and she still took a long nap. I think she was just ready for long naps. She used to take 3 20-40 minute naps per day up until about age 6 months. I tried letting her “resettle herself” when she was 4 months, 5 months, but it never worked. I think when she turned 6 months, she became even more active and was eating solid foods, it was just that something just “clicked” and she just started being able to resettle herself after 30 or 40 minutes and go for another sleep cycle, or even more…. I felt just like you, extremely frustrated and worried about her lack of sleep, and I thought she would NEVER take a long nap (she catnapped since about age 7 weeks old or so). I read all the sleep books, nothing worked, she just wasn’t able to do it. Her first “long nap” was 80 minutes and it happened 2 times in the first week at age 6 months. I thought it was a fluke and maybe she was sick. Then it happened again a couple days later, a long morning nap. Then by age 6.5 months, she started taking a daily morning long nap of at least 80 minutes, and two 40 minute catnaps in the afternoon. Now at nearly 7 months old, sometimes she takes two long naps (80+ minutes) and 1 late 30-40 minute catnap, or sometimes she takes a 40 minute catnap in the a.m. and a long afternoon nap. Sometimes (but not always) she wakes up after the 1st 40 minutes and resettles herself after 10 minutes or so of squirming/eye rubbing/yawning/talking. She could never do that before. I hate to say it, but I think you might just have to wait it out a little more and her naps will consolidate. You could try increasing the awake time to 3 hours, and see if it works, but you might wait a little bit longer, maybe 2 weeks or so and see if the naps naturally lengthen. I know how you feel though, it is SO HARD, and my baby fought EVERY SINGLE NAP unless she was nursed to sleep. She still fights napping. Good luck, hang in there, hopefully in the next month things will start to improve.

          • I should add that I put the baby in the crib to sleep while she is awake about 80% of the time and then leave and shut the door (very dark room, white noise). And I have generally been doing that since she was about 4 months old. Sometimes I nurse her to sleep if desperate though or nurse her till she is very drowsy then plop her in bed.

            • Hi there, for an update we still struggle with cat naps with my little one and he is 10 months old today.
              He usually goes down for the night around 7pm and sleeps til 5 or so, and gets a bottle around 5 and then goes back to sleep til 7 or so. I tried stretching the awake time and that didn’t help. whether he goes down for nap 2 hours after he has been up or 3 hours he still only naps about 30 minutes. There are rare occasions that he naps an hour, but that happens maybe once a week. I have just resounded myself to the fact that he is never going to be a good napper.
              We are now using a pacifier on occasion because he is teething (again) and I don’t know if this will come back to haunt us. Any thoughts are welcome!

            • Just another update on my little catnapper for those struggling with this issue. My baby is now almost 9 months old. We were still getting catnaps here and there and her schedule was non existent. She was down to 3 naps a day, usually one nap was a longer one of 1 hr 20 minutes and the others catnaps. When she was little 6 weeks to about 6.5 months she ALWAYS catnapped 30-40 minutes each. She started finally giving me 1 longer nap around 6.5 months and so we started a 3 nap day (she was on 4-5 catnaps per day, yuck!).

              She started to refuse to take a 3rd late afternoon nap around 8 months old. Her night sleep at that time was from 7pm-5am, nurse, then sleep until 6:30 or 7am, so almost 12 hrs and then the catnaps the rest of the day. Actually, that has been her schedule since she was 6 weeks old. She is able to put herself to sleep, and always does at bedtime, and doesn’t wake much in the night (except when she was little she would wake usually around 2am ish to nurse).

              She recently (around 8.5 months old) started decreasing her night sleep to about 10 or 10.5 hours (I couldn’t get her to nurse back to sleep at 5am any longer) and her nap length increased! I tracked this for the past few weeks and whenever she got 11 or more hours of sleep at night, she would catnap in the day. If she sleeps 9-10.5 hours at night (She sleeps straight through the night that long), she would take two – 1.5 hour naps. I think I was having her in bed too long at night. I read about this in the Ferber book. She seems to do best on 13.5 hours of sleep total per day but she averages about 13 hours total sleep, so she really can’t nap well if she sleeps so long at night.

              Maybe read Ferber’s book and see if any of his tips help you. I had read it awhile ago, but I also read all the other books that say babies need 12 hours of night sleep + 3 hours of naps so I was stuck on trying to get her to sleep long at night. It seemed to backfire on me with the catnapping and Ferber discusses this in his book. My baby both falls asleep on her own and sometimes nurses to sleep, either way seems to work for her, we didn’t have to do sleep training. Sometimes she fusses and cries a little before naps/bedtimes for a few mintutes, but it is because she is tired or is just protesting not playing anymore.

              When she was little (3-6 months old) I spent too much time trying to get her to sleep for naps when she had already slept 12 hours at night and maybe just wasn’t capable of additional daytime sleep as Ferber mentions. She was cranky and seemed a little tired during the day, but would just lay in her crib fussing or playing instead of napping and would ALWAYS catnap at that age.

              Our schedule is a little difficult though because she only sleeps about 10 or 10.5 hours a night and she dropped the late afternoon nap. She she wakes around 5am and naps around 8:15am. Then naps around 1pm or so, so she has long wake times which I don’t really like, but there isn’t much I can do about it. She consistently will not take a late afternoon nap.

              Anyways, I thought I would share an update on this, because I scoured all the websites for info on catnaps and did they ever stop, or how did they stop, etc. Hopefully this might help you a little. Recommend reading Ferber’s book on napping/sleeping. I didn’t need to do the sleep training, but struggled greatly with the catnapping issues and his book is helping me with that issue.

    • Have you tried going in soothing him, then leaving for ten to 15 minutes?
      He will cry. Keep doing it until he gets the message you expect him to take a longer nap!

      • Soothing/patting/picking up putting down never really helped my baby (with the exception of nursing) and that is where I don’t like the Ferber sleep training method. Picking up and putting down was the worst for her. She hated that, it was too stimulating. It makes my baby madder when I go in and delays her going to sleep, because she get so excited anytime I come in the room and seems to think I am coming to play or take her out of her crib.

  153. Hello Alexis! You’ve already helped us figure out how to help our son sleep better before! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. 😉
    Our son, H (11 weeks old), is a great night sleeper. He’s already averaging around 7 hours between nursings. He’s a breeze to put down. 98 percent of the time he doesn’t even cry initially. And during the middle of the night or for dream feeds, he doesn’t fuss at all.
    But he’s a chronic cat napper. You can set a timer on his exactly 30 minute naps. He goes down for naps just as easily as he does for bed time, so I don’t usually have to work hard getting him to sleep then. But it’s been virtually impossible to get him to sleep again after he wakes up from his 30 minutes. He’s a happy kid when he’s not being forced to try to nap. Should I just accept that this is how he’s napping for now?
    We already use swaddling, white noise, darkness, pacis, and a vibrating bouncy seat for his sleeping times. He goes out down to sleep drowsy, but still awake, and then falls asleep by himself. And we’ve tried everything we could think of or researched to try to get him to sleep after the initial 30 and not much has worked. We tried crying it out yesterday and he wouldn’t sleep again and then was not himself (clingy, fussy, and wouldn’t stop crying) for around 30 minutes after that.
    30 minute naps are inconvenient and annoying, but not something I can’t live through if it’s temporary.

    • This is my story exactly. My son, now 10 months can put himself to sleep at bedtime with no paci or anything else, and has been doing this for 4-5 months but he wont nap longer than 30 minutes no matter what we try. The more we let him cry to try to go back to sleep, the crankier he gets. Its worse if I go in and try to soothe him.
      we tried stretching time between naps, shortening time between naps, we follow same routine every day. Nothing has helped.

    • This is us too! Had any luck? My 4 month old is bringing me to breaking point now. The 30 min cat naps were fine but now he is constantly crying if he doesn’t have enough sleep. The only time he sleeps longer is in the car or co-nap (something we have NEVER done EVER but I was so tired yesterday I gave it a go and we slept 1.5hrs so I did it again today and same thing 1.5hr nap). My beautiful boy is noticing happier when he has more sleep but I just don’t know how to teach him to sleep longer independently and defiantly don’t want this co-napping to continue. Any tips?

  154. Hi! My situation with my 2nd baby is pretty much the same as Bekah’s. She’s almost 12 weeks, sleeps brilliantly all night and always goes to sleep on her own. However in the day, unless we’re out in the stroller she sleeps 30 mins at a time. I’ve started putting her to nap in the stroller at home now so I can jump up and rock it to try to get her into the next sleep cycle – with mixed results. Also started using the pacifier much more than I’d planned to, in desperation, so am a bit afraid it’ll turn into a nightmare for us soon. My first child was a short napper for sooooo long I really hoped there would be something I could do about it this time. We don’t have a nap routine. Could this be the problem? I can’t bear the idea of staying in all day and at this stage there’s no clear schedule for her day so it would be impossible to plan anything – plus with a toddler I do have to go out quite a lot. Is a swing the answer?? Or dare I say it, Gina Ford?!

    • If I had to choose Pacific vs. Swing I would totally go swing route for multiple reasons #1 being your baby is a motion junkyard. So I vote to work the swing for naps!

  155. Sorry I meant to say that the reason I’m wondering whether I’m doing something wrong is that this is a relatively new thing. She’s been sleeping 6-10 hours at night since she was 5 weeks, and was having long day sleeps too. The 30 minute sleep is only appearing in the last few weeks and only when stationary! Thanks :-)

  156. My 6 month old daughter has not napped longer than 30-45 minutes at home since she was 2 months old. However, she takes a 1.5 hour morning nap and 2 – 3 hour afternoon nap at daycare. Should we be letting her cry it out at home when she wakes up from naps? Thank you!

    • My son does the same thing! At home we have him nap in the crib and only get 30-45 minute naps. At daycare, he’ll sleep 1.5-2 hours. I asked them what they do and they have him sleep in like a baby rocker and bundle blankets around him. I don’t want to move him out of the crib, so I won’t be following their lead. Any help would be so wonderful! I’m so tired of the cranky little boy I have in the afternoon.

  157. Hi Alexis!

    Thanks you for the fantastic site! I’d love your advice on one thing. My baby (10wks) is a terrible sleeper. His ‘bedtime’ tends to be somewhere between 9pm and 11pm. His first sleep is generally about 2.5 hrs, followed by 1.5. hrs and then a couple 45min-1hr sleeps (ugh!). But my question is about his naps. He takes about three 45min01hr naps throughout the day but then often takes a longer nap of 2.5-3hrs starting at about 5pm. I know they say never wake a sleeping baby, but I worry such a long nap so close to bedtime may have an effect of his very short first sleep after bedtime? Would you recommend we not allow him to nap for so long in the early evening to help him sleep longer at night or are the two likely unrelated?

    Thank you so much for the great resource!

  158. So my 6.5 month old has been a catnapper since age 8 weeks. She is very alert and active (from birth) and she gives very few clear tired signs. She will go from wide awake playing / talking / wildness in her crib and then simply turn her head to the side and fall asleep (we have a video monitor). She would take 5 40 min naps a day and then we were down to 4 40 minute naps per day and recently, since about age 5.5 or 6 months, she went down to 3 30-40 minute naps per day. She sleeps very well at night, with only 1 waking to feed, sleeping about 11.5 hours at night. She usually woke up from the short naps smiling, but appeared to be tired 45 minutes to 1 hour after waking up, so I thought she was still tired. She usually goes to sleep on her own in her crib (after 10-30 minutes of talking/babbling). She really seems to like having the small “AngelDear” lovey in her crib so she can cuddle and suck on it, etc. She is still in the Baby Merlin sleep suit because she likes to roll over onto her belly and call out for me to roll her back. If it took her longer than 45 minutes to fall asleep, I would intervene and nurse her to sleep. She wasn’t on any regular schedule because I never knew when she would actually fall asleep. I tried all the various awake times over the months (45 minutes to 2.5 hours and more). About 2 weeks ago (at age 6 months exactly, and had been on solid food for about 2 weeks) she took her first nap longer than 40 minutes (1.5 hours! yipeee!). She did this 3 more times over the 2 week period, but there seemed to be no consistency, other then 3 of the 4 times it was for her morning nap. I recently came across a blog where the lady was in a similar situation with the catnaps and tried to increase her daughters awake time to 3 hours at age 4 months. It didn’t work. She tried again at 6 months and it worked and the baby started taking long naps. Well, I thought about it for a week and finally gave it a shot after my daughter was in the crib for 45 minutes not falling asleep (although yawning, etc.). I pulled her out of the crib and kept her up for another hour. Put her back down after being up for 3 hours and she slept 1.5 hours!!!! Her afternoon nap was still short though and she wouldn’t go down for a catnap before bedtime. Now I am on day two. I tried it again, keeping her up almost 3 hours after waking. It was hard, she started getting really tired after 2 hours. So I put her down at about 2 hr 45 minutes, nursing for a few minutes then plopped her in the crib and she fell right asleep and slept for 1.5 hours! I will keep working on this method until I find the right awake time, but I think her awake time was too short for her (many of the books say 1.5 – 2 hrs) as a very active and alert baby. Maybe it is more like 2 hr 45 minutes to 3 hours, even for the first nap, unlike what the books say. Anyways, I thought I’d share this with you.

    • I should add that she only sleeps well in a bed or crib in darkness and white noise machine on. When she was little (under 2 months old) she used to be able to fall asleep sometimes in the car and in a baby carrier like the Ergo, but not anymore. I take her on walks in a stoller and she doesn’t fall asleep, she seems way too interested in everything around her to bother with sleep. Also, if I disturb her during her wind down time in her crib, she gets fired up and excited and it makes it more difficult to fall asleep. When she was very little, like 6 weeks old, we were doing everything rocking/jiggling/bouncing, etc. to get her to fall asleep at bed time, and she was crying. Finally I decided to just set her down in her crib. She immediately stopped crying and then started talking to her self and she fell asleep! I couldn’t believe it. This didn’t work all the time at that age, but starting at about 3 months on, that is what she preferred for bed time and most naps.

      • My baby fusses when he wants me to put him down ;). Some babies are like that!

      • Just an update on this. At nearly 7 months old, she is still taking at least 1 long nap per day but I no longer think it was due to increasing her awake time (although it might have triggered the long naps). I think it was more just developmental, something finally just clicked and she can resettle after the first sleep cycle now. She has been taking long naps in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon too. I decreased her awake time from 3 hrs, to about 2 hrs before the first nap and 2.25 to 3 for the afternoon naps. Good luck, and know that you can try everything, but better just to go with the flow as much as possible and eventually your baby will figure it out, and then you can get on a schedule.

        • Hi Emily, My baby boy is 6.5 months. If he misses one cat nap (out of 4) he’s super tired… Why did you go back on the 3 hour break between naps?

          • Yes, we used to be on 4 catnaps, and then it got bad down to 3 catnaps! She was so tired. She still seemed tired on 4 catnaps too. Then one day, she just started resettling herself, this happened a couple of times per week. Then I tried a 3 hour awake time and she took a long nap 2 times in one day. But it was difficult to keep her up for 3 hours, she seemed tired. So I started throttling back to under 3 hours. Now it is 2 hours before 1st nap, then 2.25-2.5 hours between second and third naps and about 1.5 to 2 hrs awake before bedtime. The 2nd and 3rd naps are often only 40 minutes, but she now always gets one long nap of 1 hr 20 minutes or more. I think it was just a developmental thing, but not sure. She fights almost all naps, except when I nurse her to sleep, or nurse her to where she is almost asleep. I just let her fuss in her crib to sleep.

      • Did the 3 hr sleep method work?

  159. Hi Alexis! I just want to say I love wine, cheese, and Game of Thrones also!
    My boy is 6 months old and I am tackling night weaning right now.

  160. Hello!
    I’ve got a 10-month old baby boy, who has been sleeping through the night pretty solidly from about 7-months. (We had to do some CIO, which was rough, but he took to it pretty well.) However, I am a stay at home mom (I work evenings), and I cannot get baby to take naps in his crib. I have just been co-sleeping for his naps, which is sometimes nice, because I usually need the rest, but other times, it’s a pain. If I try to put him in his crib, drowsy, he throws a fit. Is this just a new CIO hurdle that I need to go through? I think it is tougher for me than it is for his father, who can ‘sometimes’ get him to take naps in his crib. Is doing CIO for naps different than nighttime sleep?
    Thank you!

    • My baby sometimes fusses and cries in her crib but there really is nothing I can do, I think she is crying because she is either very tired, or wants to nurse to sleep, but not because she hates the crib, because she has been taking naps / sleeping at night in her crib since very little. The minute I go in, she just got all excited and smiley that I was there, and then it would take forever for her to settle back down again. In the past, sometimes it took her about 30-45 minutes before she fell asleep in her crib, sometimes she would just squirm around, talk to herself, or fuss (and then she would only sleep for a 40 minute catnap! So frustrating!). I got a video cam because I was going in and checking on her and she was just getting fired up from it. So now I can just leave her be to settle down on her own. She won’t sleep if I am there watching her, she gets too excited. The only time I sleep next to her is if I nurse her to sleep and I want to sleep with her, but then I have to put a pillow in between us so she doesn’t see me (and she squirms a bunch so it is difficult for me to sleep with her). I think you might just have to let your baby fuss it out. I was lucky that my baby didn’t cry much, only fuss and whine for awhile, but she has cried on occasion, but that usually means she is extremely tired, and she is usually out of it after a few minutes (up to 15).

  161. Hi Alexis and mums!

    Well, my gorgeous 10 months old little girl and I are Staring into the abyss of CIO. One night down, 2 to go. First night she cried for 55 minutes, then it all went quiet. I tiptoed to her room to find her on her haunches, clinging onto the crib side fast asleep. Right there my heart tore from my chest and I dissolved into a right sobbing mess. I felt like I just deserved the worst parent in the world sash. How could this little angel understand that mummy still loves her and did not abandon her… the dark dark night. All I could think about was her crying for someone to give comfort,but no one came…;( I know it’s for her own good’ but the guilt is horrendous to swallow.

    We will persevere as much as we can. We decided to go cold turkey on the paci, luckily she also has a lovey. We’ve changed up bedtime routine, I stopped nursing her to sleep, we read a book before bed and put down AWAKE , however yawning, ear tugging and nose rubbing. If I fed her closer to bed time she would have been fast asleep, only to wake up between 01:00-02:00 demanding to co-sleep. Her last feed at night is at 18:45-19:00, followed by a 5a.m feed (breastfeeding)

    From reading plenty of sleep guides, it seems the key to sleeping through the night is having good naps? However, a baby won’t nap well if they aren’t sleeping through the night? my Lon naps 30-40 minutes – maybe -twice a day and that is only if I nurse her to sleep or previously gave a paci. She will sleep close to 2 hours if she co-sleeps which I often do with her in the morning as I try catch up on lost night time sleep.

    As I am now not feeding to sleep at night and doing the CIO maneuver – how do I manage naps? Do I also let her CIO, do I not feed to sleep? Do I not co-sleep? They really do need to be more structured but I have no clue how to do so.

    Alexis, you are such a hoot. When the wheels fall off and I need a little pep talk, reading your blog always makes me feel that it’s a mountain I CAN climb, and that it’s important to take a deep breath of the fresh air up there and admire the view before trudging on. Perspective is key!

    Thanks to all the mums who post their experiences, you too give me strength, as I see a little piece of my baby girl in each of your stories, and it makes me feel a little less lonely and ever hopeful!


  162. Okay I’ve been reading this blog since my now almost 7 month old baby girl was 3 months. I love it. But, I’ve never commented or asked for help. I am now! I feel it’s my duty. :-)

    My little nugget is a pretty good night sleeper in her crib. She sleeps through the night or close to it, and has since about four months. Every so often she still has one night waking — but if she does wake, we can still usually count on 7pm-3am or 4am; after a 3-4 oz feeding, she easily goes back down until 6am or 630am (and on the days the sleep angels are with us, 7am. I love those days.) I do consider us lucky. She has a lovey, a white noise machine, and sometimes a quick paci is needed when we put her down – but most of the time, no paci at all.

    Here’s the thing – while she rarely if ever puts up a fight to fall asleep in her crib at night, she NEVER naps in her crib. She will only ever nap in her car seat. She can go for 2 hours or more at times, stationary in her car seat, in her room. She does not need motion. But with the crib, getting her to nap is like some sort of sweet torture. She can be exhausted, 2 or more hours after awake time in the morning, rubbing her eyes, yawning, even closing her eyes. I then put her in the crib and she is instantly AWAKE. Laughing, smiling, squealing. For 45+ minutes. I have tried check ins and shush pats. She just smiles her endearing “I know you think I’m cute” smile and starts to fuss if I leave. I’ve tried no check ins, but after 40 minutes of her half-partying/half-fussing I usually intervene. Sometimes she’s so tired she starts crying at the 20 minute mark, but still won’t fall asleep.

    When I can’t take it anymore I put her in the car seat next to the crib, and bam – asleep with her lovey and sometimes a paci/sometimes no paci within two minutes.

    I’m back at work, so I can’t work on changing this behavior all day long, but I do have a nanny with 15+ years of experience and even she has had little if any success with getting baby girl to nap in the crib. If she does succeed, it is after 45 to 50 minutes of not leaving her side, and the nap is maybe 30 minutes.

    Any thoughts, help, similar situations? I might add she is also getting too big for her car seat! We probably have one more month before we need to switch to the next level up … Grrr.

    • She’s got a HUGE car seat = sleep association so when you put her in the crib she’s thinking it’s playtime.

      This trips up tons of people – different parts of the brain manage day vs. night sleep so crib=sleep at NIGHT but she doesn’t understand that during the DAY. So, there you are.

      I would definitely put the car seat IN the crib as a transition. When you’re ready to be done full on then you’re done with the car seat. It may be a bit of a rocky transition for a while with short naps while she figures out that crib=sleep for NAPPING. At that point consistency is key so when you make the move you MAKE IT. No dabbling or trying it here and there. If you’re trying to get her to understand she naps in the crib then she naps in the crib 100% of the time.

      Will she take short naps forever? No. But it’ll take a while. Anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Be mindful that you aren’t creating bad habits by hanging out with her when she naps. You may want to consider that for a day or two while you transition but then you work towards not hanging around while she falls asleep.

      It’ll happen. It seems impossible, but I promise it will!

  163. So my husband and I have worked super hard at CIO and have been very successful…at nighttime. We are well into our third week of trying CIO at naptime, as we have a consistent 30 minute napper, but we’ve seen nothing in terms of improvements. She goes to bed at night, totally awake, and falls asleep on her own with little or no crying. She’s a disaster at nap time. I’ve tried putting her down well before she becomes overtired, reducing her awake time, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference. She screams herself to sleep (usually about 20-30 min of crying) and sleeps for exactly 30. On the rare occasion that she falls asleep well, she’s still up after 30. We leave her to fall back asleep- sometimes for as long as an hour, but she will not. I’m beyond frustrated, as my child is exhausted, I’m exhausted, and our victorious nighttime seems useless, as this short nap leaves my baby exhausted and miserable throughout the day. Help!!

    • And just like that, after 2-3 weeks, the kid is napping. It’s not completely consistent yet, but she’s almost always falling back asleep after she starts stirring at the 30 min mark and will usually have two hour-hour and a half naps, in her crib, every day. So, there is hope after all!

      • Meg – I know this was a while ago, but could you perhaps tell me how old your daughter was when she went through this? I felt like you took the words right out of my mouth. My daughter is 14 weeks old and has turned into the disaster napper.

      • I too would love to know more details about what you did that helped your little one nap longer in the crib, hope you have the time to reply!

  164. Suzannah Green

    I’ve totally followed all the steps with the swing during the day and she still won’t be asleep after 30-40 minutes of swinging, after which time she gets grumpy and red faced and upset.

    I need help I don’t know what to do any more, I end up having to swing her myself in my arms to get her to nap, however at night she will settle and soothe herself to sleep no problem at all. During the day she won’t soothe herself to nap and when I do get her to sleep its short naps.

    She’s 4 months old, I’ve gone wrong somewhere and wonder if it’s too late to correct?

    • Step #1 – rock her to sleep in your arms.
      Step #2 – sneak her into the swing for the remainder of the nap
      Step #3 – once you’ve been successful for the “sneak and swing” for a few days (or when you’re feeling sassy and confident) retry having her fall asleep in the swing. Also don’t forget the possibility of turning the motor off and jiggling/swinging the swing manually. This can be a really helpful technique for babies who are struggling to fall asleep.

      It’d DEFINITELY not too late to correct. This is the perfect time to work with it! Good luck :)

  165. Hi Alexis! You’ve helped me in the past with my now 2 yr old and now I need advice about my 8 week old! My son’s naps are actually getting shorter and shorter. They used to be long, 1.5-2 hour naps, but now that he is becoming more aware of the world, his naps have gone down to 1hr, then 45 min, and now 35min. Does this mean that he was just in that newborn fog those first few weeks and that he is in actuality a catnapper for now? I’m only so desperate for a solution because my poor 2 yr old is bored out of her mind because I spend my whole day nursing the baby and putting him to sleep. And since his naps are so short, our feed-play-sleep cycles are like 2 hours t best! He isn’t even really hungry that often but that’s how often I feed him, otherwise he might end up hungry during the NEXT nap. Know what I mean? He also used to fall asleep on his own in his crib for naps, but now is wanting to be held until he’s asleep. And if he’s now asleep “enough”, he’ll wake after 3-4 minutes and start crying, and we start the process again. If I go in and hold him after the first 35-45min when he wakes he will immediately fall back asleep. So I hold him for awhile and put him back down, where he will sleep another 30-90 minutes! But I don’t have that luxury all day, I only do that during my 2yr old’s nap. So am I destined for short naps until he gets whole consolidation thing figured out? He will sleep longer in an Ergo, but that is frequently not an option, and he doesn’t fall asleep in a swing even on the highest speed… Thoughts?!?

    Btw, my 2yr old is the night waker that drove you to your text books to find a solution… She wakes for hours during the night and just lays alone quietly. Remember that?? You had said that the only thing u could find was restless leg syndrome. We ruled that out, along with dairy intolerance, and we tried longer naps, shorter naps, later bedtime, earlier bedtime, and the list goes on. Moral of the story, she still wakes, and we’ve found no solution, 9 months after discovering the problem… Oh well, I’ve got bigger (or, smaller!) newborn problems now…!!!

  166. My little girl is 2 1/2 months old. For the past few weeks she was consistently taking two 2 1/2-4 hour naps every day in her swing. She sleeps in four hour stretches at night. This week she’s started regressing and is only sleeping for a half hour at a time in her swing. Every little noise wakes her even if we have white noise going. The terrifying part is that I go back to work next week and she’ll be starting daycare. I’m worried that she won’t nap well at daycare and will be a grumpy mess by the time I pick her up in the afternoon. Help!

    • I forgot to add that she starts to fuss if she’s awake and is left in the swing, bouncer, pack n play alone. I can tell she’s exhausted but will not contently swing by herself anymore.

  167. I’m wondering if anyone else has a problem with another culprit to blame for short naps: WIND! I have a 10 week old and it’s the bane of my existence. She often wakes herself up about 30 minutes into a nap because she either has a burp or a fart or both. Often I’m treated to a whole little symphony played solely by the wind section. This always seems to happen about 2 hours after she was fed. I’ve tried feeding her closer to the nap to try and get more sleeping in before the trumping starts but this usually doesn’t help and in fact then she just burps AND spits up. She’s a tummy sleeper (I know, I know – bad mummy, but she won’t sleep on her back) and sleeps in her cot unless we are out. I think this probably exacerbates the whole burping thing, not to mention resulting in lots of burp stains on sheets. Often she’s really upset at getting woken up and then I get treated to a lot of screaming as she tries to get back to sleep. Weirdly she never has this problem at night. Has anyone else had this problem and did it just sort itself out in time?

  168. Awesome site! This gave me the confidence to start sleep training my 7 month old TWINS.

    My story:
    my boy was a disaster at bedtime, nap time, you name it. He would fight, screaming and thrashing every single time. Both babies were waking multiple times a night (I’m talking 4 or 5 times…each!) and Hunter required a ridiculous combo of eating, walking, rocking, jiggling, and singing for at least 30 minutes just to go back to sleep. My husband works 8 pm to 5 am, so I am alone at night.(oh and I have a 2 Yr old who somehow always ends up in my bed). It was getting to the point where I was in danger of hurting myself or a baby while zombie walking through the halls all night, desperately trying to get the damn kids to sleep!

    The first few days of CIO were a little rough. We went with the Ferber method, but it just made the twins freak out even worse when we went in to check on them. So after a few days we stopped that, and just like magic, my babies became sleep trained! Hunter has done a complete 180: when I put him down for bed, he doesn’t even cry, just turns on his side and goes right to sleep. Sansa cries for just a few minutes before settling down. They both wake only twice now (currently night weaning) and it’s amazing. But we are struggling with Sansa’s nap times.

    My questions:

    How long should I let a baby cry before abandoning nap time? How long should I wait to put her down again?

    If a baby wakes up mid-nap due to some outside cause (a screaming toddler in the room next door), should I go in to offer comfort, or should I let them CIO again?

    Any tips for twins napping? Sansa gets very mad at nap time and while Hunter will still fall asleep while she screams, he will wake up and scream too later in the nap.


    • Hey Jenna,

      So glad you’ve gotten things on a good path at bedtime :) Naps, however, are a tricky wicket. So I can’t just throw out a quick pointer and make everything better. Sadly.

      If possible, it sounds like the twins would do better napping in separate rooms. Also you want to use loud white noise and keep the room DARK to block out as many external distractions as possible (screaming toddlers and such). If they wake up mid-nap give them some time to re-settle but if it’s not happening, it’s not.

      Some days are like that :)

      Ideally by 7 months you have them napping on some sort of a schedule so they’re going down at the same time every day (this is a change from when they were younger and naps floated about more). This will help they’re bodies be ready to sleep at those fixed times and hopefully break you out of the “do we abandon nap time” thing because it’ll be more regular.

      Anyway twins are HAAAARD but you’re over the hump. Good luck with everything!

  169. Hi hi! And help please! We read and followed your sleep training night edition like it was gold… And it was, it totally worked! Our daughter took 3 nights to put herself to sleep with no crying and sleep 10 hours straight… And she has been since! So we waited a week or two to make sure that really established and tried to do nap training. Holy smokes. Utter fail!! She just cries straight through the hour and never falls asleep!! Ever! All day long!! Now I have a psychotic baby who hasn’t napped in 3 days. What the heck do we do? We have black out curtains a sound machine and do a shortened version of our night routine before naps. She’s turning into a clingy mess all the rest of the day when she is awake and I can’t help but wonder if this is actually good for my little girl. Please help, I’m about at my wits end and I’m not confident I’m doing this well so it’s hard to stay committed to it. She just turned one last weekend. Thanks Alexis, we need you!

  170. So grateful for all the helpful info on this website! I am at my wit’s end with the 30 minute naps. I know your advice is that under 6 months they may not be ready. My son is 5 months. He is so obviously tired through out the day. He wakes up yawning. After 1 hour he is fussy. It is making it impossible to break the nurse = sleep association because no matter when or where I nurse him, he starts to fall asleep. I have tried EVERYTHING to make him nap better, but nothing helps. I have followed all the advice and still he will only sleep 30 minutes. Sometimes in order to get him to sleep at all I resort to a pacifier but I worry that the pacifier will become a problem. I spend all day trying to get him to nap. I am trapped to the house with my 3 year old. I am exhausted and just want him to be a happy baby. Really hoping it will magically improve in a month but I am doubtful.

  171. How do I get my 2 month old to nap longer? For the past two weeks she wakes up after 25-30 min. We darkened her room, play white noise, swaddle her rock her to sleep and put her in her swing. We don’t know what else to do! She sleeps well at night under those same conditions….

    • Oh and she would sleep longer if I didn’t put her down but I don’t have it in me to be rocking in my arms her all day…

  172. Hello do you have any advice on extending 1.5 hour naps to 2-2.5 hour naps? I have a 14 month old who usuallt takes two 1.5 hour naps a day but recently with first molars coming through and nearing age of transition to one nap having trouble getting to sleep and fitting both in so sleepy enough by bedtime which is around 7.30pm. Looking at sleep charts looks like she’ll need 2 hours or more of daytime sleep if only napping once a day but this doesn’t often happen. I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this.

  173. My LO is 7 months and sleep between 10-11 hours at night from anywhere between 7-8pm and 6am. She has her milk in the nursery and then read a story and then settled herself to sleep.

    I follow a similar routine after lunch to try and get her to sleep but I cannot get her to sooty herself to nap yet she will do it at night? HELP I’m tearing my hair out as during the day I have an overtime stubborn baby so will not go it to sleep in her cot like she will at night.

  174. Hello all –

    I am wondering if someone has some thoughts re my 2nd daughter’s sleep behavior.

    A bit of context:
    We have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, great sleeper, 7p – 7a and 2-3 hour nap over lunch. Sleep training was easy and at 9 month she slept 12 hours + 2 long naps (about 2 hours each).

    2nd daughter is now 8 1/2 months. She sleeps fairly consistent from 6p – 5a (and then goes back until 6.20a after a feeding) BUT is TERRIBLE with naps. Usually we get about 30-40min and she is tired. We have tried about anything: lying her down every hour, having a consistent sleep schedule incl. soothing her, leaving her to cry until she has been in a dark room for at least an hour (she usually goes back to sleep after a few minutes of crying). We have a consistent routine, consistent dark place with white noise, quiet environment. I just CANNOT figure it out. HELP?!
    She is currently in a developmental growth spurt, standing, crawling but she has never been a great sleeper so I don’t think I can take the excuse of sleep regression here.


  175. My 4 month old will nap for 2+ hours if held but if I put him down to nap in his crib, I’m lucky to get 20 min. At night, he sleeps in his crib from 7-7 with one feeding. How do I lengthen his daytime sleep in his crib? I have a 3 year old so I cannot whole my baby for every nap.

  176. Hi, I’m wondering if anyone has any advice for me on getting longer naps. I feel like I’m doing everything right but it’s just not working and I am beginning to get sooo frustrated. I followed the CIO method for bed time and it worked great, my 9 month old will only fuss for a few minutes at bedtime and then sleep pretty much through the night… But NAPS… UGH. I try to get her down for 2 a day. But every time she cries for 20-30 mins and then will only sleep 20-30 mins. She does not seem well rested afterwards. It makes me feel super guilty. Usually at the end of the day she crashes either in the car or ergo baby and sleeps for a good 2 hours as long as it’s not in the car. We follow the same routine as at bedtime too. I just can’t think of anything else to do. Any advice out there?

  177. My son is 11 months old and still takes cat naps. He has been sleeping through the night for about three months but was still falling asleep while nursing before bedtime and being rocked to sleep for naps. In hopes to lengthen naps we decided to get him to fall asleep completely on his own for both naps and and bedtime. We’re on day 6 and the good news is he now generally cries for 2-5 min and then puts himself to sleep. Also, he is sleeping later in the morning. He was sleeping from 8pm-6:30am but now he wakes up between 7am-8am!

    Day 1 his first nap was 1 hour 5 minutes and then second WS’s 1 hour 20 minutes. I thought “wow, already it’s working!” But since then most naps have been 25 minutes – 50 minutes. On day 4 I started letting him cry when he woke up hoping he would go back to sleep. He will cry off and on and sometimes lay down like he is going to fall back asleep but then is back crying a minute later. I let him cry for 20 minutes after his 25 minute nap today but he never went back to sleep.

    It seems like overall his naps are worse now then they were before! (Before he would often sleep 45-50 minutes but sometimes an hour and 20 minutes.)

    He was doing 3 naps up until about a month ago when he really stopped falling asleep for that third late afternoon nap. Now he just does 2 (short) naps but seems to be fine with his wake time between the naps and bedtime.

    So what do I do? Will it just take more time? Should I let cry after the nap? Will he ever actually go back to sleep? Does he just not need very much nap time in the day?

    Any advice would help! Thank you!!

  178. Hi all,

    I have a 4 and half month old boy, we have a few issues and are wondering if you have any advice on how to tackle them?

    1. He hasn’t slept through the night, ever. He goes down to bed (after a good and est. bedtime routine) at 7:30, he wakes a few times and fusses, but won’t settle and has a dream feed at 10, then 1-2 (side feeding in bed), then 4:30 he wakes to eat/ he needs to poop.

    2. He only poops once a day and it’s noemally at 5ish everyday. This makes it hard to put him down after, as he needs our help to poop. So lights on, change nappy etc. He really can’t poop himself and needs our help to do so.

    3. He does sleep in his crib. Which we are thankful for, with white noise blaring out of the alarm clock. In a magic sleep suit (like a padded oneise).

    4. He is a cronical cat napper, he only sleeps for 30 mins during the day. And he gets grumpy and tiered after an hour and a half of being up. So on a normal day I’m running through 6 cycles a day of awakr,eat,play.

    I’m so exhausted (arnt we all?) and feel like I’ve really no clue where to even start. Every website I go on and visit all say they have a bad napper but he sleeps through the night, or that they have good naps but wake during the night. I have neither! he crys when we put him down for a nap, he crys when he wakes, he crys at night, for bed time and Wakes continually,4-6 times a night…
    How do I start establishing a longer nap time and sleep through the night?
    Ps. We tried the no cry technique and the happiest baby on the block, but we’ve noticed that he gets excited when he sees us and it over stimulates him for us to pick him up,etc.
    Any advice, thoughts, wisdom – please, would be so welcomed!!!

  179. Ok….so naps seem to be contributing to the overall sleep (or lack thereof) issues. She is finally going to bed at night ok (if routine is followed to a T and she is showing tired signs at bedtime)…and only getting up 1-2 times at 6 months old…BUT dispite sleeping 12 hours at night she is the most cranky child when she stays up too long in the day, but I don’t know how to fix it. She will not nap for more then 30 minutes, and I have tried putting her down before showing tired signs, when showing tired signs, 1.5 hours after last nap, 2 or 3 hours after last nap, in the carseat, in the crib, if she doesn’t feel like napping she won’t and it just gets worse and worse as the day goes on. Can usually get a 30 minute nap out of her 1.5 hours after she gets up in the morning, but the next one…(as I type) is impossible! She sometimes will fall asleep…or other days (like today) will scream for an hour until I eventually get her up because we need to go somewhere or do something or I am not sure how long to leave her for naps. Any advice/magic numbers of how long to try for a nap before giving up and waiting for the next one to try again? Its hard to have consistent nap times/or bedtime time when she may or may not be overtired from not napping all day!

  180. hi guys!

    i have a 6 weeks old and is an extremely crappy napper. it takes about half an hour more or less to put him to sleep then he’ll sleep for about 15 – 30 mins. 1hr at most which is rare. there are also times when it just doesn’t happen. he won’t fall asleep which makes him even more overtired. unfortunately for me, it’s also the same way at night. which is why i can only get some rest for like 2hrs a day (skipping 1 feeding and giving him to my mom.)

    he could sleep well during his first 2 weeks. then he had an allergy, which is now treated (no more rashes and all day fussiness) but it’s still hard for him to sleep even with swaddle, white noise (doesn’t seem to make any difference with or without), pacifier (he doesn’t like it that much), and rocking in my arms.

    i’m getting a swing and hopefully it will help. i’m getting so stressed out, pls let me hear some advise! i want to sleep so bad (i used to sleep forlike 8-12hrs before i had the baby)

  181. Hi, my 6.5 month old was napping really well, 1.5 hrs in the morning, 2 hrs early afternoon until a few weeks ago when he has become a serial 30 minute napper. He has always had to have a wind-down cry before naps but never at night and continues to do this. He sleeps really well at night, 6.30pm-6am with a 10.30 dream feed. However he now wakes completely at naps after 30 minutes and cannot resettle. He is not a baby suited to pick up/put down or anything involving my presence as this stimulates him too much and he ends up screaming so definitely no nap then! It is driving me insane as he is so overtired by the end of the day. I’ve tried lengthening his up times, shortening them, read sooo many books. What am I doing wrong??

  182. Anne-Sophie Savard

    Hi Alexis!

    I read all 3 parts of What You Need To Know About Sleeping Through The Night. Though my baby sleeps through the night, she still has a problem with naps during the day. At night she sleeps in her crib and falls back to sleep by herself. However, she needs to be fed to sleep. BUT my main problem is daytime sleep.

    My baby was diagnosed with intern GORD at 3 weeks old. She always needed to sit straight. It was the only way she could sleep, for maximum 45 minutes. She cried a lot and I basically sat on the couch with her non stop for the first 3 months. When her condition got better, she wouldn’t want to lay down to sleep, because laying down = more reflux for her. So I began to give her her bottle in a bouncy seat. The angle was perfect for her. Her routine, from 3.5 months old up to now, has been to put her in the bouncy seat, with a soft blanket and give her the bottle. This set up was and still is the only way I can get her to sleep at home.

    Her GORD is much better now, she has been constipated for a few months now but it’s the only thing that could annoy her right now. Otherwise, she’s perfectly healthy. She is now 8 months old. She sleeps a lot in her car seat. After 5-10 minutes on the road, she falls asleep. In the car, she can sleep up to 1.5 hours. At home, with her routine that I (unfortunately have to) do, she sleeps anywhere between 10 to 45 minutes, and exceptionally 1 hour when she’s really tired. When she sleeps in her bouncy seat, I can’t do anything in the house. I can’t move her seat or she wakes up. I can’t do the dishes, even opening a drawer wakes her up. I also have to mention that sometimes, she falls asleep with the bottle and after 20 minutes, we can take the bottle and she remains asleep. But usually, she needs to have her bottle to stay asleep. And if she drinks the whole bottle, the nap is finished. She won’t fall back to sleep.

    I’ve tried a few times to let her CIO in her crib, but she has a very strong and tenacious character. She can cry up to 3 hours straight. I’ve never try to let her cry longer because it was too much for me. I’ve also tried to gradually let her cry, picking her up and putting her back in her crib, and lengthening the time before I pick her up, but she got even more mad with that method…

    She’s 8 months old and she never took normal naps. From birth up to now. It isn’t that bad for me, especially now that her GORD doesn’t hurt her anymore, but sometimes she gets fussy and so tired there’s nothing that can get her to sleep. Even the car ride. If someone could help me, it would be really appreciated!

    Anne Sophie

  183. Hello, your site has been so helpful with learning about my baby’s sleep habits and expectations. I have a question though. My daughter is almost 5 months old and has been a chronic cat napper. I’ve been very consistent with trying to extend her naps for her benefit. So far, it we’ve made SOME progress. Here is something I’ve noticed though: her first morning nap seems to be the shortest. She normally wakes up after 45 min (used to be 30) and CAN NOT get back to sleep. If I do get her back to sleep, it’s usually a 25 minute battle and she only sleeps for an additional 15 minutes usually. Isn’t the morning nap supposed to be the longest one? Why is it the shortest? I normally put her down 1.5 hours after being awake (2 hours for other naps). Do I need to extend this time? She seems tired though…

  184. Hello Alexis,

    My little one is almost 11 months (in two days) and she still only cat naps! She sleeps through the night fairly well with a pretty strict night time routine, but during the day she is a disaster. She sleeps really well in the car or if she’s on my lap during the day, but when I put her in her crib the longest nap she takes is MAYBE 20 min long. I usually let her cry for 30 min. then check on her and let her cry for another 30 min. Most of the time after about 45 min she will take a nap for 10-20 min long. She takes about 3 of these during the day, but at this point it’s driving me nuts! For her naps I feed her, then wake her up and put her in the crib with a white sound machine. She no longer uses a paci. Anyways I feel like by this point she should be taking longer naps. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  185. Wonder if anyone can tell me why my 8 month old daughter who can self settle, sometimes sleeps for 1.5hrs in a morning but more often than not only sleeps for 30 mins? I’ve tried leaving her for 10 mins in the hope she’ll go back to sleep but she never does. I’m sure she’s still tired after these short naps because she cries, whereas if she’s slept longer she usually chats to herself!
    I’m a ftm so this is all new to me and I kinda stress out a bit when she wakes really early from a nap because I don’t then know how to fit in her food and milk!

  186. Hi Alexis!

    First off, thank you for having a website that is both informative and hysterical. I love that you give advice and make me laugh when I most need it.

    I read everything that you said about nighttime sleep, and my son is now sleeping through the night and falling asleep completely on his own. The trouble is naps. He is 14 months old, and refuses to go down awake at nap time. I often nurse him to sleep, put him in his crib. He will sleep for about 30 minutes, then he won’t sleep again unless someone holds him. He will then sleep for another 60-90 minutes. This needs to stop as I’m pregnant and won’t have time to hold him for an hour twice a day once the new baby comes.

    Also, I work and he sleeps differently for different people. When my mother in law watches him, she holds him for naps and he sleeps fine. When our nanny comes, he gets rocked to sleep and put in his crib. He will sleep 1-2 hours for each nap with the nanny.

    Whenever I try putting him down awake during the day, he will cry for over an hour. At night, he goes down awake without a fuss.

    I’m so confused! How long should I let him cry? Is he just not tired and needs to transition to only 1 nap?? Please advise!!!


  187. I am so glad I found this site!

    We are currently trying to sleep train our 6 month old (we fell into the nursing to sleep trap) and at nights, it’s going ok. He’s now going down awake on his own with relatively minimal fussing (lately it’s been 5 min or less) and waking 2-3 times to nurse (an improvement over 4-6!).

    My issue, like many others who’ve posted, is naptime. He will not go down awake, and any time I can get him down (whether I nurse him to sleep and lay him down, nurse him to sleep and hold him, or put him down awake and let him cry until he falls asleep), he only sleeps for 20-30 minutes. At his 6 month appointment, the doctor told me it probably won’t get better and that some babies just don’t nap…. But that can’t be right, can it? Babies need their sleep! Help!

  188. My question is how to wean my 13 week old off of napping in a moby-style wrap? She will sleep in her crib or swing for 20-40 minutes (I don’t think this is enough for her) but will sleep in the wrap up to 2 hours. This was convenient as a newborn but is getting less so and soon I will go back to work. Part of the problem is a noisy/exciting 3 year old sister. Any hints to transitioning to a long nap in crib?

    • I’d keep working with that swing. Add a swaddle–it’s tight like the wrap. If space is limited and toddlers are noisy, have her sleep in a closet, bathroom, etc–seriously. Add white noise. I have been space limited and had my very young baby sleep in the pack and play in the bathroom with the bathroom fan on–away from other noisy children, dark, cool, white noise.

  189. Hi Alexis,
    I’ve come across several blogs and have really loved your posts and responses to comments! We have an amazing 9 1/2 month baby girl who has been a pretty good sleeper through the night and we started sleep training (Weissbluth method) and about 1 week later we are down to 5-10 min of fussing and then to sleep. She goes down about 7 pm and for the last 5 days or so has been waking up at 4:45. I would nurse her but she refused to go back to sleep. This morning she woke up at 4:40 I didn’t get her right away and she actually fell back asleep until about 6:10!
    Now onto the cat naps which we are in need of some advice…
    We are fortunate enough to have both grandmothers watch her on alternate days during the week and we realized she did not have a good daytime routine. We created a schedule for everyone to be consistent with her and we also started sleep training 4 days ago (also Weissbluth method) in efforts to prolong these naps and she has cried anywhere from 5-30 min and then falls asleep, but is STILL waking up at the 30 min mark and actually wakes up angry, screaming and still yawning/exhausted! Our current “schedule” for the day looks like this: 6:15 wake-up and nurse; 7:45 breakfast; 8:45 nap (30 min); 10:30 bottle (breast milk); 12:00 lunch; 12:30/1 nap (30 min); 2:00 bottle (breast milk); 3:30 snack; 5:30 dinner; 6:30 nurse; 6:45 bedtime routine; 7 bed. We’ve made sure to eliminate all sleep associations (milk AFTER naps), no more pacifier, now no more rocking and we’ve made the room dark with white noise and give her a lovey in her crib (all sleep and naps happening in the crib). She even will start yawning and rubbing her eyes after about 1.5 hrs after waking in the morning and napping earlier doesn’t help and we’ve also tried prolonging her awake time for 3 hours but still only gives us 30 mins. Hoping you can point out something we are missing!!

  190. I have a 5.5 month old. A little over 3 weeks ago we decided to get him to transition to sleeping in his crib at night and not me. He has always been good at setting his own nap schedule and sleeping through the night. Then 4 months hit and his sleeping problems began or should I say nursing to fall asleep. I also couldn’t have him sleep on me anymore. We ended up starting the CIO method at night but was modified that during night wakings we would bounce or nurse him back to sleep. Needles to say we had to cut that out and after one night of CIO he sleeps through the night. I also decided to move him to the crib because I noticed his 1-1.5 hr naps were becoming shorter and not restful. He was waking more and not able to go back to sleep without assistance. I thought if I got him to sleep through the night he could do naps. Well we started the CIO for naps and he is falling asleep on his own but only sleeping for 20 min. At first I had to wait till he was really tired to put him down. If I put him down when he was showing signs of tiredness he would cry past the 30 min. I think what is happening is he is moving into the next sleep cycle and can’t put him self back to sleep. I have tried having him cry it out and it didn’t work. I have also tried to nurse or bounce him to get calm enough to fall asleep again. NO luck. At this point I have no idea what to do to get him to take his nice naps again. He wakes up fussy and unhappy and is ready to go back to sleep again after an hour. I haven’t found any more information on the CIO method concerning naps. I worry that this can affect his development. Also he is not sleeping longer at night to catch up either. Any help would be amazing. It’s so hard to figure this out being a first time mom you feel so helpless and hopeless.

    • My son sometimes wakes after 30 minutes during his naps and I just leave him. He will give it a good cry sometimes, but I know from experience that if I pick him up and allow him to stay awake he is very cranky and needs to sleep shortly thereafter.

  191. Help! My baby is 11 months old and a terrible napper. He has never been a great napper but I used to get 2 on most days. Now he either plays in his crib(walking around and talking) or screams for the entire first nap. Then he only sleeps 45 mins at the second nap and wakes up screaming! I know 45 minutes is not enough daytime sleep. We have down cry it out so he goes to bed on his own in his crib every night and When he does fall asleep during the day. He usually wakes up once at 5 and goes back to sleep until 730. Then I put him down around 9 or 930 and again at 1 or 130 depending on if he slept or not. I tried just doing one nap thinking maybe he was trying to give up the morning but he still acts so tired in the morning and then only sleeps for 45 minutes. We do the same routine every time too, sound machine dark room books etc. he goes to bed at 7 also.

    I’ll take any advice you’ve got! I’m going crazy! Thanks!

  192. Mommy is losing steam… or her resolve… or maybe just her marbles. My DD is 8 months and was a decent napper and then all of a sudden wasn’t. I thought that maybe she was already going through the 3 to 2 nap transition (the third one had been a pass-out-on-the-boob affair anyway) so I tried a million different things, and all the things you are “supposed” to do, from this blog and others, and finally when she got down to only taking two 30 minute naps a day…

    I am now into day 8 of sleep training for night and naps at the same time (because nights were never really the problem and what I had been doing to get her down for naps just totally stopped working and even if it did, she was up in 30/40 minutes anyway). Now she is putting herself to sleep and sleeping AWESOME at night (she only fussed/shouted for 20 minutes the first night), and she is able to put herself to sleep initially at naptime, but she still just cannot go back to sleep after the first sleep cycle no matter what, it seems. I have let her cry for up to an hour after waking up from the first 30 minutes and I basically just feel horrible now and like I should just resign myself to the fact that she’s not going to sleep any more than 30 minutes two times a day. It’s SO not enough sleep for her, she is cranky and freaking out by the end of the day every day, but I think I am doing/have done everything I can! I feel like I should give up with the harsh CIO/nap training so that she will at least not be so stressed out… but also feel like a total failure if I give up now! Should I keep on toughing it out??? Is 8 days not long enough to any progress with longer naps??? I feel like I am starting to break… Anyone have any helpful advice or success stories to see me through???

  193. Help! My daughter was a terrible sleeper, but we’ve ironed out most issues besides naps. We used the swing to get her to fall asleep on her own, and now she’s in her crib with no major issues at night. She’s my third and I thought I would have this sleep thing down by now… She’s 6 months and refuses to nap, and has for about 2 months now. She fights them with everything she has, and is so overtired and desperate for sleep some days, but just won’t give in. The only way she’ll nap, starting a couple weeks ago, is falling asleep in the car. (Previously that didn’t work, either.)

    I have no problem trying Ferber for naps, at this point. It worked like a charm with my other two, but like I said, she’s my third, so when she cries for over a half hour and I end the attempted nap session, it’s not usually long before we have to be in the car for one thing or another, usually bringing my son to school, so that’s no negotiable. She inevitably falls asleep because she’s super exhausted by that point. The kicker is that she’ll sleep sometimes for 2.5 hours that way, so nap consolidation isn’t even an issue. She’d probably be my best napper if she’d just fall asleep! Haha She’s in the infant carseat now, so I can bring her in the house if she falls asleep, but the expiration date on that is up this month and quite frankly, some weekends we have no where to be, so I can’t rely on the carseat trick for ever.

    I’ve tried the swing, white noise, etc. and the kid is so stubborn she just won’t give in. I’m coming around to accepting she just won’t nap until she’s older but I know that’s not what she needs. There’s very little advice from Ferber and other sleep sources on napping situations like this, that I’ve been able to find anyway. So Alexis, or anyone who’s had success in a similar situation… please, help!!

  194. This post on short crappy naps saves my sanity. My now 5 month old, wouldn’t nap longer than 30-45 min uobuntil this past week. Didn’t matter where he was:swing, crib, my arms, 45 min woukd hit and he’d be awake crying. We could sometimes sooth him back to sleep, but mostly it was fruitless.

    After reading your sleep series and this post we gave up trying to lengthen his naps and focused on training him to be put down awake at bedtime. At 4 months old we started setting a solid sleep routine, with nap time being a shortened version of the routine. It seemed to make no difference at the time, but we persisted. At 4-1/2 months we started night time CIO with checks at increasing intervals, but eased into it by starting with a drowsy baby, then progressively more awake as things went on. Not gonna lie CIO sucked, bigtime, but after ~7 days, he was falling aeeo on his iwn with inly a little fussing and he woke less at night (went from 4-5 wakes to 2-3). We put him down at 6:30 (because he was a short crappy napper) and he’d usually only wake 2 times. Sometimes a third was in there. We would feed him everytine he woke. After 2 solid weeks of this routine, if he woke before 4 hours had passed, we wouldn’t offer a bottle. It took 2 nights and that extra waking disappeared.

    Then 4 days ago, like magic, his short crappy naps consolidated. He started napping for 60 min, then 90, and even eeked out a 2 hr nap yesterday (I wont let him bap longer than 2hrs). We changed nothing about his daytime routine, it just happened. Now we are paying more attention to the waking hours, and enjoying the breaks. I finally started exercising again. :-).
    Now at night, he only wakes once to eat. The second feeding (well the first actually) dissapeared on its own. He now wakes up only at 2:00 am. (Bedtime is 8:30-9ish because he is taking a 4th nap).

    So, all this to say: THANK YOU for helping me not feel crazy and like a terrible parent because my son wouldn’t nap, and for focusing our efforts on a fruitful goal of putting down awake.

  195. I have an 11 month old and he has yet to take a nap longer than 45 min. (except for twice when he was sick and that was about 1.5 hrs each time) ELEVEN.months. Maybe because his first birthday is weeks away and i’m so sick of our little 45-minute-three-times-a-day schedule, I am asking, begging for help. I’m pretty sure that over the past year i’ve read every post and I’ve applied everything I’ve learned. He gets a bottle before naps and bedtime but never falls asleep on them. He has talked/moaned himself to sleep since 3months. He goes to bed at 7-7:30. He still wakes up once in the early morning hours (usually 3am) but after some crying will go back to sleep until 6-6:30. I’ve tried to wait it out and just hoped that he’d grow out of it. BUT. He hasn’t yet and i’m losing hope. I’ve also taken away the third nap recently but the other naps didn’t get longer and then he was going for 5 hours of awake time before bed. Can anyone help me???

  196. Ok so here it is my baby is 6 months old and wont sleep more than 10-45 minutes at a time naps and night time… he was able to sooth himself to sleep ( well for about a month )and now nothing im up every 10-45 minutes let just say im falling apart and my house to … nothing gets done because i get no sleep … he is down 45 minutes and up hour to hour n half all night long …. i have read anything and everything i can find i have talked to his doctor and all he has to say is its normal im sorry there is nothing normal About this lol

    Help me plz

  197. I have a 3-1/2 month old who chronically cat-napped and was cranky for the vast majority of the day. Finally we decided to just put him in his crib for naps while he was a awake, we left the room very dark with a noisemaker/projector going, and did so on a very clear schedule.

    Surprisingly, when we shut the door he was quiet! he will fuss and sometimes cry after about 10 minutes, but he religiously puts himself to sleep. We were so hesitant about upsetting him before, that we weren’t even giving him the opportunity to figure it out (soothe) himself.

    We also have a religious bedtime routine of bottle, bath, massage, and two books starting at 6:30 pm. He loves it, and he becomes excited over certain parts of his routine. He sleeps a solid 8 – 9 hours before he needs a feeding, then we return him to his crib to put himself back to sleep then he will wake up at 6:00 – 7:00 for the day.

    Overall he seems really happy on days where we can follow his routine, and on other days when life events interrupt he tends to be fussier. We can tell he’s enjoying the quiet time in his room. He was giving us signals that he wanted to self soothe, and that he was tired but we simply weren’t giving him the opportunity.

  198. Also, once we place him in his crib to sleep, that is IT, we commit. We do not go in to pat him, pick him up, rock or feed him. We have a baby monitor that allows us to speak to him through the base in his room and we use this feature very sparingly and only when he’s really upset to keep it effective. Seems harsh but he’s SO MUCH happier now that he’s getting sleep. When he is happier during his waking hours it strengthens our bond with him and lets us get in some really great play time.

  199. Hi Alexis, I really hope you or some of your readers can help me. My 3 month old is a really light (crappy) sleeper. He completely wakes up every sleep cycle (30-45 mins) with squirming, grunting and crying. During the day I go to try and settle him back to sleep (with white noise, paci, patting) so that he gets longer naps. Sometime it works, sometime it doesn’t. That’s fine for me. The dreaded part is at night. He wakes up every 45 mins and it’s really difficult to get him back to sleep. Also, sleeping in 20 min streches has turned me into a zombie. I don’t know when to set his bedtime (if I let him, he’ll do a long evening nap or 2 hrs) and I don’t even know when to feed him at night (as I try not to feed him whenever he wakes up). I really need some help to figure him out. Thanks in advance!

  200. Hi there
    I have a 4mth old little boy who up until a week ago was taking 2x2hr and 1x30min nap quite happily in his swing (goes in awake) but for the last week he has been waking after 30min (only during his 2nd nap at 1pm) and screaming….. I have tried extending wake time, shortening wake time but nothing seems to work – as a result he is a mr crankypants for the rest of the afternoon (and never sleeps longer than 30min for his 3rd nap) any suggestions??

  201. Hi mothers of catnappers! I have just taken a trip down memory lane to Feb 2013 when I posted here about my then 9 wk old catnapper. I just went back and read my post (and remembered my desperation!) and felt compelled to update about my then newborn who is now 2! She is a fantastic sleeper and has bed since 6 mths. We’ve never had 2 long naps a day (so didn’t have to deal with the dropping of a nap dilemma) but she has 1.5-2.5 hr naps everyday! Also fantastic at night. There is hope! I just remember feeling so anxious in that newborn catnapping period that she’d NEVER sleep well…when really, she just needed to grow a bit! I’m back here again as I now have a 6 wo catnapper…. But that’s another story!! Best of luck…it does get better :-)

    • Hi lucy! I have a four month old who sleeps for 30 minutes only in daytime. I am forever trying to put him back to sleep or frequently let him sleep on me or in my lap so that we both get some rest. But I worry I might be giving him wrong habit which might prevent him from from consolidating sleep later. Did u just let ur baby take short naps or tried to extend them and ur lo extended them at 6 mths?

      • Maybe there is an interim step between “forever short naps” and “wait till 6 months” – are you maximizing the soothing? Most 4 month olds still need a ton of soothing to take a long-ish nap so swaddling, white noise, and maybe the swing might be helpful. Have you seen this post (see link below)?

        • Hi! Congratulations on your website, it’s great!
          My 3 month old baby girl sleeps in her crib, no swadling, white noise or pacifier for 6-7 hours a night but takes 24min naps… Should I just wait until she is older, will she be able to sleep longer? She is breastfed and nurses every two hours, falling asleep while nursing many times…
          My 4 year old son started waking up every 45 minutes during the night when he was 4 months old and we did CIO with wonderful results when he was almost 7 months and I’m afraid we’ll go down the same path now…

  202. This website is a godsend! Thank you Alexis for your helpful tips because my terrible napper just went down for a nap (in our new swing) and has been asleep for 4 hours.

    My question is this: Should I wake a sleeping baby from an extra long daytime/late afternoon nap?

    The sleep deprived part of me is screaming the word “Nooooo!!” very loudly, but the still functioning part of my brain is whispering the warning, “But he won’t sleep tonight if you don’t wake him!”

    I would appreciate your sage advice on this issue.

  203. Hi Alexis!
    I just want to start by thanking you for this website. I don’t know if your book is already published or not but I swear I’m buying it for every baby shower I’m invited to from now on!!
    My two year old little monkey is a wonderful sleeper (after that 8 month sleep regression when I stumbled on your website in the middle of the night and realized I was putting her to bed all wrong) but that was a fairly easy fix all said and done.. I just wish it hadn’t been so extreme. And I still sometimes feel guilty about that day she got kick out of my bed for good and I sometimes miss her cuddles. Mind you 10 hour sleeps are pretty wonderful, which is why I have these questions with our new little 8 week bundle… She is a happy baby. I mean Happy! Who is this little being? She’s sleeping 10 hours straight At night.. What?! She’s been doing it for weeks!!! I’m not trying to gloat or seem ungrateful I just dont want to screw it up! (I did not have a great sleeper until cio with my first)… Baby is in a crib/co-sleeper. Loves to be swaddled. Won’t take a Paci. Nurses on demand all day and lots in the evening. And she’s pretty chill about dosing off to sleep about 830/9 mostly on her own if she’s soothed enough right before I put her down. Of course we’re still in that stage of out-of-sight out-of-mind. Can this keep up tho? Should I make a rule of no nursing at night since she can clearly do it? But my other questions are mostly related to big sister who is an angel when we’re busy all day at the park or a play program and gets bored and CRAZY at home. So day naps for the wee one are super assisted by boob, in my carrier or car.. And she’s being woken up by big sisters crazies.. Is this going to mess up her sleep habits as she gets older? I wonder if I set one nap at home in crib and the other ones on the fly (car seat/carrier) would that work? I feel so bad that’s she’s getting woken up all day between my sweet (and insane) two year old and from me having to transfer her around all the time. But like I said she’s so happy. So maybe it’s ok?

    • I would love for you to share my book with all your friends and am DESPERATELY TRYING TO GET IT READY FOR PRINT (sadly this is unlikely to be ready till November – DOH!)

      Well it’s pretty amazing that your 8 week old is sleeping 10 hours straight! You’re right – I would also be hesitant to feed her as she’s shown you she can comfortably go 10 hours. That being said there are legitimate growth spurts so I wouldn’t entirely rule out the idea that the occasional night feeding might sneak up on you. If you can fully separate feeding from bedtime over the next 2 months (no rush!) that would be a great thing to keep in mind.

      As for napping? Yeah, I hear you. Naps on the go sometimes need to happen for big sisters sanity. However doing them ALL the time will definitely cause problems (short naps, major boobage required). Eventually all those short naps can back up on you in the form of night sleep disruption. There’s no good answer here but trying to have 70% of naps happen at home would be a better solution than half. Maybe first nap (which often is the “good” one) happens at home but late afternoon nap on the go (as it’s generally short anyway) is OK?

      Good luck!

  204. Hi there,

    My 3 month old starting taking 30 minute naps after 6 weeks and they still continue. I’m very confident that he just can’t get into the next sleep cycle (but he connects them fine at night). During his growth spurts he sleeps longer than 30 minutes here and there as he will wake up and then go back to sleep. He puts himself to sleep and has no sleep associations besides a swaddle and white noise. I am curious, do you think the CIO method would eventually work at getting him to extend his naps? I have not had success every time because his crying gets him rattled and thus keeps him up but what do you suggest for this type of situation? Just wait it out until he’s older and can connect sleep cycles or keep letting him cry for 15-30minutes after he wakes up? I was thinking of putting him on a sleeping schedule but am I forcing him to do something he’s not physically ready for yet?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.


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