Q&A: naps at around 3 months

Lisa writes:

"I seek your wisdom on naps!

My nearly eleven week old son is a champion night sleeper but fights
daytime naps like a big fighty thing.  He'll sometimes go an entire day
with only a couple of short catnaps, where he goes down but won't stay
asleep for more than ten minutes and can't be settled back down again. I
do look out for tired signs after he's been awake for an hour and a
half to two hours, but he frequently goes from "displaying no tired
signs at all" to "overtired" without any noticeable signs of weariness
and won't settle down at all.  Or he simply doesn't seem to get tired!

Often the only way to get him to nap is to walk him round the
neighbourhood in his Bjorn or pram and KEEP MOVING, which is obviously
not very restful for me! He also sometimes has great 2-3 hour naps in
his baby swing, but again, often wakes up after a short while, and needs
to be put down at just the right stage of drowsy or actually asleep. If
he isn't sleepy enough, he either just lies there awake and staring (he
does a good line in "you've got to be kidding, lady" looks) or gets
unbelievably cranky – he doesn't seem to be one of those babies that you
can just "put down for a nap".

We swaddle him for night time sleeps but don't always do so for naps,
usually because the window of opportunity between "a bit tired, might
sleep" and "TOO TIRED TO SLEEP" is barely noticeable, if there at all,
and I can't keep him swaddled all day!  A lot of his better naps have
happened after he's unexpectedly fallen asleep while feeding.

I do think he needs the sleep, as he does get awfully grizzly and grumpy
if he doesn't get enough naptime.  Also *I'd* like some time when he's
asleep during the day to do exciting things like, er, eat uninterrupted,
or read.  Ideally it'd be nice if he'd nap in his crib, too (I am
currently taking your Malcolm X approach to his swing naps!), and at
predictable times, but for now I'd be happy if he'd just nap, full stop.

Hope you can help!"

Wow, do I wish I could help! Unfortunately, what you are describing is totally, completely, absolutely, comically typical of daytime sleep for babies that age.

It seems like there are babies that fall into a few different camps. At one extreme we have babies who sleep all day. While rare, I hear they actually do exist. A friend of mine finished her PhD thesis and painted two rooms while home on her 12-week maternity leave with her first, so obviously at least one baby has been a real daytime sleeper. At the other end of the scale there are babies who really truly don't sleep at all during the day for the first few months. I'd like to write more about that but just thinking about it scares me so I'm backing away slowly.

The majority of babies, though, seem to be either 45-minute kids or 20-minute kids. Meaning that their standard nap length seems to be preset to be either 45 minutes long (help) or 20 minutes long (heellllllpppp). And you can, and will, try everything: rocking, swaddling, going for walks with the baby in the pram/stroller, driving the baby around in the car, letting them sleep on top of the running clothes dryer, strapping them to you, leaving them alone in a crib and shutting the door and sobbing, etc. But the only thing that actually seems to lengthen the nap time is if your mother-in-law is babysitting, in which case they sleep for 90 minutes and you look like a crazed liar.

Raise your hand if you tried that whole scheme of waiting for the time when the baby woke up and sticking the pacifier/bottle/your boob in the baby's mouth right at the exact second before full wakefulness occurred to attempt to get another 20 or 45-minute sleep cycle out of your baby. I bet you remember with clarity the three times it worked.

Raise your hand if you've been driving to a store to get one specific thing and have ended up stuck sitting in the parking lot for 18 or 43 minutes because your child is taking a nap and you think maybe this time will be the one long nap and you can't screw it up by pulling the baby out of the car.

Raise your hand if you think your back will never be the same because you spent months and months bouncing around the house with your baby in a carrier, desperate for just ten minutes longer.

Raise your hand if you thought you must have been doing something really, truly, horribly wrong, because babies are supposed to sleep, dammit, and if you couldn't even make that happen, then what good are you? 

Now raise your hands in the air and wave them around like you just don't care if, in fact, you stopped caring because none of it worked, not even the guilt bath. It's just biology and the particular preset your baby has. All kinds of books will have all kinds of tips on getting your baby to sleep longer, and I bet even the readers will tell you things that got them a few extra minutes, but really, it's just something that's kind of preset during that time period.

And then, somehow, when your baby is right around 5 or 5 1/2 months old (or 4 1/2 if you're really lucky), your baby will go into a new growth/developmental spurt and will start taking longer naps. It really feels like winning the lottery. Not the MegaMillions, but a decent-sized pot. I feel certain that it's connected to the pretty-horrible-for-some-people 4-month sleep regression–once that regression is over, the leap includes being able to (and needing to) sleep longer stretches. It just seems to happen (especially if you do really pay attention to the sleep signals–if you have a baby who gives them).

So with these words, Lisa, I free you: There's nothing more you can do. 6,000 years of parents haven't been able to change newborn sleep patterns, so don't overthink it. If it makes you feel better to try all kinds of tricks to get him to sleep, then do it. But give yourself credit for the effort, not for any results. Enjoy your nighttime sleep, and be ready to pounce in that 5-month-old nap switch window. You're doing a great job.

119 thoughts on “Q&A: naps at around 3 months”

  1. I don’t have enough hands!!If you have one, try the vibrating bouncy seat! That worked for both our boys, but most especially for #2 who was a horrible napper forever and we have permanent “nostalgia marks” on our kitchen table from the hours and hours and hours (accumulated) that we’d sit there, vibration on, bouncing bouncing bouncing his little bouncy seat to get him to sleep and keep him there. Yes, it means being chained to the table or floor by a bouncing hand or foot, but that leaves 3 other appendages free to do other things!!
    #1 was the swaddler and had to be swaddled for every sleep event else he’d smack himself away within a milisecond. And he had to be danced to sleep.
    I deserve a medal for the arm strength acquired from those boys!
    Good luck, Lisa! Keep trying. You’ve got a great attitude! This, too, shall pass.

  2. Oh, yes, I remember. 4 months was awful, awful, awful. I remember getting her to sleep on the boob, putting her in the swing, turning around…and she was awake. Of the 10 minutes she would spend napping, 8 of them were usually on me, while I made sure she was ‘down.’Ha ha…the sad joke for me was that she NEVER progressed beyond a 40-minute nap. The 10-minute ones were the low point, and the 40-minute ones were the high point.
    And I’m 3 months away from doing it all again, this time w/ a toddler too! I think as long as the baby doesn’t cry constantly whenever there is not a boob in his mouth, I’ll be okay.

  3. My son didn’t nap for 8 months. EIGHT MONTHS. The final straw was when we were visiting family across the country and the kid wound up with a double ear infection. He wouldn’t fall asleep in the Moby wrap or on the boob, which is how he’d “napped” all his life. I knew he needed sleep to heal, so we stuck him in the pack & play and let him scream for 30 minutes before he dropped off to sleep. It was horrible, but the knowledge that he needed sleep more than I needed to not hear him cry kept us strong.

  4. Yup, all of those sound VERY familiar! My approach was to do whatever it took to get him to nap so he would be rested for the night. Wearing, walking, driving, bouncing, nursing… The first time he ever took a nap longer than 45 minutes I was giddy. I thought he would always be a horrible napper but amazingly he’s becoming a pretty good one. 6 months seemed to be the turning point for us.Hang in there Lisa!

  5. Anyone trying to decipher the sleep patterns of a three month old (or a 6 month old or an n month old) and then trying to manipulate them is, in my humble opinion, asking for trouble. With a capital T.

  6. I have an eight month old and you know how on foursquare people are the mayor of this bar and that coffeeshop. Well I’m the mayor of parking lots hither and yon. We live 25 minutes from town and the is the exact right amount of time for the baby to get napping and when we arrive I spend anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes sitting in the car waiting for him to wake up. Unless he woke up from a nap immediately prior to us getting in the car, I’ll be hanging out in a parking lot upon our arrival.

  7. My kid would only nap on the move — and in the baby carrier, not the stroller! — for the first 6 months of his life. Or maybe it was 9. I revise that: he would also sometimes zonk out in my arms after nursing, and stay asleep as long as I didn’t move a millimeter, and no sirens or loud trucks drove within a 3-mile radius, and no one called, and no one laughed outside in the street, and…The nanny finally got him on a real nap schedule after I went back to work, so not only did I not get to profit from it much (except on weekends, or on my Wednesday off, at least until he dropped his naps entirely for me), but it added another layer of mommy-guilt to the whole picture.
    My advice? Don’t sweat it. Do whatever you need to to keep your sanity, that’s the most important thing. Also keep trying new things, and keep waiting, until at some point some combination of trying new things and waiting will work. It is amazing how quickly “that would never work for my kid” changes to “that worked like a charm” after you’ve hit the right developmental milestone. (There are still some strategies that never work, alas…)
    On the bright side, I’m convinced that those 6-, 8-, 10-kilometer nap treks I used to take with my baby in the Moby helped me lose the baby weight. It’s easy to see the bright side almost 3 years later.

  8. I remember when my son was around that age and I would end up sitting on the couch all. day. long. watching reruns of the West Wing because I’d be nursing, the baby would finally fall asleep and I didn’t want to risk waking him by moving him or me! We finally grew out of that stage, but for a while there I was thankful for reruns and DVR.

  9. My #1 (now almost 5) never ever ever showed any sleepy signs during the day at all. In fact, sometimes, I would pick him up from day care after a full day and there would be NO NAP and he’d fall asleep in the car. He hadn’t fussed or rubbed his eyes or anything all day so they never put him down for a nap. That’s when I moved to clock-based nap-giving. I just wrote down on his chart every single day when it would be 2.5 hours from when he woke up and told them to put him down for a nap. Sometimes it worked!(This is the same kid who got his naps by falling asleep in the (sometimes non-moving…just parked in the garage) car and then was transferred to his crib…for a year. He needed to be restrained by the car seat to be still long enough to settle himself. He would grab his blankie and stand by the front door and wait to be put in the car for his nap.)

  10. FTW!My son didn’t nap well enough to have a nap schedule until he was about 9 months old — and then he promptly started showing symptoms of giving up his morning nap. I mean, he took some long naps, but not until he was at least four months old. And I had to train him to those, and sleep or lie down near him most of the time.
    We still spend a lot of time sleeping with him at night. He is 27 months old. So if OP’s baby is sleeping well at night, that’s a total win.
    I’m a terrible sleeper myself, so none of this really surprised me exactly. But I still thought I must be doing something wrong, and I read a lot of books and tried a lot of things, most without success. Now I like to say that it’s a little known fact that babies are people. They don’t all behave the same, no matter what the books say.

  11. Ok, I have to admit, I still rely on the car nap and LOVE it. I have a couple of magazines or a book with me. It is the only time I get to read or do my school work!

  12. @Kelly, I had the same thought – I don’t have enough hands!@Moxie, You amaze me with your ability to remember all this info when your kids are clearly passed this stage. My guy is only 22 months and I had forgotten most of this until I read it and then it was like ‘Yeah, yep, oh yeah, uh huh’. You really eloquently (and with a good dose of humor…’cause really, that’s all you have when it comes to napping) nailed it.
    @Lisa, we had a similar situation (except he wouldn’t really nap in the swing). Swaddling was essential for us. And like you said, it’s a bit of a pain at first because you feel like you’re swaddling and un-swaddling all day trying to get the timing right. But I stuck with it (what else could I do?!) and eventually it started working.
    Also, DS napped in a rocking cradle in his room until he was about 6 months. A nice hybrid between a swing & a crib.
    Had to laugh at “…waiting for the time when the baby woke up and sticking the pacifier/bottle/your boob in the baby’s mouth right at the exact second before full wakefulness occurred to attempt to get another 20 or 45-minute sleep cycle out of your baby.”
    That’s another thing that I clung to. And it actually, eventually started working consistently for us. I was on pins and needles never knowing when the siren would go off, but I preferred that and the potential of more nap time/relaxation time, than not trying it. Of course, now at 22 months, it works like a charm too (though I can be a little slower on the reaction time). Maybe it works too well as we are trying to start reducing BF. But, still, it was totally worth it. And oh yeah, the days I really, really, really wanted him to go back to sleep? Pretty much a guarantee it wasn’t going to happen.
    The last thing I’ll mention that helped us was following a routine to get him on the 2, 3, 4 nap schedule. Search Moxie’s archives for a description if you don’t already know it. Essentially the 2,3,4 times are the awake hours and you put your kid down to nap after s/he’s been awake for that many hours. It didn’t click in right away, but eventually the routine helped DS and he began to automatically get sleepy at those times. It might have kicked in closer to 5.5 months, but I honestly can’t remember. Again, check the archives.
    Good luck & nothing but sympathy. At 22 mos, DS now naps consistently for 2 hrs in the PM. And by about 6 months I think he was doing 40 mins both the am & pm, so there is hope!
    I had big dreams on my mat leave of doing lots of projects while DS napped. Um priorities changed. Eating and napping myself when I needed it during that 20 minute nap (at first) was the new normal. It will pass.

  13. Moxie, this is why I read you! What a kind, thoughtful, supportive answer. My son is nearly three, and he was a horrible sleeper for the first 18 months. Reading your site that first year and a half really saved my sanity when all the “tricks” from the mountain of sleep books I got did no good at all. Thank you for being so kind and reassuring, a voice of reason in the midst of all the crazy.

  14. I will just add that pretty much all the doctory people agree that little babies can’t keep themselves awake for fun until they’re past 6 or 8 months (which for my guy was super obvious). So you only have to worry about yourself, not the baby. Baby gets as much sleep as baby needs. Mothers: not so much.

  15. One of my favorite things about Penelope Leach’s book Your Baby and Child is that she lets you in on the secret that some babies just don’t need as much sleep as others, especially in the daytime. She identifies the “wakeful baby” as one difficult type, since they don’t meet expectations and take a lot of extra attention. There isn’t a lot to “do” about it – and it really *really really* isn’t something wrong, so you don’t need to – but it’s comforting to know that somebody has recognized it happens and is wearing.Moxie, right on as always!

  16. Both of my kids were like that from around 8 weeks until 6 months. Lousy nappers, but especially in DS’s case, pretty good night sleepers (ok, ONLY in Ds’s case)We sleep trained Zoe at 6 months and her naps went from non-existant to text book. I don’t know if she would have started napping all own her own, but I’m sure the sleep trining didn’t do any harm.
    Noah however, needed to nap in his car seat (but not in the car) if I wanted him to sleep longer than 40 minutes (which of course I did). After 40 minutes I would hear him rocking away and then silence for another 2.5 hours. It was pure unadulterated BLISS.

  17. Both of my kids had trouble sustaining naps for longer than about 30 minutes at that age. I thought it was related to the length of a sleep cycle- like, they would wake up after one cycle, and couldn’t figure out how to get back to sleep on their own. My son would pop awake from a 30 minute nap and seem refreshed and ready to play, but my daughter would wake up fussy and sleepy, so I just popped the pacifier back in, rocked for a minute, and she went back to sleep. Somewhere around the 3 1/2-4 month mark, they both started taking longer naps.We are diehard swaddlers around here, so I might suggest that if your baby is swaddled at night, and night sleep is good, then swaddling during the day could help. With my first child, I felt guilty that he spent the vast majority of his day swaddled in a dark room, but, hey, it worked, and it got me some freedom. Good luck!

  18. Yup–30-45 minute naps, max, forever and ever. I think it’s only in the last year or so (and she’s past 3 now) that my daughter started occasionally sleeping more than 1-1.5 hr at a time. And I had friends whose kids would take TWO 3-HOUR NAPS at 4 months old, so I wanted to kill myself. We did a lot of stroller naps–I couldn’t rest, but at least I could wander around Target and get a coffee.BTW, her daytime sleep only consolidated into something that could be called “naps” when she was maybe 8-9 months old. At 11 weeks, she was definitely taking 15 minute catnaps on and off all day long.

  19. Oh goodness, the 45 minute nap! I didn’t know that infants could tell time, but my boy woke up for months at the exact 45 minute mark. And 45 minutes is just enough time to make and eat a sandwich, load the dishwasher, lie down on the couch, and just start to fall asleep. So many times my mind had just started to disengage when the 45 minute timer went off. Torture!

  20. Ugh, good luck! I didn’t even *realize* I was supposed to help my baby get to sleep during the day until she was around 8 weeks old. (Maybe that’s good – probably saved me a lot of “why won’t she nap?!” drama.)And then we mostly got the 20-40 min naps (if we got any). Which stressed me out because Weissbluth says that’s “not a real nap”. Screw that.
    Baby girl didn’t start taking 1.5 hour+ naps until about 5.5 months or so.
    Like others have said, I think the key is setting your own expectations. Babies are pretty good at getting what they need when it comes to sleep. A friend of mine gave me the best advice ever – you can’t *make* a kid eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom, and the sooner you learn that, the fewer power struggles you’ll have.
    Once I started “going with the flow” and ignoring “what the books said” I was a lot happier. Some days we get 3-4 20 min naps, and some days we get 2×2 hour naps. It’s all good.

  21. Yes, there is hope, Lisa! My son was very much like yours, and napping was a daily frustration that I really allowed to wear me down. He didn’t really nap until 5 months or so, but when he did, he did it with a bang, and he went from a terrible napper to a baby that slept 4-5 hours a day, swaddled, in his crib. I did do a lot of nap scheduling work (fruitlessly) for months before that, but on the bright side, it made the transition to an actual nap schedule easier. Once in place, I protected his naps like a lioness… nothing and noone interfered with his naps. I spent a lot of time at home, but I was accomplishing things and was well rested, and so was the baby, so everyone was happy.Luckily, my daughter, who is now 12-weeks old, is already on the road to a nap schedule, and literally sleeps most of the day, most days of the week. So yes, these babies do exist and no, you are not genetically doomed to have a brood of ill-nappers should you have more kids!

  22. My suggestion is to cut way back on the amount of time you keep him awake. At this age, my daughter could do 1 hr 15 minutes of being awake before she needed a nap, especially in the mornings. She could stay up an hour and a half in the afternoons. But if I kept her up too long and she got overly tired, she took poor naps. Try putting him him down drowsy, but still slightly awake. And try swaddling him – we used the Happiest Baby on the Block technique, where you swaddle pretty tightly and with the arms down by the sides.

  23. I had to laugh (ruefully) while reading this because you are describing exactly what we went through with our kiddo. I was sooo stressed out by the non-napping and how my baby’s sleep behavior looked nothing like what any of the sleep experts’ books said (Weissbluth, especially, can bite me!). Now he is 15 months old and takes one 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon and it is HEAVEN. His daytime sleep didn’t really become predictable or regular until he dropped to one nap a day at 12 months.

  24. Ha ha ha ha ha. And ha.I am now on baby #3 and ALL THREE were 45 minute nappers. The older two until somewhere around 6 months. My 3.5 month old is on 4, 45-min naps a day. It is a schedule — HIS schedule. He wakes up after 45 minutes as if he had an alarm set in his wee, little, short-napping head.
    I can get longer naps (at times) if I let him sleep on me. Which sometimes is worth it just to get time to sit/lay down. Sometimes I’d rather have 45 minutes unencumbered.
    But in any event, YES YES YES little babies are often not great at daytime sleep. With my 1st I killed myself trying to lengthen out the naps. Now we just go with it!

  25. Yes, yes, yes. Once again, you nailed it, Moxie.I think my lowest time as a mother was when my first was about 9 months old, and I couldn’t get her to nap without motion. Except at day care, where she’d nap just fine. (This pattern, by the way, continues to this day. She is 3. She has sworn off napping at home, but still naps at day care.) At that time, I had every other Friday off, and I clearly remember pushing her around the neighborhood one Friday, crying because I must be a terrible mother if my baby would nap for day care but not for me.
    You can’t make a baby sleep. Really, you can’t. You can help a baby sleep, you can set up things to encourage a baby to sleep… but if that baby doesn’t want to sleep, there will be no sleep. Let go of the guilt. You’re not doing anything wrong.
    Some things that helped us with our difficult sleeper at about 3 months: (1) she’d nap in her bouncy chair in the bathroom with the fan on. I’d take her in with me while I showered, and she’d sometimes drop off to sleep and then keep sleeping as long as I didn’t turn off the super noisy fan that we had in there. I couldn’t nap myself at these times, but at least I was clean. And I could grab some food. (2) Anytime anyone asked if they could help me, I’d tell them to take my daughter for a walk. I lived near the beach at the time, so I’d tell them the best route to the beachfront walk and ask that they not come back for over an hour. And then I’d try to nap. My husband took her for long walks on Saturdays and Sundays so that I could nap.
    Good luck. This too shall pass.

  26. @SarcastiCarrie- the mental image of your son standing by the door with his blankie waiting to be strapped in for a nap is cracking me up. Thanks for brightening my day!And @ARC- if only I could make myself really accept the fact that I can’t MAKE my 3 year old go potty, I’d be a much happier mother. I long ago gave up on the idea that I have any control over her sleep. I don’t stress about her incredibly selective eating habits? Why is the potty thing making me feel like a crappy mother all over again???? Argh. (Sorry. End of off topic rant.)

  27. This was a perfect response, Moxie. Anytime I’ve been given a “free pass” (like when the pediatrician recently told me to back off trying to potty train my strong-willed 3 year old), I’ve felt so liberated. I hope the OP will feel liberated, too, because I can confirm (from having two babies who were/are poor sleepers) there is nothing she can do. Thanks, too, for telling her she’s doing a good job. Just hearing that can mean everything sometimes.

  28. I love Moxie’s response. I found this site when my twins were 9 moths old and still doing 20-40 min naps. Most books barely touch on napping, except to say a 40 minute nap ‘doesn’t count’. ugh. I tried all the ‘tricks’ and felt like a failure, not to mention totally drained because with two, there is really no break if they’re both having even 40 minute naps and it takes 15 minutes to get one down. I remember at 3 months having this crazy routine of putting one in the bjorn, the ‘good sleeper’ in the moses basket with a binky and trying to rock the basket while bouncing the other in the bjorn. Another time my husband and I sat in the freezing rain after a walk in the woods while they napped for another 30 minutes in the stroller. I think it was the first time they napped in the stroller when it wasn’t moving. For a while I was stupidly following the advice in Baby Whisperer, where you feed then do activity, then put them down. When I started to just nurse them down things got a little better- at least I knew their tummies were full, and at least getting them down was super easy. You probably don’t want to hear this, but we had the 45 minute naps until they went down to one nap per day, around 18 months. After that naps gradually lengthened, and now at 3, they take a 1-3 hour nap (1 if I’m home, 3 if their nanny is home).Good luck, I really feel your pain!

  29. Wow do I feel better after reading that so many of us are in the same boat!! I CONSTANTLY feel like I am doing something wrong, because all the books and all the experts say that my kid should be napping better. So why isn’t he?!!? 45 minute naps are the very most I ever get. And I am obsessed with it- thinking about it all the time. He is just about 5 months. I am hopeful that maybe there will be some change over the next few weeks. But I am bookmarking this entry and going to read it over and over again when I feel crappy and incapable.

  30. It occurs to me, reading the comments, that part of the reason we get so stressed about napping is often because *we* need the break due to being soooo sleep deprived among other things…especially in those first months.If we were well rested and had a lot of energy, it would be a lot easier to go with the flow regarding napping. I must admit that now I am slightly more rested, I don’t stress as much if DS occasionally misses a weekend afternoon nap.
    I’ve always felt at ease and do mostly go with the flow regarding run-of-the-mill eating issues (i.e assuming baby is gaining weight, healthy, etc.). And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that it’s not affecting my intake of food (even if I couldn’t eat a meal all in one go at the beginning). But you can bet that if I couldn’t get enough to eat to sustain me, the issue would be a lot more intense.
    I think it was Hedra and/or others that have previously commented: If you can’t get the kid to nap/sleep, do what you have to do to get yourself rested/have breaks etc. Easier said than done, I know, but worth remembering & striving for.

  31. @the milliner – you are so right about being well-rested easing the “go with the flow” attitude. Until our babe was sleeping through the night, I was a wound up mess trying to get her to sleep and freaking out over any disruption. Our poor dogs were booted out of the bedroom during many a baby nap. And it was totally because I was so freakin’ tired. Hedra’s advice to get 8 hours of sleep before getting out of bed (even if that takes until noon) was what helped me in the early days. (And sometimes even now, when we have a particularly wretched night.)@Cloud – that advice from my friend was the best thing ever, but of course, I still have to remind myself 🙂

  32. I remember this stage so clearly with my daughter… and it will pass. And Moxie and other readers have hit it on the head. The biggest “epiphany” I got was that I needed to start putting her down for naps and nighttime sleep under the same conditions, which ended up in deciding to move her out of our room to her crib. Double-hard, but the best solution. Naps didn’t really get solid until after 6 months and at daycare, but now, she loves her naps, and I still take them too on weekends (hallelujah!).And I too felt like a complete failure when the books said that a 45 min nap “didn’t count”, and I was so exhausted that about the time I would start to really fall asleep, she’d be up again from her nap. I implemented the sandwich rule, which was if she was sleepy, I would put her down in her bed for at least the amount of time it would take me to make myself and consume a sandwich. Sometimes she cried, and it was hard, but that was my line in the sand(wich).

  33. My son was the same way at that age. The short naps drove me nuts, but I actually think it’s still worth “working on” just a bit. Even though he only slept for 41 mins. at a time, we started a naptime “routine.” The same lullaby song on the iPod, one book, a dark room and down into the crib. I did this twice a day (morning and afternoon nap) and didn’t worry about the third nap (stroller, car, walking, was fine). He resisted for a few days and I just helped him get to sleep however he could, but I still tried the routine. I felt like he needed to learn how to fall asleep on his own because I was going back to work and could not expect the childcare provider (who was caring for another baby at the same time) to spend 40 mins. getting him to sleep. It paid off! He still took crazy short naps – I agree with Moxie that you just have to wait that out; we did like 4 or 5 short ones per day during that phase, and it SUCKS. But the routine helped immensely in teaching him not to be scared or resist naptime, and that was worth A LOT. And by 6 months or so, he was taking much longer naps. Good luck.

  34. Both hands, in the air over here. My son was similar.Hang in there, Lisa, it has to end soon. And as far as I’m concerned, if you want to keep trying things to improve the naps, and the process doesn’t drive you nuts, then go for it. As my mom wisely said at this stage, it’s the last thing that you try that will finally work.

  35. My 11-month-old typically takes one 30-50 minute nap a day. I blame it on his daycare. He fights that tooth and nail though. I miss the days when he was 3 months old and slept 3/4 of the day. I used to worry that he was sleeping TOO much. Ha and ha.

  36. I wish I had known about moxie when my son was 1-4 months old and refusing to nap during the day! He was so overtired, he would be cranky and scream. Many afternoons I would spent hanging over the side of his crib crying from exhaustion (ME crying, not him): “Why – won’t – you – sleep!!!” He never slept more than 40 minutes during those months. At night he did better. But then, just as Moxie says, he hit 5 1/2 months and he started being able to fall asleep on walks. He was so much happier then!

  37. PS He didn’t start having really good naps until he started sleeping through the night. For him, the routine I established before then didn’t really help much, no more how elaborate or disciplined. He just wasn’t ready.

  38. I am a firm believer in nursing the baby to sleep. You say the best naps are when he accidentally falls asleep while eating. Are you trying to not let him do that? If you are, let go of that expectation. I think that is one of the craziest expectations society sets up for mothers.I’m not saying he WILL always fall asleep nursing, but if he does, don’t fight it.

  39. @Brooke’s got a good point.Even if you want to try to keep him from nursing to sleep for the night because you are worried about sleep associations or what not, you don’t have to prevent the nursing to sleep at nap time thing.
    My first nursed down for naps sometimes (when she would consent to nap without motion) and also when she woke up in the middle of the night. She did NOT nurse down for the night. She had sleep challenges… but I don’t think the nursing to nap thing contributed to them AT ALL.

  40. It seems like we’ve all been where Lisa is. My daughter’s nap clock was set to about 30 minutes–just enough time for me to take a shower and put some clothes on. Or sort and start a load of laundry. Or start to doze off myself, just in time for her to wake up. It was so frustrating and exhausting. But it did get better, probably around 5 or 6 months. She was a horrible nighttime sleeper until at least 27 months (and really probably closer to age 3), but naps got much better. Hang in there.

  41. One of my babies once woke up after 20 minutes and I was able to soothe him back down and then he slept for another 90 minutes and I was so pleased that I had figured it out and now he would be napping well forever more.Why, yes, it was my first kid. What gave it away?

  42. Been there, done that, three times now! In fact, I have a napping 4-mo-old on my lap on the boppy as I type this.My DS1 was the shittiest napper in the history of earth. He would do 20 min ON THE DOT until I made him cry it out at 9 months old. And then he only slept 45 min. He finally started napping better and longer when I went to one nap at 13 months.
    DD2 was a better sleeper overall and was actually that baby you could just put dowm awake. She was my reward for hellsleeper No. 1. But that wasn’t until after the 4 month sleep regression.
    We’re in regression hell right now with DD3, and since she’s sleeping so shitty anyway, I took away the swaddle and the swing naps. Swaddled and swinging was how she did ALL sleep, until this past week. She did OK last night, but I am exhausted.

  43. Having lived through (and still living through) 2 crap sleepers, I can safely say that almost nothing I did made much difference in my kids’ sleep. It took time, lots and lots of time for their brains to organize themselves to allow them to sleep deeply.I did get a rueful sort of pleasure in answering the people with those “textbook” babies who would suggest this or that…”Oh, have you tried the car? Our baby *always* fell right asleep in the car!”
    “Um, actually, both of my kids screamed in the carseat for the 1st 4 months, so…no. That doesn’t work for us.”
    The Magic Boob is the only thing that has consistently helped my kiddos get to sleep. It doesn’t *keep* them asleep, God knows, but it helps them fall asleep. And I’m perfectly ok with that.

  44. Both hands raised and doin’ the “I Feel Your Pain!” dance! I lost all my baby weight by taking loooong daily walks wearing the baby bjorn just so I could get my son to sleep and not have to put up with a cranky sleep-deprived infant. He was the 30 minute nap king for what felt like eternity. First it was 4 30 minute naps, then 3, then 2 (kill me), and when I finally was mean and forced him into one nap a day at 15 months he FINALLY started sleeping over an hour. He just turned 2 and now sleeps about 2 hours each afternoon. Basically, there’s nothing you’re doing wrong- some kids are just nappers and some aren’t, and it’s REALLY hard on the parents of the non-nappers! Hang in there. Sleep patterns will change eventually.

  45. Yay for Dr. Penelope Leach! Her book is so reassuring, compassionate, and downright wonderful that I am planning to name my next baby Penelope (if it is a girl of course).Our daughter was a tough case at the beginning – almost IDENTICAL pattern to the one you describe, Lisa, plus a very small preemie and colic all night long for four months with lousy eating habits – but we learned that she was just a wakeful baby. Now, 7 months later, she has developed into easily distracted baby with basically the same tendencies as exhibited at 3-4 months, except she sleeps at night and doesn’t have colic any more.
    Don’t lose hope! Sleep will come!
    As Dr. Leach says, babies only want what they need and can only sleep the amount they need. For this reason, and because my pedatrician agreed with Dr. Leach’s assessment and comments on the process of learning to sleep and become a diurnal creature, I think “sleep training” before 6-8 months is a waste of time and an exercise in frustration and tears for parents and children. There, I said it. It seems to me that sleep training any earlier than that (and maybe ever, but I don’t have older children, so I don’t know about that situation) is more about attachment to the clock and our crazy North American workaholic, clock-watching culture than accepting the baby and his or her needs.
    This whole situation can be horrifyingly frustrating from the adult perspective, but as far as I can tell we can do nothing about it other than carry on doing what we need to do when they are awake. So I got used to using a carrier in the laundry room, the stroller in the garden, a bouncy chair in the dining room so I had the chance to use both hands to eat, folding towels at 3 AM… in fact the baby is bouncing in a Bjorn chair and waving her arms wildly in the air right now as I write, having been napless for nearly 5 hours and showing no signs of slowing down.
    Also yay for Moxie. I loved your kind and sensitive answer which was so much better put than I could have ever managed. Thank you from all of us.

  46. These posts are exactly why I love Moxie. Sometimes there’s just nothing more you can do. I’m tellin ya, I read every baby sleep book at the library and still had two relatively crappy sleepers (although they each had one phase of champion sleep, which did, yes, coordinate with MIL visits so she assumed I had it easy).Now they’re three and five, and they don’t nap, but they do sleep through the night, mostly…Last night I told them I’d give them each a quarter if they didn’t wake me up once during the night. It totally worked!

  47. I just want to clarify – for those parents who needed to sleep train to make their lives livable, I didn’t mean to come across as heavy handed or critical. I know what ever works for your family is the most important thing. So apologies if my first post was hurtful, I didn’t mean it to be.

  48. Swaddling and the swing. Swaddling and the swing. For both my kids, for longer than you’d think. (And even then, that only rarely worked for my daughter.) Go ahead a swaddled before you nurse, just in case he falls asleep. I never regretted doing that, and was often thankful.I would also sometimes try to take naps with them, wearing just a nursing bra, that way I could just stick a boob in their mouth when they started to stir and it would buy me a little more time.
    And it really does get better (for most kids)! My 10-month-old son is now generally a great napper who falls asleep half the time by himself in his crib and the other half while nursing/getting a bottle and then is easily transferred to his crib! You will get through it and you may get a great napper after all! (I will kindly not talk about my daughter’s napping/non-napping now.)
    @hush – My FIL says, “I slept like a baby. I woke up every two hours screaming and crying.” hehe.

  49. Has anyone else obsessed over the total number of hours of sleep their kids get each day? I’ve read that 3-6 month olds should be getting 14-15 total hours per day. I have been counting and counting, always worried that if my son gets any less that the right amount of time, he will never sleep well again.

  50. @Jessica- Yes, and it only brought more craziness. Just remember that those numbers you read are averages. I had Ann Douglas’ sleep book, and it had both the “recommended amounts” and the amounts actually reported by parents. The second amounts were larger ranges.If you or your husband doesn’t need a lot of sleep, don’t be surprised if you get a kid who needs less than average, too.
    My husband doesn’t need as much sleep as normal people do. Our oldest daughter takes after him in that regard.

  51. I would raise my hands to all Moxie’s points but I’m so freaking tired I can’t lift my arms.Mini Munchkin woke up 5 times last night and was up for the day at 4:00 a.m. I am zombie.
    BUT!!!! Right now she is 2.5 hours into a nap! It’s a bloody miracle!
    Both my babies were/are napless wonders, never wanting more than about 30 minutes. Except for this miraculous occurrence happening today!

  52. The only thing that worked for me when Evie was that age was letting her nap in my arms while I sat still, reading or watching TV. At least I got a mental break and she got the sleep she needed. She started taking longer (45 minutes or more) naps in her crib at about 4.5 months, so it’s nice to hear that I was lucky in that!

  53. I was “lucky” in the sense that my difficult daytime sleeper and my fussiest baby was my third child, so by then, I had quit reading all the books and I knew it was just the way she was. I just chucked her in the baby Bjorn and got on with my day. I’m really glad she wasn’t my first. I would have been beside myself.I totally agree with the nursing to sleep business. To me, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do, so I did it. A lot of babies would sleep better on their tummies too, I didn’t do it, but I know people who do, and I don’t judge ’em for it!

  54. Uh…yes, we’re all in the same soup. For the first three months of my daughter’s life she only napped in the Bjorn, with me in the rocking chair. That’s 5-6 hours a day of rocking, people. I recently washed the slipcovers and there were grooves worn in from the chair springs, because I rocked around the world in that mofo.She recently began napping in her crib at 4 months, which I now spend hours a day hanging over, trying to extend her naps with patting, shushing, and wishful thinking. The chair was breaking my back, and this new system is breaking my neck. I just finished a round, and got 34 minutes.
    Even everyone’s favorite hard-ass Weissbluth concedes that naps don’t begin to develop until 12-16 weeks, and that they are often less than an hour in duration until the child is between 4-6 months, and 6-9 months in babies who are post-colic. We’re not all idiots – this is just how things are!!

  55. Another data point… my first (now 2.75 y.o.) didn’t sleep more than 30-45 minutes until she was down to 1 nap a day, and then suddenly it was 2 hours. I figured that out when she was 9 months old, and so against all the “advice” out there that kids need 2 naps until 18 months, I dropped her morning nap. She was a bear by noon but I’m telling you, it was worth it for the 2 hour break. She did fine for the rest of the day after her nap and still slept fine at night. After a few weeks she was used to it and wasn’t a bear by noon anymore. So if any of you have a baby about that age, might be worth a try to drop a nap early!

  56. I was just waving my arms around like a crazy person!Although I have two suggestions that worked wonders for us until 4 months or so when he started napping in his crib:
    Elizabeth Pantley’s No Cry Nap Solution she discusses the micro nap and how to get them past it. No joke in 2 days, my kid was taking 3, 2 hour naps a day… in his bouncy seat.
    That’s the second thing, WHEREVER you can get the kid to nap; do it. Once they are on a schedule, it’s easy to swaddle and stick in a crib. But until then? Swing, bouncy seat, car seat, pile of pillows on the floor, whatever works DO IT. My kid napped in his bouncy seat from 5 weeks to 4 months because it was the only thing that worked. It and still took a careful sllliiiidddee into the bouncy seat to get him to sleep without waking, and occasional bouncing to make sure he stayed asleep.
    BUT. They do nap eventually. It’s true.

  57. I can’t tell you the number of times I nearly peed my pants with my first because she was asleep on me and I refused to get up and go for fear of waking her.

  58. I remember my newborn (can’t remember exactly how old, but definitely less than 3 months) taking ONE 30-minute nap each morning…and that was IT for the day. It sucked until I realized that she will sleep when she’s tired, period. So I went about my day, making sure to leave periods of quiet time in case she wanted to sleep (she never did).And now she’s 3 years old and I’m wishing all over again that she’d nap!

  59. @Beth, lol, with all due respect no they don’t, not all of them – but it really is OK.@Jessica, those total sleep numbers always got me terribly riled up too. Mouse didn’t sleep 14 hours a day as a brand new newborn and never started doing it. She was a micro napper, and happy with much less sleep than most of her friends. Cloud and Caramama and I have talked about it a lot because we have similar kiddos in this respect. Despite the usual bouts with regressions and night waking, the very worst sleep problem we ever had with Mouse was when she got into sleeping 1 1/2 hour naps at daycare when she was about 2 1/2 (she had given up home naps before that) and it became utterly impossible to get her to bed before 11. Then she’d be tired and fall asleep at naptime the next day, lather, rinse, repeat. Nightmare. I cursed the pro-nap culture for months until I convinced the teachers to wake her after 20 minutes.
    So, anyway, she’s now about to turn 6, goes to bed later than most of her friends by a couple hours and gets up about 1 hour later. She’ll no more sleep in a car than fly to the moon. (I really did think she’d bonk this past xmas when we got a late start driving to grandma’s and didn’t arrive until midnight. But no.) And it definitely has advantages – we’ve been able to plan longer days and outings than most people with babies/kids the same age, and she also isn’t very sleep-sensitive. If she misses an hour or two of sleep she really takes it in stride. On that trip to Grandma’s in LA we went to Disneyland and she did just fine staying for the fireworks and an 11pm ride on Space Mountain. Got her to bed before 1 (again not so much with the bonking in the car despite the hour), she slept in until 9:30 the next day and was completely fine. Now…don’t *feed* my child and you have a major problem though.
    Where’d she get it? Guilty as charged. My mom swears she doesn’t remember me napping, ever. Mr. C either – he remembers lying awake on his preschool mat for hours, bored out of his mind. So you know, weirdos are out here. I do regret listening to the books and spending the first few months of Mouse’s life trying everything to get her to sleep more when it really wasn’t what she needed. Penelope Leach was the ONLY book that didn’t just say that every baby always benefits from more sleep. So just a shout-out to the parents dealing with a wakeful kid. There’s nothing wrong with either of you.

  60. Maybe we just got really lucky but my daughter is ready for a nap EXACTLY 90 minutes after she wakes up. We note the time she wakes up and 85 minutes later (regardless of her showing signs of being tired), we swaddle her, rock her for about 2-3 minutes and WHAM, she is out like a light and sleeps anywhere from 40-90 minutes.I found this technique in a book called ’90-minute sleep’. I was completely skeptical because my son was the worst sleeper ever, but it truly has made our sleep schedule manageable and predictable. I would give it a try even if your son fights it the first few times. We’ve been doing it ever since my daughter was about 1 month old and she is almost 5 months now….works like a charm.

  61. Yeah Moxie! What an excellent, typically-Moxie type of answer. Thank you! This is why we all come here.Keep up the great work. Moxie – you are more appreciated by more people than you probably imagine.

  62. @Charisse – One day last week, my daughter didn’t get to bed until later than usual and was up early because something woke her (I was up with the baby, and she heard us and then it was all over). I was so afraid that she would be so tired that she’d take a nap at pre-school. When I picked her up that day, she looked full of energy and fine, so I asked the teacher if she’d had a nap (it has happened a handful of times when she was really tired). She said no. I said, “Thank God! Am I the only parent who is glad when my kid doesn’t take a nap?” The teacher said yes, with a laugh. Hubby and I have both explained the situation with the teachers, so they understand. Some kids–a very few–actually do better without a nap!

  63. Ok – here’s where I duck after posting, but here goes:At least one of my three napped on their stomach. It was on a blanket on the floor and I would sit right next to him, but he would take monster naps that way. I NEVER would have done this if I had not been sitting right by him, but it worked for him. And just to repeat, I am NOT suggesting putting babies to sleep on their stomachs unmonitored, but I was comfortable doing it given that I was sitting about a foot away, he was facing me, etc.

  64. @Charisse- YES.I think that the perfect nap for my 3 year old is about 20-30 minutes, best taken in a stroller so that the wake up is natural (i.e., we stop moving).
    But I have NO idea how to translate this to day care, so I just keep trying to see the bright side of her needing me to spend 30-45 minutes in bed with her every night before she can go to sleep.
    We have tried moving her bedtime ever so slightly later, and that has helped a bit.

  65. @MLB…both of my children slept on their bellies as babies (or on me), and my 1-year-old still does. The 4-year-old sleeps either way now. My kids are both wakeful, don’t need as much sleep as the average, very alert, hate to miss anything, difficult to transition to sleep kids.With my first, I tried everything to get him to sleep on his back. He would not. So I did some research on the whole SIDs thing, realized that we had basically none of the risk factors for it, and went for it. His sleep was still not great, but at least it was something.
    With my 2nd, I started her out on her back and quickly realized she was like her brother. So onto her belly she went. Again, she’s not a great sleeper, but on her back, she doesn’t sleep at all.
    I know the Back to Sleep campaign has been helpful in preventing SIDs for babies, but I also think there are exceptions to everything. I don’t feel badly about it…I just learned not to broadcast the fact.

  66. Thank you Moxie! I wish I read this when I started stressing about my son’s short naps at 2.5 months. Now at 4.5 months, he is still taking short naps, but will occasionally take a 1+ hour nap. He just does not have a pattern, and I’m learning to let go and just wait it out.@Jessica – yes, I obsess over the total hours of sleep he gets! It is less than the recommended, but he always seems to hit about 13 hours total no matter what I do.
    @MLB and meggiemoo – my son is also a tummy sleeper. He just falls asleep a lot better this way. We use the Angelcare monitor to make us feel a bit better about it.

  67. @Jessica – I don’t obsess about the total hours of sleep either of my kids get… I obsess abou tthe hours of sleep I get!@MLB, meggiemoo, wendy – I totally get the whole tummy sleep thing. Mini Munchkin doesn’t sleep on her back either. I use foam wedge block things (that you can buy in any baby store) and put her on her side. I’ve tried her tummy but her side seems to be most comfy for her. So instead of having the telltale bald spot on the back of her head, she has one on each side instead! I say Back to Sleep If and only If your kid will actually Sleep. If not, do what’s best for baby and family, keeping risks in mind and making informed decisions. I judge not.

  68. @MLB, meggiemoo, wendy, Melba – I hear ya… but… Even when my kids were in the worst of the sleepless nights, I still started them on their backs. I guess I figure part of the reason the incidents of SIDS has gone down is because babies don’t sleep as well on their backs. I’d rather them constantly wake me up than to stay up worrying about SIDS. That said, the minute they could roll over themselves in their sleep, I wanted to throw a party! Both of mine sleep better on their tummies, and as soon as they could handle the rolling over, I would put them down on their sides to sleep.

  69. OP here!@Moxie: Thankyou thankyou thankyou. Wise and reassuring as ever. And, y’know, I’m sure my napless wonder will get over the fact that he isn’t a special little snowflake but just like all the other non-napping babies.
    @Everyone: I have found my people! My “one more lap around the park in case it makes him sleep for ten more minutes”, “Is it possible to wear out a Baby Bjorn?”, “Does this baby have a ‘sleep’ button somewhere I don’t know about?” people!
    On the subject of nursing to sleep, I am totally not opposed to it – it’s how he often gets to sleep at night or after night wakings. However, for some reason he tends not to fall asleep on the breast during the day, or if he does, his eyes pop open the second he comes off (“Entertain me now, minion!”). Babies, they are weird and unpredictable.
    And yes, there’s a strong element of “need time for *me*” to my frustration as well as wanting him to get enough sleep. On the days that he does a big nap at home, I feel so much less frazzled by the end of the day. Oh well, roll on 4/5 months, or 6 months, or …

  70. @caramama, I know what you’re saying, and I certainly felt better once they could roll over. But when I say they couldn’t sleep on their backs, I’m not exaggerating. It’s not that they slept worse, they just didn’t sleep. At all. Swaddling didn’t help, foam positioners didn’t help, we tried a hammock bed, cosleeping, the swing, the carseat, the bouncy chair. It had to be the belly or nothing.Interestingly enough, prior to the Back to Sleep campaign, the recommendation was for *all* babies to sleep on their bellies, so that if they spit up in the night, they wouldn’t aspirate it into their lungs.

  71. This stage (with my #1) is about the time I found out about the “Eat, Play, Sleep” cycle (no ref – found somewhere on the internet). I would feed her when she woke up, she would play and then I would put her down for a nap. Rinse, repeat. Eventually her naps got longer. Good luck!

  72. @meggiemoo – I totally understand and was not at all trying to indicate that you did anything wrong. I am a true believer in “you know your child best” and you do what you have to do to get your child sleep. In fact, I went through many nights holding a baby because they would. not. sleep. lying down. In fact, I did try putting my second down for a couple naps on his stomach before he could roll over, but it didn’t help him any at the time.There are absolutely exceptions to everything–I totally agree! I just wanted to remind everyone the reasons behind the Back to Sleep campaign. Anyone who has looked into the risk factors for SIDS and determined that their baby is low risk and needs to sleep on their stomach, I totally support that. We all have to figure out what works for each of us.

  73. I just love reading this every day. Like others have expressed, it is so good to have you all to “talk” with.

  74. @Caramama…of course! I didn’t take it that way, don’t worry. Everyone has to parent the way he/she feels comfortable doing.

  75. @caramama – I totally agree about starting them on their backs. To be honest I never would have put them to sleep for the night or unattended at all on their tummies before they could get that way themselves, just because I was personally too nervous. My husband pointed out when we were getting everything ready for our first and planning to use the bassinet that I used as a baby that the old bassinet mattress was SO much softer than the new crib mattress we had bought. He wondered if that plus new rules on bedding was more responsible for the SIDS decline than anything else.

  76. @MLB – That’s an interesting point. I’ve also heard that people think removing the extra stuff (blankets, pillows, bumpers, etc.) from the crib has been the most likely factor in the SIDS decline. I’m not sure we’ll ever know what was the key factor, and maybe it’s all of them together that is really doing it. I find it interesting to think about, though.As for soft mattresses, we thought that might be why my daughter had such issues sleeping, so we bought a softer one to keep at my mom’s house for her daily “naps.” It didn’t help her. But we decided to use that softer mattress for my son in the crib he now sleeps in every night. I really think it has helped him! I still can’t believe that I bought an expensive mattress that was as hard as a slab of concrete as a first-time mom! The things we figure out as time goes on, am I right?

  77. No time to read the comments, but I wanted to add my two cents since my youngest just turned 4 months so I’m very familiar with this age.Up until recently, she was very unpredictable and just kind of slept off and on throughout the day, generally not for terribly long at a time, and always wanted to eat upon waking – talk about hard to plan anything! And I also have a 4 year old and a 2 year old who have stuff going on, so it was quite tricky.
    But in the past few weeks, as she got to 4 months, she has started to take a somewhat regular morning nap for maybe an hour, and a less predictable afternoon nap for sometimes 2 to 3 hours – nearly all in her swing in the dining room, as she’s not too interested in napping in the crib yet. (And it’s actually easier for me to have her on the main floor with me and the boys rather than upstairs.) She seems to have an instinct to self-soothe, so that probably helps (and I know many babies don’t seem to, like my oldest), but I mention it to say that the 3-month-old sleep issues often change/alleviate as they get to 4 and 5 months.
    My oldest was a terrible napper, and I finally got him to start napping well when I moved his swing (a papasan style one where the baby lays pretty far back) into his room, darkened the room with shades/blankets, and used a noise machine. With this setup, my “bad napper” could be put down awake in the swing and would sleep for 2 hours. The memory is fading, but I think he did this from about 4 months to 7 months – I don’t even remember how we transitioned but eventually he did learn to nap in his crib, though never all that willingly.
    Hope your son starts to move into a better napping phase soon!

  78. I haven’t finished reading all the comments yet but its been very good for my spirit to see how far we’ve come and give me perspective about our current sleep woes. DS was a 45 minute napper and for awhile he’d be up for 90 min. and nap though out the day. I got used to doing things in that time frame and life went on, what was hard when he went to 2,3,5 schedule but he did an around 8 mths started to sleep 1.5 hours exactly on the dot and I can still hear when he wakes up during his nap at the 45 minute mark but can roll over and put himself to sleep. That happened organically for us we sleep trained starting at 10 mths and it did nothing to improve or make his naps worse.
    I feel for you OP and honestly the thought of doing this again freaks me out so we might be a one child family but it does get better and trusting that your doing everything you can for your child is important. I spend lots of money on books that didn’t help and time gleeming the internet looking for a situation *just like ours*. I hope this passes for you soon.
    And FWIW my guy loved A. napping on me(who wouldn’t) B. Bouncer with vibrator till about 4mths and C. a Moby or stroller nap.

  79. I’d go with a routine that involves: wake in the morning, feed, play, feed at 10am-wrap-bed, wake, (lunchy something) play, feed at 1/2pm-wrap-bed, wake etc etc. Capitalise on the fact that he can be fed to sleep, and always use the wrap (and later a sleeping bag) as a consistent sleep cue.

  80. Oh, Lisa, I have so been there. Swaddling helped me because once my daughter stopped screaming her head off (as she was being rocked, bounced, sung to, and otherwise soothed in every possible manner) and fell into an exhausted sleep, she would not wake when put in her crib because she still felt warm and snuggled. But she would only nap for 45 minutes. Hello! We were doing 4 naps a day until she was 6 months. Now at 6 1/2 months she has finally started napping 60-90 minutes. Just in the last 10 days. Shh! I do not want to jinx it. Oh, and I gave up swaddling at 6 months too. It didn’t seem to help her sleep longer, and she was able to sleep without being held by then.

  81. Oh, God, I’m so glad I’m past that…Phew. Ditto the reminders on my comments in the past (re-ditto?) on getting your sleep, more than worrying about baby naps. I definitely could roll with a lot more on full sleep.
    And the MIL comment, Moxie… oh, the number of times I could have KILLED my mom because I showed up to pick up kids she’d been watching, and she said ‘oh, so and so is still down for a nap – they’ve been asleep for 3 hours.’ UH. 1) they never sleep that long, are you SURE? (yes), and 2) Now night sleep and day sleep for the next three days are going to be merry heck. Thanks! I eventually told her not to let them sleep more than 2 hours even if they seemed really tired. And never after 3 PM, thanks! Though eventually my kids spent enough time at her house that they started sleeping for her like they sleep for us. Including climbing into her bed, ‘sleeping like a helicopter’ (aka getting kicked in the head at 2 AM), and sleep walking. HA!
    I probably shouldn’t feel gleeful about that, though.
    We used the swings a lot, slings a lot, and most naps were on us (literally on top of us in a recliner) for about the first two years. Even nannies didn’t manage to get the kids to sleep on their own for naps, much. I recall walking into the living room and seeing Nanny S trapped on the floor with one baby flopped across her leg, the other against her shoulder. She had been trapped for 20 minutes, unable to move…
    We tended to take advantage of the ‘will only nap skin-to-skin on a parent’ thing. We got maybe one good nap a day at most, and by good I mean ‘long enough I could doze off’. Strangely, I think having me asleep under them kept them asleep longer. Or ep, for that matter. We used to fight over who got to be trapped by the baby today… (“You got to be trapped by the baby LAST Saturday, it’s MY turn!”) – and of course, the trapped person got waited on (iced tea? change the tv channel for you? snack? don’t move, might wake him, I’ll get it!).
    Fortunately, my kids also tended to signal nap interest pretty clearly, and usually did have some nap tendency. Just not early on. Early on was swing naps. After 6 months, it was much more fun/useful, and naps were longer, and with one child (Mr B, ‘the good sleeper’ of the lot) he would put himself down for naps – crawl over to the mat, lie down, snooze. You could drop a book on your foot (scream, that is) and not wake him. Ahhh.. that was just proof that it was all individual, and nothing to do with what *I* did or didn’t do.

  82. Ah, the flashbacks…I’d forgotten about the twins napping at daycare thing. Or not napping. Daycare provider had ONE other child. Had 18 years of experience. Had succeeded in getting both my older kids to nap. She had never failed to get a child to nap in 18 years of home daycare (usually 6 or more kids at a go).
    Total FAIL on the twins. Through 9 months, she couldn’t get them to nap more than 10-15 minutes at a go, lightly, in an 11 hour day. She tried separate rooms, even. Nope.
    They started napping after about 9 months (about 3 weeks after I got laid off, I think). So there’s still hope later, even if there’s No Sign Of Hope earlier.

  83. @Lisa, on the nursing to sleep, one of the twins would stay asleep after nursing down if I held her jaw closed (fingertip under her chin) for a couple seconds right after she unlatched. (I think that was a Pantley trick.)

  84. My hands are waving wildly in the air. I so wish I had Moxie’s POV when my now 6 yo ds was an infant who would go to sleep only when nursing or moving (thus being held or propped somewhat upright–much, much later we discovered he has “silent reflux.”) who could not stay asleep. He nursed to sleep until 2.5 yo, slept in his crib not more than 7 nights ever, and woke me up most nights until 3 yo. But eventually he transformed into a solid sleeper and is now easy-peasy at bedtime (well, once vitamins & toothbrushing are accomplished) and my 33 mo 2nd born son who was an AWESOME baby sleeper is now the one keeping himself awake during naptime and then crankily resisting nighttime sleep as well. “Keep sanity intact” is my mantra and guiding light these days, not the multitude of books I desperately sought comfort in when my first born was little.

  85. I sat and read and ate and continuously bounced on an exercise ball with baby in the sling and he was tricked into thinking that I was walking around with him for hours. Not perfectly ideal. But I could do computer stuff (i.e. surf the net about how to get baby to sleep better). Good luck 😉

  86. You just described my first-born. Except he didn’t nap for more than 45 minutes at a time until he was a year old. I wish I could have read this 5 years ago, it would have saved a lot of banging my head against the wall. He gave up the nap completely by the time he turned 3 – but he always was, and continues to be, a GREAT nighttime sleeper!

  87. I also say thanks. I’m typing this with my 3 months, 3 weeks old baby boy on my lap. He will only nap for more than 15-30 minutes if he’s being held. Everyone in my life and readers of my blog have had to deal with his sleep problems and my feelings of guilt for being a bad mother for not being able to teach him to sleep. I feel much better having read this and all the comments 🙂

  88. I also want to say thanks. I have recently found this website. Reading this entry and all of the comments help my sanity. I’, a first time mom with a 10-weeks old, who until last week, naps very well (about 1.5 – hours each nap) and sleeps well at night (about 3-4 hours stretch). All of the sudden, she decides that she no longer likes sleeping. She would only sleep at most 45 mins during day time and 2 hours at night. I’m so frustrated and worry her new sleeping habit would delay her development. I was obsessed with getting her to sleep. This article really opens my eyes that I should relax and enjoy more awake time with my baby instead of being frustrated.

  89. sounds like the story of my daughter. fortunately, you see that it is also the story of many other moms. hopefully that helps ease your mind. i know that at 11 weeks the sleep exhaustion and nap time/night time life-with-baby stuff is still very fresh and being worked out. i will say, that at 8 months, those torturous days seem far away.hang in there and if you possibly can, try and work within the constraints of your kiddo. you seem to already realize that what works best is to walk him around in the wrap. i too found it EXHAUSTING that my daughter would ONLY sleep like that and needed me to be moving the whole time. but, i found beautiful walks near my house to go on, and since the post office, grocery store, and other places are within walking distance to me, i just planned my errands to coincide with her need to be walked around for the naps. that way, the naps were at least stimulating for me and kept my spirits up.
    soon enough i was able to walk for only the first 15 minutes or so of her nap and then she would let me sit or lay down with her still in the wrap. i took this opportunity to read , watch movies, rest.
    then she learned to nurse herself to sleep. she started not to need the wrap as much. i could nurse her to sleep, but she would only stay asleep if i left her ON me. still, i was able to read and watch movies or nap. eventually, she was able to lay NEXT to me, but still required me touching her. and then at around 5 months or so was able to finally take naps by herself. at first she could only do short naps (45 mins max) alone. but now she can nap as long as she needs all by herself.
    with patience, i went with what she needed. of course, i have a long maternity leave so i was afforded the luxury of doing things this way. i say, if you have the time, dont rush him. in a few short weeks we will be exactly where you want him to be, or at least you will have different expectations and be able to adapt to them. with teething, growth spurts, the rare cold, etc. they will still be able to throw you for a loop. and soon enough he will likely start messing with his night time sleep too. it helped me the most to realize i just need to go with the flow, and she will get there eventually.
    best wishes.

  90. I’m a horrible napepr too… I had to learn when I was a SAHM. A few things I did:stay in pajamas until midday and don’t shower (staying in “bedtime” mode)room darkening shades in your roomas SOON as the baby is down, lay down in your room. if you are watching the baby fall asleep on the monitor, put it at an angle where you can lay there and watch and close your eyes as soon as you’re sure the baby is asleepkeep the temp in your room cool and use cuddly blanketsit’ll get better as the baby gets older and sleeps for longer stretches of time. good luck!!

  91. Oh how important the daily naps are to the home’s fuanniotclity. For me, when kids are still in the naps are necessary’ stage, 2 naps a day are required. When they’re preschool age, one good nap will do, for at least an hour, preferably two; for child and parent!!!I know that besides housework, I used their nap times to catch up on my own rest. I never would have survived without my naps.Great post, visiting from Mama Kats.

  92. My three and a half year old refuses to nap. Some days she will fall aselep for about two hours. On the days she doesn’t fall aselep, she ends up falling aselep that afternoon the second we get into the car, or in a shopping cart. The girl passes out in two seconds! It’s really weird. Hubby thinks she may be a narco. I think most kids don’t need naps at around 4 but still need a set down tim. Most schools won’t give naps starting in kindergarten but continue to offer a rest or nap time even in pre-K 4. That’s the rule of thumb I follow.

  93. My son’s school stops haivng the kids nap between 4 and 4 1/2 years of age in order to get them ready for kindergarten which is all day. Trust me, there are days I wish he would take a nap as well or at least have an hour or quiet time..wishful thinking with a 5 year old.

  94. Ringo, I like reading naps’. That is when I am crleud up in my lounge chair with a fleece blanket and a good book. If I close my eyes to rest them sometimes I fall asleep for a little while, then wake up and read some more.Guess what! Tell Flash I have now read EVERY SINGLE ONE of the books he and his friends have recommended. I just finished Villain School , and will return it to the library tomorrow or Wednesday. I was not sure whether I liked those villains or not. Sometimes some of them seemed almost nice. I did like the ending. It surprised me, and I like for books to surprise me.

  95. That’s how I thought of it at first too- but the thing is, she HATES dpeiars now. It’s a fight to get her to wear them when we’re out (she still uses the Dora potty seat at home so she won’t use the toilets in public yet) and also at bedtime. The only reason I let her do naptime is because they told me at daycare that she had been dry for a week or more during naps- I was like WHAT??? Seriously?(I tried to get her to go today without the Dora seat on the toilet but she was PANICKED and wouldn’t let go of me. Baby steps, I guess! heh)I think the Potty Game During Naptime will wear off soon. I was able to get her to take a nap today by some miracle! I started the process about an hour sooner and she fought it for a while, but I eventually made her lay in her bed with Elmo on and she conked out by 2:30- and is still sleeping at 4:30!

  96. My daughter did the same game when she potty-trained @ 2. Even at night (she was out of the crib b/c her berhtor was born shortly after she turned 2 and we needed the crib!). So I put the potty chair in her room and told her if she really had to go, she had to use that (she could do all that by herself). She sat on it a couple times, but then the novelty wore off.We are in transition around here. Most days they do okay without naps (almost 5 & 3), but some days they really need one. And so does their preggo mama, so I lay down with them and we all sleep! :).-= Jenn’s last blog post: =-.

  97. you never get to sleep before 2 AM. How long do you sleep once you do go to sleep? Do you get at the very least 6 hours of sleep?This is what I would do. I would chose a time to go to bed that gets me about 6-7 hours of sleep. If you need to be up by 7 AM, thats miidgnht. Get into your jammies at 11:00, have a cup of chamomile tea and take 2 valarian root capsules. Get your beauty routine done next and climb into the bed by at the very least, 11:45. Lights out by miidgnht. Close your eyes. Think about what you are going to do tomorrow. Think about your toes, think about your knees and wonder how many hairs are growing there. relax. Try this for a night or 2 and see if that doesn’t help. I am sure you will also get lo0ts of other advice. Relax first and then give them all a try but allow at least a week or so for each different thing to work for you.

  98. Go to a drug store (pharmacy) and go to the vitamin / minrael section. Get 1 bottle of Magnesium Oxide (420mg). Also get Zinc (50mg). Before bed on a somewhat empty stomach take 1 magnesium and half a zinc pill. The reason you bought the 50mg is the 25mg will be the same price so you’ll save money by getting twice as much This will put you into a deeper sleep and when you awake you will feel completely relaxed and refreshed even if you have not slept for long.

  99. But does she wake up super-early the next day? That’s one of our worries, that if we let her go to bed boefre her normal time (8-9pm), she’d be up at 4am! I think I’d rather her skip a nap 🙂 LOLAnd that’s basically what I’ve been doing- after an hour or so of fighting with her, I make her stay in her bed or on the couch with a movie in. Sometimes she sits still, other times she doesn’t. That’s when I know she’s just not having any of this nap business anymore, heh

  100. No doubt she’s a cutie passed out on the couch! Adorable :-)My oldset stopped napping at 2 1/2. When I was very pregnant with her sister, and desperately needing the nap. Abs is almost 3 and still will take a nap if the circumstances are right, but has, too, fallen into the habit of passing out on the couch at 5pm.I wish I had advice, but at least you know you’re not alone!.-= LZ’s last blog post: =-.

  101. She’s adorable. 🙂 Don’t give up on naps cpllmeteoy yet We went through that phase (I think I might have blogged about it a few months ago?) and established some rules, and Oliver went right back to napping. He obviously still needs it for now. If we can just make it through the summer, I’ll be happy, because I’ll still need ANDREW to nap and that’s harder when Oliver’s awake!

  102. Another great post, Sheryl. The only point I’d disagree with from my pearnosl perspective is This is often what my clients tell me about their fear-based thoughts regarding their partner: that the fear is much bigger when they’re away from their partner and shrinks to almost nothing in his presence. For me, it was the exact opposite. I felt calmer when away from my now husband more rational, better able to realize what I had was a good thing. When I was around him, I learned he was one of my triggers. I was microanalyzing every move, every breath, every perceived intention of a comment/gesture. It took a lot of work for me to focus on just being in the moment with my then fiance, whether it was sitting on the couch watching a movie or spending time at a family picnic. I felt like something was incredibly wrong with me that I felt more at peace alone ( Does this mean I should be alone? ) and more anxious with the man I was planning forever with. That pattern has lessened considerably over the last 3 years and it rarely happens anymore. But learning to let go of the anxiety while I was with my husband and just focus on what I know is good within our relationship took work. That fantasy man/relationship was very hard for me to let go of and sometimes (although rarely) it still tries to sneak into my mind. But I know now that I wouldn’t trade the good, solid relationship I have for the fantasy of perfection.

  103. So I think you are where I’ll be in about three months. Heck, I think I might adaerly be there. CRW gave up those long stretches I was bragging about to you last week. I was up 2 times the past 2 nights. Saturday night was the WORST. After the 3am feeding, I couldn’t fall back to sleep. 1 1/2 hours later, as I drift off to sleep, Ryan’s alarm from the morning before accidently went off. I cried.

  104. That read each paragraph two or three times phase is a pain. If I’m not at a ceveoninnt stopping point, the next day it’s hard to tell where to pick up. Did I read this? It seems vaguely familiar.

  105. well we spend more when we are on vacation. Imagine that. as for dacayres, it’s the small dacayres that close in the summertime otherwise there would only be a handful of kids to a full staff, but if you are working parents, you have the right to have the kids transferred to a nearby daycare that is open all year. we get the forms every May that ask when we plan on taking our summer holiday this is also how the staff coordinates their own vacation time. Mia’s daycare closes all summer, but we have the option of choosing three other dacayres that are open in kontula, all within walking distance. that is pretty much the norm in helsinki for small dacayres. When the boys are older, you will love daycare closing in July, I promise! We love it and get insanely excited about it since I’m part-time, I work even less but it’s worth it because we cram everything summer we possibly can. As for Europe or Finland coming to a halt just for summer it really doesn’t. It’s a matter of perspective. It slows down, but I think more so in a good way. I think living here longer, I have come to appreciate the summers as the Finns do. I suppose from the outside looking in, it would seem odd how summers work here. i just need to have a different mindset here, that fast pace life I was once used to is not here. And I’m ok with that.

  106. Yes, this this this. I’m glad you’re getting help Erin, and to echo oerhts, yes it does get better, but that certainly doesn’t make things easier now. Just a hug and acknowledgement from the peanut gallery here that yeah, it does totally suck sometimes. My boy doesn’t have colic but is certainly fussy, hours of whining/screaming are not completely unheard of on bad days, and it’s very very hard. My version of postpartum was a fast birth which was easy for me (induced, pitocin, epidural early so no serious pain, but a very quick delivery due to dropping heart rate, they cut me and yanked him out quick as a whip), but once I was moved to recovery things got a little rocky. The change from having 5 people hover over my every twitch in delivery to being basically left alone in recovery, couldn’t walk from my epi still, my husband was asked to leave since it was 10pm, couldn’t figure out how to get the kid to latch, the hospital was overcrowded and my nurse was swamped, both my and my roommate’s baby were howling (I heard her crying in the bed next to me the mom, not the kid), hadn’t slept in 36 hours. I finally broke down when my nurse asked me how my bleeding was at 4am. I was attempting to change my first diaper leaning on the baby’s bassinet, legs trembling. I burst into tears and informed her that since I’ve never given birth before, I have no fucking idea how my bleeding is. I mean, I appear to be on my feet so I must not be dying, right? God bless her, she whisked baby away to the nursery, gave me a percoset, helped me use the bathroom to check my bleeding and put me to bed. And you know, other than give birth at a convenient hour when my husband could have been there and a lactation consultant could have been there and etc etc etc I don’t know what could have improved my situation. But I also have anxiety issues (GAD that I’ve handled with diet and exercise since the year I was diagnosed) and those few hours in that room were a special kind of hell, it hurt my bonding with kiddo, and anything related to my stitches healing and that pain had a faintly traumatic bend to it for me for a few weeks. But anyway. Stitches are healed, I can sit on hard surfaces again. Kiddo goes whole hours without crying sometimes, he belly laughs, he smiles, he holds onto my shoulders when I hold him. The good times are precious, and they will accumulate to make up for this.

  107. Well, if you’ve made it this far in the comments you’re probably pretty desperate, but you are in luck! Here is the answer to this question. (Unfortunately, the solution will run you around 200 bucks if you don’t already have these items.) Okay, here ya go:1) Wrap baby in Miracle Blanket.
    2) Put baby in Fisher Price Cradle Swing
    That’s it! This results in your baby sleeping 3 hours instead of 30 minutes, and your return to sanity.

  108. I just copied this from a post I wrote a few weeks after Dylan was born: I went and took a bath and sarttled myself by sobbing sort of hysterically for a few minutes and finding myself thinking, I’m angry. I’m angry that there is so much drudgery to life right now, I’m angry that I can’t seem to consistently enjoy motherhood at the moment, I’m angry that my attention is constantly pulled away from Riley, I’m angry that JB gets to escape to work every day and I don’t, I’m angry that I spend so much time cleaning and picking up and cooking only to have to do it all over again the next day, I’m angry that I have to get up two or three times a night and it feels like that’s never going to end even though I know for a fact that it will, I’m angry that I have these selfish moments of despondence over the things I don’t have time to do, I’m angry with my body for being such a mess, I’m angry that I sometimes feel like such a shitty mom and a complete and utter failure at this whole parenthood thing, and I’m angry for feeling sorry for myself when my kids are healthy and our life is so good. Just to say, this stage is SO goddamned hard. Hang in there, my friend.

  109. Erin I’m glad you’re getting the help you need. I’m not a methor yet, and haven’t really been around babies a ton either. I think there is no right way to do anything, but no one really, REALLY digs into HOW HARD this is. And because of that so many women try to pass everything off as oh we’re just fine, when really, everyone is not fine. But if you’ve never done this parenting thing before, how would you know. I don’t tell the following story to scare the hell out of you; rather, to emphasize how grateful I am that you’re sharing your postpartum news with all your readers. I’m in my later 20 s, and there’s a baby explosion beginning amongst my friends. I’d never really considered PPD, nor known what to look for as signs, until a friend killed herself last fall. She was suffering from PPD that morphed into postpartum psychosis overnight. She left behind a 3 week old and 2 year old daughter. To say that I am hyper vigilant amongst my friends is an understatement. The most important thing we can all do is be aware of PPD, the signs, and how to help someone. Thank you for sharing your story, in that doing so brings PPD into the light.Best of luck to all of you in moving forward!

  110. We just couldn’t colpzctuaniee what they meant yes yes yes. (I think all my comments here start with repetitive confirmation). I have to give this one an amen sister too, at various times I’ve felt like someone was hiding something from me because I didn’t understand how hard the first months are, but in reality you just can’t completely conceive of it until you go through it yourself. So glad A has had some good nights! the first few make such a huge difference. A short warning, because I think you and I have similar personalities, there is no such thing as routine at this age. Or if there is, she develop and change so quickly that a routine only qualifies as doing the same thing two days in a row. By day three she’ll hit a new milestone, and be working on a new normal that will only last another few days, maybe a week. Once I finally got that in my head, night sleeping/napping/eating has felt much easier. I’m HUGE on routine in my own habits/preferences, so I’ve had to work to get used to kiddo’s own habits! Love the posts, keep it coming!

  111. Ringo, I like reading naps’. That is when I am crleud up in my lounge chair with a fleece blanket and a good book. If I close my eyes to rest them sometimes I fall asleep for a little while, then wake up and read some more.Guess what! Tell Flash I have now read EVERY SINGLE ONE of the books he and his friends have recommended. I just finished Villain School , and will return it to the library tomorrow or Wednesday. I was not sure whether I liked those villains or not. Sometimes some of them seemed almost nice. I did like the ending. It surprised me, and I like for books to surprise me.

  112. “You got to be trapped by the baby LAST Saturday, it’s MY turn!”) – and of course, the trapped person got waited on (iced tea? change the tv channel for you? snack? don’t move, might wake him, I’ll get it!).

  113. Terri S.December 26, 2010Thank you Mariana! Your little girls are so beutaiful! I snuck in a nap yesterday too! Holidays can be so exhausting but at the same time I’m blessed to spend them with my loved ones. Wishing you & your family peace & joy in the New Year!

  114. We lucked out and didn’t have to do night time sleep tranniig. She slept in 4 hour stretches as a newborn with 2 night time feedings. Then at 5 weeks she dropped 1. Then at 8 weeks she stopped waking and slept 12 hours from then on with hiccups here and there due to developmental changes.Different story altogether for daytime as she does not like to nap and has gone in and out of good napping phases.

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