Q&A: SAHM wants to go back to work because of 4-month-old’s naps

Here's yet another sleep question that's not just about sleep. Mary writes:

"Not sure if you've posted an answer to this before, but I am at myWIT'S END with my son. He is 4 months old, and his naps are a
horrendous, stressful experience for me….I am a SAHM and I almost want
to go back to work so I can get out of this heart-wrenching situation
and let daycare deal with it.

He sleeps well at night. He wakes usually once per
night to eat, although sometimes he wakes at 1:30, sometimes 4…you
never know. Typically, though, he sleeps in 6+ hour stretches for us.

Naps are pushing me to my limit. He has never once in his
life fallen asleep on his activity mat or in his bouncer just
willy-nilly. He does not nod off. Ever. He becomes obviously fussy when
he's tired…no slipping off to sleep. So at naptimes (typically 1.5 – 2
hours after waking) I swaddle him (he is swaddled at night), turn on
soft music and then have to take him into the bathroom (super dark, no
windows) and sway him with the exhaust fan running for white noise until
he falls asleep. Sometimes he wails like he's being killed, other times
he goes down with a whimper or two. However, if I try to lay him down
in his crib…boom…he's awake after 20 minutes. If I sit and hold him,
he stays asleep for an hour, sometimes longer. Even when I hold him,
he'll come to, which means I jump up to either sway some more or go back
to the bathroom if he starts to fuss.

My arms and back are killing me because, well, he's
four months old.

I can't cope anymore. I can't
do anything during the day because if we're not napping/attempting to
nap, I'm playing with him or feeding him. I barely get to pee or drink
or eat.

Please…do you have any words of wisdom, and is
there something wrong with him? Or me? Will he outgrow this…do I need
to keep holding him? Just put him down and take whatever nap I can get? I
can't let him CIO. I can't…. I've purchased every sleep book known to
man. I'm ready to burn them all!"

Oh, no. I'm so, so sorry that you're feeling this way.

And also: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. That's the bitter laugh of
someone who remembers exactly what that was like. If I'd had any kind of
decent career at all before having a baby I'd surely have gone back to
escape. And I *know* 90% of the people reading this are chuckling
bitterly because they either wanted to go back or felt a guilty sense of
relief at not having to deal with naps when they did go back to work.

Being a parent is hard, y'all.

It does not matter how much you love your child: Caring for a baby is
the ultimate tear-you-down-and-build-you-back up experience*.

And here's where the bad news and the good news are exactly the same: What you're experiencing is totally normal.

Exhibit A: When you hold him he'll stay asleep for a long time. When he's sleeping by himself, he only stays asleep for 20 minutes. (Babies that age seem to be pre-programmed for either 20 minutes or 45 minutes.)

Exhibit B: He doesn't fall asleep on his own. (Apparently there *are* babies who will do that "drowsy but awake" thing–I know because some readers have had them. Neither of mine were. One of mine needed to be nursed or rocked to sleep. Always. The other needed to create white noise by crying to shut himself down, and could not be nursed or rocked to sleep. Almost always. They both sleep like champs now.)

Exhibit C: You are going insane. (Check. Check, and also check.)

Allllllll normal. At this age, no matter what you do, he's not going to get a long nap, so
don't stress yourself out trying to make it happen. When he's 5 or 5
1/2 months old, it'll all change. Read the comments on this post and absolve yourself.

Here's what I think you should do, right now, today. First, round of all the baby sleep books you have. Put the ones that your son has read and has agreed to follow in one pile, and the ones that your son hasn't read in another pile. Take that second pile and put it in a kitchen garbage bag and put that bag either 1) in the way way back of a closet to pull out when your son is 8 years old and read and laugh at, or 2) in the paper recycling bin.

Now, put your baby in the stroller or wrap or sling or what-have-you and forget about his naps, just for this one day (or tomorrow, if you're a planner). Pop in on that new moms' group you always wanted to go to but couldn't because of the !@#$%ing naps. Or call a friend (with kids or without) and meet for lunch. Go to a cafe and have an iced coffee and bring along a book and if your son falls asleep, read your book. (OK, magazine–Who are we kidding about your ability to concentrate on plot right now?)

Let today not be about naps. Your son will probably end up getting the same amount of sleep he would have if you'd stayed home and tortured yourself, only *you* will feel like a human being instead of some inadequate robot.

Now. Do you want to go back to work? That's another story for another day. There is no easy path for a mother. It's just a different set of problems. So maybe table that discussion and let the nap thing go until tomorrow and see how you feel.

Sympathy? Empathy? Bitter remembrance?

* Has anyone out there gone through military boot camp *after* becoming a
parent? Because I kind of feel like it wouldn't be the huge deal
it is for most recruits after going through the newborn stage. I mean, you get 7 hours of straight sleep a night, someone else cooks your meals, you get to pee all by yourself, you're not responsible for anyone else's socks, and all you have to do is physical tasks and not let a drill sergeant make you cry? Please… muscle soreness is nothing compared to the dark night of the soul.

126 thoughts on “Q&A: SAHM wants to go back to work because of 4-month-old’s naps”

  1. Moxie, I wish I’d been able to read your response here when my DS #1 was 4 months old! He also *never* willingly slept during the day – he got better at 5/6 months, but only because then I could walk him to sleep. After falling asleep in the car seat-stroller, I could take the carseat off and put him in his room (in the carseat) and he would stay asleep for an hour or so. The worst thing about having a baby that won’t nap during the day is that he gets SO OVERTIRED and cranky. But I wish I had a time machine and could go back and CHILL OUT about the naps, because getting so worked up about them did not help. I would get so emotional, I’d be hanging on the side of his crib sobbing “Why – won’t – you – sleep?!?” I should have just held him in my arms or Moby-ed him, and as you said, went about my day.I just want to reiterate Moxie’s wisdom to the OP: it’s not your fault! You’re not doing anything wrong! It won’t matter in the long run if the naps don’t work at this age. He’ll organize his sleep time eventually. It WILL get better!
    I have another suggestion – I don’t know if you can afford it, but you might try to find a babysitter for a couple hours a week. I say this because at 4 months, guess who could get my baby to sleep in his crib for hour long naps? That’s right, the teenaged sitter! It helped him sleep, and I got some time off. If you can afford it, consider it. Non-parents almost always have an easier time putting babies to bed (maybe this just my experience and my baby. . . ).

  2. My DS is also 4 months old. Generally I find him to be a joy….but, honestly, my expectations for 4 month olds are pretty low. I have begged him multiple times to take a nap in his crib for a nice 2-3 hour stretch (or really, just an hour?). However, he has explained to me, over and over, in no uncertain terms that, “I do not sleep in my crib during the DAYTIME, Mommy!!” So….I’ve done what Moxie suggested. I got over the nap. These days I go about my business in the house and he is often in his bouncy seat watching me fold laundry, making supper or whatever I need to do. Sometimes I sing to him or do crazy dances in front of him in order to receive a giggle and smile. OCCASIONALLY he will now drift off to sleep for 15 or 20 minutes. Other times we go for a walk and discover things. I find that nothing brings on a nap like A LOT of stuff to look at and see outside. A walk in the park is a wealth of information for a little one. Also, rather than a bath, I find that taking him in the shower with me wears him out as if he swam across the English Channel. The point is…that we’re both much, much happier now that I’m not trying to ascribe his non-naps to a random sleep theory. He’s a baby. He does what he does, he gets what he wants and there will be PLENTY of months/years in the future that I get to tell him how it’s going to be. For now…we’re just experiencing this little journey together. It helps. Good luck!

  3. My second one is seven weeks old but I remember EXACTLY this phenomenon with my first… I second (third?) the suggestion to just stick him in a carrier/stroller/car seat and do something you want to do. My older daughter (now 2 – and a pretty good napper) managed to sleep so well in her carrier (for 45 minute stretches – then I’d nurse, then walk her around a bit, then she’d go back to sleep in her carrier) that I could sit down and work on the computer and/or read something. Or, ahem, play a video game. The second one has also already done this sometimes… so I have hope. Once they get big enough you can put them on your back and do pretty much anything around the house with them in the carrier. I remember that phase with much fondness.I recommend having multiple carriers (if you can afford it, and you can look on craigslist) to make it more interesting for both you and the baby. Or: go to a babywearing specialist and get a lesson! Just make yourself less lonely, in any way you can, while you deal with this phase.
    For me, the real hard part is when an overtired baby resists falling asleep in the evening, because then I really need to just let it all go already.
    Also: the babysitter. Even if it’s just two hours during the day, once or twice a week. It makes a huge difference, not least because then you don’t feel so alone dealing with things.

  4. If you want to babywear, the Ergo carrier was where my son would “nap” (I have to put that in quotes because he was a 20 minute guy.)I recommend it because you can actually learn to lie them down in bed from it once this stage ends, although your abs and thighs will get strong doing it. Also it has a sunshadey thing.
    It will get better. It is horrible now. Moxie’s advice is the best – try to ease up a bit on it and recover a little bit.

  5. When my daughter was 4 months old, I was ready to sell her to the gypsies some days over this issue. In fact, I gladly would have just let the gypsies have her, no charge. She’d nap in my arms, or (rarely) in her swing, but she could barely tolerate her crib at night, let alone during the day.I let it ride — she was happy in her swing and on walks, so we did a lot of swing time and a lot of walking. And one day when she was about six months old, she decided napping wasn’t so bad. We had just read the No-Cry Sleep Solution, but honestly I think that was mostly a coincidence of timing.
    I like Moxie’s advice a lot.

  6. I am so sorry for you, and am sorry that all I can say is – our DD was the same exact way especially at 4 months old. That is actually how I found Moxie because I thought I was going to die of sleep deprivation and fortunately found Moxie’s post(s) on the 4 month sleep regression… Anyway, my DD never ever fell asleep drowsy, always needed white noise and/or nursing and/or being bounced to fall asleep ESPECIALLY at that age, and would only stay asleep if held in my arms or in a sling/carrier. So I did what Moxie just suggested and went about my day while she napped in my arms or a sling/carrier. I took nice long walks to a bakery or something else enjoyable, did minimal housework (justified because I was home alone with a little baby), and tried to nap when I was very tired. Actually the only way she would sleep on her own EVER is if we let her sleep on her tummy – which I did during the day for naps sometimes if I could keep a constant eye on her. I know Moxie has had posts on that as well. Our DD eventually grew out of that phase of needing so many props to fall asleep, but grew very heavy and let me say I KNOW how painful it is for your back and shoulders to be breaking while constantly holding the baby (and my DD was over the 100th percentile for weight until she turned 2). And I can tell you it does get a lot better and a lot easier. But my heart is with you right now because I know how painful and difficult it is!

  7. My first was a great napper, horrible night time sleeper. My second is a great night time sleeper, not so good napper. I’d take the later every day of the week and twice on Sundays.At four months ish what I started doing with son 2 was putting him down at naptime and not turning on the monitor and setting a timer for 45 minutes. Then go to a part of the house where I couldn’t hear him. I checked in at the beep and if he was awake I got him up and if he was asleep I left him and turned the monitor on. It was a sanity saver for me. He never takes those luxurious 2-3 hour naps my first son did, but over all it’s fine. He’s 11 m now and is delightful and a good enough sleeper.

  8. My daughter lived in the carrier at this age. Unless she was playing she was pretty much in the carrier. She nursed like a champ in it and wasn’t screaming so I never saw the need to take her out. I would go about my business and she would sleep when she was tired and just hang out and look around when she wouldn’t. It got better when she was about 6 months, she started to nap some, but she was never one of those kids who would put herself to sleep. I think some kids just aren’t programed that way. The good news is my second one is programmed that way. I say he’s my reward for not losing my mind with child number 1.

  9. You have my sympathy. Hang in there. Four months olds just sleep like crap. It gets so much better in a few months (at night and in the daytime).Have you considered putting black out curtains and a white noise machine in your nursery? I imagine you get mighty tired of your bathroom.

  10. If you do want to try something (not saying you should because what works for one is not what works for another), if your son is into the swaying/white noise – try putting him in a swing and running a vaccum cleaner. I did that once by accident (I put him in the swing and then ran the vaccum cleaner because I just needed FIVE MINUTES of not holding him and I couldn’t bear to hear his crying. By the time I finished vaccuming the living room, he was out. Of course, letting the vacuum cleaner run endlessly was a little tiresome so we promptly ran out and purchased an air purifier which made a lovely loud noise when turned on high.

  11. This is awful. I had nothing like this (good reliable naps but f-ed up nights), but totally agree with the advice to get out there with a carriage or sling and an iced coffee and a magazine to rejoin the human race.Unfortunately…the best cure for this is having a second kid. You can’t be ruled by #2’s schedule, because you are ruled by #1’s. You have to get out there to music class/preschool pickup/park/library because you HAVE to or you’ll lose your mind in some other way.

  12. I remember the one fantastic day that ds took two (2!!!!) two-hour naps…I remember it because the rest of his naps until he was six months old were 45-mins tops! If I could do it all again, I’d do exactly what Moxie says and toss every sleep book in the garbage and just not stress about it – OK, now I’m laughing because now that he’s 3 I find myself desperately browsing Weissbluth’s book trying to get him to settle quicker in bed!!!

  13. Lots of sympathy and two suggestions: first, is this a nursing baby who might be sensitive to caffeine? I’ve been in that bad spiral before, where I drink too much coffee because I’m exhausted and then the baby sleeps worse because of the secondhand caffeine. Second, have you ever tried putting something in the crib that smells like you? If you laid your nightgown in their first, might it reassure your sleeping baby that you’re not far away?Good luck. Love this post, Moxie. 🙂

  14. I thought we were the only ones who rocked our infant to sleep in the bathroom!! (Because it was the only room with no windows….)SAHM – I have SO SO SO been there. And still am there from time to time. My daughter is 7 months now, and still has occasional nap crises (the 15 minute nap – yikes!). I spent the first four months of her life in a rocking chair with her in a Bjorn so she would nap. That was 6-7 hours per day…for four months. It was pure, unadulterated hell.
    Naturally, my back was killing me and insanity was setting in. Just shy of four months, my husband and I decided that DD needed to learn to nap in her crib. We would rock her to soothe her, and then placed her in the crib and patted her until she fell asleep. Your son will probably cry at first because it is a change from what he is used to. But, he is not crying-it-out because you are right there. Initially, he might do a lot of crying and you might be doing a lot of patting (get a barstool for next to the crib). If he does fall asleep, it might be a short nap. But, it will be a step towards getting him to sleep on his own. And towards saving your sanity.

  15. I honestly can’t remember what was happening at 4 months, but I do remember that she napped a lot better if we co-slept and napped together. We didn’t co-sleep at night, but for naps it really seemed to make a difference. I didn’t necessarily need as many naps as she needed during the day, but for one at least, it was nice.

  16. I would also recommend finding a sling/wrap/carrier that you’re comfortable in and just strap him on for the afternoon. I had mine in a ring sling a lot and he would cat-nap on and off all day. My arms were free, I could do what needed to be done, he was content and I wasn’t having a panic attack that he wouldn’t go to sleep.I definitely know that desperate feeling when you just NEED them to SLEEP just to have some TIME OFF! Good luck mama!

  17. I have an amazing 3 year old. I was miserable at 4 months. I was a zombie for a year. I have a neighbor with this incredible 2-month-old baby who sleeps all the time. An amazing baby. I sit there with my mouth open and watch. It’s another universe. Don’t judge yourself. You’re making it through.

  18. I was SO there and “luckily” had to go back to work at three months. I dreaded going back but it was such a life saver for me because I was agonizing over naps. Oh how I wish I found this blog sooner. And burned those effing sleep books sooner. I would have learned to chill out at saved myself A LOT of grief. Once I had to give up control it made it so much better. I echo what everyone here says about finding some help for just a tiny part of the week. Once it becomes “someone’s else’s problem” you’re forced to let it go and in that comes a mental freedom that is priceless.

  19. Mary, I had one of those babies. Not only she never slept during the day unless someone held her after a long rocking session, she did not sleep through the night until 18 months old. I worked full time and I was about to kill myself.Moxie is spot on, some children are programmed this way, you cannot change it, the only thing to change is how you handle it. I bought an expensive stroller that was really comfortable and reclined all the way down , bought the rain cover etc. Rain, sun, sleet, storm, I walked. I did some errands, I drank some coffee in piece and I made so friends at the playground. This took me ages to learn to do. After reading the effing sleep books and listening to everyone talk about their child sleeping 6 p.m. to 6 am straight, and taking a 2 hour nap, I felt like an utter failure. Ditch the books. Give an eyeroll and a kick in the shin to anyone who claims your baby “should” be doing this and that with sleep and how their precioussnowflake sleeps 14 hours a day because they bought a lovely she really likes. My second child, although not as extreme as the said precioussnowflakes, slept and napped well. Not because I did anything different, she was ust wired that way. I just stopped stressing about it. And those of you with precioussnowflakes who sleep curled up contently in their crib, even if you are not exaggerating, put a sock in it, it’s not helping anyone, it’s demoralizing a lot of mothers like Mary.
    My first child, the bad sleeper, is 6yrs old.I have to drag her out of bed before school. I would have never believed it when she was 4 months old. IT WILL GET BETTER, IT”S NOT YOUR FAULT, NOW GO OUT AND BUY A NICE STROLLER/CARRIER etc.

  20. We got lucky and a books theory worked for us for a few months. But then, out of the blue, it stopped working. And I had an epiphany…they have to sell the book somehow…so promising sleep to an exhausted and desperate parent makes an easy target. And I had a HUGE bullseye on grungy-unshowered-forehead!!Why do you care how long your child naps? (insert non-aggressive, completely honestly curious tone) Is it because someone tells you they should? I was obsessed about long naps and good rest because I decided (ie: a book told me) that my DS would develop ADD if he didn’t sleep. But, after careful and curious observation of lots of kiddos, I’ve decided that is quite an assumption to make. And so, I stopped stressing over naps.
    Also, WonderWeeks really helped me understand why my DS was so variable.
    About work…I work and I am glad for the break but if I had the choice I’d stay home and send my DS to a MDO or childshare for a few hours. Maybe a PT job would be fun?
    You are doing great and not alone.

  21. “peace” not “piece”. “some friends” not “so friend”. “just” not “ust”. The effing blackberry is hard to type on.

  22. I second the suggestion to throw out your sleep books. I was OBSESSED with them. They did not help. As Moxie put it, my kid did not read nor agree to comply with any of their theories. My daughter napped in the Moby exclusively until about 4 or 5 months, that is when she was not screaming her head off. And then one day she just decided the crib was cool. Now at nine months, she takes a good 1.5 or 2 hour nap at least once a day, sometimes twice. She still gets up a couple of times at night, which is kinda killing me, but I took Dr. Sears advice and hid the clocks in the bedroom. Not knowing the exact god-awful hour that she is waking me up is somehow soothing.

  23. I was going to say the same thing as Jac. Try getting room darkening shades in his room, a white noise CD or machine (can test it out by using a hairdryer or vacuum), swaddle him and put him in a swing with a pacifier if he uses one.I remember my daughter sleeping that way at night a few times when she was that age.
    My daughter (16 mo) still doesn’t nap well unless she’s at daycare. Totally not fair that they have to wake her up after 2 hours and I am lucky to get a 1 hour nap at home on the weekends.

  24. Another thing I wanted to mention. I think they are usually good night sleepers or good nappers but not both. So maybe you could look at your lack of naps as the price you pay for a reasonable night’s sleep!

  25. I also found Moxie’s blog when my baby girl was 4 months because of the awfulest awful of awfulsome sleeping. At 4 months, ALL her naps were 20 minutes, at 6 months, they lengthened to 30, at 8 months, they got to 40-45, and now at 11 months, they have magically gone to one morning nap for 45 minutes, and one long afternoon nap of about an hour and a half. That nap is the ultimate in luxury for me. Yesterday, I ate a sandwich, mopped the floors, and still had time to zone out on the internet. I never would have believed it possible at 4 months. When I tell my friends she has started taking a longer nap, they ask “What, like 2-3 hours?” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!I am in a pretty active playgroup in which I see a lot of moms several times a week. There are the mythical babies that sleep 12 hours at night and 2 long naps that don’t require intervention, some that will only sleep in carriers for naps and co-sleeping at night, and very normal babies like mine that sleep reasonably well at night, with enough napping to keep both of us from going insane. And then there are the babies that refuse to sleep EVER, and, well, their parents have my sympathies. I have no advice.
    Oh, man, I definitely feel you on the going-back-to-work to make someone else deal with it feelings. I was definitely there at many points during the first 6 months. Now she is way more fun.

  26. I agree with all that Moxie said. But also consider nixing the music in his room for sleeping and add instead a white noise machine. Both of my boys have them, use them all night long and for naps, and it works wonders for us.

  27. No time to read all the comments.. but I have to tell the OP-That was me, except I WAS going back to work when my first child (now 3) was 4 months old, and it saved my sanity. Literally. If I’d had to be a SAHM, I’d have needed counseling. I am not exaggerating.
    So don’t feel bad for feeling this way. Caring for an infant, particularly an infant who doesn’t sleep easily, has got to be one of the hardest, most demoralizing jobs on the planet.
    My second baby sleeps a lot easier. But also- I’m more zen. So, we do a lot of naps on wheels, as in if someone needs a nap and isn’t going down easily, I put that kid in a stroller and we go for a walk. (OK, sometimes we go for a drive.)
    If that works for you… do it. And if you need some sleep (an oh, boy, do I know how that feels!), see if someone else will do it sometimes. And don’t let anyone tell you that you’re messing the baby up by doing it. And don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about sending your husband out for a long walk with the baby on the weekend with instructions not to come back for an hour and a half so that you can get some sleep.
    I used to feel like a failure as a mom because I couldn’t get my baby to nap “the right way”. Whatever. She is a happy, smart 3 year old now, and doesn’t seem to have been scarred by her many hours of napping in a stroller.
    Of course, I still use this method to get her to nap on the weekends, so maybe the deep psychological scarring won’t be evident for another few years…. (I’m joking. I can’t believe I ever felt bad for doing this!)

  28. Hang in there… At 4 months my son had NEVER slept longer than 45 minutes night or day and NEVER napped longer than 15-20 minutes at a time. I literally cried half the day (and night). I would put my son in the car seat and just drive for hours hoping that he would nod off for a few minutes. At home, he needed to be held, hear shushing and have me bouncing all at the same time or he would scream bloody murder. At 4.5 months my husband and I actually checked our son into the hospital because we were sure that there was something wrong with him. Of course the nurses told us that he was a baby and eventually he would sleep. We cried some more and looked at each other like “whose idea was it to have this baby?” At 5 months-to the day-he started consolidating sleep and has progressively gotten better since. We now have an 8 month old who sleeps 12 hours a night and takes three 1 hr naps during the day. Everyone told us that things would get better and I was sure they were lying but it DOES get better.

  29. Tons and tons and TONS of sympathy! Naps were the bane of my daytime existance with my daughter (her nights were even worse, hence the “daytime” qualifier). What saved my sanity? Going back to work.We still had miserable weekend naps, though, only saved when we gave up trying to get her to take naps probably around 18 months. The nanny had some voodoo magic that got her to nap during the weekdays, but my biggest relief was when we stopped spending hours of time trying to get her to sleep, when she’d maybe sleep 20 minutes if we were lucky. But that was an older age.
    Back to 3-4 months old naps…
    For my daughter, the sling was the only way we got through it at all. We bought different kinds and found the ones that worked best for both hubby and I and her for her to sleep in.
    For my son, the swing was his best place to nap. We set it up in the bathroom, and we ran the fan. He napped in that until he was through this time period. At 5 or 5.5 months, he started doing great going down for naps in his crib.
    Do whatever you have to do to get yourself and the babe and the family through these regressions, even if it means you stop worrying about the naps. As @Kate said, it was easier to let it go with the second (not just cause he’s a better sleeper) because we just can’t revolve our lives around his nap times. Luckily, he is flexible in personality anyway.
    Oh, and for books… the only two books I’ll recommend to people to read about sleep are Wonder Weeks and Bedtiming. All the others work for someone’s kids, but not mine.

  30. O.M.G. Check, check and check. Nothing but empathy from me. That was SO us when DS was 4 months old. Well, except that he woke up every 1.5-3 hours in the night. It was killing me. Mentally and physically. I had total back and arm aches, which, I’m sad to say I am still (2 years later) trying to recover from, despite an amazing chiropractor and massage therapist.If I remember correctly, what ended up working for us was me going back in as soon as he woke up (I was able to put him down in his crib and he would sleep for 20 minute intervals). So, I ended up putting him down for 3 consecutive 20 minute naps. It wouldn’t work everyday, but it did eventually start sticking and then he finally transitioned out of the 4 month sleep regression and started napping for 60 – 90 minutes 2x per day. Heaven.
    I do believe I took some days, as @Moxie suggested where I just said ‘screw it’ and did what I wanted to do / go where I wanted to go. Also, Mom & Baby yoga was a great place to go during that period. No problem if your kid falls asleep. And no problem if they’re wailing their heads off. You might even get a chance to do a bit of stretching yourself.
    So, @Mary, whatever you decide, know that things will get better and they will change.
    I’d just add to do whatever you need to do to protect your back and arms. Slings with good support, proper lifting in and out of the crib, a few yoga poses or stretches everyday if you can manage it, lying on the floor with a rolled towel under your neck for support for 10 minutes every day or night. I know it’s hard to make the time/find the time. I’m still struggling to make the time, but I think it’s the only thing that works.

  31. Silver lining is that you get sleep at night!! Yeah, because mine did that 45 minute nap thing and didn’t sleep more then 90 minutes at night from the 4 month sleep regression till we sleep trained at 19 months. I was seriously too tired to even think of an escape, sigh. My guy would nap longer on me in arms or in a moby/ergo wrap and I could get something done you can even pee in one although I’d recommend not drinking a ton of water before nap time its precarious. Around 7 mths things started to shift and we coslept so I would come back into bed and get ready to nurse him around the 45 minute mark and sometimes that worked. We did bouncer naps for awhile too, I could lay him in after holding him past the 45 minute mark and rock through the transition. I agree with Moxie and start doing things that make you feel human again, car naps are fine, stroller great! When you don’t have a text book baby then you have to define things for yourself. Ignore all the other well meaning parents that tell you sleep train and everything will change, we tried at 10 months a variety of things that didn’t take at all and I *really* tried. My guy still will nap in the 45 minute increments I hear him roll over or stir around 45 minutes and then he’s up at the 90 minute mark at almost two…Hope that helps a bit!

  32. Moxie is right. Follow her advice, it is worth it. Even if you are staggering to mum and baby group meetings (or parent-baby group) it is better to get out of the bathroom.I think sleep books are a horrifying industry and the authors should be strung up for their destructive and undermining ways. Our culture fails new parents in so many ways and the sleep industry is a primary culprit.

  33. When my oldest daughter was a little baby she was EXACTLY the same.So when she was about 2-3 months old I quit staying home for naps at ALL. I called it “new-baby-won’t-nap-Stockholm-syndrome,” meaning I discovered all the Great! Fun! Things! I could do because we weren’t tied to being home for nap time. It was So Much Better to have a baby who didn’t nap in a crib!
    Shopping! Lunch with my husband! Lunch with friends! A new mom’s group! We were NEVER home for a couple of months … and she eventually outgrew that phase, and started taking naps a bit better in her crib. The end!

  34. Hi OP, I actually have the exact same question for you as the one @EmilyInCocktailLand posed: WHY do you care so much about how long your baby naps? Because that was me exactly 2 years 5 months ago, only I was on maternity leave, and knew I was going to be heading back to work in a week. And I remember feeling so very ready to get back to work to escape the Days That Lasted Forever, where I didn’t shower, ate like crap, and sat on the couch cuddling my little dude without any timeline or structure to our days. And I do miss those days. They don’t last forever. But I was also ready to be done with it. Kind of like pregnancy. That’s what month 4 does to some of us.Naps seem to be your Alamo (we mamas all have our own little Alamos), and I think that speaks to your preferences about things like predictability, and order, and feeling like you have space and time to meet your own basic day-to-day survival needs.
    I think figuring out why this nap thing in particular matters so much will be helpful to you as you eventually address your larger question of “Am I going to be a more well-adjusted person if I outsource my daytime childcare, if I do it all myself, or if I arrange for some combination of BOTH.” The answer for me is BOTH – I have 2 days during the work week where I am home and not working; 3 days where I am working both from home and offsite, and a babysitter comes to our house. This gives me some breathing room. With this arrangement I also take 3 hours per week that are just for me, and I have never felt happier as a mother. The happiest SAHM’s I know have a mother’s helper come to their house 1 or 2 days or afternoons a week, and/or they belong to a gym/club that offers childcare so they can be alone for a few hours a week, or better yet to eke out some extra couple time. I have personally seen how this makes a huge difference. How incredibly lucky you are to actually have a choice in the matter. Good luck!
    @Kate – You made me smile when you said the cure for this is to have another kid. It would be good advice just act as though she has an older kid who has places to be, by making sure she takes the baby out of the house multiple times per day. Truly, as a mom of 2, I have no idea what my 9 month old daughter’s nap schedule is! And we all go a bit crazy if we are trapped indoors all day long.

  35. I went through this with both of my kids. You’d think the second time around I would have handled it better, but not so much. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Between 5 1/2 – 6 months, their naps lengthened and we got on more of a schedule with 3 naps a day (and then moved to 2 naps a few months later). Hang in there!!!

  36. Been there, and it’s a total mindf*ck. Get rid of any books that say your kid ‘should’ be sleeping for x amount of minutes. It will only drive you crazy when they don’t. My son (now 2) was consistently a 30 minute napper for the first year of his life. Kill me. He only would nap longer if I went for epic treks with the bjorn or nursed him when he woke after 30 minutes. We did eventually sleep train and it worked, but it was a pretty rough experience. Hang in there, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel!

  37. OK, now I’ve read all the comments.Yeah, what they said.
    But I want to add- my second baby (the better sleeper, who is now almost 10 months old) still has the loosest of nap schedules. I can’t predict with any accuracy when she’ll nap during the day. She was actually a more reliable napper early on, as long as I was willing to hold her.
    There are two reasons this doesn’t drive me insane: (1) she’s in day care, so for 5 days of the week, it isn’t really my problem. (2) I stopped caring what she “should” be doing, and started going with what she seems to need.
    I add this only to say- even if your baby is older, he or she may not nap how the sleep books say is “right”.

  38. We were saved by the swing. My lovely adorable child would freak the f# out when I dared lay her down in the crib but would sleep nice lengthy naps when I put her in the swing and cranked it up during the day.Seriously we brought a swing to daycare so that they could get her to sleep.
    Hang in there. It gets better. Our little girl is 16 months, sleeps from 8p-9:30a on weekends and takes one long nap during the day.

  39. If you decide to go the white noise route, I recommend the cheapest room humidifier you can find. No need to put water in it either — it’s much louder and probably cheaper than the actual white noise machines and will be useful for those stuffy-nose nights later on.My daughter was one who had to have complete dark and quiet to get to sleep, too. A pox on people who claim that you should just “make that baby learn to sleep the way YOU want her to sleep”. For heaven’s sake, some kids are more sensitive to stimulation than others. (That’s not directed at you, Moxie, but at all the well-meaning people who encouraged me to ignore what was working for my baby. Oh, who are we kidding? It’s directed at MY MOTHER.)
    If I were you I would move my rocking to a comfortable chair in the child’s bedroom, tape aluminum foil over the windows to make it pitch dark, and use the cheap-humidifier solution above. Then I would take a however-long-it-lasts nap with my baby each day at approximately the same time. (Or read a book or meditate or whatever. And if she cried, I would talk to her and sing and continue to rock because I might not be able to make her happy, but I can make sure she knows that I’m with her and I love her. She need not know that I’m wearing earplugs.) Because I was and am obsessed with good sleep. If you said your baby wasn’t tired, I’d say to hell with it, but if she’s crabby ’cause she doesn’t sleep … well, that’s just me and my bias.
    It seems impossible to believe, but this is all totally normal AND it doesn’t last that long in the grand scheme of things. If there’s any way you can learn to enjoy what’s wonderful about it (holding a sleeping baby kind of rocks, even if it seems like too much of a good thing right now) it would probably vastly improve your mental health.
    The biggest thing to remember, whatever you decide to do, is that the problem is NOT that you are doing something wrong. The problem is that your baby’s is apparently not good at daytime sleep. This won’t be the last thing your kid isn’t good at, and just like later when he can’t seem to master rolling over or pronouncing his Rs or riding a two-wheeler, there is only so much you can do to fix it for him. And the truth is, there may be only so much you are willing to do to fix it for him and THAT IS TOTALLY OK. You have every right to keep your needs in mind when you make parenting decisions. In fact, I would argue that it’s not just your right; it’s your responsibility. Lord knows if you don’t do it, HE isn’t going to!
    I will say that my needed-silence-and-darkness kid is 6 now and much more flexible in her sleep. I will also say that I recall 6 weeks and 4 months being the WORST from a sleep perspective with her (9/10 months was the killer with my younger one).
    Hang in there. I think the very hardest thing about your first kid is that your sense of perspective just isn’t there yet. It’s impossible to appreciate that even a year from now this time will probably seem like a tiny blip on the radar of parenthood.
    BTW, if you’re in the Seattle area by any chance, I would happily come hold your little guy through a nap sometime, just so you can escape. (And maybe just a little bit because I miss it now that my little screamers are 4 and 6.)

  40. I felt like such a horrible mother that I “forced” my 2nd to sleep – with his bouncy chair set on vibrate. It was the *only* place he’d sleep during the day, and only if I kept bouncing him. At night it’d be the exercise ball and bouncing on that for ages til he dropped off (he’s bouncy).Mary, this is normal, he’s going to get easier, and “should” is the worst word on the planet (personal belief). “Blackout shades” for us was el cheapo, black fabric I snagged for $2/yd at Walmart, strung up against the windows. A white noise machine was a godsend for both my boys. Good luck with getting your little trouble-maker to sleep!

  41. I say this not to sound snarky but to maybe help with perspective: DAMN, I’d trade you for those 6-hours at night. Dd2 has only ever gone 4 at a stretch EVER, ONCE. We are on month 5 of the 3-hour wakeups (on a good night; during Leap weeks cut that in half) and I am in a constant haze of exhaustion.Moxie’s right. The zen/babywearing approach to napping really helps the sanity, and if you are getting decent sleep at night you aren’t so bitter at giving up your “lie down” time while the baby naps.
    It gets better! This morning we had to wake up my 4 year old for an 8am appointment! I couldn’t believe it – she of the 45 minute stints when she was the age Dd2 is now. I’m sure my plaintive comments are in the archives here somewhere. lol.

  42. I vividly remember going to tour Alcatraz shortly after becoming a mom and thinking “I don’t know what they had to complain about. Their own room with a bed, eight hours of sleep a night, and someone cooked for them three times a day? And they even had time to do art!”

  43. “I can’t do anything during the day because if we’re not napping/attempting to nap, I’m playing with him or feeding him. I barely get to pee or drink or eat.”This is the key to the whole thing. I was EXACTLY like that – felt like I couldn’t step away from my baby (who’s now 2.5) for two seconds to take care of myself. He was a non-sleeper until 11 months (when we finally did Ferber, thank God), so I drove myself completely insane and almost destroyed my marriage in the process. If I had the chance to do this over, I would most certainly NOT spend literally every minute of my time attached to, playing with, rocking or otherwise entertaining my baby – I would also take care of my own basic needs in a concerted, guilt-free, and maybe even leisurely fashion. And if you take care of yourself consistently, the nap won’t matter quite as much, since you won’t be hanging out for it in order to do anything at all other than take care of the baby.
    It’s not like you can wait for it to pass, either. A four-month-old is naturally a difficult little thing to care for, but if you continue to go the full always-tied-to-the-baby-and-no-time-for-me approach, I promise you it will get harder, not easier. It’s also a recipe for a toddler who is expects to be constantly entertained well beyond the age where it’s appropriate (I speak here from bitter experience).
    I second Rayne of Terror’s approach: put the kid down and go somewhere where you can’t hear him for half an hour or so. He’ll be fine, and you’ll get a break. Even little babies need some space to figure things out for themselves, like how to fall asleep on their own.

  44. Oh my lord, I remember this with my first (I now have three – 4, 2 and 7 months) and I was a WAHM and would just get so worked up because I neeeeeded him to nap so I could get some work done. Instead, 20 min in the crib or an hour in the swing. And I fought the swing because the stupid sleep books said they haaaaave to sleep in their cribs.Eventually, he started sleeping for an hour at a time in his crib (I think that was about 7 months?) and then when I switched him to one nap at 13 months, he started sleeping two straight hours.
    With my next two, I let them nap in the swing until they preferred sleeping on their tummies. They would swing away for two hours sometimes. They also slept in the carrier and the stroller because, well, with an older sibling, younger ones have to learn to sleep on the go.
    So don’t be afraid of the swing. Or the stroller. Or the carrier. And just get the naps in when you can and don’t stress. But oh my, I do NOT look back on those days with fondness.

  45. My one year old is still not a good napper unless I hold him. I finally read a book, however, that explains why he needs physical contact to sleep. The book is written by Dr. Sears and his wife, Dr. Sears and I think is entitled Parenting Fussy and High Need Children. It has been an afirmation to how I have been feeling the last 8 months. It explains how some children are just wired differently and need less sleep, or physical contact to sleep, or eat more or more often…. High need is not a label but a personality type, and Dr. Sears’ explain why and how to nurture your high needs child. I encourage you to check it out at your local library to see if it helps you as much as it helped me.

  46. My oldest daughter (now 6 yo) was the same way, with the short-short naps. I felt very similarly to Mary, though I never thought of returning to work (too sleep deprived to actually think of actionable solutions!) It was a dark, dark time in my life I have to say.When she turned one, we were asked to be part of a “fashion show” at the new mommy fair at the hospital where I delivered (and happened to work). When we walked out on stage, the announcer asked me for my best piece of advice, and I said, “Everything is a stage, so don’t let it get you down. Don’t worry; it will eventually change.” The announcer quickly “cleaned up” my comments, rephrased into something like, “Yes, savor every moment, because you’ll never have it back again!” … I can tell you that was not what I was saying! She didn’t want to scare the moms-to-be, but I sure wish I had had that advice sooner than the one year mark!
    The first year, while amazing for many reasons, is just plain hard. I agree with Moxie, after surviving that, you can do things you never thought you could do, and with ease. Good luck!

  47. We have struggled with naps for our now 20 month old since she was born. Like the original poster and many commenters, she would sleep maybe 20 minutes on her own (if at all, and then only after rocking first) but easily 1.5 hours if being held. After fighting with what she “should” be doing, we decided to roll with the punches and “hold” her — in a carrier (I LOVE the Ergo), a swing, a car seat while driving. We also spent many hours rocking her — and my lifesaver there was an iPhone connected to wifi. Reading Ask Moxie while my kid slept in her favorite spot on my lap made me less stressed about the non-ideal sleeping situation. So I cannot recommend having some sort of backlit tech item on which to read (iPhone, Kindle, etc) enough.Also, enlist help from others. Since it is summer, are there any teens/preteens around that would like a few bucks to watch your kid while you do stuff around the house? You get a break and also may end up with a future babysitter for nights out.

  48. Haven’t had time to read many comments–but my now-5-year-old (who sleeps pretty well) wouldn’t take naps other than on/with me, while nursing. He finally gave up napping AND breastfeeding at 2 1/2. I drove myself crazy over his naplessness, or high maintenance method of napping, for a long time. The best I felt about it was when I did exactly what Moxie said. The stroller naps were pretty reliable and helped me get back in shape the first summer after he was born. (I don’t know why I didn’t invest in a good lightweight jogging stroller, because we must have put five miles on per day.)Also, identify places where you can sit for long periods of time without anyone bugging you about it: coffee shops, library, family area at mall, etc. Go and make yourself comfortable. Bring a book or magazine, as Moxie suggested. Get something to drink and eat. Park for awhile. Let the baby snuggle/nurse/nap, if that works. I have wonderful memories of reading almost all of Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country in two-hour periods, fortified by latte and scones, at a nearby coffee shop, while Paul napped in my arms.

  49. Moxie, I love you.”Let today not be about naps. Your son will probably end up getting the same amount of sleep he would have if you’d stayed home and tortured yourself, only *you* will feel like a human being instead of some inadequate robot.”
    That is seriously some of the best parenting advice I have ever heard. And it will work in so many other situations too. Potty training, food issues, etc.
    And actually, my midwife whispered a variant to me during the hardest part of my most recent labor. (And holy crap my baby will already be one month old in 4 days!) I had been yelling for 20 minutes “I can’t do this!” and getting myself more and more worked up, even between contractions. She leaned over and whispered in my ear, “So don’t. Just for a minute. Just don’t.” It snapped me out of it and calmed me down. I was able to let go and let the baby come. It was the most valuable birth/pregnancy service she has ever performed for me, in our 6-year, 3-pregnancy relationship.
    I am using this technique a LOT from now on!

  50. Oh my LAWD! Ditto everything everyone else has said. I *WISH* I had learned to let go of naps, but that #(@&#^@%#&@ Weissbluth book bored a hole into my brain and where reason should have prevailed there was instead a continuous loop of “your child will have a defective brain/ADD/criminal tendencies if he doesn’t nap according to plan” was playing instead.Don’t throw the sleep books away. BURN THEM!!!!! (There should be no risk that anyone else will read them after you. Plus a cheery little bonfire might make you feel better.)
    I spent the first year of my child’s life *obsessed* with naps. You know what? He is 3.25 and still doesn’t care for naps that much (though he takes nice long ones at preschool, dammit). But he’s happy, healthy, sweet, charming and has not shown any criminal tendencies yet. Oh, and he sleeps plenty (mostly at night).
    Moxie, as usual, your advice is genius. Everyone else who says to chillax, pop the baby in the sling/bouncy seat/stroller and go about your business is right on. Whether you go back to work or not, get some childcare assistance for a few hours a week so you can maintain your sanity.
    Hang tough. This too shall pass.

  51. @Parallel Universe – A four-month-old is naturally a difficult little thing to care for, but if you continue to go the full always-tied-to-the-baby-and-no-time-for-me approach, I promise you it will get harder, not easier.This is an important point, and I would concur based on my experience.
    Our DD was certainly colicky, and was a challenging night-sleeper and napper for the first 3.5-4 months. Like the OP, we held the baby for all of the naps. By the time she was 3.5 months, I was going nuts and the situation was not sustainable. As I described in the post above, we began putting her the crib drowsy but awake and patted her until she fell asleep. It was a lot of patting at first, but over the course of some days my DD learned to nap on her own. Now, she tends to be a short-napper, but at least she is an independent napper.
    I knew we had reached the end of the holding-all-the-time when it was clear the BABY was no longer napping well in the situation. I was doing more soothing and she was sleeping less. It was a clear sign that she needed to sleep independently.

  52. I too wish I hadn’t invested so much time in getting my daughter to nap. I remember one day when she woke up after 20 minutes, for the hundredth time, and I fell to my knees in a rather dramatic fashion on the kitchen floor and howled. It wasn’t until she was 10 months old that she took a nap longer than 45 minutes, and I was beside myself with joy. I ate something, I sent an e-mail, I went to the bathroom! When I think back to that time, I was a bit of a zombie (she is not too keen on sleep at night either) and did a lot of walking around shopping malls with her in the Moby wrap. And, as Moxie said, I was able to go to my mothers’ groups and chat it up with similarly suffering friends, which was great. Now I am housebound for three hours a day, but am definitely not complaining. Hang in there; it will get better.

  53. And that right there is the secret to being a good mom.If mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy. Your baby and anyone else in your family are depending on you to not completely lose it. So let go, and reinstate your own mental and physical health as a priority.

  54. Oh, and to add to what I said earlier (mostly agreement with Moxie): DON’T BLAME YOURSELF. A child’s sleep style is part of his/her temperament. I am so glad we had a second child for many reasons–though seriously, sleep problems with the first almost made us decide we wouldn’t be able to survive a second child–if only to teach us that. We have done nothing different with our second child, and he moved from taking 3 or 4 20- or 45-minute naps per day early on to nice 1 1/2 to 2 hour naps in his crib beginning at 10 months.

  55. I haven’t read previous comments, but my kids napped in a swing as long as they were under the swing’s weight limit. And I made sure with baby #2 that it had the highest weight limit possible. My kids are terrible sleepers too, and that swing saved me!

  56. 2nd on the “just take a walk.” My DS has always been happier out of the house than in. At least if he’s not napping, he’s not screaming when he’s in the wrap or stroller.Also, instead of investing a white noise machine, if you own a laptop, you can download “pink noise” from the internet and play that in your LO’s room. It’s better than white noise for masking sound because it’s got more low-frequency sound.

  57. I had this same hell with my first. Napped for 30 minutes maybe, unless he was on me. He would nap in the car too, so I would just drive. I drove and drove and drove. I drove through Starbucks. I drove through anywhere that had Diet Coke.WIth my second, I’ve carted him around with us for all of my 3 year old’s activities every morning, so he cat naps opportunistically. And somehow, he magically fell into sleeping 2-3 hours in the afternoon that usually coincide for at least 1 hour with my 3 year old’s naps. I think that since I just make him tough it out the rest of the day, he figured out he better start resting in the afternoon.
    But, like Moxie said, I just didn’t stress about it this time. And it was better.
    Now, night sleep at 9 months is kicking my ass, but that’s a post for another day. If anyone can direct me to an old Moxie post about 9 month old sleep (in the midst of separation anxiety, learning to stand/walk, and not wnting to CIO), I’d appreciate it.

  58. I’ve have so been there! My daughter basically never napped alone for the first year of her life. Always on me, on the boppy, and preferably next to a boob. What changed it for us was learning to hold her for about 20 minutes after she nodded off, basically waiting for deep sleep to hit and then very gently laying her on the bed. Our bed seemed to work better, we never have gotten her to sleep in a crib. I would stay next to her in case she kerfuffled and lay a firm hand on her to calm her if she did. Sometimes it worked, sometimes no. But she eventually got used to the feeling of sleeping alone on a surface other than me. That or she outgrew it, haha.

  59. Oh! And I forgot to say that what helped change my resentful mindset about having such a high-needs napper was using the time to rest with a book, or watch a program on my laptop while she napped. Earphones seriously changed my life.

  60. Hahahaha, this is so me right now TOO. But I’m actually going back to work at the end of August, when my baby is 6 months old (which was the plan all along, so not just because of naps).The only way that I can get my 4 month old to take a nap is when I’m holding him. So that’s what I do. The reason it works for me is that I bought a carrier. When he’s getting fussy from being overtired, I put him in the carrier and start walking around. He usually falls asleep really quickly and will nap an hour or longer and stays asleep while I do laundry, work on the computer, do dishes, etc. He won’t nap in a stroller, just refuses.
    The other thing we found recently that helps with napping is going to the pool. He and I walk around in the pool, so I get some exercise and he gets some water playtime. All this exercise is apparently exhausting – he falls asleep within minutes of leaving the YMCA every time. Today was tiring enough that he stayed asleep for an hour when we got home.
    I tried really hard for a week or two to get him to take for-real, laying in his crib, out for a long time naps a few weeks ago and it was driving me nuts. I just had to do what worked for both of us for now.

  61. I read this post last night at like 2am while nursing my 4 month old. I kid you not when I tell you that I had the very same thought that day: “why don’t I just go back to work? I’m sick of dealing with trying to get this kid to nap!” It seems like getting him to nap takes All. Day. Long. Most days I nurse him to sleep, and he’ll be down 20 minutes to 45 minutes,(or the blasted 10 minute nap). Other days I will nurse him to sleep while sitting in a very comfortable chair and take a nap myself. Since this is my second kid, and the other one is 2 1/2, I do have some perspective that keeps me sane – my other son was also a terrible napper at this age, a terrible nighttime sleeper to boot – and now he sleeps 12 hours a night and takes 3 hour naps every day. I am just trying to go with it, not expect too much from myself right now in terms of getting things done, knowing that it will be different one day soon. Hang tough!

  62. For us, coming from the exact same situation, napping started to get better around 6 months. So hang in there…that’s not too far off. Before that…oh boy was I going crazy. Two to three naps a day of 45 minutes, and ONLY if I pushed him to sleep in the snap and go car seat and pushed him again every time he stirred. I counted, I made deals with myself that if I pushed just a little longer… That stroller took up permanent residence in his room, and it is still there in case of emergency. Now at 8 months, I usually get two naps a day of 60-80 minutes in his crib. And it is heavenly. Sometimes I don’t even know what to do with myself. In the beginning, I just paced the halls.It really is unbelievable how obsessed we become over the sleep thing, but it is so so nice to know there are people out there just like me. Even if I’ve never met one in person.
    We are still working on getting the nights down, and it is challenging. I am hoping that, as with the naps, as some point something will just magically click. For now, he is up constantly- like every 45-90 minutes- and will not be soothed back to sleep except by nursing. But what can I do? Battle the boy, or learn some acceptance?
    Thank you to everyone on here for helping me along that long and winding road to acceptance.

  63. 4 months is just a bad time because babies generally aren’t sleeping well and you feel like you should have it all together by now. I have an almost one-year old (my fourth) and I was in your spot 8 months ago.Since your baby likes the holding, motion combo, I’m going to suggest the swing as some OP have – the kind that goes side to side seems to work particularly well. If you have to, move it into a dark room and buy a white noise machine. Vaccuuming when you first put the baby in there may also work with the added bonus of getting something done.
    Getting out for a walk when baby seems tired may work as well if your baby likes motion. My experience with all 4 kids is that organized naps were not easy until they really started moving and were physically tired out.
    Best of luck!!!!

  64. I have two spectacularly bad sleepers. Here’s my advice:1. Do take a look at your diet if you’re breastfeeding. Caffeine, chocolate and gluten had a profound effect on my DD’s sleep. I gave them up for a year (sadly), and still rarely have them. It’s worth doing a 2-week trial and seeing if it makes a difference.
    2. There’s nothing wrong with your son, and nothing wrong with you. He just doesn’t have the sleep thing down yet. He will, although it may take longer than you wish. But it’ll happen.
    3. Although you write that you don’t want to CIO, I would still suggest that you try, every now and then, laying him down sleepy but awake in his crib. If he snaps awake, you can just go on with your routine. But he may surprise you sometimes.
    4. White noise and a gliding rocking chair make my life much easier. That and an Ergo for napping during walks (both of my kids hated strollers and carseats).
    Good luck…this will get better, I promise!

  65. For the first 6-7 month’s of P’s life I NEVER scheduled around naps, because I never would have left the house. Instead I wore him in a stretchy wrap, and later when he got heavier an Ergo, and only in there would he do that magical “I”ll just fall asleep when I’m tired” thing. (I also learned how to nurse him in the carrier and that was an amazing way to get him to fall asleep.) And then once he was asleep I would lean back and enjoy myself, read a book, watch some TV, drink my coffee… It was honestly pretty great, and I almost miss that stage now.My only other advice is to check out the “90 minute sleep solution”. You can read the book, or I can summarize: young baby’s need to sleep way more often than you think, and typically will be ready to sleep after being awake for only 90 minutes. When P got older, that went out the window, but for the first 6 months or so, it was golden. If I waited too much longer than 90 minutes he would be overtired and not nap, but at the 90 minute mark he’s gladly nurse to sleep and often even let me put him down.
    Good luck! (I must say, I”m very envious of you’re night sleeping schedule! If only we could all be so lucky there…)

  66. Try a white noise machine in baby’s room and blackout shades. Both are worthwhile investments and you’ll need them for years to come. A rocker or glider is a must as well.

  67. Both my kids did this. I assumed that all babies did it- maybe related to sleep cycles? I was thinking that after one cycle, a tiny baby might snap awake and have trouble getting back to sleep… and with both of my kids, I did- please don’t judge me- let them deal with their own problems (that means CIO) once they reached about 4 or 5 months. It worked in a day or two, and then they both easily transitioned into those blissful 2 hour naps that we all read about. (I know that the OP is wary of CIO techniques, but I want to offer them as a way, not for a baby to be trained, but for a mommy to have a little time to herself. Your baby will feel loved, secure, safe, warm, whatever, even if you have to plop them somewhere and aimlessly browse the internet for 15 minutes. I don’t want to tell anyone what to do, but I think there are times that a crying baby is the lesser evil in the scenario when compared to an overworked, exhausted, emotional mother. We are all too hard on ourselves.)

  68. @KB I hear you on the magic of an iPhone with wifi! I’m sitting here writing this with my 6 month old sacked out on my lap right now. I think my baby gave up napping in her cot around 8 weeks or so. I let sleep books drive me crazy for a couple of weeks & then at 11 weeks we took the baby on a holiday to a tropical island and discovered she could sleep through ANYTHING in the sling. And I just let go and started doing exactly what Moxie recommends – baby in sling and OUT the door. Walks, art gallery, coffee/lunch with friends… At six months she’s starting to get heavy for a ring sling so I’ve decided to prioritize. For her first nap of the day, I sit on the couch with her. It’s my time to write, read, watch tv andchill. I find a good nap first thing sets her up for the day. Then in the afternoon, I’ll get her to sleep and depending on how I’m feeling, I might try putting her down. And honestly, it’s about me more than her.
    I also gave up worrying about interacting with her *all* the time. If I put her down and she’s happy to roll around by herself – I do the stuff I need to. If she’s not, I play with her. She is capable of a) entertaining herself & b) letting me know when she wants attention.
    All that said – I am still looking forward to going back to work part time next year…

  69. Nice response Moxie!My 14 year old was once that 4 month old. He needs about 11 hours of sleep then and now. As he slept a long period at night so was quite okay with the 10-20 minute “naps” he got when I attempted to lay him down asleep.
    (I remember someone at the playground asking me if he still had two naps a day when he was 10 months old. My hysterical laughter may have shocked the nice lady.)
    Around 6 months, he woke more at night but napped once for an hour or so during the day.
    With the wisdom of hindsight and two other children, I wish I could time travel and tell that baffled young mother to just nurse him, hold him and pull the rocking chair up to the computer or put him in a sling or stroller and go for a walk instead of waiting-and-seeing and wasting the day.
    Sadly, advice and the baby book industry seem even more obsessed with sleep now than it did 14 years ago. Babies’ needs haven’t changed, though.

  70. Eli was the same way at that point except he wouldn’t sleep alone at night either. We just went with it – holding him for naps and co-sleeping at night. He’s a LOT better now and is well on his way to a set schedule though he still needs to be put to bed 90% asleep.What really made a difference is that, at six months, he sorted out all that rolling and crawling business, which lead to him being able to flip onto his tummy – even swaddled. So we ditched the Miracle Blanket, which was bad for a few nights but then he was fine. And we put him to bed on his stomach (I’m expecting my doctor to give me crap for this at his next appointment but it’s how he’ll end up anyway so why bother risking waking him again?).
    So basically, wait it out like Moxie said. Take time for yourself or do whatEVER you have to to stay sane until you get past this stage. Good luck!

  71. I didn’t have time to read all the comments from folks who’ve been there, done that, but I’m with them. At that age my DS refused to take a nap without me in the late afternoon. And the only place he’d ever doze off was in the car. Any where else, he didn’t want to miss anything. He’s still like that. So fo the late afternoon nap, I was forced to sit and hold him. In the end, it was good for us both. This too shall pass!

  72. @Jill- here’s one:http://www.askmoxie.org/2008/03/talk-about-the.html
    But search “9 month sleep regression” in her search box at the top right, and you’ll find more.
    I’m in the midst of this with my second baby now. It just sucks.
    But at least this time, I’m relatively zen about it. The first time, I just about cracked.
    Here’s my little sliver of hope for you: my first, who was a very difficult sleeper, was literally up 5-6 times a night at 9 months old. I just about went crazy. Buy at the end of her 10th month, we were able to mostly nightwean her (here’s my post on that: http://wandsci.blogspot.com/2008/01/nightweaning.html). After that, she was generally only up one time a night. She’d nurse and go right back down.
    There was some crying associated with nightweaning, but nowhere near what I expected. I’m not cut out for real CIO, either.
    Another resource to check out is Bedtiming, the book by Isabel Granic and her husband whose name I forget. She posts here sometimes as Bella, and has a blog called Child of Mind. The book is about when might be good and bad times to sleep train, based on what is going developmentally. When I look back at our experience of trying to “improve” our first daughter’s sleep, we only ever made progress during the times identified as “good” in that book. So this time around, I’m not even trying during the “bad” times.
    Anyway, hang in there. I promise you it does get better. My first is 3 years old now, and sleeps through the night in her own bed. She even falls asleep without me being there. So it does happen.

  73. This all lasted much longer for me. Maybe partly I was so exhausted from DS’s not sleeping at night that I was determined to get whatever naptime I could out of him, so I could make up a little sleep?Whatever. It was hell on wheels. DS stills wakes up at night, at 2.5 years old. When I got fulltime daycare, without a doubt the best part was not having to deal with the nap. Hands frakking down.
    Tonight, helping DS fall asleep, I found myself doing the prolonged “Shhhhh” I used to do to get him to fall asleep as a baby, and I felt an incredible rage build up in me. I told DH about it just now, and he said “Oh yeah, I remember that lovely night when you were out, and how he woke up and I turned on PBS and there was 70s music,” or some puke like that — I don’t know, I couldn’t really hear him because the rage sprang right back up and the blood was pounding rather loudly in my head.
    I was thinking, tonight, that if we have another one and s/he pulls this BS with napping or sleeping . . . well. I’ll have little dishes all over the house well-stocked with earplugs next time. What I mean to say is, next time, my personal mental health won’t get pushed so far down the list of priorities.
    Which is also to say, yeah, I remember, and because of it apparently there’s a phoneme I can no longer use without going all Bruce Banner on you folks.
    I eventually learned to let him cry while I made myself a sandwich or used the bathroom. The list of sine qua nons has grown. OP, whatever you can reasonably do to get a little break, do it. And think about what your dealbreakers are — babies are needy, but you’ve gotta pee, right?

  74. Don’t know if this has been mentioned but I accidently discovered one day that my dd slept REALLY WELL in the car seat on top of the running dryer. She took an absolutely fantastic 3 hour nap one day when I set her there “for a minute” to be out of harm’s way. I hope it helps. This too shall pass.

  75. @Stephanie, apparently your crib was not made of a bed of hot coals, like DS’s was. I’m glad what you did worked for you — but it didn’t work for us, and won’t necessarily work for every baby.OTOH, when you say “I knew we had reached the end of the holding-all-the-time when it was clear the BABY was no longer napping well in the situation. I was doing more soothing and she was sleeping less. It was a clear sign,” I’m going to concur. Baby will give you signs that something needs to change, if you haven’t already changed things because YOU need them to. What that something is depends on you and depends on baby, though. And the change might not be easy.
    By any means necessary.

  76. I read this blog but rarely read the comments (just because of the time it would take). I had to read them on this one b/c I was curious if anyone answered Moxie’s question about Boot Camp! So funny. I totally agree w/the comment about Alcatraz and also w/September Girl’s comment about giving her child to gypsies. In fact, one night my husband came home from work and I’d left him a note saying I’d given our son to the gypsies.My only advice that I didn’t see mentioned by anyone else is to consider counseling. The stress of this situation is insane and it is so helpful to have someone objective to talk to and get a reality check. Whether or not you have depression or PPD, it’s helpful, even just to feel like you get an hour now and then to yourself! I would make appointments and then just nap on the couch or get a iced drink and stare out the window or something.

  77. Oh, and about @Moxie’s postscript: I once spoke to a single mom who was in the military. She coslept with her daughter for an ungodly time because she had to get up at 4am every day to go out soldiering, and otherwise got no sleep. I can’t remember if it was bootcamp — that would be hard to believe, but it might have been. It sounded like an absolute nightmare.

  78. @inco- here’s my take on CIO: if it works for you, as in it doesn’t sound worse than whatever sleep hell you’re in and actually does get your baby to sleep, then hurray.And if it doesn’t work for you, either because you can’t take it or it doesn’t actually get your baby to sleep, then you’re still allowed to complain about not getting enough sleep!
    I don’t think it would have worked on my first baby. She would literally cry until she threw up. Then I’d have an awake, pissed off baby and laundry. I know this because it happened sometimes even when I wasn’t trying to let her cry it out.
    I think it WOULD work on my second baby, but I haven’t gotten to the point where CIO sounds better than just coping with her sleep issues.
    But I certainly don’t judge anyone who does use CIO. I think you’re right that it is absolutely better than a mother pushed over the edge by lack of sleep. My only beef is with people who think everyone should do it.

  79. @Cloud – thanks! What’s crazy is that MY first is 3.5 and was a terrible terrible sleeper from 6.5 to 17 months and since then STTN just fine, I put him down awake like a normal kid, etc… so I KNOW that it gets better. And I swore I wouldn’t freak out this time with kid 2. And I also swore I would somehow teach kid 2 how to fall asleep on his own before he could stand up. and I forget my own advice all the time. Thanks for the kick in the pants reminder. :)I have a stack of sleep books that I checked out of the library, including Bedtiming. Maybe I should look at it instead of surfing the web. 🙂 But I did look at it enough to see the chart that sleep changes are best done from like 5.5-7.5 months and then not again til a year old. So I’ll try to hold out til October.

  80. Oh my goodness, yes. I wish I had had the courage to follow this advice when my son was four months old. I did napping bootcamp (as I called it) starting when he was 3 months old. And I kept doing it, despite the fact he clearly wasn’t followign it and it was killing me, I never left the house etc etc., becauase, well, I’m not entirely sure. I felt I was a bad parent because I couldn’t get him to nap? Because I thought if I just did it a day longer he would crack? Because the ‘sleep expert’ told me no baby she’d ever worked with had resisted this long and clearly he would crack eventually?He didn’t start napping well until I went back to work, when he was 8 months old.
    Oh well.

  81. Wow, I had no idea this was so common! My husband and I got through those days (our daughter is now sixteen months) by wearing our baby in our Ergo and bouncing on a fitball. My husband (he’s a writer) met countless deadlines that way, bouncing up and down whilst working. And, as lots of other people have commented, once your baby is asleep, you can just lie down with them in the carrier. We moved her into an Amby baby hammock at around five months, and now she sleeps in her cot. The craziest thing is – she now does one two hour nap every single day. If me, now, zipped back in time to me, one year ago, to tell me that was in my future – I would have been in utter disbelief. But…I really think it is something that resolves itself! The issue is more coming up with strategies to prevent yourself from going absolutely mad whilst living through it, because of course it’s really trying and tests your patience. Good luck! I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but you WILL get through it. Promise!

  82. hmm, just to go all literal here – i did bootcamp, then the non-sleeping babies, and I honestly think boot camp was harder and made the baby months/years easier to put in perspective. Or maybe it just gave me training? Because, yes, in theory you get 6 hours sleep, but they’re broken into with 2 hours guard duty, unannounced drills, and you just learn to get by with 2 hours sleep and still leap out of bed and be ready to go in 50 seconds. And, I have never seen a baby (or toddler!) diaper that could compare to cleaning out the drains when doing kitchen duty.

  83. This nap hell was my life. My daughter is nearly 4 now and I’m still traumatized by the experience. I can only say that it gets better and if you have another child, you will most likely find that you won’t have to deal with the same kind of nap hell. I always wondered if I could have done anything differently so that I didn’t have to drive myself to the brink of suicide. Perhaps I should have bought one of those baby swings? A cradle swing did the trick for my next child.

  84. Yes, try a carrier if your baby likes it or a stroller if baby doesn’t. My daughter, no 2.5 took to carriers like she was being killed. Same with swaddling. New mother as I was I bought four different carriers until my DH bought a stroller and put DD in it.She reacted with elation at 5 weeks and we were off and out. No naps means you have flexible days and can go places.
    And I agree that sleep books are bad for the health. My DD didnt’ voluntarily nap or sleep at night. Falling asleep for her was losing the fight after much howling like a banshee and days of worsening behaviour. It still is. We co-sleep still out of necessity.
    Then I would feel an evil mother who shouldn’t have reproduced when I lost it at 3 AM. And I was scared to death that my baby would be a criminal with ADD too. Because of the bad sleeping and her terrible mother.
    She had and has a very, very loud voice. One neighbour told me I had the baby from hell. She does sound unearthly. She’s not napped really since 18months. We go out a lot still.Before she napped being wheeled around, fitfully.
    This week has been spectacularly bad again. Screaming half the night after staying wide awake until 2 AM.Then howling again in the early morning.
    I was woken like that by the howling yesterday and thought very clearly ” I want to leave you on a bus” and experience then told me not that I was bad or that she has ADD but that we both needed rest no matter what. Had to have some.
    So I got behind on all I had to do, but as I’m a SAHM I marched DD for hours, fed her a late lunch so she was tired and dragged her kicking and screaming to bed. Where she fought and punched and yelled but gradually fell asleep and so did I. We got three hours that way which saved the sanity.
    And from experience I knew that after those hours she’d sleep longer at night again too. She has. Sleep begets sleep. You do learn on the job as a parent.
    I’m now used to brushing and flossing my teeth and washing my face to the banshee weeping. It sounds awful, is awful, but there is no point to martyrdom. Not for the parent, not for the child.
    The hardest part of parenthood for me is when my real needs conflict with her real needs.Sleep is a sore point.
    You do what you can. And social contact and going out helps. Helps a lot. So does chucking the books.
    You cannot make your baby nap or sleep. Or walk, or talk. Or whatever. You don’t control that. You can but do your best.
    Thanks so much to @ Rachel! Even at my worst moments I do think real boot-camp is worse and harder. You have to leave home for one thing. And the rest. I so do not want to do boot-camp.

  85. @Jill- I have found that the “bad” times are a little bit shorter than the Bedtiming book’s windows. I think those windows are the likely range, and that kids fall somewhere inside them.I plan to start trying to improve our night time sleep mess as soon as my baby stops showing the signs of acute separation anxiety. I’m waiting until I can hand her to Daddy (during the day) and not have her start crying.

  86. god. i found the near total absence of sleep (naps or nighttime), plus the very hard yet very tedious job of caring for an infant so traumatizing and demoralizing that 4 yrs later i still can’t bring myself to have a second child. the idea of going back to that place, that first year, and the person I was in that dark place. . .ugh. thank god for moxie, who was a lifeline during that time.

  87. Hey Schwa de Vivre, Your rage really resonated with me. Why is it usually the woman who has to deal with this crap? My husband is always filled with well-intentioned yet TERRIBLE assvice on sleep, like “Just leave her [wailing at the top of her lungs] in her crib if she won’t go back to sleep.” Yeah, right–like ANYONE in the house can continue sleeping with THAT noise.DD still does not sleep through the night at 1 yo, but DS (who is now 3.5 yo) started sleeping through the night at 9 mo. DS, however, has always had trouble with daytime sleep–but frankly I can sum up the difference thusly: the Boy has trouble winding down and drifting off, but will stay asleep once asleep. DD will nod off easily but will not stay asleep. This is less important during daytime sleep (since she’s been in daycare since 3 mo), but nighttime is when I get unsolicited advice from the hubby (who, I might add, does not always follow his own advice).
    And yes, I regret all the times I didn’t leave the house for fear of disrupting the “routine” (insert bitter laughter here) with DS and I resented all the advice from my mother, who thought I was “spoiling” the baby by allowing him to sleep on us. I apologize for how angry and bitter my comment sounds, but get out there! See your friends! Go shopping! Go out for walks!

  88. This is hands down, the best advice ever written about any thing at any time, but particularly about babies and napping and being a mother. Always go back to doing a small thing that makes you feel a tiny bit less … owned.

  89. These are all great suggestions. But I have 4mo TWINS! They go ~45 minutes in the cribs, and then it’s a fight to get them to sleep longer. If they do sleep longer, they are sunshiny, happy babies. If they don’t, they’re majorly cranky in less than an hour. I can’t babywear both of them at the same time for very long (it’d be nearly 30 lbs of baby, plus they are not quite old enough for one of them to go on my back), and there is only so much driving around and strolling I can do every day (typically I get the third nap in the stroller or car). They don’t nap in swings–I did a *really* good job of training them that the crib is where we go to sleep. Damn it. And yes, they do need three naps; they are not transitioning to two. And no, we are not swaddling, because they figured out how to roll while swaddled and the pediatrician forbid us to swaddle them.

  90. @twin mom- I think all you can do is chant “this too shall pass”.And maybe try to hire a teenager to take them for a walk for one of their naps if you can afford it and they do indeed nap in a stroller. Really, getting paid to go for a loooong walk is a pretty sweet job for a teenager. Get paid to exercise!
    Hubby used to go out for two hour walks on the weekends when my first baby was this age, for just the reason you describe- a 45 minute nap wasn’t enough, but she’d wake up after that long if she wasn’t in motion.
    The other thing that worked for us sometimes was to have her nap in her bouncy chair, and then go in at the 45 minute mark and start bouncing it until she fell back into deep sleep. We’d get another 45 minutes that way. Sometimes. I remember doing a lot of reading while bouncing her in that chair.

  91. I was SO there! I did the bathroom white noise thing too, along with a slew of other tricks of the motherhood trade. Stroller walks were awesome, as was babywearing. It saved me! Mind you, I wasn’t planning on any of that before the baby arrived (thought I would just put the kiddo in the crib and she would drift away to dreamland on her own like some books and people promised – HA!). But babywearing really worked, and I was so grateful. I completely agree with Moxie. Just go about your day and the nap thing will eventually figure itself out. My babe finally put herself on a nap schedule and she’s stuck to it for a while now. Good luck mama!

  92. @ twin mom: maybe if you drank a little while waiting for them to get to their next good sleep phase?Seriously, I know a mother of twins, and I don’t know how she did it. It is hard. But you know, you sound pretty sane. You must be made of resilient stuff.
    @ML: for us, it got down to biology (I can lactate) and the fact that I could take a year off from school, but DH couldn’t take a year off from work. I suspect there was plenty of cultural programming going on there . . . boy howdy, did year one bring up all kinds of thorny gender equality vs. biology issues.

  93. @ML: I am right there with you! My husbnand is always offering “suggestions” and really, 4am is not a good time to “suggest” things to me because I don’t take them well. And blessed be the day he takes his own suggestions and gets up in the middle of the night and follows through on them.For the original question; my first son was like this and it was hell. I remember it not at all fondly. I eventually invested in an Ergo, put him in it, and kept him there pretty much all day everyday until he was over a year old because when I put him down he would scream. He never slept through the night (so at least you’ve got that part going for you!) and in fact, usually woke up every hour all night, every night. For almost 2 years.
    But I would put the little one in a carrier and go about your business. Do the laundry, dishes, go for walks, hang out and drink coffee, whatever.
    And Moxie, I would agree with the bootcamp thing. Could that much physical exercise be more exhausting than my day was today? (trying to move while dealing with a 6 month old who is screaming ALL DAY LONG because of his teeth whilst also taking care of a four year old who is really upset that we’re putting his toys in boxes and a husband who is working his butt off to finish his dissertation by Monday) No, I don’t think they could break me at this point.

  94. I think I almost lost my mind with my first child. He would nap but I would have to really work with him. Fresh air seemed to help a LOT. Even in hot or cold air, something about fresh air just makes babies snooze better. Maybe try to get your little one outside, in a stroller, on the porch just holding him, on a blanket in the shade. I think it soothes them. Hope this helps and hang in there. We’ve all been there, and it does get easier.

  95. @twin mom, most of my naps with my twins were with them on me. Rocker/recliner, with them slung into position on me, or in the bed with one on each arm or one on my belly and one cradled between my knees… and sometimes two swings (rarely worked, but sometimes), and sometimes one in a back carrier and one in a sling on the front (oof). I had two older kids (and the Wonder Weeks book) so I knew it was a phase, and the point was for ME to get through it.I spent a fair amount of time double-nursing them down, too.
    Daycare provider had 18 years of experience, had handled my other two kids (one a great sleeper AND napper, one neither), and she could not get more than a 10 minute nap out of either of them for a year. They were her ONLY nap failures in 18 years.
    But… you get through, eventually. The critical point is getting you enough sleep. We had rules about me not leaving the bed until I had 8 hours of sleep (at least before I was working – after work started, uh, no so much). Even if that meant I got out of bed at 1 PM. Because really, if they’re fine with the short nap/no nap, why should I be not fine, it’s really their sleep, no? It was MY sleep I needed to manage, so I separated the two issues. I’d go to bed very early, for example, just to maximize the potential for sleep. Making sure I had enough sleep was a priority. Making sure they had enough sleep was second, because they generally would follow Moxie’s advice and sleep as much as they’d sleep, no matter what I did.
    We also had dietary issues – chocolate, dairy, tomato. Had to pull those (I was off dairy by the twins, but still), and because Miss M is histamine sensitive (didn’t find this out until later, but same result), I ended up cycling foods so I would not overload her system with any one food for more than a day or two in a row. It was annoying to plan, but it helped immensely. Some people hold out the ‘I was in X hours of labor for you, bubba, so you better not give me any attitude’ but I’d go for ‘I gave up chocolate for 2 1/2 years for you!’ Not that I’d actually use it, but the idea was satisfying at times…
    Enough outside time may help (sunlight in the morning helps with melatonin production, if I recall correctly), but also remembering that whatever you do makes no difference until their brains shift out of this phase may help you just do what makes life sane for you. Research has shown time and again that people will attribute all sorts of things as the cause of their child sleeping better (changing formula, weaning, starting solids, sleep training, etc.), but regardless of what they did or did NOT do, the child starts sleeping better after this phase passes. You’ll hear a lot of ‘ohmygod my life SO changed when I …’ but 99% of that is attribution error, because we get desperate (!!!!) right before the shift occurs, and will try ANYTHING, and hey, we tried something, and they slept better. It was timing, though, not causality. Our desperation matches up to the worst of the phase, rather than the solution matching up to the resolution. People will SWEAR that’s not the case, but … over and over, proven it’s the baby’s brain, not the caregivers response that makes the major sleep difference, at least at this age (later, there’s much more range, but watch the phases because attribution error occurs in every phase where sleep can change – see the Wonder Weeks, which by the way is now on FB, including a link to the timelines for disregulation stages).
    Oh, some of my kids were sling-haters before this age, but they all tolerated carriers at this age. Save your arms, seriously, get an ergo, or a sling, or a backpack carrier, something. Having my arms free also helped keep me from feeling so trapped.

  96. as everyone else here comments, take care of yourself first. mine didn’t nap or sleep at night very well. at one point i was waking up every hour! yes, every hour! i literally got NO sleep so when i hear that you pretty much sleep thru the night it’s like heaven compared to what we went thru. instead of rehashing my ordeal and saying nothing to help your matter i say don’t be afraid to cry it out. your little one is now 4 months old. a bit young in my opinion to CIO but you can do it for naps. and you can do a modified CIO. I only say this in hindsight. i was and still am a believer in the whole attachment parenting theory. i co-sleep, i wore my baby who is now 22 months old and still nursing to bed and co-sleeping. but if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else. that’s why in case of an emergency on a plane you take the oxygen first THEN give it to your child. same theory different application. but it does get better well, sort of. when they’re older you just have a whole new set of problems! good times!

  97. I am laughing hysterically and cringing at the same time and it’s not a feel good kind of laugh! I had one of those babies too! There must have been an overage of non napping, non night sleeping babies when I got mine because really I was sure I was in line for a nice mild sleepy baby….My little one is now 2 1/2 and naps fairly well. It has taken a long time, in fact the good naps are a new thing for us. I completely understand the misery, the panic, the guilt and the distaste that seems to well up inside you when you have nooooooo sleep and the baby doesn’t find it necessary either. All the previous comments are right about letting it go, skip a nap and treat yourself. It’s easier said than done especially when you know if they don’t get that small amount of napping in the day you pay for it in the night with an overtired baby. I feel for you and I’ve been in that dark dark pit. Who are these people that get babies that sleep all day, sit peacefully in a shopping cart and never spit up a drop of milk?!

  98. First off, I want to say a big thanks to Moxie and the rest of those that post here. I found this site a few months ago in that ever popular search of the net for “why won’t my baby nap?” Great answers and responses for stressed out mothers that just need to hear you’re doing okay… like me!Although I am truly sorry others are going through the same thing, I am thankful to hear I am not the only one that obsesses over naps and has napping issues. I kid you not, of all my friends, co-workers, etc that I ask about napping, NONE of them claim to have issues with their kids napping. I did feel like I was the only mother in the world that couldn’t get her kids to nap properly.
    My DD, child #2 and now 5 months, is a 45 minute napper on the dot (or 30 minutes if she’s really overtired), and that’s with a lot of fussing before finally falling asleep. My first, my son, is now 3 and he was the exact same way, well even a lot of 20 minute ones. I was SOOO obsessed with his naps that I too was counting the days until I could go back to work. And I felt like a horrible mother because I was blessed with a year off to spend with my little one and I hated it, solely because of the naps. And then my son, like many have attested to here, started to take longer 2 hour or more naps when he went down to one nap at around a year and still naps great to this day.
    So I swore I wouldn’t stress about naps with #2. Well, guess what??? From day one I was obsessed again. I literally would watch her from the minute she woke up to catch the sleepy signs (which, by the way, the only one she does is rubbing her eyes and then she is overtired). I was so worried about her sleeping properly that I would always try and put her in her crib and didn’t want her to sleep anywhere else. She sleeps in her crib, but the problem is she doesn’t like to sleep anywhere else, including the car or the stroller. I would be too worried to go out because I thought “maybe the next nap would be a longer one” and I didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity. Guess what – it usually wasn’t!! Duh!
    So, after this long winded rant, my advice to Mary is just as others have said, get out and enjoy time for you! Plus it will help your little one get used to sleeping other places which in the end will help you.
    I’ve recently admitted to having and am being treated for PPD and anxiety (that was very hard to admit, but that’s for another post) and the first thing the therapist told me was to take care of myself. And one of the best ways to do that is to get out everday and be around others. She said let baby get one crib nap in in the morning, then go about my day and not worry about the rest.
    Mary and all the others dealing with nap issues – I send huge hugs your way. I hope it gets better soon for everyone.
    And again, thank you to Moxie and everyone here for your encouraging words. I read these posts over and over again as I watch the clock and wait for the wail at 45 minutes. But I’m trying to get better about that and these posts (and some medication) just might help me do that!
    Uh oh, good thing I finished typing…little one is up again…

  99. Have not read the comments so I’m sure I’m repeating, but here is what we did. My son was not a self-soother, at all. He wouldn’t take to the bouncer, or the swing, or a stroller, or a carseat (SCREAMED in the car for the first 6 months, joyous), or the activity mat, or anything. He wouldn’t use a pacifier or a lovey. He was in me or daddy’s arms and that was it. So I lived with him in my homemade moby wrap and we co-slept for naps. He actually did ok with nighttime sleeping with a tight swaddle, but naps were co-slept. I worked nights and naps were essential for me to make it through the day, so I slept any way I could. It seems like around 6 months the tide changed and he was able to nap alone with a swaddle.

  100. From this age until about 2 1/2 I relished my son’s “flexibility” and planned errands around naptime. Or in his case, “tired” time. I always had a book and was in the vicinity of a Starbucks with a drive through. He was a champion car seat sleeper, and while he would only do 45 minutes in the crib…until he was 1…when he’d do 45 minutes if I laid down with him…until he was 2 when he dropped naps at home 95% of the time…anyway, in the car? He’d nap between 1-2 hours. My only regret is that I didn’t know how to knit back then.And at daycare? Things were worse. He’s never been a good napper and has often gotten in trouble for disrupting nap/quiet/torture time. Thank GOD he’s staring kindergarten in a month and this particular battle will be done forever.

  101. Yes, my daughter only slept in 20-minute chunks at this age. And I was completely obsessed and freaked out about it. And then it changed. And I remember reading right here Moxie how “it will change” and that just did not ring a bell for me. At all. Because all I could see was what was right in front me, and I was living in these wierd increments of nap-oriented time. But the thing is, the sleep chunks will start to mush together at some point, and it will get better. I actually don’t believe that anything we do “trains” our kids to sleep the way we want them to. I think sleep patterns work themselves out. So, get out of the house. Take him with you. Let him sleep while you’re driving or walking, it won’t kill him, and it won’t mean that he never naps when he’s older.And if you want to go back to work, don’t feel guilty. We all need help. A generation ago (and beyond), women had a lot more hands around — grandmas, sisters, whatever. Now so many of us are alone, and it’s just ALL on us, every day, every minute. If you need to outsource some of this early, rough time, it’s OK.

  102. Oh, and just FYI — I still rock and sing my 4-year-old to sleep, because really I love to do it, and it’s the calmest, quickest, most peaceful way to achieve a bedtime. I never would have seen myself saying this back when I was army crawling out of her room, PRAYING that the floor didn’t creak, and then staring at the wall for 20 minutes, because, really? What can you do in 20 minutes?

  103. Oh Mary, I feel your pain. The 4-5-month age was HELL for me with both of mine. First of all, I LOVE Moxie’s advice about ditching the sleep books and spending a day out not worrying about his nap. If he’s not napping anyway, then get a day to nourish yourself a bit.With my son, I napped with him….well, I read books sometimes, but I felt horrid lying in bed so long each day. But I felt if he slept, then he needed it, so what was I to do? I wish I’d found Moxie then because it was a real low point.
    With my daughter, I had a newly 2yo toddler when she went through this phase. She’d wake up about a half-hour into her nap crying and fussy. If I got her up, she’d be fussy/cranky, so I felt she needed her sleep. I left her swaddled and would gently pat and/or just lie my hand on her back (she was a side sleeper swaddled, ’cause that’s what she liked) for about 15 minutes until she dozed back off. Sometimes I had to do this twice, but eventually she began taking longer naps. Now, at 2.5 she takes one loooong nap (usually 12:30 to anywhere from 3-5).
    You have a lot of different suggestions here. Don’t be afraid to try a few and don’t worry if the ones urging you to GET OUT appeal most — go with your gut. This too shall pass, I promise.

  104. I sooooo identify with this. My daughter is 2 now and sleeps for an hour and a half during the day, so there is hope. I promise. But at 4 months, and pretty much for the whole year, I held her, or drove her around and let her fall asleep, then parked wherever I was and read a book. Or I just didn’t do the nap, let her stay up and then have an early bed time.I agree: toss the sleep books, and avoid that section of the book store. Also, I started lying to everyone except my husband, because I was sick of the advice. I told everyone she’d suddenly slept through the night, and naps were a dream, etc. My moms group at the time was big into CIO, and they kept telling me I’d come around, but I tried it once and as moxie has said, some kids escalate their crying. So we never did it again.
    I also took my shower before my husband went to work, and made sure I blew dried my hair and felt semi-human. Somehow, my blow-dryer really helped me stay sane. And I picked an evening a week to go out and drink a glass of wine and knit with a knitting group.
    I also got this really cool jogging stroller and walked if my daughter couldn’t sleep. She was always entertained, and I could get some time to regroup.
    Slowly, my sanity returned.
    I’m so sorry!!!! THis is the hardest thing ever, but it’s not your fault at all. Just do whatever will make you happier, even a tiny bit, and ignore all the advice except moxie’s. 🙂

  105. Have you tried a swing? The Fisher Price papasan worked wonders for us and was the only way we could get our son to nap, pretty much for the first year. His naps started to become solid when he began walking, at 15 months. Until then, we used the swing until he outgrew it, and tried to appreciate that his nighttime sleep was excellent. Also, having a sitter come for a few hours helped, as she was more willing to sit still and hold him during a nap (while she read a book).

  106. Seriously, this is where babywearing is such a livesaver. I never tried to *get* my baby to nap at such a young age. I just did what I wanted or needed to do and she napped in the sling or on my lap. She regularly napped when I grocery shopped and slept during backyard bbqs. By the time she was 6 months or so she had more or less developed her own napping schedule and I could sometimes lay her down on her own. But I really think at 4 months baby will sleep when baby wants to sleep and parents need to find a way to bring that into their lives instead of living in fear around it.

  107. candi – aw i LOVE their scarves!!! we need to hang out, even if you’re a siikce!!! miss you, friend which is ridiculous since you literally live a minute drive away from me!!! 🙂

  108. Mom Posted on This is Lindsey (I don’t dare sign mom out as she’ll never be able to log back in) I hope you’re able to get that A/C fixed before Labor Day. Too bad we didn’t live clseor, D did a/c for 11 years with his dad. And sometimes you have to push those kids for the best of the family:) J went to bed at like 11 this whole weekend although that wasn’t for the best of the family. That was a curious baby who refused to sleep until everyone else was in bed and the lights were out:)

  109. I just saw your blog at the Homeschool Blog Awards and decided to come check you out. Your blog is so cute! I lOVE, LOVE, LOVE your heedar!I am your newest follower and would love for you to follow me back, if you want to =-)Beth

  110. It’s great to see pics of what it looks like to do all of that quilting. I haven’t taken on a full size quilt yet mlsyef and I’m a bit intimidated by the process. It helps seeing your machine amid all that fabric. I love the colors! Can’t wait to see the final product.

  111. Dear Lucinda,I think it’s great that you tried this. It’s a neat idea, though I agree that just ltteing someone read, without interruptions, seems best. No one stops someone during a marathon; it would break the person’s flow. I’ve fallen behind on Fb posts regarding my reading habits, etc. I’m currently reading The Violet Shyness of Their Eyes, and dipping into Video Night in Kathmandu. Rest well, Kate

  112. Controversial opinion: It is acllatuy possible to get through a whole degree without doing all-nighters. If you value your sleep more, then decide it is simply not an option and somehow the work will magically get done by 10pm.Don’t, however, make the mistake of pointing this out to people who are tired and grouchy because they will neither believe you nor find it helpful

  113. Between my sneezes from my first cold in years, I can see you in each postiion, sort of. I see you in an easy chair, but with the cat on lap, helping, and nowhere like the silk and lace. As for the multitasking, ya, but with all that deco style. . .? And then the kitchen, sure, but the bikini just does not work, even at 60 degrees F. Hang in there. At least it’s not Lactantius!

  114. these are awesome just like evinrtheyg else i’ve seen here. did I miss something? will there be no more ‘laundry sculptures’ starring lil Mila? THOSE were just as awesome and how I came to find your lil spot. keep me posted when the book comes out!

  115. You’re right, Erin . . . Oh to be a senior again. These beaftiuul girls have senior pictures that they will carry through life with them to remember these special days. Erin, you captured their beaftiuul, innocent faces so perfectly. I love the eyes in both photos. Gorgeous.

  116. , we are only setting ousrvlees up for frustration.Your daughter doesn’t refuse to sleep because she’s trying to annoy you. All she can do is what her body tells her. She just doesn’t have the ability to control herself that much yet.I know this doesn’t help you get her to sleep longer, but maybe it will help with some perspective. We all have individual sleep needs — even babies.

  117. Haha, I can really sytmpahize. I’m not that enthusiastic about travel. On one hand, trying to pack all the sights in a day or two is exhausting, on the other hand if you just take it easy you can’t enjoy yourself either because you feel your wasting the opportunity (not to mention the money you’re paying in air fares and accommodation).

  118. “While humans spend one-third of their lives seieplng, there is no scientific consensus on the function of sleep.”The scientific community should looking for the finds about the phenomena “sleep” by the another method of research developed by Matrix/DNA. Such method offers a new vision about this phenomena which can help and accelerating the researches.If interested, see the article: “Sleep: New scientific findings reinforce the hypothesis that Galaxies also sleeps!” It is in Portuguese ( Dormir: Novas Descobertas Cientedficas Refore7am a Tese que as Gale1xias Tambem Dormem! ), but, you can use Google translate and search.

  119. Thank you Sheila. You know, I thought I was henpilg others, and I was to a point. Limited to family really. I have enjoyed the little we have done for Whitney. It is little. Need to do much more, reach out, help more. Feel like my life is nothing, stressed brought on by my own worry, not doing more, selfish, tired, sick. Pray for me ..I’ll pray for you. By the way, Bill has been telling me about Francis Chan for a while.

  120. Mine is a total snuggler, but that’s part of the pbrelom. She wakes up in the night and wants to be held for a while. She’s almost 17 months, and I swear I don’t go a full week without her waking up at least one night. I’m trying to get used to it, ’cause I think its just something she will always do (I’m hoping she won’t always need me to be in there with her!).I feel for you. And letting them cry it out never works ’cause who can sleep through that!?!?!Kris’s latest blog post:

  121. You should know that you’re not only msseid, but being prayed for. God doesn’t put you in a boat with out a paddle… or at least Jesus to take your hand and help you walk across the water 😉

  122. My daughter is 5 mhotns now and I was able to get her to the point where I can just put her to bed and she’ll fall asleep on her own and only waking up once a night. She still wakes up only one time a night but I have to now rock her a bit. Part of this is due to my son’s sleep regression lately. We have to re-train him now at 2 years old..sigh. Not sure how to go about sleep training the second without interfering with the first. But it looks like we do have to do some sleep training with her as well.

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