Sleep Hierarchy for Babies 3-6 Months

Sleep goals to focus on while your baby is 3-6 months old. Learn what you should focus on to get your baby to be a great sleeper.

3-6 month old sleeping baby

When I wrote the post on my newborn sleep hierarchy, I had a reader request that I share my thoughts on sleep goals for older babies.

3-6 months is a tricky phase. I would call it an “in-between” phase for your baby’s sleep.

During the 3-6 month phase is when you should start getting more consistent in your days. I have read somewhere that by 3 or 4 months old, you should have your baby sleeping where you want her at a year old.

So during this time period, we are talking habit forming time.

But you also have to be careful to not lump all babies in the same category, especially considering the difference between a 3.5 month old and a 5.5 month old.

The difference is huge.

There is also a huge difference between a 3 month old who has learned to sleep on her own and a 3 month old who has been held pretty much her whole life. The same rules can’t apply to the two.

Sleep Goals for a 3-6 Month Old Baby

Let’s try to break these goals down a little bit with some goals varying depending on the individual baby.

Please take these as suggestions and try to see the reasoning behind them–don’t take them as pure law. If it makes sense for your baby, run with it! If it doesn’t, adapt the goals to meet your baby where she is currently.

Sleep Goals for a Baby Who Sleeps Well

My three girls were all in the category of a baby who slept well at 3 months old.

By “sleeps well” I mean that baby sleeps in her own bed (at least most of the time) rather than a swing or somewhere similar.

I also mean baby is able to fall asleep on her own.

For babies who fall in this category, your number one goal is to keep it up.

Continue respecting nap time. Continue putting her in bed awake. Continue having her naps in a bed.

Remember that growth spurts are still rampant in this age range, so continue to watch for growth spurts. Feed baby when hungry. You won’t ruin anything by doing so.

>>>Read: Baby Growth Spurts: Everything You Need To Know

Hang in there and keep intact what you have worked to build.

You can start to go stir crazy at this time. You start to feel more normal and want to get out of the house more. This can lead you to disrupt the flow you have going. Be cautious of that.

Around 4 months old, baby should go to 3 naps a day. So hang in there. You will soon be able to get out for the evening hours without worrying about a nap.

I don’t want you to feel like you can never go out! You can go out (read my tips here). You can disrupt baby’s schedule at times. Just monitor how your baby responds and make sure you don’t disrupt too often.

Things do continually get easier and better. Look how far you have come and work to maintain that progress.

  1. Put baby to bed awake
  2. Put baby to bed in her own bed
  3. Continue forward as you have been doing

Sleep Goals for a Baby Who Sleeps Pretty Well

I would put 3 month old Brayden in the “sleeps pretty well” category.

We started the whole Babywise process at 9 weeks, so he hadn’t been doing it very long.

At three months, he still cried or fussed some before naps, but only a few minutes. He took only a 45 minute nap most of the time.

When I say pretty well, I don’t mean baby usually sleeps well except for this week during her growth spurt. If the norm is well, then she is in the “well” category.

Pretty well means baby’s normal is not ideal.

If your baby sleeps pretty well, then during this period I would work toward moving into the well category. Make that your focus.

This will require consistency on your part. If she sleeps pretty well, then you most likely have been working on it already. Just continue to work on it.

If she sleeps pretty well and you haven’t worked on sleep, then I have good news. She is a naturally good sleeper.

That means that with a little effort, you can ease into the “sleeps well” category.

If you have worked on it, there is still good news. With more time and more consistency, your baby will get there.

For babies who sleep pretty well:

  1. Make an effort to be home when it is nap time most of the time. It would even be a great benefit to be home 98% of the time for a couple of weeks to really get things down.
  2. Put baby in bed awake
  3. Put baby in her own bed
  4. Make sure you are timing naps correctly so that she reaches optimal waketime. This will make falling and staying asleep easier for her
  5. Continue your efforts

>>>Read: Tricks for Getting Baby on a Consistent Schedule

Sleep Goals for a Baby Who Doesn’t Sleep Well

I would say a baby who doesn’t sleep well at this age doesn’t fall asleep for naps. She fights naps or is never really given the opportunity for naps.

She might sleep well when provided a prop (like a swing or the carseat), but cannot nap in her bed. She cannot fall asleep on her own.

For whatever reason, you probably haven’t put a lot of effort into creating good sleep habits. Reasons could range from not wanting to, being busy and on the go, or having a medical reason for props (like reflux).

If medical reasons still apply, do what you can and what you think is best. Many babies start to outgrow reflux problems in this age range so at the least they are able to start to tolerate things like sleeping in a bed rather than in a swing. Not all babies, but many.

If your baby does not sleep well, the 3-6 month range is a great time to get more serious. Believe me when I say that teaching your baby to sleep on her own will be easier now than 6 months from now. It is easiest now before a baby can sit up, stand up, and/or call out “Mama!”

Focus on these things:

  1. Identify and work to remove sleep props that are interfering with establishing good sleep habits
  2. Make an effort to be home when it is nap time most of the time. It would even be a great benefit to be home 98% of the time for a couple of weeks to really get things down. You might have to extend this to four weeks since baby is just beginning the journey
  3. Put baby in bed awake. You want your baby to learn to fall asleep independently.
  4. Put baby in her own bed
  5. Make sure you are timing naps correctly so that she reaches optimal waketime. This will make falling and staying asleep easier for her
sleep goals for 3-6 month old

Sleep Goals for all Babies 3-6 Month Old

No matter your baby’s ability, there are goals you want to move toward during this time period.

You want baby to be able to fall sleep on her own in her own bed when it is time to sleep. This is your main goal to work toward.

This might mean that sometimes, baby doesn’t nap well. While with a newborn, I would say to get her to sleep any way necessary if she won’t sleep in her bed, during this older phase, it is time for her to start to learn to sleep on her own if she hasn’t already. There are several ways to attain this goal and several sources to turn to.

>>>Read: Best Baby Sleep Training Books to Get Baby Sleeping

Your secondary goal is that baby will sleep for the correct length of time for her naps. This means nap one is 1.5-2.5 hours (most will be 1.5-2). Nap two is the also 1.5-2.5 hours long. Nap three might be the same, or it might be 30-60 minutes.

If there is a nap four (typically baby drops the fourth nap right at four months old), it is usually 30-60 minutes long.

The best way to work toward your secondary goal is to time waketime correctly. For a 3 and 4 month old, I do not advocate letting a baby cry it out mid-nap–especially if she is just learning to sleep on her own.

Some parents find success with CIO mid-nap with a 5 month old, but most success comes after 6 months old.

Always go with your gut, but don’t feel like you need to CIO mid-nap with this age group.

If baby wakes early, I would give about 10-15 minutes to see if she is going through a rough sleep transition. That happens.

If she isn’t resettled by then, I would try soothing her back to sleep somehow.

Some might just need a hug for a few minutes. Some might need the swing. Some might need a pacifier. Some might need a re-swaddle. Some might need to be rocked.

Most babies work this out by the time they are 5 months old without CIO, but some do require some sleep training to be able to sleep through the naps.

And of course, always be mindful of growth spurts. If it is a growth spurt, naps will be shorter and baby will eat more often. This is very normal. Always feed a hungry baby.


Hopefully I  have been able to convey my sleep hierarchy for the 3-6 month old. Sleep is still so vital.

You are so close to being able to get out and have disruptions without impacting baby for days and weeks.

Hang in there for a few more months. Work at this. Establish these sleep habits now. I promise it will not be something you regret when your child is two or any age after that.


This post originally appeared on this blog October 2010

3-6 month baby sleep hierarchy

95 thoughts on “Sleep Hierarchy for Babies 3-6 Months”

  1. thanks very much for this post and it makes me feel like i'm doing something right.right now, my daughter is doing well on her naps. the only issue she has is she may not be able to transition her naps. but i'm working towards that. one question i have is how do you change the nap over time? while at this age, babies nap long for the 1st and 2nd naps and fairly short in the afternoon. but from what i understand, when they are older (not sure exactly when), the nap that stays should be the one in the afternoon. this really confuses me.another question i have is that i have been feeding 6 times a day since she is probably 6 weeks in a 3 – 3.5 combo schedule. but as she gets older, she actually stretches longer at night but in order to sqeeze in 6 feedings, there may be one or two feedings that are 2.5 hours after the previous. do you think it's ok to go backwards? i am hesitant to drop the dream feed because she hasn't slept to my ideal time, she always wake earlier but just talked to herself. what do you think? thanks very much!

  2. Valerie,I am so excited to read this post! As I was taking a shower this morning, I was drafting a comment to you in my head. Here's how it reads,"Dear Valerie,You have said you don't advocate CIO in the middle of naps for babies younger than 6 months. You have also said Brayden took 45-minute naps until he was 6 months old. What did you do? How did you end up filling his time, without feeding him every 2 hours? How did you maintain E/W/S? What should I do when DD wakes early and won't self-soothe?"Now I understand what you think I should do! You must be a mind reader. I plan to go ahead and wait 10-15 minutes to see if she can self-soothe, but then go ahead and try to assist as much as I can. In fact, she just woke early from her nap! Goody, a chance to try it out! :)Thanks so much for what you do,Kim

  3. Thank-you for this! My first daughter was a textbook babywise baby, so I feel a little lost this time!My daughter is 3 months and falls asleep on her own, but can't seem be able to stay asleep past her first transition. At that point, I'm moving her to the swing (in her room) and she finishes her nap there (I have the swing automatically turn off after 1/2 an hour). I've always worried because it is EVERY nap we do this. It's rare for her to sleep through a transition.I've tried feeding, but I'm certain that's not the problem, it's a transition issue for her – a trapped burp usually. We have the same problem at night, but it's pretty quick to burp her and but her back to bed. I've been hesitant to push her through it as she had jaundice for so long and it seems like she is just now starting to pack on the weight, so I feel like sleeping so she can eat well is still really important. Also, because so many times it's a burp, I know I couldn't leave her to CIO mid-nap. For her burps I'm doing the drops, I have her sleeping on an incline (books under the bed). For her wake time I burp her lots and keep her upright after she feeds to keep working them out. I don't think it's reflux because she doesn't spit up very often and other than waking her up mid-sleep, it doesn't seem to be causing her any discomfort. I tried pick up / put down one weekend and it seemed to help a bit, so I think we're going to look at doing it again. I think I just finished her three month growth spurt though, so I'm going to weight a few days to see how it levels out and give myself a break!Her disrupted sleep has made me so anxious, so I'm glad to know I'm not the only one!

  4. hi heidi,i'm definitely not an expert but my 4 month old has been the same way as yours for a month or two before. but over the last week and a half, she has had a lot of success transitioning the sleep. i did nothing differently. i guess she just out grow the issues. i'm still holding my breath to see if it sticks but i just wanted you to know to hang in there. i was so frustrated before…

  5. Thanks so much for this post! My daughter started doing this transition thing at 10 weeks old. I was so frantic for the first week. I am getting a little settled…but I DO have some questions:(First I will tell you that she always transitions fine for her first nap and she is sleeping 11 hour stretch at night with no dream feed. We always let her CIO to get to sleep, but she doesn't seem to be able to stay asleep.) #1 For the last 2 naps you are saying average between 30 – 60 minutes…with a 60 minute wake time…what do you do with the last hour before it's time to feed?#2 How do you re-adjust for optimal wake time? If DD has been awake already for 1 hour because she woke up early, do you let her remain awake an additional 60 minute after the feeding to keep with the eat, wake, sleep pattern? WOuldn't this be way past her optimal wake time and make her OT?#3 Since she is sleeping an 11 hour stretch at night and taking a 2.5 hour nap in the am without help, do you think she is just getting enough sleep for an 11 week old and only needs 30 minute naps the rest of the day?Thanks so much for your time and for this amazing resource.Nicole

  6. I have similar questions. I have 7 month old who is having napping issues. I have read that in a 4 hour schedule you should have 1 1/2 to 2 hour naps. I don't understand how to have a 4 hour schedule if he will only sleep 1 1/2 hours at best. His wake time is at most 2 hours. 2 hour wake time plus 1 1/2 nap is 3 and 1/2 hours. Where do you get the other 30 minutes? Thanks for all your posts.

  7. I have a question for you about my 8 week old's schedule. She still fights naps and sometimes cries till the next feed, but this is what seems to be the best I've come up with.7am feed, then go right back to sleep10 am feedBetween 11:15 and 11:30 go down for nap1 pm feedBetween 2:15 and 2:30 go down for nap4 pm feedBetween 5:15 and 5:30 go down for nap7 pm feed8 pm bedtime9:30 dreamfeed.1 night-time feeding, depending. This morning she woke up at 5:45 to feed.Does this schedule seem ok? I find it strange that she goes right back to sleep after her morning feed, but if I don't let her do that she hardly sleeps the whole day.Also, what do you think of the night-time feed be so close to her 7 am feed?Thanks,Kendall

  8. First of all – I am in love with your blog. I have two children. My first was a 100% Babywise baby from day one. He's three now and still asks to take a nap everyday – he's an EXCELLENT sleeper. My second child is almost 4 months old and is the total opposite. He fights sleep like a champ. I want to thank you for this blog. Going from baby #1 to baby #2 was a total shock in the sleep department. Your posts have gotten me though some tough times!!!

  9. hi Valerie, I have one more question – since the day light savings change is approaching, i wanted to move the wake time later slowly. my daughter used to be down at 8/815ish and then i wake her for a dreamfeed at 930 and down again at 10 and then wake up at 6am and talk till 715 when i get her. she doesn't cry nor fuss. and sometimes she would would actually fall back to sleep during that time. for the past week, the dreamfeed is at 10 and i put her down at 1030 but she still wake up at 6. now my wake time time is 745, so she actually would be talking and may be dose off for 1.75. is this ok? she iss content and does not fuss. but i feel bad because i'm not sure if she gets much rest during that time. she is 4 months old now and has been down at 10 and woken up at 6ish since 2 months now. when she was younger, she would be hungry and i needed to feed her but now she is not waking up because of hunger…. i'm disappointed that she doesn't sleep later. would it be because i have too much nap time for her during the day. what should i do?

  10. Wow, I wish I found you months ago. I've been doing babywise with my first baby since day one, but have had so many questions along the way! Do you have somewhere on here a sample schedule for a 4 month old? If you don't could you perhaps post one? I don't think I'm completely understanding how a 4 month old is supposed to do only 3 naps. Following is my girl's schedule and I know I can't drop any feedings because she's still waking in the night hungry, but I can also tell that her 5 one hour naps aren't giving her enough rest during the day. I guess my bottom line question is how can I get her to take fewer but longer naps without dropping feedings, while maintaining the eat/wake/sleep pattern? Thanks!Basically a 3 hour schedule with 1 hour naps:7am eat9am sleep10am eat12pm sleep1pm eat3pm sleep4pm eat6pm sleep 7pm eat9pm sleep10pm eat (more or less dreamfeed)1/2am "ish" eat

  11. Danise, The long nap that is one nap a day naturally ocurrs; don't worry that you are going to have to do something to create that. It will make sense when the time comes :)I don't think that is going backward–that is quite typical.

  12. Heidi, A couple of additional things. I did the 4 S's with McKenna (but really the first three since she wasn't a crier). Every time I stood holding her before her nap, she burped. I know you said you burp her often, but thought I would throw that out there.Also, try Gripe Water also. I really like the Baby's Bliss brand and DO NOT like the Little Tummy's brand for Gripe Water. With Baby's Bliss, you can give a lot smaller of a dose than it suggests for it to help.

  13. Nicole,#1–You entertain them 🙂 #2–See the posts "Waketime when they wake early" and "Waketime when baby wakes early"#3–No. I think she will improve as time goes on and as you perfect waketime length for the remainder of the day. Waketime length can change throughout the day, so it can be tricky to nail down.

  14. Kendall,I think things look pretty good. So far as the nap right after the morning feed, if that is what works for her, do it.So far as the morning feed close to the night feed, if she is eating well it is no problem. The day will come when it might interfere, and at that point she will either start sleeping until 7 or you can look at "early morning feedings before waketime" for ideas.She might need shorter waketime length. Most babies that age will have at most 60 minutes of waketime, so I would suggest you try that out and see how it goes.

  15. Jen & Ty,Hopefully you have found that by now. If not, see the label "sample schedules" and see also the label "dropping naps". The short answer is you simply skip the nap between the 4 PM feeding and 7 PM feeding.

  16. My daughter is almost 3 months old, and I just can't get her to go to bed at night. We let her CIO for naps, and now she's very consistent. Her schedule is eat at 7, 10, 1 and 4. But after her 4 o'clock feeding, she won't go back to sleep, and usually won't sleep until 9:30 or 10. She spends the majority of the evening being fussy and obviously tired, but it seems like nothing works to get her to sleep earlier. Any suggestions?

  17. Love this blog. I started BW at the beginning of this month. We have been through CIO now and now she can put herself to sleep for naps and at night but not STTN consistently. It will happen every few weeks. My daughter will be 5 months next week and just started to roll over last week.I want to maintain a 3 hr feeding schedule to try to get her to STTN. Right now her waketime is 1 hr 40 min and she will fall asleep at the 2 hr/2 hr 10 min mark, sometimes even longer. Do I wake her up at the 3 hr mark even if it means she only has a 30 min nap? Should I even keep with the 3 hr feeding schedule?Thank you!

  18. Valerie, You blog is amazing! thank you so much for all the time and effort you have put into it! I have found your advise to be accurate and incredibley useful!That said, I need a little advise. here goes: This is going to be a long one,DD is 15 weeks old and been on BW and Baby Whisperer since birth ( Isay this loosely since her naps do not conform to the schedule). Shehas been more or less STTN at 5 wks (sometimes back sliding). Eversince she started STTN her naps went crazy. Now she will sleep nomore than an hour sometimes only 15 minutes. Her morning nap tends tobe the longest… Maybe 2 hours if I get lucky. I have adjusted tothis, by sticking to approximate 3 hour feeds, since she cries when Itry to feed her any earlier. You can imagine how difficult a schedule must be with these short naps. I've tried leaving her in bed, but this just results in her being too overtired to eat… She will justcry through her feeding… It's horrible.Our schedule sort of looks like this:7:00am nurse7:40am nap10:00 nurse11:00 nap11:30 she is up and talking I wait 20 minutes, then get her and playwith her(sometimes I'll put her back to bed if I think she'll nap)1:00 nurse and back to bed if possible1:30 she is up again then same as above4:00 nursedepending on her previous nap I will put her back to bed or get up andplay5-6 get in a nap somewhere6:30-6:45 feed, bath and bed time routine7:30 in bedDF at 11:00pmShe will sleep through to 6:30-7:00am most times Lately she has been waking at 6:30am which is making everything morecrazy. I'm a little nervous about putting her to bed super early…(maybe 5:30pm?) but that may be my next step.In addition to all of this my DD seems to have lost her sleepy cues. What the… I'm even more lost now!DD does put herself to sleep every time, but does not STAY asleep. I have tried all the above. Also she usually wakes up and talks to herself and is generally happy.Any ideas to help trouble shoot?

  19. G Mama, She is old enough for a 4 hour schedule if she is ready for it. So you could try it and see what happens. But if you want to maintain a 3 hour schedule, then you do need to wake her. You might try tweaking waketime length. See the label "optimal waketime" for more.

  20. Bella,I think you need to figure out optimal waketime length for each cycle. In the Chronicles Google group, I have a document for figuring this out. Since her first waketime is 40 minutes and she sleeps well with that, I would go to something similar and work up from there until you find what works.

  21. Our son is four months on the 27th of January. He has been a perfect little Babywise baby. About a month ago, I moved him from a 3 to a 3.5 hour schedule because I was waking him at nearly every nap. He is a formula fed baby that eats 5 oz at each feeding which amounts to 25 oz in a day. His schedule is:8am – Wake & Eat Time9-11(ish)am – Nap Time11:30am – Feeding1-3pm – Nap Time3pm – Feeding4:30-6ish (occasionally wakes at 5:30 and won't go back down) – Nap Time6:30pm – Feeding8-8:30pm – Nap Time (he cries to go down for this nap but then wakes in 1/2 hour)8:30pm – Bath & Reading Time9:15 or 9:30pm – Feeding10pm – Prayers & GoodnightThen he sleeps from the last feeding until I wake him around 8.Yesterday, he had the 4 month 45 minute intruder. He woke up during each nap yesterday (which is very unusual) but I didn't notice the timing until I sat down and referenced baby wise and thought about it after the 6:30 feeding. So we fed him at 8 and then dream fed him at 11:30.My ultimate goal is to have him eat in the morning at 8 and then have his last feeding around 8pm. What do you suggest??

    • I have a similar question. My little girl is 18 weeks. She has reflux takes meds, is formula fed (eats bw 26-30 oz per day), just started small quantity of rice cereal 2x a day per dr., just dropped a nap so is down to 3 naps now. Was still waking in the night to eat once so dr just recommended stopping that cold turkey. She also recommended doing CIO for the MOTN waking which we tried once and gave in. Here is her schedule:7am feed 830 rice cereal, down for nap10am feed, 1130 down for nap1pm feed, 230 down for nap4pm feed-> extended wake time7pm rice cereal, bath730ish bottle, bed.She tends to want to take a shorter nap in the a.m. and longer nap in afternoon. Since dropping the nap and eating so much during day she is sleeping better at night. She made it from 730ish to 4am. The sample schedule in BW book for this age has a 7am wake time and then 8/830 pm bedtime with 5 feedings. Should I make one of her intervals longer and move her last feed later like 8 or 830pm instead of 730 in the hopes she may sleep in later? Or just stay on the 3 hr schedule which she has down really well? If she continues to wake at 45 min mark for morning nap should we try CIO with reassurance? She sleeps in her crib always but often needs to be rocked to sleep which I'd like to get away from. She was almost 1 mo early so not sure if she's behind in self soothing. Should I try same method for the night waking?

  22. NewMama,I would suggest one of two things:1- is to do a 4 hour schedule if he is ready…feed at 8/12/4/8, then bed. Then a dreamfeed at 10:30-11 PM2-stick to a 3 hour schedule8/11/2/5/8 then bed.

  23. Hi! I have a son who is 23 weeks. I started babywise probably around 8-10 weeks. It has been going very well, and we currently have him on a 3.5 hour schedule. 7AM, 10:30AM, 2:00PM, 5PM, 7PM feed and bed. Here and there he will sleep through the night, but he really does not consistently sleep through the night. He typically wakes about 4-5 AM. I feed him and put him right back down, and then start his day at 7AM. I did not mind this because he was going right back down. This past week, he has been waking at 4-5AM and not wanting to go back down. I have left him to cry, and will eventually fall back asleep, but he still wakes 4-5AM the next night. I am not sure what I should do?? I guess I am wondering if he really needs to eat at 4-5AM, and how do I stretch it out to get him to sleep to 7 PM. He has 2 good naps, one AM and one PM, then a shorter catnap in the late afternoon.thanks!

  24. Allyson, I have a question from you on this post in my inbox but not on the blog…did you leave a question here?

  25. I have a 45 minute intruder problem with my almost 3 month old! She has been waking up 45 min to 1 hour into her nap for 2 weeks now. The first week I fed her thinking she was hungry, but she wasn't. The second week I started giving her the paci mid nap (but she never gets it at any other time) and she would go back to sleep. Well it got worse, and now she is waking every single nap every single day right at 45 minutes or an hour. I think it might be the paci, I'm not sure. So I took that away. She falls asleep great initially, when she wakes mid nap she is usually not into a full cry, she just talks and sort of yells. Not crying, but not happy cooing either. Would this be a case that I should just leave her until it's time to eat? She's on a 3 hour schedule with 55-65 minute waketime depending on the time of day, so naps would ideally be 2 hours. Do I wait the full 2 hours or get her after 1.5 hour nap? Another thing, she is also doing this at 6 am. She wakes and talks/yells, but then goes back to sleep until I wake her at 8. Related? I think so….not sure what to do. Maybe just wait it out.

  26. I decided to try feeding her again when she wakes early because I know 3 months is a growth spurt age but she really doesn't act too interested, which means she isn't getting a full feeding and thus waking early for the next nap….I know she can self soothe, because she falls asleep on her own for every nap. She is also sleeping through the night from her 11pm dreamfeed to 7-7:30 a.m. She has stopped waking around 6 to talk, so I guess that was just a phase. Still stumped with naps. I tried cutting her waketime back today and it didn't work. Her morning nap is back to being perfect, 2-2.5 hours, which makes me think it's not a sleep issue, but maybe a waketime issue. I'm not sure. At this point my other daughter was on a flawless and very predictable schedule. I know 3 months is a stabilization age so I'm afraid by getting her up when she wakes early I will create a bad habit.

  27. Mark and Janna,It might be a wonder week issue. See the label "wonder weeks" as well as the label "4 month sleep problems." I think it is something to wait out.

  28. Hi. I am a first time parent and I think I am breaking my child. He is 16 weeks old and goes down for bed between 8 and 8:30 (after a routine). He is nursed to sleep and wakes about 1 or 2 AM. He is teething so he has also awoken at about 11 PM on bad nights. I usually nurse him and try to put him back down, but he kicks his feet and wakes up. At that point we just bring him to our bed. Is he going down too early? How do we get him to fall asleep on his own/without nursing? Is it too soon to cry it out? How do we handle the middle of the night wake-up?

  29. You mention that in this phase there will be 3-4 naps, and the last 2 will be 30-60 minutes.. I'm curious if I'm scheduling things wrong? My daughter is 15 weeks and her schedule is:7 eat / wake8 nap10 eat / wake11 nap1 eat / wake2 nap4 eat / wake5 nap7 eat / wake8 nap9:30 eat then straight to bedshe is great and night – still working on naps – they aren't always the full amount i've said – and we are working on how much wake time is right for her. should i be doing a different schedule – because all of her naps are the same length, and you mention the last 2 being shorter, or not having a 4th one at all. how would that work?

  30. Alicia,I would suggest considering a dreamfeed (see "dreamfeed" blog label). He is not going down to early. He is old enough for CIO if you are ready for it. I would feed him at night when he wakes until you have him going to sleep on his own and sleeping in his own bed. At that point, he most likely will just sleep through on his own without any further intervention from you.

  31. Gwyn,Your 8 PM should be bedtime, not a nap. So things look good. Right around 4 months, you can drop that 5 PM nap if needed. Most babies go to three naps at 4 months.

  32. I have been doing BW with my LO since birth (he's now almost 15 weeks old), but I am wondering if I'm missing something – he is not getting any closer to STTN. In fact, he's been waking more often at night to eat, even after a growth spurt! We are still on a 3-hour schedule because of the nighttime sleep – ideally 7/10/1/4/7 with a 10:30 dreamfeed. The past week he's been waking between 2-3am (before the growth spurt two weeks ago, it was more like 3-4), and then again about 5:30 (previously he would at least make it to 6:30-6:45). I have tried dropping the dreamfeed, thinking that might be interrupting his sleep (didn't help), I have tried moving back to a 2.5-hour schedule (this seemed to throw everything off during the day, especially naps), I have tried a pacifier at night (he'll go back to sleep only to wake a few minutes later), I have tried to watch his naps to make sure he's not sleeping too much during the day (not more than 4 hours, usually). He is a healthy baby, over 14 pounds, so I feel like he should be able to sleep longer than he does. We haven't seen any stretches longer than four hours at night, which is leaving me exhausted. Could it maybe be a milk supply issue? He is exclusively breastfed (though he does not seem dissatisfied after feedings). I am getting very discouraged because I have not seen the progress I thought I would in this area. Do you have any suggestions? I am running out of ideas! Thank you in advance for your help.

  33. Jessica, he might actually need more daytime sleep if he is only sleeping four hours in the day.If you are having a milk supply issue that could definitely be it. Remember Sleep Begets Sleep (see the post on that for more).

  34. What about those of us who have a baby that was colicky for the first 3 months? It was everything I could do just to get my baby to sleep/not cry, etc. Now that she's almost 4 months, she's outgrown the colic, but has no idea how to fall asleep on her own. I have ALWAYS given her the opportunity (soothe and lay in her bed), but have always had to come back and hold or nurse to get her to sleep. I tried CIO for 2 days with no success. She cried through all of her naps, slept maybe 5 minutes or so the whole day, and then it was a rough night. I have 3 older children that I used babywise with, but this time is a whole new ballgame. I can't believe how vehemently this child fights sleep! I am worn out and tired and stressed and ready to pull my hair out with trying to get her to sleep on her own. My happiest days are the ones when I throw her in a sling and go about our merry way. Do you not believe that some babies just aren't ready to conform to babywise at a young age? I feel like the books are written for angel and textbook babies and some babies are just toucy/colicky/high strung and it's not that we haven't worked at it, it's that the baby is her own little high maintenance person and not quite capable of conforming yet.

  35. Cassie, it is hard for me to say because I haven't had a baby with colic. I don't know what it is like so I don't know how to judge it. I do not, however, think that the books are only written for angel and textbook babies. Brayden was a touchy? baby–not angel nor textbook–and BW worked wonders with him. If you like it better having her sleep in the sling, it is your family–do it how you think is best. I think it is wise to think things through several months down the road and be sure you are happy with any potential consequences you might see down the road for doing that. If you are okay with those or willing to face those if/when they arise, then at least you know you made a sound decision. Good luck!

  36. You said in the blog that your son was a 45 min. napper. My son is like that. He has reflux we finally have gotten the right medication and he is feeling so much better. So now we are trying to get back on track…. I have been working on things for a couple of weeks. Night time sleep is fine but naps are the issue. I do the sit method before nap and he can put himself to sleep once I put him in the crib but he wakes after 40 minutes. So you are saying not to do CIO but try to get him back to sleep other ways? I was confused and thought I should not do that b/c it may create a pattern or dependence…like a sleep propt. But from what I understand it is okay and he should outgrow it by 5 months or so? I just want to make sure I understand… in the past I have just done the swing or carseat b/c he will sleep 2hours there or I will just let him get up but that messes the EWS cycle hard to maintain. I just want to make sure I am doing the best thing for his nap issues with out creating too many issues for the future. Thank you for the help!

  37. Tiffany,Yes, I am saying to not do CIO mid-nap prior to about 5 months old. I always leave it up to parental discretion and what the parents think is best for the baby, but I think in most cases, it is best to not CIO mid-nap prior to 5-ish months old.

  38. Thank you for the response. I do get not doing CIO but I get confused about the sleep propts. Maybe I was not clear. He is able to put himself to sleep but wakes after 40 mins for naps. He does not transition to the swing or anything else and actually fall back asleep. Once he is up he is up. BUT he will take a 2 hr nap in the swing or carseat(not moving)if I start it there. My big ?? is this…I know that he knows how to put himself to sleep he does it at night and for the beginning of naps. BUT to ensure he is getting his nap times in w/o waking after 40 min is it bad to let him sleep in the car seat for nap 1, swing for nap 2 and try the crib for nap 3? OR Am I creating bad sleeping habits by letting him nap in the carseat or swing? Sometimes I think it is just better to ensure he gets his rest but other times I feel like I shouldn't b/c I do not know if it will create bigger nap issues later. Thanks for the help!

  39. Tiffany, I would stick with the crib unless you have an explicit reason for another place (like you are driving somewhere). If you consistently do naps in the swing, you do risk starting a habit. Plus, in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Weissbluth says sleeping in a crib is more restful than in a moving swing or carseat, so the quality of sleep is better there. I think that makes sense when I think about how I feel after sleeping in the car or on the couch versus my bed.

  40. Thanks for this blog, which has been really helpful. I'm a bit confused on whether I should wake my baby or not to keep him "on schedule." We've been doing BW since birth. He is 12 weeks now and seems to be backsliding on nighttime sleep. His wake times are almost all 55-60 minutes unless he seems sleepy earlier than that (rare unless he didn't sleep well before the feeding).I understood that at first we needed to wake him to feed him at first at the three hour mark if he didn't wake on his own, especially since I'm exclusively breastfeeding (with pumping for when I am not around since I'm headed back to work this week). But now I'm confused because he's not doing as well as he was doing at STTN. We have him on a 3 hour schedule starting at 7:30am, last feeding at 7:30 and dreamfeed around 10 or 10:30. For a few weeks he was having a lot of 45 minute naps, and we tried a bunch of things including feeding him. But throughout he was increasing his nighttime sleep to be from about 11 to 5ish, even sometimes until 6. It was great.Then we figured out that most of the time he just needed help with sleep transitions in his naps, and we are working on that. Usually he seems to be able to go back to sleep with some cuddling and reswaddling, occasionally with a move to the swing. Our new plan seems to coincide with worse nighttime sleep. Last night he was up at 2 (we reswaddled and he was asleep again soon), 4 (definitely hungry), and 6 (hungry). Then he didn't eat very well for both morning feedings but still slept until I woke him at 3 hours for the first and third naps. My question is whether I should still wake at 3 hours or should I try a combo 2.5-3.5 schedule? It seems like he'd be happy to sleep longer for the first two naps and to have much shorter naps later in the day. But should we mess with the daytime regularity before he is able to consistently sleep 7-8 hours?

  41. Hi Val,Thanks for this great blog, you've already answered a few of my questions and I have one more. My 14 week old has yet to sleep through the night. I've been doing the dreamfeed with him around 10:30-11pm and then he'll usually go till about 3-3:30am. Then wake up anywhere between 5:30-6:30. For the last week I haven't been doing a dreamfeed and he still goes till about 3-3:30am. I don't know what to do, he doesn't want to sleep thru the night either way. He is a solid baby just over 14lbs and eats well during the day and easily does the 3 hour feed cycle and generally naps well also. I don't know what to do to get him to STTN. Am I missing something? I make sure he is actually crying and all the way up so I don't just run to grab him. He always takes a full feeding at the 3am feeding also. Please help! 🙂

  42. Mary, If you feel like he needs to combo, go for it. He might do better overall if that is what he is needing. If it cuts a feeding in the day to do that, just know it might end up making it so he STTN later than he would otherwise, but it could also just make it so he is better rested overall and sleeps better at night, too.

  43. JACK,I would consider a few things.One option is to change around the dreamfeed time and see if the timing helps him to sleep better; however, it sounds like he is waking with or without it, so I doubt that would help.I would work on a gentle weaning of the night feeding. Considering he wakes around the same time with or without the dreamfeed, that 3 AM feeding probably isn't a huge need. I would feed him less and less gradually. If breastfed, cut down minutes feeding until you get to one side. Stay at one side for a few days, then cut down the minutes on that, too. If he is upset if the feeding is cut shorter, or if he wakes earlier in the morning after doing this, you know the feed is a real need. In that case, I would just stick with it for now. But if he still sleeps well afterward, you can continue to wean. The hope is he will get used to no food at that time and sleep through.If bottlefeeding, just decrease ounces offered slowly.

  44. I have looked through the comments in this post and didn't see anything that answered my question. I would be SO thankful for any words of advise you have. My son is 14 weeks old. We have done BW from day one, as we did with our oldest son. Our youngest was a super sleepy infant. Around 6 weeks old, he started having 45 min. intruder problems for 1-2 naps a day. I slowly began tweaking wake times, darkened his room, got a sound machine, swaddle him during sleep, etc. Nothing seemed to help. He has struggled with the 45 min. intruder now for 2 months! We stay home every day. I have tried all wake times from 35 min-1.5 hours and all in between. I tried putting him in the swing after he wake, tried rocking him, etc. but he never can get back to sleep. I watch his sleep cues like a hawk.He goes to sleep on his own in his bed very well for naps and sleeps from 7pm-6:30am with a dream feed at 10:30, but during naps he just CAN NOT make it through the sleep transition at 45 min. I don't know what to do.Just the last 4 days I tried putting him in the swing at the beginning of his nap and low and behold, he did wake up at 45 min. BUT the swing lulled him back to sleep. These are the first long naps he has had in weeks. He still slept well at night in his bed after sleeping in the swing for his naps. (Whew!)My question: Is it more important for us to keep up the practice of sleeping in his bed all the time, even for naps, EVEN if that means only 45 min. naps right now, OR more important for him to have a few longs naps during the day although it means using the sleep prop of the swing? HELP!

  45. Thanks so much for this post – my 3.5 month old little guy has gotten the hang of falling asleep on his own – he rarely cries for naps anymore (and it's wonderful!). But he's having a really hard time with the transitions during the day – usually he needs a little tummy rub and paci to fall back asleep mid-nap. I was wondering if I was starting a bad habit and should let him cry it out, but crying it out only makes him really worked up right now. But then I read this post, and found out I'm on track for now. Thanks so much for all you write for fellow Baby Wise Moms! You have no idea how much comfort it provides to know other people have been there, and to have some words of advice.

  46. I've searched and searched your blog for when babies wake happy an hour into naps. My almost 12 week old woke up an hour into nap and has been happily awake for an hour now. His next feeding time is in 50 minutes. He did show real sleepy cues when I put him down 55 minutes after waking so I can't figure out what is going on and how to handle the rest of the day…

    • I found your happy wake comment:) he was awake for an hour and a half though! And the whole day has been weird. He hasn't slept good at all and is waking an hour into every nap.

  47. 2 days later and he's still waking an hour into his nap and lying there contently awake for an hour or more. It happens on different naps too, not the same nap. Now it's time to feed him…

  48. sonia- I left a question on this post and have been checking on it every few days to see if there has been an answer. I saw your question and I have a friend who told me that when her daughter began waking early into her nap and playing contently up until the next feeding, that was when she new to lengthen her wake time. Maybe try 5 min. at first and see if that helps?

  49. Thank you, RobinsonHome:) It has been 10 days and he's still doing it, only now he's crying for some of them. We've been putting him down 15 mins. earlier (45 mins.) and that seems to be helping some….not totally though. I read in the link you posted that it will sometimes "kick in" at 4-6 mos. and oh am I hoping for that! I don't think he's a chronic 1hr. napper, it's just going to take some training. Thanks for your comments and the link:)

  50. Robinsonhome, First, are you sure there is no growth spurt going on? Growth spurts happen every 3-4 weeks, so be certain that isn't it. If you are sure he isn't hungry, I might do swing naps for a few days to get him used to napping that full length, but I would then move back to at least starting naps in the bed. If he woke at 45, I would be okay with moving him to the swing, but I wouldn't do every nap in the swing. This is for two reasons. One is that I wouldn't want to create a dependence on the swing. Another is that Weissbluth in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child says that sleep that happens in a moving swing is not as restful and restorative as sleep that happens in a stationary object like a bed. He does suggest if you have naps in the swing that you turn it off after the baby is asleep.

  51. Sonia, be sure you keep a written log as you are figuring out waketime length. I do have posts on optimal waketime length. He could be getting more aware of the noises around him, so some white noise could possibly help you out. Also, if he is swaddled, he might be ready to stop the swaddle.

  52. I keep a log, have read almost every single one of your posts (more than once:) and have been using a fan in his room from the very beginning (I have two toddlers:) His waketime is usually 45-50 mins. When I go longer, things are worse. We stopped swaddling a couple of weeks ago but I don't see a huge difference. Also, I'm pretty sure he's doing the witching hour thing. Your posts on the subject have been so helpful! I must say, it's kinda great to assume he'll wake and be pleasantly surprised when he doesn't. No fun the other way around:)Thanks for responding; I guess we'll just keep trying to figure things out.

  53. Hi there, thanks SO very much for your blog. I've become a faithful reader since I stumbled across it reading on nap-related issues. I am hoping for some advice regarding my baby who is turning 4 months old in 4 days.Let me first confess that I was a firm believer of on-demand everything, since I myself am an on-demand kind of person, so I didn't want to force my baby on any kind of eating/sleeping routine. Well, I'm sure you'd understand and appreciate that I've since decided that routine and structure are better for my child. That said, I've only begun to introduce routine to him, so we're really "behind", but I figure late is better than never!My biggest concerns now are whether his waketimes and napping pattern are normal for his age.In the mornings his waketimes are no more than 45-50 min, in the afternoons roughly 55-60 min, and in the evenings at most 1.5-2 hours before bedtime or power nap (my husband works late, hence the occasional power nap before bedtime). I feel like these waketimes are short – are they normal?Secondly, he will never nap for more than 55-60 min at a time, except for when we go out, in which case he can sleep in the car seat for 2-3 hours, which is not a habit I want continued. So, during the day we pretty much alternate between wake and nap times every hour, with him taking about 4 naps a day on average (1 morning, 2 afternoon, and 1 evening in order to accommodate our family life). I tried getting him back to sleep longer but he just cries and fights it. He does wake up happy each time though. Is this OK? If this normal? Is it just that he's not biologically ready for the recommended 1.5-2.5 hr naps? If not, how do I teach him to sleep longer?Just to add, at night, he sleeps about 12 hours at night in a 13-hr time period (typically 7:30-8:30pm to 8-9am), waking about twice to feed, which I'm ok with for now. My biggest problem now is with his napping. Also, I've taught him how to fall sleep on his own, and I am constantly mindful of his sleepy cues so that after I put him down, relatively he falls asleep easily. Finally, not sure if this is relevant. He is still on a 2-hr schedule during the day. It could be that I'm "behind". However, he just refuses to eat more than what will sustain him for 3 or 4 hours. If I try to force the boob on him he cries. In fact his 2-hr schedule is very much like my own grazing habits. I am at wits end as to how to break this pattern. I'm sorry this is so long. Any feedback would be soooooo helpful and appreciated. Thank you so much!With thanks,Tina

  54. Hello, my daughter is 5.5 months old and I am having some difficulty determining what type of schedule to put her on and we are having difficulty with waking early from naps and in the morning. Reently, my LO has begun always rolling from her back to tummy but then she is stuck. I am not sure if she is trying to learn to crawl (this is my best guess). We try to work on this during wake time but I am not sure of the best way to help her with this.2. Currently we are following a 3.5 hour routine. Our schedule is 7:00 ideal wake timenap from 9-10:30eat at 10:30sleep from 12:30-2eat at 2sleep from 4-5 (catnap)eat at 5eat at 7bedtime by 7:30my question is if this schedule looks ok to you and if we should move to a 4 hour routine? She is eating solids at 3 feedings 3. she is waking early in the morning – around 6-6:30 rather than 7 due to being on her tummy – any suggestions?4. also waking early from naps – should i let her be awake for 2 hours if she wakes early from a nap and then put her down for next nap early? this is what i have been doingthanks

  55. Jenn,I have a post on disruptions like this "naps: disruptions rolling, standing, crawling, etc."With her waking early, I wouldn't do a 4 hour schedule yet. At that age, I would do two hours up and then nap.

  56. Val,Thanks for your response. Naps have improved and this is our current schedule 7 wake and eat 7.5 oz and yogurt Nap 9-10:30/1111 wake and eat 7.5 oz with fruit and veggieNap 1-2:30/33 wake and eat 7.5 oz5:30 eat solids for dinner (fruits and veggies)7:00 bedtime bottle 7.5 oz Bed by 7:15/7:30She sleeps better without the 3rd nap, do you recommend that she continue to have a 3rd nap? If yes what time would you do this with our schedule that I have provided?Do you think this schedule is suitable for a 6 month old?Also do you have guidelines for how much solids to be offering throughout the day?Thanks

  57. I am a new Mom with a 9 week old baby girl 🙂 This week, her naps have not been very good. She stays awake during her nap times. I feed, change and put her down within a 45min. period and put her back down for a nap. She still is not sleeping through the night. Her last night feeding is at 10:30pm and she will wake me up between 3-5am 🙁 Any advice would be appreciated to help me with her naps and get her to sleep through the night, thank you 🙂

  58. Hi! I did BW with my DS and worked flawlessly, I now have a 11WO DD and she is a struggling BW baby. I am consistent with our day time routine and she is struggling with sleeping more than 5/6 hours at night. I dropped the DF because she would consistently wake 3 hours later. She slept longer w/out the DF. I really don't want her to CIO since my DH needs his sleep as he is the one working ;)MY DD takes 2 two hour naps and about an hour nap in the late afternoon and has a 7:30 bedtime. She goes down without a fuss, I just need to get her to sleeping longer at night. Any suggestion.Thank you in advance.

  59. HI-This is really helpful but I still have a question. My son has been sleeping 9-11 hours a night since 7 weeks. He is 12 weeks now. I was dreamfeeding up until week 11 but stopped to see what would happen, and he still sleeps. Generaly he goes down anywhere between 8-9:30 p.m. and wakes between 6:15-7:15 a.m. Getting him to bed is a struggle…he cries and is so fussy from about 5 til he crashes. Nursing doesn't soothe him, nor car rides, rocking, swings, etc. My first born didn't sleep thru the night til 14 months so this is new territory for me.Once my son is up he goes down for his first nap about an hour later and sleeps from 1-2 hours. The rest of the day is hit or miss. I try to get him to nap about an hour to 1.2 after waking, but I find it's all messed up. There is no rhyme or reason. I have a feed schedule and some days he sticks with it, but some days I find myself just nursing b/c I don't know what else to do. He is generally happy when he wakes but tends to yawn soon after these 45-60 minute naps. By 4 p.m. it is so hard to get him to sleep at all…and I have a 2 1/2 year old so i'm beat and at my wit's end. My first born only took 40 minute naps til he was 15 months and went to 1 nap. And his naps since then have been 2 plus hours. But that whole time with my first born I was a wreck…I don't want to get frustrated like that again. It sounds like you are saying i need to get my son up from a nap after giving him 15-20 minutes to try to settle himself, and then just hang out with him til the next feed time?? But then won't he be aweke a super long time, like 2 hours? Thank you!

  60. my LO is exactly 3 weeks old today and for exactly a week she has either not fallen asleep for all or most naps or has woken 40minutes in and will not fall back asleep in swing, crib, basinet, CIO will last on and off until next feeding. will only go back to sleep in arms. i did NOT experience sleep problems this young with my first child and we implemented babywise out the gate both times woking on EWS and establishing a 2.5/3 hr schedule and morning start time of 7am. she is formula fed…..since prob started i have tried morning wake time anywhere from 30-45 minutes and she just wont fall asleep! we put her down drowsy sometimes with paci sometimes not…usually after 30 mins of not settling we adjust swaddle, rock a minute etc and repeat…im hoping that my consistency will pay off and she will eventually just work it out!! any suggestions??

  61. Please HELP! We started my daughter, 14 weeks on Saturday, on babywise from day 1. She has done marvelous with her feeding schedule, however, she has NEVER been a good sleeper! For the last couple of weeks she has been waking up 20-40 minutes into a nap crying and we have to give her paci and shush her back to sleep, then 15 minutes later she will be up again doing the same thing! We're LUCKY if we get her to sleep 5 hours a day. She had been sleeping about 6. 1) She is on a 3 hour feeding schedule, we tried for a day to change it to 3.5 hours but she awoke at 4am hungry. So, we went back to 3 hours. She eats at 6-9-12-3-6-9. We dropped the dream feed about 3 weeks ago when she started sleeping through the night 8 hours- she had never taken a full feeding anyway.2) She usually sleeps from about 9:30-10:00 to 5:30-6:00am, however, lately she has been awaking at 4:45-5:15am. This has been occuring since she hasn't been napping well. She may talk to herself for 10-15 minutes, but then she gets cranky, there is no going back to sleep for her!3) Sleeping: HOW can i get her to nap better? She has always been a baby to stay awake an hour to an hour and a half from the start of one feeding, to the time she naps, even as a newborn. She we, now that's she's older, extend that awake time to 2 hours in the hopes that she'll then take a good nap. We usually only get one good nap a day (1.5-2.5 hours) the other naps are always a battle. We usuall nap her in her swing, becuase she refuses to sleep in her crib, with the exception of her first nap of the day.4) Number of naps: she currently sleeps after every feeding (5 naps a day). I hear many people talking abotu 3 naps a day at this point, but is that only if you're on a 4 hour schedule? Otherwise, how does that work? Let her stay up from one feeding to the next?I am so confused! I just want her to get enough sleep during the day so we can reach 10-12 hours of sleep at night and she's not so cranky in the evenings! Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

  62. You made some good points .I did a little research on the topic and found that most people agree with your blog. Thanks. translation agencies

  63. Hi! I’m a new baby wise mom with a four month old, Edmund. He loves his consistent schedule and has slept through the night since one month. Here’s his schedule now at 4 months: bed at 9:30pm, awake at 6 am, right back down after feeding, awake/eat at 9am, awake/eat 12 pm, awake/eat 3 pm, awake/eat 6 pm, awake/eat 9 pm, right to bed at 9:30pm . He takes the 2 ½ hour nap in the morning, then 1 ½ hour naps (4 total) between all his feedings. This has been like clockwork. I’m having two problems, linked to naptime. One, he is consistently waking up 45 minutes into his naps. Two, he is ‘hooked’ on using his pacifier for naps (when I initially lay him down, with the pacifier, he always falls immediately to sleep, he has never successfully CIO). Obviously, these two events are linked. If I go into his room when he cries and give him back his pacifier, he falls immediately asleep (before I even get out of the room). I’m not sure how terrible a habit this is, he is starting to wake up more often during more naps and I’m feeling guilty about the pacifier addiction. Interestingly enough, he has never done this at night, once down, down for good (but I’ll really be in trouble if his nap-habits bleed into his night-time-habits). He loves to suck and it is such a soothing thing for him. My dilemma is with the 45-minute intruder. If I were to try to let him CIO at that 45-minute waking, then how would I know if he just woke up and needed his pacifier again, or if he is suddenly in a growth spurt and really needs to eat? I’m willing (I think) to try CIO (perhaps just when he wakes up mid nap?), but am torn because a) the pacifier works like a charm (but it requires my going in his room and him not learning to soothe on his own) and b) it allows me to know why he woke up (needs pacifier vs. needs food). I feel like we’re at a crossroads right now (easier to break a bad habit now at 4 mos than next month or the following) and I want to do the right thing. Please advise.

  64. THANK YOU for your blog. I am so excited I just found this today! We did this with our first child and he was PERFECT and EASY!!! I have a 13 week old that I am having trouble with the naps. I hope you can help me out. We start at 7:15- 7:30 in the morning. He eats 9-10 ounces11:00 (so 4 hours) he eats again 9-10 ounces3:00 (4 hours) 6-8 ounces7:00 6-8 ounces8:00 bath offer 2-4 more ounces normally ujust drinks 1-2 and he is down by 8:30 and sleeps through the night. We rock him a little bit till he starts to show signs of being tired than we put him in his bed and he goes to sleep. But I can't get any lengthy naps from him. He wants to cat nap 15-to maybe 30 minutes wakes up happy and wants to play. If we start at 7:30 when should I trying putting him down?Thanks for your help.

  65. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. I have an 11 week old boy. We have been doing baby wise since he was 5 weeks old. Up until he turned 9 weeks old he was still waking every 2 hours at night! For the past couple weeks he had had a few 5 hour stretches at the beginning of the night. Then he wakes at 3am then at 5am then at 6 am then at 7am and then we start our day with a wake time of about 8:00. He takes a morning nap from 10:30 to 12:30 then an afternoon nap from 2:30 to 4:30. And sometimes a cat nap of 30 minutes between 4:30 and bedtime which we moved up to 7:30. He goes to sleep pretty much on his own for naps, sometimes with the use of a paci. He had been waking up 30 min into his naps, i'd go in and soothe him and give him the paci and he would go back to sleep the remainder of the time. He also falls asleep well at night. My problem is keeping him asleep!! Before bed I feed him at 5, 6 and 7 and even give him a bottle of formula to make sure he is full. I feed him as much as he wants during the day and we never go over 3hrs without eating. A few weeks ago I even tried nursing him and giving him a bottle of formula after to get more calories in during the day to see if that kept him full at night. Let me add he was 15lbs at this 2 month appointment so he's not underweight at all! 8lbs 10oz when he was born(2 weeks early) He's in the 98th percentile. We have a fan in our room (doesn't blow on him) to help muffle any noise. He is in the correct size diapers. I'm at my wits end!I have so much anxiety, no patience during the day, I hate my life right now. I can't go on like this…it's ridiculous! Nothings working. We did baby wise with my daughter and she slept 6hrs at 6 weeks, 7hrs at 7weeks and so on until she hit 12hrs at twelve weeks and never looked back. I would have bet money I would have been sleeping at least 6 hour stretches by now and I would have lost a lot if I had done so. When he wakes every hour in the morning like that I nurse him back to sleep. He only eats on one side, not even 10 minutes…she seems super hungry at first then dozes off…should I wake him up completely to eat on the other sied? By his 8 am waking time he hardly eats. I've tried CIO twice but he doesn't cry…he screams! both times he screamed for an hour and nothing got better. I've also cut dairy outta my diet for a while now. Pleas help me I do not do well without sleep, I'm losing it!

  66. I have a 12 week old and he sleeps great at night, 9-5 every night feeds then goes back down till 8/8:30. My problem is naps! He will fall asleep for his first nap and it will only be 20-30 minutes then he's up till 12/1 because I can't get him down and sleeps for 3-4 hours. What can I do? When I let him CIO he just won't stop crying until it's time to get him up. Thanks!!

  67. Good read, my daughter is almost 4 months we have been doing a bedtime routine since 3 months. She is a 45 min napper, and sleeps usually through. My question at this age should you wake them at the same time in the am ( ex 7am) to get more on a napping schedule, or let them wake one their own?

  68. How do I wean my daughter from falling asleep while feeding as a sleep prop? It started out of ignorance and desperation, now she is 4 months old, and has gone from being a "sort of okay sleeper", to a terrible sleeper. I never know if she'll stay down for a nap, or get jazzed and start playing instead. Night sleep went from one feeding early morning to waking every hour-2 hours. I am exhausted and disheartened. I know I need to fix a ton of issues here, but I don't know where to start if I can't get her to sleep without a bottle! Help! Please! (Also–how long should her naps be during the day? They range anywhere from 15 min – 3 hours, and I never know what I should even be aiming for). Thank you!

  69. Dear dear Valerie, When my almost 2 months old son stopped sleeping all the time and systematically falling asleep after feeding him, it took me a few days to realize when he got so grumpy all of a sudden: he had not been sleeping AT ALL during the day for a few days! Surprise surprise, did not see this one coming.Then started my nap battle. I had to force my son to sleep all day through for him to get just a little bit of rest. And I got exhausted very quickly. Trying to find the right to time for him to sleep worked for a while on the first nap, but I was still rocking him to sleep and keeping him sleeping in my arms. He would go for a 2-3h hours naps like that! But that wasn't the solution, right? That was problem 1.Problem 2 was probably even worse: when I got the "nap time" wrong, he would get very very excited and nervous, and the true nightmare would start: me trying to get him to sleep continuously. Sometimes ALL DAY LONG. Exhausting for the both of us. A few days ago only (my son is now a little past 3 months old), I realized that trying to force him to sleep all day through was actually even more confusing for him. He could not understand when the time was to nap, and when it was time to play! So I decided to try stricter naps: put him to bed for at least an hour (not letting him CIO though!) and if he still did not want to sleep: make it OK for him to get out of bed and have a clear play time (opening curtains, etc.). Have clearer times was a saver for both of us, even if he did not have his nap some time, it was a relief. Then I got to the 45 minutes intruder point. I could get him to nap alone at least once a day, but never for more than 45 minutes. Looked it up on French-speaking blogs, did not find much. This is actually an issue that English-speaking blogs do explain a LOT more. And this is how I found you posts. All SO interesting and SO true. I recognized my son in many of your explanations. And I am writing this comment as I put him to nap right 70 minutes after he woke up this morning. Heard him waking up after the first 45 minutes. This lasted a good.. 30 seconds. And I heard him falling back to sleep again. THANK. GOD. I spent so much time saying to health practitioners that my son would not sleep during the day, and I only got crapping responses ("go for a walk to get him to sleep" – thanks but not a very long term solution! "He needs to fall asleep by himself at 3 months old, that's the problem" – thanks but he DOES at night without problem so what's the difference? etc. etc.). I got so frustrated. But I think we are now on a good napping path, still work in progress, but eh!My learnings are: 1. put him to sleep at the right time (so yes, get his waketime right) – 2. stop holding him to sleep, because if you got point 1 right, this is not necessary anymore! Even though it is nice to have your baby sleeping on your belly a few hours a day… – and for me also: 3. do make a clear difference between nap time and play time, even if you got nap time wrong and your baby did not sleep, it is important for him to have that difference. And this is the time to take him for a walk eventually, so that if he did not sleep he will still get some rest eventually… which will allow you going for the next nap easier. Oh and: 4. Do not believe to fast to the "maybe your baby does not need that much sleep". This is untrue for most babies.Thanks a lot!Work in progress, but at least I am much more confident than a few days ago!

  70. What do I do if my baby won’t go back to sleep mid nap? My 3 month old baby is almost doing what you outline in this post – a 2.5hr first nap, a 1hr second nap, a 45-60 min third nap and a 30-60 min fourth nap.. but that still means that my baby is waking up before the next feeding – so what do we do? CIO is not appropriate for our baby yet as you say, and I agree because it’s not effective or productive yet, but I don’t have the means to just sit and rock my baby until the next nap every time. Maybe I need to invest in a swing? Doesnt it count as waketime though if my baby doesn’t go back to sleep? In need of some serious help here because this cycle isn’t breaking 🙁

    • A swing can be a great help in this situation. It is worth trying–some babies HATE the swing, though. So you might see if you can borrow one. 2 of my 4 absolutely hated the swing.

      You can also get a bouncer and let your little one just sit in it until closer to feeding time.

      Time spent awake out of the bed counts as awake time straight across (unless sleeping in some other way).

      If she is close to 4 months, she might be ready to go to just 3 naps. The vast majority of 4 month olds take 3 naps. She also might be coming up on wonder week 19. Read about that here:

      • Thank you so much Valerie!! We bought a swing and hope it does the trick, just waiting for it to arrive…
        a couple follow up questions though:
        1. Can baby be swaddles in the swing? He is not rolling over yet
        2. I know you say that baby can have waketime before a feeding if they just won’t go back to sleep, but my baby can only manage to stay awake for 50-90 minutes at a time before fussing and needing a nap – he is just 3 months old now and taking 4 naps a day, not including the “bedtime nap” before the dream feed. So if I let him wake up and have waketime for 45 minutes before the next feeding, then oftentimes he will not eat well because by that time he is kinda tired, distracted, and then has to go back to sleep within 10-20 minutes, AND he won’t catch up on the last nap – meaning, he won’t then take a 2 hour nap until the next feeding. It just feels like I’m then starting to get into a repetitive wake-feed-sleep cycle. So, should I just move up the next feeding rather than have that much of Pre-feed waketime? What if he’s not hungry then? Should I add in another FWS cycle to my day possibly?
        3. This is unrelated to my first post but my baby found his thumb and loves sucking on it during night sleep and naps, but he will startle himself awake if his arm gets out of the swaddle too much, and from what it looks like, he doesn’t look all that well rested sucking his thumb… but if I swaddle him arms down, he fights tooth and nail to get that hand out to suck. What do you suggest I do? At the moment I’m trying different swaddles, trying to swaddle him tight so that only his hand can be out, but even that sometimes just leads to him startling and crying awake.
        4. I read in Taking Cara Babies that too much daytime sleep during the 3-4 months can be a hinderance to nighttime sleep and that you shouldn’t let your baby have more than roughly 5 hours of daytime sleep… but like I said in #2, my baby can’t stay awake for longer than 50-90 minutes at any given time and is sleeping (sometimes) 8 hours at night and ~2 hours Before the dream feed, so that leaves ~14 hours Left in the day. If I only let him nap for 5 of those hours, then that’s 9 hours of waketime broken up into 5 FWS cycles, averaging about 1.8hrs of waketime per cycle… this just isn’t doable for my baby without making him a Cranky overtired monster… so what do you think about how much sleep he should get during the day? According to your post, sounds like it would be fine for ~7 hours of nap time sleep per day?
        Sorry for the length, I’m a first timer!!

        • I hope the swing is helping!

          Yes, you can swaddle in the swing.

          The waketime thing is tricky. Find what works best for him. If he is hungry right away, then he might be having a growth spurt and that might be the issue. But if it isn’t real hunger, you can sometimes set the metabolism best by feeding at the desired times.

          With the swaddle and thumb question, if he can’t sleep unswaddled, I would find blankets to help him stay swaddled. But he is old enough to potentially drop the swaddle (not all babies are ready at his age, but it is common at that age). So it might be a matter of a couple of days with rough naps unswaddled and he will be fine sleeping without the swaddle. From your description, it sounds like he isn’t quite ready, though.

          With the daytime sleep, I definitely disagree with no more than 5 hours of daytime sleep for a 3-4 month old. None of my babies could have handled that well.

          And no problem on the length!

  71. My baby is 16 weeks old today and has been struggling with the 45 min nap monster for about a month now. I’ve tried different tricks: putting him to bed 15 min earlier than normal, keeping him up longer. Finally I let him CIO which worked fairly well. This is the second week on letting him stay in his bed for a full 1.5 hours for his first two naps, whether or not he sleeps for those last 45 minutes. He tends to respond to CIO way better than me going in to comfort him/resettle him. He’s not a cuddly baby anyways and going in there usually just makes him more upset and then he takes longer to go down. He also doesn’t like to fall asleep in the swing. He will sleep in the stroller so I’ll go on long 1.5-2 hr walks a couple times a week.

    Besides not being a cuddler, he also hates the pacifier. I’ve tried all the different tricks and different pacifiers but he just spits them out as soon as he can with an extremely offended look lol. Basically if he had his way, he’d nurse to sleep every time. It took a solid month to get him to learn to sleep in his own bed and not with me.

    I have him in an arms free sleep sack. He was in the winged arm sack for most of the time before that but he’d been doing really well in the arms free sack during naps so I transitioned him to that at night as well. He doesn’t really startle anymore and likes to suck on his hands.

    His day starts at 7am and he goes to bed around 7:15pm. He’s a pretty happy, chill baby for the most part.

    Anyways, sorry for the long saga! Just wanted to give some background on my little guy 🙂

    My main question is, are two 1.5 hr naps and then three 45 min naps okay for him at this stage? If his first two naps are 2 hrs each, he’ll only take two 45 min naps before bedtime. I’ve tried to skip the 5th nap even if his first two naps are 1.5 hrs each and he gets overtired and super fussy.
    Second, the last week, he’s started getting fussy/cries when I put him down in the middle of the night after his nighttime feeds. He is working on a second tooth so I wonder if that’s making him more fussy? During night feedings, I never talk to him or turn on any lights, so he doesn’t really wake up while feeding, just when I put him down.
    Third, any tips on getting him to sleep longer stretches at night? He’s on about a 2.5/3 hr schedule during the day, and just manages 4hrs chunks at night. He still cluster feeds at night, usually 6p, 7p, and sometimes 8. I’ve tried a dream feed, but he just wakes up at his regular times anyways lol.

    • Hello!

      For the naps, at four months, he should be going to 3 naps a day. Always go by his individual needs, but be watching for him to go to 3 naps. That would be getting up at 7, having two naps that are 1.5-2.5 hours long, one nap that is anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on him, then bedtime at 7:15.

      He is at a super fussy time for almost all babies. Read this post and you will understand it and feel much better:

      • Thank you! I read that article and had wondered if that was his issue! I think he’s starting to come out of that wonder week thankfully. I’m starting to work on getting him down to 3 naps a day and so far it’s working okay. I kept him up for 2.5 hrs this morning and ended up feeding him twice before his nap. He actually stayed pretty happy even though he’s never up that long normally and then slept for 2 hours! Granted his nap was in the car since we were coming back from vacation but I’m hoping he’ll replicate it tomorrow in his crib here at home even without all the jiggling from the car 🙂
        Thank you again for your help and all the amazing articles here! It’s been SO helpful on this journey.

  72. My son was a textbook BW baby, but I wasnt consistent in starting my daughter off right. She’s 19 weeks and is paci dependent to fall asleep at night and for naps. She wakes during transitions at nap when the paci isn’t still in her mouth.

    She sleeps pretty Consistently at night without it.

    I plan to do CIO soon and to stop pack cold turkey.

    Here’s my question:
    Which takes priority?

    I feel that I should remove paci as step one. Just throw them away. It terrifies me bc I don’t know how she’ll get to sleep without it.

    Once she can sleep independently, I will aim for CIO.

    I know I have a fair bit of crying to endure in my future, but I want to be smart about it to minimize it as much as possible.

    • It will be hard to separate removing the pacifier and doing CIO. If you remove the pacifier without CIO, then you will be introducing some other method of falling asleep you will have to wean from. For example, you would remove the pacifier and rock baby to sleep…then you have to wean from rocking to sleep and do CIO. So if you take the pacifier away, I would just go to CIO. Here is a post for you to read:

  73. Hello
    My baby is 5 month old. She was sleeping through the nights since she was 2.5month old. She started waking up in the middle of the night from time she turned 4 months. She isn’t hungry but all she wants is to play. So we started giving her pacifier. Now she is 5months and can’t go to sleep without it. Any suggestions for how do I get her off pacifier?


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