What to Do When Baby Wakes Early From Naps or Won’t Fall Asleep For Nap. There are some basic steps you can take to help keep naps on the right path.
There are times your baby will wake early or won’t fall asleep at all. There are times during sleep training your baby won’t fall asleep at all. What do you do those situations?
How to Get Baby To Take Naps
The answer to this question is dependent on the personality of your child. Here are some solutions (this is all assuming your child is not having a growth spurt):
- When Kaitlyn was in the heat of CIO, there were times she wouldn’t fall asleep for her nap. I didn’t want her to cry too long and I also didn’t want her to be too tired. So I would put her in her swing if she didn’t fall asleep after an hour. She would then sleep and be somewhat rested for the next cycle. This worked great for her. She wasn’t the type who would cry harder if I interfered with her naps. After about a month, she rarely woke early from naps. This wouldn’t have worked for Brayden. Once he was down, he was down. If I interfered, he would cry longer and harder for the next nap.
- If you have a really young baby, you can rock your child until he is drowsy before putting him in his bed. Don’t rock him to sleep, just to drowsy. I wouldn’t continue this on past 3 months for sure, and I would personally stop it around 4-8 weeks (closer to 4, dependent on the child).
- Be sure you are reading the cues correctly for your child’s sleepiness. If he is too tired, he will cry more.
- Be sure your child doesn’t fall asleep while eating. Kaitlyn cried the hardest when I would let her doze during the feed. She wasn’t tired enough to sleep if she had a catnap during her waketime.
- If your child wakes early from a nap, you can try the swing thing, also. I did that with Kaitlyn. If she didn’t fall asleep within 10 minutes, I figured she was hungry and I fed her. This was a nice way for me to learn her cries and to read her cues to know for sure if she was hungry or waking early for some other reason. I think the younger your baby, the more likely this solution will work.
- Another option for early waking is to get them up and play with them until feed time. In this case, you are training the metabolism. Be sure you take that wake time into account for the time before the next nap.
- I have a friend in a Babywise support group that has a unique solution I have never thought of. She gets her daughter out of the bed, then plays with her until baby shows the first sign of sleepiness, then she puts her back to bed. It works really well for her baby. While it wouldn’t work for all, it is another idea. It also shows that, as the mom, you can come up with solutions that work for your baby.
- There is always Cry It Out (CIO).
- If your baby is at the age where she wakes early but plays instead of crying, I would leave her there until it is close to regular feeding time. She might fall asleep. If not, she at least will be laying and resting rather than having her senses stimulated. She will also be more patient for food if the feeder is not present.
- Work on troubleshooting your naps to try to solve the reason baby is waking early. See the Naps: Troubleshooting post for more. You can also read up on Common Reasons for Poor Sleep and fix any of those issues you are having.
Keep in mind the “why” is more important than the “how.” This idea is addressed in Toddlerwise, and really worth reading at any point in your Babywise journey. You need to determine what your parenting goals are. Are they to get baby to fall asleep by herself for naps? Are they to get her to eat so many hours apart? Don’t let the how get in the way of why you are doing what you are doing. That is why with Kaitlyn, if she woke early, I would move her to a swing if she would sleep there to finish out the nap. That is why if your baby won’t sleep in a swing, I would just play with her until it was time to eat. Then feed her and try to get her back down for her nap at the appropriate time, making sure she wasn’t overtired. That way you at least aren’t re-training her metabolism in a direction you don’t want to go. Prioritize your goals for sleeping and eating, then address the issues related to those goals. Happy sleeping!
- How To Stop New Skills from Disrupting Naps and Sleep
- Cry It Out Bootcamp
- Word To the Weary
- How to Calculate Waketime Length When Baby Wakes Early
- Optimal Waketime Lengths
- Waketime: Length, Extending, and Calculating
- Waketime When Baby Wakes Early
- Easy Nap Fix
- Nap Cues
- Naps: Troubleshooting
- waking early (blog label)
- Tina said…
Hi – This is for Melissa’s post about her baby not liking to be on her back. I had the same issue with my baby who is now 4 months old. I got a sleep positioner at Babies R Us. It is called “Inclined To Sleep” and was around $20. I also started to swaddle her tightly before putting her down. Between being swaddled and wedged in the sleep positioner, she seemed to get over her objection to being on her back. Good luck!
February 25, 2008 4:20 PM
- Susanna said…
I am certainly no expert on techniques to get a LO to nap after waking early but one thing that has somewhat worked for my now 11 week old is that I will leave one hand free out of his swaddle. He STILL continues to nap only about 30 to 45 minutes but if he’s left one-handed, he has a tendency to soothe himself and may even fall asleep for an additional 20 or 30 minutes. If he lays quietly in the crib, I am ok with him being wide awake sucking on his hand versus screaming. Just a suggestion…
April 10, 2008 12:40 PM
Thanks Susanna, I found that to be true with my daughter also.
April 10, 2008 1:49 PM
- Mom2Cohen said…
Another question for you. When he is napping (as he is now)…if he wakes up 20-30 minutes before he is “supposed” to do I just leave him in there or do I go ahead and get him and then just wait to feed him?
December 28, 2007 9:19 AM
If it is that close to time to get up, I would just get him up. I definitely wouldn’t leave him there to cry for 20 minutes. Right now I would be focusing on getting a 2.5-3 hour schedule. So if it has been 2.5 hours, just feed him. If not, and it is that close, get him up, and:1-you could put him in a swing or somewhere he is happy and content until it has been 2.5 hours2-you could just play with him and entertain him until it has been 2.5 hours. This will work toward getting his metabolism stabilized for the 2.5 hour mark. If he is really hungry and ready to eat, of course feed him. When he wakes early, be sure to take that into account when calculating his waketime. An overtired baby will take longer to cry to sleep and will wake up early from the next nap. [see these posts for more: Waketime When Baby Wakes Early Waketime When They Wake Early]
December 28, 2007 9:52 AM
- jpo said…
Hi there, I appreciate your site – it’s helpful to hear from people who ascribe to Babywise but also have hiccups here and there with implementing it. I’m currently struggling with my daughter’s naps. She is 5 months old and a wonderful night sleeper since 2 months, by the book! But, she started waking early from naps when she was about 2-3 months old and I didn’t really catch that this was a problem right away. So, now it is a pretty ingrained habit that she wakes after 40 minutes. SO, I have a few questions…I hope I’m not asking too much but any insight on any of these would be helpful.
1. I’m trying CIO but I can tell it will take a while for her to get it…I noticed that you said Kaitlyn took a month to sleep train – is that a reasonable time table for really cementing getting her to go back to sleep on her own?
2. I was also a little confused about when you would feed Kaitlyn if she woke up early. You mentioned that after 10 minutes you’d feed her but with CIO, I’ve had to let her cry for 45 minutes sometimes. I guess I’m not sure how to deal with whether it is the 45 minutes intruder (feeding) or a sleep problem and so I need to just train her to go back to sleep. I’m sorry this is a bit confusing – I am in the heat of sleep training and I’m a bit discouraged. Thanks so much!
January 28, 2008 1:39 PM
The time table is hard to predict. Kaitlyn’s month for sleep training was how long it took before she rarely cried before a nap at all. In talking about nighttime sleep training, Babywise says the average is 3-5 days (see page 132), but it can take longer than that. I would plan on two weeks.When I was learning Kaitlyn’s cries, I would put her in the swing when she woke early. The swing always put her right out. So I knew if she didn’t fall asleep within 10 minutes, she was hungry. If she did fall asleep, I knew she was waking for some other reason. If you are sure your baby isn’t hungry, you would wait longer than 10 minutes. What have you done in the past? You say you didn’t really realize it was a problem until recently. Have you just been feeding her when she wakes early? If you have always been feeding her, then it likely wouldn’t be a feeding problem. But if you have always been holding her off to eat, it might be a feeding problem. I would review the Naps Troubleshooting post:http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/naps-troubleshooting.htmlGood luck!
January 28, 2008 2:45 PM
- Sara Louise! said… 2 questions- First, my baby is 5 weeks today and I have not been putting her in her crib to nap. I know (NOW) that I should have been from day 1-but I didn’t know then. Should I start to put her in her crib to nap– where she cries and will consequently miss a whole nap cycle- or should I keep focusing on night time sleep then focus on daytime sleep once she’s STTN? Thanks so much for your blog- I have found it to be so helpful!
February 17, 2008 9:15 AM
Sara Louise! said… Here’s my second question- a friend with much success on BW has me on a nighttime feeding schedule where each nighttime feeding gets pushed back 15 min each night. That is, tonight I’m supposed to feed at 12 am and 4:30 am, then tomorrow it would be 12:15 am and 4:45 am, and so on, so that in 10 days or so I’d only have one nighttime feeding, then about 10 days after that I’d be down to none, and she’d be going from 7 pm to 7 am. However, I’d be satisfied with her sleeping just 8 hours- ie feeding her at 11pm and her going until 7 am. Would it work if I fed her at 11 pm and then kept pushing back the nighttime feedings by 15 min, but keeping the 11 pm each night? Then once she’s sleeping 8 hours I could bump the 11 pm one UP by 15 min- ie 10:45 one night, 10:30 the next and so on? Again, thanks so much for your help!
February 17, 2008 9:20 AM
Plowmanators said… QUESTION #1: Where does she nap otherwise? If it is in your arms, I would put her to sleep in her crib instead starting now even for naps. Nighttime sleep will be more likely to be uninterrupted if she can soothe herself and is also familiar and comfortable with her sleeping environment. But if she is sleeping in a bassinet or something, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Kaitlyn slept in both her crib and bassinet until she was nearly 7 months old. QUESTION #2: So are you waking baby up for these feedings at night? Prior to 5 weeks old, you don’t let more than 5 hours of sleep go by without a feeding in the night if you are nursing. After 5 weeks, you can let 7-8 hours go by if baby will do it. So to wake at 12:00 and 4:30 means you are going more often than necessary. I for one would squeeze every minute of sleep out that I could :). Also, the schedule is very, very premature. Your baby shouldn’t be sleeping 12 hours at night until 16-24 weeks old. That is quite some time from 5 weeks. Between weeks 9-15 weeks, you can move to 9-10 hours of sleep. Your baby likely won’t be sleeping 7-8 hours at night consistently until about 8 weeks old. 15% don’t start that until 10-12 weeks old. At 5 weeks old, I would do a dreamfeed (usually somewhere around 10-11 PM) if she will, then let baby wake when she will (not wake her up at all in the night), and then wake and feed her at your determined waketime in the morning to start your day.Let me know if you have any other questions!
February 17, 2008 2:45 PM
Sara Louise! said… Thanks for your responses! Regarding the naps- I usually put her in her Moses basket for napping. I try to put her down at the same time after each feeding so that we’re establishing some kind of routine. I also try not to let her go to sleep in my arms so that she’s not dependent on it. The only exception is if she’s been fussy and the only way to get her to nap is to put her in my arms. Regarding the nighttime feeding-WOW- are there babies out there who would do a dream feed and then not wake for 7-8 hours?? I want one! Mine is not one of them, unfortunately! When I feeed her at 12 and 4:30, that’s after she’s already been awake for over 30 min crying. The longest she’s gone is maybe 5 hours, but that was the exception, not the rule. I know what you’re thinking- maybe I should try to feed her more- but at those feedings it’s usually about a 5 oz bottle! We’ve had several problems with throwing up, so I’m hesitant to go over 5 oz (her daytime bottles are usually 3.5-4 oz)When you say most babies at 8 weeks will go 7-8 hrs- is this by something I’ve done, or just miraculously one night she will actually go 7 hours after the dream feed? I ask this because my friend has me pushing back each feeding by 15 min in order to get her used to eating later and later each night. Again- I really appreciate your help!
February 17, 2008 2:59 PM
Plowmanators said… The schedule your friend has you doing makes more sense now! Does she have reflux? Is that why she throws up?When the baby starts sleeping 7-8 hours, it is a result of the work that has been put in, but not necessarily as a result of crying in the night. Some babies require some crying in the night. Most sleep that long without having to CIO at night, but some do need it.If I were you, this is what I would do:1-If your baby will do a Dreamfeed (between 10-11 at night), I would start that.2-I would then let her sleep until she wakes up. Once she woke up, at her age, I would just feed her and then put her right back to bed. The reason for this is that she is still young. You don’t need to be worrying about her nightwakings yet. They aren’t ideal, but she is still young. I think it is better to work on daytime issues first because they often fix the nighttime issues. Also, it is easier to work through things in the light of the day (emotionally and mentally).3-The first thing I would work on is getting the daytime schedule consistent. See the Getting a Consistent Schedule post. 4-You also want to get her ability to self-soothe down. She is likely waking up and looking to you to comfort her back to sleep. Work on that in the day. See the CIO bootcamp post. Once those things are established, then I would start to consider working on nighttime issues if they haven’t started to fix themselves. Like I said, most babies start to sleep 8 hours at 8 weeks. Some are 10-12 hours. I would wait until 12 weeks old to force the issue, but I do know people who have done it sooner successfully. But I would wait at least until 8 or 9 weeks before crying at night. Good luck in your endeavors!
February 17, 2008 4:01 PM
Sara Louise! said… Again, thanks so much for all your advice! One more question- I do have her on a 3 hour schedule during the day– I start every day at the same time and feed within 3 hours up until the 7pm feeding. When do you think she could move to 3.5 hours? There are several feedings that I am still waking her up for during the day. Ironic, since at night I NEVER have to wake her up for a feeding!
February 17, 2008 7:28 PM
Plowmanators said… Between 5-8 weeks, your baby might be able to do a combo 2.5-3.5 hour schedule. If she has a time of day she consistently can go longer, while another time of day she seems to need to go shorter, you could do a 3.5 for one and a 2.5 for another.I wouldn’t move to a 3.5 schedule for each feeding until she is no longer eating in the night and sleeping at least 9 consecutive hours. The reason for this is that if you extend the schedule you will drop a feeding in the day. You don’t want to drop day feedings before night feedings. Be sure you are getting those wake times in the day to be awake (if you aren’t). That should help get the night and day sorted out. I know when Kaitlyn was 5 weeks, we were still working on some wake times. She couldn’t stay awake for all of them. February 18, 2008 9:47 AM
- annbo said…
I left a comment about starting my daughter (7 weeks) on CIO) but I can’t remember where it went to.Anyhows, I have a que. I just started her this morning. She sleeps after 1 hour (thank God!) but after a little while, she’ll wake and cry again. and if I left her, she’ll fall back to sleep, but only for 5 mins, and she’s up crying again. This went on for the entire cycle. Then I picked her at 3 hour mark, fed her and she looked tired, I put her back. She fell asleep after a whimper. But one hour later, she’s crying again. and she fell back to sleep after a min of crying, only to wake and cry again after a couple mins. Is there something I should check? Or is she just going through the process of learning?btw, before CIO, she would also wake and sleep ALL the time if she’s put down. But on us sometimes she can sleep forever, sometimes she sleeps on and off too.
February 29, 2008 11:40 AM
Annbo, See the Blog Index–that is where you posted your first question and I responded.For this question, part of it is definitely the process of learning. They seem to have some really rough days while starting out. She needs to learn how to soothe herself so she can fall back asleep after she wakes up. She will get it. Again, I recommend you see the CIO Bootcamp post on this blog.While she is learning, you can try the moving her to a swing when she wakes early like I outline in this post. That is, if she can do it and still stay on track. It is good to keep them as well-rested as possible through the process.
February 29, 2008 2:03 PM
- Susanna said…
Valerie,My 6 week old son sleeps like an angel during the night; he goes anywhere from 5 1/2 to 7 hours at night! During the day though, it is a different story. I put him down about an hour after feeding (he has acid reflux so his GI doctor wants him upright for at least 20 minutes before laying down) and he will fuss for at least 20 minutes before finally falling asleep. He sleeps for at the most 30 minutes and then wails for the rest of naptime.
Sometimes, he will fall back asleep for about 5 minutes and then wake up wailing again. We have tried CIO and also the swing but my question is, do I use the swing each time? Won’t that teach him that he can use that sleep prop consistently and never fall asleep on his own? By what age or time frame did you find that your babies were able to fall asleep on their own? I know the stabilization phase takes time but what is a general time frame that I can anticipate? Why do you suppose my son sleeps SO well at night? Is he just exhausted from not getting enough rest during the day? Thank you!
March 5, 2008 11:04 AM
It is quite possible for him to be sleeping well at night since he is not sleeping well in the day, but a lot of times bad day ends up being bad night, too. You will have to decide what the swing will teach him. I think for my oldest, it wouldn’t have been a good thing. I had to leave him in his bed until he fell asleep. He was a challenge. For my youngest, though, it was not a problem. I mostly used it to finish a nap, so she had already fallen asleep on her own once. I can’t remember the exact length of time, but I am thinking we used the swing for 2-3 weeks to finish out a nap before she slept through on her own. You want to give enough time for him to fall asleep on his own. You don’t want to do only 20 minutes and then move to the swing. He needs a real opportunity to learn. I started Kaitlyn at one week, and Brayden at 9 weeks for CIO. It took both about 2 months before they consistently didn’t cry at all for naps–to get to the point that I knew if they were crying, something was wrong. But some need a few minutes of crying for a year or more. It does get better–hang in there!
March 5, 2008 2:07 PM
- david, blair, and sadie beth said…
This is a great blog! Thank you for taking the time to post so much helpful info. My name is Blair and I have a 5 1/2 month old daughter. We’ve used BW fairly consistently with Sadie Beth since she was born. She is a very easy-going, happy baby and transitioned into a schedule fairly quickly. Now, she is on a 4 hour schedule and is still exclusively breastfed though we are starting cereal this weekend. We did a little CIO at the beginning, but now she RARELY cries going down for naps and if she does it is usually only 5-15 minutes. She never cries going down for the night. My question is about naptimes…we have been dealing with 45 minute naps since she was about 8 or 9weeks old. I’ve tried to let her CIO when she wakes up, but we aren’t having too much luck with that. She doesn’t seem to be waking out of hunger either. She isn’t waking “happy” but is perfectly happy once she is up and playing or whatever. Usually I wait til her next scheduled time to feed her. Should I be feeding her when she wakes? It seems if I do that it would get her off schedule for the whole day. Also, just within the last 2-3 weeks, she has been waking early 5:30-6:30 rather than her 7:30am start time, which used to be clockwork. I think her early waking is likely a result of having been sick, teething, new developmental milestones, etc. I have been leaving her in her crib usually til close to 7:30 as she stays pretty content. However, she seems to be getting overtired when I keep her up til her first nap at 9:30…should I adjust that naptime when she wakes early? I’m sorry this is so lengthy…I appreciate your help!
March 6, 2008 1:47 PM
I am glad you like the blog!Have you seen the troubleshooting naps posts?Easy Nap Fix: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/easy-nap-fix.html45 Minute Intruder: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/45-minute-intruder.htmlNaps: Troubleshooting: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/naps-troubleshooting.htmlOnce you have gone through that, is she not hungry at 3 hours? If she is, I would just go back to the 3 hour (or combo schedule–3-3.5 hours for example) until she can make it to 4 hours on her own. Yes, I would adjust that first naptime to be earlier when she wakes early in the morning. If she is too tired, she will take longer to fall asleep and will also not sleep well (as explained in the Easy Nap Fix post, see that for more on that concept). Good luck, and please feel free to ask questions as needed!
March 6, 2008 4:02 PM
david, blair, and sadie beth said…
I think I already posted this comment once, but I think it disappeared into the blogosphere. I’m sorry if it reappears and is posted twice. I have read through the troubleshooting naps posts, and there was some great info in those. Thank you! I did shorten her wake time this morning by about 15 minutes and she napped for almost an hour, so I will continue trying that I think. CIO doesn’t seem to be working when she wakes up from her naps. She will cry until she is hysterical and doesn’t settle back to sleep. When I get her up from the 45 minute naps she is happy and sweet. I agree with adjusting the first naptime to be earlier when she wakes early in the morning. However, what do you think about the following nap times? She is not hungry if I try to feed her before the 4 hour mark in the mornings and won’t take a full feeding. We are on more of a 3 hour schedule in the evening. I think my milk supply is definitely lower then. If she wakes early from a nap, I wait until her next approx. scheduled feeding time, and then adjust her wake time before her next nap, then it seems to me by the end of the day we will have lost the eat-wake-sleep pattern. If I don’t adjust her wake time, then it seems she is destined for more short naps because she will get OT. What do you think? Am I making sense or am I totally off base? Thanks!Blair
March 7, 2008 9:05 AM
Blair, Several women have recently found that CIO in the nap suddenly did the trick. They tried it at a younger age with no luck. Then they tried it again, and it worked that time. It it isn’t working, move on, but don’t be affraid to try it again if needed.You are making sense. There really isn’t an easy solution other than to continue to try to deal with the nap issues and wait for things to get better. I have a friend who would get her daughter up, play with her until she was tired (which didn’t take very long) and then put her back down for a nap. So she got two 45 minute naps during her nap time. Now, that baby sleeps through without the intermission. It might not work for all babies, but it is an idea for you!
March 7, 2008 10:43 AM
- Susanna said…
Valerie, Thank you for your advice. I have another question. In the last two days, I’ve noticed my 6 week old will go down for a nap with little fussing but he only sleeps for a few minutes. (We have a video baby monitor so I’m able to see what he’s up to!) He shows all the cues of sleepiness before being laid down but once in the crib, he seems to either lay there and kick his legs or cry. I have been letting him CIO without picking him up but is there a way to teach him to actually sleep during naptime? I’m assuming that is something he will need to learn on his own but I hate that the entire time he’s down for a nap (I’ve shortened wake time to give him up to 2 hours for naps!), he’s getting at the most 30 minutes of very light napping. Any suggestions? We’ve tried to get him to nap better for the past two weeks and it seems like he’s still not getting it. Thanks!!
March 7, 2008 9:35 AM
Susanna, Kaitlyn did that a bit. Two times, I had her CIO back to sleep and did it just fine.Keep in mind the 6 week growth spurt. Also, it is pretty normal. While they are learning, they have their good and bad days, and bad days can last a while. Just keep being consistent and figure out the best way to respond for your LOs personality. Also, if he has fallen asleep then wakes up after a short time, you can try moving him to a swing if he will sleep there. That way he stays well rested and can continue to have the best chance of success. This is assuming he will do this without detrimental effects to the overall process 😉
March 7, 2008 10:54 AM
- Susanna said…
Hi Valerie, More nap questions! I thought I may have read that your son didn’t nap for longer than 45 minutes until 6.5 months old. Is this true? If so, that gives me some hope since I am feeling quite frustrated that my 7 week old son naps for 30 minutes and then wakes up and possibly sleeps an additional 10 minutes. Here are my questions for you, if you don’t mind…1. How much time should I allot for naps? Currently, I feed him, keep him upright about 10 minutes (due to reflux) and then put him down until his next feeding. So I’m usually allotting about 1.5 to 2 hours for naps but obviously, that doesn’t mean he naps for that long. I’m not sure I can shorten wake time much more unless I move from a 3 hour schedule to 3 1/2 hours…2. When hedoes wake early (usually 30 minutes into his nap, he will wake up crying) and I put him in the swing for the remainder of the nap and he doesn’t necessarily fall asleep right away, should I wake him for the next feeding or let him go a little longer so that he’s well rested? So, is it better to stay on schedule or for him to get some rest? 3. What if he is in his crib during nap time but isn’t sleeping (or crying). He’s just laying there and may get at most 30 minutes of sleep. Would you leave him alone or move him to a swing to see it that encourages true sleep. 4. Lastly, unrelated to napping, how long does BW consider a full feeding? My son was feeding for 30 minutes total but in the last couple of weeks, he only goes about 20 minutes. Is this normal since he’s a little older and maybe has a stronger suck and is able to get the milk faster?Thank you so much!!
March 11, 2008 3:16 PM
Susanna,Yes, my son was that way. He was my difficult one, but he taught me a lot :)1. waketime is going to depend on how long he can stay awake, really. At 7 weeks, you can plan on about 45 minutes to an hour total of waketime (includes feeding). I do have posts on wake time if you need them.2.I would probably wake when it is time to eat. You want his metabolism to get used to eating at the same times each day so he is hungry at the same time each day. If he is too tired, give him a few minutes and try again, but don’t go more than 30 minutes over. If you do feed him late, try to feed him on time for the next feeding. Otherwise, each day will be different.3.If he isn’t crying, I would leave him.4.This depends on the baby. For example, it took my son close to an hour at your son’s age to get a full feeding in. My daughter, however, took at most 20 minutes at that age. Some babies are more efficient nursers than others. My son moved to 30 minute sessions, while my daughter moved to 5-8 minute sessions. So a full feeding is however long it takes him to eat 🙂
March 12, 2008 10:04 AM
- Catherine said…
Hi Valerie, I am still having such a hard time with this first nap of the day. I tried shortening the waketime, also extending it, but he’s been having some rought nights this week and I’m wondering if he needs an even shorter waketime. Anyway, he makes little sounds and seems to be close to falling asleep for 45 minutes into the nap, then starts crying. He will cry for a few minutes, then be quiet, and when I spied on him yesterday 🙂 he was starting to fall asleep during those few quiet minutes, and then wakes up crying again. The other day I got him at this point and put him in the stroller to see if he’d sleep. He slept for about 50 minutes then woke up crying. I just fed him early and started over, we were only 30 min. early. Then the next nap, he wasn’t sleeping, so I started getting concerned he would miss most of that nap too, so I went in after 30ish minutes and put him in the swing. That made him really mad and he screamed the rest of the nap. The rest of our naps that day were pretty off and they have honestly been off ever since. That was Monday. I am wondering if I just really messed up a no-interference sleeper that day?Since it appears to me he’s a no interference sleeper, (but what do you think?) do you think I have any other options for this nap that he doesn’t fall asleep besides CIO the entire nap period of 2-2.5 hrs? This is the only nap that this consistently happens every day, for the last week. It happens sometimes at other naps, but never the same one every day, and it’s more rare.Thanks in advance for your time and help!
March 14, 2008 11:43 AM
It does sound like he is a no-interference type. My son was that way. I couldn’t interfere, or naps got worse for DAYS. I just had to leave him be. If he was still awake after a long time, I would get him up when the interval got to a 2.5 hour feeding schedule. Right now I would worry more about the CIO training than the exact schedule. I would continue to shorten that first waketime to see if that helps.
March 15, 2008 9:19 AM
- Catherine said…
Thanks so much Valerie. I have shortened his waketime to 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 26 minutes- and also tried 30 mi, 38 min, 40 min- to no avail! I feel like going down to 15 min. is just too short! Sometimes I feel like it has nothing to do with his waketime but he just does not like sleeping that first nap of the day after having been in bed all night. Have you ever heard of anything like that? He will either make little sounds to himself for 45 mintes then cry, or be totally fine and then as soon as I put him in the crib start wailing. If that’s the case, I will just let him CIO until he can get the hang of sleeping sometime during the nap. What are your thoughts?
March 15, 2008 2:14 PM
P.S. In your sleep training, have you ever had baby fall asleep for about 20 minutes at various points in the nap just to wake up again? The other day he did this in the middle of the nap, today more in the beginning.
March 15, 2008 6:27 PM
Meaning, during CIO.
March 15, 2008 6:28 PM
If he has no improved results with varying the waketime, I would just put it so the nap would last 1-1.5 hours in theory. Then go from there and let him cry, but if he doesn’t ever falll asleep, I would get him at your 2.5 hour interval.Yes, I have had that (wake after a few minutes of sleep). Brayden did that. I would always get him up if he had fallen asleep and move forward with the schedule.While a consistent schedule is nice, it can be hard to do while sleep training. Do what you can (start each day at the same time, put down for naps in time, etc.) but don’t drive yourself crazy trying to get the exact times right. Just get him trained, then focus on the times for the schedule.
March 15, 2008 9:17 PM
Thanks Valerie-I tried that this morning. I was going to keep him up for 1.5 hrs so the nap would be 1.5 hrs in theory- After 41 minutes he got so fussy and started crying so much that I just put him down. He cried for 5 minutes and then for 54 minutes he was in there, mostly quiet, although I would hear him making some sounds intermittently. I went in and looked at him, and he had his eyes closed & was his hand in his mouth, he didn’t exactly look asleep- just maybe calmed or soothed, but I don’t know for sure. After 54 minutes he started crying, and stopped after 2 minutes. Then he started crying again after 16 minutes, and kept crying for about 20 minutes. Then he stopped for another 20 minutes, and then cried again. At this point it was 2.45 hrs and I just fed him. Should I keep trying to extend the waketime? Or should I just keep it as it is every other time of the day? Do you think he is just soothing himself for these intervals, but never quite getting all the way to sleep? I can’t seem to tell, since he does get quiet it’s confusing. He used to just scream the whole way through and that was easier to tell! 🙂 I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with this 45-55 minute thing, he is quiet and then starts crying at this point through a couple naps per day. Without fail though it’s this first morning nap.Last night he did the same thing- but he was quiet for 40 minutes after crying for 35. I went in and looked at him and he was laying there quiet, with his eyes closed and little mouth moving a lot.If he is actually asleep, is this part of the CIO process where they cry, fall asleep and then wake up and cry again? Is this something he’ll grow out of? Or do you think he may just be soothed but not actually asleep?
March 16, 2008 12:34 PM
At his age, waketime should be more like one hour. I would start there. Don’t try to extend his waketime beyond that, just let it naturally happen. Also, he is young enough to have very loud sleeping cycles. My guess is he was asleep. Newborns are restless sleepers.When he wakes up and it is a 2.5 hour interval, I would get him up.Most babies will cry once they wake up until they are around 5 months. Some continue beyond that. Also, it is normal to not have as long of naps at first while he is trying to learn to fall asleep on his own. He will learn.
March 16, 2008 10:04 PM
- Susanna said…
Valerie-When you say that Brayden only napped for 45 minutes until 6.5 months, do you mean he would wake up happy and rested after such a short nap? My 8 week old son does only nap about 40 minutes or so (usually the duration of his womb noise cd! although that isn’t always consistent) but he is not happy, just always crabby! Did you have your son just stay in the crib to teach him that it is still nap time? I’ve been reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and the author says that it is quite normal for a colicky/reflux baby to sleep for 30-40 minute spurts but I still get frustrated when all my mommy friends assure me their little ones slept all through their naps at my son’s age!!! What do you think? I posted a comment under Waking Earlier than Waketime but I’m not sure you got it… Thank you!!
March 17, 2008 10:01 AM
He was okay, though he was much better once he started sleeping 2 hours instead. Mostly, he could go longer for waketimes once his naps got longer. I always just got him up and fed him–continued on with the schedule.Kaitlyn has reflux, and her sleep was not as good as I think it would have otherwise been without it. So I do think reflux can have an effect. You might find he meets sleeping milestones a little later than most. Not true for all reflux babies, but it is for many.
March 17, 2008 11:17 AM
Thank you, Valerie. I just want to clarify one thing. Do you mean that once he awoke after 45 minutes, you would immediately get him up for the next feeding or did you leave him in the crib until the appropriate time? Maybe I’m confused as to how to stay on a schedule. Currently we are on a 3 hour schedule and so if he wakes early from naptime, I am just waiting him out until feeding time (unless I think it is truly hunger). Please clarify. Thank you!
March 17, 2008 12:42 PM
I got him up right away, but I don’t necessarily think that was the best thing to do. It is just what I did. With Kaitlyn, I always tried to move her to the swing first. If she fell asleep, good. If not, I fed her then (I gave it about 10 minutes). I also have a friend who got her son up and played with him until feeding time. I have another friend who got her daughter up and played with her until she got tired again. She then put her back down to finish off the nap. Others have had success with CIO, but those are usually 5 months or older. There are a lot of options. Test and see what works best for your son. Good luck!
March 17, 2008 3:36 PM
- Catherine said…
Hi Valerie, Thanks so much for your time and help!This last week my son has been waking consistently from his naps around 1 hr. exactly. He will either: cry for 10 minutes then fall back to sleep, then cry intermittently and sleep intermittently until I get him up, cry softly for a few minutes then fall back asleep, or cry for 10 minutes, then fall back asleep. Is this a waketime amt. issue or a sleep training issue? Any suggestions?
March 19, 2008 4:49 PM
You are welcome!Keep in mind that for his age and schedule, 1 hour is an acceptable length of sleep. It sounds good to let him have 10-15 minutes to see if he will fall back asleep. Then if not, get him up and go along with the schedule.
March 20, 2008 11:00 AM
Thanks so much for your thoughts Valerie. As an experiment today I cut back his waketime by 5 minutes. His naps went up from 1 hour to 1.45- 2.5 hours. I am just wondering- he does not sleep the same amount of time each nap. This leaves us feeding anywhere in between 2 hours 20 minutes- 3 hours. Is this ok? I don’t want to wait to feed him because it gives him too much waketime, so I can’t think of any other alternative- but wanted to makes sure I wasn’t messing up his metabolism. It also doesn’t make for a super scheduled day, but oh well! Just wanted to see your thoughts.
March 21, 2008 1:13 AM
P.S. By 1.45 I mean 1 hour 45 minutes. His naps are anywhere from 1 hour 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.
March 21, 2008 1:14 AM
Yes, a combo schedule is perfectly fine.If I were you, I would take notes on how long his waketimes are and naps are at different points in the day. Once you see a pattern, you can construct a schedule based on what he can do. Then you will have more predictability!
March 21, 2008 10:11 AM
- Susanna said…
Valerie-Catherine’s comments made me think of another nap question!:) We may have made a breakthrough with my son’s napping this week. Once he goes down, he still catnaps for anywhere b/w 30-45 minutes but then just sort of whimpers and plays in the crib (instead of screaming the entire time…I think that is progress, don’t you?:)) and may in fact fall back asleep for 5-10 minutes at a time. I’ve just left him in the crib until the next scheduled feeding; I hadn’t thought about considering the amount of time he’s awake in the crib as waketime. Oops! Would you suggest feeding once I think he’s fully awake or waiting him out in the crib to see if he’ll catch a few more ZZs? Or should I wait to see what napping pattern develops over the next week or so and go from there? Thank you SO much for your help!!
March 21, 2008 11:23 AM
Susanna,Watching for patterns is always a good idea. I would give him time, but watch for that moment when you know he won’t go back to sleep. I would get him up once he won’t sleep anymore and continue on with your cycle. Things sound like they are improving!
March 22, 2008 10:38 PM
- momtobobby said…
Hi! Me again:) I have a nap question. My 11 week old takes 3 naps a day, but he doesn’t sleep solid the whole time. We are on a three hour schedule and his first two naps are 1 1/2 hours in length and he wakes periodically crying. His cry times last from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. His last nap is 1 1/2 hours and sometimes he doesn’t sleep at all. He crys almost the whole time. Is his waketime too long? Thanks for the help!!
April 1, 2008 4:58 PM
I assume he has 1.5 hours of waketime? That is likely too long for an 11 week old. You could try moving it back bit by bit and see if you can figure out his right waketime length.
April 2, 2008 10:33 PM
- Catherine said…
Hi Valerie,Thanks sooo much for all your energy and help! I am so thankful I found this blog. I am having serious napping issues the last two weeks. We were on a great schedule, he was napping great at day (anywhere from 2.5 hrs to 1 hr. 45 minutes) and sleeping anywhere from 6.5-8 hrs at night. Then Easter came. My son is very intense and easily overstimulated. He was worn out from church, then we had lunch with family. He was awake for 2.5 hours with everyone passing him around and playing with him. He napped extra when we got home and I thought everything would be fine. But then the next night (Mon night.) we had a horrible night and things have been off track ever since! I cannot get him to nap longer than 1 hour or 1 hr 10 minutes. He has not slept longer than 5 1/2 hrs at night.The ONLY time I have been able to get him to nap longer is when I got him up as soon as he woke up (after 1 hr 10 min) fed him, and put him down to bed without even a diaper change. He slept for 2 hours, but still woke up fussy and cranky.I thought it might be a growth spurt. (he was 9 weeks) I fed him and he would eat but fall asleep the whole time. Now I am positive he is not hungry. He falls asleep while nursing and eats slowly. (Very abnormal for him.)He just seems tired.I have tried the swing, I have tried getting him up and starting over with a feeding just to keep him from being OT, and I still can’t get him to sleep longer. Now I have been letting him CIO to just get the time in between feeds but he just cries and cries and doesn’t fall back asleep, he gets hysterical by the 2.5 hr mark.I am at the end of my rope and at a complete loss. Usually when this happens I cut waketime back and his naps are seamless. But it just seems I can’t get him down fast enough! I don’t know what to do. Do you have any thoughts for me? Thanks in advance for your time and help, I REALLY appreciate it!
April 3, 2008 3:56 PM
Catherine,If your son is easily disrupted, then he might have a hard time getting back after disruptions. Check the troubleshooting naps post. Beyond that, I would say consistency is your best bet. Try to stay home and just get him back on track. Good luck!
April 6, 2008 9:55 PM
- hunter’smom said…
I am still having problems with my 4 month old son napping. If he lays down for his morning nap at 9:00 am, doesn’t that throw the whole day off because he won’t sleep from 9-12 which is when his next feeding is. So, if he wakes at 10:30 then he should be laying down by 12. I’m confused on this. He will only nap for 1 hour at each nap. And can you give me a sample schedule for a 4 month old? Thank you!
April 5, 2008 5:02 PM
Hunter’s Mom, If your baby can’t stay awake long enough and then nap long enough to make a four hour schedule, you don’t really want to move to a four hour schedule for this reason. If he absolutely won’t eat sooner than four hours, then you need to just basically be patient with the situation until he can stay up longer. The longest a nap would be is 2.5 hours. See this post: Sample Schedules, this: When to Move to a 4 hour Schedule.
April 6, 2008 10:05 PM
- Rachel said…
Hi there. My 5.5 week old will sometimes wake up about 30 minutes into her nap and not fall back to sleep. I let her CIO until the end of her naptime (sometimes about an hour). Is that ok? I will go in once, maybe twice and give her her pacifier, but she will SCREAM for a good hour to an hour and a half–what should I do??
April 6, 2008 3:42 PM
Rachel,If it were me, I would only give her about 15-20 minutes to fall back asleep–whatever time period you know she won’t fall asleep afterward. Then I would move on to some other method (as described in this post). Good luck!
April 6, 2008 10:22 PM
Im having such a hard time today. My baby is SCREAMING right now. We are 50 minutes into her nap and she hasnt stopped screaming. She has another 45 minutes to go. How long do I let her cry? She has been fed, changed and is fine in there. What do I do? I have been trying to let her CIO for about 2 weeks now, and these bad days make me feel like it isnt working. She is 6 weeks old.
April 9, 2008 9:46 AM
Rachel,That is a normal thout process to have during sleep training. You have to decide what is best for your child. With Brayden, I had to just leave him in his bed. With Kaitlyn, I went in after 20-30 minutes to tell her to go to sleep and she would usually go to sleep within 5 minutes of me leaving. If not, I got her after 45-60 minutes and put her in the swing.
April 9, 2008 10:24 PM
- Life Glimpsed: The Denglers said…
first – i’m so thankful for your blog. 🙂 secondly – here is my question/scenario that i’m having trouble with. i have a 7 week old who won’t nap long. she wakes and feeds, then plays before nap. but the time between feeding and nap can sometimes range between 45 min to an hour and then she yawns/ready for nap. she goes right down – normally without a fight at all. BUT, she almost always wakes up 30 minutes to an hour in her nap. this doesn’t even allow me to reach a 2hr goal, let alone a 2.5 hour goal. (rarely i can let her cry it out and she’ll soothe back to sleep – but she’s a determined little lady and will most of the time NOT go back to sleep) she won’t finish a nap in a swing or bouncy. once she’s up – she’s up. help. i want to get her to that 2.5 hour goal, at least.thanks! ashley
April 9, 2008 12:31 PM
Denglers,Since she won’t sleep in a swing or elsewhere, I would suggest you just try to entertain her until you reach the 2.5 hour mark (if she will make it that far). You will then train the metabolism. Hopefully by training the metabolism and her getting better at soothing herself through a transition, she will make it through the nap. Do you swaddle?
April 9, 2008 10:40 PM
Life Glimpsed: The Denglers said…
you responded to my last comment, but i’m still perplexed. if i keep the baby up until her next feeding – 20-30 minutes after she wakes from nap – i have to account that time into her wake time. by doing this, i have to put her down early in order to get a nap out of her at all. and this leaves me with her now waking up about an hour before her next feeding. so i don’t see how i’m to make it to the 2.5 hour mark without having an overly tired baby. help.. thanks 🙂
April 10, 2008 9:02 AM
Denglers,It really isn’t an easy answer. What you need to do is break it down into goals. You first want her to eat at 2.5 hour mark. If there is no way she will sleep after waking early, you want to stretch her to the 2.5 hour mark so her metabolism grows accustomed to that interval. You could start with just one interval per day to work on so the sleeping schedule doesn’t get too far ahead of itself. Also, if you breastfeed, you will likely need a 2 hour interval between the evening feedings (like 6:30 and then feed again at 8:30). As they get older, this interval does lengthen. If she doesn’t need it, you don’ thave to do it, but if she does need it, that is completely normal.
April 10, 2008 1:44 PM
- susie said…
Hi, I am having major nap issues at 7 1/2 months. She has slept thru the night since 6 wks old and she is currently on a 4 hour routine with 2 naps a day. However, after laying her down for a nap, she falls right to sleep but ALWAYS wakes up after 30-45 minutes and will NOT go back to sleep. We do this wih both naps, so in the afternoon she needs that catnap b/c she is so cranky. I have tried laying her down 15 minutes earlier and later. I feel she should of had napping down by now…Any suggestions?
April 9, 2008 3:23 PM
Susie,One thing, I have found that 5 minutes makes a huge difference with Kaitlyn. Your daughter might be ready for an extended waketime. If her waketime is the same as it was before naps got short, I would try extending it, but by only 5 minutes at at time until you find that magic length. It takes time, but you will get it.
April 9, 2008 10:47 PM
- heather said…
My 6 month old has been having trouble off/on with 30 minute naps. We’re down to 3 naps a day, so at 30 minutes a piece…yikes. She’s not all that fussy, but I know she should be sleeping more. I don’t mind leaving her in her bed after she wakes, which I usually do, but how long should I leave her? She rarely goes back to sleep, but maybe I’m not leaving her long enough.April 26, 2008 7:46 PM
Heather, this is something for you to determine. I have found that baby’s are better rested with at least rest time in the crib than they would be if out of the crib. You want to make sure she has enough time out of the crib to eat and play and have a normal waketime session, and that length will depend on how well she can stay up when she wakes early. See the recent Waketime When Baby Wakes Early post from last week for more help on calculating that. See also this post:Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/eatwakesleep-cycle.html
April 28, 2008 9:43 AM
- Charlotte said…
My 11 week old has dropped his nap during the 5 pm to 8 pm window. If I put him down he screams until he vomits and doesn’t fall asleep no matter what until 10 or 10:15. If I let him play then I can feed him at 5, 8 and again at 10:30 or 11 with a nap at 9:30. His daytime naps have shortened too with the first one ending 30-45 minutes early but he is perfectly content when he wakes up to just be awake without having to eat early. Should I let him get up and have wake time again or should I let him cry? What should I let him do during the 5-8 pm window?
May 20, 2008 8:41 PM
Your son is early dropping a nap at that age, but if that is what he is ready for, he is ready for it :). For daytime naps, he is close to growth spurt age, so I would first feed him and see if he needs to eat. If not, I wouldn’t CIO at with only 30 minutes left to eat. If he is content, I would leave him in the bed for a bit (they will wait longer to eat if you aren’t holding them), then perhaps have him wait about 15 minutes after you get him up. See the eat/wake/sleep cycle post: Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle
May 21, 2008 11:25 PM
- LEM said…
This is such a helpful site! My son is 4-weeks old and we are now starting to have nap issues. We are on a 3-hour schedule so I out him down for his naps between 1 and 1.5 hours at the end of the cycle. Lately, as if he had an internal alarm, he wakes up 30 minutes into his nap crying. I’m debating whether or no to let him CIO or go sooth him to sleep. His pacifier usually woks but then I’m in there every 10 minutes when it falls out! What could be causing this and what should I do to solve this issue? I have no problems at night for some reason and I think it’s because I don’t keep him awake but let him sleep as soon as he’s done feeding.
June 16, 2008 9:32 PM
Wow, there are a lot of posts here I was never notified of! LEM, 4 weeks is a big growth spurt, so he is likely hungry. I would try feeding him and see what happens. He also could be overly tired. My guess is he needs 60 minutes or less of wake time.
June 24, 2008 10:21 AM
- Zasha said…
LEM,I am in the exact situation as you are in. My son is 6 weeks old.Valerie,I am on Day-2 of Self-Settling/CIO training for my son but I am only doing it for his naps ( 3-4 times a day). I lay him down drowsy but awake. He cries a little and then goes down but wakes up each time after 30 minutes!It is impossible to get him back to sleep. The pacifier is more of a problem as I need to pick it up each time it falls. He also seems to fight the swaddle. So, I’ve been letting him CIO and checking on him every 10-15 minutes and patting him. He stops crying then 5 minutes later starts again.I don’t have the courage to do his for his night sleep. Do you think this method works? i.e. self-settling/CIO for day naps first and then move on to night sleep?Thanks as always.Zasha,Tokyo,Japan
June 18, 2008 2:16 AM
Zasha,6 weeks is also a growth spurt time, and a crucial time to the breastfeeding mom. I had the same plan as you only reverse; I was going to do night first, then day. But I quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn’t fair to do one and not the other. It is confusing. Consistency is key with CIO, so cutting out night or day removes consistency.Also, consider dropping that pacifier. You can keep it if you want to, but be aware that it might be the root cause for many problems until he can put it in himself (usually 6-8 months old). Some moms find no problems with the pacifier, and those moms usually have a “no re-insert” or “re-insert 1 time” policy. Check out the pacifier post: Pacifiers and Babywise
June 24, 2008 10:25 AM
- Kim said…
I have been attempting to use the feed/wake/sleep program since my son was born (5 weeks). He took to it in the beginning but has regressed. We’ve had to change his formula several times due to colic/acid reflux. For the past two weeks he doesn’t want to take any day naps and falls asleep at the bottle. I have tried to maintain a 3 hour schedule but it’s becoming very difficult. I’ve also tried to keep him awake after the bottle and that’s difficult also. At night/firt morning feed he wakes at his exact feed times (12, 3, 6am). We tried CIO yesterday and he only got 3 hours of sleep during the day. His longest CIO was 58 minutes on/off. I tried moving him to the swing to hold him off but, it only worked for one period. Any suggestions on how to break the “sleep at the bottle habit”? Any suggestions on getting him to sleep during the day? Also, I’ll be returning to work in 2 weeks how do you maintain a schedule if the child goes to daycare?
June 24, 2008 6:26 AM
Kim,Good question. I will do a post on daycare, but will have to do some research since I stay home. To break the sleep at the bottle, you will just have to try to get some naps in there. Your lack of sleep and long crying sessions are normal for the beginning of CIO. Just stay consistent. Practice ideas on this post for helping to get some sleep in there, and hang in there!
June 24, 2008 10:45 AM
- Ashley & Rhett said…
hi,i have a question about waking early from naps. my 15 week old son almost always wakes after napping for 45min.-1hour. he “rarely” sleeps longer than that. if i feed him, he won’t eat because he’s not hungry that soon. he’s usually awake for about an hour. i put him right down as soon as i see his sleepy cues. he goes down great, just doesn’t sleep long. i’ve tried putting him to sleep earlier, but the same thing happens. so, if he eats at 7:30, sleep at 8:30, wakes up at 9:30 (but won’t eat that early), should i just play with him for an hour until it’s time to eat? then, he’s tired and ready for another nap right after he eats. i’ve tried the swing – he just stays awake or cries the whole hour. i’ve tried CIO, and he will cry the entire hour. what to do??
July 10, 2008 6:15 PM
Ashley, I would play with him until it is time to eat. The problem you are going to run in to is that he will start to shift patterns and eat right before naps because he has been up for a long time already. So I would continue to try to figure out why. Have you tried a longer waketime?
July 14, 2008 10:32 AM
Ashley & Rhett said…
Yes – I have tried a longer waketime – which ends in the same results (45 min-1hr. nap). I guess I’m at a loss right now. I feel like I’m doing it all wrong. :(I know he’s getting close to the age that they drop the 4th nap – should I just try that and see what happens with the other naps??ThanksAshley
July 15, 2008 11:35 AM
Ashley, first, wait until the cold is gone. Then start working on it. You can try dropping the fourth nap. In the end, do what you can, but if he only sleeps that long, don’t stress about it. One mom I know has a 1 year old who always took short naps. She did everything she could think of. She worked and worked, and her daughter just always took the short nap. So it happens to the best of moms. Just relax and enjoy your baby 🙂
July 16, 2008 11:08 AM
- LEM said…
My almost 8-week old has been having this trouble with his naps since I can remember (basically since he out grew the “sleepy” phase of the first few weeks). We are on a 3hr schedule and he stays awake for about 1hr. I usually put him down as soon as I see him yawing which is always at the hour mark. I swaddle him and he goes down with no crying and falls asleep after maybe 5-10 minutes. The problem is he is waking in the middle of his naps at different times. He doesn’t cry but I can tell he’s awake through our video monitor. I think he ends up falling back asleep on and off until his next scheduled feeding. When I come to get him, he is always awake. My question is, is this an indication of anything? Does he need a longer/shorter waketime? Also, should I just leave him be or go get him? I feel bad because he’s just laying there all swaddled up with nothing to do!On another note, since following BW I would like some confirmation that I am doing this right and he’s doing OK for his age. Like I said, he is on a 3hr schedule starting our day at 7am and the last feeding being at 7pm. He goes to bed at 8pm and I wake him for a dreamfeed at 10pm. After this he wakes up anywhere between 3am an 5am. and then we start our day at 7am (which I usually have to wake him for). Does this sound OK as far as how he’s doing with the STTN goal? I feel like he should be dropping that 3-5am feeding soon, it just seems like he’ll never get there. Especially since he only tends to eat about 3 ounces of formula at each feeding and I can’t get him to eat more. Thanks!
July 11, 2008 1:35 PM
LEM, You might try a shorter waketime. Sometimes even 5 minutes can do the trick. However, it sounds like he is doing fine for himself. I know it seems really borning, but babies are easily entertained. If he is happy, I wouldn’t worry abou t it. Your schedule seems fine. Some BW babies don’t sleep through until 12 weeks (or later!), so he is just fine. Just keep going. The day will come. 🙂
July 14, 2008 10:36 AM
- The Grewe Crew said…
Hello! Thank you for your blog. I have checked in daily for your help and have found so much comfort in all of your posts. Here goes my question.I have a 12-week old baby and around 6 weeks she stopped napping in her crib and was only napping in swings, bouncy seats, etc. Now, I believe that it is time and that she CAN nap in her crib, and that I just need to be disciplined and consistent. So today is Day 1! She woke up at 5:40am (20 minutes early) and was back down at 6:20am. She went straight down with no problem. But then she woke up again after only 1.5hrs. So I fed her, she took in a full feeding and was falling asleep. I did about 10 minutes of play and then put her down. It’s been an hour now and she is in and out of sleep with some crying. Is this normal? How long should I let her cry during these naps? I’m thinking that if I let her CIO that will eventually train her. I’m fine with that. But I just think I need some reassurance and guidance for my new plan. If she cries for an hour, is that too long? It’s not because she is dirty, hurt or anything else. I know it’s just fussiness. Any advice would help! I tried finding a comment or post but didn’t have much luck. Thank you for your help!
August 11, 2008 10:37 AM
Grewe Crew,First, 1.5 hours is a great nap length, so I wouldn’t worry about that (if you were). Second, one thing to do is to try to get a total of about 1 hour of waketime from her (including feedings). She will only nap the right length is she has had the right length of waketime. There are many posts for you to check out. Optimal Waketime Lengths – Waketime When Baby Wakes Early – Waketime When They Wake Early – 45 Minute Intruder – Nap Cues – Naps: Troubleshooting
August 12, 2008 2:31 PM
- Beth said…
Hi-My 2nd child is now 4 weeks old. I did babywise with my first and she was the babywise poster child!! This little boy has confounded me since he was born! He was very sleepy at first and it was very difficult to get a full feeding-thanks for your help on this. Now he is having trouble going to sleep for naps. At least one nap a day he cries the whole nap or either fusses and never settles down for it. At night especially he cries for at least 45 minutes, most of the time closer to an hour and a half. Please tell me if this is normal for anyone else. I think I just need some encouragement to continue with putting him down to go to sleep unassisted, because I am getting discouraged listening to him cry. I think I need to know that someone else has gone through the same thing and it is now over and the baby sleeps well! Thanks so much for your help!
September 7, 2008 2:59 PM
Hi Beth,I am by no means a BW expert–I have an almost 7 week old and I feel like I am just taking it one day at a time.I did want to let you know though that I’ve experienced the same thing as you. I started BW when he was about 2 weeks old, which the book says really not to implement it until then so I don’t feel I started it late. But it wasn’t until he was about 4 weeks when I found this website and realized I was doing some things wrong that have since been corrected (I was putting him down with a pacifier & keeping him up too long for waketime). At the beginning it seemed like almost every nap he would cry through and he was actually getting very little sleep. Luckily through all this he has done pretty well at night. I was getting soooo frustrated with the naps though and about ready to give up. I read the posts on here about when it gets better and a word to the weary and also talked to friends who have used BW. I decided to keep trying and things have gotten a lot better. He still has some difficult naps when he does not sleep at all or only sleeps like 20 mins, but those are getting fewer and farther between. Most naps he does still cry some for but his crying time is getting shorter.From what I’ve read on here and heard from friends, it really starts to get much better around 8 weeks, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I totally know how you feel though–there were days (and still are some!) that I was ready to pull my hair out and was in tears because of frustration and because I felt so bad that he was crying so much. There have been many times I’ve second guessed myself and thought, “maybe the ‘experts’ are right and letting them cry at this young age is wrong.” But I know he feels loved and will continue feeling loved–he just started smiling at me and there are plenty of times outside of naps where we hold him, talk to him, sing to him, and love on him. Anyway, I hope this helps you to keep persevering! 🙂
September 7, 2008 6:33 PM
Thank you so much for the encouragement. I will persevere and I feel much better knowing that others are doing the same! I definitely can tell a difference when I keep him up too long, and it seems that those are the times he wants a pacifier to go to sleep, which only adds to the problem. Thanks again! I hope all continues to go well with your little one!
September 7, 2008 6:59 PM
Thanks for your thoughts jencwu! As I was reading that, I was reminded of when Kaitlyn was a newborn. It was hard, and she was a really easy baby. I remember thinking “Brayden was never this hard. It was never this bad with him.” Then I read my journal from the time he was the same age. It was actually much worse! I just had selective memory I guess.
September 11, 2008 1:41 PM
Beth, one thing I would watch for is to be sure you aren’t treating your son like your daughter. I think when we first get these second children home, we kind of expect them to be the same baby the older one was. You have to be sure to find out his specific sleep cues and his specific optimal waketime and his specific needs for CIO. When it comes to these items, you are like a first time mom all over again, though you do have experience troubleshooting all of that.See this post for guidance on figuring this out: CIO Bootcamp
September 11, 2008 1:38 PM
Beth and Jencwu-I’ve been reading posts on this board for about a week and a half now. I was ready to give up BW all together before I found this website! My daughter is seven weeks old and I have been trying to implement BW since two weeks, but have been consistent with CIO for about a week and a half. I feel as if we are all going through the same thing right now! My LO will not go down for some naps and I was nodding my head as I was reading jencwu’s post about “maybe the experts are right”, she is too young, blah,blah, I have thought that so many times in this process!! I also kept her up WAY too long in the beginning as well. So, it is nice to know that there are other moms having the same difficulties all going through this at the same time. She’s sleeping now, but has been fussing on and off for about an hour. That’s a huge improvement from about a week ago where she would totally scream through this whole nap. So progress will be slow from what I have been reading, but I hope it will all be worth it in the end.
September 11, 2008 8:00 AM
Allison, it is definitely worth it. It takes time and work, but the more work you put in now, the easier things will be in the future.Another thing to remember is that in reality, implementing BW is much harder and requires a lot more effort than it seems it will while reading the book. When you read the book you think it will all be so easy, then you try it and it is hard and takes time and effort and you think you are doing something wrong. But if you look through this site and talk to other moms who have gone through it recently, you will see that difficulty is the norm rather than the exception. But it is worth it!
September 11, 2008 1:44 PM
Allison-I can tell you from my first child that it is definitely worth it! This second baby has been much more difficult to get started with, but the reason I want to persevere is because I have seen the benefits in my little girl. She is now 2 and a half and lays down so easily for naps and bedtime. I don’t have to fight to get her to go to sleep and she wakes up well rested. She isn’t getting out of bed all night and is happy when she wakes in the morning. BW was so wonderful with her that my husband begged me when I got pregnant to do the same thing with the new baby as I did with her! I am happy to say that since I wrote my first post, my little boy is already doing better with naps! I know your little girl will settle in-it is worth it, keep going!
September 11, 2008 8:37 AM
Hi Allison, It is really nice to see others are experiencing the same things as me! I’m afraid things have taken a turn for the worse the past few days for me and my 7 week old 🙁 He has hardly slept at all during the day for the past 3 days and so far today is not starting off too well either. At least his nights seem to be getting better and better. I’m hoping it’s just a short phase and that we’ll get back to progressing as he was before. I guess it just goes to show you progress is slow and up and down, as you’re saying. It’s soooo easy to get discouraged though. I know I was at my wit’s end yesterday and got to the point that I couldn’t stand it anymore and gave in–I rocked him to sleep for one nap and gave him the pacifier for another. I wish I would have been stronger because that will probably just slow down progress even more. Thanks for your post though 🙂
September 11, 2008 9:48 AM
jencwu, be sure to see this post if you haven’t: Progress is a Spiral and Progress is a Spiral, Again
September 11, 2008 1:46 PM
- TBird said…
Hi, I’ve been reading your blog and I’m addicted! I have a 6 week old daughter that does great with BW. She feeds every 3 hours(7a, 10a, 1p, 4p, 6:30p, 10p), usually sleeps until her next bottle, and wakes around 2am.My concern is, she very RARELY naps after her 4pm bottle. I lay her in her crib at 5p, eat supper, and she usually cries off and on until I go get her at 6:15 to start the bedtime routine. When she was first born, I didn’t feel like it was right to put her to bed after the 4p bottle, but after a month of having her with the family at 5p, instead of napping, she’d cry. Then take until 7:15 or 7:30 to fall asleep because she was overtired. I was just afraid she would think it’s bed time.Well, when I lay her down at 5, she usually cried anyway, no matter where she is(with the family, or in her crib.) And still take until 7:30p to settle.Any suggestions?Also, what would suggest I do if she happens to wake up at 5:45am, after waking at 2a when I don’t want to start her day until 7a?
January 15, 2009 8:36 AM
TBird,For many babies, that is a hard time of day. If you need to, you can put her in a swing or vibrating seat or something if she will sleep there. This should be short lived. As she gets better at sleeping and over the younger age, she will be able to sleep in the evening as needed.See this post for the 5:45 feeding: Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime
January 22, 2009 1:19 PM