My son has a lot of difficulty napping during the day. He's 4 1/2 months old and stays up for 5, 6, and 7 hour stretches at a time, becoming progressively more cranky as the day goes by. He will sleep for 20-30 minutes at a time, but always wakes himself up.

We've tries swaddling, white noise, a dark room, nap time routines, and pretty much everything except crying it out.

Any ideas about what we could try next?

asked 20 Oct '09, 21:36

user-568%20%28google%29's gravatar image

user-568 (google)
accept rate: 0%

Our son is also 4.5 months old. Staying awake 5 hours is way too long, as I'm sure you know. You probably want to shoot for 90 minutes of awake time.

Until recently we had severe problems getting our son to sleep. I wanted to let him cry because I think it helps him burn off energy, but my wife was not on board with cry-it-out. Well, we finally hit a breaking point. No one in the house was sleeping, day or night.

We did two things that dramatically improved the situation.

  1. Took away the pacifier for good. When baby wakes up after a sleep cycle, they notice the pacifier has fallen out and cry until they get it back. You didn't mention if you guys use a paci, so this many not apply to you. Some babies can deal with pacis, ours couldn't.
  2. Ferber method of solving sleep problems. The book is Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, but in short, let them cry for increasing lengths of time (we did 3, 5, 10 minutes) between you comforting them. Be careful on comforting. We had luck with back pats and shushing for 1 minute (and not any longer). Picking him up just disturbed him more.

The first night of Ferber/no paci was bloody hell. Up all night, and next day was terrible. On night 2 he slept all night, almost 12 hours. The next day's naps were great. Things have been great since then.

Every baby is different so please think about what worked for us and consider how you might apply the same or similar techniques with your baby. There's more info on Ferber method if you google.

Good luck!


answered 21 Oct '09, 02:26

Jeremy%20Ross's gravatar image

Jeremy Ross
accept rate: 20%

Great post :) You really solved the pacifier issue early on!

(21 Oct '09, 11:59) Emi

I agree with Jeremy's post. A couple of other good resources on sleep are Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth and The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program by Dr. Polly Moore. Also, once your baby is overtired, getting him to sleep is going to be much more difficult and getting him to stay asleep is also harder. I would really try putting your baby down to nap every 90 minutes (start the wind down process 10 minutes before). It may take a little while, but you should see results. It takes about a week for an overtired baby to catch up on sleep.

(21 Oct '09, 15:19) Sarah


Our 4 month old daughter sleeps 12-14 hours straight overnight, but daytime sleeps are all over the place. I tried hard to get her into a routine during the day, but she wants to be the boss!

Someone once told me that once your baby shows tired signs, if you pick up on signs and get the settling process in place within 3.5 mins you'll have success every time - but once you've missed that boat, the challenges will follow. Mmmm... easier said than done.

Lily feeds 3 hourly during the day and we try and have her on a feed, play, sleep structure. Once we recognise her tired signs we put her in her pram/bouncer/cot with her dummy if she needs it (we always said we'd never use a dummy!) and reduce distractions by covering her pram/bouncer with a muslin cloth or closing the blinds to make the room dim (if she's in her cot).

We also try not to over-stimulate her when she's nearing a nap time and keep things more subdued to wind her down - not an easy task, when the grandparents are around though!!


answered 21 Oct '09, 00:27

Lin's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

I know you have tried a routine but I would suggest that you try it again. It may take a little while for you child to get used to it and it may be a lot of work, but it will be well worth it in the end! You may have to incorporate crying it out in that routine as well. Just ask yourself: Is your child well fed? Is his diaper dry? Has he burped? and if you can answer yes to these questions, he is o.k. and will "eventually" fall asleep (but I do understand it is difficult to go through that process). Hopefully it will eventually work!!!


answered 20 Oct '09, 23:35

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Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

I have no advice but wish you luck. Our 6 1/2 month old is the same (and always has been). I specifically time my morning walk to coincide with his first nap as he generally will sleep in the car seat. (BTW, we did try "crying it out" which never seemed to do anything except make all of us extremely cranky.) The good news is I think he's less cranky than he use to be so maybe the same will happen for your baby.


answered 20 Oct '09, 22:23

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Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

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Asked: 20 Oct '09, 21:36

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Last updated: 21 Oct '09, 02:26