4 month old won't take a nap

Andrea - posted on 05/11/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )




My 4 moth old daughter doesn't stay asleep when I lay her down for a nap. She will obviously be sleepy, and I will hold her until she falls asleep, and lay her down, and she will wake up almost immediately. She is dry, fed, and comfortable as far as her body temp. goes. My eldest daughter did the same thing, and she was diagnosed w A.D.H.D. at the age of 5. When my baby wakes up, she cries and stays awake, WIDE awake after a minute or so. She mostly sleeps thru the night, from abt. 9pm till 7 or 8 am, waking usually once. Anybody know any tricks besides fans and white noise to keep sleepy asleep longer than a minute without holding her the whole time???? help!


Sara - posted on 05/12/2010




Hi Andrea.
If you are willing, I will give you the secret to having your baby sleeping through a nap. It WILL require you to do a few days of not so nice listening.. but if you can handle it. Here it is!

Firstly, your baby is dependant on you as a sleep aid. You have trained her to fall asleep ON you and not in her bed alone. Before you stop holding her to sleep though, get her feeds regular. At 4 months she should be feed roughly every 3.5 hours (say within 15 mins of this) For three days feed her when she wakes up then every 3.5 hours until bedtime. When she is settled with her metabolism, then start putting her to bed after 2 hours awake. She WILL cry as this is a new thing for her. If there are tears go in pick her up take her out and try in 10 mins again. If it is an angry protest cry (irregular in timing and volume) then leave her as long as you can (+15 mins). She is likely to only sleep for 45 mins (1 sleep cycle) until self settling becomes normal. BE consistent and she WILL sleep (unless there are medical issues etc)
ALL babies can sleep in the womb without drama.. once we get involved to 'HELP' them fall asleep they become fussy at bedtime.
When it gets tough for a few days... think that it WILL pass and soon you will have 2hrs at a time to rest and get jobs done. The earlier the better.
Get a copy of BABYWISE... brilliant book

Bridget - posted on 05/12/2010




Hi Andrea, I know your pain, my little needed to be rocked to sleep until he was 5 months (and he only managed 5 hour blocks of sleep at night)! I decided it was time to teach him how to fall asleep on his own but with me right there. I waited til he was well fed, dry and tired. Rocked and cuddled and sang to him until he was very sleepy and then just before he went to sleep placed him in the cot. Ofcourse he started crying immediately so I picked him up (I couldn't just pat him as it would make him worse), as soon as he stopped (almost immediately) I placed him back down (after another cuddle and kiss), he cried, I picked him up, etc, etc, etc! It took 5 times before he settled down with his thumb (thumb sucker not a dummy sucker - deal with that issue later!) and went to sleep. That was the first time he slept more than 45mins for a nap! Next nap time he didn't even cry just settled straight to sleep and again slept for 1.5hrs!! That night he slept through the night!

Having said all this 4 months might be too young to sleep train your bub although you could give it a go - you have to do what YOU feel comfortable with!!

Do you still wrap your little one? Perhaps she needs a tighter wrap to resemble you holding her? I hired an Amby Hammock to help my little one sleep as it snugged around his body (which resembled me) and gently moved up and down when he woke and I could bring it into the loungeroom during the day to keep an eye on him - although I stopped using it at 5 months because he was in sleeping bags and could roll - not safe!!

Good luck and I hope your little one starts napping properly soon!


View replies by

Kalle - posted on 05/13/2010




Let her cry it out. Start for short intervals, like let her go 5 minutes (or whatever you're comfortable with) before you pick her up, and increase the intervals over several days. She will learn how to soothe herself eventually. I found with my daughter, around 5 months she decided to wanted to put herself to sleep. She would fuss on me but eventually fall asleep, but as soon as I would put her down, it disrupted her and she would wake up. So a couple times I got frustrated and just left her and she'd be asleep after a few minutes. She's been putting herself to sleep ever since.

Meredith - posted on 05/13/2010




It's a little late, but letting her cry is the best thing. It does NOT hurt her to cry a few minutes, and in the meantime, she learns a much-needed skill: falling asleep independently. Sometimes just patting my little girl's back for a minute or so seems to help. You could also try that.

April - posted on 05/12/2010




I would suggest putting her down when she is drowsy, not yet fully asleep. My son and I have a routine. Bib off, light off, paci in, music on. I hold him and sway for one song (about 2-3 min) then when the 2nd song starts I put him down and leave the room. Most of the time it works. Now he's so used to sleeping on his own, he won't fall asleep while I'm holding him! Best of luck, I know it can be tough.

Cynthia - posted on 05/11/2010




My son did the same thing for a little while. Sound asleep til I laid him down. Babies know their moms bodies better than anything and he just wanted lots of cuddle time with me. He also was up every 3-4 hours at night until he was 7 months old, so I didn't get the "break" at night either. I found that I just had to be extra patient and keep trying to lay him down so that he knew 1- that was where he is supposed to sleep, 2- mommy isn't far away and 3- crying for 5 minutes or so would not hurt him. I did buy the crib items that play music and cast lights on the ceiling, sometimes helped, sometimes not. Good luck hon, I feel for you.

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