How to Get Your 2-3 Month Old Baby on a Schedule

How to get your 2-3 month old baby on a schedule - easy tips to find his natural rhythm Something strange happens to your infant between 5 and 11 weeks old.

Suddenly your Little Prince transforms into King Crankypants.

It’s like he was bewitched!

And in a way, he was.

These weeks mark an important shift in your baby’s development.

Your newborn’s magical ability to habituate and tune out extra stimulations has faded away, replaced with…nothing.

The new self-soothing skills he needs haven’t developed yet.

He’s in limbo. Stuck between having his OFF button pushed automatically, and learning how to do it himself.

This leaves you with an important choice.

Limp along and hope he figures it out?

Or putting your baby on a schedule to help him learn his natural rhythms and turn off that brain by himself.

What a 2-3 Month Old Schedule Is and Isn’t

Now, by “schedule” I don’t mean rigid check-boxes with eating and sleeping appointments.

At this age, those kinds of “schedules” generally bring more horror than harmony.

I’m talking about a good flexible schedule that will provide him with a predictably soothing daily list of events. 

This rhythm will teach you how to push the “off” button at the right times, preventing her from being overtired and FUSSY.

Your goals for this age range should be simple.  Here are the four things we want to focus on.

  1. Learning the proper expectations you can have for sleeping and eating.
  2. Teaching your infant the difference between day and night.
  3. Pencil out a rhythm, adjusting it throughout the day.
  4. As often as possible, start trying to put your baby down sleep-y, but not sleeping.

Goal #1:
Set Healthy Expectations

Let’s take care of one thing right away. Every baby has a different “I can sleep through the night” timeline.  And most babies at this age can’t.  They may manage a few 5-6 hours stretches (woo hoo!) but those 10-12 hour sleeping marathons are still several months away.

Besides that, if you’re breastfeeding, you don’t WANT your baby to go 10-12 hours without waking up to feed.  You need those nighttime feeds to keep your milk supply high.

If you suspect that your baby is inching closer to 7-8 hours without waking up to feed (which can happen around 12 weeks), keep a 48 hour feeding log and then share it with your Lactation Professional and Pediatrician.

They can then confirm whether your baby can stop getting nighttime calories or not.

Also, there’s a growth spurt between 6-8 weeks that will make your baby hungrier than usual.  It’s very important that you feed your baby on demand during these times especially.  He’s sending out a message that big changes and milestones are about to be reached and he needs more fuel than before!

That said, let me share some of the typical eating and sleeping patterns for infants this age.  These are based on the average healthy, non-premature, baby.

A high needs baby (colic, acid reflux, premature, etc.) may not look anything like these amounts.  In those situations, keep good records, brush up on your soothing techniques, and (most of all) be flexible.  In these cases, let your pediatrician fill out your daily expectations on what a good rhythm could look like for your child.

Schedule Expectations for 5 to 8 Week Olds

I hesitate to list these, because I don’t want you to take them as solid-gold truth.

Your baby is an individual.  It is VITALLY important that you use his cues and patterns to help you learn where he fits on the “standard” scale.

Babies 5 to 8 weeks old generally sleep about 15.5 – 17 hours every day.

This usually falls into a pattern like this:

  • 8-10 hours of sleep a night (interrupted by multiple nighttime feedings)
  • 6-7 hours of sleep during the day (divided into 3 naps)

A breastfed baby will typically still be eating every 2 .5-3 hours.  It’s normal at this age for a baby to have 8-12 feedings in a 24-hour period.

Formula fed babies usually polish off about 4 ounces every 3-4 hours.

 Sleeping Expectations for 9 to 11 Week Olds

Somewhere around the 9th week, you’ll see hus “sleep time” begin to shrink.  Instead of sleeping 17 hours a day, he starts sleeping only 15.

Again, normally the pattern that emerges looks like this:

  • 10 hours at night, potentially interrupted with feeding sessions (talk to your doctor about this).
  • 5 hours of sleep during the day, split into three or four daytime “nap” periods

A breastfed baby usually nurses every 3 hours at this age.

A formula fed infant can drink up to 4 – 5 ounces every 3-4 hours.

Goal #2:
Teach “Night” and “Day”

Our second goal to work towards is to teach your infant between day and night.

To up the confusion, let me clarify that “night” refers to anytime she’s going to sleep (even if it’s during the day).

So this is how you should be teaching him:

  • Whenever he is going to sleep, it is officially “night”.
  • Whenever he is going to be awake and play, it is officially “day”

When you pick him up for the morning feeding, welcome him with a bright smile.

Throw back the window shades, whistle a Mary Poppins duet with windowsill birds, or any other happy morning activities.  (Don’t feel chipper? Fake it.)

Then, when you start seeing his sleepy cues for a nap (usually around 2 hours later), shut the shades, talk softly, sing quietly, and move slowly.

You need him to start noticing the difference between “bright playtime” and “dark sleeptime”.

And by “dark sleeptime,” I mean pitch black.  We put layers of sheets on the windows to keep the nursery as dark as possible.  I’ve even been known to travel with tin foil to put on guest windows.  A dark room is a HUGE step towards late sleepers! Don’t make the common sleep training mistake of having a cute nursery that’s utterly sleep dysfunctional.  That room’s purpose is for SLEEPING.  Forget that to your bleary-eyed peril.

Goal #3:
Pencil Out a Daily Rhythm

For those of you readers new to the site, Ned Normal is the hypothetical child I frequently use as an example.

In this case, I’m pretending Ned is around 10 weeks old and using my handy-dandy notebook baby tracker, I’ve noticed he starts showing signs of hunger around every 3.5 hours.

It’s easy to translate this to fit your own day.  Take the time he woke up, then write down when you can begin to put him down again.  For example, if he was up for the day at 6:30am, then he should start showing sleepy signs around 8:30.  Then re-adjust the schedule every time he wakes.  Never let him nap more than 2.5 hours during the day.  You want his BEST sleep to be at night!

7:00 am Diaper Change
Nurse/Bottle
7:30 am Playtime
9:00 am Morning Nap (1.5 hrs)
10:30 am Diaper Change
Nurse/Bottle
11:00 am Playtime
12:30 pm Early Afternoon Nap (1.5 hrs)
2:00 pm Diaper Change
Nurse/Bottle
2:30 pm Playtime
4:00 pm Late Afternoon Nap (1.5 hrs)
5:30 pm Diaper Change
Nurse/Bottle
6:00 pm Playtime
7:30 pm Early Evening Nap (Shorter nap, so he’ll be ready to sleep again at 10.)
8:30 pm Family Playtime/Walk/Bath
9:30 pm Begin Bedtime Routine
Nurse/Bottle
10:00 pm Bedtime
2:00 am Possible Feeding

 

Obviously, if Ned is still sleeping at 2 am, I would be an absolute idiot to wake him.  Let sleeping babes lie.  The older he gets, the more likely he’ll sleep the night through. Yay!

Once he hit’s the 8-hour sleep marker, I’ll start moving that last feeding (the 9:30 one) back by 30 minutes…inching our way to the 7:00 bedtime that is customary for 4-5 month olds.

A Few Choice Words About Napping

Don’t get discouraged about napping. It’s going to be all over the map in these weeks.

Some days he will be a rock star napper.  Other days he’ll flatly refuse.  Every day is going to look a bit different.  You will have to adjust your rhythm every few hours to match his cues, or he will get overstimulated and meltdown.  If that happens, do your best to get through the day and try again tomorrow.

Typically the crappiest nap at this age is the afternoon nap.  Just try to squeeze out 30 minutes if you can.  This means, don’t go to the crib unless he’s really screaming and it’s obvious to the world he’s not going to fall back asleep.

If that’s a stretch, sing, stroke his tummy, hold his hand…anything to try to extend the nap as long as possible.  Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t.

  • Try to wean him away from napping in swings in the third month. Start him on a lower swing setting for each nap until it’s off, then transition him out of the swing entirely.
  • “Napping on the go” will backfire on you at this age.  Work hard to allow the first and second of the naps to occur at home, in a bassinet or crib.  Those two will be the most critical.
  • Even if you’re co-sleeping at night, have him nap in the bassinet or crib during the day to help him learn to fall asleep alone.
  • The end of the 3rd month is the idea time to switch to the crib from the bassinet (if you haven’t already).  If he hates this, start napping him in the crib the week before the move.

If your baby hates sleeping in the crib, put on your Sherlock hat and do some investigating.  Let me show you how to reclassify the crib from Nuclear Zone to Nap Central. 

My usual recommendation is to “wing it” during this age regarding naps.  But if your baby has his nighttime sleep down and you think he’s ready for a more consistent nap schedule, or if you’re the type of parent that likes to know what’s coming before it arrives, sign up to take my Napping Know-How Webinar.  It’s the most comprehensive napping class available, and I give you all kinds of tools to help your baby’s daytime sleep get better and better.

 Goal #4:
Start Practicing “Sleepy But Not Sleeping”

One of the most important life skills your baby will need to learn in the first year is self-induced sleep.

All humans go through sleep cycles that cause us to periodically wake up.  As adults, our minds have been trained to put us right back to sleep.  Usually.

Your baby’s brain hasn’t learned that skill yet.  That’s why newborns require so much rocking, holding, singing, cuddling, to lull that brain.  This is pretty easy when they’re newborns because they are naturally habituating.

Not so anymore! That newborn is quickly changing into a BABY.  And babies can’t habituate.

Provided that your baby doesn’t have any medical conditions like colic or reflux, you can teach him that skill without making him scream it out. 

The key is putting your baby in his crib when he’s good and sleepy, but not already sleeping.  Understand?

So use one of these 62 different sleeping baby tricks to get him yawning and glassy-eyed.

Then lay him down to finish the final journey to slumberland on his own.

You won’t always get it right, somedays he’ll fall asleep too quickly.  Somedays he’ll fight sleepiness altogether.  Keep trying! Practice makes perfect! gradual sleep-happy improvements!

The SINGLE exception to this “Try Sleepy Not Sleeping” Rule would be the middle of the night feeding.

“Drowsy but awake” is one of the sleeping rules advocated from my favorite sleeping expert:Kim West.

Nursing to Sleep:
Should You? Or Shouldn’t You?

You shouldn’t feel guilty if your 2-3 month old likes to nurse to sleep.

Breastfeeding releases a lullaby-hormone that makes both of you relaxed and sleepy during nursing session.  It’s a physiological response.  You can’t prevent it.

Besides, nursing to sleep is one of the sweetest mom-moments we have with our babies!  That said, there is always a danger that it can become a dreaded sleep-crutch months from now when your baby can’t fall back to sleep without a suckle.

So what’s a mom to do?   Well, there are two approaches to avoid making nursing-to-sleep a sleeping crutch later on.

Method #1:  Stop Nursing to Sleep All Together

In this method, you decide that nursing and bonding is fine without the sleep, so you work on keeping your baby awake throughout the entire nursing session.

This doesn’t mean he can’t close his eyes, it just means he doesn’t fall asleep.  

  1. Nurse with the lights on.
  2. Strip baby to his diaper and wrap him with a warm blanket for a change of pace.
  3. Gently blow on that cute little nose.
  4. Using a warm washcloth, gently dab his hand or cheek when he starts nodding off.

Method #2:  Add a Step to the Bedtime Routine

In this approach, you allow your baby to fall asleep on the breast, but then you wake him before putting him down inside the crib/bassinet/co-sleeper.

You do this by…

  1. Reading him a bedtime book after nursing.
  2. Changing his diaper after nursing.
  3. Singing a song and making eye contact after nursing
  4. Giving him to Dad to finish the bedtime routine.  (Babies know Dad can’t nurse!)

You’ll have to test these things to your child’s temperament.  For example, if you have a Spirited Baby, looking into your eyes may actually get him all excited and riled up…completely ruining your chances of putting him down drowsy but awake.

A Few Final Sleeping Tips

When it comes to getting your baby on a schedule that seems natural, here are some final tips:

  • Avoid visitors or trips during the late afternoon and early evening hours.  Usually the best time to run errands is in the morning, when your baby is more alert.  (Test this to see if it applies to your baby.)
  • Make sure your baby’s tummy is being completely filled during feedings and he’s not snacking.  5-10 minutes snacks are not going to cut it. Understand his feeding personality and make adjustments. (That linked article is written for breastfeeders, but it’s completely applicable if you’re using formula.)
  • The Fussinator is especially strong in the 5-7 pm time range, right when work is over and Dad gets home.  Encourage the working parent that this cranky baby is going through a growth change and is not sharing any “I don’t like Dad” feelings.  He will plow this season and be Dad’s number 1 fan again in no time.

These weeks with your infant can be some of the hardest times of the year.

Have you noticed any emotional changes in your baby during these weeks?  How have you handled them?

Comments

  1. Sheila Moss says:

    Delightful and filled with lots of memories from a grandmom’s perspective! Of course, all five of MY babies slept through the night from day one (just kidding)! :)

  2. My DS is almost 12 weeks, he sleeps well during the night – either 10 hrs straight through or 6-7 hours straight waking for one feed then back to sleep for another 3 hours. My problem is I can’t get him to nap during the day for any longer than 30 mins at a time, then shortly after feeding/changing and playing he will get fussy and start crying again.. He’s like a ticking time bomb, I don’t expect him to go long without crying.. Could not napping long enough make him cranky and temperamental?

    • Jackie,

      That is very interesting, Jackie that he’s such a great sleeper at night…but doesn’t do so well during the day. That would rule out reflex and other physical issues…I would take a good look at his sleeping area. Is it dark? Do you have something to mask daily sounds? My guess is that he is a light sleeper and sleeps well at night because it’s darker/quieter at night. See if you can add sheets to the window or get a noisemaker or something to provide a hum of noise to coverup other noises going on in and outside of the house.

      Yes, not getting good naps can make him cranky. If he wakes crying, go in and rub his tummy or see if you can soothe him back into sleep, working to keep him in “sleeping time” for at least 45 minutes, and build up from there (goal being 1-1.5 hours at this age). Feel free to report back. I’m happy to help you try different things and find a solution. :-) But for now, try adjusting his environment and shushing him when he wakes, helping him extend that 30 minutes if possible to 45 or more.

      • I know this reply was written a long time ago, but Jackie described my daughter to a T! She napes for 45 minutes at a time, but can only be awake for about 1 hour before getting very fussy. This makes doing anything almost impossible and I am getting SUPER tired. Did you all find any solutions?

      • Yes, my guy has been sleeping 10 hrs at night for about 2 weeks (he’s 12 weeks). Starting at 5 weeks I put him down sleepy but awake and he goes to bed well at night, around 6pm. There are some evenings when we have to go in a time or two to give him his bulky but lately that makes him more fussy so I stopped and he does better fussing himself to sleep, about 5 minutes. However, during the day he will not sleep unless he’s on me in a carrier. I’ve tried for 2-3 hours just getting him drowsy or sleeping and putting him in crib, bouncer, swing etc to nap. He wakes within minutes or if awake, he screams until I get him. The longest I let him cry it out was 35 min and he didnt let up the entire time. I try to recreate the night routine with music/sound machine, bath. I’ve tried nursing him right before instead of just putting him down. I don’t know what to so. I can read his cues and know when he’s ready to nap and I wish I could put him down like I did my first 2. How can a baby who does so well at night not nap at all on his own during the day? I’m not sure what else to do. I homeschool my oldest so I can’t spend every day working on it. About 1-2 per week I will take 2-3 hr in the morning and keep trying him but I eventually give up because without the nap he gets progressively worse through the day so I’ll put him on me and he falls right asleep.

        • Kristi, first of all, so glad I can help out a fellow homeschooler! *virtual fist bump* Forgive me if you’ve already tried this, but have you tested putting him to sleep on his tummy? Perhaps he’s looking for that pressure against his abdomen. Elena was a lot like that, and we found that either putting her on her tummy or propped somewhat on her side with a sleep positioner helped a lot. Start there, and then let me know if we need to go to Plan B. :-)

          • Yes, I have tried the tummy and side since my 2nd (Elaina :) liked her belly and I started that when she was just 4-5 weeks. He doesn’t like the tummy at all, he likes to be on his back with hands up. He’s never liked swaddling either. I have that positioner but don’t use the ‘ramp’, just the side things. It’s so bizarre that he can put himself to sleep every night and last night he was awake at midnight and fussed on and off for almost an hour before putting himself to sleep. However when its day time he will not sleep in crib or other chair. Today I actually got him to fall asleep in his crib at nap time but it only lasted 20 minutes before be woke up. For some reason, during the day he can’t fuss/put himself back to sleep, he gets hysterical unless you go get him.

          • Kristi, I am at a loss at this… I guess the best encouragement I can give is to keep trying. Twenty minutes could grow with persistence! Perhaps it’s my optimism speaking, but I think that if you are persistent, over time this will improve. :-)

        • Kristi- have you found anything to help? My guy (11 weeks) does the exact same thing- sleeps 10-11 hours a night and can put himself to sleep and back to sleep but will not nap longer than 30 minutes!!! I don’t get it???

          • Not really, although with age he’s definitely gotten better at naps, but he’s not great. He sleeps an avg of about 1.5 hr a day (total) but then is ready for bed by 5-5:15. Today he gave me about an hour in the morning and then 60 min in PM, which was awesome. I have to work a little to get him down though, he doesn’t go right down like he does at night. Not sure why but this is still an issue for him during the day. At least he is taking naps in his crib now. I wore him in the boba when he wouldn’t sleep in past months (continue trying to use the crib daily but the cry it out does not work for him so I’d move him to carrier after so long) but around 4 months he started going to sleep. First it was just 10-15 min, but seems to be getting longer with each month. (He’s 5 months now.)

          • Keep at it Kristi! Time is often a good friend to new moms. :-)

          • Janelle and Kristi,
            Any luck for either of you and your little ones? My daughter is 16 weeks and does well at night, sleeping on average 10 hours, but her naps lately are pitiful. She will absolutely not nap longer than 30-35 minutes. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with it but a couple weeks ago I began trying to schedule her and she started out like a dream but then suddenly would not nap long. Prior to this issue she would nap like a champ. So good, in fact, that I’d usually have to wake her up almost every single nap (naps would average 1.5 hours).
            Is this just a phase (please tell me it’s just a phase!)? What worked for you?

  3. This was a great article! I just don’t know what to do about a few things.
    1) My 3 month old baby will not go to bed earlier than 11:30 p.m if i try she will just scream and scream(shes super hard headed and has to get her way and will scream till she does). I obviously want her to start going to bed sooner than this how should i go about it?
    2)She wants to eat every 1.5 hrs it seems no matter the amount(i feed her 3.5-4 oz every feeding)and again will scream and scream till shes fed. I want to start getting her on a schedule to where she will eat every 2.5 to 3 hrs atleast and give her 4oz everytime. How should i go about doing this?
    3)she loves her paci but it never stays in her mouth and will scream the second it falls out. It seems like i cant ever leave the room because as soon as i do it will fall out and she will scream and i will have to go back and put it back in. Do you have any advice on what i should do about this?

    • Rachel, I’m sorry to hear you have a screamer! Those hard-headed little infants are very difficult at the beginning (I had one, and it does improve.) First, think through what DOESN’T make her scream, and see if you can then deduce why she’s screaming. Is she a “hold me baby”? Does she quiet down when being touched? The constant eating sounds like she’s wanting to be soothed. Try to swaddle her best you can. Also, at this age, it is common for them to spit up pacifiers because they accidentally push it out with their tongue. Hold it for a few seconds, minutes until she has a really good grip and rhythm on it and/or is a asleep.

      If she is not napping well during the day, the 11:30pm screams could be that she’s overtired. Working on her napping rhythm during the day could help with this. See if you can ease her into a rhythm of eat/play/sleep/eat/play/sleep, and don’t worry too much about the clock. Just aim for the rhythm.

      At this age, a lot is going on, and so it’s pretty normal for your baby to be a fussy monster. Hang with her, get some earplugs (seriously, this helps soooo much) and love on her little face, reminding yourself every 10 seconds that by tweaking a few things, and holding on for dear life, both of you WILL get through this.

      much care,
      Heather

  4. thank you! this is such a helpful post! i actually copied your tables & made myself a little cheat sheet log…my babe is getting to a routine, but your outline helps me to see what he is doing on a daily basis, and it makes sense! love your delightful little blog :)

  5. From your schedule it seems as if you’re saying if the daytime naps are longer than 1 hour than you would keep the baby up from 5:00 until his/her 10:00 bedtime? Am I reading that wrong? I ask because my 11 week old wouldn’t ever last that long. She is a preemie so is 5 weeks adjusted, but still…that amount of time seems excessive.

    • Martha, I can see why that’s confusing! Thanks for bringing that up. Reading over the post again, I think that section was poorly written. I’ve adjusted it. For those older babies who don’t seem tired enough to nap at 7:30, but can’t make it until 10, I would just try to keep him up until 8:30 or 9 and go from there. As always, this is subject to your baby’s temperament. No baby is going to follow this timeline exactly, it’s just a general guideline to help you spot your baby’s cues. I hope that makes sense! Thanks for bringing this up! A very good comment!

  6. Anna Bruner says:

    I stubbled upon this website as I was researching info on formula. Thank you for all the wonderful tips and advice. I look forward to reading more.

    My daughter just turned 2 months old. She has been doing good during the night. She typically wakes up for 1 bottle around 2:30-3:30am and wakes up 6:30-7:00am. It depends on how she’s feeling. I will be going back to work in 3 weeks and I need to put her on a routine that works with my schedule. Heres my dilemma… My normal work schedule is Mon-Fri 2am-10:45am. My husband will take over when I leave for work and drop her off at my mothers house at 7am. Do you have any tips on how I can get her to bed early enough for me to go to sleep by 8:00pm? I have no idea how I’m going to make this work, other than going to work with no sleep.

    • Anna, you could try to move the sample schedule above up an hour. So instead of waking her at 7am to have a bottle, you wake her at 6. (I’m guessing you do that anyway, since your hubby drops her off at 7am.) Then see if your mother would write down the approximate times she goes down to sleep and wakes up. (You could even send her this article, if she’s up to it.) With that adjustment, she can take an early evening nap at 6:30 until 7:00, and then go down again at 9pm. If she seems tired at 8, by all means put her down and head to bed! If you’re lucky, she’ll wake up right at 1 and you can feed her before you head off to work. I guess that’s my best suggestion, try to move everything up and see if you can catch her eating/feeding times in a 3-hour loop.

      The good news is that the older she gets, the bigger her tummy grows, the longer she can go between feedings…the earlier she will go to bed. ;) Soon she’ll be sleeping at 7pm and waking at 7am like a champ! (At least that’s a good goal to shoot for around 6-9 months!)

      Hope this can give you some encouragement! It may be a rough few weeks as you adjust, but you’ll get into a good rhythm in no time.

  7. You said the exception to the “sleepy but not sleeping” rule is the middle of the night feeding. So you should make sure they are totally asleep before you put them down? Why is this the exception? Thanks!

    • That’s a great question Amanda! What I meant was that you don’t have to wake them up during that feeding, that if they fall asleep during the feeding, that’s okay. The rest of the time you should try to keep them awake until they are completely done, sleepy but still awake. But at night, if they fall asleep during feeding time, that’s fine. Does that make sense? Thanks for asking this! I should have been more specific. :-)

  8. My 11 week old sleeps pretty well at night (usually 5 hours and then 3 hours after feeding). He doesn’t sleep well at all during the day though. Usually 30-45 minute naps if that and wakes up fussy. He finally has started eating every 3 hours instead of more often (formula fed) but is fussy shortly after eating. It seems like the only thing that soothes him sometimes is me holding him standing up. He also will not stay awake for more than 1 hr or possibly 1 1/2 hrs at a time. I see that by now he should be awake for more like 2 hours or so. He’s just so fussy all the time when he’s awake too. Any suggestions?

    • Eating every three hours is just fine at 11 weeks, so don’t worry about that. If he’s fussy due to gas, I would give him some gripe water. If he’s ALWAYS fussy after eating, it’s possible that he may have a little reflux going on. In this case, it doesn’t sound to terribly severe, so it’s possible that switching to a thicker formula may do the trick (and avoid a doctor’s visit). Something you could try, anyway.

      As for the napping, take a hard look around his sleeping area and see if there are any differences between the room now and at night. Is it too light? Do you have a a noisemaker to drown out daylight household sounds? Thinking through that may give you some clues.

      Finally, if he tends to like the “sitting up position” during naps (another sign that reflux may be an issue), I JUST discovered these really interesting baby bean bag sleepers. They let him comfortably sleep in an incline position. However, I would never put this inside a crib (it could turn into an entrapment hazard), and I wouldn’t use it once your baby starts to get more active and roll over. That said, for his age and for his “like to sleep in an upright position” issue, it may be just the thing.

      • Just thought I’d share somethingI found that finally works for painful gas. Our preemie had horrible gas that would leave him crying and screaming, and simethicone drops did absolutely nothing. We discovered something called Tummy Calm. It uses activated charcoal to take care of the gas when it reaches baby’s intestines. simethicone only works on gas in baby’s stomach, but once it hits the intestines, it’s useless. You can check out the website for tummy calm and they also make a product called colic calm and we are on our third bottle of it. The Colic Calm also can be used to help with reflux, which our baby also has. You can order it online or its available at CVS and Walgreens. the company’s website has an extremely extensive and informative write up about infant gas. after reading all of that, it makes perfect sense why the Simethicone drops did absolutely nothing for our little guy. it works so well that I would pay a hundred bucks for a bottle of this stuff! Don’t worry, it’s only about $20 a bottle, and I’ve even found it fot $15 on sale. hope this helps at least one mom!

  9. Jennifer Jordan says:

    I love this blog! I found it via Pinterest and read it almost daily! I have a 9 week old that just recently stopped napping during the day but started sleeping thru the night (8hrs). I know napping is important but my little seems to fall asleep while breast feeding and as soon as I transition her to the bassinet (aka rock-n-play) she wakes up and is fussy. The last feeding (9pm) she is so exhausted from not napping she has no problem with the transition. Any ideas how I can keep her from falling asleep while feeding and with the transition of moving her from boppy to crib. Thanks so much!

    • Thanks Jennifer! It’s so encouraging to hear you say that! I think the key here is to keep her awake through the feeding session, and then put her down for her nap when she’s drowsy, but still awake. Techniques I used to keep my babes awake was stripping them down to the diaper and covering them with a blanket (naked arms and neck helped keep them awake, but not chilled), blowing gently on their little faces when I felt they were getting drowsy, I even used a warm wet wash cloth to brush their cheek. Try these and see if they help!

  10. Corinne Hymer says:

    My LO is similar to Amy’s. He is 8 weeks old anf he doesn’t seem to stay awake longer then an hour, to one and a half hours. Sometimes I manage to keep him up for two hours. He not really fussy, and sleeps well through the night. Goes to bed at 10:00 and wakes up for 12 or 1 o’clock feeding. I aim for last feeding before bed around 8, for now that is. Wakes up again at 5 or 6 o’clock feeding and will go back to sleep till 9. He does seem to sleep an awful lot, but again he’s not really fussy about much when he’s awake. Should I just feel lucky that he’s a sleeper and take advantage while I can, or is there perhaps something more serious going on? He is on a fairly good schedule and there are days when he will refuse to nap. I think I’m might be worrying too much about something that isn’t a problem. I realize all babies are different and that perhaps though it might be easy now, that could all change next week. Yes I realize there is no real question here, just wanted your common sense feedback.

    • I think your momma sense is spot on Corinne! Sounds like you have a good sleeper. At this age, babies sleep a LOT. More than half the day. At this point I would just enjoy the quiet. ;)

  11. Hi Heather,
    Please could you give me some advice as I’m really struggling.
    My baby boy is 12 weeks and when he needs to sleep he just screams and nothing I can do will make him sleep unless on boob and when he is full he doesn’t want to feed but wants to use as pacifier and when he still gets milk he gets frustrated and screams and in the end I rock him for over an hour on me until he falls asleep and then doesnt sleep for long and I start all over again. He will sleep instantly if I take him in car. When I go through this process at night he still screams but when he is down in cot he will sleep pretty much all night. Also he is very smiley and happy when it’s playtime inbetwren. There is no routine as I can’t establish one when he cries so much to get to sleep. At night I take him up at 7 and after crying and getting him to sleep on boob or rocking he goes to sleep by transferring him about 8. I am also trying to wean him to bottles so give bottle before bed too. If he has bottle in day he doesn’t seem to want to feed for rest of whole day, even boob then that makes sleeping even harder if no boob so stopped daytime bottle. Any advice is much appreciated as I feel like I need someone to come and live with me for a week day and night just to see if there is something I am doing wrong. Husband at work in day and helps where he can but that’s usually when it’s playtime and only sees one struggle a day at night and then he’s asleep for night. Please help I’m at my wits end.
    Thanks
    Karen

    • Karen, you are in the trenches my friend. This is one of the hardest seasons of your life. Take a minute to realize that it’s not that you can be doing something better, or that you’re doing something wrong. It is this way because you have a baby. Even “perfect” babies can struggle around bedtime. My husband and I called it “the witching hours” between 6pm – 9pm, when suddenly our angel babies turned into monsters. It WILL GET BETTER. But for now, all you can do is put in some earplugs (I can’t tell you what a help they are) and keep trying things to get through, day by day.

      Okay, so let’s talk about some things you can do. The “instant sleep” in the car is very interesting. What is it about the car that comforts him? Is it the car seat? the soft bumping movements? How can you re-create that for him? I know of one swing that has a “car bump setting” – it’s called the Mamaroo swing, but it’s pretty expensive ($200 USD). Try to figure out what is calming him about the car and see if you can recreate it.

      Have you tried putting him to sleep on his tummy? I know this is not recommended, but some babies just prefer this. We could never get our #2 to sleep until we figured this out. See if you can get him to soothe with a soother, or your finger, or even his hand if you have to, to try to move away from requiring your breast. Also, pick out a lovey for him – a small stuffed animal or little blanket or anything that you comfort him with. The sooner he bonds to a lovey the easier it will be for him to soothe himself to sleep without you.

      As for the routine, at this point, do your best to find a “Flow” rather than a routine. Think of the day in terms of “first this, than that” and however long those things take, it doesn’t matter. He’s still really small, so you have plenty of time. Try different sleeping things – if you put him down in the crib and walked away, how long and how intense would he scream? Some babies actually prefer being left alone. My niece would scream and scream if my SIL was holding her, but if my SIL put her in the crib and left her, she’d calm down and sleep within a few minutes. Test different things, and in time you’ll start to see your baby’s preferences (like the car!) show up. Then you can start tweaking those preferences and figuring out how to use those to your advantage. Does that make sense? Hope this can give you some ideas to try. Please let me know if you have questions or if I can help you further!

    • Karen, my baby girl is exactly the same as yours she will only sleep in car or buggy, she wants to suck to sleep and gets frustrated that she can’t get her thumb in properly and won’t take a dummy, she will only sleep if I rock her for an hour usually crying or let’s her feed to sleep. I’m trying to break the feed to sleep habit but it means she gets so overtired and groggy that it takes even longer to rock her to sleep. I’m exhausted! Most of my day is spent rocking a crying baby that won’t sleep longer than 30 mins then wakes tired so I have to start the process again! Did you find something that worked for your little boy?

      Thanks leanne

  12. Hi Heather
    My little one is approaching 3m and is still sleeping in her rock-n-play… I’m not sure if you familiar with the product but its fantastic! My daughter is placed on her side in the RNP and sleeps like a champ! The few times I’ve tried getting her to nap in her crib on her back… Her startle reflex kicks in and wakes her up! It’s almost as if the open space of the crib is too much for her… But she hates being swaddled and fights if I even attempt it (which then wakes her up fully too).

    The RNP keeps her slightly inclined and “contained”… Any ideas on how I can safely recreate this in the crib?

    • Have you tried using a sleep positioner? We found that it helped Elena feel more secure, since it was a gentle wall of fabric on both her sides. If she’s not quite rolling over, you could try rolling up two handtowels and sticking her in between. Same principle, a little less solid, but free. :-)

  13. My sweet girl will be 8 weeks old in 3 days. She just recently started staying awake up to 6 hours at night sometimes less ( but not every night). She eats great 3.5 ounces every 3-4 hours. She naps during the day for up to 6 hours at various times. Is she not sleeping enough during the day? She usually naps during the day in her swing in the living room ( I’ve heard so many different opinions on where she should sleep during the day). I just feel like im doing something wrong and she is paying for it. I’ve also tried the “night time routine, not changing her diaper and keeping her swaddled at night when she eats. I’m just lost :(

    • Whittney, you’re not doing anything “wrong”, these things are constantly changing and adjusting. So don’t beat yourself up about it. Firstly, she’s still REALLY small. 8 weeks is at the very VERY beginning of the sleep through the night thing, so really, she’s just perfect. :-) And I say at these early weeks, let her sleep whereever she wants. My newborns all loved sleeping in the swing.

      One thing you could try slowly working on is her napping during the day. She should be sleeping for 6 hour stretches during the day. I would go back to my newborn suggestions for a few weeks more. Have you seen that article? If not, I’ve linked it here. Give those things a try, and let me know if you have any questions. You’re doing great there Mom! You will get these things ironed out, we’ve got plenty of time.

  14. My 10 week old son gets up every 3-4 hours at night. I’m going back to work in 2 weeks, is there any ways to stretch out his sleep a little longer at night? I dont want to get fired for falling asleep at work! :)

  15. My 3 month old son used to sleep 4 hrs at a time (and occassionaly 5 or 6!) Then about 5 weeks ago I went back to work. My mother-in-law is doing daycare and says that he’ll give her 2 small naps during the first half of the day (about 30 minutes each) and one long nap from around 11:30 or noon until 2pm. I pick him up around 3:30 and he’s happy until around 4:30. Then he gets fussy. He won’t go down for a nap, and will SCREAM if we try to put him down. Eventually, he ends up falling asleep on one of us around 5:45 or 6pm which isn’t very convenient, since we try to put him to bed at 7. He’ll go back to sleep at that time, but then is up every 2.5-3 hrs all night. He wakes up for the day around 5:30 or 6, and we’re out the door by 6:20am. He had difficulty latching, so I’m pumping and bottle feeding. (He’s currently eating 5 oz every 3 hours or so.) He used to sleep longer on less milk, so I know he’s capable of doing it. I’m just not sure why he’s not anymore. Do you have any advice for getting him back on track to sleep longer at night, or do you think this is just a phase he’s going through? (I had a taste of those few 5-6 hrs of sleep and I miss it!) ;-)

    • Noami, firstly I would make sure that you (or your MIL) is not making any of these common sleeping mistakes. Secondly, I would encourage your MIL to try to stick to a steady rhythm of “sleep, eat, play, sleep, eat, play, etc.” That pattern will make sure he’s getting a fully tummy and he should be good and tired by the time naptime comes around. Even if he only sleeps 30 minutes the first time, try to keep him awake to complete the cycle, make sure his sleeping area is dark and has a noisemaker. That should help him take longer naps.

      It’s possible that he’s screaming for his 4:30 nap because of some separation anxiety. Have you tried cuddling him until he’s drowsy, then putting him down and sitting next to him in the crib, rubbing his tummy and singing to soothe him? Don’t just put him down and think you can walk out of the room. My guess is that he’s still getting used to the new schedule. You may need to put him down and sit there (with earplugs!) comforting him with your hand through the crib slats or singing or humming for 20-30minutes. Then get him up and pretend he “napped”. Do this roughly the same time every day for 4-5 days and see if you can tell any improvements.

      Next, if he doesn’t already have one, get that boy a lovey. A little stuffed animal that he can bond with. It will REALLY help him sleep better when you’re not around. Some kids pick their own loveys, some kids will let you pick, just try things and see what he bonds too. Take that thing everywhere he goes. When you rock him, always have it in his little hand.

      Finally, regarding the late-night sleep, make sure’s he’s completely full to the brim during that last feeding. Then, when he wakes up (he’s probably a little anxious), go sit with him like you did for the nap and calm him back down to sleep (try not to feed him, don’t change his diaper, don’t turn on the light, nothing to wake him even more) Sit with him while he falls back to sleep. First 1-2 weeks may be hard, as you coach him into sleeping – reassuring him that you are there, even if he can’t see you, and then letting him get bonded to a little lovey. But after he starts “getting” those things, you should be good. If not, comment back and we’ll try something else! Hang in there Naomi, you are in the trenches, but there IS a light at the end of the Tired Tunnel. :-)

  16. Thanks for the advice! You know, just reading your “sleep, eat, play” comment turned a light bulb on for me. When he was home with me, that was the schedule I had for him. He would wake up, have a bottle and we’d play for an hour or so until he was tired again. Then he’d go down for another nap. Now that he’s at his grandmother’s house during the day, I think she often feeds him and THEN puts him down for a nap, rather than feeding him when he gets up. I’ll have to check with her on this and make sure she changes the routine if that’s what she’s doing.

    I feel bad, but I didn’t even think about the possibility of separation anxiety. I guess I assumed he was too young for that. When I get home with him, I’m often in a hurry to get things put away and pump again, that I probably don’t give him the attention he needs and wants, after spending the day apart. I’ll definitely have to work on that.

    When he wakes up at night, you say to try and soothe him without feeding him. This might be a silly question, but how long should I let him go without a bottle at night? I’m guessing the hope is that if he doesn’t feed when he wakes after only a few hours, he’ll eventually stop waking up so often, correct?

    As to the lovey – I always hear people say I need to keep stuffed animals and blankets out of the crib, to avoid suffocation. At 3 months, is he old enough now that I don’t need to be concerned about that, and/or are there certain loveys that are safe? ( Can you tell he’s my first? I’m completely clueless on these things! LOL )

    • That’s great Naomi! Try that routine at Grandma’s and see if it helps. Don’t worry about the separation anxiety thing, you can never tell if (or even when) it will happen. Every child is different. Don’t feel guilty or bad, these are things you get more aware of things as time goes on. As for the time in the evenings, check the schedule again in the article – that will give you some estimates to work around. You are correct about not having a bunch of things in the crib. However, at 12 weeks he should start being able to move his head and so a little stuffed animal or blanket shouldn’t be a problem. We always tucked their little crocheted blanket under the crib mattress, just letting the tip brush her hand and face, so she could cuddle it, but not pull it over head. Does that help?

  17. So my baby has been sleeping through the night since 5 weeks old. His last feeding will be around 10 or 11 ish. Then he wakes up anywhere from 530-9am. He turned 3 months yesterday and I started him on a new formula 2 days ago. I notice he’s having less feedings now and he’s not always hungry. I’m guessing gerber gentle formula is more filling than his old formula gentlease? I’m looking at your schedule and I see it only having 5 feedings for the day and that puzzles me? I went from 8-10 feedings a day 27-30 ounces to now 6-7 feedings 20-24 ounces a day with the new formula. I always try to push for 24 ounces a day. It’s freaking me out that he’s only drinking 24 ounces. So if I went by your schedule he will only be drinking 20 ounces, it’s rare to get him to drink 5 ounces a feeding. He does 3 or 4 ounces a feeding. I read you are suppose to multiply 2.5 ounce by your baby’s weight and that’s that amount you should feed him. Is that true or not? I’m freaking out about the whole feeding thing. I just want to make sure he’s not being underfed. Thanks oh btw is gripe water better than using prune juice if he’s fussy and has back up stool?

    • Mel, I wouldn’t worry too much about the specific numbers if he’s eating well and still growing. You will know if he’s underfed because he’ll start to loose weight. To check that, weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding him, and then subtract. Check his weight once a week and you’ll have a good idea of how he’s growing. If he’s fussy because of gas, I would try the gripe water. If his poops are little pebbles, use a teaspoon of the prune juice once or twice a day until his poops are soft again.

  18. We have set a nightly routine for our 11 week old beg at 7:10 bath, massage, & bottle, sleep by 8. She wakes at 2:30 am. She eats & then back down. I’m pretty sure she wakes bcs of hunger bcs the times I’ve tried holding off on feeding she goes crazy & won’t go back to sleep. However, then she is not that hungry for her 6:15 bottle before we head out to daycare. In your opinion, Is that an indication that she really doesn’t need the 2:30 bottle? I like your schedule but she gets super fussy if we try to keep her up longer than 8. Would you recommend dream feed at 10:00 & see if that helps her get through night…maybe I’m expecting too much ? Thanks!

    • Lindsay, 11 weeks is a tough age, because they’re RIGHT on the cusp between stages. Try to MAKE SURE she’s good and full on that last feeding, and yes, I do recommend you do a dreamfeed at 10:00. From what you’ve written, it sounds like she may need that for a few more weeks. Then if she wakes up at 2:30, try to soothe her without the bottle. Do your best, knowing some nights will rock, and others…will be good practice for improvements. :-) Hope this can help.

      • Thanks Heather! I also used your crib tricks & crib sleeping is going well :) Thank you so much! Cusp of it, could you explain? It seems I kind of flip flopped things…we lost the late feeding before middle of night feeding…right? I didn’t do the inching back like your article states & like most books I read.

        • Lindsay – so glad to hear this! Thanks for writing back to ask for an explanation – I’m often guilty of “brain typing” whatever pops in my head (like we were talking face to face), but sometimes that means people have NO IDEA what I mean. lol. – What I meant was he’s sitting on the fence between two life transitions. There’s often a growth spurt at 12 weeks, and things go all haywire for a while as you try to get his rhythm back on. (I’ve got “talk about growth spurts” on my posting schedule…) Does that clarify things? Did I answer your question?

          • Yes, you answered my question…thanks so much. It has worked all last week & then much like you said ..the cusp…not only a growth spurt, but she is teething, & I go back to work today (I’m a teacher :) ) . She was up every 2 hours last night. So there is a lot of adjustments going on for my little one. I loved all the info on teething! Truly love your blog, I was unsure if it was actual teething but after reading your posts & seeing th pic of baby with adult hand in the mouth..I knew she was ! Your blog is just the best, now I go to this before any book if I need more information, need a laugh, or need some extra assurance to go along with my gut instinct. thAnk you!

          • I’m so happy to hear that Lindsay! Thanks so much! I’m glad to hear things are helping you. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with. I have a post coming out this week with sleeping tips. Hope that can help for the post-teething adjustments! :-)

  19. Hi Heather,

    Love your advice!
    I have a 7 week old who is a great sleeper at night but will only catnap during the day (30 min naps then wont be able to self settle after). I have always rocked, swayed, bounced, shh’d her to sleep and getting exhausted hence I did go to a Childhood Centre for the day today to try to teach her self settling which involved:
    1. putting her to bed when she is drowsy (i have always put her down when she is asleep hence never learning to sleep in bassinett on her own)
    2. Then standing at the door listening to her cries (max 10 mins)
    3. Going in and patting her belly, shh’ing and not making eye contact
    4. If still crying, then picking her up and settling her
    My 7 week old didn’t self settle at all today and I am just wondering whether you think 7 weeks is too early? Should I just allow her to have me as her sleep pacifier until 12 weeks?

    Thank you :)

    • Alicia – first of all it sounds like you are ROCKIN’ the sleeping techniques. Well done! Seven weeks is at the very cusp of sleep training. Some babies take longer, so keep doing what you’re doing and be patient. These things take some time. Secondly, I’m currently finishing up a post that will go out later this week with more suggestions on how to help with the sleeping transitions. It’s similar to what you’re doing, but you may find it helpful. (Hopefully!) If you haven’t subscribed yet, get on my email list and I’ll let you know when it’s posted. Consistency here is key. Doing great there Mom! :-)

  20. Heather, you’re incredible with your quick replies!!

    Haha, certainly ROCKIN’ – thighs and arms getting a nice workout ;). When you say at the cusp, I am assuming the beginning of sleep training (not the end haha)?

    Looking forward to seeing the next post (will definitely get on your email list).

    Started the sleep training this morning and have had success so far – she has fallen asleep in her bassinet!

  21. Hi Heather,

    I have never ever posted on a blog like this, but I am desperate. I have a daughter who is 11 weeks old, and I could only dream of having a schedule like the one in your post! She takes short naps and wakes up 4-6 times throughout the night. I am exhausted. Absolutely exhausted.

    Getting her to go to sleep is no issue at all. She lets me know when she is tired – yawning, a little fussing… I will nurse her (before bed… she doesn’t always need or want to eat before naps), swaddle her, turn on the white noise, and lay her in her bassinet and she’ll fall asleep within a minute or two. She usually takes a pacifier for naps, but spits it out either right before she falls asleep or right after. She doesn’t use the pacifier at night really.

    Here’s our napping problem: she will wake up after 35-45 minutes. Every time. And when she wakes up, I can’t get her back to sleep. She will play a little bit or eat after waking up, and then it’s back to the yawning and fussing. She only stays awake for 1-1.5 hours during the day and then she’s practically begging to be put down for a nap.

    Here’s our night time problem: she wakes up to nurse every 2-3 hours or so. A typical night might look like this:
    Bed 7:30
    Wake to feed 10:30
    Wake to feed 1:45
    Wake to feed 4:15
    Fussy, won’t go back to sleep unless fed 5:45 or 6:00
    Wakes again 7:30
    Wakes up for good 8:30ish

    Our mornings are always exhausting. After about 5:00 or 5:30, I don’t get much sleep. She tends to wake up every hour or so. She has also started to wiggle her hands out of her swaddle to chew on them. This usually wakes her right up and of course she wants to nurse before going back to sleep.

    I have tried to soothe her without feeding at some of those wakings, and it just doesn’t work. She wants to eat!

    During the day, she will nurse every 1.5-2.5 hours usually. I can rarely get her to go 3 hours without eating.

    Do you have any suggestions? What am I doing wrong? I am ridiculously exhausted and am willing to try anything!

    Thanks!

    • First of all, Katie, you’re not doing anything wrong. Trying things and having them work or NOT work, is the name-of-the-game at this stage. You are STILL the best mom for your little girl.

      So, since we’re talking about things you can try, here are a few suggestions:

      1. Make sure she is FULL when you’re done breastfeeding. Some babies take longer to nurse. (Here are the different nursing personalities.) So make sure that she is completely full before taking her off the breast. I’m guessing that if she’s eating every 1.5-2.5 hours that she’s snacking, and not getting a full tummy. Try to extend her nursing sessions if you can.

      2. Napping. Double check that her napping environment isn’t breaking one of the sleep-happy nursery rules. Things like making the room pitch-black and having a noisemaker can make a big difference.

      3. After she wakes after her nap, don’t go in right away. Wait until she’s making enough noise that it’s clear that she’s totally done with the nap. Maybe make a goal to wait 5 minutes, seeing if you can extend the nap a bit more.

      4. As for the swaddle, have you seen ? It’s wiggle-proof.

      I hope this can give you some encouraging hope. Thing will get better, Katie! It’s just a matter of trying different things until you find what clicks. My job is to help parents think of things to try. :-) Thanks for your comment! I hope you continue the trend! :-)

      • I promise that I read your reply immediately! We have had some craziness go down in our house over the last couple of weeks, but now we are back to some degree of normal…

        So in response to your ideas –

        1. She has been able to go a little longer in between nursing sessions lately, but how do you extend nursing sessions? She will get down to business for about 5 minutes, and then she pauses to look around the room (she is incredibly observant and alert and wants to completely take in her surroundings wherever she is). Then she wants to coo and giggle and smile at me for a while. Sometimes she will eat a little more, but it always seems fairly snack-y. If I try to force it, she will gag and spit up. She has a very sensitive gag reflex. So I’m not sure what to do there.

        2. I’ve been trying to get her to nap in her crib in her room, which is much darker. The darkness and noisemaker doesn’t seem to make a huge difference. However, this may also be due to the fact that she’s napping in her crib, and not in her bassinet. Once she gets used to her crib, maybe the napping sessions will lengthen?? We decided to move her to her crib last night so hopefully that will be soon.

        3. I usually wait about 5-10 minutes after she starts to stir and grunt before getting her. By that point, she is crying and most definitely awake. She tends to wake up fully very quickly. She’s not very good at settling down once she wakes up, unfortunately.

        4. I had a similar swaddle for her when she was born, but she could still get her hands out of the top. However, that was 3 months ago, so maybe she would be better with it now. I’ll have to look into it! We use the Miracle Blanket at the moment. We were using the Halo Swaddle Sleepsack before, but she got too long for the newborn one and can wiggle her hands free of the next size up. The Miracle Blanket is quickly becoming too small for her, though, so I’m glad to have another suggestion for a swaddle! Thank you!

        Since we are transitioning her to her crib, I may have more questions for you in the next few weeks. Thank you so much for your help already! I really appreciate it!

  22. Hello, I’ve never posted anything before on a blog either, but definitely would like to get your opinion on my baby’s sleep schedule. As first time parents, my husband and I are the blind leading the blind! My baby is 6 weeks old. How much is she supposed to sleep? I feel like she sleeps a lot as compared to some blogs. I feel like all she does is eat and then sleep. There is very little playtime hours, and if she is awake, she gets cranky fast. How many hours should she be awake every day? is this effecting her nighttime sleep? Should we actively be keeping her awake during the day? Also, our night time routine looks like this:
    6:30pm Bathtime, changing
    7:00pm Feeding
    7:45 – 8:00pm Sleep (hopefully)
    10:30pm – Wakes up for feeding
    11:15pm – Back to sleep
    between 2:30am -3:00am – Wakes up for feeding
    4:00am – back to sleep
    6:00am – wakes up for feeding
    Is this normal?
    Also, she has been sleeping in her swing since the day she was born. She has not slept in a crib or a bassinet. we don’t set it to swing back and forth. we have tried to move her to her crib, and she screams bloody murder. Any thoughts on that?
    Thank you SO MUCH!! – A tired first time mommy

    • Yvonne, thanks so much for taking the plunge and commenting! At six weeks, this doesn’t sound too terribly abnormal to me. Some babies most past the sleeping-all-the-time stage faster than others. If she’s still sleeping constantly in 3 weeks, you should run that by your doctor.

      That said, you can try to keep her up a little more (shoot for 5-10 minutes at first), and see if you can hit the rhythm of wake-eat-play-sleep that I outline above, repeating until the end of the day. I would also try, for one nap of the day, to move her to the crib or bassinet. (Here are some tips to help with crib-sleeping.)

      It’s exhausting, but you are really doing a great job. Try something, then try something else…that’s the way parenting goes. :) As long as you keep trying things, you’re bound to find a solution!

  23. Hi! I never post things but I really like your site and your insight as your approach and views seem to match mine. I’m a new mom to a 10 week old boy. I have read and used some of your tricks in posts about do’s, don’t etc.. It has been SO helpful. I have decent days/nights and then terrible ones where I feel so discouraged. What I am focusing on right now is Laying him down semi-awake and have had ZERO success. I have been trying for a couple weeks and will try at least once a day and give up after a few attempts to hours of attempts-at which point I just have to nurse , bounce etc to sleep. (Day and nighttime, although he will nap in the swing but im tryjng not to make it a habit) I don’t know how to fix this not to mention when he does go to sleep he may wake up 30 mins later or 3 hours – it’s never consistent. My sleep deprivation mixed with my determination is making me go crazy and become obsessed with what I can change?, do I feed him ? Do I not feed and just sooth to sleep ? crib or not crib? Is he overtired? As you can see I’m over thinking everything ! Do you have any tips for this situation? Should I keep trying or try a little later and just try to so what (sortof)works? :S Thanks!!

    • Jo, thanks so much for reading and commenting! I’m glad you’ve found things helpful so far. I’d love to keep that track record going, so let’s see what we can do about this sleeping issue. Things that are popping off in my brain…

      1. Have you tried these crib tricks?
      2. Look over this list of reasons baby cry and tweak a few of those.
      3. The inconsistent naptimes at this age are pretty common – he’s trying to self soothe and some days he does better than others. It will improve with time. (Promise.)
      4. Have you introduced him to a lovey? A little stuffed animal or something that he can associate with you, and can help him go back to sleep when his sleep cycles rotate. Pick something cuddly that he can hold, and then use it when you rock him, let him hold it while you feed him, carry it with him in the car seat, etc. Then tuck it under the mattress (if it’s a blanket) and let him touch the fringe while he’s sleeping, so he can’t pull it over his face but can still smell and feel it.

      At this point, Jo, he’s still pretty little. So I would ditch all the rules and work ONLY on the sleepy-to-bed thing. As for cues, at this age you should start to see a pattern of sleep/eat/play/sleep/eat/play every 2-3 hours. Start writing down on a piece of paper the times you’re doing things. After a few days, you may start to see a pattern. Start there, Jo, and let me know how it goes!

      • Thank you so much for responding! I really appreciate you taking the time to help. I have looked over the posts you entered and have gotten some tips off those. I am glad that you said that he is still little and it will still take some time because I was beginning to feel like a failure for not getting it to work right away. I like the idea of the lovey and I started with that right away. He refuses a pacifier unfortunately. I have made sure that his room is dark and that the crib is comfortable by utilizing some of your suggestions. I have him on a bit of a schedule now which seems to be working really well. I now know when he is tired/hungry/…etc. I think I’m experiencing two major issues : him wanting to nurse sleep and not being able to go down drowsy and fall sleep on his own. [They maybe one in the same thing]. The main issue I have is when it comes to putting him down to sleep. I have a bedtime routine that seems to work with winding down but despite my efforts to disassociate nursing with sleep,[I begin with nursing and end with singing and rocking] He still will kick up a fuss to nurse even after he may have just nursed 30 minutes ago or 15 minutes ago because from what it looks like he wants to nurse so that he can fall asleep. I have tried putting him down drowsy every nap and every that bedtime with little to no luck. As soon as I lay him down good and sleepy his eyes open right up as if to fight the sleepiness and fight being placed in a crib by himself. Here is what I’ve been trying after he wakes up and starts to Fuss:
        One.
        1.Picking him up and putting him down several times until 30-40 minutes have gone by. At this point I feel as though it’s not going to work and begin to sleep to avoid keeping him awake too long.
        2. I wait and let him fuss for 15 minutes before going in reassuring him and going back out. I will do this for approx 30-45 minutes.
        3. Shush- Pat until he falls asleep in his crib.
        Most of the time none of these work in terms of him falling asleep on his own. I have had a little bit of success with the shush -pat because it seems as though he just gets so tired that he finally falls asleep. If I try these methods for too long it seems he gets very very angry and then just fights and fights. in these moments nothing will seem to calm him until he nurses. There are times where I can just rock or bounce him and he will get drowsy again and falls asleep but he will often wake up 10-30 mins later:(
        I suspect he’s using me as a pacifier. I also suspect he may be overtired. I also believe that he prefers a swing as he can get more sleep when sleeping in his swing. I don’t know if I’m giving up too quickly or not sticking with one method for long enough but I feel as though I have been giving these strategies a good effort with (almost) no results. I really believe you’re right when you say the key is falling asleep on his own. That would solve our early wake ups and frequent night wakings and also the bedtime drama. The problem is, how do I get him fall asleep on his own? ( Without nursing) I feel so stuck, because i cant see a way around this and i am the only one who can put him to bed. Maybe you can see something I’m not or see where I’m going wrong. He is 11 weeks. Sorry this is so long! Thanks soon much for your insight!
        Jo

        • Jo, the whole “Sleeping thing” is really a series of adjustments and re-do’s, so don’t worry that you seem to be taking steps forward and back all the time. That’s normal. :-) Regarding your #1 I would try VERY hard not to pick him up at all – otherwise you’ll be confusing him “sometimes when I protest being in my crib she picks me up and sometimes she doesn’t.” You need to be as consistent as you can. Do the shush-pat thing with him, next to his crib – by doing the Sleep Shuffle method – that will gently help him learn how to fall asleep on his own. I’m guessing it will probably take a week or two of using that method every night before things really click – he has some sleeping crutches (you) and it’s going to be difficult for him to get used to doing things a different way (sleeping on his own). He WILL learn, it’s just going to have to take some persistence, perseverance, gentle corrections, and (most importantly) corded (non-choke hazard) ear plugs. :-)

  24. Hi Heather,

    My 6-week old seems to be doing pretty well according to your guidelines and is overall a very happy baby with just one exception. For the last several weeks he consistently wakes up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. He goes down for bed around 10 p.m. and usually wakes up around 2:30 to eat. I am quite confident he is not hungry at this time, so I do not feed him when he wakes at 4:30 but he is still waking up every day at this time. (He is a healthy baby and plenty big for his age…no issues with weight gain, etc.) Is there any way to break this habit? Am I wrong to try to break this wake up time? Thank you for your help!

    • Laura, if he’s not crying, I would let him “play” in his crib until you declare it “up time”. Another option is something called “dreamfeeding”. It’s when you wake yourself up at around 4:15, before he usually wakes up, sneak in there and feed him when he’s pretty much still sleeping, and then put him down again. No diaper changes. No talking. No lights. Nothing. This helps “fill his tank” while he’s still sleeping and helps him learn to sleep later.

      I did this with all three of my kids and they are ALL late, great sleepers. That said…it is also risky. If you rouse him, he may decide he’s up for the day. Still, I would risk it for a few days and see if after the second or third day he skips that 4:30 wakeup. Just remember that you want to move him and stimulate him as little as possible, so he dreams and sleeps through the whole thing.

      Give that a try and see if it helps! :-)

  25. I have a now 11 week old DD. A few weeks ago she would nap fine after her mid-morning bottle but that h for some reason has changed. I have stopped nursing her but find she has become obsessed with her soother now when tired. This is my current regime for naps. About an hour after we wake she seems tired (ie yawning) so I bring her to her room (which is dark with a fan for noise). I swaddle sing or hum until she seems drowsy and then down, meanwhile she has the soother in her mouth. She drifts off and spits soother out but wakes 20-45 min later for the soother. I sometimes wait to replace it hoping she will fall back to sleep or go back in and give it to her and so on until I get fed up and decide she isn’t sleeping well and take her downstairs. So I feel I need to get rid of the soother cause it wakes her but understand babies need to suck. Anyways do you have any advise as to what I should do about the soother ? She gets quite upset/ fussy if we do t give it to her. And what to replace the soother with?

    • Instead of replacing the soother, Danielle, I would try to figure out ways to keep the darn thing in place. (Weaning the soother at 11 weeks is possible, but really REALLY hard.) With Elena, I would tuck the edge of the binky slightly under her swaddle blanket to hold it in place after she’s fallen asleep. Another option is to use one of these stuffed-animal soothers that can sit on her chest and hold the soother in place. Plus, those are a lot easier for a child to grab and put back inside their mouth. Do either of those seem like an option? or do we need to keep brainstorming?

  26. Hello! My twin girls are 11 weeks and do pretty well and may have a day or two each week where they wont sleep…will cry for several hours or just not sleep at night and sometimes during the day. My question is, above you said let them nap for 1.5 hours well they nap about 3.5-4 hours during the day and eat. I can keep them awake after for the longest is an hour…sometimes after a rough night they will fall asleep right after eating and I am unable to play with them like you have above. Some night they will lay in their crib and fall asleep fine other they will just scream and scream no matter what we do. Any help would be great!

    • Krystee, where they born prematurely? If so, you have to find their adjusted age (how old their brain thinks they are) to determine what they should (or should not) be doing. (I teach parents the formula to do that in my Milestone Marker, btw.) Secondly, have you seen my article on the Sleep Shuffle? That could help you calm them at night.

      Try to keep them up a little longer during the day in between naps. Start with a simple goal of 10 minutes, keeping them awake with strokes, or even stripping them to the diaper and wrapping them with a warm blanket. Try that for a few days, and then follow the Shuffle steps. If it doesn’t work, we’ll work out another plan. Hang in there, it will get better

  27. They were born at 38 weeks…I will try that and read the above suggested. And I will be in touch with you. Thank you.

    Like last night they ate stayed awake for close to 2 hours and we put them down, slept for an hour and woke up crying and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Finally got them back to sleep and would only sleep 20 minutes wake back up and cry…finally went to sleep and slept till late this morning. I wish I would had found your site months ago lol, but so happy I found it now!!

  28. Like pp mentioned my lo will break free of the swaddle to chew his hands :( I have been looking into getthing the teething mittens found here http://www.etsy.com/shop/easybreazybaby what do you advise?

    • They are worth trying, Ashley! Those look really cool – I especially like the waterproof option and the velcro to keep them from getting pulled off. Another option is to get a straight-jacket swaddler like the Woombie. Hopefully one of those will work!

  29. Heather,
    Again I appreciate you taking time out of your day to respond to my questions! I promise this is my last question (s). Well as per your recommendation I got the Kim West’s book and am diving into it. Regarding your #1, I have been trying to lay him down awake but sleepy starting at bedtime and have seen small improvements- mainly with me! I feel a little more empowered knowing that a little bit of fussing doesn’t make me a bad parent and i can see that he fusses with a purpose! I was so afraid to have him even whimper before that I prevented it, hence the sleep crutches!That being said I was hoping for a little advice regarding these strategies. The first night after eat,book,song-there was 15 -30 minutes of fussing and intermittent full cries. I did not pick him up just sat soothing (earplugs) some patting. He did fall asleep on his own- first time ever! I was amazed! 10pm. The issue I had was that he woke up 30 minutes later crying. I tried again the same process. He did eventually go back to sleep with a little more patting. He did not sleep long again (1.5 hours) At this point he didn’t seem to calm down and i decided to pick him up to feed him ( This is where I don’t know if I went wrong but he fed rigorously… then again he doesn’t usually turn down food.. so
    confusing) He finally slept from 1am -7am. I was really surprised and happy to see immediate progress :). The next night was not as successful. There was a wakeup after 10 bed at 11pm again then again at 3:30 and again at 6:30. (I fed him at 3:30.) This is where it gets tough. Im not as strong in the middle of the night with sticking to it and again I start thinking/wondering if he is hungry even though I have seen him sleep longer stretches- or just protesting after waking up from a transition.
    How long is too long to try the “not picking up”. I start losing faith that it is working and start doubting myself because his cries say “pick me up”. I start worrying about the crying.Is that normal?
    Also In Kim’s book it seems she says do not pick up or feed if possible. To only feed once between bedtime and morning- maybe that is for 4-6 months?
    He is almost three months and a big healthy boy. I know you may not have answers to these questions ultimately but perhaps can give some encouragement that I am on the right track or that I should be more rigid with not feeding at the am wake ups.
    Perplexed!
    Thanks Heather

    • Firstly, you ARE on the right track. :-) Some days it will seem like you took 2 steps back, but in the bigger scheme, there are little improvements that will eventually lead you down the sleepy path. :-) My initial guess is that he’s still hungry when you put him down – so double check that he is completely refusing the bottle/breast before you lay him down. Kim’s book is very helpful – but it’s also written in generalities, because it’s not one-on-one. So you should feel guilty if you change things up once in a while, as long as you are sticking with the greater principles of helping him self soothe as much as possible. (That’s my disclaimer for what I’m about to say…)

      If he is eating like a horse in that middle-of the-night feeding, than he NEEDS that food, so you should start mentally preparing yourself for that feeding every night. If he was 6 months, I’d say he’s toying with you and can sleep through just fine, but 12 weeks…? It could be his a growing healthy boy who’s really hungry! Keep letting him have that feeding, as long as he’s really eating and not just sipping for a minute or two before falling asleep.

      I would say “pick up” if he’s getting so hysterical that you feel NOT picking him up is going get him so worked up he won’t sleep for hours. Then walk him, calm him down so he’s not doing the “shudder cry” thing. Loving on that little guy for little bit. Then lay him back down. He’ll probably protest, but that’s okay because you’re in charge.

      If you see that your presence is making him ANGRIER, step out of the room for 5 minutes and see what happens. My brother and SIL did that, and they found out their little girl was an introvert and was angry because they wouldn’t leave. She calmed down and slept within a few minutes. Babies. So complex!

      Don’t let these hiccups shake up your confidence. You are a good mother. He is a loved little boy. You will try things and they’ll work great, and you will try things and they won’t. Just keep at it. And of course, let me know how it goes. In the middle of the night, wake with confidence that you’re going to feed him and see how he eats, then put him down again.

      One thing that always helped me with my crying babes, was to go through my checklist of reasons why they could be crying and mentally check them off. If I’ve taken care of the ones I can fix, I would sit back and know that my little girls are safe, healthy, and they know they are loved. This is just “I’m annoyed with your plan mom” cries that I would tell myself “I can outlast this.”

      • Heather,
        Thank you for replying. It has been a busy month, what with the holidays and so on so I didn’t get a chance to reply. Since your last message things have been getting progressively easier and I have been getting progressively more confident (sometimes thats half the battle right?) I want to thank you for all the advice and encouragement. Since reading your comments and other posts I feel equipped and am much more informed about this sleep ‘thang. I kept with that 1 am feeding and suddenly My boy is just started sleeping through it one day and then the next night and the next etc. Now he sleeps from 10 or 11pm to 6 or 7. Now to get him to bed a bit earlier! That has been another challenge.
        I am so happy he is getting more sleep (and me too) I feel like a new woman! We are heading down the ‘sleepy path’ as you say with more success than before. Of course the holidays shook things up a bit and he is a bit harder to put down (more /longer protesting) but all in all I feel we are in the RIGHT TRACK! The first nap is established as well. The next ones are a bit inconsistent in that sometimes they are 45 mins and other times 2.5 hours…I don’t know…. wake time issue? But I have high hopes that he will be getting the sleep he needs and become more consistent as we move forward. Yey! Thanks again soo much, I will continue to enjoy your writings.

        • Hooray Jo! I’m so glad to hear that! It is very normal for the afternoon nap to be more challenging than the morning nap. But it sounds like you’re being flexibly consistent. :-) So happy to hear that you’re getting more rest, it makes such a big difference!

  30. Hi Heather,
    My LO is 11 weeks old and not sleeping more than 3 hours at night and wasn’t taking naps during the day or only if we went on a walk or car. I finally found your site and the “schedule ” two days ago and started to put him in his room during his naps instead of staying in the living room but he is not sleeping more than 30-35 minutes. What can I do to make him sleep longer ? And also is it normal he is not sleeping at night ? I give him a bath around 5:30-6:00pm, he falls asleep at 7:00pm and sleeps until 10:00pm. Wakes up at 1:00am-4:00am and after that every hours until 8:00am. Any suggestions on how I can make him sleep longer at night or at least after 5:00am.. We do breasmilk and formula. We usually do formula at night. Thanks

    • Marie, I think you’ve started down a good path! Firstly, make sure you’re not making any of these sleeping mistakes. Especially the ones about making the nursery a sleep happy place. Then start working through the Sleep Shuffle at night. Once you’ve got his nighttime sleep more stable, we can work on the napping issue. Try those things, and then let me know if we need another plan. :-)

  31. I have an 10 wk old who was doing really well with night sleep, 5-6hrs at the start, and has since gone backwards. She is now waking every 3hrs or less. We feed her a bottle around 7pm and she takes 4-5oz so I know she is full. My husband puts her down when she is done eating, sometimes still a little awake, and she will settle herself to sleep. She wakes up every 3hrs or so and cries out. I always go to her and try to nurse her but it seems she isn’t always that hungry and is back to sleep in 5 min or so sometimes. Is she just toying with me and not really hungry every time? Should I try not to feed her everytime she wakes? Thanks!

    • Grace – that age is notorious for growth spurts (which ruin all your good previous efforts!) I would start working through the Sleep Shuffle at night to get her used to going to sleep without being nursed. Give that a try for 4-5 days and then let me know if we need to adjust!

  32. Heather,
    I have a 10 week old. He struggled with acid reflux but it’s now under control. He is feeding around the clock every 3-3.5 hours. With the exception that usually once at night (early evening like 7ish) he will have a 4.5-5 hour time between feeds. He wakes for the day between 6:30-7 am and feeds around 9 am. I try to follow the eat play sleep model but in the am he needs his medicine 30 minutes before his feed at minimum. During the day I’m placing him in his swing to nap…. Night time he’s in his crib. I’m worried I’m creating a monster by not having him nap in his crib…and not helping him learn that night is sleep time…..
    How can I extend his feeds at night? What should I do about napping during the day? Do I wake him if he naps longer than 2 hours during the day?
    I feel lost and beyond exhausted. Any recommendations are really appreciated.

    • Lisa, if you’re worried about the swing napping, I would take the morning nap (which is usually the easiest) and try putting him in the crib for that one and see how it goes. Just for a few days. As for the sleeping, it’s very normal for him to feed every 3-3.5 hours during the day. At night, I would go in and just sit with him and see if you can get him to fall asleep without feeding at all. He’s right at the cusp between being able to make it all night, and needing to eat. If he’s not finishing his bottle (or the nursing time) during the night, it could be that he’s waking out of habit and it’s time to start the Sleep Shuffle.

      Btw, just a little “Secret Heads Up”: I’m working on a webinar that is a “nap training know-how” lesson I’ll do on the phone with whoever is interested. I haven’t even named it yet, but I’m working on the outline and everything, and thought mentioning it may be helpful. So watch for an announcement on this napping webinar soon. :-) The webinar will be later this month.

  33. Heather, my third daughter just turned eight weeks and I am having a hard time getting her to sleep during the day and at night. I sleep trained my other daughter but this baby is harder for a number of reasons. I have two other daughters who are just so excited to have a little sister…I think they are over stimulating her when they are home. Naps sometimes happen but often they are short since she still startles and either gas or her sticky boogers wake her. I am running a fan and a humidifier in the room and she has a mobile that used to turn on lay her under and walk out…she used to take naps like a champ. Nights are are tough too. She usually has a meltdown and a fitful nursing session after a bath and getting a massage. I try and put her down between 730 and 830….sometimes she will go down and sleep til 12 or130 am. Then she is up again around 4 or 530 and then usually sleeps til 8/830. But many times she isbgruntingband groaning and restless most of the night. I have given her gas drops but she is in a bassinet next to my bed. Am I jumping up to get her to early? I have seen her sleep soundly in her car seat. We could have a war and she wouldn’t wake up. We are on holiday break right now. Will this get better in a few weeks? When my other two go back to school will she nap? I feel like I have no idea whAt I am doing even though this is my third one…

    • Jamie! A fellow three-daughters mother! *highfive* Is your husband as terrified about puberty as mine? hehehe Honestly, that third baby totally kicked my butt. It was a toughie for sure. Have you seen my shameful shoplifting story? You may find it encouraging. :-) Isabella would be nearly inconsolable from 7-8:30, crying and crying. I think it had a lot to do from disrupted sleep during the day. We called it “the witching hour”. Getting her to bed was a challenge for several months until she got older and we got into a better daily swing.

      Here are some thoughts: 1. Do you have a noisemaker in the nursery/sleeping area? That may help with “Excited sisters”.

      2. You may want to keep a food log. It sounds like she’s reacting to something and her tummy is upset. Or you could cut out dairy for a few weeks and see if you notice a change. Have you tried gripe water? I think if we can solve her upset tummy her sleeping would improve. Does she seem constipated?

      3. You may want to consider moving her to the crib soon. I found that around 8 weeks I would accidentally wake the girls as they went through their sleep cycles. They would start to go through the “partial awakening” part of the cycle, and I would jump the gun and think “she’s up and ready to eat”. I’m a light sleeper, so we found moving them helped with the wake ups, since I wasn’t there to pounce. Something to try!

      I know what you mean about “not knowing what you’re doing even though this is your third”. My kids are 3 years apart, and everytime I had another one I had to relearn everything again. In fact, that’s how I started writing online back in 2007 – I had just had my 2nd and was trying to relearn everything again! :-)

  34. Hi Heather, Happy New Year! My 11 week old baby has begun sleeping well – she goes down at 7:00pm, up at 3:00am, and then goes back down until about 6am. In your opinion, when do you think we should be dropping the 3:00am feeding? Is she old enough? She’s got good weight on her; about 14 pounds, so I don’t think she needs the calories. How would you recommend us to wean her off that early morning feed? I go back to work in 2 weeks, and would love to be able to drop the 3am!
    Thank you!

  35. My baby is just turning 3 months old. She was doing somewhat good sleeping and that changed over night! She was getting a bath 630-7 ish. Bottle after then bed about 730-8 ish. Get a bottle at 11 before we went to bed and sleep on and off till 530-6 ish. Two days ago she went to sleep and woke up at 9 pm and hasn’t been regular since. She’s super fussy and won’t go back to sleep for more than an hour or so at night. Has anyone ever delt with this kind of change?? I know she has been teething and i gave her Tylenol before bed also. I don’t know what else to do I feel like I’m going to lose my mind! It was hard enough to get her on somewhat a schedule and now this! Please help FTM!!!!! :-/

    • Sarah, this is prime “growth spurt” time. This will get better, but it’s a pain in the tushie to get through. First of all, make sure she is completely done eating. It’s very common for babies going through a growth spurt to eat more than normal. Just in case it’s teething, have you tried these other home remedies? Finally, I would start working through the Sleep Shuffle when she wakes up at 9pm, soothing her without picking her up and getting her to go back to sleep on her own. It may take a while, but it’s definitely something to work towards! Try that and let me know if we need to brainstorm a new plan. :-)

  36. Hi
    Thanks for the article and I love reading all the posts and your response. So, my 10 week old was sleeping consistently from 7p-2/3 am then right back to bed and up around 5-6 for feed and then up for day around 7/8am. Now…..he will go down around 8 pm (with lots of help) and up at midnight. I have tried not taking him out of crib and using acifier but he seems to really want to feed. The real problem is from then on, he will not go down! He may sleep in crib for 15 min but wakes up super agitated, the only thing to keep him asleep is if he’s on my chest. I don’t want to start a bad habit but it’s the only way for both of us to get any good sleep.
    He naps for about 30-45 in a.m. About an hour around noon (on our walk) and afternoon nap just depends…….
    Thnks for your advice
    K

    • Kim, I’m wondering if he’s getting overtired. Have you tried putting him down for a morning nap around 9-10am? See if you can catch him earlier in the day for a nap. It sounds like he’s getting too tired at night, and so is having a hard time falling back asleep. Try the earlier nap, and space out two other naps in the early afternoon and then around 4:30. That may help you with the midnight issue. If that doesn’t work, let me know and we’ll go to Plan B. :-)

  37. Came across your website while looking for some sleep solutions for my 8 week old daughter. We are having a terrible time getting her down in the evenings. She doesn’t have a schedule during the day and likes to be put to sleep in my arms with me patting her butt when ever she’s tired. I have watched and she does get tired around an hour after she’s awake. As soon as she starts yawning I try to take her to her room and get her sleeping then put her down. Or prob is that she will only stay asleep for a few min then cry. Ill let her cry for 10 min go soothe her then lay her back down, she sleeps a few min then the process is repeated until its time to feed her again. Needless to say she’s napping very little during the day which by 6 or 7 she’s super tired. I at a loss at when to put her down for the night. She’s gone 6 hour stretches before at night but not consecutively. I’m thinking earlier like 7 or 730 because she gets over tired at that point and it takes me at time 3 hours to get her to bed because she’s waking every 10 min wanting me to put her back to sleep. I only swaddle her at night and am wondering if it would help during the day although since she doesn’t take a paci she likes to suck on her hand at points. We use a good sound machine for all sleeping times. I know there’s multiple problems we need to work on I just don’t know where to start. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for all your tips and advice. :)

    • Sarah, the good news is that she sounds very much like an 8 week old. :-) I think you’re instincts are perfect about the naps. I would make sure she’s completely finished eating before you let her sleep. Keep her awake throughout the entire feeding so you are confident she’s done eating, and not just falling asleep. Strip her down to a diaper and wrap her in a blanket, blow gently on her face, use a warm washcloth…anything to keep her awake until she’s finished eating. I think a swaddle is a good idea for naps. Start with those two things: make sure she’s completely full, and not snoozing at the breast, and swaddle her for naps. Then let me know how that goes and if you see any changes. Then we’ll come up with the next step. Hang in there, Sarah, things will get better!

  38. Hi there- I really like your schedule and started to try it… but it didn’t work :(
    My baby is 8 weeks old and just cannot stay up that long after feedings. I’ve tried so hard but she gets to fussy and basically begs to go back to sleep after about 15-20 min (if that) of play time. She does a great job at first- kicks, does tummy time, bats at toys on her playmat, etc… but it doesn’t last very long. I’ve tried the swing (HATES it), walking her around in her stroller inside (it was -15 degrees outside today), and anything besides just playing, singing, talking etc. She’s just wanting to sleep more. She eats every three hours- and usually is back down to sleep after an hour to an hour and a half- including feeding, changing, playing. She doesn’t sleep a long time (maybe an hour to an hour 1/2, but takes more than three naps. Nights are getting better- but not ideal- she can be very fussy from 9-11ish- won’t go down unless she’s already asleep- and tends to wake right up after we put her in her bassinet- crying. Once she’s down, she goes from 11 to 2 and then 3 to 6:30ish… She was born at 38 weeks so I was full-term, but she was very little- 4 lbs 11 ounces. She’s now 8 lbs, but I know that is still little for an 8 week old. Would this be normal? Any suggestions for keeping her up longer during the day? I’m just not into letting her cry if she really just wants to sleep! Thanks for the input!

    • Sarah, since she was on the cusp of premature and so tiny, I would assume that she’s 2-3 weeks younger than she really is. So instead of being 8 weeks old, she’s really only 6 weeks. This way you won’t have expectations and assumptions she physically can’t fulfill. Using that new adjusted age of 6 weeks, your description makes total sense. I would use these suggestions for newborns instead for the next 4 weeks, and when she’s 10 weeks (really 12 weeks) then start using the schedule in this article. Try that and see if it helps!

  39. This is fantastic advice for new moms! I am a big believer in baby”routines” aka schedules. I found that putting the baby down sleepy but not asleep was one of the best tips for helping my babies to sleep through the night. It is amazing how putting the baby down for his last feeding at midnight when about 6 weeks old or so and getting that longer stretch of sleep, eventually to 6 am really works. As you say, as the the baby gets older he can be put down a bit early as the weeks go by. This can have your baby sleeping from 7 pm til 6 am and mom feeling great too! Terrific advice in a terrific format.

  40. Hi! As a new mom would live your thoughts. My 9 week old son is a great daytime napper (averages 1.5 hrs) and overall very happy baby, but since birth has rarely slept over 2 hours at night without waking. He is exclusively BF and is feeding every three hours so is not waking because he is hungry. He is on a flexible routine (eat, activity, sleep) and naps every 1-2 hrs when I see the cues, but would love any advice on why he may be waking so frequently at night and if you have any advice for extending his nighttime intervals. We put him down when drowsy but awake for naps and bedtime and he sleeps in his crib- so hopefully off to a good start- but a bit worried that we aren’t seeing improvements on the length of his nighttime wakings. Thank you!

    • It sounds like you are off to a great start Sarah! I would slowly start to try the Sleep Shuffle.. Normally I recommend waiting a few more weeks, but if you think he’s ready, it doesn’t hurt to try. He’s right on the cusp, but at 9 weeks he definitely able to go more than 2 hours at night without waking.

  41. thank you so much for this blog! it has helped tremendously! my son is 12 weeks and won’t sleep unless he’s rocked or nursed. the moment he touches the sheet he’s up and fussing. we’ve tried a pack and play in our room to a co sleeper next to the bed but as we go through the night he ends up sleeping with us in bed. He likes to be on his side next to me. for the last couple of days he has been waking every hour and wanting to nurse. we’ve tried shhhing him back to sleep but he starts the rooting and gumming my husband like a toothless TRex. I read about the other moms that have their babies sleeping through the night or for more than 5 hours at a time and all i can do is pray that this too shall pass. help! Please?

    • I’m so thankful to hear that Jessica! I don’t think he’s hungry when he wakes, unless he’s teething or sick, that little guy is very able to sleep all night without waking. My guess is that he’s stuck in the “partial wakening” part of the sleep cycle, and hasn’t learned how to get past it without sucking. The little man will need to learn how to self-soothe, or it’s going to be a rough few months. The good news is that there is a way to gently teach this.

      1. You can certainly continue to co-sleep if you wish, but I’ve found parents and babies past a certain age sleep better if they’re not waking each other up all night. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, but I wanted to mention it anyway. If you choose to start putting him in a crib, here are some suggestions on how to adjust the crib safely to meet his sleeping preferences. For example, I show how to make the “U” shape with a towel, I would just adjust that to a line under the crib sheet, so he’s propped up on his side a little. (Does that make sense?)

      2. This is a great time to start the Sleep Shuffle with him. It’s a gentle way of helping him to learn to self-soothe past that hiccup in his sleeping cycle. You provide your presence, voice, and occasional touch to comfort him as he learns how to get over that bump and fall back asleep on his own.

      Try these things, Jessica, and let me know how it goes! This doesn’t have to be forever. You can make small steps that can make a big difference later on. :-)

  42. we started a variation of the sleep shuffle last night. we are in a one bedroom apartment at the moment and so he is sleeping in our room next to our bed in one of those cosleeping bassinet things. I have banned him from our bed except for his before bed meal and the middle of the night feeding if absolutely needed. last night went ok for the most part. i laid him down at 830, he cried, i shhhed, he passed out. Until 11 he cried i shhhhed he past out. Then 2 am hit. 40 mins of the crying/shhhing wasn’t working out so I did a hunger test and he latched and ate for 30 mins. then he slept until 6am. yay!! Oh the small victories. Here’s to attempting naps today. His morning nap didn’t really happen. I put him down sleepy and he woke up instantly. How long should I do the shhhing? if he’s fussing the whole 1.5 hours like he did, do we just call it quits and skip that nap in order to try and keep the other naps on track? We should be allowed to hibernate in order to prepare for the sleep deprivation.

  43. Hi there!

    I have really enjoyed reading your site! You are very good at breaking things done and making these puzzles of little creatures make a bit more sense, so thank you :)
    But I’m having some new sleeping problems that I am wondering if you could help me troubleshoot!!

    So my baby is now just about 12 weeks(next Tuesday)…when we first brought baby home baby was sleeping through the night…(wowee)…then in the past few weeks or so he started to get up once typically around 4am in which I would feed him. My little guy has not always been the best napper so the other day I up and decided that he needed to get on a better routine that included an earlier bed time (from 9 to 7:30) consistent napping (2-3/day) in hopes that he would start sleeping through the night and not require that 1 feed…so I turned to the Baby Whisperer book and tried the dream feed…well let’s just say all that is going through my head now is “what did I do!?!?!?”. His sleep has now been a mess getting up every 1-2 hours!!! So last night I eliminated the dream feed and did what we normally do. his naps have been abit better…last night I got him to bed at 8 :30 as we were unable to get home for the 7:30 mark. So I fed him then put him to sleep around 8:30…he woke up at 1am…we tried to calm him but he wouldnt…so I fed him…really confused as im hoping I’m not developing new habits…overall my little guy falls asleep well on his own when he is calmed for bedtime…naps are getting a wee bit better but now he’s waking up more in the night…I did finally get a noisemaker that doesn’t shut off which is a godsend…any ideas!? Could he be going through his growth spurt early!? Is he getting confused!?

    • Wow Kylie! That’s really interesting about the dreamfeed…never heard of that response. Your baby is an original! :-) Just a good reminder that every baby is a unique little person with unique tastes and preferences!

      My advice is to “survive” during the day, doing your best to get him to nap however you can, and concentrate on his nighttime sleep first. At 12 weeks, (assuming he wasn’t a preemie) he should be good to go all night without feeding. Have you seen my article on the Sleep Shuffle? I would start going through those steps at night as best as you can. Give it a solid 4-5 days and see if anything improves. My guess is that he could be a little confused or perhaps gotten into the wrong sort of rhythm. The Shuffle will help you gently correct those.

      As for napping, I’m going to be teaching a webinar on that topic in a few weeks. You may find it helpful. You can sign up for me to email you when registration begins inside this article on stress relief. (Good sleep is a big help with stress relief!!)

      BTW, way to go on “ditching the book” and going with your gut. As much advice as people can give, it’s no substitute for the “on the ground” knowledge of parents and child!

  44. Hi, my DD is 6 weeks but her sleep patterns have really changed. She only sleeps well between 1pm and 7pm, i give her a bath around this time as well as a massage but she will only sleep for 30 minute intervals until 2am when she will sleep for 4 hours then wake up to feed. She also wiggles, moans and grunts herself awake when i put her down.

    • I would try to do something called a cluster feeding between 5 and 7 and see if that helps. Feed her at 5pm, then again at 6:30 or 7pm, and then again at 8:30 or 9, and then let her go and see how long she sleeps. Also, I would make sure she’s not napping for more than 3 hours during the day, otherwise she’ll have a hard time sleeping for you at night. Give those things a try and see what happens. :-)

  45. Adam and Njeri Gould says:

    Heather – Our daughter is between 12-13 weeks. We have been trying to put her down between 6:30 and 8 for the last week or so. The best we have had is an 8-10 sleep, so two hours and then she is up until between 1 AM and 2 AM. We give her a bath, quiet down, create a calm, dark, quiet environment with a white noise machine, shush, we lay her down drowsy (and asleep after drowsy doesn’t work), we sing gently. She won’t sleep. When she does finally, it is only for about 4-5 hours and she wakes up to feed then goes back down for 1 1/2 to 3 hours for a total of 5 1/2 to 8 hours. Napping has been okay the last couple of days a total of 2-3 hours throughout the day (before she was only doing 1-2 hours. She is breastfed. It feels like our whole day is centered around getting her to sleep. We walk her for hours, after laying with her trying to soothe her with massage and shushing and then her becoming inconsolable. The room we do her naps and nighttime in has blackout curtains and is quite dark. There is a nightlight so we can see what we are doing. At nap times we draw all of the curtains in the house and shut off lights. We don’t know what to do at this point. We are exhausted as she hasn’t been a good sleeper since the beginning. Any advice?

    • Adam & Njeri, I know that it feels frustrating that your whole day is centered around getting her to sleep, but you’re doing a great job as a parent. She is still REALLY little, so be patient and hang in there. I would start keeping a log of how she goes through the day – to see if there are any patterns. Use the “Schedule” above as a suggestion on when to look for her cues, then write down what happens so you can see if they are lining up with what she’s showing you. Sounds like napping is doing really well, which should be encouraging! As a breastfed baby, she may need to be up a few times at night to fill that tummy. When you do get up with her at night, work hard to not stimulate her as much as you can. See if you can skip a diaper change (unless she has a bad diaper rash or is about to burst), and don’t talk or anything. Just rock and feed, then burp her while she starts getting sleepy.

      If she gets really fussy and moves into that inconsolable stage when you put her down, go ahead and hold her for a while until you get her to sleep. This age is tricky, because every baby is different and some babies just need a longer time of cuddling before they’re ready to start the Sleep Shuffle. Hang in there. I would work on helping her get in a complete feeding before bedtime. No breastfeeding to sleep if you can all help it. Help her stay awake during the breastfeeding, then do whatever you need to do to help her sleep. Then we can move to the next stage as she gets older and stronger. Things will improve!

  46. Hi Heather! Thank you again for all the advice! We have been doing better sleeping longer at night however getting to sleep is a monster. My son is now 3 months and will nurse before bed. After he’s been nursing awhile, I will notice him start to get really sleepy so I make sure he isn’t sucking anymore, try to burp him, and then try to put him in bed. (We found out he is a tummy sleeper and since he’s doing great at picking up his head and turning it to both sides, I’m ok placing him on his tummy to sleep.) When I put him to bed he falls asleep for a nanosecond then wakes up full force. He will kick and scream and do the angry fussing. He isn’t crying so i know he’s just fussing. So i will try to shhhs him and get him to calm down but nothing seems to work. 15 mins later it’s obvious he isn’t going to sleep so I will pick him up and he will immediately go for my chest (or my husband’s) So i will let him nurse again and he will for another 15 mins and then go down after another 15 min battle of shhshing and back patting. I don’t know if i’m doing something wrong of if we are messing up allowing him to sleep in our bedroom. But I only see things getting worse before they get better.

    Also we are due to move within the next month. We are in Alaska and the military is moving back down south. It is a 2 week drive and 3 day boat ride. the co sleeper we have will be with us the entire time but i’m worried about his sleeping and napping since we will be spending a good chunk of the day in the vehicle. Any advice?

    • Firstly, Jessica, a giant thanks and hug for being a military family. I’m personally very thankful for your service and sacrifice.

      Okay, something to try: when he starts showing signs of getting sleepy while you’re nursing him, don’t let him fall asleep. Keep him awake during the entire nursing session. You need to be able to tell that he’s completely full – and since he’s waking up so quickly and nursing again, it looks like he’s not finished. Strip him down to a diaper and wrap him with a blanket, dab his cheeks with a warm washcloth, blow gently on his face….anything to keep him awake during the nursing session. Then after he’s finished eating, rock and burp him and try putting him down again.

      The best advice I can give in “napping on the go” is to make sure you have a baby blanket or something you can put over the top of the car seat to help block out some of the light and commotion. You’ll have to try it though, some babies love it, some babies just get mad they can’t see all the action. You may find your baby will sleep better in the car – do the motion.

      As a rule, however, I would throw out all the books and do whatever you have to do (include nursing to sleep) to help him sleep. You can always work on it again when you get settled. Think “survival”, and then don’t beat yourself up. :-)

  47. Hi Heather,

    I just started following your schedule for my 10 week old twins this week and it has been awesome for the daytimes!! This was my first week alone with them and I knew I had to implement a sync’d schedule or I would go crazy. Anyway they are responding really well to it in the daytime and are able to go down for a nap sleepy but not asleep every time as I’m paying close attention to their cues. But…for night times it is not going so well. They used to be able to do at least one long stretch in the night. Now it’s been 10pm, 2am and 5am!!! feeds for a couple days. They used to sleep to 6 or 7 am. The 5am feed is killing me. If I sync them (which is logistically hard) it takes 1.5hrs. If I do them back to back (in the scenario where one baby wakes first), it takes 2.5hrs. This includes 30 min pumping afterward and no diaper changes. Obviously doing this at 2am and 5am is killing me!! Any advice?? Help!

    Thx, Claire

    • Yikes Claire! That’s not what we want!! In this case, Claire, I would perform a test. Go back and do whatever you were doing before for a few days. Then see if that affects their nighttime sleep. (Yes, I’m suggesting you ditch the schedule!) You’ve got to fix the nighttime sleep, or you’ll go batty. We can always work out a daily rhythm later…but you need your sleep! What do you think of that idea? Think it may work?

      You have to walk a delicate line and make sure they’re not over-tired and not NOT tired at the same time. Make sure they’re A) not sleeping longer than 2.5 hours at any nap and B) not sleeping shorter than 45 minutes for any nap. You’ll need them to be ready to sleep at night, but not overtired…it’s a delicate line to walk!

      If they continue to wake at 5am for that last feeding, try to slip in and do a dream feed. Go in just before they normally wake and feed them in the dark. No talking, no diaper changes (unless it’s an emergency), no lights…you want them to sleep right through the feeding. Then put them down again to sleep. The hope here is that they will get over that after two days of this, they will sleep right over the 5am feeding hump and you’ll break that habit. The danger, of course, is that if they do get stimulated at 4:45…you’re day has started.

      If that happens, move everything up. Start looking for sleepy cues at 6-6:30 for the first nap. (And then you also crash!) Does that help at all?

  48. Hi Heather,
    I stumbled across your blog searching for an answer to getting my 11 week old son back to sleep in the middle of the night. My kiddo is on the EASY schedule (Eat-Activity-Sleep-You time). He does very well. Naps are usually 1 1/2 hours 2-3 times/day with a couple of short catnaps thrown in, to keep me honest. I learned with my first son to ALWAYS put him down while he is still awake, so I have done this since bringing him home from the hospital. He can easily put himself to sleep for naps and at bedtime. He eats every 3 hours during the day. Unfortunately, he continues this lovely schedule throughout the night. For the 1am feeding, he barely takes an ounce or two. I assumed that he is just habitually waking and doesn’t need this feed. I attempted to try the “wake to sleep” method but only managed to be successful in the “wake” part. :( I attempted this for approximately a week. I am able to get him to calm down without picking him up or feeding him but the little guy just won’t go back to sleep and stay asleep. He will sleep for approximately 15 minutes then we start the whole routine over again. This goes on until it is time for the next feeding around 4am. After the 4am feeding, he goes back to sleep immediately. Do you have any suggestions? I have found that putting a pacifier in his mouth is the easiest way to soothe him (he is swaddled) but am hesitant because I don’t want him relying on a sleep prop. Other background info, he is combo breastfed/formula fed and weighs almost 14 lbs. Big, healthy baby that has slept in his crib since the first day. I have read a stack of books on different methods but can’t seem to find the “answer” to this lingering problem. Thank you for taking the time to read over my post. I look forward to your reply…I’m sure I’ll still be awake.

    • Ashley, I can see your dilemma! Ugh! The first thing that popped in my head is to use that pacifier and don’t feel guilty! :-) He needs to suck on something, and the pacifier allows him to do that. (Plus pacifiers have been linked to reducing SIDS risk, which is a definite bonus!) So pop that thing in and don’t worry about a sleeping crutch. A sleep crutch would be him requiring you to nurse him or he can’t fall asleep. The pacifier is a sleeping aid, and you can use it guilt-free.

      At 11 weeks I’m not too surprised that he’s still eating every 3 hours through the night, some babies take longer to drop those middle-of-the-night feedings. I would still give him that 1 am feeding for a few more weeks. Then try to drop that feeding. I would be more confident on the “doesn’t need that feeding” if he were just a tad bit older. It’s very tough to tell at this age.

      Is it possible for you to hold off on dropping that feeding for a few more weeks? If you feed him at 1am will he fall back asleep right away? Or will he do the whole every-15-minute thing regardless whether you fed him or not?

  49. Oh my goodness! Thank you for such a speedy reply! I really appreciate your time and expertise.

    I tried something a little different last night with pretty good results. (this was before getting your response) I put Sawyer to bed at 730. He went down without any problems. I had been going in to his room to do a dream feed at around 10-1030, but read somewhere that this could perhaps disrupt his sleep cycle. So, last night, I skipped the dream feed and I knew that he would be hungry when he woke up. Well, he woke up at 1230 and seemed to be hungry. He took about 5 ozs and went straight back to bed. He then awoke at 445. I fed him but it was somewhat of a struggle… taking only a few ounces. He then went right back to sleep and stayed asleep until 830. Overall, I’m satisfied with that. I’m a night owl anyway, so 1230 works great for me. :)

    As for your questions, Yes, he will fall back asleep almost immediately if I feed him. The 4am feed used to give me a little grief because it would take him about 30 minutes to really settle back down… but since stretching out the feeding times, he goes right back to sleep.

    Thank you again! I really appreciate all of your time.

  50. I need help! My baby just hit two months. He’s been eating every 3-4 hours exclusively breastfed. He will nap consistently in between feedings. He has always woken around 3am to feed. In the past two weeks he has been waking at 3am usually feeding for half the time he does in the day before falling asleep. When I put him back down he has been waking every 1.5 hours! Am I doing something wrong?!

    • Danielle, you’re doing everything perfectly. There is usually a growth spurt around 6 to 8 weeks, that can really screw everything up! He will get hungry more often, triggering some tough nights! .

      When he wakes, try really really hard to get him to get in a full feeding. If he only snacks a little and falls asleep, he’ll be hungry again in no time. Don’t let him suck for 5 minutes and then snooze, and you put him to bed because you’re so tired, you’re hoping “that’s it”. (I was always guilty of that!) Try to keep him just awake enough to completely fill up, but not TOO awake that he won’t go back to sleep. Gentle strokes on the cheek or the bottom of his feet can help you keep that balance. It sounds like he’s not getting completely full (and add that to a possible growth spurt) to help him fall asleep for the next 3-4 hours. See if you can get him to feed just a few minutes more than he did the night before, etc. and then build on that. Right back if that doesn’t make sense!

  51. I have a 9 week old breastfeeding infant. I believe she is suffering from colic/reflux. Besides the fussiness she sleeps well during the day. Unfortunately anywhere between the times of 8p-11p she likes to wake up and after being fed wants to stay up until 1-3am. I return to work in a little over 3 weeks. My work schedule is 7am-7pm 3x a week. Is there anything I can do to avoid that huge gap of her being so wired? Also she is very picky where she sleeps. She hates the napper in the play yard. She used to sleep in the bouncer thing now she hates it and she currently only sleeps propped on her boppy pillow and 90% of the time on my chest. Is there something else I can find her to sleep on? Is there something I can do to break her out of sleeping on me or is it too late? I just found this site today and I just want to say you guys are so comforting. I catch a lot of heat for her crying and am constantly being told that at 2 months I have spoiled her and no one is going to want to babysit her when I go back to work and you guys give me hope.

    • Teyana, I’m so glad you’ve been encouraged! Nine weeks is very little, so I wouldn’t try to structure her day TOO much, use the times aboveas guidelines that can help you catch her sleepy cues a little easier. I’m not sure if you’ve seen this, but you could try some of these crib tricks to introduce her to the crib. Also, you may want to have a few “playtimes” in the crib, where you lay her down and then play with her, while she’s inside the crib for 10-15 minutes in the morning and 10-15 minutes in the afternoon. This will help her to learn the crib is a happy place! :-)

      It’s not too late! You’re doing exactly what you need to be doing at 9 weeks, don’t worry. (hugs!) Try some of those crib tricks for a few days. You can also start working on putting her down to sleep “sleepy but not sleeping” and singing and rubbing her and soothing her while she falls asleep. Also, I would wake her if any naps go over 3 hours. If she sleeps too long in the day, she won’t be reday to go to bed at night. The one exception is the putting to bed at 8pm isn’t considered a “nap”, so you can let her sleep as long as she can after that. Perhaps going in to feed her before she wakes up, at 10:30 and then letting her sleep through the feeding (no lights, talking, unnecessary diaper changes) may help her break that 11pm habit. Hope that can help!

  52. Hello,
    My son is almost 12 weeks old and has lots of trouble napping during the day sometimes it’s 30mins twice a day but a week ago he was doing 1-2 hours three times a day… I can go on and on about what he does and doesn’t do, but at the end of the day my son will do what he wants that day! No child is the same. Some sleep more, eat more, are crankier and some are the opposite! And yes some methods work for “most” babies “some” of the time, but instead of trying that method and wasting time, read your baby and his needs. Little by little you will know exactly what he needs to be able to sleep For a long nap, or the night! Anything can be posted online and by anyone (no offense to this blogger), if its serious ask a doctor, don’t google it! Lastly, the only thing necessary for ftm’s to remember is that your needs are important too! If you are trying your best with your child, but he doesn’t follow “this schedule” or “that book” or the other lady’s child’s routine, don’t worry or drive yourself crazy, you are doing a great job and all u need is patience! Once a week treat yourself to a few hours or if lucky, the whole day of relaxation, because you deserve it and need to take care of yourself! Children are a blessing but good parents are too! Trust your instinct and intuition, it’s going to be okay :)

    • Roxy, this is definitely a great reminder! (No offense taken. :-) ) Every baby is unique, it’s my hope that parents can see these as suggestions to consider and use (or reject) as they see fit. A wonderful comment, thank you so much for sharing it. Parents need to hear other parents give such encouraging words. Thanks so much for taking the time to post it!

  53. Hi there, thanks for the tips and encouragement. My baby is 12 weeks, and we started working on sleep last week when he outgrew/fought his swaddle, so we got rid of it and have him in a sleep sack. He was having a lot of trouble falling asleep, and that was when it became apparent that I was inadvertently feeding him to sleep and he didn’t actually know how to do it himself. He also started waking every 2 hours at night, although he used to sleep 5-6 straight. He’s a big guy and seems to have the reserves to not need food at night, we really think its more of a comfort/emotional habit to wake up.

    So after his bedtime routine (bath, diaper change, pajamas, story, feed, lights out), we started putting him in the crib “drowsy but awake”. We also started doing this for naps (three naps a day, at least two at home in the crib). For about a week, we used the “put-down-pick-up” method, where you pick up the baby whenever he’s crying and put him down once he’s calm – but it seemed like he would just get angrier whenever we picked him up and take longer to calm down. Finally two nights ago we decided to go “all in” and not pick him up; instead we check on him every 3-5 minutes as he falls asleep to reassure him. The first time it took 39 minutes, the second time only 17, and last night he fell asleep after 8 minutes and slept from 8:20-4:00AM! We’re excited by the progress and plan to keep going, but have two issues:

    #1: He doesn’t stay asleep for naps. He wakes after about 40 minutes and is very fussy (probably still tired?) If we get him up, he will be fussy/tired again after about an hour. But if we try to get him back to sleep, he continues crying for pretty long (what good is a 1.5 hour nap if he cried for half of it?) While he’s improving on the initial falling asleep, any advice for getting a waking baby back to sleep?
    #2: He’s been very fussy during waking hours. He has always been a very easy, smiley baby, but now he’s often waking up grumpy. Could he be overtired from the short naps? Could he be annoyed with us for the whole sleep training thing? Should we take his change in temperment as a bad sign, or plow on as we’ve been doing? I think I’ve heard him cry more this week than in the past 12 weeks combined, so it’s hard not to think we’re doing something wrong….

    Thanks for all the ongoing posts, and good luck to everyone out there! Last night was my first night sleeping for 8 hours since July and it was AMAZING, so hang in there!

    • First of all Kristen – you are ROCKING the parent thing! Way to go on trusting your instincts and your knowledge of your son to help problem-solve. That’s just great. :-)

      #1. There is typically a partial awakening period of the sleep cycle around that time. So it sounds like he’s partially waking, but not going back to sleep. Don’t go in right away, but give him a minute or two to settle back down. If it’s obvious he’s NOT going to settle back, go in and see if you can soothe him back to sleep, without picking him up if you can. If it’s been an hour and he hasn’t fallen asleep, leave the room for a minute (I’d count to make sure), and then go in all smiles “Nap is over!” and then get him up for the day. This makes a distinction that naps are over when mommy decides. Then watch him closely for his next nap window (which could be within 45 minutes).

      #2. My guess is that you may be missing his napping window, since he’s catnapping, and so he’s overtired. For now, I would ditch the routine and just watch him like a hawk after the catnap. Then pounce on that yawner and get him tucked in ASAP, no matter what time it is. Then after a good long nap, you can adjust the routine from there.

      FYI, I’m going to be teaching a webinar on napping, if this is something you think would be helpful, I’ll be discussing the catnapper, and all sorts of other things. If you’re not already, subscribe to my website and I’ll send out a notification when the registration doors open! (I’m really excited about it! It’s going to be informative and entertaining at the same time!)

      So glad that you got some sleep last night! Praying it continues for months and months! :-)

  54. Hello Heather! I absolutely love your website. I’m certain that you’re the reason my 10 week old son is such an excellent sleeper!

    I’ve followed a lot of your advice up to this point – dark room, white noise, bedtime routine, he’s never nursed to sleep, etc. He is a great sleeper when it’s night – he typically sleeps 6-7 hours at a stretch the first time, nurses and then will go down for another 3-4. One day a week he’ll have a rough night where he’ll wake 4-5 times, but it’s very rare now.

    The problem I’ve encountered are his naps. Although he goes to sleep easily once I put him in his dark room with white noise and a sleep sack and I shush pat him for a few minutes (I always leave the room when he’s drowsy but awake). He continuously wakes 20-45 minutes into almost every nap of the day, with the exception of maybe one nap per day. He settles if I go in and shush pat for a few minutes, but my question is – what am I doing wrong? Why can he settle himself back to sleep at night, but not during the day? Is it possible that he may only need 3 hours of sleep per day and 10 hours at night? He seems to sleep best at night when he only sleeps 3-4 hours during the day versus the recommended 5, although he is much fussier up until bedtime.

    I must note that he also suffers from pretty severe reflux, but he is on medication for it.

    This is his schedule right now, give or take 30 minutes -

    6am wakeup – diaper, clothes, medication

    630am – nurse, lap time, mat/tummy time

    8am nap (usually 45 minutes)

    845 mat/tummy time, art

    930 nurse, read books

    1030 or 11 nap

    12 or 1230 wakeup – nurse, diaper, mat/tummy time, get ready to run errands

    Now this is where we have an issue – He usually naps for twenty minutes in his carseat or in the stroller while we’re out running errands (which can’t be prevented because I have things that need to be done), and then doesn’t sleep again until 330 or 4pm.

    3pm Nurse

    330-4pm Nap

    430-5pm Wakeup

    7pm begin bedtime routine – bath, infant massage, medication, nurse, sleep sack

    830pm bedtime

    • Yay Brooke! I’m so glad I’ve been helpful so far! That looks like a pretty good routine, well done! The afternoon nap is almost always the hardest nap of the day, so you’re in good company there. I would suggest this: try to see if you can combine your errands on certain days and then be home the other days. This way you can test and see if he shows any difference in napping and attitude between them.

      Secondly, I’m going to be teaching a webinar class on napping in the next week to 10 days *Fingers crossed* and catnapping is one of the things I’m going to be addressing, since it’s so common. You may want to subscribe so I can notify you (if you’re not already a subscriber) when registration opens for the class. I’m really looking forward to the talk, I think it will be really helpful. :-)

  55. Just wanted to say thank for all the tips in the past my daughter now almost 12 weeks is putting herself to sleep at nap times and bedtime fussiness has reduced. So thank you. My question is I’m stuggling with her napping during the day. She will only nap in 30 min periods like a timer on the dot. So she’s only up for about and hour before she starts getting tired again. I’m wondering what I can do to help her sleep longer. I have left her in there for longer times after she’s gotten up tosee if she’ll go back to sleep but by then she’s hungry. I’m feeding her every two hours I’ve tried stretching her a little during the day but she gets quite upset. At feelings sheseems to be quite full when she’s done. Lol I’m only feeding her twice at night like around 1 or 2 and then 4 or 5. She’s gone 11 hours one night with no food which is great so I know she can do it I’m just new to breastfeeding so don’t know how it works. Thanks for the tips.

    • Sarah, she’s very young, so some things are just going to need more time to get worked out. Be as patient as you can, getting rest any way you can squeeze it in. That said, I’m going to be teaching a webinar on napping called Napping Know-How: Learning to Coach Your Baby Towards Better Daytime Sleep. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, subscribe to the newsletter. I’m KILLING myself to get everything finished up, and I’m going to shove open the registration doors sometime tomorrow LORD WILLING. I’ve had some technical issues that have delayed everything, but I’m really pushing!

  56. Heather,
    I feel trapped by a schedule. I feel like I can never take my daughter (16 weeks) out of the house because I’m so afraid of missing her sleep cues or her missing a nap. For example, she eats at 9:30 and is done by 9:45 and then I have her sit upright (for the reflux) for 15-20 minutes (which I even shorten from the recommended 30-45 minutes because I take into consideration that she’ll be sitting upright in her carrier), by the time we get where we are going, say around 10:15, then we have 20-30 minutes before we need to leave so I get her back in time for her 11:00 nap.
    I think it’s important to get her out of the house and as she gets older I’ll want to take her out even more. Even when she gets older and can stay awake longer (2 hours), I wonder if I’ll still feel as trapped? Will it get easier? I also worry that I’m going to make her high strung from being in such a rigid schedule, instead of relaxed and easy going.
    When does it become possible for her to dictate when she naps instead of me doing it? I struggle with all of this because I want her to be happy and sometimes think that would be to let her do what comes natural for her.

    • Bridget, firstly thanks so much for subscribing, reading, and then writing me! I haven’t had my coffee yet, but it’s waiting for me, which is an emotional boost. :-)

      1. If you feel trapped by the schedule, ditch the entire thing. Go for a few weeks without it and test the waters. If she goes back to her previous sleeping schedule, and eats and sleeps well, there’s no need for it. Especially if it’s setting off your Mom Radar. You can always try a looser schedule later on (or not!). That said, it’s normal to feel trapped in the house with a baby. As she gets older and she’s napping less, you WILL have more freedom to do things, but until then things are going to be more home-based than usual. (I can still remember my first “afternoon out” after my youngest dropped her afternoon nap. It was surreal!) Sleep is just as important as nutrition in your baby’s growth and development. How you choose to give her that good sleep is up to you, but it is very important she gets it.

      Also, she should be dictating her naps now – not the clock. The clock is meant more as a “watch her for the signs of sleepiness”, and less as a checkbox to put her to bed, does that make sense?

      2. You are handling it just fine. If you want her to expand that time, try to do a dream feeding around 4:30 for a few days (it’s risky, since if you’re not careful she could stimulate completely awake). Sneak into the room and feed her (no talking, no changing, no lights, no nuthin’) then put her down again. The hope is she will sleep right through the feeding, and since her tummy is full, keep sleeping in.

      3. Regarding the swaddle, if you feel it’s not helpful, I would try leaving it off at night and testing to see what happens.

      4. See if you can’t re-create the feeling of the the lambie inside the crib – with a few well placed items and slanting the crib mattress. Have you seen this post on how to do that? I would try making that transition at night first, and then eventually little by little to naps. If you have a sound or vibrating thing on the lambie, do a day or two of sleeping in it without any of those noises/feelings, first. That way it won’t be such a huge difference (hopefully) from the crib.

  57. Hi Heather! Thankfully Google sent me your way — I’ve found this entry particularly useful for my 12 week (10 week, corrected for being born early) son. I was wondering if I could get your input on something.

    Following my son’s sleepy signs has led to nap problems this week. I finally gave up trying to force him to stay awake just a little bit longer after each nap and found that I had an extremely happy and well rested baby. Only this week, it’s seemingly backfired with extreme nap resistance and a bizarre schedule. He’s getting between 16-17 hours of sleep a day, I think.

    He sleeps from about 8pm to 7am (with some shushing and patting typically between 4-5:30am… when I tried starting the day around then, he didn’t really care for it), and then shows sleepy signs about an hour after getting up. Back to bed he goes, and he’ll go to sleep with minimal fuss (he’s started crying while getting into his swaddle sack, doesn’t want soothing from me, and calms in the crib for a few minutes before passing out) for 1-2.5 hours. Then he’s up again only for about an hour before glazed eyes/yawns and back down (again, with some fuss) for another hour or so. Then up for an hour, down for an hour. When he wakes up from this 3rd nap, he starts showing sleepy signs again about an hour later. But this nap is met with MUCH protesting… he looks like he’s tired, but then he screams. Yesterday we just went with it and he stayed up (happily) for about 2.5 hours. Then another nap from about 5-6:30/7pm (back to the normal fuss before this nap), bed around 8 or 8:30 when those sleepy signs show up.

    Is it OK for him to be up so long in the afternoons? Once we quit trying to force him to nap after those afternoon sleepy signs, he was a pretty happy kiddo. Should I try forcing him to stay up a little bit more between those earlier naps to try to spread this out? Other than the 4am wake-up, he’s pretty good at night. Or should I just roll with it for the inevitable next 2 weeks until he (likely) changes it all up again? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Laurel, since he’s still so little I would just go back to the “whatever works” side of things. The schedule above was meant as suggestions, but if your baby isn’t following those suggestions…well that’s just fine. Once he gets a bit older (16 weeks) you can start trying to move things around a bit – but you’re right about the “changes is up all again” comment. :-)

      The most consistent thing about babies at this age is that they are inconsistent. :-) Go back to whatever you were doing before, give it a few weeks, and then adjust again (if you feel it’s necessary or his nighttime sleep is being negatively affected). I hope this can help! Let me know if I can do anything else!

  58. Hi Heather – thanks for your reply! I’m getting better at recognized my baby’s tired signs (I realized that they’re easy to miss, as he goes from playing happily to fussy/overtired very quickly) and it seems about 2-2.25 hours is a good amount for him to be awake. He’s getting pretty good at falling asleep. However, we’re still encountering problems with the 45 minute intruder :( I’ve tried going in to shh/pat him at the 30-35 minute mark, or going in right away when he cries, or going in after 5 minutes or so, but the result is always the same: as soon as I go to the crib, his eyes fly open and his cry escalates. Usually I try to calm him in the crib, sometimes this works and I go out again, but he has never fallen back asleep, always starts crying again. Other times calming in the crib doesn’t work at all and he starts screaming, at which point I pick him up and try to shh/pat while holding him. At this point things get dicey – he seems to have a ‘point of no return’ where I can’t even comfort him anymore. Today we shh/patted for 25 minutes, me shushing over his screams until I was hoarse; then it took another 20 minutes to calm down after I had given up on naptime and taken him into the living room!
    I don’t think he’s just a “chronic short napper” because he will nap happily for 1.5-2 hours in the stroller or baby carrier, and when he wakes after the 45 minutes in the crib, he’s always still tired/grumpy. I just can’t seem to help him back to sleep! Am I making things worse?
    Is it worth letting him be and see if he can cry his way to a longer nap? Or should I get him up after 45 minutes and hope that he will grow out of it? Also, if I settle for the 45 minute naps, should I try giving him more naps (say, 4?)? Or if I put him in the stroller or carrier so that he gets at least one longer nap each day, am I going to undo the progress of getting him to sleep in the crib?
    Thanks!!

  59. Hi there….I’m a first time mummy to a 10 week old baby boy………he eats every 3 hours in the day 4-5 ounces a time…..he’s in bed between 6 and 7 any later us just not suitable for us…..after few attempts at settling him using dummy,and head stroking he goes to sleep…….he can wake up anytime between midnight and 2.30 am yet only ever has 2 ounces no more…..should I try to nit feed him as he never has a good feed in the night?????Is this him not really hungry just wanting to get soothed back to sleep ???? He then drops back off fir another 2.5 hours after this…..it’s so confusing as to what to do for the best…..

    • Natalie, I think you’re doing everything perfectly. He’s still too little to try to cut back on those night feedings (unless your doctor says he’s ready). So for now, if he wakes up feed him, and then put him back down to sleep. During the day, I would start to practice putting him down drowsy but awake. You’re doing a great job, he sounds very normal and healthy. :)

  60. Catherine says:

    Hi Heather-

    My little man is 11 weeks old. He started sleeping thru the night at 8 week old (9pm-7am). Amazing, right? However, the last few days, he’s been waking at 2am. I’m guessing that he’s hungry, so I feed him and he goes straight back to sleep until 7am. I know he’s capable of making it all night, should I not feed him? I don’t want to make a habit of it! I know it’s a transitional phase for him!! Thoughts? How would you handle it?

    • Catherine, he’s right at the “growth spurt” stage, so I would continue to give it to him. At this age, I would let him set the pace. We can always do some weaning off and adjusting when he gets a little older. There’s no habit we can fix later on. :-) Congrats on such a good sleeper, btw! What a blessing!

  61. Catherine says:

    Thanks! I just wanted some reassurance!

  62. My son is 9 weeks old ( he was 3 weeks early) so i’m not sure if this makes a difference in his actual age.. He likes to sleep all morning and is up for 1+ hours at night after feeding. He was originally sleeping in his playpen for 3-4 hours and then up for 1+ hours in the middle of the night. He doesn’t seem to like his crib at all. We have started putting him in his crib and cannot get him to sleep through the night. He will wake up between 1-2 am and then down again between 3-4am. Up again arond 6-6:30 and then down by 8 and sleeps until 11 am. He is fed both breastmilk and formula. Any suggestions on how to change his sleeping habits to help him sleep through the night and have him be awake in mornings? Any advice or suggestion would be highley appreciated :)

    Thanks

    • Jenn,

      Being premature does make a big difference when it comes to sleeping and reaching milestones. The calender may say he’s 9 weeks, but his brain may only be as developed as a 6 week old. This developmental gap will close eventually (so don’t worry!), but it should be considered when you’re thinking about your baby’s sleep and other milestone achievements.

      Much of what you’ve described is very normal for a 6 week old baby, at this stage you just do whatever you can to get him sleeping (and yourself sleeping). These things will change and adjust as he gets older. (And if it doesn’t, I’m always here to help!) That said, here are some suggestions that may help. Just remember, though, that your baby is too young to sleep coach. Your goal is to sleep shape. It will be important that he feeds and sleeps on demand (when he tells you he’s hungry, not when the clock says) at this age, but you can tweak things (like the nursery) and practice putting him down drowsy-but-awake at least once a day to see how that goes.

      This would also be a good time to start watching and learning his baby cues. You may want to keep a 48 hour feeding/sleeping log to see if you can uncover what his natural rhythms are during the day. I’m giving away a free copy of my Newborn Tracker with the Milestone Marker, if you’re interested. (The Milestone Marker also includes a worksheet to help figure out what the adjusted age for your preemie should be.)

  63. Hi, my son is 5 wks (yesterday). For the last 3 days he is sleeping from 7:30pm – 6am without waking for feeding. But his naps are horrible 20 mins naps. Max I can get is 30-40 min. Unless I hold him then 1-1 1/2 hrs. He is getting only breast milk. Is this ok? Should I wake him up to feed or just get a bump so my milk supply doesn’t go down. I keep waking up to see if he is ok. So I’m not fully resting. My oldest was colic baby and woke up 3 times a night until 12 mo and slept thru the night w/o eating at 14 mo. So this is all new to me.

    • Eva, I would definitely run this by your pediatrician. Babies this little should really try to eat every 4-5 hours, so your instincts to wake him are good at this point. Without eating more your milk supply will definitely start to dip. You may also find that his naps approve a little more if you do this. At this very young age, I would just do whatever it takes to get some sleep, making sure that you’re using safe cosleeping guidelines. (Don’t fall asleep with him in a chair or on a sofa – he could slip, get wedged against the arm, and suffocate.)

      After a few more weeks you can start putting him down drowsy but not sleeping – this will also help him learn to self soothe. But for now, feed on demand, sleep on demand, and I would talk to your doctor about his evening eatings. It seems to me that 10.5 hours of sleep (although perhaps wonderful) is too long for a baby this little to go without eating. :-) Hang in there friend!

      • Thank you for your reply. He sleeps in the crib at night. Just the nap I have to hold him. If I don’t then it’s 20 min nap.

        • You’re welcome Eva! Go ahead and enjoy those snuggles for now. When he gets a little older, you can start getting him used to napping without you. But for now…enjoy it! :-)

  64. Hi Heather,

    My 8 week old sleeps okay at night, but we are still having trouble in the day unless she’s in her car seat and we are out for a walk/drive or she’s in my arms.

    She starts her day around 7am, and we follow the eat-play-sleep routine, as outlined above. It rally works for us. My family Dr told us today to keep up with that routine, but the issue comes at the “sleep” part in the daytime. I watch her cues, usually 1-1.5 hrs after she ate (she’s formula fed, and already takes about 5.5oz per bottle! She’s an eating machine!), and I try to lay her down in her crib or playpen. She sometimes makes it about 5-10 mins and then she wakes herself up. I try to soothe her as much as possible without picking her up, but find after 10-15mins she’s crying so hard I feel like I need to calm her down and then she falls asleep in my arms and we start all over.

    At night, she has a bottle around 7/730pm, and at those feeds we put on her pyjamas, maybe have a bath if it’s needed, etc. and then we hold her til around 8/830 and try to lay her down. She’s up around 9/930 for a smaller bottle then goes down usually without a fight til 1-2am (last night was 3am!) But after her 3am bottle, she was awake off & on til 7am, not sleeping for longer than 15-20 mins at a time. She would cry, I would go put her soother back in and rub her tummy. She’d settle but we’d do it all over again 20 mins later.

    My Dr told us today we can start sleep training her, in the day and at night, trying to keep to a routine that looks very similar to the one you’ve outlined above. I guess I’m a little concerned that 8 weeks is too early for CIO (which is what he recommended). He said it worked with his kids, and that if she cries for 1.5-2hrs straight thru a nap, so be it, and get her up for the next feed and try again, unless it’s the middle of the night. If she’s sleeping thru, let her sleep until she wakes up, but always start our day again fresh at 7am, which is her usual wake-up time.

    I guess my questions are:
    1) if she’s really finished a nap after only 30 mins, do we play until the next feedtime if she’s not showing cues of being hungry, or do I feed her as soon as she’s awake again in the day, even if it’s only been 2.5 hrs? (For example)
    2) is she too young to not go in every 15-20 mins if she’s crying to try to soothe her into some sort of nap? I think I’m sort of nervous about letting her cry, I feel likes bad mom when I don’t/”can’t”go to her to calm her down and start crying myself because I just want to hold her/comfort her
    3) at night, she sleeps well for the first “shift” (as my husband and I call it) then is hard to put down the rest of the night, is this when the CIO would happen?
    4) if I have to run errands, etc in the day (we’re moving at the end of June and have lots going on!), do I try to do them in the morning, and if she falls asleep in her car seat while we’re out, do I leave her in it when we get back or try to transition her into her crib for the rest of the nap?
    5) how does this routine stuff work when we do have to be out for the day, with family gatherings, etc? (For example, we have a baby shower in her honour next Saturday afternoon/evening)

    • Lauren, as for the naps – I would definitely double check that you’re burping her well before bed. That 10-15 minute thing sounds a little like gas to me. Your doctor is right that CIO is usually the fastest way to sleep coach. However, it’s BRUTAL with some kids. I don’t know that many moms who can listen their kids cry for 2 hours! 8 weeks is, to me, a still very young for sleep coaching. I would go with your “mom gut” on this one. I agree with the “don’t wake her up if she’s sleeping” thing, though. :-)

      1. Yes, if she doesn’t seem hungry. First see if you can get her to go back to sleep, then if not, go ahead and get her up and feed her when she starts showing that she’s hungry again (which will probably be between 2 – 2.5 hours)
      2. You know, Lauren, if she’s crying and she wants comfort – go ahead and give that to her. :-) I think the earliest you should start REALLY working on sleep coaching should be 16 weeks, and the “Sweet spot” for sleep coaching is really between 6-8 months (but anytime after is still good too!). This is the time to bond with her, to encourage her, to love her. Nothing you’re doing now can’t be retrained later, so don’t worry about “creating bad habits”. If you can do the drowsy-but-awake put down once a day to practice, great, but right now you’re working on “daytime/nighttime”, getting all the feeds in, and enjoying her sweet little face, cuddling that little thing whenever you think she needs it. :-)
      3. One thing you could try at night is something called a “cluster feeding”. Basically it means you feed her a few more times in the late afternoon and early evening. No guarantee that will do anything, but you could give it a try. Babies this little could wake as often as every 1.5-2.5 hours at night to try to get their calories in. If you’re not pumping, you may want to pump for at least one bottle a day so your husband can do a nighttime feeding (perhaps the early evening?) so you can get a bigger block of sleep.
      4. I would leave her in the car seat if she’s sleeping when you get home at this age.
      5. Do your best with the routine when you’re out, but know it’s okay if it goes out the window. Some babies handle schedule disruptions just fine…others hate it. Just brace yourself for the possibility of a few rough days afterwards as she tries to adjust back to the “norm”.

      You are both (you and your husband) doing a TERRIFIC job. She is getting lots of food, she is sleeping (even if sporadically!) and it sounds like she’s getting plenty of cuddles. That’s your job right now – those three things. If you want to work on sleep shaping, I would A) read this article’s advice on getting the nursery “sleep happy”. B) try putting her down once a day drowsy but awake (so like a 7 out of 10). If she starts to fuss really bad about that though, don’t push it. There’s plenty of time for that when she gets a bit older.

      If she were mine, I wouldn’t use the CIO approach right now. I’m working with several 5-6 month old babies who clearly still need one feeding at night (and one 10 month old who’s mom just still wants to keep one feeding to help her supply). So don’t feel pressure to drop feedings and make her CIO right now. When you do feel it’s time to sleep coach, there are more gentle ways to help her learn those sleeping skills! :-)

  65. Hi! you helped me many months ago with my twin girls. They started sleeping through the night and followed the schedule exactly and did great. Right now these last two months they hardly take naps…they do some days and some they don’t. They may sleep one good nap and the others not so well…its like a timer, as soon as it hits 30 minutes they are wide awake. Today they are 7 months old. And for the last two months they have been waking up through the night either getting un-swaddled (which I need to start trying to figure out how to break this swaddle business) and/or waking up just so we can give them their pacifier. Please help me again. Also they aren’t teething just yet….no red gums, no fevers, no cutting teeth.

    • Krystee,

      Regarding the swaddle, you can start weaning them off by doing one-arm-out for two nights, then 2-arms-out for to nights. I’ve also heard that the magic sleep suit is very helpful in getting older babies to kick the swaddle habit. :-)

      The pacifier: start having them practice picking up the pacifier and putting it into their mouths during the day. Then leave a “stash” in the cribs. (Another reason to ditch the swaddle, so they can replace their own binky!).

      Nighttime wakenings: Have you read my post on using the Sleep Shuffle at night? Not sure if we discussed that months ago… If you try that for a few nights and seems like your presence is stimulating them (rather than calming them) you could try something called “Timed Checks”. Basically you put them down drowsy but awake into the crib, and then leave the room for a certain number of minutes (usually starting at 8 minutes, then 10 minutes) before coming in again and soothing them with your voice (or picking them up if they are starting to move into “hysteric zone” to calm – before putting them back down drowsy but awake). “Timed Checks” are different than Cry-it-Out because you are responding to your babies cries, just in timed increments. So instead of “cry for 45 minutes and then fall asleep exhausted”, it’s “cry for 8 minutes, get soothed by mom or dad until calmed down” then repeat.

      Naps: Naps are actually the hardest thing to work on, so you’re in good company. I recommend working on nighttime sleep FIRST for this very reason. If you haven’t already, I would recommend signing up for my 2-hour “Napping Know How” webinar. It’s pretty gosh darn detailed about nap coaching, and gives a more specific description on using timed checks and other methods. Click here to see when the next webinar will be offered. I hope this can help, Krystee! (hugs!)

  66. Hey Heather,
    My little guy will be 9 weeks in 2 days will only sleep for long periods of time if he is sleeping with me. I don’t want to create a bad habit but sometimes its the only way I can get more then 3 hours of sleep at a time. How do I get him to sleep longer without me? He is not a good nap taker and will sleep no longer then an hour but if I take a nap with him he will sleep for 3 hours. Help! He is colicky and has a bit of acid reflux. Am I trying to sleep train him to early if he has these issues? I go back to work in 2 weeks so I have started trying to get in the every 2 hour nap routine while I can be consistent with it. Any advise would be wonderful!

    • Kelsie, the first goal you should focus on is to get his acid reflux/colic under control so he’s feeling better. You can’t properly and gently sleep coach with a sick baby! If you haven’t taken him to your pediatrician to discuss treatment ideas, I would do that first. Secondly, 9-10 weeks is still too small to sleep coach – but you CAN do some sleep shaping.

      1. Make sure that he is sleeping with you in a safe way. I highly recommend you read through Dr. McKenna’s advice on cosleeping. It’s great (potentially life saving) stuff.

      2. Try to put him down in his crib or in a safe nursing area once a day where he is drowsy but not yet sleeping. Don’t make him fall asleep, if he cries, pick him up. But try it at least once every day to see what happens.

      Start with those things first, and then let me know how it goes!

  67. Jill B B says:

    Hi Heather — What are you thoughts on waking a napping baby? My daughter (breastfed) will sometimes sleep longer than the recommended 3 hours between feedings. Thanks!

    • I would wake her to feed. This way she won’t throw the whole day off and you know she’s getting the calories she needs. This way you can keep the day (and the night) on a pretty consistent rhythm. :-)

  68. Hi,
    This schedule sounds very helpful and i cant wait to try it. my daughter is 8 weeks old and shes sleeping well at night. how important is a consistent naptime during the day at this age? She seems to be falling asleep at all different times. also she always fall asleep in the car and on walks. should i put errands off until my husband is home to be with her to get her napping regularly?
    Amanda

    • Amanda,

      What a great question! At this age it’s not vital. It’s more important than she naps than WHEN she naps. (Does that make sense?) That said, eventually it will be important for her to have dedicated sleep time, so you’ll have to decide whether you should put of the errands now or later. Eventually you’ll notice that her sleeping patterns change, as she starts interacting more with the world. If you see that she’s not getting good sleep because you’re taking her with you on errands, and so is getting really grumpy at the end of the day and not sleeping well at night, that may be your sign it’s time to run errands during other times.

      Eventually you should start to notice a rhythm, but don’t worry if it’s not there yet. You may want to keep a feeding/sleep log (like the freebie I give away for the Milestone Marker) to see if you can spot those rhythms over a week.

  69. My 12 week old likes to snack between the hours of 10-12 pm taking short naps in between. Trying to keep her up at night is difficult because she is constantly trying to go back to sleep and will get very cranky. I started giving her a bath around 8 after her nap but she wants to sleep after and will get up around 930/945 ish every time, how can I get her to have better nighttime habits?

    • India,

      It’s common for babies at this age to be ready for a nap after only being awake for an hour or an hour and a half during the day. I would perhaps do a bath around 6pm and then feed her and start her bedtime routine so she’s ready for bedtime around 7pm. She will probably wake multiple times still at night for a feeding, but doing this consistently for a week or so should help her to understand the difference between day and night.

  70. Heather love your blog I really need your help.. My dd is 7 weeks this week and does not sleep well. I have tried a schedule she seems to vary as expected during the day. At night she will not sleep in her crib, refuses to be swaddled and will not stay sleep more than 2 hours at night.. Sometimes less. I’ve tried the CIO method due to her only wanting to sleep on me or my husband, she cried for 8 hours with me checking in on her several times during that night. i tried for 4 night to train her in her bed with no success. I keep her up during the day, in hopes that she will do better at night…. No such luck. She will not stay in her crib and I just do not know what to do. I have even tried the swing she sleeps a little and then wants out…. Please help me….

    • Tamiko,

      I don’t encourage sleep coaching or using CIO at this very young age. That’s mostly because with babies this young, there are a lot of factors when it comes to sleeping. If she’s waking because she’s hungry, it’s very important she gets fed. That’s probably why the sleep coaching isn’t working. Since she’s not ready yet, she’s going to scream a lot more – because she’s not waking out of habit, she’s waking for another reason.

      The first thing I would adjust is letting her sleep whenever she needs to during the day. I know it seems backwards, but overtired babies sleep WORSE at night. So helping her get rest during the day may help with some of the night wakenings (and you can sleep too, during the day). AT this age, you may find that she’s ready to sleep after being only awake for 1-1.5 hours. That’s very normal, and healthy at this age.

      When she cries, go quickly to feed her (if she seems hungry) and help her get settled. For the first nap of the day, I would help her get drowsy, and then try putting her in the crib. It’s possible that she likes the pressure on her tummy, and that’s why she prefers being held to sleep. My Elena was like that. If I had Elena right now, I would pick up the Magic Sleep Suit,. It gives some pressure to her tummy, to help her feel like she’s sleeping on her tummy when she’s really on her back. The second thing my Elena liked was feeling something light next to her cheek. So when we put her in the bed, we tucked a blanket under the crib mattress and let just the corner brush up against her cheek. Just the corner, so she couldn’t pull it over her face. It was a tricky way of helping her feel contained and close. Finally, we slanted the crib mattress using this trick. She always preferred sleeping on an incline.

      The name of the game at this young age to is to comfort her quickly when she cries, but to try little things and see how they go. She’s not going to sleep more than a few hours at a time (especially during the day) because she needs to eat every 3-4 hours. I’m glad you’re enjoying the website, I hope this can give you some tips and encouragement!

  71. Catherine says:

    Hi Heather,
    I just wanted to start off by saying how much of a lifesaver your website has been for me and baby F! We were lost until we found your 2-3 month old baby sleep schedule! Now he is a happy, well rested little guy and we couldn’t be happier! He is now about 14 weeks (he was born 5 weeks early but he seems to be catching up quickly!), and he seems to be outgrowing this schedule. He is now getting hungry every 3.5-4 hrs instead of every 2-3hrs, his nap are getting longer sometimes upward of 2-2.5hrs, and he is now sometimes sleeping about 8hrs at night. I’m still exclusively breastfeeding, and am hoping to continue until he’s 6mo, although I’ll be pumping starting on Monday as I go back to work. Do you have an article or suggestion on how to start adjusting his schedule so I can start getting him to bed earlier and consolidating his sleep? Thanks in advance, I’m already telling all my pregnant friends about your wonderful website!!

    • Catherine,

      I’m so happy to hear this! I love that you were able to find some encouraging help. And, of course, thanks so much for sharing me with your friends! It’s a little website, but I’m hoping it will grow! :-)

      Firstly, expect some regression when you go back to work. It’s very normal for his sleeping to seem a little “off” for a few weeks as he gets used to the “Mom working” schedule. Just wanted to give you a heads up, so you don’t feel shocked and discouraged, if things seem haywire for a little while. :-) (Also, if you haven’t seen my “Pumping at Work” article, you may find it interesting…)

      I haven’t done an article on scheduling the 4-5 month old yet, mostly because there are so many things going on at this age, that it can vary widely from baby to baby. That said, you could move the bedtime up to 7pm for the evening (instead of 10pm.) Then try doing a dreamfeeding at around 10pm. (Go in before you go to bed and feed him while he’s still sleeping, no diaper changes, no lights, no talking…you want him to sleep straight through the feeding.) Does this help?

  72. Heather, I’m in need for some advice. My 10 week baby girl takes her naps fairly well, as I read your article I realize I’m letting her sleep too long on her naps, which is causing major sleeping problems at night. She well go to sleep for about 45min – 1 hr then she’s right back up. I was wondering if you have a good technique on keeping a baby wake through out the day.

    • Angela,

      Firstly, make sure you don’t try to force your baby to fit this generic schedule. Your baby’s natural rhythm and your doctor’s feeding recommendations should always take precedence. I’m a little confused by what you mean about sleeping too long. 45 minutes – 1 hour for a nap is on the shorter side, not the longer side. A 10 week old is probably only going to stay awake for an hour or so before needing to sleep again. Re-read through the article again, just to make sure you’re reading it right. Then let me know if you still have questions.

  73. Hi heather sorry for the confusion . She well nap for 2hours wake up and want to go right back to sleep for another 2hours. The 45min- 1hr sleeps would be at night when I would like her to sleep through the night besides feeding. I follow your schedule but like you said what fits her and she did fairly well last night waking up for feeding and right back to bed. I want her to get use to some routine.

    • Okay, I understand now. I would do some tummy time play as soon as she wakes up and see if you can’t get her interested in a few items or toys. If you’re feeling a little lost with the whole “play with baby” aspect (I always was!) this book lists baby games that worked well with my kids! Hope this can help. :-)

  74. What do you do if they wake up early (only 30-45 min nap) and you can’t get them back down but they also aren’t hungry yet since it’s only been 2.5 hrs.
    Then their wake time is first, the eating then nap & it messes up the routine. Advice? Also- you say baby would be awake around 2 hrs. Obviously if I see sleepy signs before then i would put her down… But she only sleeps for 45 minutes at best. The whole routine is then.. Eat, wake, sleep, wake (for awhile), eat, sleep… It gets so confusing!! Is it ok to eat and then sleep since she’s been awake for a while? She doesn’t fall asleep eating I just try and put her down with the 4 s’s afyer she eats since she’s been awake sometimes for 1-2 hours. I still haven’t found how long she should be awake typically before she’s overtired :( also she is 8 weeks.

    • Alisha, if you see sleepy signs on your 8-week old, go ahead and put her down. Then you can adjust the routine for the rest of the day. Are you writing down her sleeping/eating times? That’s a good way to see if there are some natural rhythms you could be unaware of. Also, there’s typically a growth spurt around 8 weeks, so if you feel like things are “off” that could be why. Feed her whenever she seems hungry, even if it’s only been 2.5 hours. If your breastfeeding, her desire to eat a lot more during a growth spurt is how your body knows to make more milk for her growing body. Hope that makes sense…

  75. I have occasional blog posts on daily schedules for my twins – my most recent one is their 14-week-old schedule and tips.

    We have definitely taught night and day and I follow the E.A.S.Y. (eat, activity, sleep, your time) format for scheduling their day.

    http://nikkieandbabies.blogspot.com/2014/06/14-weeks-twins-daily-schedule.html

  76. Krystal says:

    I have 8 week old twin girls (who were born at 38 weeks). I was wondering if it’s too early to start getting them on a schedule? Sometimes they will go 4 to 5 hrs between feedings during the day and at night. Nap times during the day are not consistent. Some days they go right down after they eat and will sleep soundly for hours. Other days they fight their naps until it’s time to eat next. I’m wondering if they do sleep soundly during their nap during the day, do I wake them up if it’s the next time to eat on the above schedule? Or do I let them sleep until one of the twins wakes up on their own and is ready to eat?? I’m very confused with what to do with my twins in terms of eating, sleeping, and getting into a schedule.

  77. My son is 7 weeks old and I want to start a instilling good sleep habits. As of right now, he naps in my arms. I want him in his crib but his eyes pop open the second I lay him down. Should I try and soothe him with him in the crib or pick him up? Also, is any amount of crying okay? What if he falls asleep in my arms five minutes later, do I put him back down? I read your post on the crib and really want my son to start sleeping there!

    • Elaine, I would start with a few things 1) Making sure the nursery is very dark, and do all your “getting sleepy” stuff in that room. 2) creating a routine before sleep that helps him begin to adjust from “playtime” to “sleeptime”. 3) Try putting him down drowsy but awake at least once a day. If he wakes up and cries, go ahead and pick him up to soothe. Babies this little don’t learn anything by CIO – they just get so exhausted they fall asleep – which is no assurance you won’t have to endure CIO every day for months. You want him to learn to fall asleep on his own, not have him fall asleep because he’s screamed himself to sleep.

      Another option, is to help him fall asleep somewhere else, like the swing, or a bassinet, or a car seat, and then after a few weeks transition him to the crib. At this point, he’s used to hearing your heartbeat and feeling your touch while he’s sleeping. The first task will be to put him down and then be really close to him so he can feel you’re there. So perhaps put him down in a bassinet, or some place where you can hold his hand, stroke his face, leave your hand by his face, so he can still feel you’re closeby. Then eventually you can move him from that spot to the crib. It may be that the “from mom-to-crib” adjustment is too big a leap. Start smaller and see where that goes!

      • Thanks for your response and insights. I will try what you recommend. Our nursery is super dark (I love a dark room for sleep so I assumed my baby would too) so at least I have that going for me! Also, my son isn’t alert much this week. One feeding blends into the other with naps in between. Growth spurt?

        • That’s great Elaine! Good instincts! That definitely could be the case. There’s a growth spurt that hits around 8 weeks. Keep your eyes peeled for milestones being mastered! (FYI, if you haven’t seen it, you may find my Milestone Marker ebook helpful!)

  78. I forgot to mention that my son is 9.5 weeks old and nurses every 2 hours (not 3 – 3.5). Any recommendations? Thanks!

    • I would adjust everything down to a 2-2.5 hour schedule. Try to make sure he’s not snacking, but is getting full feedings at every sitting. This may mean trying to keep him awake during the process. Otherwise he’ll eat a little, then fall asleep, then wake because he’s hungry, rinse repeat. Does that make sense?

  79. How do you recommend getting past the 45 min arousal during naps for a 7 week old? If I pick him up, he falls asleep in my arms. If I try to soothe him without picking him up, he cries harder and harder. Night time doesn’t seem to be a problem. However, he only sleeps 4 hours at once. Mostly 3 still

    • At 7 weeks, I would do whatever helps him sleep at this age. Go ahead and pick him up. Remember, babies at this age don’t have self-regulation. This makes it very hard for them to self-soothe. That’s not a problem for some temperaments, since they don’t get as angry. But with the sensitive babies, that’s a challenge. Also, be encouraged by the fact that nothing you are doing now cannot be re-taught and adjusted when he’s older and he CAN self regulate! :-)

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