16 answers

4 Month Old with Short Naps

I have a four month old little girl who is having trouble taking naps longer than about 30 minutes. I have tried to get her to go back to sleep after waking, but it usually ends up being an hour of crying and trying to settle her back to sleep. Do I stick it out until she sleeps or do I get her up? If I get her up she tend to be cranky most of the day. I know she should be sleeping at least an hour a couple times a day. I am also torn between letting her cry for a couple of minutes and then go back in to reassure her and staying in to comfort her until she falls asleep. Since she was younger she always napped in her swing but now I am getting ready to go back to work and want her to sleep in a pack and play at the sitters house. She goes to bed in the crib fine in the evenings until about 1 and then sleeps in our bed (still nursing and is more convenient) the rest of the night. If anyone has used any methods i.e. Ferber, Baby Whisperer or has any advice I would love suggestions.
Right now goes to bed at 7:30- up at 7. Put down for a nap at 9:30 and 12:30 and short nap in afternoon.--or at least this is what we try to do.

What can I do next?

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All I know is that 4 months would have been way too early for me to try to establish ANY schedule for my two girls (now 6 and 4) Not because I didn't want it - trust me, I did - it's just that trying to make a schedule just didn't work. Neither one of my kids took regular naps until about 8 months. Until then, they slept in swings, in my arms, in the stroller, wherever. Not the greatest for me, but I had tried everything but nothing worked. So, I guess my advice is this - some kids just can't get on a schedule until they're a little older. Oh, and I did do the Ferber method at night (can't remember how old they were, maybe 7 or 8 months?)? And it totally worked. If everything you're trying just doesn't work, you might have to wait it out a little. Good luck!!

My youngest at around 5ish months would take 3 - 40 minute naps per day. NOT COOL. It didn't last long though and eventually he got on 2 - 90+ minute naps.

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I believe in letting the child determine when they sleep. If you are putting her down at 7 pm & she is basically sleeping ALL night, I'd assume getting up somewhere around 6, that's almost 12 hours of sleep/rest. She might not be tired enough to take long naps.

I'm wondering if you're missing the "window" over when your child is tired enough to go down for a good nap?

My daughter wakes up around 6:30-7am and is usually ready for her first nap an hour later! Then she's ready for a nap every 2 hours after that. She's 6 months old, but has been like this since 3 months. Her actual nap times vary, sometimes they're only 30-40 minutes, but most are 1-2 hours.

Maybe you should try to pay more attention to her sleepy cues (like crankiness, eye-rubbing, yawning) than the clock.

Good luck!

Dear J.~
I too had a child with frustrating sleep habits. I found out I was doing a couple things that frustrated sleep with the help of a great book. Marc Weissbluth has a book, "Healthy sleep habits, Healthy Child". It's really a great reference even through the teen years. I think he said at that age, no more than 2 hours of activity and then down for a nap. I got on a pretty good 3 hour schedule that way, so did my baby and he was much better rested. Good luck.

Find out if your sitter has a swing. If the sitter does then there is no reason to change what you are doing. I have a 19 month old son and we have probably cycled through 19 different sleep cycles. I have always just gone with his pattern of sleepiness. And now he pretty much takes a nap around 12:30 and goes to bed around 8:30. It took us 17 months to get where we are now, and I am expecting that there will be more changes as we go along. There are so many changes that the baby goes through in the first year and so many of these changes, (growing, teething, hitting physical milestones) can affect sleep. Good luck.

The first few months of an infants life are interesting. They are still changing their schedules and as a mom you just have to listen to her.
I used to put a speaker under my daughters crib and play white noise while she slept (you can also use a humidifier or air filter) I found that she slept longer with the noise.
As well, I got really thick curtains for her room so it was dark.
Do you feed her rice cereal yet? If you do -
you can give her some before her nap. When my daughter was about 6 months she stopped sleeping through the night: the pediatrician told me to feed her a little cereal before bed: afterwards she slept great again.
Make sure she is comfortable, does she still like being bundled in a blanker or not?
Did you just start trying for her naps out of the rocker? If so just keep trying, they will eventually adjust, I went through the same thing. I actually had my husband put her to bed in her crib while I went out because I could not stand to hear her cry and he could deal with it better. It is ok to let them cry for a little while, just dont let them get too overheated.

My youngest at around 5ish months would take 3 - 40 minute naps per day. NOT COOL. It didn't last long though and eventually he got on 2 - 90+ minute naps.

I think your 4 month old is over the morning nap. Just do one nap after lunch. This is normal.

My youngest gave up her naps (yes all of them) at 9 months. That was the same week my oldest gave up his afternoon nap at 3yrs. Needless to say, they ended up with 1 hour of quiet time in their rooms every afternoon.


You can't force a child to sleep. My oldest never really took npas. She slept 12 hours at night but maybe dozed a little, but no npas really. I just try to make sure that if nothing else thier bedtime routine is the same every ngiht and that they sleep pretty wella t night. If that goes well, I don't worry about naps to much. Oh, my daughter was done wiht naps at about 6 weeks

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