6 Week Old Will Not Nap During Day More than 30 Minutes.

Updated on June 01, 2010
M.M. asks from Milwaukee, WI
21 answers

Our 6 week old baby girl recently (in the past two weeks or so) started only sleeping during the day for 30 minutes at a time. I exclusively breastfeed and keep her awake for about an hour after she's eaten or until she gets sleepy and fussy. Then, she'll doze off and we'll put her in her crib (swaddled). Like clock work she wakes up 25-30 minutes later wide awake. Nothing seems to work to get her to go back down. We've tried the swing, rocking her, walking with her, etc. The only thing that has worked is the Baby Bjorn, but I don't want her to think that's the only place she needs to nap. She sleeps well during the night - gets up once or twice between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Any advise on how to get her to sleep longer during her naps?

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answers from New York on

There really isn't anything you can do except find a solution that makes both you and the baby as calm and relaxed as possible. It its the baby bjorn or an electronic swing, then so be it. Lots of babies are like this, you are very lucky to have her only get up once or twice at night. Don't worry, she will start sleeping later. Its too early to worry about bad habits. I wish I had not worried about it like you. It would have made the first few months a little easier for me.

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answers from Eugene on

My son did the same thing--nothing really lengthened his naps until he started crawling and got more active. Some babies are just "short-nappers" we decided. We even did the ridiculous technique in the "No-Cry-Sleep-Solution" to try to help him sleep longer (sitting in there room while they nap and about 5 minutes before they wake trying to coax them into sleeping longer). The only thing that "fixed" it was age...but, the payoff is nighttime sleeping which is priceless!

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answers from New York on

There really isn't anything you can do except find a solution that makes both you and the baby as calm and relaxed as possible. It its the baby bjorn or an electronic swing, then so be it. Lots of babies are like this, you are very lucky to have her only get up once or twice at night. Don't worry, she will start sleeping later. Its too early to worry about bad habits. I wish I had not worried about it like you. It would have made the first few months a little easier for me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

My son did the same thing--nothing really lengthened his naps until he started crawling and got more active. Some babies are just "short-nappers" we decided. We even did the ridiculous technique in the "No-Cry-Sleep-Solution" to try to help him sleep longer (sitting in there room while they nap and about 5 minutes before they wake trying to coax them into sleeping longer). The only thing that "fixed" it was age...but, the payoff is nighttime sleeping which is priceless!


answers from Johnson City on

First, if she is only waking up once or twice between 10pm-7am, she is getting alot of rest at night for a six week old (in my opinion), so I would expect she wouldn't nap as much during the day. If you don't already have one you should get a bouncy seat that vibrates. When my daughter was that small if I needed to take a shower or do anything all I had to do was put here in there with the vibrations on and she would be out in no time. Most of the time I could turn the vibrations off after she had been asleep for a few minutes and she would continue to nap for a while. Its kind of like the movement in the car that puts them to sleep so quickly. I used that seat until she was to long to fit in it anymore. She did not care for the swing at all so we rarely used it. I highly suggest you buy a bouncy seat to see if this can help to keep her asleep longer. I hope this helps!
P.S. From what I have read, 6 weeks old is to young to let them cry. They don't yet have the ability to self soothe. At around four months is the youngest that I would try that strategy.


answers from Knoxville on

My son is 7 months old and is only now starting to take naps that last longer then 30 minutes. He is our 3rd child and all of my children followed a pattern of sleeping less and less during the day begining at around 5 weeks. At first it would be 4 or 5 short naps but eventually they all start to take one long nap in the morning and one long nap in the afternoon. Just follow what your child is asking for. If your child is awake don't try and force a nap it won't work. Also try and establish a routine such as feedings at the same time, naps at the same time and most important is a bed time routine. We always followed the three B's - bath, bottle, bed. By 4 months our first child was in bed by 7:30 PM and slept until 7:00 AM. Good luck!



answers from Chattanooga on

You need to read the book baby wise. Helps get them on schedule. My kids are 4 and 5 and they still take 2 hour naps and sleep 10 hrs at night.



answers from Redding on

Neither of my kids were day nappers either, from the time they were newborns. But, they did sleep well at night so it's kind of a trade-off.
You can lay her down or put her in her swing or wherever, but you can't make her sleep. Wherever you can get to her sleep for 30 minutes or so, including her crib, might just be her pattern for now.
As she grows, she may be even more alert during the day or she may begin sleeping more. Their little patterns change as they grow.
For now, I'd settle for being happy she does so well at night.

Best wishes to you!



answers from Honolulu on

in addition to all the other suggestions:

6 weeks is a growth-spurt period in an infant. Every 3 weeks is a growth-spurt period in an infant. And then at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and so on, in a baby.

I would, make sure you are producing enough milk, and that she is latching on properly. If not, she will not be getting enough intake... and the infant will then be hungry, and not be satiated to sleep well. If going though a growth spurt, and intake is not keeping pace with the baby, then there is a baby that will be hungry. And always feed on-demand... not by a 'schedule.'
I say this because this happened to many friends of mine. Once the baby did get enough intake, their baby slept much better.

Also, is there a reason you "keep her awake for about 1 hour after she's eaten...or until she gets sleepy or fussy?" Once a baby gets "fussy"... it usually means they are ALREADY over-tired... and over-tired babies/children actually do not sleep well, nor fall asleep well, and they wake more.
So, by then the window of opportunity, has passed. Because they are then over-tired. Already.

Most infants, if full/had enough intake, do get sleepy at the breast and/or fall asleep and they fall off the breast. Indicating they are full/satiated.
But your baby sleeps well at night... so that's great!

She is really young... and stimuli can get them over-stimulated real easy in an infant too. Sounds/texture/smells/even a bath is an 'activity' for an infant. Again she is real young.. and they do not yet have a "pattern" of naps. And once they do get into a pattern... then there are the usual sleep tweaks which comes with developmental changes. So it sort of never ends. Their sleep 'patterns' always changes....

But, my suggestion would be, to not keep her awake on purpose, after feeding.
And, try putting her in the crib, to nap/sleep... after feeding. Before she gets fussy.
Also, at certain growth-spurt junctures, an infant even "cluster feeds" and this means they will feed even every.single.hour. This means they are increasing their intake needs... and need it. So always... feed on-demand. My kids had GINORMOUS appetites and sometimes it seemed they were needing to feed constantly... but they grew like weeds and my milk increased per their needs.

And you can try putting her in a sleep sack. Many infants like that 'cozy' feel... like being in the womb.
all the best,



answers from Asheville on

yes - give her time. she is doing wonderfully - she is only 6 weeks old. Babies naturally develop and extend their nap times and the number of naps they take during the day between now and 4 months of age. Keep doing what you are doing. Babies cannot tolerate being awake more than 2 hours at a time - that means from the time they wake in the morning to the time they should be going down for their nap is a total of two hours - not that after they have been awake for two hours that you should start their nap routine of nursing/bottle feeding and book or song, but that they should be in their crib at the end of 1 1/2 to 2 hours after they wake in the morning and after they wake from any nap they have taken. You will really notice that her naps will start to get a little longer between 3 and 4 months. They will extend gradually over that time period. When our daughter was that age, she'd take 45 minute naps, then 1 hour naps... and eventually she was taking (2) 2 hour naps and then a quick little 1/2 hour to 45 minute nap at about 4;00pm-ish everyday. between 8 and 10 months they will lose that 3rd little catnap and then between 12 and 15 months they will lose the 2nd nap and only nap once per day - our daughter lost her 2nd nap at 15 months and then just napped once per day in the afternoon for 3 hours until she was a little over 3 and then she lost her naps completely. Good luck! Just stay consistent with getting her down for her naps before she gets overtired (remember that 2 hour timeframe - it is amazing) and she will develop fantastic, healthy sleep habits and you will have a very well-rested and happy little girl.



answers from Nashville on

She may need to learn to self-soothe. Since she is sleeping well at night, you are doing great in that area and congratulations; you sound like a great mom with a terrific night sleeper! But during the day she is quickly learning that when she first wakes up and cries after only 30 minutes you immediately come to her rescue. This pattern will continue until she learns to self-soothe after she wakes up. She will most likely cry for a while, until she eventually goes back down for her second "round" during the same napping period. Like us adults, babies have different levels of sleep, and it is natural to wake up for a while, then go back to sleep. Have you ever, on a weekend, woken up earlier than usual (say at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m.?) You can either get up, or you can roll over and go back to sleep. If you're like me, and know that you need more sleep, but can't immediately get back to sleep, you can read for 15-30 minutes or longer, then go back to sleep. The same would hold true for a nap, when you know that she needs more sleep, since she is constantly sleeping during the day for 30 minute periods. The fact that she is able to sleep for longer periods at night makes me believe that she is sleeping much more deeply then.

Once she realizes that after waking up from the nap, she can lay there and possibly sputter for a while, then go back down, she'll eventually stop crying after only 30 minutes, and you may walk by her crib and hear the delightful sound of her cooing between her short sleeping periods.

At her age, as long as she continues to get lots and lots of stimulation and attention while she is awake during the day, she will probably need at least two-2-3 hour naps or more, depending on how much sleep her particular body needs. And if, for whatever reason, she doesn't go back to sleep after sleeping 30 minutes, then lying awake in her crib for a while, then you can go in and pick her up. The important thing is for her to get used to waking up and staying happy in her crib for a little while. She will obviously not be hungry or need a diaper change after 30 minutes of sleeping, so trust, me, she'll be okay!

It was difficult for me to teach our oldest daughter to self-soothe at first. There was some crying that was difficult for me to listen to. But now, at 10 years old (and she has been this way since before she was 1) she is one great sleeper! She gets about 9-10 hours a day and sleeps very, very soundly. When she wakes up early on occasion, she reads in her room until she hears the rest of us getting up.

Congratulations on the birth of your little one!


answers from Dallas on

Our son was the same way. He would sleep almost exactly half an hour, then be awake for an hour and a half, then asleep for half an hour, etc. We couldn't get him to sleep longer no matter what we tried. At about six months, he just switched on his own to taking three longer naps during the day, then two (about an hour and a half each). I've since read that some babies are just like that until they get to be about six months.



answers from Cleveland on

At 6 weeks my son was nursing almost every 2 hour... so if you are nursing, playing with her for about an hour or so & then laying her down... then she is waking up about 30 min later - it would be about the time she is starting to get hungry again.

He did sleep better at night - which I was thankfull for... since I had 2 other kids athat needed me during the day as well, so that ment I was able to get a little sleep. Personnaly, I'd be greatful that she is only waking up so often during the day and not at night.

If you are needing to get a few things done - try putting your daughter on her tummy on a blanket in the room you are in or her swing, carseat during her hour awake time instead of holding her the whole time. That way she still can see you, but can also work on getting stronger & learn to play a little by herself.

Good luck & congratz on the baby!



answers from Chattanooga on

Scheduling an infant that young, or resorting to something along the lines of BabyWise (a book which the American Association of Pediatrics warns against because it is filled with so much misinformation about the needs of an infant) isn't in the best interest of your baby. There's plenty of research out there showing that babies this young are not yet able to self-soothe, instead the crying leads to raised cortisol levels which cause more anxious individuals, even as adults. And instead of self-soothing babies learn to give up, that no one is coming to meet their needs.

As many other mothers have pointed out, it's perfectly normal for a six-week old to have short naps. She'll gradually work out her own schedule if you pay close attention to her cues.


answers from Little Rock on

Hi, This might sound crazy but, try putting her in the car seat and turn the dyer on for 1hr. each time. My daughter was extemely colicy and that dryer came in handy SOOO many times and I also kept me and our sitters SAINE.
Good Luck To You


answers from Wheeling on

After rearing 4 children to adulthood, I'd say, 'just count your blessings that she is awake during the day and sleeping at night instead of the other way around!' Babies will set their own eating & sleeping habits, and all we can do is 'guide' them, not 'schedule' them. I know you probably feel that you're not getting enough rest, yourself, but it will soon settle into a routine that works for both of you. 6 weeks old is VERY young to be expecting any actual schedule. Again, I say, be glad she sleeps most of the night!



answers from Raleigh on

Hi Mary,
Babies go through sleep cycles of about 30-45 minutes each, and come up to the surface of wakefulness in between times. A typical nap for a baby is 3 sleep cycles, or about 1 1/2 hours. They should be peaceful/ cheerful/ content when they wake. Between these cycles, my oldest son 'came up' well below the surface, and didn't show any signs of wakefulness. I could vaccuum under his crib when he was asleep! My second son, however, fully awakened every 40 minutes during his sleeping times. At night, this was remedied by keeping his pacie in his mouth until he settled back down into the depths of sleep again. I suppose the darkness and quiet helped him. Picking him up would alert him, and keep him from sliding back down into deeper sleep, though. During the day, when it wasn't so dark, and there could be sudden sounds (even slight sounds) during that 5 minutes 'above the surface' between cycles, we had to be very careful to keep really quiet so he wouldn't be alerted and not be able to go back to sleep. That was before I knew about sound machines, etc. He has always been very sensitive to sound... even to where he would hear a helicopter or airplane well before I could. Your infant needs more sleep, but seems to be one who 'comes up way above the surface' between her sleep cycles. Maybe a sound machine that stays on until you shut it off would be of help, to screen abrupt noises during that time. Some sound machines turn off after an hour, and to me, they are worse than not having one, as the sudden quiet is like an alarm going off. Also, you might try room darkening shades or liners for her curtains. Unless she's obviously in distress, (fear or pain), I would recommend not picking her up or alerting her in any way of your presence during that time, as babies are very responsive to momma, and that could keep her 'at the surface' longer, as well. As infants, they are still learning how to sooth themselves to go back into their deeper cycles. They are also prone to latching onto patterns and habits. Whatever you try, think about the habit it will become. The rule of thumb is that, good or bad, three days will cause the pattern to gain a strong foothold. So be careful what you choose for 'quick fixes', and be encouraged about what you choose for 'the long run'.


answers from Fort Wayne on

my dd was the same way, I was just able to switch the laundry and she was up again she'd eat play for a bit fall asleep and i quickly folded then up again. it took her some time to get adjusted. when she is tired she will sleep then you will find yourself checking on her every 10 min thinking somthing is wrong cause she's sleeping...lol. just ride it out she will sleep atleast yours is getting some sleep at night mine was up partying. just give it time gl



answers from Lexington on

Could be any number of things....some innocuous and some requiring some work. My son slept no longer than 20-30 minutes at a time, for a comprehensive 3 hours daily until he was 6 months old. My son was on formula and was allergic to everything. He didn't sleep until I put him on Alimentum, a completely synthetic formula. Also, he had horrible GERD and reflux, colic, AND a hernia.

I'm not suggesting that your baby has any of these problems, and it may just be the only relation to sleep for her is your heartbeat. However, she may have some digestive issue that requires her to be upright to sleep comfortably. Or perhaps something you're eating is a sensitivity or allergy food for her. Or perhaps she is having ear or breathing issues while down....or perhaps she's just light/sound sensitive.

There are a million reasons a baby has trouble sleeping. Some are medical and some are not. Keep in mind though, (as it was hard for me to do in my sleep deprived state) that the baby is NOT out to get you, runs on instinct and thus is only doing what feels good to her, and she's not out to control you or anything else. I dont feel like you're suggesting it in the least, but sometimes it gets difficult to remember that baby can't help the crying and non-adherence to mom and dad's schedule! It is such a blessing for you that your little one sleeps so much at night! Sleep deprivation may not be an issue for you :)

I wouldn't worry too much if she's already sleeping through the night for so long, but just try trial and error changes to diet and routine, and bring up your concerns at the pediatrician's office (keeping in mind that sometimes they don't think of everything either)...

GOOD LUCK!!! God bless :D



answers from Gainesville on

She is still really, really little and figuring out this big, new world. I probably wouldn't try to keep her up that long after feedings at her age. A few minutes sure but watch her cues closely for sleep. And it's pretty normal for her to cat nap at this age.

She is still in the 4th trimester. Take time to look it up. It will help make sense of a lot of her behaviors and needs right now. She wants/needs/craves the comforts of the womb at this time. That's what she was so used to. There is nothing wrong with letting her sleep in the Baby Bjorn right now. It makes her feel secure and comforted like when she was in the womb and felt the constant movement with your movements. Sleeping longer will come with time and age. And some babies are just cat nappers their whole nap careers.



answers from Raleigh on

I can relate! My (now 5 yr old) son was the same way. I think babies can sense when things are different, so she may like the way the Bjorn simulates being in the womb (the closeness to you, the pressure of it around her, the swaying movement when you're moving around). Since that was her "home" for the past nine months, it's what she knows. The crib is a new experience for her and she just may need some time to get used to it. Babies' nervous systems develop at different rates. This may affect her ability to stay asleep until her nervous system matures a little more. My son's six 30 minutes naps a day eventually merged into a morning nap and an afternoon nap over time.

I can relate to your concern about not wanting to condition your daughter to need help to go to sleep as you would like for her to learn to do this on her own. This is where it may be good to read various points of view on infant sleep needs to see which one is the best fit for your daughter and your parenting style. The advice that was the best fit for my son and I came from Dr. Sears (http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070100.asp).

Hang in there. Hopefully her naps will merge in the next few weeks, so that you can get those much needed breaks!


answers from Louisville on

My daughter Sienna did the exact same thing as a new born. She slept pretty well at night, but would only nap briefly during the day. Mostly she would nap with me holding her or in her bouncy seat or bassinet, but I also worried she wasn't getting enough sleep during the day. Unfortunately, she didn't really get any better at napping until she got quite a bit older. Even my babysitter who has 30 years experience watching babies couldn't get her to nap well! When she started crawling at about 8 or 9 months she started taking good naps - I think she started getting more worn out with all the crawling around! I think our daughter didn't like napping because she was so tuned into her surroundings and she didn't want to miss anything, lol! Your baby may be the same way! She did do better when she was swaddled, but I would definitely keep that up. I know it is definitely frustrating now, but as she gets older she'll become a better daytime sleeper. Try to focus on the positive - sounds like she's a great nighttime sleeper!



answers from Hartford on

holy moly! she is sleeping through the night basically I would say you are doing great! I just finally figured that out w/ a 17 mo old. LOL. I am not an expert on sleep but I remember when my LO was 6 weeks old she did not really nap per say they are SO young that they just sleep and eat when they need too. I have been nursing for 17 mo and I am pretty sure that if her weight gain is okay along w/ the correct amount of wet diapers you dont need to wake them up anymore to nurse. let them sleep when they want and nurse when they want. it is not until about 3mo that they will somewhat keep to any type of schedule so dont worry about that until around that time. good luck. xo

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