22 answers

Five Month-old Baby Not Sleeping During the Day

I'm worried that my baby is not getting enough sleep during the day. She sleeps from about 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with the occasional 15-minute wake up during the night. She is in daycare 4 days a week, though, and she just doesn't seem to want to nap. About once a week or so she comes home and has only slept about 40 minutes. Sometimes we end up cutting out one of her feedings because she is too tired to get two in before sleeping for the night. Do you think there is anything more I can request of the daycare? Do you think I should make other childcare arrangements? I'm just afraid that this may affect her in the long-term. Any suggestions?

Based on the responses I received, I should probably add that I am constrained by my work schedule. My daughter eats every three hours and I don't get home early enough to feed her twice and put her to bed before 8:30/8:45. She can get naps in when I am home with her on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Daycare is really the concern that I am having.

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Hi A.~

I was relieved when I read your posting. I too have a baby who is about 5 mo. old. I have been having a terrible time getting him to take his afternoon nap. He will take a decent morning nap but the afternoon nap will either not happen at all or it is very short.

I am at home with him and I am very consitant with his daily routine, but am still having trouble. We start his bedtime routine about 7 and he sleeps until about 5:45-6:00. Occasionally he will wake in the night but after about a 1/2hour puts himself back to sleep.

I have done some reading on this and what I have read says, sometimes this will happen when they are getting ready to hit a milestone, such as rolling over. Or they are just becoming aware of their surroundings and don't want to miss out on anything. I have noticed when my son has a lot of activity, generally on playgroup days he is harder to get to nap.

I hope that this helps or at least gives you a little relief as it did me, that you are not alone.

My daughter was right where your's was at. She was a cat napper and fussed a lot from 4-9pm. We kept her up since we were feeding her every three hours, and we didn't think she would be able to last the night without the 9pm feeding, but she did great when we introduced the earlier bedtime. She immediately took to her 6pm bedtime, even with the daylight savings time. She kept her original wake up time at 6am, so then I felt guilty that I wasn't giving her enough sleep! Sleep does beget sleep. Here's a thought: I wonder if your care provider gets her at her first stirring. I know my nanny does, whereas I'm happy to let her hang out for a bit after she wakes up--sometimes she'll go right back over if you let her alone for a few minutes. Otherwise, it may be the lights, noise, or just her natural curiousity to observe everything around her in a larger care facility. One final question--is it a large or home-based small care facility? That could make a big difference if she is able to rest by herself in a room vs. having all 12 babies resting at the same time. When I looked at care facilities there was a tremendous range of sleeping environments. Some were really noisy, bright places where sleeping was taking place in the same room as playing.

Get a new daycare!

You said "baby" but how old is she? 9 hours at night is alright depending on age. Daycare may have too many children and therefor yours may be too alert to what others are doing. Where do you live? Maybe I can suggest someone for you.

Hi A.,
Have you possibly explored the possibility of having a babysitter come to your home, sometimes it is cheaper than day care & your child gets undivided attention. Not napping probably will not affect her in the long-term but for right now, she needs both naps. It also could be that there is too much activity around her in daycare, thus, keeping her stimulated & not napping. Good luck to you, I have been there & I totally know what you are experiencing. In home daycare was the best decision I made plus, I got a new friend too!

I'm having similar issues w/ my 8 month old. She started daycare 2 months ago (was with my in-laws prior to that) and never sleeps for more than 45 minutes there. I've done some things to work with the daycare to make it a better environment for her sleeping (even got them to let her sleep in carseat a couple times) but I know it's still not all the sleep she needs. I would put her to sleep as early as possible when you are home. If she wakes up in the night starving because she didn't eat enough before she went to bed you can quickly feed her in the dark and she can go right back to sleep. That's better for her than trying to get her to stay up so you can get in another feeding. Tougher for you of course. I feel your pain!

Hi A.,

I share your pain. My now 7-month old has done the same thing since day one. I was lucky if he'd sleep for 30 minutes (the norm was 20-30 minutes) at a time for naps. His napping improved slightly at daycare when I returned to work, but at home he'd stick stubbornly to those quicky naps. And up until recently, this was how we spent the past 7 months. I asked the doctor about it, and he said as long as he's healthy, happy, and gaining weight and height accordingly, there should be no concern about it. Some babies just don't nap that well, and in all actuality, that phrase 'sleep like a baby' doesn't apply to all babies. . .as we exhaustingly found out. My boy sleeps great at night, it's just that daytime napping that I dreaded. (I asked around finally, and was shocked to learn how many babies DON'T nap that well during the day).

During Spring Break just two weeks ago, my boy started sleeping for 45 minutes to an hour, with the longest stretch going 1 1/2 hours. Going through what you're currently experiencing, I thought something was wrong - he's NEVER slept that long during the day! But he was just tired, I guess. He's also rolling around and commando-crawling around a lot more now, so part of me thinks that since he's more active, he's more tired, and sleeps better for naps. It doesn't happen every day, but more often than not, and now his daytime naps are averaging about 30-60 minutes. . .which, compared to 20-30 minutes, it's a Godsend.

Going through this myself, I don't know if daycare is the culprit, as I said, he's been doing this since day one, before we even started daycare. But he's happy and healthy at daycare, so as long as he seems happy and content there, I wouldn't worry too much about it. . .hopefully your little one will start growing out of it soon.

Go with your gut and take it one day at a time. I know it's hard, but hang in there!


I really wouldn't worry to much. I have three kids and ALL of them were different when it came to napping. It also goes along with their personalities....even early on. You get a glimpse of how they will be as they grow up. My youngest child...WOULD NOT SLEEP! She was the lightest sleeper and did not want to miss out on anything going on. Her older sisters weren't even home during the day, making noise, so it was like she was an only child...and she still didn't sleep. Not only were her naps no longer than 45 minutes, but she also DID NOT sleep during the night very well. It was a nightmare every day and every night to get her to sleep. She is 7 now, and still the same. Light sleeper and VERY active. She is non stop and doesn't want to miss a beat. She walked at 9 months, and hasn't stopped.

I would suggest however, putting her to sleep earlier. I would find that when my daughter was overly tired, it was even harder to get her to sleep. That is why I was so neurotic about getting her to sleep all the time, because it would be worse if she didn't.

If your daughter is a light sleeper, day care setting might not be the best situation either. How about a in home caretaker that has less kids and more time for her? Maybe even a private sitter that takes care of only her?

hang in there.

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