28 answers

My 11 Week Old Won't Nap!

I am really struggling with getting my 11 week old to nap. I have been struggling with this since she was 4 weeks old. I have a whole routine down, and no matter what I do, nothing helps. 7 weeks of trying to get a little one to nap is making me absolutely crazy. Not only is my poor little one sleep deprived, I am frustrated and get NOTHING done.
She refuses a pacifier, but she is swaddled (it is worse when she is not swaddled), there is white noise in her room, and I have made it pitch black. She will sleep a good 7-8 hour stretch at night (knock on wood), but she resists naps like they are plague!
I can see that she is tired - yawning, rubbing her eyes, getting fussy, so I put her down for a nap. Fat Chance! And by time 5:00 pm comes she is so tired, she has a complete meltdown often crying for an hour or so. It breaks my heart!
I will swaddle her, and do the forbidden rocking her to sleep. Once she is just about asleep, I put her in her crib, and then talk to her until she falls asleep. I do the "shushing" as well. This process takes about 20 minutes, and then a few minutes into her nap she wakes up crying. I have tried to let her cry, but I can't take it because she screams and wails beyond crying, I can't ignore it.
So I start the whole process over again, taking another 20 minutes only for her to sleep about 30 minutes.
UGH. Any advice would be welcomed. I am ripping my hair out!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone who responded! I really appreciate your time and advice.
I wish I could say my daughters naps are getting better, but now at 13 weeks of age they seem to be getting WORSE. She is now napping only 30 minutes 3 times a day instead of 45.
I have tried EVERYTHING - nursing her to sleep, bouncing, rocking, swaddling, using the swing, bouncy seat, and she won't even sleep well in the CAR!
Yes, I have tried to let her sleep on me, and I have tried using a sling and the baby bjorn - and she hates them both.
I am exasperated. She will sleep a good stretch at night (Thank God), but she only sleeps about 11 hours per day (including night sleep) and I know babies her age are supposed to get 15-16.
I have tried to let her cry, and that did not work either, and I am not into letting my baby cry for long periods of time anyways.
I don't know what else to do, but I am going CRAZY - I get NOTHING done, I have no time for myself and I am so, so, so concerned about her. I am calling my pediatrician next! Anyone else have advice, please feel free to send it my way.

Featured Answers

Yikes! Have you tried putting her in the bouncy seat or swing to get her to nap? I know it's not ideal, but it sounds like you have been struggling to get the poor little thing some sleep. Perhaps when she is in a routine of sleeping, you can slowly wean her off the swing or bouncy or car ride - whatever it is that helps.

Hi G.! I had the same problem with my 3rd baby, only she also wouldn't sleep well at night. I hated to do it but the only way I got her to sleep for any decent length of time was to put her in her swing. If I tried to lay her down her eyes would pop right open & it would be all over. SO- you may feel like a bad mother but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do!! Eventually she did nap like a normal baby but it was several months of using the swing. I also had to use it to get her down at night too for awhile. Good luck, there's nothing worse than feeling so sleep deprived !!

G.,

This is just a thought, but I would buy a snuggly for her. A snuggly is like a nap sack that the baby sits in facing you or facing out away from you. I used one with my oldest son. He did not sleep much either until I used the snuggly. What would happen is that as I carried him close to me (snuggled to my chest) he would get lulled to sleep. Then a few minutes after he fell asleep, I would gently unsnap him and put him in his bed with the cloth seat part still around him. (Some are made out of quilt material that wrap around a baby like swaddling, except the legs are usually free.) He usually would sleep about 45 minutes that way. I also found that the snuggly helped out when I needed to do chores or things around the house when he was fussy and didn't want to nap. It used to take about 20 minutes of him trying not to sleep, but in the end he always got a good nap out of it. That snuggly was one of the best things any one gave me for my shower! It really kept my sanity, and gave me the ability to get some things done while bonding with my son. I used it until he was about 6 months old. After that, he was able to sleep on his own for his naps. Good luck to you!

More Answers

Hi G.! I had the same problem with my 3rd baby, only she also wouldn't sleep well at night. I hated to do it but the only way I got her to sleep for any decent length of time was to put her in her swing. If I tried to lay her down her eyes would pop right open & it would be all over. SO- you may feel like a bad mother but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do!! Eventually she did nap like a normal baby but it was several months of using the swing. I also had to use it to get her down at night too for awhile. Good luck, there's nothing worse than feeling so sleep deprived !!

have you tried co sleeping at nap time yet? perhaps your little one needs to get in sync with your bio-rhythms more and is too anxious to sleep. more info at mothering magazine with lots of great links, articles and help on their wed site.. some babies just need to be close to mom.

Hi G., my first one did not sleep during the day as an infant at all either. maybe 10 minute cat nap here or there but always woke up quickly and fussed. I found that the only way he actually slept at times was to drive around, I would hit a dunkin donuts and drive for about 45 minutes, and then sometimes hit another dunkin donuts and drive for 45 minutes more! he would still wake up when we got home but for that 1.5 to 2 hours, I listened to what I wanted to in the car and sipped my coffee etc, it was a brief time out for me! The good thing about it was that he usually was asleep for the evening by 5:30 or 6:00, and would sleep well until he needed to be fed and then go back to sleep. At that time, I had a bassinett downstairs in the living room that I would put him in at 5:30 or so, and then when my husband and I would go up to bed we would feed him and then put him in the other bassinett in our room for the night time. Maybe the tv and activity in the living room was comforting to him? I am not sure but eventually by maybe 9 months to a year he did settle down into regular nap times. I think that maybe all babies have their own way, and yours seems to be like mine in the up all day but sleeps well at night. I guess only the very lucky ones have it both ways (i.e., naps wonderfully regularly and wow, sleeps through the night! Doubt it!) Good luck! L.

I can sympathize
Try this, when baby is really full after a feeding,swaddle tightly, rock gently. My daughter had Acid reflux (still does) and only slept in a rocker chair. It was when we layed her flat that she would wake up. Something to think about. Good Luck and hang in there- this will pass. And trust me it gets better and better. I also learned not to be so hard on myself about getting things done- your a new Mom. My Isabella is now 6 months, 5 months ago I too was in your perdicament and didn't believe how challenging this was.
Be thankful that she sleeps through the night, that is unusual.
Best,
D.

If she is yawning and rubbing her eyes, you may be waiting too long to put her down. An overtired baby will not sleep well.

Try putting her down for her naps before she looks tired and see if that helps.

I agree, however, that she is still a newborn, and there is nothing wrong with holding her and rocking her. I used to have to hold my oldest for her entire nap. She is 4 and turned out just fine! :)

So here is something that works for my 11 week old son- I know this is a really old post but it may help someone else. I lay in my bed with my son and I put a waterproof pad under him. We lay belly to belly with him under the covers and I nurse him to sleep, it usually takes a couple minutes or so. I let him sleep there, usually on his side. I'm sure many will say this is awful, dangerous or whatever- but it works! I put the video monitor right in front of him for when when I'm around the house and I look in on him every little bit as well. He sometimes sleeps 2 hours this way! I leave the tv on low in the room as well as the ceiling fan and we have an air purifier that runs in there because we have allergies. This is the only way I have been get him to sleep during the day- without the swaddle, which I don't like to use too much since we use it all night long.

Have you tried 'wearing' her in a sling or a baby bjorn carrier? If she's sleeping so great at night, it's maybe not as big of a deal that she doesn't sleep in the crib during the day. When my little guy was that young, he slept for 3 hrs at a time in the sling and I could still get stuff done around the house, or even go for a long walk. I got my sling on karmababy.com. He would konk out in about 3 minutes after I put him in the sling... it was amazing! :)

Yikes! Have you tried putting her in the bouncy seat or swing to get her to nap? I know it's not ideal, but it sounds like you have been struggling to get the poor little thing some sleep. Perhaps when she is in a routine of sleeping, you can slowly wean her off the swing or bouncy or car ride - whatever it is that helps.

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