16 answers

Seeking Advice for a 4-Month Old Who Won't Nap

Hi -
Our 4 month old used to nap well but in the last few weeks is only taking 2 or 3 naps that are 20-30 minutes in length. He sleeps very well at night - 10 to 12 hours (going to bed at 6:30pm), getting up only once maybe twice to eat. I've read Dr. Weissbluth's Healthy Babies book and am following everything to a "T". In the mornings, I get him to go down for a nap without problems but he stays asleep such a short time. The afternoon nap is a major battle and he just cries the whole time and won't fall asleep. Wondering if anyone else has experience with this and can advise? Thank you!

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my daughter too went through a period where she too was only napping for a short period of time (10-20 minutes) 2 or 3 times a day. she was content even though she wasn't sleeping much so i did not worry or do anything accept follow her lead and let her nap for as long as she wanted to nap for. she 'grew out of it'. now she is 7 months and has established her own routine.
good luck!

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All babies seem to go through a major sleep transition around 4 to 4 1/2 months of age. My daughter went from 3 months of colicky, NO sleeping, to finally sleeping (thank heavens!) But most of my friends (who didn't have colic babies) saw the exact opposite -- their babies stopped sleeping in their pattern at 4 months.

Like you, I'm a fan of Dr. Weissbluth's method. So I recommend you stay the course, maintain consistency with the recommendation he makes in his book for this age, and give your baby a week or so. You'll see him establish his new, healthy sleep schedule in no time!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,
You're getting a lot of good advice, and it seems like you're doing a great job following Weissbluth's sleep schedule. One thing I learned was that I was going into the babies' room too soon after hearing one cry (I have twins and didn't want one to wake up the other). I found that if babies wake up after 20-30 minutes, to let them stay in their crib - yes, they will heart-wrenching cry - but they very likely will fall back asleep for another 30 minutes to an hour! This doesn't work right away, I had to do it a few days in a row for both naps. It's good to keep a rule of thumb that once the baby is down for a nap, he has to stay in the crib for one hour at least. I'm still following this rule at 9 months and their naps have been so much better, also teaches self-soothing which is so important both asleep and awake!
Best wishes!

I had similar issues with my daughter 16 years ago, and read ALL of Weissbluth's books, and followed them religiously. They were of no help at all. A method i would recommend, however, is found in "Babywise" by Ezzo. I'm sure you could find a used copy on Amazon. It worked like a charm! I followed that with my two subsequent children with great results. Don't worry- it will get better!

alot of these sleep books (and partenting books in general) make you think you will break your baby if they don't get the right sleep/food/stimulation/toys etc at the right time. every baby is different. that said, i have a daughter the same age and she has regressed somewhat in her sleep too - a friend of mine noted the same thing in her 4 month old son. if you baby is tired, put him down. self- soothing is a skill he needs to learn and you can help him by letting him fuss for a minute before going in. by now you know the difference btwn "fussing" and "hysterical cryibg" - fussing is ok but trust your ibstincts. if he clearly needs sleep and cant seem to settle, take im for a walk. a baby sling works like a charm, and strollers ae usually pretty good at inducing sleep too. if he doesn't seem tired, skip the nap.

My son did the same thing around that age (although i wasnt lucky enough to have him sleeping through the night at that age). I think it is normal, and when asking my ped, she said that it was normal to have short naps, and to feel lucky that he napped at all! I guess some babies dont! Anyhow, he is 16 months now and has been sleeping through the night with 2 solid long naps for many many months (so it gets better).

Enjoy your "awake time" with your little one. It really does go so fast now I miss my little 4 month old!!!

I wouldn't worry that your baby is not much of a napper because some babies just aren't. My son (7 mos. old) is not much of a napper either, and hasn't been since about that age. He sleeps well at night (10-11 hours) with one or two meal breaks during that time. His naps are irregular, with some days having a morning and afternoon short nap and some only having a late afternoon long nap. According to Dr. Sears, babies your son's age need about 14-16 hours of sleep. So if you think about it, your son is not that far off. If he doesn't act tired, he probably is getting enough sleep.

I read your posting. My son (15 weeks) is taking short naps (45min) and sleeping very poorly at night too (waking every 1 - 3 hours). He use to be a great sleeper until about 12 weeks. Any advice or insight? Thanks in advance!

Hi T.,
I have a 4 month old as well. She is a blessing and has been sleeping though the night since week 5 without waking up. She doesn't take long naps during the day either. In most cases, she falls alseep for 30-40 minutes at a time, and about 2-3 times a day. I'm not sure what your schedule is like during the day, but I'm not pushing the nap schedule just yet. Since there are so many new things going on, like introducing new foods, rolling over, etc. there are too many factors that might be changing their schedules anyways. So I just make sure that when I see her getting tired, I put her in her crib. Lately her naps have been getting a little longer, but not by much. I guess my personal philosphy is that I would rather her be awake during the day instead of the night...for us, this has been working out.
Hope this helps a little!!

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