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!

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

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!

More Answers

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!!

Hi T.,

We had similar issues with our daughter. It helped a little to have her on a regular nap schedule and have a "nap routine" of sorts -- going in a dark room and nursing or rocking and singing. Having consistency and avoiding stress/over-stimulation at nap time is important, too. Babies really pick up on the stress in our lives.

At 4 mos., we were actually still swaddling our daughter, and using some of Dr. Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block methods.

My pediatrician says that some babies are just not nappers, and it sounds like your son is sleeping better during the night than my daughter was at his age. Now, at 9 mos., she takes 2 approx. hour-long naps, so it does get better with sleep consolidation!


My first was the same way. He slept well at night (at 6 months of age) but took 30 minute naps twice a day like clock work. Keep up with the training and you will slowly see results for the nap. My guy is a great sleeper now and I believe it is because we did not give up on the sleep training. When he dropped the morning nap at 15 months he would take a 2-3 hr afternoon nap. Sounds like your son is doing well at night. The naps will come. Good luck and congratulations.

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!

try putting him to bed alittle later. and try nap time alittle later, they usually sleep for 1 to 2 hours, which is good. i have a 2month old nephew who dosen't do that all day sleeping like most newborns do. he sleeps in what seems like 2hour increments ALL DAY!he wants to be up cooing and looking around and when i try to lay him down for a nap or bedtime all heck breaks loose, so if nap time is your only problem i'd like to trade places,because at least you get to sleep at night.

Have you tried the 5 S's and the EASY method of sleeping? Works like a charm... here's how it goes...
try using the Baby Whisperer's EASY method for a schedule, and the Happiest Baby on the Block 5 s's method. Those two combined will make cio not be a needed thing (at that age)
EASY - when the baby wakes up it Eats. After you feed it, then it has Activity - bouncy seat, tummy time, sitting up and playing with toys, swing, exersaucer, etc. When the baby gets fussy check the B's - boredom, butt or burp. If it's none of those then off to Sleep. Don't wait for the baby to do more than get the tiniest bit fussy, then see what is causing the fusses - if it's just that they needed their diaper change do that, but if it's not the activity is boring, the butt is dirty or they have to burp, then put them down. This may happen after as short as 45 minutes, don't freak, it really means they are tired.
Now, to get them to sleep use the 5 s's. Swaddle the baby, hold the baby on their side and sway as they suck on something (paci, your knuckle or their finger/thumb) and make a shush noise. This will calm your baby. When the baby is calm, but not asleep yet, keeping them swaddled lay them in the bed. I like to pat them instead of sway after a minute or two cause you can still pat after they are put down but you can't sway, so pat the baby and continue patting gradually decreasing it as you put them in the bed. Also continue the shushing as you put them down, again gradually getting quieter.
If you do these two you will find a well rested, easily managed baby in no time.

If he sleeps good that long at night then he might not need long naps during the day. At that age what is it 14 hours? I think you are expecting him to sleep too much?

Keep trying to put the little one down and soon he will be napping like a champ! I think most 4 months old struggle with naps. Trust me, in a few months the naps will be in place. Till then, hang in there. Short naps are very, very common for that age.

I kept going in to my daughter until she was really sleepy. I found that if I let her fuss, she wouldn't nap as well. Maybe you might want to mix things up a bit, ignore Weissbluth, go in every few minutes, or even just nurse him till he is almost asleep? The naps will fall in place.

Sounds like it could be early signs of teething. All three of my kids had trouble at that age and they all got teeth early. Do you notice a lot more drooling than in the past? It can take weeks (or even months) for the teeth to emerge, but it's uncomfortable for the kids and makes it hard to nap (hooray he's sleeping well at night...my kids were the same way). Good for you following Weissbluth, I LOVED that book. Stick w/his theory as best you can and you'll weather through the teething bumps in the road. He'll get back on track when he isn't so uncomfortable.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.