15 Week Old Son Has Started Falling Asleep for the Night Around 4 Pm

Updated on March 06, 2008
A.R. asks from Danbury, CT
13 answers

My son is 15 weeks old, and is, in general, a very easy going baby.
He has never been a great napper, but has been a pretty good nighttime
sleeper for the last month. He would go to sleep around 7:30, wake up
for a feeding between 12:30 and 2:30, and generally fall back asleep
until 6:30.

4 weeks ago, we started taking him to daycare from 8-12, as I returned to
work. I work from home, and figured I could get 4 hrs of work done in the
morning, and then work around his nap and nighttime sleep schedule to finish
my workday.

Well, his 2nd week at daycare, he got very sick (bronchiolitis, high fever).
He is healthy again, and seems to enjoy daycare, but naps very little while
there. For the last week, he falls asleep during our 3-ish feeding, and so
I put him down for a nap. But now he doesn't want to wake up. Well, he
wakes up around 11 pm, and 1 am, and 3 am when he starts to chatter and
giggle and otherwise start his day.

We have tried waking him up, just to go through is "getting ready for bed"
routine - tubby time and reading a short book - but the whole exercise of
waking him to get him ready for bed is pretty ironic. And the poor little guy
can barely keep his eyes open throughout the process.

So we are currently leaning towards letting him keep his natural sleep cycle,
and hope his idea of when it's time to go to sleep starts drifting later to
a more reasonable hour.
Has anyone had their baby suddenly shift his/her idea of when nighttime starts?
How did you handle it?

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answers from New York on

He may be over stimulated at daycare so it makes it hard for him to nap. This is why he is so exhausted by 4. If he gets a nap in even if it's 20 min you will notice a big difference.

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answers from New York on

My daugter did the same thing when she was little. He may need to take a morning nap as well as the afternoon one. If he wants to go down at 3 p.m., don't let him sleep more than two hours. When he wakes up, you need to do the best you can to keep him up until you want him to go down for the night. Believe me, it's not easy. Your dealing with dinner prep and clean up. I still have issues with mine and she is 21 months old.

Enjoy him. They grow so fast.




answers from New York on

Hi A.,
He clearly isn't getting the nap he needs in the A.M., so I wondered how you get him home from daycare and whether you could get him to nod off on the way home? Do you drive or walk with stroller? If you don't interact once he's in the car or stroller and try to get him to fall asleep, maybe you could sneak a good nap in at that time and push off the evening to more like 6PM. My son was a nap junkie and still would go down at night at 6:30/7PM. No matter when he went to sleep he was up at 5:30 AM, so we both needed our naps. I would imagine if he's waking up at 3 AM he really needs a good nap during the day. Maybe you should also have them not put him down for a nap in daycare past 10 AM so that he would fall asleep at noon (after you spend a few minutes cuddling and quiet reconnecting, maybe an unscheduled nursing session). I had my son at 45 and can appreciate the miracle we share. Enjoy!
PS--If you go in at 3 AM and keep him company you are also establishing another not so great habit--the need for company at horrendous wee hours of the morning. If this continues, you need to try to get him to keep himself company until a more decent hour or you'll be paying for it for a LONG time.



answers from New York on

How come you feel like you have to send him off to daycare for 4 hours a day? Can you not just put him in a swing or a playpen for a couple of hours or something while you work from home or hold him on your lap? It sounds like you worked so hard to bring him into the world, why would you want him to be away from you?

I work from home too and can get much accomplished even with my little one with me all day.

All of my friend's children have gotten extremely sick from day care no matter how clean the place is. I would just keep him home with you.

Not only is the bond healthy for him to sense you in the next room, it will probably allow his little body to repair and get back to a normal routine. Not to mention a reward for you as you've worked so hard to accomplish this new life.

Just a little bit of advise of what I do or would do in your situation:)

Hope that helps!



answers from Glens Falls on

Having raised three kids myself I have dealt with all sorts of sleeping habits. My advice to you would be to role with the punches.....Babies go through growth spurts which completely mess up their schedual. They grow while they are sleeping so let them sleep. If they sleep early then you should also...this phase will pass..in the mean time just enjoy the beautiful boy....Count your blessings that when he wakes up at 1 & 3 am it is to see his mom and dad & eat not because he is sick or in pain. I know this advice doesn't give you a quick fix but maybe it will give you a new perspective...........D.



answers from New York on

i would definitely work with someone at daycare on getting extra help with his naps. My daughter did the same thing. She started daycare, and a) got sick, b) stopped napping well. She'd fall asleep on the way home. She's 16 months now. But, when she was your son's age, part of her daily routine was a pm cat nap. 45 minutes to 1 hour, no more. Just one sleep cycle to refresh, and get through dinner, bath, books, etc. But, not enough to be fully rested. Baby should still be tired at bedtime. Our daughter was. Maybe you could a) get help at daycare and b) give him a only a catnap at 4. See if that helps? It is definitely an adjustment, I know!



answers from Albany on

We had a really rough time with our son (I'm 40 as well!) and sleeping. He didn't start sleeping through the night until 9 months. The book, Good Night, Sleep Tight is an awesome book for fixing schedules. Sometimes babies just get mixed up. The book has a lot of helpful suggestions. Establishing a bedtime routine is absolutely the best thing to do - whether or not he can stay awake! The books will tell you to not be so quiet when he sleeps during the day. The house should have normal activity sounds and light so he starts to associate light with waking and dark with sleeping. If he's fine in his crib and giggling, even in the dead of night - leave him. As long as he's clean and not hungry, let him amuse himself and put himself back to sleep. He needs to learn to do this. Trust me! From one who suffered! Good luck!



answers from New York on

Hi A., we had a little boy (who's now a fantastic 2-years old!) who cried all day and night for his first 3-4months. I tried to get him on a schedule before going back to work but that was not very easy, so I just let him sleep whenever he could - that meant, sleeping from 3 to 7pm, waking up, going back to sleep at 11pm. The kind of schedule that terrified me since I was going back to work. Then he started going to Day Care, and a month later, started getting sick all the time (gastroenteritis, bronchiolitis, etc). So, for a while, the sleeping schedule was difficult because he would not sleep at all at Day Care and when I picked him up after work, around 6pm he was a little paper doll, ready to go to bed, not interested in eating, let alone bathing. Eventually, slowly, he started getting into a rythm and, while never becoming a good napper at Day Care, he managed to "rest" enough during the day so that he would have normal nights. And mommy too....

I did sart, very slowly, to change his sleeping habits, depending on how he was that day, by doing the same routine, whether it was at 6pm or at 9pm. And whenever he was sick, staying home I tried to put him to nap midday, never past 4pm so he would have a normal night. That worked out eventually. Progressively, I moved his bedtime to 7pm.

I tell you all this:
a) so that you trust that this is a phase and it will pass - he'll get used to Day Care and won't be so tired and then he'll get into a more "normal" rythm
b) so that you take care of yourself to be able to 'accompany' your little baby in this stage

Best of luck!



answers from New York on

i am not a pediatrician, but i am on my 5th.

i think it is possible there is just so much going on at "school" that he prefers to be awake to experience it all. then he gets home is is wiped out.

ask the center if they can provide a "quiet room" for nap time. wear a very large teeshirt and send it in unlaundered. they may be able to put this on the mattress perhaps your smell will help him sleep.



answers from New York on

Hi A.,

My advice would be to make more of an effort with the daytime napping. He is so tired by the time 4pm rolls around that he has his long sleep cycle then. It would be ideal if he could take a morning nap early on, pretty soon after getting to daycare. Is there a quiet place and one on one attention where a caregiver can help him to fall asleep? I'd also suggest trying to nap him again pretty soon after you get him home, putting him down between 1:00 and 2:00. If he naps better during the day, he's not as likely to be so exhausted when 4pm comes around.

Good luck



answers from New York on

i would try working with the daycare to get your son to take a nap while he is there, even if it is a short one. my first son would rarely sleep at daycare-too much going on, he would sometimes fall asleep on the drive home and sleep right through the night. he also made up for it on weekends and slept a lot. i was working full time at the time so there was not much i could do. you could also see if one of the daycare girls is interested in jumping ship. you might be able to pay her to come to your home for the same amount you pay the daycare.



answers from New York on

You mentioned that he isn't napping at daycare. I would ask your daycare provider to try to make sure that he gets in some sort of nap while he's there. If that means picking him up, rocking him for awhile, swaddling....I use to work at a Childcare center and we wouldn't initiate naps..we let the children initiate things. So I would at least ask.



answers from New York on

Hi- Congratulations on your long-awaited blessing! I've raised my own five and have seven beautiful little grandchildren now, and I've seen my share of sleep problems. I hope I can be of help. You say your little boy is in daycare in the morning and doesn't nap well there, I'm thinking maybe it would work out better if he went in the afternoon instead. You could keep him busy in the morning and then he may be more likely to nap at daycare in the afternoon, which would then leave him awake through the evening hours and ready for a more reasonable bedtime at night. Hope your little guy is doing better soon!

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