At the End of My Rope with Naps and Bedtime. I Am LOSING It!

Updated on March 14, 2008
G.M. asks from Watertown, MA
8 answers

Does anyone know of someone I can hire for sleep training? I can't afford it, but I NEED it. My 17 week old actually sleeps through the night (knock on wood) but refuses to nap, and she hates to go to bed at night. I can never seem to get her at the right time to put her down - either too early or too late.

She used to nap OK, for about 45 minutes, after I bounced her on my knee for a couple of minutes.
Now she cries and cries - crashes, and sleeps for only 15-20 minutes.

I have tried everything! I have tried letting her cry with me in the room, and with me out of the room - no change. I have tried letting her sleep on me - no change.

I have tried bouncing, rocking, nursing - no change.

She is swaddled, with white noise, and has room darkening shades.

She does not like the sling or the baby bjorn, nor does she fall asleep in the swing.

I really do not want to take her in the car for every nap!

I can never get anything done, I feel fat, ugly, my house is a mess, I have loads and loads of laundry to do, among other things, taxes are due, I have to pay bills, etc, etc, and I work nights and weekends to make ends meet.

I never get to catch up on my sleep or get anything done because she never naps.

I would be willing to accept it - but she is so tired all day - yawning, fussing, which leads to a complete meltdown every time I try to get her to nap (usually 30-60 minutes 3 times a day), and at the end of the day she'll cry anywhere from 60 min to 3 hours.

I am so sick of it. I can't take it anymore. I think I am crying more than she is now.

Please help!

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answers from Boston on

Hi G.,

First of all you are officially in crisis mode! If you have a family available then recruit them. If possible find someone who is willing to sleep over one or two nights week. This person should be assigned all baby care responsibilities between the hours of nine PM and six AM. You NEED to get some sleep. Even one or two nights of solid sleep a week will help you get enough rest to have reasonable perspective on the situation. If you have no friends or family to help out and cannot afford to hire someone one to two nights a week then call a crisis center for advice.

Having a baby is a life altering experience. In addition, the hormone changes we experience are like a roller coaster ride of emotion. It is possible you are suffering from a serious post-partum depression. Post-partum depression is common and also very readily treated. Please do not delay calling your ob/gyn or a mental health specialist if these feelings persist; post-partum depression left untreated can lead to a more serious conditon--post-partum psychosis.

Finally, believe it or not, this too shall pass. Babies do grow up quickly and we can adjust to the life changes these little beings bring. Unfortunately, the reality of motherhood is nothing like the fantasty of motherhood we dream of during our pregnancies. When we are pregnant everyone fawns over us "how are you?", "you look beautiful", etc. We are seeing a doctor every month; or more frequently, our entire lives are focused on the due date. Suddenly, we deliver our little one and we are excommunicated. We can barely find time to take a shower, we haven't eaten a meal with two hands since they were born, we are isolated and truthfully, we don't always look down on the little cherubs suddenly infused with feelings of motherly adoration.

Seek out opportunities to join a new mother's group (your hospital is usually a good resource for those). Lower your expectations (alot!) and throw out you mirrors! (seriously). Try to get out for a walk each day even if you really don't feel like it. The sunlight, fresh air and change of view will do you both good. Most importantly ask for help when you need it. You are not a failure, all babies are not the same and everyone's life is not the same, so don't compare yourself to other mother's who seem to have it all under control, because they probably don't!

Best Wishes!
J. L.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

ohh sweetie...please call your doctor..

the house work can wait. you have the rest of your life to clean your house!!

are you suffering from post partum depression??? {can't spell}

did you think of that? its not a bad thing and not something that is your fault. if that is what it is.

this is suppose to be such a happy time...but reality says different....right?

i wish i was closer....i would help you out.

and most people will...IF YOU ASK!!!!!!! look into some older ladies. most women would just love to handle a little bundle of joy againnnnnnnn! and would just love to help you!

after my last little bundle of joy...i wanted to start a group that looked after "the momma" and made sure "she" was doing okay after delivering. but i am not smart enough, and never finish anything=[ hee hee...but it is a good idea, huh??


good thing you only "feel" fat, ugly and whatever else...cuz those "feelings" go away...

your are beautiful!!! you are a mommy now. and time is sooo sooo precious...try and enjoy it.

get a play pen, give her a pacifier!! maybe she needs it!!

brake all the rules!!! everyone is different!

i have 4 children...the first 3 never picked up a binkie...and i was such a snob when i saw other kids with them (all ages) well..........

my last one is a binkie junkie!!!! =O lol lol

its just the way "he" is...i "feel" so silly for being so judgemental !!!!!!! cuz i have not done anything differently with him...and he just lovesssss the freakin binkie!!!

and guess what?? i don't care!!!!

reach out my beautiful mommy!!! there are good people out there....don't leave her alone with a "stranger" but don't turn down someone folding laundry for you or doing the dishessssss

you never know, most people are good.

and G....this WILL pass. just TRY and enjoy her!! remember, "feelings" pass too....

I am sure you are doing a wonderful job...give yourself a break on the house work!! its not THAT important!!

reach out and ask for help!!!!!!

i WILL keep YOU in my prayers!!!

now, go and call your doctor!!! good luck=]


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I know it might not help tremendously, but hopefully it is some consolation to know that many of us have been there, or are currently there. You have gotten some excellent advice from others. Do see your health care professional, try to get some help from friends & relatives, and try some support groups.

The only other suggestion that I have to add to what you've already heard is that I seem to remember a product (though I'm not sure the name) that replicates the feeling of riding in a car when baby is in her crib. It goes under the mattress. It sounds like in the car is the one place she will nap? If so, it might be worth looking into this product.

Above all - and I know as well as anyone how hard this is to do - lower your expectations. Set priorities and do only what has to get done. As time passes, you'll be able to take on more, but your situation now means hunkering down and taking care of yourself as well as your baby. New mothers need mothering more than their babies do sometimes. As someone else said, this too shall pass. Do everything you can to take care of you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Do you use a pacifier? You might want to let her hands out of the swaddle so she can learn how to pacify herself. I've read that babies go through stages of sleep and at about 30-45 minutes are at a lighter stage. Babies who rely on pacifiers often wake and are unable to get back to sleep. Sleeping is a learned behavior. That means babies have to learn to fall asleep without a pacifier, without breast feeding, without rocking, etc. This will undoubtedly involve some crying.

I would recommend "Sleep Sense". I think it's the kinder, gentler version of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" Check out

Count your blessings that she is sleeping through the night. My 18 week old son is in week two of our sleep training. We're seeing improvement but it does take time. He still wakes for two feedings every night. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Take a deep breath!! I am a mother of three and have been there! I would talk to the pedi, your doctor, anyone who will listen for starters. You will maybe get advice but mostly see that you are not alone. It is ROUGH!! I say take a walk around the block, or the mall and that may get lil miss fussy to at least rest, and the excercise will help your frame of mind. If she falls asleep, and you are able, bring sleeping beauty inside- stroller and all! The other thing I had to learn was laundry and a clean house are not the priority, my baby(children) and I are. Again a very tough concept for this organized mama, but I got what needed to be done, done. Try setting up a defined sleep schedule. Pick a time and start with a bath, read a story, and all in low light, and continuous soft talking from mama. Put her to bed and if she cries , do laundry, wash dishes, pick up a little - things that make noise to drown her out. If shes still crying, go in and try genlte talking again, ang rock her in the dark. I could rest at least while I did this. I had a really hard time putting my first child down, EVER, and she caught on FAST! I had to do lots of noisy stuff during nap time and bed time so I drowned out her noise! She got the idea within a week and naps and bed were easier. I hope this helps. Good luck and remember if it were easy being a mom, men would do it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It will get better! First of all, can you find someone (even a paid sitter) to come for a couple hours so you can take a nap. It will all seem so much more managable if you aren't exhausted. I would also talk to the pedi. about possible acid reflux or something else (like an ear infection) that makes her really uncomfortable to sleep. Many try getting her to sleep on her belly someplace that you can keep an eye on her if you are worried. I know that at this point its next to impossible, but if you can try and keep your cool and be relaxed when you are trying to get her to sleep, she'll probably respond better because your heartrate will be down, etc. Finally, you don't have to be supermom - if she's content, awake, and hanging out on the floor or in a bouncy seat, go ahead and do some housestuff then. Or do some "babylifts" for exercise. You aren't neglecting her if you are folding laundry, doing dishes, or paying bills when she's awake. She can learn to entertain herself for about 15 minutes at this point, plenty of time to do a couple loads of laundry. Good luck, and really, this will pass, although it feels endless.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I went through the EXACT same thing with my daughter who is now 6 months old. The good news is that she had colic and she grew out of it between 5-6 months. I did all the things you are doing until one day I just gave up and realized the wasn't going to nap so I just went to bed when she did at night (which was a traumatic event in itself) so that I could have the energy to do it all over again the next day. I was depressed and tired and at the end of my rope. The only thing that kept me from going over the edge was my amazingly helpful husband and getting a family babysitter every now and then. And the closest famly we have are 6 hours away but I was so insane I would ask them to come for the weekend so they could help us out. And then, one day, it just stopped. She took a nap. We thought for sure she must be dead and of course I woke her up checking for breathing, but then she just started to go down for naps. I think all the nap training I did for all those months finally sunk in. It's one of those "when you stop looking for it you find it" things I think. I assume you're reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child? This book saved my life!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on


This sounds like me a couple years ago. I take it it's also your first child and I remember I could barely get a shower in. The only way I could get my oldest to take a nap was in the car. It's great she's sleeping through the night - count your blessings.
I suggest that you get a bouncy seat that she can lay in and it has toys attached in an arch above her so she has something to look at. It will keep her busy enough for you to get a shower in and you can set it on the bathroom floor so you can check on her. Also, lay a blanket on the floor with some little toys so she can practice her rolling. Set it up on the kitchen floor or whichever room you are in. She should be ok for 15 minutes or so. You may have to clean, email, relax in short spurts, but she'll get better and the playtimes will start to get longer before she wants all your attention again.
As she gets a bit older we swore by the Exersaucers for both our kids. Lots of things for them to do and they were in one place so you can go in and out of the room.
I think the first baby is the hardest as you want to be there every minute, but you both need some moments away.
Don't stress about her not taking a nap, for whatever reason right now she doesn't need it, but make sure she's safe and has some things to look at or touch and turn on some music and you need to go ahead and get things done without giving her constant attention. I know it's hard, but this is a great time before she starts following you around the house and really getting into everything you do!
All the best,

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