How to Help Baby Sleep During the Day?

Updated on January 04, 2010
R.M. asks from Tucson, AZ
13 answers

We have an almost 1-month old baby - our first - and on most days I cannot get her to sleep for much of the day. Knock on wood, she will fall asleep after nursing at night, but during the day she is just awake, awake, awake. I can make her doze off in her baby carriage, or by taking her for a ride in the car, and sometimes, but certainly not always, she will snooze in the ErgoBaby carrier. If she sleeps in the carrier I have a chance to get some things done, but I cannot be walking / driving her around all day. She is clearly tired- her eyes are red, she is yawning, but she cannot fall asleep. If I place her in her crib, she will cry endlessly. We have tried to let her cry, but after 45 minutes (with us checking in on her every 5 mins) we gave up. I know that sleep is very important for their developing brain, and I would also like to have a few minutes of time when I am not holding her. I adore her, and relish the times that she is in my arms, but I need a few minutes here and there for myself. Any tips?

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answers from Phoenix on

My son was exactly the same way! We co-sleep, so I know that makes our situation a little different, but here is what worked for us....

To get Conner used to napping, I got a good wrap (gysymama) and wore him. I'd play with him, feed him, wrap him up, bounce him, and he'd fall asleep. Once he got used to napping, I laid down next to him in bed, nursed him, left a teddy bear that I had squired milk on, and left. If he woke before an hour, I'd lay back next to him and nurse him until he fell asleep again. After a few weeks, he stopped waking and was sleeping 2ish hours.

A good wrap makes all the difference because they are warm and tight on your body. Moby is a cheaper version that works well.

As far as the crying, I'd be very careful with that. They aren't sure the long term-effects, and honestly, who likes to fall asleep crying?? I will share a few links with you on the possible long-term effects of leaving a baby to cry and/or long-term crying. I hope they help you.

One more thing. The book The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly is full of amazing tips and ideas. It is a lifesaver!



answers from Tucson on

I have been there!! My daughter is now 11 months old and takes two naps a day ranging from 60 to 120 minutes. However, she wasn't always this way. For the first 4 months of her little life she was just AWAKE all day long. She was always VERY observant and has hit all of her milestones early. The pediatrician told us that some babies are working so hard at learning and developing that they can't sleep.

That being said here are a few things that worked for us: a room darkening curtain to clock out the sun in her nursery, a sound machine with a "heartbeat" function, swaddling. We also got so desperate that we put her bouncy chair (on vibrate mode) IN her crib and she would nap that way.

I wish you the best of luck. Have patience, I know how tough it is. My sister-in-law just had a baby six weeks ago and she sleeps literally 20 hours a day!!! Every baby is different, you just have an alert one like we did :)



answers from Phoenix on

Try swaddling her very tighly and using white noise in her room. Try to make it as dark as possible. Feed her every 3 hours and put to bed right after feeding. Don't let her cry for more than 5 minutes. Say SSHHH in her ear very loudly and use a binky if needed. I am working with a sleep trainer and these are the things they teach. Good luck, C.



answers from Phoenix on

My son slept in his papasan swing a lot when he was really little, he would fall asleep swaddled and rocking and then we would turn it off. Swaddling and that swing were life savers for us. Good luck!


answers from Albuquerque on

If you haven't seen it or tried it, the babywise method worked great for us....and that was 18 years ago! We had 4 kids in 4 years with the last one disabled and couldn't have done it with out babywise. I know you'll hear a lot of stuff about how bad it is for kids etc. and if your baby ceases to thrive, do something else. But basically if you nurse every 3 hours with them waking UP to nurse and their wake time after that, with a 2 hour nap up to the next feeding, their metabolism will set and they'll sleep at least 3 good naps (of 1 1/2 to 2 hours each) during the day and an 8 hour night by 8 weeks. I don't know why it works, but it does! Best wishes and I welcome questions if you've got any.



answers from Phoenix on

Do you have a swing? Both of my sons spent the first 6 months of their lives sleeping in swings during the day! They were my saving grace :) They didn't get "addicted" to them either, they just grew out of them eventually and would go to sleep on their own after a while. Also a swaddling wrap that velcros to keep them extra bundled makes them feel super secure, you can get them at babies r us. Good luck! and sweet dreams to baby!!



answers from Phoenix on

way way too too young to have a 1 month old cry it out! Personally I have had friends that have babies that stay awake all day and sleep through the night. I would take that.
My baby takes little 15 minute cat naps during the day and still wakes to nurse a few times during the night. I just keep telling myself that I am here for him and that is my one and only job right now, even though I have tons to do just like will get better I promise.
The carrier is a great idea, keep doing that. Remember she has only been around for 1 month...she is still trying to figure out the world and your life is not supposed to be back to normal yet- sad but true huh? Hugs to you and hang in there:)



answers from Santa Fe on


You had lots of good suggestions. I can add a little bit. I have two little daughters. My first one literally slept through her first two months in her crib. I did not have any troubles with her. My second one could not sleep in her crib at all. I ended up carrying her around in a front carrier all the time for the first 3 months. I could do my chores this way and attend my older daughter, and when the baby did not sleep she just observed me doing things. It also turned out that she had tammy problems, so being upright in a front carrier was the only position that did not hurt. Now she is a happy and a very independent 9 month old. Things will get better! And you may want to consult a doctor about a possible reflux or something.




answers from Flagstaff on

Have you tried a baby swing? My daughter loved hers. If I needed some time without her I would put her in her swing and she would either go right to sleep or just sit there and be content. We had a little portable one that we used that we could move around the house very easily so she could still be in the same room as we were. When I went back to work and had to bring her in the office a few times I would bring the swing and she would sit there for a long time without any interruptions. Our swing played music and had some things hanging from the bar above that she could look at/play with. Our daughter is our first and only child as well so I know your feeling.


answers from Phoenix on

After being in the womb for 9 months, being very close to M., warm and always having some kind of background sound as well as a rocking motion, it is understandable for your DD won't fall asleep in her crib. With all three of my kids, they would fall asleep in their swing which was in the living room. I also had a bassinet in the living room that I could rock a bit if I needed to after nursing/feeding the baby. Once the baby was sleeping I was free to do most things that needed to be done... I say most 'cause I wasn't about to vacuum while the baby sleeps, but I could certainly do dishes. Another thing I found helpful with my third child was the sling. He didn't seem to like the front carrier, but in the sling, he loved it! I know that the sling doesn't give you the me time that you need, but it may give you some more mobility... but if your DD is ok in the front carrier then go for the papasan swing as suggested by a PP. Good luck and congrats on your new baby!


answers from Albuquerque on

some other moms have suggested this, but I'd like to encourage you to try swaddling. I read a book called the Happiest Baby on the Block. It was fantastic. I have two little boys that are great sleepers now and another on the way. Swaddling helps the baby to feel the constraint that it did the womb and it's actually extremely comforting to them! I didn't agree with all of the information in The Happiest Baby on the Block, but his methods were really great and worked for us. The book has a great diagram on how to a get a good, tight swaddle. My husband takes pride in being referred to as "the best swaddler in town" among my friends. He has a knack of getting that baby really cozy... Just a thought! It would really help!



answers from Boston on

my daugher is 19 mnts.I use to have the same problem and some times still do. A one mnth old should be sleeping almost all day and night waking up for feedings and diaper changes. So she must be tire a few things i tryed to put her to sleep was the odviose rocking singing or even getting a lullabye cd and playing it while she is sleeping If she does not have a binky you can try that i said id never let my kid have one but i gave in, her doctor said the sucking soothes them(she only uses it to sleep).Nothing would work for my kid some one told me to put a t shirt that you wore the day b4 or if at night the day of in her crib (basinet) that might work 4 you cuz it might calm her down to sence you next to her. I had to let my daughter cry and as you said it hurts to see your kid crying so much my daughter use to cry untill she was choking and hold her breath(i would get her when she would do this). It was so hard but eventualy she set a schedule for her self it wont be forever you will get a brake its always hardest in the very beginning cause your not use to it and you havent set a schedule yet . hope i helped have fun with her cause time flys ....;)



answers from Phoenix on

Keep doing what you're doing, R.. No need to stress either of you out with crying it out. All babies are different and need different amounts of sleep. If she is sleeping most of the night and is content during the day, go with that. If she is eating and peeing and pooping, all is well.

She is still getting used to life outside of the womb and needs you to help her with this transition, so will require a lot of carrying, holding, and rocking. Carriers saved me - slings, front carriers, etc. Then baby was content next to me, sleeping or not, and I could get some things done around the house. To get some time with her down, try laying her down when she is content and looking around. By a window or ceiling fan. :) She may not sleep, but she might be more at ease with not being with you so you can get some time without her in your arms.

Do you have anyone else who can hold her? Husband, Grandma, friend? If anyone asks to help you, ask them to hold her while you get a few things done, take a shower, or, most importantly, to rest.

This time goes by so very quickly. Before you know it, she'll be racing around the house. Enjoy that baby. :)

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