Nap Time Issues with 3.5 Month Old...

Updated on August 06, 2008
D.S. asks from San Bruno, CA
24 answers

Sorry this is long but let me start by giving you my sons schedule for nap times...

Bed by 8:30p the night before. He is put in a clean diaper, swaddled, cuddled with favorite blanket and I put on rainforset music. Out in 3 minutes tops! Awakes roughly between 6-7:30am the next morning.

Morning bottle can be fed between 7:30am to 8:00am. Try to not associate his morning wake up to be followed immediately with a bottle, but bonding time with mom/dad.

An hour later his naps start for the day. Usually around 9-9:30am. Nap times are 12p, 3-4p, 7p (if not disrupted by his lack of sleep). His normal nap routine is: I pick him up, grab his blanket, wrap his head in it and give him his pacifier. He will usually talk to me, grab his blanket as I gently rock him and fall to sleep with little arguing, lol. Sometimes I swaddle him if he is too fussy with his hands.

My problem for today (8/2) started after his first morning nap. For some reason even through the normal nap time routine, he would really fussy, cry and arch when i tried to put him down for his nap. This would go on for a good 10 minutes. Where normally it would only be bout 5 tops, with little to no arguing from him.

As the day progressed on, his naps were sooned disrubted as soon as he was put down to sleep, either in his car seat or play pen (at my moms today). Normally he will stay asleep, even if its for 45 minutes. But for some reason he would not have it today. He would again, arch his back, scream, cry and continually rub his eyes which would upset him more and wake himself up.

All day long we struggled to put him to sleep. If he did go down it was for a very short time. 10 minutes top. He would be burped, cuddled, swaddled, rocked, fed, even just talked to. Nothing was working to get him to stay asleep. He even cried as soon as you layed him down to just spend time with him. Also cried in his car seat, where as before, that put him to sleep when he was tired.

He is fed every 4-5 hours between feedings. He gets 7oz of formula with a formula scooper of rice cereal.

Is he teething? He does drull a lot and the last two days been spitting up a lot between feedings.

How can I get my son to sleep better during nap times? He sleeps great at night. That has never been an issue for us. HELP!!!

Is he going through a growth spurt? Can his rice cereal bug him some days when others it helps keep his food down (we have throw up issues with feedings, prior to rice cereal)?

Any advise or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for everyones advise so answer a few questions in your responses to me.

1. My son is on good start formula. Other formulas so far made him extremely gassy.

2. He was diagnoised with A/R when he was a month old and was given a prescription of zantac. I did not put him on this. Feel his tummy needs time to mature and not comfortable giving such a young baby med's.

3. My sister in law highly recommended some rice cereal in my son's formula since her daughter has severe A/R. She was as young as 2 months with the recommendation of her Pedi. My son throws up A LOT at each feeding. I go through two rags sometimes in one feeding. In the beginning, the rice helped a lot. He did not throw up for two days. Now his throw up has decreased. I go to his pedi appt. 8/13, will talk to her about the rice cereal (possibly oat instead)

4. My mom also stated to me that she fed it to us only at night to help us sleep. I do not give it to him to help him sleep.

5. I have tried giving more feedings more often then a full 7oz at one time, but my son screams bloody murder after 4oz to just burp. Even when he is finished with his 7oz he screams.

Since this posting, my son slept 2hrs during the day yesterday, then took two more naps before bed time. Then today (8/4) he took 4 naps!!! Almost 2hrs after his AM nap, then another 1hr nap, then 30min. b4 his bath time, then off to bed with no issues. Crazy!

Featured Answers



answers from Chico on

I have two good sleepers who occasionally go through that. I attribute it to teething/growing pains. I swear by infant ibuprofen. You may want to give it a shot.




answers from Sacramento on

At three months old, he's probably not digesting the rice very well. It's a bit early for solids. Rice really should not be put in his bottle unless he has reflux issues and then only as directed by his doctor. HTH

More Answers



answers from Bakersfield on

I agree with the other post; infants go through so many changes and so quickly. I also wonder about the adding of rice cereal. Did someone recommend that as a way to get him to sleep longer? I've heard of it being suggested, but there is no evidence to support the theory that babies sleep longer due to the adding of rice cereal. I highly recommend the book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. March Weissbluth. I know you don't have much time for reading these days, but I so wish I would have read it before my son was born. Some of your son's issues could be a change in sleep schedule with a combination of growing and reaching different milestones. The book helped me a great deal in understanding my son's sleep needs. You don't have to read the whole thing, you can just head straight to the section that applies to you. I found it so interesting that I went back to read the parts I skipped.

All the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

With the arching back it sounds like he was in some kind of pain. If he has gas or is starting to teeth you could try giving him gripe water. This is something we give in the UK and is not well known here but you can find it the Sac Coop has it. It has Fennel and ginger in it which soothes tummy aches and relieves gas. We're using it on our colicy baby so far to good effect. It is indicated for teething pain.

Try googling "baby bliss gripe water"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If there's one thing I learned with my daughter, it is don't get use to any type of schedule. They change so fast and so often. He could be teething, my niece started at about 4 months. It could be a reaction to the cereal, which I had the same question, why cereal so soon and why in the bottle? It could be a growth spurt. Is he eating more? Do you only feed him on the schedule or do you feed him on demand? If he's growing, he could be hungry. You could also try putting him down for his naps a little earlier. If a baby is over tired they have a hard time falling and staying asleep. My daughter didn't start sleeping through the night until I moved her bed time UP an hour (from 8:30 to 7:30), thanks to the great advice from Love here on Mamasource. My mom, who watches my daughter, finds it harder to get her to nap if she waits to long to put her down.
I know it's frustrating, and this probably doesn't help, but looking back at the early months with my daughter, I wish I didn't stress about napping and sleeping. I spent so much time stressing about it that I feel like I missed out on those sweet naps with my if I bring her to bed with me she tries to crawl out. Now that she's sleeping all night most nights, I wonder if my stress helped or if she started sleeping and napping good (she's a great napper) because she had finally got to that point.
Well, I hope I helped at least a little. I also hope he gets back on his napping...naps are the best! =o)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You've gotten a lot of great advice. I wonder about the wisdom of cereal so early as the intestines aren't ready for solids before 6 months. But, you know your child best.

It really sounds like gas and upset tummy. First, I'd reccommend Gripe Water. It's all natural with fennel. It works within 15 minutes and has no side effects. You can find it in most health stores. Some pharmacies even have it.

Secondly, I reccommend massage. The pressure should be gentle, but firm - like molding clay. Take a deep breath and relax yourself. Lay a hand on your baby's tummy with a little pressure (called resting hand). Then with fingers together and open palms "scoop" from just under the ribcage to the hips - like paddling with alternating hands. Do this 6 times. Then gently push/bend you baby's legs up into his stomach and hold for 6 seconds, then gently bounce them back straight. Do this 6 times. Then make/rub circles in a clockwise motion (picture a clock face on your baby's stomach). Make 6 circles. Then re-do the knee bends for another 6 times.

Please contact me if you need clarification. This massage works immediatley. It's called the collic routine and can be done 3 to 4 times per day. ###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

From experience, at about 3-4 mths both of my boys sleep patterns changed, this might be what is happening. With my second son who is now 6 mths old, he no longer likes to be held when he's tired and wants to go to sleep, he will arch, etc. Have you tried putting him down and letting him cry for about 5-10 minutes to get himself soothed and comforted? Hard I know, but it might be just what he needs.

Also, if he is teething, maybe put a little dab of oral-gel on his gums (he will NOT like the taste) to see if that helps.

Also, the rice cereal may give him a little gas since he's so little. Try rubbing his belly and than pushing his legs up over his belly, bending the knees. Repeat a few times. It helps to "get things moving" in that belly.

Another thing might be the type of formula, with babies ever changing and growing systems he may just not like that type of formula anymore, try another brand and see what happens (get the small can in case it doesn't work out). I had to use the Enfamil Lipil A/R for my older son, but baby didn't like the Enfamil so now I use the Good Start with him.

Good luck



answers from Stockton on

Hi D.,

You have a lot of great advice, and I definitely agree with the solids in the milk. Try that first thing, and if you have a free moment do an internet search about that.
I did read (most of it) the Dr. weisbluth book - Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and found a lot of helpful insight to child sleep habits and the need for sleep. I did not agree with his method, so you can decide for yourself - that's the wonderful thing about being a mommy!

I do have to say that it sounds like you are getting some antiquated advice. Don't feel he "has" to be on a defined schedule. As a confession, I read quite a few sleeping books and thought that I was doing something "wrong." I took the advice of the books and created a system that works for my son. He gets his naps in and he is a sleep fighter. He doesn't like going down to sleep, and that's just the way it is.
OH! As for teeth, maybe. My son cut teeth at 4 months. He would cry out in the middle of the night, which was not normal, and go back to sleep. He will be going through a lot of growth spurts, and weird phases. And just when you think you are getting it down, he WILL change! I was told that, and it is sooo true.

If you want and alternate to Healthy Sleep Habits book, I read the No Cry Sleep Solution. I liked that.
Good Luck



answers from Sacramento on

Great advice from everyone. I only have a couple of additional thoughts...
When I read that he is arching his back I immediately thought it is probably a gas problem, so thought the cereal might be the problem. I would certainly consider that.
Second, I wonder if fewer naps during the day would be better?
He might sleep longer each time, and actually get more rest that way. I think I'd try just a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon nap. At 3.5 months, he is beginning to learn to play so may benefit by having fewer naps so he gets more uninterupted activity time. Some babies just fight sleep, but if they have adequate play time, they finally get tired enough to give up and rest.
There is no 'pat' answer, but keep on trying, and remember your life isn't your own now! Enjoy this little one and don't stress over the other things in life. He'll be grown up before you know it, and you'll have plenty of time for those things then.



answers from Redding on

Dear D.,
Congratulations on your new baby! 3 months is pretty new!

All I want to say is that I had two kids, 10 years apart.
When my first baby was born, I expected her to sleep most of the day...and night.....
Nothing doing.
My daughter slept all night for the first time when she was 4 weeks old. She wanted nothing to do with sleeping during the day. The trade off was that she slept all night.
You know what? 10 years later, my son was the same way and I don't know how I got so lucky. On one hand, it was a pain. They did not want to adhere to what I thought their schedule should be. They don't even know what a schedule is at 3 months. Not the way you are thinking of it, anyway. They were awake during the day and asleep all night.
Maybe try to quit trying so hard to get your baby to sleep during the day.
Lay him down and have quiet time, massage him and hold him while he eats, etc.
You cannot force a baby to sleep.
Your baby is way too young...but this will come up....
Never say the word "nap".
When my kids got older....
I used reverse psychology.
I said that it was reading time. I was feeling a little bit like laying down so maybe they would like to pick out a book and read it to me while I rested. We had that quiet bonding time and even if they didn't konk out, they got used to being still and quiet and just chillin'. Even on their own. As long as I didn't tell them they had to go to sleep. In fact, I told them not to.
....just laying down...NO sleeping.

Best of wishes and blessings!



answers from San Francisco on

The older babies get they usually take less naps... I know people are giving all kinds of advice about the solids...My son started eating at 3 weeks. He was starving. He wouldn't nurse because they "nipple confused" him in the hospital. He wasn't satisfied with formula. I didn't put the cereal in his bottle, I fed him with a spoon. Then you can tell when they don't want anymore because they keep pushing it out. You know your baby best if he is hungry feed him. My son is almost 18 and never had one isssue from eating so young. When we were babies our mom's fed us...



answers from San Francisco on

I seem to remember my little one going a little wacky with his sleep habits around this time (he was also one of the lucky few good sleepers). After sleep training (I did do the Cry it Out Method, because my son cried himself to sleep even when I rocked him, but you can choose whatver method you want. After sleep training, this is the schedule we settled on. Night time sleep about 7-7, and 2 hours naps around 9 and 1. My son still has a similar schedule, but just one nap. You should change it to fit your child, but it sounds like if he already has the ability to sleep through thenight, he could handle a just need to figure otu what it should be. I think two naps a day is all he needs if he sleeps all night (just my opinion ;-)

Also, yes teething could be starting. My son got his top teeth around 5 months, but after he got his teeth, I was able to see that the crankiness was teething. Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. Most of all, like the other moms said, don't stress ( well try not too ;-) Kids change their schedule frequently, and sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes it is work to figure out what they want!!!



answers from Sacramento on

My advice is to relax . When your son is tired he will sleep. Try just two naps a day. One mid morning and then again in the afternoon. It is so great that his nighttime sleep is so good. At 3 months he is going through a growth spurt both physically and mentally.



answers from San Francisco on

Babies change their sleep schedule constantly. You are lucky that he sleeps through the night. That is awesome. It's great that you have routines for him. Stick to those. Babies love a predictable routine. But allow flexibility within that routine. Let your baby tell you what he needs.

Around this age, babies start teething. Their gums are itchy. Another reason could be that he is starting to roll over or keep his head up and he is realizing the world around him. As he grows, his sleeping patterns will change. My daughter is 5 months old and is extremely active. She has just realized she can move on her own on the floor! And now that is all she wants to do. She takes short cat naps in the afternoon but sleeps larger chunks at night.

If he seems like he doesn't want to nap, put him on the floor for tummy time. Take him for a walk or sing and dance with him. You can spend a lot of time trying to put them down or you can go on with your day.



answers from Sacramento on

I HIGHLY recommend "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. He explains about biological sleep rhythms and how/when they evolve/mature. The first thing I would do is move his bed time earlier. At this age my daughter was waking at 6:30-7am, morning nap at 9am, afternoon nap at 1pm and a quick nap around 4pm with bedtime at around 7pm. Dr. Weissbluth states that a nap needs to be at least 1 hour to be restorative. Our sleep schedule was flexible depending on how well she slept. If she didn't nap well in the morning I started her next nap earlier and so on. I know you shouldn't start solids until at least 4 months and the AAP doesn't recommend putting cereal in bottles, but have heard some pediatricians recommending this for GERD. Rice cereal ALWAYS made our daughter's tummy hurt so we started with oatmeal instead. Some spit up is okay, large volumes or frequent spit up isn't. Have you tried using a different formula like Good Start? Something easier to break down? I always made sure Paige slept in her own space in a darkened, quiet room for naps and bedtime. If he wakes up quickly during naps do you wait a few minutes to see if he goes back to sleep? I have some other ideas if you want to email me. As to teething, it IS possible he has started. My daughter got her first tooth at 4 months old and continued until all were erupted. Look inside his mouth. If you see an area of whitened "blanching" on the lower front ridge it could be his first tooth. Email me if you want to bounce ideas back and forth.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi, congrats on your little one! I have a 5 months old, so we are in the same boat...nearly!
I have to agree with many of the moms that it is a little early for solids...maybe wait one more month. it really isn't necessary right now. Also, babies change schedules ALL THE TIME. I have a 3.5 year old as well. As soon as you get used to their routine and are happy with things, they will change again...that would mean probably every 2-3 months or so. You were probably thinking how lucky you were to have a baby that slept through the night so easily. But they do change and it is NORMAL, so don't stress about it. Just roll with the flow and adjust as their sleep habits change. Sometimes they will have schedules that drive you crazy and sometimes they will have perfectly wonderful schedules. so, if things change, don't stress about it if you is just your baby keeping you on your toes! Best of luck.
My own 5 month old sleeps hours on end some days and on other days, his naps are about 10 minutes each. I try not to rely on his naptime (meaning: rely on having that quiet time to myself!) and just accept whatever he does. He is still too young for a schedule, so he basically sleeps when he wants and is up when he wants. Take care and I hope things improve for you. Definitely take out the cereal and that may help. He may be having digestive issues as some other moms pointed out.



answers from San Francisco on

Why is he on solids so early? Was he diagnosed with GERD? Sounds like his digestive system is not ready for food. WHen did you start giving him solids?

A growth spurt is entirely is teething. My son started to get his first tooth at about your son's age.



answers from Sacramento on

I have to agree with the other posts...3 months is a bit early to be starting on cereal/solids. My pediatrician suggested 4 1/2 months...and some even think that's too early. Babies digestive systems are still developing at 3 months old and it's quite possible (in addition to the possibility of teething) that his tummy just can't handle the cereal at this young age.

When it is time for cereal (between 4 1/2 - 6 months old), the recommended way to feed it is by spoon.

Hope this helps!



answers from San Francisco on

Congrats on your new baby! I read you started solids. I know all pediatricians are different, however mine was very specific about no solids before 6 mos. and I've read no rice cereal in bottles anymore (despite my mother telling me to do so at least a hundred times!!). I don't know exactly why no rice cereal in the bottle.



answers from Sacramento on

I have to say, I'm incredibly jealous! :-) Not to minimize your concerns, as being a new mom is challenging regardless of the baby, but you are quite lucky to have a baby that sleeps so well at such a young age! My daughter is 9 months and STILL does not sleep through the night - not for lack of us trying! I know that is not helpful to you to hear, but I just tell you that because it may help you to know that it is common as a new mom to be frustrated when things don't stay the same or go "as planned". I know that I was very frustrated for months that my daughter wasn't sleeping as well as other babies, or would sleep well for a week and then regress. The bottom line is that there are books/advice available, and no one is the "magic" solution for every baby. Give some of the techniques a try- they work well for some. If they don't work, remember the old advice: "This too shall pass". It sounds like you are a wonderful caring mom, and you are not doing something wrong when your baby's habits change- it's the nature of babies whether we like it or not :-). Good luck and congrats on your little angel.



answers from Sacramento on

Hi S- Allergies and food intolerances develop over time, so the early rice ceral in the bottle may be triggering something. I suggest stopping the cereal and give it a few days to see if it improves before changing formulas. Changing formulas can cause a developing sensitivity to become worse and cause your little one to be temporarily intolerant of many different formulas, an the symptoms you describe could get much worse. Sometimes smaller, more frequent feedings are really helpful with reflux symptoms (vomiting) 4-5 oz every 3 hours...without risking allergies/constipation/over-stretched tummies that can come from solids in the bottle.

Good luck...J



answers from Sacramento on

You are experiencing what some moms refer to as "the four month regression" in sleep habits! Up to now you have been enjoying his newborn sleep habits but at about four months most babies stop sleeping like a newborn and begin waking more often and taking fewer daytime naps. It really is a normal development, as opposed to a "problem". If it is the four month regression, he may switch to two naps rather than one - you might try keeping him up til 10:30 before you try for a nap, then after he wakes from that one wait til 3:30 for the next - so you'll be doing two naps a day with four hours of awake time in between. Bedtime might bump a little bit earlier then, around 8pm. But the best way to get the transition made smoothly is to listen to his cues and let him tell you when he needs to sleep. It sounds like you are very in tune with his signals to you at naptime, so you'll probably have no trouble with that.

I'd definitely suspect he is going through a growth spurt as well. My baby won't sleep if she is hungry. Babies digest very quickly, so four or more hours between feedings is a very long time. Most adults do not even go that long between meals when they have a choice. The AAP tells parents that crying is a late sign of hunger, the baby gives many cues before they resort to crying. So watch for the more subtle cues like sucking on hands, being cranky, not satisfied with playing or snuggling, etc.

If he is protesting lying down, it may be a sign that reflux is bothering him. That can be painful, so lying down is the last thing he'd want to do. Checking that out might be the first thing on my list, actually. There is good info about infant issues at - all research based so you know it is accurate.



answers from Stockton on

Just my opinion but it is great you can get your baby on a nap schedule. Mine was on his own schedule for a while but most of the timeit was within the same time periods every day. He also slept through most of the night. My son did start missing naps and not wanting them around the same age 3 months. I chalked it up to him being so curious about everything, he was seeing a lot more rolling over and trying to pull up on things and his mind seemed to be going all the time. I didnt force naps on my son I just let him dictate when he was ready to fall asleep as I still do and he is almost 16 months. when he starts rubbing his eyes he is tired and i ask him nite nite and if he is ready he will bring me his blanket and i pick him up and rock him for a few minutes and he goes out like a light. i find it very difficult when a baby cannot really talk to get them on a schedule and have them understand it is time to go to sleep. again just my opinion.

I am curious about the spitting up but know with some babies it is normal you might also want to check maybe there is acid refux or something liek that if the spitt ups have increased.

Good luck,




answers from Sacramento on

Perhaps by now, things have settled down.

Sometimes they just don't feel good, sometimes they are just fussy. It doesn't mean they are sick, but it could be. They also change as they grow, so the routines you are used to can be disrupted when they decide to do something different. Three and a half months is still very little, and not every baby is the same. I would not expect him to be in a routine all the time. I doubt that it is teeth, but it could be. Is the formula/rice a recent addition? That could also be a factor.

Perhaps you have noticed that it could be many things... this is how it is with babies. The best advice of all is to watch closely for causes, and trust your instincts.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches