Trouble Napping

Updated on August 20, 2008
B.P. asks from Schooleys Mountain, NJ
6 answers

My 5 month old has never been a great napper. He does very well at night, we have a good routine, he nurses before bed but then puts himself to sleep quietly and sleeps about 10-11 hours waking 1-2 times. This is no problem for me. But he is a terrible napper! The morning nap is a bit easier, he only cries for about 5-10 minutes or fusses. But after that he is very hard to get down. I have tried nursing him, and the "shh shh pat pat" technique but he just gets really angry. I have let him cry sometimes for more than 30 minutes and he just gets very upset. Oh course the car puts him to sleep but that is not something I want to get into doing. What is the best way to get him down for a nap??? I want it to be like night time. I can't help but think the crying technique is not working all that well since he is supposed to cry less each time, right? Well, that has not happened.

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So What Happened?

So I left him in his crib one day to play while I ate my lunch and after fussing for about 10 minutes, he fell asleep! So now when I see yawning or crankiness or its been 2-3 hours since his last nap I just put him in the crib with his underwater music light up thing and he goes right to sleep! Every once in a while he does still need to be nursed but this is a miracle!

More Answers



answers from New York on

Maybe hes not tired. Some babies need less sleep than others. At 5 months I think you are going to cause problems if you keep forcing him to take naps when he doesnt want to. Babies generally sleep when they are tired and he is just now becoming aware of things and is enjoying it.



answers from New York on

I had a similar situation with my daughter. Maybe you should try putting him in for a nap a bit later than you have been. Try keeping him up a little while longer so that he's more tired when he's going in for the nap. Surprisingly that worked for my daughter. She still has some days where she cries, but those happen rarely now. Good luck!



answers from Rochester on


At that age, I sometimes lay with him, looking at him through half-closed eyes. Sometimes this did the trick - he thought I was sleepy/ing. He would roll around a bit and generally put himself out. I don't do it anymore only because he is SO much more mobile now, and I can't having him accidentally falling off the bed.

Good Luck,



answers from New York on

I am having the exact same issue and what I am doing is allowing her to get really tired but not overtired - it's longer than they tell you - she can go around 3 hours before she's ready for a nap. Then I rock her with a pacifier in her mouth and she goes right out because she's actually tired. I was trying to do the schedule thing and put her down within 2- 2 1/2 hours of waking but she was not ready to sleep yet.



answers from New York on

Hi B.-
I can totally understand your situation. Until last week, my husband and I were calling our 6 month old "the bionic baby" because he NEVER napped. He would scream and cry hysterically anytime his body touched the crib. Occaisionally he would nap 20 minutes in the car seat or stroller, and once in a blue moon for 2 hours in the swing but that was rare. He would give us a battle every night at bedtime sleeping anywhere from 9:00 to 11:00 pm until 6 or 7 in the morning. He would eat and then go back to bed from anywhere until 9 to 11am. Everyday was a different story and even though he was a pretty happy baby, I did not think his sleep situation was healthy. So I looked into the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. Now my son goes to bed around 8:00 (with no problems, just a little nursing) and sleeps until around 7. He takes 2 sometimes 3 naps a day. I laugh to myself because I think he sleeps all the time now! The morning nap is about and hour, the midday nap is about 2 hours and the late afternoon nap is about 45 minutes,
Anyhow, the tricks I got from the book are to keep him awake for no longer than 2 hours at a time. Any longer than this and they get overtired, they run on adrenaline and thats what makes them cry so much and fight it when it's time to sleep. For example, if he wakes up at 6:15, I make sure he back in his crib for the morning nap before 8:15. I may start to soothe him (nurse, give his blankie, rock) at about 8:00 to make sure he is asleep before that 2 hour window closes. Another thing is to put them to bed earlier, they feel more rested and sleeping during the day will come easier too. When I read the book I thought No way, this won't work and it really did! I am not an advocate of letting him cry it out but I had to a few times and now he rarely cries, only if he's overtired because I kept him up too long. Good luck and I hope this helps!



answers from Seattle on

Sounds like I had a similar experience and I agree that the car thing is not something you want to start as a habit! My daughter never napped during the day for about the first 4 months of her life but slept great at night almost from the day we brought her home from the hospital. She also cried A LOT during those months of her life! Funny enough that echoed how she was in my belly. She was pretty still all night and ALL day she'd be busy moving around even 'til the very end when she was almost 2 weeks overdue!

There are 2 things that worked for me. One was that I used a baby sling (kind of like a Moby Wrap in the cradle style) and she would fall asleep instantaneously, probably because she was so exhausted anyway. I really do think she wanted to be close to me and hear the familiar sounds of my heartbeat and belly gurglings. On the other hand, at night she had absolutely no problem sleeping by herself in her basinet, in her own room, all through the night waking once or maybe twice to be nursed.

The other thing that worked is that finally around 3 1/2 months, she accepted the pacifier. I had tried earlier and she would just spit it out and get angry. The day she finally took it, she was in her playpen, I just quietly slipped it in her mouth and within 1 minute she was sucking and falling asleep. I definitely was sending up lots of thanks to the powers that be! I'm not a big fan of CIO for a child so young. I did it a few times when I was at my wits end, but never longer than about 20 minutes, I just couldn't take it.

These days she sleeps like a champ during the day (she's 16 months) at least 2 hours twice a day or 3 - 4 hours in one go. I don't even have to rock, sing, hug, etc. I just say it's nap time, give her a pacifier (she only gets it in bed), lie her down, give her a kiss and walk out of the room. Hope this helps!

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