Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Focus on Naps
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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

Buy now

Report 3Focus on Naps


When naps are going well, the bedtime might be a little later, but when naps are not going well, the bedtime needs to be a littler earlier. These reports include paying attention to early bedtimes.

Here’s an account from the mother of a 3-month-old infant who successfully accomplished the midmorning nap and helped her baby sleep better at night:

It started at just 12 weeks. Katie was so fatigued she would cry for hours, screaming completely out of control, scratching her head, pulling her ears. Holding her didn’t help, so it wasn’t hard not to pick her up—she screamed anyway.

Instituting a new day schedule was easy. As soon as she started getting cranky, I rushed her to her crib to sleep. She would watch her mobile, and then sleep for hours at a time. The first week, she was so tired that she only stayed up thirty to fifty minutes at a time and slept three to four hours in between. The key for me was to get her down before she got really upset.

The afternoon was when she was awake the longest, and then it was hard getting her to sleep at night. The first few nights under our new regime were the worst. Positive reinforcement from my doctor was important then. I had to hear several times that this “cure” was the best thing to do.

The first night under our new strategy, my husband lay on the floor in her room (I guess to make sure she didn’t choke) while I sat crying in our living room. Finally, after forty-five minutes, Katie was quiet! Hurray! Each night she cried less and less, and I handled it better and better. After a week, her hysteria was gone! Sure, she cried a little sometimes, but now she was on a schedule. She napped two or three times a day, two to four hours at a time, and slept twelve to fifteen hours a night. Sleeping promotes more sleep, and makes it easier to fall asleep. It’s a catch-22.

Writing down the sleep patterns helped, too. For one week I kept track of every time I put her down and every time I picked her up from her nap. At the end of the week I noticed a distinct pattern. She fell into it herself!

Here is an account from a mother who started early with her second child:

As patients of Dr. Weissbluth, we were ready to commit ourselves to promoting good sleep habits in our children. When our first son, Hayden, was born, it was easier said than done. Being new parents and not knowing what the different cries meant, we would pick Hayden up at the slightest whimper. We were quick believers when at 4 months we were a bit more seasoned and decided not to rush in at the first cry. The cry lasted fifteen minutes, and then it was smooth sailing; he gradually went to bed earlier and earlier until we reached a 6:00 p.m. bedtime with a 6:30 a.m. wake-up, and then naps at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. This pattern still holds true minus the first nap, and bedtime is at 6:30 p.m. at almost 3 years old. He is social, happy, sweet, and most of all well rested.

With the birth of our second child, a girl, Lily, we were busy with Hayden, now a toddler, and were quite the experts on all the “signs” babies give out. We had a rule: If she was sleepy and not crying (even at a few days old), she was to be put in her bassinet. We still played with her and enjoyed her, but we were not walking around the house with her twenty-four hours a day. We also provided Lily with the same nighttime routine we give Hayden: dim the lights and give a massage, bath, bottle, book, and bed. This prompted Lily to develop a quicker sleep schedule, and we found by 2.5 months she was sleeping through the late-night feedings. By 3 months she was going to bed at 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. and sleeping until 6:30 a.m. Also at 3 months we began putting her down for her midmorning nap two hours after she woke up, and that began her nap schedule. Now Lily, almost one, wakes up at 6:30 a.m., takes her first nap at 8:15 a.m., takes her second nap at 12:30 p.m., and is in the bathtub by 5:00 p.m. and asleep by 5:30 p.m.

We are vigilant about not letting either child nap in the car, strollers, or for that matter miss naps or have delayed naps. Once our children are in their cribs for the night, we don’t hear from them until the morning . . . no night waking or games! We greet them each morning with a smile on their faces.

We are committed to having well-rested children and will defend our decisions with any naysayer suggesting we don’t get to be with our children at night or we are too strict with the daytime schedule. We find too often it is the parent who is putting the child on their schedule instead of vice versa.

Babies yearn for routines and respond unbelievably to them. Again, we feel that we have two of the happiest, sweetest children, and knowing that teaching them good sleep habits and, more important, the ability to fall asleep unassisted is the best gift you can ever give!

Here is one parent’s account of how shortening the interval of wakefulness during the day between naps helped her child nap better and sleep better at night.

In November, our third daughter, Rebecca, was born. At that time I prided myself on how well I schlepped our new baby everywhere and how wonderfully she slept in and out of the car seat all day.

Our days were filled with errands and car pools; Rebecca would be nursing and napping on and off all day. What a cooperative baby, I used to think. But I was so exhausted by evening that I found the only way to survive was to sleep with her, waking up every hour or so to shift her so that she could nurse on the other side. I knew then that having her in bed with me wasn’t such a terrific idea, but it was the only way for me to get any rest.

When Rebecca turned 5 months old, I placed her in her crib instead of going to sleep with her at my breast. As I anticipated, every few hours she began to cry, expecting me to be by her side. I would quickly run into her room and rock and nurse her back to sleep . . . until the next time she woke up.

And so our next pattern began. She would wake up every few hours, and I would faithfully run in and get her back to sleep. I was certain she would grow out of this bad habit . . . our other two had.  A few months passed. By now Rebecca was weaned to a bottle and I was sure things would change for the better. That didn’t happen. In fact, things got worse. There were many nights when Rebecca would get up every hour on the hour. I tried letting her cry, fifteen minutes at a time, but it was much easier to just go in and give her a bottle.  When Rebecca was 1 year old, this pattern of frequent waking continued. It was difficult leaving her with a babysitter on the occasional evening we went out. I knew that within an hour or so of our leaving she would be up crying for me. I actually felt sick leaving her.

When Rebecca was almost 13 months old we went to see Dr. Weissbluth. When we left his office I felt prepared for battle—armed with all the mental ammunition I needed to change Rebecca’s nightly wakings. We started the program of shorter intervals of wakefulness the next day.

In a week’s time, the change in Rebecca was phenomenal! She was always a happy baby, but when she began to sleep better, she became even more relaxed, more affectionate, and more fun to be with.  The change in her sleeping pattern has had an effect on everyone in the family. I don’t yell and lose my patience with my older children quite as much, for I am better rested and I feel so much better physically and emotionally.  This has been one of the most rewarding and positive experiences that we have shared as parents. We are so proud of Rebecca and also pat ourselves on the backs for a job well done.

Shhh! Rebecca’s sleeping!

Here is one mother’s account of how an early bedtime did not help her child become better rested and able to take two naps, but subsequently it did help when the single nap was delayed until midday.  

Sophie has always been inconsistent when it comes to napping. Some days she would sleep for half an hour, others she wouldn’t sleep at all. And if I was lucky, she would take an occasional hour nap. I decided it was time to get help before the situation became worse.

Sophie was 13 months old when I met with Dr. Weissbluth. She was sleeping for thirty minutes in the morning; her midday naps were unpredictable. At night, getting her to sleep was even more frustrating. Sophie had always been a great nighttime sleeper. Then, all of a sudden [cumulative sleepiness], she was waking up several times throughout the night. Not only was her mental state unbearable, but physically she did not look well. As for me, I was becoming mommy the monster. There were days when I thought I was going to lose it. I blamed myself for her sleeping disorder, even though I was doing everything right—putting her to bed early, keeping a consistent nap time, and putting her down in her crib for her naps instead of allowing her to sleep on the go.

After looking over Sophie’s sleep log, Dr. Weissbluth gave me several options: Try an earlier bedtime (5:00 p.m.), lots of stimulation when awake, and soothing her longer at night. The goal was to allow her to catch up on her sleep.

My husband and I put the plan to work. He supported the decision of an earlier bedtime, even though his time with her was already limited. Unfortunately, Sophie’s sleeping did not improve. She continued to take one nap for thirty or forty-five minutes and then skip her midday nap. She and I were both exhausted, and my frustration level was sky-high at this point.

During our follow-up conversation, Dr. Weissbluth asked if I would consider dropping her midmorning nap. He recommended the continuation of an earlier bedtime (5:00 p.m.), which, surprisingly, she welcomed. Although I was hesitant to drop her midmorning nap, I was determined to get my happy child back.

So I put plan B to work. For the first several days, Sophie could barely keep her eyes open past 10:30 a.m. I was able to keep her up until 11:00 a.m. and then 11:30 a.m. for the next several days. She continued to take thirty-minute naps. I called Dr. Weissbluth and he reminded me that she was still trying to catch up on sleep, that it would take several days for her to feel rested. After day four, she was staying awake until 12:30 and sleeping for an hour. And she was sleeping through the night—no more nighttime waking. By the end of the week, she was starting her nap at 12:30 and waking up at 2:00 p.m. And Sophie and Mommy were happy.

The early bedtime is a non-negotiable component of healthy sleep training.  If you want your child to sleep soundly and wake up well rested, you have to marry the idea of an early bedtime.


  1. I have been implementing an earlier bedtime and have been trying to catch the drowsy signs to get my 11 week old down for naps and bedtime. Right now I feel like we are playing catch up from all the sleep deprivation from the last few weeks. The last 2 days, naps have been a little better but are still rough. I currently get him in bed between 6:00-7:00 but he doesn’t always go down easily. He wakes a couple times at night to nurse and doesn’t wake for the day until late- around 10:00 am. I’m wondering if I should be waking him in the morning but I feel like he’s so tired and want to let him sleep.

    1. Comparing “the last few weeks” with the “last 2 days”, “naps have been a little better”: Congratulations!! Please continue to focus on drowsy signs in the evening and early bedtimes because night sleep circadian rhythm begins to emerge around 6 weeks of age. Nap rhythms begin to emerge around 3-4 months of age. So be more focused on night sleep now and go with the flow regarding naps, for now. Please do not wake him in the morning. Because of his age, be patient, trial and error will be needed, and be optimistic. Blog Post #14 (Be Flexible) and Parents’ Reports #2 (Early Bedtimes) might be helpful. Good Luck!

  2. Hi Marc

    My 5 month old daughter wakes from her last nap of the day (her third) around 3:00pm. We then try and keep her awake for a 6:00pm bedtime. We follow the same bedtime routine each time and she doesn’t take long to drift off. However, she wakes up after 45 minutes every time and needs help to resettle- sometimes 4 or 5 attempts over a 30 minute period. She then sleeps a few hours until her midnight feed. Is it possible that she believes her 6:00pm bedtime is actually an evening nap? Do you have any advice on how we can get her to sleep through from 6:00pm?


    1. How does she look between 5-6pm? Please give a detailed description of her, mood, demeanor, sociability, and activity level.

  3. Hi Marc

    Between 5-6pm:
    we go for a walk
    she has a bath
    has a bottle
    we read her a book
    put her in her sleep sack

    We then go into her room, put the white noise on and she has a cuddle/sucks on her dummy, we put her in her bed and walk out.

    She is often tired and yawns during the walk because, by that point, she has been awake for around 2 hours. She becomes more alert when she has her bath- smiles and giggles. She doesn’t fall asleep with her bottle but is disinterested in the book. When putting her in her sleep sack she will often grizzle. She then goes to sleep very quickly with only a couple of minutes of settling.


  4. Hi- Thanks for sending me to Blog Post 9. I have been keeping a record over the past week of my daughter’s awake times and the length of her naps. I have noticed that she starts showing drowsy signs within one and a half hours of waking up. I had been keeping her up for two hours between naps before reading your blog- watching the clock and not my baby!- but I now start to settle her for a nap as soon as I see these signs. This has led to a fourth nap later in the afternoon, with her waking up from this no later than 4:45pm. On some days she has fought the fourth nap and has only had 20 minutes of sleep. Do babies find it harder to nap later in the afternoon?

    She seems to show drowsy signs after this last nap of the day within an hour of waking up. She has had some afternoons where she has woken up from the nap and started yawning and rubbing her eyes after 53 minutes awake and at other times, she has shown these drowsy signs within 10 minutes after waking up. Her bedtime is still between 6-6:30.

    We’ve noticed somewhat of an improvement since my initial blog post- she has had a few nights this week where she has either slept through from bedtime until her first night feed, or has required only a couple of attempts at resettling after waking 45 minutes after being put down. I am hoping that if we keep responding to her drowsy signs and trying to reduce her wake window before bedtime, she will feel better rested and start sleeping through.

    1. Congratulations! Nap sleep rhythms begin to emerge around 3-4 months of age and are well established by 6 months of age. Because your daughter is about 6 months old, establish an age appropriated nap schedule so that it is in synch with her biological nap rhythm for better quality day sleep. At the same time, the bedtime might have to be temporarily moved much earlier until naps improve. After she naps better, the bedtime might be moved later. This combination of imposing an age appropriate nap schedule and moving the bedtime temporarily earlier is described in detail in my book along with the speed bumps along the way. Be optimistic! You will be successful because you are already sensitive to the differences between her alert and drowsy states. The root cause that set all of this in motion was an old customary bedtime that was innocently a little too late.
      Sweet Dreams

  5. My 5 month old (4 months adjusted) does not seem to have developed a nap rhythm. He sleeps 11.5-12 hours every night with no waking. Bedtime 6:30. Usually wakes between 6 & 6:30am. I have been putting him back to bed after an hour or less in the morning (around 7:30am). He seems drowsy and falls back asleep easily. Should I begin trying to lengthen this wake period so he starts taking a true mid-morning nap?

    Dad is usually in charge of bedtime. Baby is bottle fed only (surrogate). Eats every 3 hours, currently about 36 oz/24 hrs. Between 4&6pm he needs a lot of attention and will begin fussing if left on his own. This is a time we’re often trying to get him to take a last nap as well, which he always fights. Usually have to have him in a wrap and walk around the house for him to fall asleep after 3:30. No matter what, we always have him awake by 5:30 at the latest. Bath sometimes, jammies, bottle/book then bed. Last bottle of the day always at 6pm.
    Thank you for your time!

    1. Naps begin to become more regular and longer around 4 months of age and by 6 months are fairly predictable and long. Your ‘4-month-old’ “suddenly will not nap for 45 minutes at a time when previously would have 1.5 -2+hour naps” (on Instagram) means that he has developed cumulative sleepiness (Blog Posts 84-86) from a failure to move his bedtime a little earlier when he was about 6 weeks old (adjusted age). Currently, “He has completely lost the ability to self soothe to sleep in the day”., “Between 4&6pm he needs a lot of attention and will begin fussing if left on his own.” His sleep tank is about empty between 4-pm. Temporarily, a bedtime routine/soothing at 5pm and be done (leave the room) at 5:30pm. Please read Blog Posts and Parents’ Reports about ‘Bedtimes’ Also, see IG reel ‘Sleep Basics #4.. Over the next several weeks, naps will lengthen and become more regular and then the bedtime will become later. How do you feel about this?
      Sweet Dreams,

  6. Thank you so much Dr. Weisbluth! After initially writing to you, he began taking longer naps and being better about putting himself to sleep. Current schedule over last 3 days:
    Wake 5 am (I adjust in crib/give pacifier, he goes back to sleep) this is new, he used to sleep straight to 6:30.
    6:30am wake
    6:40 bottle
    7:30 back to sleep for 2 hours
    Awake for about 1.5 hours
    11am back to sleep for 1-1.5 hours
    Then he has two more naps between 45 and 55 minutes in length. Still relatively fussy after 4. Almost never sleeps past 4:30. Would your recommendation to move nighttime bed routine up to 5pm still hold?

    I appreciate your time.

    1. Please stay the course for at least a few more days to see what happens to naps and the after 4pm fussiness. Please be patient: The temporary early bedtime will allow him to wake up better rested and then the first nap will drift toward an onset closer to about 9am. Let me know how he’s doing over the next several days.

  7. Hello Dr. Weissbluth,

    We have implemented the earlier bedtime routing beginning at 5pm for about 5 days, see detailed sleep schedule below. His naps still seem to be all over the place, with the first invariably occurring within an hour of waking. He does seem to be in better spirits in the afternoon. I have noticed daytime fussiness when either his first or second (or both) naps are <90minutes.

    I had a couple questions for you as well:
    1. In your opinion, can developmental or growth spurts disrupt sleep?
    2. If the child has already demonstrated the skill for self soothing to sleep, when he occasionally does have difficulty falling asleep, is there harm in soothing him to sleep in my arms and transferring him to the crib asleep?
    – and relatedly, if he is unable to fall asleep (for a nap) is that clear evidence that I have either tried to put him to bed too early or too late? I am having great difficulty catching his "sleep wave". I am still on leave, so with him all day and watch him very closely (not on phone, etc). I am also a very well-rested adult, usually getting 9-10 hours of sleep/night.
    3. How do you know when a nap is long enough? For example, he just awoke from his second nap with loud crying after 35minutes. Attempts to soothe him back to sleep were not successful. Is 35 minutes adequate? Should I try harder to get him back to sleep and lengthen his nap?

    Thank you so much for your time and attention.

    6:04 sleep onset
    7:28am wake (awakening @ 5am)
    Nap 1: 8:55am 36m
    Nap 2: 10:46 44m
    Nap 3: 1:35p 1h
    Nap 4: 4p 25m
    Sleep onset 6:10p

    7:37 wake
    Nap 1: 8:47a 56m
    Nap 2: 11:11a 2h38m
    Nap 3: 3:12p 32 m
    Sleep onset 6:05p

    6:10a wake
    Nap 1: 7:10 1h11m
    Nap 2: 9:57a 44m
    Nap 3: 12:10p 1h37m
    Nap 4 2:55p 56m
    Sleep onset 5:57p

    6:08 wake
    Nap 1: 7:30a 1h51m
    Nap 2: 10:59a 41m
    Nap 3: 1p 2h
    Nap 4 4:40p 34m
    Sleep onset 6:31p

    7:04 wake
    Nap 1: 8:10a 1h
    Nap 2: 10:38a 27m
    Nap 3: 11:50a 48m
    Nap 4: 25m then 18m – travelling awoke 3:08
    Sleep onset 5:24p

    1. “He does seem to be in better spirits in the afternoon.” You are on the right track.
      1. NO!
      2. No harm.
      3. Follow the suggestions in the book regarding attempting to lengthen naps.
      For the next 5 days: Try to not allow a nap to begin after 3:30pm. Use extra gentle and prolonged soothing and distraction to get through a rough patch. Begin your bedtime routine earlier and shorten it if needed so that you have a rigid “lights out” at 5:30pm (you are leaving the room at 5:30pm). Please keep a detailed record and report back to me.

  8. I appreciate your prompt reply! I reread the section on lengthening naps in your book.
    I have a question on nap drills.
    If baby wakes at 6:30 and shows drowsy signs at 7:30, should I attempt to forestall the first nap until closer to 9?

    Thank you.

  9. Hello Dr. Weissbluth. With baby’s nap rhythms, it has worked out to put him down so that his sleep onset is around 6pm. He has been self-soothing for naps very well and generally in good spirits. Although he used to have at least one nap around 1.5hrs every day, that has become more rare. Most naps are now in the 40 minute range. With the earlier bedtime, he has also begun waking before 6am with more regularity as his total sleep time seems to be conserved (11.5-12 hours). We are considering shifting his bedtime forward 30minutes (returning to) 6:30pm as pre-6am wake-ups are not our favorite. Also, with the early wake times, it is not possible for him to make it even close to 8 or 9am for his first nap. His detailed sleep schedule below. Interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks much!

    Sleep onset 5:24p
    6:25 wake
    Nap 1: 7:30a 1h34m
    Nap 2: 10:35a 34m
    Nap 3: 12:40a 42m
    Nap 4: 3:05p 40m
    Sleep onset 5:55p

    5:54 wake
    Nap 1: 7:38a 1h31m
    Nap 2: 10:35a 42m
    Nap 3: 1:10p 1h
    Nap 4: 3:29p 30m (in wrap carrier, woke him after 30 minutes, was fussy until bedtime)
    Sleep onset 5:54p

    5:30 wake
    Nap 1: 7:40a 1h41m
    Nap 2: 10:53a 51m
    Nap 3: 1:30p 40m
    Sleep onset 4:55p

    10/13 – two night awakenings that required attention at 12:30a and 4:30a
    5:40a wake
    Nap 1: 7:01a 1h37m
    Nap 2: 10:05a 1h
    Nap 3: 1:00p 40m
    Nap 4: 3:23p 37m
    Sleep onset 5:55

    6:30a wake
    Nap 1: 7:55a 1h
    Nap 2: 10:35a 54m
    Nap 3: 1:09p 52m
    Nap 4: 3:39p 37m
    Sleep onset 6:15

    6:25a wake
    Nap 1: 7:44a 45m
    Nap 2: 10:13a 42m
    Nap 3: 12:32 1h
    Nap 4: 3:13p 40m
    Sleep onset 6:10

    5:39a wake
    Nap 1: 7:00a 1h10m
    Nap 2: 9:55a 38m
    Nap 3: 12:30p 1h25m
    Nap 4: 3:22p 42m
    Sleep onset 5:58

    5:15a wake

    1. Around 4 months of age (adjusted), you wrote that his daytime fussiness was mostly gone. Is that still the case?
      Because he has self-soothing skills, an early bedtime, and ample consolidated night sleep, your expectation is that the naps will naturally lengthen, become fewer in number, and become more regular between now and 6 months of age. The bedtime will then naturally be later. Because he currently falls asleep easily around 6pm, you are meeting his sleep needs. If, for your convenience, you think that moving the bedtime later will produce a later wake up, try it. This rarely works for children who take 2 or more naps. Instead, often a cumulative sleep debt slowly develops and daytime fussiness and sleep problems emerge. My advice is for you to go to bed earlier to better cope with his wake-up time. What are your thoughts?

  10. Again, thank you so much for your prompt reply! Literally right after I wrote that, he took two very long naps! Will continue with the 6pm bedtime for the time being. Truly appreciate your attention to my messages.

    1. You are welcome. Naps will still vary a bit, but the trend towards a regular and long mid-morning and midday will become more apparent as he approaches 6 months of age. A third brief and more irregular nap sometimes occurs but disappears by 9 months of age. When he is completely well-rested, adjust the bedtime based on drowsy-signs which will vary a bit because of nap variability. Resist the temptation to move the bedtime later, for whatever reason, past the time of drowsy signs. Please send me a progress report.
      Sweet dreams,

  11. Hello Dr. Weissbluth! Between 10/17 and 10/20 our little guy was doing so well. Sleeping 12-13 hours a night. 6pm bedtime. No night wakings, napping well, mostly 45 minutes, but a couple 1.5 hour naps. Then on Friday 10/21 we took a short trip for a previously planned vacation. That night due to circumstances out of our control we all had a sleep disturbance causing us to be up from about 1am onwards. We cut the trip short and came home the next day. We’ve been trying to get him back on track with a temporarily earlier bedtime at 5pm, but 5 days later he still seems to be struggling, with occasional night waking and early waking at 4:30 for past two days. He’s been quite fussy and unhappy most of the day the last two days, taking very short naps 30-40 minutes requiring a lot of soothing. Just wanted to make sure there was nothing else we could be doing to help him aside from the early bedtime.

    Thank you for your time.

    1. I am happy that you had a few days of great sleep and sad that you had it messed up on 10/21. The last two days he is obviously overtired (“quite fussy and unhappy most of the day”) and barely napping (“taking very short naps 30-40 minutes). The earlier bedtime (“5pm”) is and will help him recover from his major sleep debt.
      I know this will sound crazy, but please consider a one night only ‘reset’ of a super early bedtime of around 4-4:30pm. If he falls asleep then and if seems, in any sense, a bit better the next day, then try it again for only 1-2 nights more. Don’t do this for many nights because it will eventually backfire and cause him to awaken way too early and this early wake-up will then mess up his nap schedules. If this attempt fails on the first try, then go back to your 5pm bedtime and do whatever works to maximize daytime sleep and minimize fussiness.
      How does this sound?

  12. Again, thank you so much for your prompt reply! He went to sleep a little before 5 tonight, so I will try the 4:30 bedtime tomorrow and see how it goes. I agree he is completely underslept! Your book and this conversation have helped me spot overtiredness very easily. It’s so helpful to know the cause of his irritability/unhappiness.

    Thanks again.

    1. You are welcome.
      Perhaps also shorten the interval of wakefulness between the naps because he is overtired and the naps are short.
      Let me know how it goes.

  13. 4:30 bedtime did not work out on 10/28. He was sleepy, but resistant to soothing techniques and did not fall asleep until nearly 6. He has been waking pretty consistently at 4:30 or 5am since the sleep disturbance, no matter when he falls asleep (4:50, 5, 5:30, 6:30). He has only slept past 6 once on his own in the last 8 days. He will not sleep in his crib after this wakening but will sleep on me while I hold him for up to 1.5 hours more, or will sleep in his crib again only after feeding. Is one approach better than the other in your opinion?

    His naps are still short but the last 2 days he’s had one 1.5 hour nap per day. We are shortening his wake period if he seems amenable to sleep. He is still not back to his happy self, though. Quick to fuss and cry, shorter attention span, difficult to soothe to sleep.

    Thank you for your time.

    1. “He will not sleep in his crib after this wakening but will sleep on me while I hold him for up to 1.5 hours more, or will sleep in his crib again only after feeding.”
      Please clarify:
      Are you referring only to the first morning wake up?
      How often do you do the holding for 1.5 hours or more?
      How often do you feed him then and he returns to sleep? Here, how long does he then sleep?

  14. When my husband attends to him @ 4:30am, he feeds him and puts him back to sleep in the crib. He then usually sleeps 2+ more hours. When I attend to him, I put him back to sleep while holding him and remain there until he wakes up, about 1-1.5 hours later at which point we start his day at what would be his “normal” time around 6:30. Out of the last 6 days, husbands gotten him 4 times, and I have twice.

    Incidentally, I have also been suffering from novel, acute, severe insomnia since the big sleep disturbance, and for which I am receiving medical treatment.

    1. “4:30 bedtime did not work out on 10/28. He was sleepy, but resistant to soothing techniques and did not fall asleep until nearly 6.” Was he completely left alone between 4:30-6pm or were you soothing him?

      If possible, for the next 5-10 days, please have your husband promptly feed hime and put him back to sleep with minimal soothing.
      Currently, how do you fee about graduated extinction or extinction?

  15. Thank you.
    With the 4:30pm bedtime attempt I was with him for 30min and then my husband was with him off and on.

    I believe my own insomnia -induced anxiety about his sleep has been causing me to intervene too much in his sleep. Today I have only soothed him to drowsy and put him in his crib awake and he is already napping much better. We plan to reinstate his consistent 6pm bedtime, leaving the room at 6pm. I will have my husband feed him and put him directly back to bed if the 4:30am awakenings continue.

    Again, very grateful for your attention and suggestions.

    Regarding extinction, we’ve never really needed to use that before. We do attend to him if he is truly crying (with tears) but otherwise try to let him work it out on his own if it is just whining, or loud vocalizations.

    1. Having insight into your own insomnia-induced anxiety will allow you to be successful in helping your son sleep better! Here are my suggestions. Tonight, sit down with your husband and write down a sleep plan that you are both comfortable with. If need be, have him read any relevant sections of my book for his full understanding. The sleep plan consists of two elements that are equally important.
      1. Work out and write down an age-appropriate sleep schedule for your son that involves maximum involvement from your husband, friends, family, or hired help. If not now, implement this plan when your husband is most available, perhaps this week-end. Because your son has self-soothing skills, the plan involves minimal soothing from adults.
      2. Work out a plan that will restore your sleep by relying on your husband or others. Stand down and let others do the heavy lifting.
      Once started, both elements of the plan are to be rigidly and consistently enforced for 5-10 days. Consider extinction (even when crying with tears) if he is not wet, soiled, hungry, or in distress.
      The idea is to help you better help your son sleep better. Because your husband is cooperative and you have insight into how your inconsistency or too much involvement has contributed to his sleeping problem, please be optimistic.
      Are you comfortable with this?

  16. Thank you so much! Yes my husband has already read the age appropriate sections of your book and we have a part-time nanny who helps. I will indeed endeavor to step back more and interfere in his sleep less. I truly believe he is an excellent sleeper and should get back on track soon. Appreciate your input very much!

  17. Everyone’s sleep has improved! Managed to use your extinction method to let him get back to sleep during a nap. He’s napping better and did not wake until 6:30 this morning. We are sticking with the 6pm bedtime.
    My sleep is also returning to normal.

    I have two remaining questions for you:
    1. Wake times- we haven’t had to think about this too much as he is almost always awake before 6:30, however if he does sleep past 6:30, or wake, but be quietly alert in bed, should we always get him out of bed at 6:30 for consistency?
    2. Daylight savings time! Any tips?

    Thanks much!

    1. I am happy that you are getting more sleep! Always remember what you hear on an airplane before take-off: Put your oxygen mask on first and then your child’s. Take care of yourself; it’s smart, not selfish.
      1. When he wakes up and quietly is looking around, studying the room, planning the day…let him be. When he calls out and signals that he is ready to interact with you, respond promptly. A general goal is to have a first nap around 9:00am but this will vary based on when he starts the day and how well rested he is from the night before.
      2. In addition to light/dark cues that help adjust circadian rhythms, social activities help as timing cues. Just as you might eat meals around the same time after DST, he will associate feeding, playing, bathing, etc with a rhythm of the day. So you can continue with the same approximate clock times after DST; but focus more on how he looks than be rigid about clock times.
      Does this help?

  18. It does, thank you so much! Truly feel much more confident that he is finding his own rhythm and is back to being a well-rested, happy baby

    1. Would you consider writing a narrative report describing your journey helping your child sleep better? I would publish it anonymously as a Blog Post. Your voice might resonate with other mothers going through similar sleep issues with their child.

  19. I would be happy to write that up for you. Let me know the best way to send it to you.

    Our little guy’s naps have truly gelled in the past two weeks.

    1.5-2 hr nap around 8am
    1-1.5 hr nap around 11 or 12
    30-40 minute nap around 3 (although this one has been a little challenging the last two days, he may be close to dropping this nap?)
    Sleep from 6pm – 6 or 6:30 am.

    His mood is generally good. He received his 6 months vaccination and had his first two teeth erupt recently. Last night he woke crying in distress every hour after midnight. We soothed him back to sleep each time. He has also started rolling to his belly in the crib. He does not like being on his belly, so we have been rolling him back. Do you agree with that?

    Hopefully his extreme night wakings was an isolated incident. Can tooth eruption or vaccine side effects disrupt night sleep?

    Thanks again.

    1. Thank you Beth,
      I am happy that naps have improved. You can send the narrative report to me as a comment.
      When a baby is able to roll from their back to stomach, but he does not like to be on his stomach, you might:
      1. Use a rolled up towel as a wedge to prevent him from rolling.
      2. Leave him alone to allow him to learn how to roll back to his back or how to tolerate being on his stomach.
      3. Go promptly and roll him back (if this happens infrequently, it’s tolerable… if it’s a frequent occurrence, it’s not sustainable)
      Vaccinations might cause soreness at the injection site and disrupt sleep for a night or two. Teething pain is a myth.

  20. Dr. W,
    I am experiencing similar problems to those you’ve described and those others have shared. My some is 5 months and 1 week old. It is unclear wether he is 3-4 weeks early based upon the due date based upon the LMP (4 weeks) or ultrasound (3 weeks). His medical history includes IUGR, PPV resuscitation, hyperbilirubinemia, hypoglycemia, SGA, ASD, ankyloglossia, viral meningitis (11 weeks), cows milk protein intolerance, & possible colic/GERD. He exclusively bottle fed breast milk due to MD recommendations for weight gain early on & inability to establish breastfeeding later on due to a variety factors. He has developed unhealthy sleep associations due to his fussiness & my lack of know how. Over time, he became more and more accustomed to sleeping on me as he would fuss whenever I put him down. I’ve been using an app for months, watching for early signs of drowsiness, watching wake windows, etc. I instituted an early bedtime before reading your book. It is difficult to time naps as he either takes forever to get to sleep most of the time. He is either undertired or overtired. If the timing is right, still he will only sleep for 30 minutes unless held the entire time. He has gone to bed for the night as early as 3:30 ish pm. Waking every 3-5 hours to feed. He Generally, he is asleep by 5:30 ish pm. He’ll generally go to bed with little to no resistance at that time now that I’ve identified over tiredness and try to extend naps by sleeping on me. However, I know now this is not as restorative & obviously not sustainable long term. I’m sure he has a cumulative sleep deficit. I’m trying to institute the extinction method, but I am unclear on some points. Yesterday he woke at 6:00 AM. He woke happy & content, so I left him in his bassinet & waited an hour with some crying to see if he would fall back asleep on his own. I then tried to get him to nap around 7:40, but he didn’t seem tired after the nap routine, so I tried to reset for 30 minutes & try again. Inadvertently, he didn’t get to sleep until around 9 AM & was obviously overtired & only slept 30 minutes. During the week I would attempt to sooth him back to sleep or shorten the window if soothing ineffective. As it was a Sunday, we got ready for church & took a car ride instead. He did not fall asleep on the ride, but seemed like he may be getting tired. My husband, despite my recommendations continues to push to keep him up for activities. l was pressured to keep him up until 11:25 ish when he started to fuss, an obvious late sign. I took him back to the car on a car ride & he was out in 5 minutes & slept for 1.5 hours in the car seat. This makes me nervous because of SIDS, but since he always wakes on transfers I let him sleep with close supervision. He probably would have slept for longer, but woke when bringing the car seat into the house. He took his 3rd nap around 3 PM door 30 minutes. I believe he woke cranky, but wouldn’t go back to sleep despite multiple attempts & signs of tiredness. He the fell asleep at 5:30 & slept until 8:30 to feed. Dad attempted to help by doing the feed, but this caused him to wake more fully & required me to sooth him back to sleep with a 2nd feed. He was back to sleep in his bassinet at 9:45. His feedings can take 45 minutes in which he is in a kind of 1/2 sleep. Dad does not consistently help out, so son has a preference for me for any soothing/sleep activities. Through the night he woke at 1 AM for a feed & then continued to wake every 1.5 hours. I ignored his 3 AM wake & he fell back asleep unassisted. At 4:45 AM it had been 3 hours since his last feed, so I gave him a bottle and laid him back down. He protested, but I soothed him in the crib then left him. He cried for an hour, so I got him up at 6 AM. I started his nap routine a little after 7 & he was asleep in by 7:45 after feeding. However, he only slept for 30 minutes & woke upset. Feeding & soothing didn’t work to get him back to sleep. He started showing signs of fussiness, tiredness, & overstimulation almost immediately. I shortened the wake window & tried to get him back to sleep with the sleep routine, but he resisted. I laid him down in the bassinet & let him cry it out for an hour. Then I fed him & was able to sooth him to sleep, but he would wake whenever I tried to lay him down. I didn’t think continuing to let him try to cry it out would be productive. So, I let him sleep on me, but again it was only for 30 minutes & he woke upset. He is still clearly tired, fussy, and overstimulated now. I know tonight will be restless sleep, even with the welt bedtime. How do I proceed? To clarify, what should I do for naps if he wakes/fusses when laid down drowsy, but awake (method a) or wakes/fussed from being almost all the way asleep (method b)? Method b would be the norm at this point as you mentioned consistency is important, but as stated he mostly will not nap for longer durations unless held. Should I continue to hold him for now until nights are better?

    1. Here’s the big picture:
      Read and make your husband read Blog Posts 1-5, 18 and 23. We need to get him more on board.
      At my Web Site, at ‘More for Parents’, at ‘Parents’ Reports’, item #1 is on’Extinction and graduated Extinction’: Read and make your husband read these reports.
      Check with your pediatrician to OK shortening the duration of time to feed your child. The expectation is that he will suck hard for about 4-5 minutes and suck less hard for another 5-10 minutes. Then stop the feeding. Perhaps he will consume less per feeding this way and thus there may be an additional feeding per 24 hours.
      Night sleep develops around 6 weeks of age (counting from the due date) and regular and long naps begin to develop around 4 months of age and are solid by 6 months of age. Your child’s corrected age is about 4 months of age.
      Here are some specific suggestions:
      Focus on night sleep: After reading the above, tell me whether you want to use Extinction, Graduated Extinction, or Check and Console (read the section in my book)
      Do whatever you can to maximize sleeping during the day with hired help, relatives, or hopefully your husband.
      Go to Blog Post #67 and read the thread “Mary” for reassurance and more advice.
      Let me know your thoughts.

  21. Hi –

    We started transitioning our 15 month old to a 1 nap schedule because we thought she was getting too much sleep with 2 naps that were totaling 3- 3.5 hours a day. She also sleeps 11 hours at night. Suddenly she was waking earlier and earlier from her usual 6:30 to screaming at 5:30 so we wanted to try this transition to see if it helped.

    So far it’s taken a week to push her 9:30 nap to 11 but she sleeps for 2 hours when she goes down. We implement an early bedtime around 6 and she sleeps until 5am. I worry we pushed the transition too soon since she is still waking so early and is very tired in the evening. Should we revert for a while and try again later?

    1. Please read about nap transitions in my book to understand how complicated it may be. Perhaps a temporary 5:30pm bedtime would allow better quality and maybe more night sleep so that it is easier for her to shift towards a solid mid-day nap starting between 12-2pm, after which the bedtime would be shifted later. I suggest this because she “is very tired in the evening”. A pitfall is the “5:30pm rut” described in my book.
      Based on her age, going back to two naps does not make much sense.
      How does this sound?

  22. My 8 month old has fallen into a good routine of a mid morning nap around 930 am with a wake up around 11 am and then I put him down for his afternoon nap about 3 hours after he wakes up. Usually around 2 pm. Lately he’s been waking up at around the 40 minute mark and he’s a cranky mess. I can tell he is still tired but he can’t get back to sleep. I usually leave him in there for the hour but he rarely goes back to bed. It’s a pretty rough afternoon until we put him down at around 630 pm. He will then sleep until about 7 am. Any insight into how I can lengthen this second nap? Thank you!

    1. Currently, how does he look (mood and behavior) between 5-6pm when he us unattended but with toys to play with (no screens or parents playing with him)?

      Please shorten the interval of wakefulness between the end of the 1st nap and the start of the 2nd nap. Watch carefully for drowsy signs as you get close to 2 hours of wakefulness and, if present, immediately soothe him to sleep for a 2nd nap even if he has been up for less than 2 hours. How does this sound? If you try this, please let me know how it goes.

  23. He is pretty irritable between 5-6 and will only be held. If you try to put him down to play with his toys he gets upset. I will shorten the interval of wakefulness over the next few days and let you know how it goes. Thanks!

    1. You previously wrote: “It’s a pretty rough afternoon until we put him down at around 630 pm.”
      Now: “He is pretty irritable between 5-6 and will only be held. If you try to put him down to play with his toys he gets upset”
      This is proof that his previous 6:30pm bedtime was way to late. Therefore, in addition to a shorter interval of wakefulness between naps (use drowsy signs as your guide), it is necessary to go to a much earlier asleep time based on drowsy signs; even as early as 5:30. This means that sometimes, he is bathed, fed, soothed, and put down (hopefully drowsy but awake) and you are leaving the room at 5:30pm. As naps improve, the bedtime may be shifted a little later. Can you do this?

  24. I can do that. For the last two days I have noticed that he starts to loose interest in toys/ playing and rubbing his eyes at around the 2H30min mark so I have been putting him down then and he has napped for about 1H30 min. He is much better in the afternoon but will start to get irritable again around 5:30. Does this mean I should put him down at 5:30? Thanks for your help!

    1. Yes. To be absolutely clear: 5:30 is not the beginning of your bedtime routine. “This means that sometimes, he is bathed, fed, soothed, and put down (hopefully drowsy but awake) and you are leaving the room at 5:30pm.” This means his asleep time is 5:30. Let me knowhow it goes.

  25. Dear Dr Weissbluth

    My husband and I read your 5th edition book numerous times and it has helped us tremendously over the first year of our baby’s life. Our boy is almost 15 months old. Since month 13 he’s consistently refused his mid-day nap. His usual wakeup/bedtime is 6am/6pm with a 9am/1pm nap that’s usually an hour long each. Therefore, over the last 1-1.5mo we’ve been attempting to transition to one nap while moving up his bedtime earlier to 530pm and sometime as early as 515pm depending on how tired he is. We’ve tried the one nap at 10ish/10am/11am/1130am, most of these naps are crazy short 30/45min only, with a lot of sleep inertia type of behavior on waking from these naps. He’s banking solid 12-13 hours at night un-interrupted, and every 14 days or so even slightly longer at night probably from the nap debt?

    Our questions are
    1) does the “one” nap have to be mid-day (12/1pm) or middle of his circadian cycle (if it’s 530-530 technically falls around 10/11ish)
    2) will this one nap eventually lenghten on its own to 1.5-2 hours

    Any insight you may have as to what we may be doing wrong or what else we should be doing would be greatly appreciated.

    1. At 12 months of age, 81% of children are taking two naps per day.
      At 15 months of age, 44% of children are taking two naps per day.
      At 18 months of age, 23% of children are taking two naps per day.
      The transition to one nap around 13 months of age is uncommon and now at almost 15 months of age and going forward, one nap is more common. There is not a single or clear strategy for you because of this wide variation of napping behavior at these ages. But not to worry because he is a great night time sleeper!
      For young children, the single nap onset is always mid-day (12-2pm), so my suggestion is to entertain him and distract him as he gets short on sleep in the mid- and late-morning and try to put him down for a nap consistently around noon or as close to noon as possible for 4-5 days. Because he may be short on sleep then, extra soothing might be required. If this backfires and he gets so wound-up and upset that he refuses the single mid-day nap or this single dap is less than 30 minutes and the rest of the afternoon is a disaster, then abandon the effort. During this 4-5 day trial, the bedtime might have to be super early. How does this sound.

  26. Hi Dr. Weissbluth,
    My son is almost 4.5 months old and went from sleeping several hours throughout the night to waking every 45 minutes through the night. He normally gets 3-5 naps throughout the day, but they have started to be a mess- 45 or less and fighting them for 30+ minutes. We moved his bedtime earlier 6:30-7:30 and that has caused false starts after he’s asleep for hours until around 9:00. I know 9 is too late a bedtime. He normally wakes at 7:00.

    We started extinction last night and it went very well. We put him down for his first nap at 8:30 and he slept 2 hours- a first- we woke him at the 2 hour mark (10:30) He showed tired signs about an hour later so we put him down at 11:37. He slept for maybe 15 minutes and now is awake and crying. I am letting him cry it out.

    My question is how long should naps be? I know he is tired from crying last night, should I allow him to sleep for longer than 2 hours/ take more naps? How should I sleep train naps? How long should I let him cry it out? Thank you.

    1. Please read the section on ‘Extinction’ to fully understand how to do it. I suspect that your son developed cumulative sleepiness from a bedtime that was too late. Extinction works well, if, and only if, the bedtime is early. Based on your description of naps, he might temporarily need a 5:30pm bedtime. This will help him repay his sleep debt, improve his night sleep so that he wakes up better rested which allows him to have a better morning nap (don’t wake him) which will lead to a better mid-day nap which will eventually lead to a later bedtime. Improvement is sequential (night sleep improves before the morning nap which improves before the mid-day nap). The entire process may take a few weeks. How does this sound to you?

  27. Dear Dr Weissbluth,

    I am following up on your recommendations to move my 15mo nap (2 to1) to mid-day. I am happy to report that today (1 week later) he went down at 1145am. The 10/1030 slump is challenging the first few days, but with practice we were able to keep him entertained/awake through it. At night he’s down around 515pm and waking up on his own past 6am, so we are very happy with his progress. The naps are still a little on the short side (45min-1 hour each), and we plan to move the nap time slightly back to noon as you suggested. It also took some trial/error to re-configure snacks/lunch time but we are getting the hang of it. Thank you for helping us out YET AGAIN! We are TRULY GRATEFUL!!

    1. You are welcome. Would you be able to write a narrative report describing your journey that I would Post as a mini-sleep consult? If so, should it be anonymous?
      As the nap gets a little later and a little longer, baced on drowsy signs, expect the bedtime to become a little later. Please go very slowly with a later bedtime.
      Sweet Dreams,

  28. Yes I can send it here. Please let me know how to upload it for you. You may use our names in the report as you see fitting.

    1. Thank you, Ying,
      Please submit as a ‘Comment’ and I will take it from there. If possible, please include the father’s role and both of your feelings as you embarked on helping your child sleep better. The more detail the better because your voice might resonate with other parents more so than any Blog Post.

  29. Here’s the narrative. Please let me know if you want me to expand on anything additional.
    There is an old Chinese proverb which says, “Getting enough sleep is better than eating ginseng”. When I became a first-time mother at the age of 43, my husband and I both agreed that without rest we couldn’t possibly make the best decisions or give good guidance as parents. We also wanted our child to acquire the awareness and respect for rest, with skills for great sleep, for life.

    Friends of ours recommended Dr. Weissbluth’s sleep book as the “must read” parenting sleep guide when we were expecting. However, the arrival of our son threw us into a whirlwind, and we soon forgot what we read in the book. At 6 weeks of age, the baby reached peak fussiness in the evening. In hindsight, our boy was probably short on sleep as we did not follow many of the sleep hygiene practices. It was then that we turned to the book (a new edition too!) again and put into actions all of Dr. Weissbluth’s advise–adopt an early bedtime in the evening (6pm), put the baby down drowsy but awake, don’t pick up the baby at every cry in sleep. From the early days my husband and I always take turns putting the baby down as available during the day and at night. At 8 weeks, the baby started sleeping 8 hours at night. Within another month to two, he was sleeping a solid 12 hours at night, and the naps became predictable. The first year with all its nap transitions sailed smoothly until the 13th month, when he started refusing the mid-day nap. There were many compounding factors including recurrent respiratory infections in the first winter post-COVID, eczema flares, visits from various family members during the holidays with disruptions of his schedule, etc. We erroneously thought he should be transitioned to one mid-day nap. In fact, many friends/relatives encouraged us to do so. We tried several times to delay his 9am nap until 10/11am, but the single nap would last only 30 to 35 minutes with recurrent sleep inertia when he wakes up (inconsolable crying, screaming for 20 to 30 minutes). We felt incompetent, frustrated and discouraged about what to do over a solid two-months period. The only saving grace was that we followed Dr. Weissbluth’s book’s recommendation to move up bedtime, which we did from 6pm to 530pm, so our boy was making up for nap debt with longer night time sleep (13, even 14 hours at times).

    We reached out to Dr. Weissbluth for help on the next step. He reminded us, that as our son is now 15 months old, this two-to-one nap transition should be much easier to accomplish. Dr Weissbluth recommended a 4 to 5 day plan of moving the mid-morning nap as close to noon as possible, with super early bedtime for those days. Our challenge has always been the 10/10:30 am slump. It was tempting to just put the tired baby down for a longer nap right when he yawned at 10 am. We decided we need to follow Dr. Weissbluth’s advise to distract the boy with activities. If we were taking him places in the morning, we made sure he did not fall asleep in the car to/from. We implemented this plan at the increment of 20 minutes every 1-2 days and moved his snack/lunch time accordingly. By the end of a week, our son goes down napping peacefully at 11:45 am and stays down for more than an hour. The sleep inertia behavior is also diminished. His bedtime during transition is about 5:15 pm, and he slept until 6 am or later, waking up his usual cheerful, chatty self. We are now slowly transitioning back to his usual bedtime, moving 10 min every 3 days.

    Our friends & family always congratulate us on how lucky we are to have a baby that sleeps 12 hours at night. We consider ourselves lucky that we had access to Dr. Weissbluth’s knowledge, experiences, compassionate and firm guidance.

  30. Hello – is a pacifier advised?

    With our first we didn’t use it at all and followed your method to a tee with outstanding results. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with the world. We will always be grateful.

    Our second was born 5 weeks preterm and tongue tied. We had the frenectomy. We started using a pacifier. It is a blessing and a curse. It seems to help him fall asleep but moments later the wretched thing will fall out and wake him up. Thus begins the game of reinsert the pacifier every 15 mins. Should I just eliminate it? He is currently 3 months in chronological age. I have tried several types of pacifiers. I am currently attempting to implement a 6:30 wake up/8:15 first nap/12:30 second nap/5:30 bedtime. He still wakes twice throughout the night to feed. Should I also have a 3:00pm-ish nap and push the bedtime to 6:30? What factor should determine this?

    We have so much respect for your method Dr.! We live in Chicago. and are patients of the practice. I send your book to all expecting friends. Thank you!

    1. How would you describe his self-soothing skills at nap time and bedtime with a pacifier?
      At night how often do you have to reinsert the pacifier?

  31. Hi Dr Wrissbluth,

    Our next 20 month old was sleep trained using your method since he:d 6 weeks old. He’s otherwise a great sleeper. Typically hr is down from 630-6, with a mid day nap at 1230 for 1-1,5 hours daily. He has what appears to be a hand foot mouth like virus with a large ulcer on L buccal mucosa. He struggles to settle for sleep the last two nights (took about 1.5 hours vs the usual 15 min), and has screamed his way through naps the last two days. We think it’s because he’s not sucking/soothing on his sleeves very well due to the sore. Is there any thing else we can do to help him? Thank you kindly.

    1. Please rely on your child’s primary care provider to help you to help your son get through this painful illness. After he recovers, he may have acquired a sleep debt which you can quickly repay with a ‘reset’ as described in my book.

  32. Hi Dr Weissbluth,

    Our son is now 21 month and per your help above, has transitioned to 1 mid day nap around 15 month. We noticed that the last two weeks his naps have been consistently 1.5 hour to 2 hours every day, which is more stable from before. He otherwise banks 6pm-6am night sleep daily. He is down for nap at noon and wakes up at 145/2 or sometimes even 230.

    We are looking into the options of a part time nursery program which operates from 930-1215 starting in October. My question is, at this point is it possible to move back his nap to 1pm given that he will need to eat after coming home, or is the timing of the program not ideal in general? If it is possible to move naps to a later time, how can we go about it to ensure a successful transition?

    Thank you kindly for your expertise.

    1. Individual variability means that you cannot predict ahead of time whether:
      1. How adaptable he will be to able to shift to a later naptime.
      2. What will be the impact of a change in his naps.

      My suggestion would be to try now to simulate the nap schedule that will occur in October to get a clue of what might occur. To compensate for a not so restorative nap, a 5:30pm bedtime might be needed. If you do this, let me know how it goes.
      Is the nursery every day?

  33. The program is Monday through Thursday. Historically he has not fared well with naps later than 1230. Our preference is for better sleep over enrichment program at this time. We re working with the teacher to see if early pick up is an option. Will keep you updated on our progress.

    1. When your son wins his Nobel Prize, remember “Our preference is for better sleep over enrichment program”! Blog posts 38, 126, and 135-136 explain why healthy brain development is linked to healthy sleep, and this link is not well appreciated. Future Blog Posts 148-151 discuss this topic in more detail. Would you please consider writing a narrative report on your family’s journey helping your son sleep well to be published as a Blog Post (anonymously, if you wish)?

  34. I already did a post for you above. Thank you for your continual support and encouragement. We try our best to follow all your advise closely, to set long term goals instead of short term gains. We really appreciate your extra effort here to all of us as first time parents.

  35. Hi Dr. Weissbluth,
    My son is 12 weeks old and we need to start moving his naps to the crib. So far, his naps have either been contact or on the go. This is getting to be impossible to maintain as my husband is back to work and I have a toddler to take care of. His night sleep is going very well. We instituted an early bed time at 7 weeks (between 5:30 and 6:15 depending on the last nap of the day). He falls asleep on his own and stays asleep until 2am. I feed him and he goes right back to sleep until 6am and then usually goes back to sleep after that feed until 7:30. My question is, since he can fall asleep on his own at bedtime, would it be ok to start placing him in his crib awake but drowsy for naps knowing that he will cry? When I did this today for his first nap, he cried mild-moderately for over an hour before falling asleep for only 20 min. Doing this 4-5 times a day feels like a lot but I know how important consistency is. I’m at a loss for what to do… thank you for your help!

    1. “would it be ok to start placing him in his crib awake but drowsy for naps knowing that he will cry? When I did this today for his first nap, he cried mild-moderately for over an hour before falling asleep for only 20 min.”
      Because his night sleep is great, I would stay the course for naps for a total of 3 days and then reevaluate. When the nap is actually very brief (especially less than 30 minutes), try for another nap 30-60 minutes later. in general, during the 3 day trial, focus on brief intervals of wakefulness between naps. Understand that it might take a couple or few days before you see improvements in naps and during this trial, maybe a strict 5:30pm bedtime might be needed because of brief total daytime sleep. Maybe don’t let a new nap begin after 3-4pm. Keep a detailed sleep log. Maybe during this trial, try to make the naps take place in a pitch black room and strive for a quiet sleep environment or consider a white noise machine.Let me know how it goes. If you cannot commit to a 3 day trial because of scheduling conflicts with your toddler, don’t try it. Maybe start on a Saturday when your husband is home to help out.

  36. Hi Dr. Weissbluth,

    First off, thank you for your book – its been a game changer for us! Our daughter is 2 months and 4 days old, weighs 4.4 kilos and drinks exclusively breastmilk.

    We wake her up and give her, her first feed of the day at 7:30 and she’s sound asleep by 22:15/30 after her last 21:30 feed of the day.

    Throughout the day we plan for 5 high quality naps and 6 feeds and we pay close attention to her wake windows making sure she’s in her dark bedroom drowsy by the time she shows signs of being sleepy.

    We’ve noticed that as the day progresses her wake windows become longer, she doesn’t want to take her last nap and she’s incredibly sleepy for the last two feeds. She also wakes up 2-3 times per night and she doesn’t fall back asleep until we soothe her in her crib.

    Should we make her bedtime earlier or is she still too young for such a long night without food? What time should be put her down for the night?

    Mr. & Mrs. Lap from Amsterdam

    1. ‘Rust’, ‘Regelmaat’, and ‘Reinheid’ are important but ‘Rust’ (rest) and ‘Regelmaat’ (routine) for sleep will change dramatically as your daughter grows. My suggestion is to go with the flow in the morning because she is so young and not wake her up. Based on drowsy signs, look for nap opportunities during the day but don’t expect much of a pattern to develop until 3 or 4 to 6 months of age. However, night sleep circadian rhythms does start at about 6 weeks of age (6 weeks after her due date, not her birth date). Because she is older than 6 weeks, focus on an earlier bedtime. Night sleep will start around 6:00-9:00pm. Your current 10:15/30pm time is too late and her presleep arousal is causing her to have difficulty with consolidated night sleep. Because she is growing so well, be a little more flexible about feeding (feed her only when she seems really hungry) and a little more careful about drowsy signs.
      Does this help?

  37. Thank you so incredibly much for your helpful, timely advice. We will follow your advice and report back on how our daughter progresses.

  38. We would like to thank you for all your advice above. We have been ruthless (preferring check & console over extinction) with your methods and couple rough nights (each one got easier), our daughter sleeps well, wakes up happy, has way more energy and drinks better. Last night she slept a 9 hour stretch without calling for us.

    Much like you mention, we were blind to her sleep deprivation on account of our own. We are now also reaping the benefits. Her longer, better quality sleep has also tremendously helped with my baby blues and with our relationship as parents.

    We can’t thank you enough for helping us turn things around. We will keep up her self imposed wake up time, protecting her naps and her 5-6pm bedtime.

    We did have a follow up question about swaddling. We notice that when we swaddle her she sleeps longer too. Is this ok/safe to do for the entire night? And if so, until what age?

    On blog post 101, Yes, absolutely. Short commute distances in the Netherlands also makes it possible to travel during wakefulness and provide motionless naps when baby gets drowsy. e.g., a 10 minute walk to the park with our daughter in the stroller and one-two hours of stationary time in the park until she wakes. There is definitely a culture of not always needing to stimulate and entertain ones child and indeed offering fresh air naps.

    Thanks again for all you do to help families!

    1. Swaddling (page 182) helps some babies sleep better and is safe. Use swaddling as long as it seems to help and stop when she appears to not want to be swaddled. Please consider writing and posting here a narrative report of your sleep journey that I would post on my Blog (anonymously, if you wish). Your voice might resonate with other mothers more than mine.

  39. When our daughter was a little over two months old (gestational age), I started noticing that she’d fall asleep at every feeding and be quite fussy throughout the day. I couldn’t understand why but I suspected lack of quality sleep may be the culprit.

    We followed Dr. Weissbluth’s advice on letting her decide when to wake up in the morning alongside making her “bedtime” 17:30, becoming aware of her drowsy signs and putting her down for a nap or down for the night before she became over tired.

    We introduced an evening bedtime routine which has evolved into a fun new family tradition! Her dim lit bedtime routine involves a bedtime story by her favourite light and being given a kiss goodnight with her pacifier. The first night two nights were rough, she’d wake up many times and cry for us.

    They were also tough for us. It felt odd putting her to bed so early when we were used to her joining us as a cooked and ate dinner.

    Throughout the night but also for naps, we decided to implement the ‘check and console’ method because we couldn’t bare to do (gradual) extinction. Something about hearing our little one cry for us and disregarding it was just too tough for us. Hats off to parents that manage to do extinction!

    As the days went by we became much more aware of her drowsy signs. Once she started displaying them, we’d soothe her to sleep. With enough time we were able to hear when she became drowsy without looking.

    Within a week, we started seeing signs of self soothing on the baby monitor, she’d wake up, cry for a minute or so and swiftly dose off again well into the night. Nowadays, she wakes up, wiggles around, coo’s a little and then doses off again.

    Throughout the night, she tends to wake up twice and display signs of hunger. I go in and breastfeed or my husband brings her a bottle, unlike throughout the day, she falls back to sleep right after being burped.

    Working in shifts has really helped us. My husband does the late night feeding so that I can get much needed rest. After less than a week, we noticed that she has started sleeping 6-9 hour stretches night after night.

    This “sleep begets sleep” approach has done wonders for our family because its meant that we too could start sleeping much longer for the first time since her birth. Her increased sleep has truly helped diminish my baby blues.

    In parallel, we’ve become a bit more careful about what we do with her during the day. She is no longer being brought from place to place as much.

    Sure, we still have our moments where she simply needs to experience light and motion when she’s trying to nap but my husband and I try to avoid it if we can. Small habits like, having one of us stay home with baby whilst the other goes out or going for walks during our daughter’s wake time has really helped.

    Today, we protect her naps and bedtime sleep whilst still remaining realistic about what works for us as a family. It’s made us cherish quality time with her when she is awake even more.

  40. Hi Dr. Weissbluth,
    Thank you for the book, its very useful.

    My 11-month-old baby used to sleep through the night (7 pm – 6 am) and took two naps: 9 am (40 minutes) and 1 pm (1.5 hours). A couple of days ago, she started waking up at night, and the midday nap now only lasts 30 minutes. Do you think something should change?

    * About 2 weeks ago, I dropped her the third nap

  41. Dr. Weissbluth,

    Really appreciate your book – we read it as a precursor to our daughter’s birth and really think it helped us to develop an independent night sleeper. Our daughter has always been a great night sleeper – since around 2 months she started sleeping through the night and never looked back. She has never been one to require much soothing, either. Some days she actually points to the crib to let us know she wants to sleep. She is now 14 months old and regularly sleeps 10-12 hours at night. On weeknights we have trouble keeping her bedtime consistent because of work schedules, but generally will put her in the crib between 6:30-7:30 and she consistently sleeps until around 6:00 am.

    However, daytime naps have long been a bit of a struggle. Around 10-11 months of age she started rebelling against her 2 nap per day schedule. Naps were highly variable in length and although inconsistent which, each day she refused one or the other of her naps. We consulted your book and made sure we always gave her a full hour in the crib to try to figure it out. We played around with bedtime and nap times for weeks on end but with no success. So, despite the statistics you give about most kids transitioning to one nap closer to 15 months, similar to Sophie’s story above we attempted the transition to one nap. And it worked in that she was regularly napping around 12:00-1:00. Still, some days she puts up a bit of a struggle and the naps vary anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, but on a good day she gets about 11-12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period – is that enough for a 14 month old?

    Recently, we went on vacation for a week and despite reasonable efforts, she was not getting solid naps and up later than normal for 3-4 days straight. By the time we got home she was clearly exhausted and we did a ‘reset’ that night and she slept 13 hours. She napped fine all the following week until this weekend. Yesterday, she refused to nap despite being exhausted (she was falling asleep at the dinner table). So, we put her down around 5:30 and she slept 13 hours. But today, refused to nap despite clearly being tired. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated!

    Thank you,

    1. “we have trouble keeping her bedtime consistent because of work schedules, but generally will put her in the crib between 6:30-7:30 ” suggests two items to consider:
      1. During the week day, who is responsible for naps and how consistent do you think this person is regarding nap schedules?
      2. What time do both of you enter your home from work on week days? How often is the bedtime 6:30ish versus 7:30ish? Please read the section in my book on cumulative sleepiness and give me your thought on whether you think the bedimes might be often a little too late, especially in view of the nap issues. Please describe napping and bedtimes on weekends.

  42. Thank you so much for the quick response! With regards to your considerations;
    1. We have a split system where grandma watches our daughter on Mondays and Tuesdays at her house and a nanny watches her at our home Wednesday through Friday. We give both caregivers the same direction (to put her down to nap between 12:00 and 1:00), but by nature of it being two different people there are likely to be some inconsistencies. This past week, though, we understand that across both caregivers, all her naps started within 15 minutes of each other.
    2. One or the other of us typically pick up our daughter or returns home by 5:00 or 5:30, but due to the split daycare situation we tend to return home later on Mondays and Tuesdays when we have to pick her up and travel home. We think 7:00 pm is probably the average bedtime, but with the variability in nap duration we do try to move the bedtime up on days with a <1 hour nap. After revisiting the section of your book on cumulative sleepiness, it seems possible that this could be a contributing factor. Admittedly, we have had concerns about this for a while given the total sleep duration per day is typically 11-12 hours (our pediatrician recommended 14-15), and so we have been diligent about 'resets' when she seems to need it most – maybe once per month. On weekends we try to stick to the same schedule as during the week, but if we are traveling or have an activity planned we are more likely to have her nap out and about or let bedtime slide.

    1. “generally will put her in the crib between 6:30-7:30” How often is it 6:30pm versus 7:30pm? What is her usual falling asleep time on week-ends. How often are weekend naps “out” and how often do you “let bedtime slide”
      Please describe her mood and behavior when alone (no screens or parental interaction) during the 60 minutes before her bedtime?

  43. I would say on Mondays and Tuesdays she is usually in the crib by 7:15 or 7:30, and Wednesday through Friday she is in her crib by 6:45-7:00 unless we know she has not had a good nap, in which case we put her down at 6:30. On weekends that we’re home we still get her to bed by 7:00, but maybe 1/3 weekends we are away and that will slip closer to 8:00. Generally, her disposition leading up to bedtime is happy and contented, but on some nights when she hasn’t had a good nap she can be agitated and whiny. Fortunately, we know this in advanced based on the length of her nap and try to get her to bed as early as possible when that happens, or move it up to 5:30 for the ‘reset’. In the past, she has been able to make it up overnight or with a good nap and return to normal. Regardless of whether she is overtired or not, she typically falls asleep within 5-15 minutes at night.

    She also didn’t used to be agitated for day naps either, until the last 2 weeks or so. For four of the past six days she just stands in her crib screaming for the full hour. We found out that on the two days she napped, her grandmother rocked her to sleep. I think three of these times when retrieving her after the hour she had a dirty diaper. Not sure if she poops and then can’t sleep or gets super agitated to the point where she poops but we’re at a loss how to handle it – we don’t want to leave her in a dirty diaper, especially if that is preventing her sleep, but seems counterproductive to interfere if there is a chance she is clean. Since we first wrote to you four days ago, we have had her in bed by 6:30 latest every night, and yet each day she keeps waking up earlier and earlier in the morning. Last night she was down to 10 hours at night and no day nap yesterday or today… please help!

    1. Cumulative sleepiness from chronically too late bedtimes is the most likely explanation for her sleep issues. “Generally, her disposition leading up to bedtime is happy and contented, but on some nights when she hasn’t had a good nap she can be agitated and whiny.” Whenever this occurs, say to yourself, “Whoops, I blew it, I should have put her to bed earlier.” Note the duration and timing of the nap that day and the time when it occurs to plan ahead to prevent further occurrences. If you continue with slightly too late bedtimes during the week, the 1/3 time of 8pm on weekends, and allowing the grandmother to rock her to sleep for a nap, her sleep deprivation will not just continue, it will worsen. I wish I could give you specific sleep advice but given your specific family circumstances, I can only suggest that you take a hard look at Blog Posts 1-5 and 148-151 to appreciate the potential harm to your child, and then make whatever changes are doable for your family. I hope this helps a little and I am sorry that I cannot tell you exactly what to do.

  44. Thanks Doc as always for the quick response. Fully understand and respect that you can’t give specific advice, and we certainly want to do all we can for our daughter to have healthy sleep and brain development. So with that in mind, we still have a couple of questions which we’re hoping you can give general advice. Given that she is suffering from sleep deprivation, we need to get her back on track. It would seem that she is so overtired that she is unable to nap and waking up earlier in the morning, which is obviously compounding the problem. Do we just keep putting her to bed early? Tonight we put her to bed at 5:30 and she fell asleep around 6:15 – do we keep up with that and hope that in a few days she is rested enough to nap? Do we make the bedtime even earlier? How early is too early? And for the naps, is it better to give her an opportunity to nap as soon as she shows signs of sleepiness (this morning it was maybe 90 minutes after waking), or is it better to try to maintain consistency in the nap time at noon? Also, just to confirm do you recommend no rocking/soothing at this age, or should we try that as long as she is still awake when she goes in the crib, just to try to get her to nap so she doesn’t continue to become more sleep deprived? Thank you!

    1. My suggestion is to immediately impose an age appropriate sleep schedule as follows:
      1. One nap only that begins between 12-2pm, you might not be able to get to 12 noon initially so gently keep her awake with extra soothing for an incremental extra 10-20 minutes every few days. Review ‘Nap Drill’ in my book. The super-early bedtime is essential to eliminate morning drowsiness.She is always put down drowsy but awake for this nap and at night to promote self soothing.
      2. Use a 5:30pm falling asleep time (all bathing, feeding, soothing is done before); lights off and you are leaving the room at 5:30pm for 3-5 nights. After 3-5 nights, based on her nap and the consequent drowsy signs, watch her closely between 4-5 pm on week-ends to see for yourself),the bedtime might become a little later, but not 7:30 or 8pm. Use extinction or graduated extinction if needed.
      3. She might be asleep before you come home from work, so go to sleep earlier yourself to enjoy quiet morning time with her.
      4. If Grandmother does not cooperate, you’ll have to be extra strict on all other days. If the sitter does not cooperate, fire her.
      5. Avoid social jet lag wherein the week-end sleep is different from week-day sleep
      6. Think of exceptions to her sleep schedule for special events 1-2 times a month.
      7. Be patient, her chronic sleep deprivation might take several days or a couple of weeks before you see complete recovery.

      How does this sound?

  45. My 3 month old (6th child) will only take 40-50 minute naps in his crib, and no more than two per day in the crib. If I hit the timing right, he is able to soothe himself to sleep quickly (this is not always possible as we are a homeschooling family with other children ages 10 yo to 20 mos). So I have resorted to baby-wearing for the other naps where he can get 2+ hours at a time (albeit not the most restful sleep because of all the living going on around him with his brothers and sister!)

    He has been routinely having a last feeding at 5:00 and then going down for the night at 5:30 (he is able to soothe himself to sleep at this time). I am starting to think that is too early because I am exhausted from getting up to feed him around 1:00 am and again around 5:00 am (he usually starts his day around 7:00 am after a bowel movement). I would love to shift his hours a bit so I am only waking up once to feed him in the night.

    1. Your general goals are to maximize day sleep, encourage self-soothing and an early bed-time. Because of the complexity of your specific family circumstances, I can only suggest your read the section in my book on circadian sleep rhythms and Blog Posts 8 and 112 to fully appreciate why trying to “shift his hours” will fail.

  46. Doctor, just wanted to follow up to let you know how things are going following your suggestions (very helpful!). We made a 5:30 bedtime for 5 straight days and been vigilant about naptime at noon, and she has at least taken a day nap every day since we started that program – yay! We have been moving back the bedtime a bit the last three nights, all around 6:30 pm. The first few days her naps were well over an hour, but the last three days in a row her naps have only been 45 minutes to an hour long. We followed your nap drills but weren’t successful in extending the nap. She also still cries when put in her crib for her nap, anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes, and she didn’t used to do that. Wondering what, if anything, we should be doing to help her take a longer day nap so her total sleep duration is more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period? Do we need to make 5:30 bedtime semi-permanent? One thing we noticed is that on all the nights when we put her in the crib at 5:30 she actually fell asleep between 6:15-6:30, whereas the last few nights when we put her in at 6:30 she’s asleep in a matter of minutes.

    1. Going forward, my best advice is to watch your infant between 4-5pm for subtle drowsy signs (especially on weekends) and expect the bedtime to be between 5:30-6:30pm. It is always better to err on a too early bedtime than a too late bedtime. I suspect that currently, 6:30pm is too late, but I may be wrong. Does this help?

  47. Dr W.
    I took to heart your suggestions and made arrangements the last 4 days to send my neediest children to Grandma’s house in order to focus on getting my baby (15 weeks) some good naps during the day. I have increased his day sleep totals from 2-3 hours to 5-6 hours, all of them in a baby wrap on my chest, and most of the time sitting still in a chair. I finally discovered his drowsy signs, which are sucking on his fingers. Quickly after that,
    he starts crazy kicking and I know we have gone too long. In the baby wrap, I have consistently started a soothing routine next to his crib, so we can transition easily to crib sleep in the future. I feel we are having a lot of success here following the protocol you used with a family on pages 477-478 of your book’s 5th edition .

    He is still keeping an early bedtime varying between 5:00 & 6:00, and soothing himself to sleep without crying. He used to be able to go 7 to 9 hours until his first feeding, but now has been waking 4 hours into his night sleep. He wakes again four hours later and then three hours after that (at this point it’s 5ish am and hard to get him back to sleep, at most for 45 mins and I have to hold him). I do believe he is truly hungry (or ravenously nursing to clear a burp, which is common for him, especially in the early morning hours). Is this new night feeding habit a temporary bump in the road to recovery? Or a new bad habit? What should I do?

    1. Your heroic effort has produced longer naps without self-soothing (naps on your chest) but he does have self-soothing skills at night (“soothing himself to sleep without crying). Excellent work!!
      Thinking about your own fluid intake, your urine output, your thirst, is it possible that because of insufficient fluid intake, at the end of the day your breast milk supply is low? Also, does his suck-swallow pattern suggest that he is truly hungry at night (every suck followed by a swallow)? Is it appropriate to try extinction for the first night awakening occurring about four hours after his last feeding? I know his naps vary in length and the total nap duration is ample, but is there any suggestion, based on drowsy signs, that the 6:00pm bedtime is a little to late? How long can you or do you plan to continue holding him for his naps as opposed to putting him in his crib (see ‘Nap Drill’ in my book)?

      1. Dr W.,
        Your inquiry about breastfeeding gave me a lot to think about and the clues started to tell a story. I have been congested with a cold for 2+ weeks with a very low appetite. Baby (16 weeks) is on week 2 of the cold, now with chest congestion and cough. Over the past several days we have been working to bring breastfeeding levels back up, nursing generously at night as well. He has been taking naps (40- 90 mins in the crib, longer in the baby wrap as necessary), soothed to sleep using Method B if Nap Drill is not successful within 15 minutes. At bedtime he is able to soothe himself to sleep without crying at an early hour, 5:30 or 6:00 (the later time if his last nap lasted until 4:15 pm).

        Not surprisingly, with being ill and all the extra handling, he is now regularly waking several times at night (typically 10 pm, 2 am, 4 am, 5 am). But then, one night he surprised us and slept 10 hours straight! His most difficult time is the 5am hour when he is gassy, phlegmy, coughing, screaming and stuffed up. I’m not sure if we should treat the next time he is put down as the mid-morning nap or as returning to night sleep since it is between 6:30-7:30 am.

        My husband thinks we should wait a week or more for him to clear his congestion and then use extinction during the night for intervals less than 4 hours between feedings. Baby otherwise doesn’t seem to be overtired, as he was when I first reached out to you. We parents, on the other hand, are exhausted! To answer your question about how long I plan to wear him in the wrap for naps – I would like to stop as soon as possible without making everything worse.

          1. Severe symptoms of common colds last 24-72 hours but mild symptoms may linger for 5-10 days. When the severe phase is over, consider extinction as described in by book. Because you are both exhausted, I suggest that when you start extinction, you also completely commit to naps in the crib. Put down drowsy but awake and leave the room. How old is he now?

  48. The baby is 17 weeks old, just shy of 4 months. We immediately implemented extinction at night and have had great success in a few nights. Since the second night he now only wakes at night to nurse during times we have predetermined and only one to two times per night.

    Now to tackle naps! At your suggestion, I stopped wearing him for naps, and have been using nap drill. At first he only cried 30 minutes and then slept 30 minutes, cried an hour for the next nap, and then slept 2 hours on the next nap with no crying. A few days in, he now protests the entire mid-morning nap, will maybe sleep 5 minutes for the midday nap, and if I’m lucky I can get him to sleep 30-40 minutes for a last nap of the day. He is very ready to go to bed at 5:00 p.m. (his first night feeding is around 2:00 a.m.).

    At this age should I stop swaddling him for naps? Is the goal to continue to offer many naps when attempts at a nap fail (some days we have offered four naps based on drowsy signs)? Or try to keep the naps near the developing nap rhythm (9:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m.)?

    1. Congratulations on night sleep! Nap rhythms develop between 4-6 months; maybe faster when night sleep is great, maybe slower in post-colic infants. So for now, stay focused on good quality night sleep.
      Not wearing your baby is your path forward for your sake and the baby’s sake. Swaddle as long as you think it is helping. Drowsy but awake and brief intervals of wakefulness based on drowsy signs will help naps develop. As he gets closer to 6 months of age, imposing an age appropriate nap schedule (nap drill) might make sense. But for now, and the next few weeks, I suggest you go with the flow regarding the timing of naps. How does this sound?

      1. This sounds like a great plan. Thank you for the tips. Just for clarification, shall I continue to put him down drowsy but awake at every nap? I seem to only have success when he is so drowsy he is extremely close to falling asleep right before I put him down. If he is any more awake, he recognizes me starting the soothing routine, half of the time he will fight it and get a second wind. My husband thinks I might be putting him down too early.

        How long should I let him cry at nap time? Since efforts to soothe him back to sleep don’t work, should I get him up (instead of letting him continue to cry) and move on to the next wakeful period? What would be considered a brief interval of wakefulness after a short (30- 40 minute) nap? His drowsy signs are very difficult to spot.

        I realize we will have a couple of rough weeks ahead of us, I would just like to know what clues to look for that we are having success and on the right track.

        1. As I wrote: Drowsy but awake and brief intervals of wakefulness based on drowsy signs will help naps develop. As he gets closer to 6 months of age, imposing an age appropriate nap schedule (nap drill) might make sense.

          Your goal now is brief intervals of wakefulness to prevent presleep arousal. Because drowsy signs are not now very obvious, whatever is your current practice, shorten these intervals by 10-20 minutes for a few days and get back to me.
          Does this help?

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