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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Looking for some help. I have a 5 month old boy. He’s been a great night sleeper since the beginning. He was always up for regular feeds (every 3 hours) and recently started going through the night, on occasion. Daytime on the other hand has been a complete nightmare since the beginning. I have read every sleep book there is…..and nothing seems to work. I think my son Henry has the one-sleep-cycle disorder as he consistently wakes up after 36 minutes. The first nap of the day, he usually wakes up happy after 36 minutes, but by the 3rd nap (we usually have to do 4 or 5 naps during the day) he wakes up in complete hyserics. He is just so tired. I patiently waited until he was 14 weeks before starting any kind of ‘training’.
    When I did, our sleep training started with him learning to fall asleep on his own – which I am happy to say he can now do nearly all the time with only a few, if any, tears. I understood once they could learn to fall asleep on their own, they would put themselves back? This is not happening, at all. When Henry wakes after 36 minutes, I always leave him at least an hour in the crib, sometimes more. He very rarely puts himself back to sleep. When he does, it seems it is just by fluke as for some reason he sleeps thru the cycle (but this happens once every 20 naps….not nearly enough). I honestly do not know what to do. I have let him cry after one cycle for 45 minutes (with a couple checks) and I don’t see any progression (he is 21 weeks now). If he was happy and seemed rested, I would not care about the short naps – but by the endof the day I can’t even set him down he is so fussy. I’ve tried other softer methods – using a pacifier when he wakes, shhhh, rocking – but the reality is, he puts himself to sleep now, and I am just a distraction. The only thing that keeps him sleeping longer than 37 minutes is the stroller. I would spend hours a day walking – not sustainable and I am completely exhausted . I keep hoping he will just start to extend – but I honestly don’t know how. Poor thing wakes so abruptly – it seems impossible for him to get himself back down and crying it out, despite my consistency, has not led to any progress. I feel so horrible for him – and completely frustrated. Any suggestions?

  2. Okay, me again. Just spent 30 minutes (worked up a sweat) getting my son to sleep for his morning nap. He fights it SO much. He doesn’t really ever stay still, so while I walk/bounce/jog in place, he’s climbing me, trying to wriggle out of my arms, etc. I really would just love to nap train him again. So I have a general question about naps:

    He woke up at 6:15am, after sleeping at 6:15pm and had one feeding at 3. He was rubbing his eyes by 8:45 so I was aiming for a 9am nap time. My question is this: other sleep consultants based on the Weissbluth method insist that you want to put the baby down no later than 9am, with a controlled wake up time of 7am at the latest. And this apparently works for a lot of people! But your site has a schedule that says a 10-10:30am nap is appropriate with a 7am wake up time for an 11-12 month old. Why the difference? What is your opinion on that hard-and-fast 9am rule? It’s strange to me because 5 months ago, when he was just 6 months old, I was still putting him down at 9am. So it makes sense to me that his wake-time would have increased by now. But why do Weissbluthians insist on the 9am nap time? They also say no later than a 1pm afternoon nap, with a controlled wake up from the first nap of 11am.

    I’m so tired of fighting him for every single nap. I did this with baby #1 and swore I wouldn’t do it again. But here I am, doing it again. Any thoughts?

  3. Thanks Nicole!

    I love this site!

    I am nervous about him not napping at the times he usually naps, and trying again later, because I have to pick my older son up from preschool and I don’t want my baby to be asleep when I have to go get him. Then I’d have to wake him up. The schedule we’re on works so well, and he falls asleep (with some hard work on my part) and then for the most part stays asleep for an hour. I think it’s just that when I leave it up to him, he’s willing to fight it. I tried leaving him in the crib for the whole hour and he cries/plays the whole time.

    Would it be bad to just continue this and nap train again in 2-3 months when we’re on summer break and we’re probably down to one nap?

    • @Sana I know it’s nerve-racking, but it would hopefully just be very temporary, maybe just a few days, hopefully! And, then you may have a napper every day! 🙂 Start on a weekend when there is no school, perhaps. And, no, it’s not “bad” per se to wait, but toddlers get more and more persistent. It’s really up to an individual problem is “worth” it to fix. It’s hard, because we don’t have a crystal ball to know if it will be a 2-3 day scenario or whether it will take a couple of weeks. All we can do is try! 🙂 Oh just saw your second comment. Well, Weissbluth’s theory is that babies are “hard-wired” to sleep naturally at 9am and 1pm. In my experience, though, I find that it isn’t true for all babies. Some sleep better based on how long they’ve been awake. My son was like that and, as he got older, so did his awake time. It made sense to me! So, I have based on my schedules more on awake time that I’ve seen is typical for that age baby. At this age, it just isn’t always possible to have an 11-month old go back to sleep after being awake 2 to 2 1/2 hours! I find the awake time is more like 3-4 hours! 🙂

      @Cara Congratulations on achieving the first step of having your baby go to sleep on his own! 🙂 That is an achievement! However, not all will translate to going back to sleep, unfortunately. Babies 5-6 months old are only now beginning to organize their sleep, so sometimes their naps are shorter. The first nap of the day is usually the first to organize and lengthen. So, you may simply need to wait for his central nervous system to mature a bit more. But, it is a good idea NOT to rush in when he first wakes to see if he will go right back to sleep. I’d limit that to about 15-20 minutes right now and slowly lengthen to up to 30 as he gets to be 6 to 7 months old. My son’s sleep took until about 7 months to organize. He finally went to 3 naps around that time and then 2 naps just one month later, so he changed super fast! Keep awake times short in the 1 1/2 to 2 hour range to help with over-tiredness. Hang in there!!

  4. @Rebecca,

    Yeah, I read about the 11-month sleep regression and figured that’s what was going on. That’s why I went to soothing him to sleep for his naps again. I want him to keep the two naps, he still needs them! I’m not sure what else I can do.

  5. Helping your children to sleep is not selfish. It may be challenging. It may require you to do all the things you swore you would never do, from pacing the floors with a screaming baby to doing cio. But it’s not selfish.

    After finally coming to the realisation that what my little girl really wanted me to do was just leave her alone, with some sleep training, she puts herself to sleep for night time and naps and if she’s not ready yet will play till she is. I only rarely have problems now with putting her to sleep. Saying that, I’m waiting for the dreaded 18 month sleep regression. 🙁

    @Sana Could it be the 11 month sleep regression? I thought I had this sleep thing sorted when that hit and because I didn’t realise what it was it threw everything out and I’ve been struggling with the one nap/two nap thing until she was finally ready to have one decent nap. There’s a good article on here that deals with it, and I really wish I’d read it at the time, because I misread the situation completely and it took me months to get back on track.

  6. Definitely not selfish! Were I being selfish, I’d put my kids down to sleep really late – like 10 – so that we could be out at night with them, catching a late dinner, at a friend’s house, etc! Instead I have my 5-year-old down at 7:30, and my 11-month-old at 6-6:30.

    I actually recently nap trained my 11-month-old when my 5-year-old was on Spring Break, and he did great for a whole week. He wasn’t sleeping well for naps and I decided I needed to get over my fear of hearing him cry a bit because he REALLY needed this day sleep and I wasn’t being fair by keeping it from him. By the end of the week, he was taking two one-hour naps! Unfortunately, the very next week he started skipping his morning naps completely, and since I have to pick my older son up from preschool, I can’t afford to just give the little one a single nap right when I have to pick the older one up! So I went back to bouncing, walking, jogging him to sleep to make sure he would get adequate naps in. 🙁 My back hurts, my knees hurt, my ankles hurt! The last thing I feel is selfish! 🙂

    Oh well. At least he puts himself to sleep for nights.

    Any advice welcome! 🙂

  7. My 2 year old son (my first) was such a good sleeper until that dreaded 4 month sleep regression, and it all went down hill from there. He slept horribly at night and never took more than a 20 minute nap, and he was so cranky, moody, just hard to deal with because he was so tired all the time. Because of his extremely persistent, intense personality no book had the answer for him, but thanks to The Baby Sleep Site we started to get a handle on his sleep issues by about 9 months old. At first, I felt like I was being selfish in needing him to sleep better because “isn’t this what I signed up for in having a child?” I thought to myself. But I came to realize that not only was he not the happy, healthy child he could be by getting better sleep, I wasn’t the best mom I could be because I was so sleep deprived, too. Since neither of us was getting enough sleep, we were both extremely emotional, much less patient, etc. I quote Nicole Johnson all the time: “It isn’t a problem until it is a problem.” If you can live off of 2-3 hours of sleep a day and your child can, too, with no ill effects for either of you, then sure, sleep training would be purely selfish, but for the rest of us it is a necessity to be the best moms and dads and to have the happiest, healthiest children possible.

  8. I was just talking to my husband today about it.. If I’m doing the right thing to start training our almost 5 month old daughter.. am i doing it for me? do i need some sleep? yes, but not just for me to get some sleep is that I’m doing it.. I told my husband and i truly believe that i want to offer her the best for her development.. she is going through amazing development stages so quick and will continue on it and if she is rested she could face those development so much better. We know first hand how clumsy we are when we are tired, I want her to be at her brightest when she starts crawling and walking, etc and i want to get some rest too, so i could be the best mother i can be for her and not feel anxious every time she goes back down to sleep because i know she will wake up again soon and i can’t rest fully and then end up with no energy all day long. Thanks heaven I’m on maternity leave until she is one I couldn’t handle being sleep deprived and working… hopefully by then she would be a better sleeper, fingers crossed 🙂

  9. My 10 month old still takes three naps. Three! I feel like he should be down to two by now, and every so often he’ll go down to two longer naps, but we always seem to end up back at three. I’ll feel guilty for putting him down so often and wonder if I’m just having him nap when I get tired (not him), but when I think about it I know that, 1) I put him down for a nap whe he’s starting to act tired and 2) he’s an incredibly happy little boy, so why stress about whether I’m doing something wrong? These days he goes down to sleep most of the time without a peep of complaint.

  10. I loved this article. Sometimes I have felt selfish for putting my daughter to bed at 7pm when I know other babies were staying up later, or trying to keep her routine nap on schedule. However, I know that it has been the best thing for her. My daughter (turning 2 in May) has always been a pretty great sleeper. However, we went through a rough 1-2 month period before she turned 1 and it was horrible. She had learned to stand and couldn’t lay back down and her very routine 2 naps a day were ruined, and she woke many times at night when she had been sleeping the entire night with no waking for months. So many of the items in the checklist were true to me at that specific time. I don’t think I could have handled it if she had been like that since birth, and if you asked me at that time, we were never going to have another baby (I’m now due in Sept. with our 2nd). I was cranky and she was most definitely not the baby she had been up until that time. Everyone needs adequate sleep! Thankfully, the period passed and she turned back into my good sleeper. Sleep training is certainly NOT selfish!

    • @Jane That is great that your daughter is such a good sleeper, now! I know what you mean about doubting whether you can have another, but congratulations on your pregnancy! 🙂

      @Meagan 10 months is definitely on the upper end of average for 3 naps, but all babies are different and if he’s sleeping well at night and during the day and is happy, it sounds like the right thing for him! Good work! 🙂

      @Angela I couldn’t agree more. I wish we got one year maternity leave here in the U.S. 🙂 Continued luck to you in your sleep training efforts! We are enjoying working with you in the Helpdesk and keep up the great work! 🙂

      @Morgan I know exactly what you mean in terms of wondering if this is what we signed up for being parents or whether there is a better way. I think we all find that point where we have to do something to change and that point is different for all of us. I’m glad you have found success in sleep training!

      @Sana Awww! I hope your back, knees, and ankles start to feel better! I agree that this could be the 11-month nap “blip” that some of us (not all of us) will have. In 1-2 weeks, I would urge you to try again and stay consistent for him to nap on his own. You may need to offer a nap and then again an hour later, if he hasn’t slept. And, sometimes, it’s just timing once they are better rested. When he wasn’t taking long naps on his own, he may have felt more tired. Once he became more rested, he may simply need a bit more awake time before his naps OR he’s enjoying some “freedom” and that will fade. 🙂 Good luck!!

      @Rebecca That’s great news that you were able to figure out what your daughter wanted! 🙂 Sometimes it’s the least likely solution, isn’t it? 🙂 Hopefully the 18-month regression won’t hit too hard for you! Sometimes it’s not so bad.