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Baby Sleep Support

Caroline A.
CAROLINE A.
Certified Child Sleep Consultant
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Crying it out? Don't miss out. Join the conversation and get personalized answers about troubleshooting naps, sleep transitions, multiple night wakings, and more. Led by Tinyhood Sleep Expert Caroline Adcock, Child Sleep Consultant certified by the Family Sleep Institute.

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CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
2 month old never sleeps! HELP!!!
STEPHANIE, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

My 2 month old daughter is an awful sleeper. She fights it all day long to the point I can’t get her even close to any sort of nap schedule. If she takes a long nap at all, it’s only ever 1x a day, about 2-3 hours long. Then she’ll take 2-3 short sporadic naps, 15-45 min long. Each time she actually sleeps she has to be rocked for a long time to force it (she won’t always nurse to sleep, usually just at night). And it always has to get to the point where she is beyond exhausted before she’ll allow herself to fall asleep. Even my parents and parents-in-law are amazed at how much she fights naps/sleeping. She is a difficult baby in every aspect, and I just can’t help but feel that if she sleeps more she won’t be so crabby and challenging.

STEPHANIE

Some additions so you know where things are at: I’ve tried many methods during the day to get a nap out of her. Different locations, white noise machine, crib, pack n play, bassinet, rock n play, floor, couch (between pillows).... And a lot of the time she won’t allow herself to be put down- if I manage to get her asleep and go to put her down she usually wakes instantly. And she almost never will fall asleep unless she is being held, so putting her down drowsy doesn’t work. Then she just realizes she’s being put down and starts crying. I’ve tried crying it out even (I know she’s young for this) and she has cried herself to sleep a few times but it feels wrong, and I swear she’s in a bad mood when she does wake up later then. I need my baby to sleep because it is driving my husband and I to the edge! Please please help!

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! So at 2 months old, it is better to watch sleepy cues than the clock. Getting to an actual nap schedule with consistent times probably won't happen for another two months, as sleep organization is something that takes time to develop. So at this point, it is totally normal for your daughter to be taking 4-5 naps of varying lengths. At 2 months of age, babies still can't be up for a very long amount of time, one hour to one and a half hours closer to three months tops. So if she is fighting sleep all day long she may actually be overtired. It is best to have her nap consistently in one place, and the best place for that is her crib or the bassinet/pack'n play if she is (still) in your room. I need to caution you against letting her sleep on the couch, rock'n play, or anything else that's not approved by the CPSC for safe infant sleep. All these alternative sleep spaces raise the risk of SIDS and suffocation/positional asphyxiation/being rolled or stepped on (bedsharing or floor), that's why the AAP recommends to always put the baby to sleep alone, on her back, in the crib (=flat surface free of anything else). It is best to keep the room she is sleeping in dark, between 68-72 degrees and run a white noise machine. If she takes a pacifier, give her one to sleep. If she is fussy during the day and you have exhausted the above recommendations, try to wear her. While motion sleep is discouraged later on because babies/humans generally don't reap the same restorative benefits from it, it may get you over the hump of her being awake too much and eventually be able to sleep better in her crib. While you are right that she is too young at this point to let her CIO, it is still good to give her the chance to practice self-soothing. If she is put down before she is overtired, she may fuss a little but shouldn't be screaming. If she doesn't settle pick her up and help her out and try again next time. Be careful not to make a habit out of always helping her, because it will backfire once she gets to be four months and older. Let me know if you have any more questions!

STEPHANIE

Thank you so much for the help!
When trying to get her down, how long is it ok to leave her in her crib fussing or crying before I should pick her up?
I guess the actual nap schedule isn’t what I’m the most concerned about at this point. It is more the fact that I have tried getting her to sleep within an hour or two of being awake and that is what she fights the most. She just doesn’t seem interested in sleeping. There have been times when she will stay awake for 4-6 hours at a time!!! It’s unreal. But I can’t seem to force the sleep on her unless she is exhausted... which is never a good thing because of the overtired angle.
She’s always looking around since she loves observing things- I have tried taking her to dark boring rooms to help get her to sleep but then she just cries because of what seems to be boredom. I know she gets over tired and I try to avoid it but she really just seems to hate sleep. Every time I put her down for some rest she starts crying. To get a good nap out of her I’ll usually just hold her the entire time to ensure she gets some rest, but that’s obviously extremely debilitating on my day. She starts day care in a few weeks and I need to get her napping better at home so she can hopefully adjust well and be able to nap at daycare.

STEPHANIE

Yesterday her naps between 8am-7pm were: 2 hours, 30 min, 30 min, 3 hours
The day before, her naps between 8am-7pm were: 30 min, 30 min, 30 min, 30 min !! That was it! I tried everything and she wouldn’t fall or stay asleep.

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi again! You definitely want her to be in a dark room. It gives her less things to get distracted by, helps with melatonin production and is very unlikely to make her cry of boredom. The awake windows of 1-1.5 hours are averages, there's a good chance that she needs to go down sooner than that, and my own experience has taught me that only 5 min. too late can make a huge difference in a baby that young. Once they get overtired, their cortisol levels rise which makes it hard for them to go to sleep and they are in a vicious cycle. That's what you see in older kids that are bouncing off the walls when it's past their bedtime, when some observers would say they aren't tired. When you get her up, feed her right away, get her exposed to some light, and then try to get her down again earlier than what you normally do and see if that helps.

STEPHANIE

So you’re saying to try to get her back to sleep within an hour-ish of being awake? Even if she seems interested in being awake? And also, is it more important to get her sleeping more, or trying to train her to sleep on her own? I feel like I’m fighting and losing both those battles at the moment...

And I don’t mean to be difficult but I’ve tried the dark room. Her nursery is grays and light pinks- it is very restful. I can get her to fall asleep in there fine but I feel like she may hate her crib, or the room somehow. Any ideas on getting her to be comfortable sleeping in that room? She never has lasted in there more than 15-20 min. I’m nervous for when we move her out of our room (bassinet) down the road...

Oh and one more thing (Sorry I’m going on and on! Desperate times...) - she sleeps well at night generally, perhaps because of how exhausted she is from refusing naps?? She will go down in her bassinet and has “slept through the night” (aka woken up and went back to sleep on her own) many times. She will go 8-10 hours sometimes! Other times she only gets up once to nurse. Is it possible that will end once we *hopefully* get her napping throughout the day?

STEPHANIE

Also does the length of her nap change the amount of time she can/should be awake for?

STEPHANIE

How many hours of naps should she be getting if she gets 8-10 at night?

Caroline
CAROLINE

The average total sleep in 24 hours for a two-month-old is between 15.5 and 18 hours. Ideally, 9-12 hours of that should be at night and the remainder during the day. The length of a nap shouldn't influence the length of awake time too much, but it will influence the quality of that wake time. So don't feel like she can stay up an hour longer if she takes a two hour nap, she still has to get back down within the suggested one hour window. And yes, even if she seems interested in being awake, get her down within the hour. I always find it tricky to interpret their intentions at this age, because, like in this case, what may look like being interested in being awake could also just be the way she gets when she's getting overtired (extra focused etc). Both having her sleep on her own and sleeping a sufficient amount is important, so work on both, but cut yourself a little slack if it doesn't all come together right away. As long as you stay with it, it will eventually. Regarding the room, you could spend more time in there when she is awake, nurse/feed her in there, and keep getting her to nap there. And yes, have it really dark, just as your room should be really dark when she goes to take her naps there. As long as she is on an appropriate schedule, napping more during the day won't negatively impact her night sleep, the opposite is actually true. We usually see the organization of night sleep before we see the organization of day sleep/aka a nap schedule. Over the two months you can expect to see pattern emerge during the day. Please let me know if you have any more questions, you're not difficult, that's what I'm here for!

STEPHANIE

Thank you so much again! I will try all that. I do have another question though- at this age do you recommend getting her to sleep before putting her down for her nap or down drowsy? I’ve tried drowsy and she perks right back up once I put her down. Any ideas on getting her to nap without me holding her? She loves her pacifier but it doesn’t help in these situations, and she typically doesn’t take comfort in seeing or hearing me either. It’s “hold me!”or cry.

STEPHANIE

Also, the battle between she needs sleep and she needs to learn to sleep on her own... I find that in training her she won’t sleep on her own and is awake. At what point do I stop trying to get her to sleep on her own and just hold her to get her some sleep? Otherwise we get WELL PAST the hour mark.

STEPHANIE

Should I work on her napping on her own every nap of the day or something like every other nap so she gets a couple where she actually sleeps?

Caroline
CAROLINE

So I always encourage to put the baby down drowsy but awake. When they are that young, drowsy to asleep comes often very quickly though. How about you try giving her the paci while you're still holding her and then putting her down when she closes her eyes? I find it can also help to place your hand on her tummy and wiggle her a little, nothing crazy, just a little motion. This may help her to adjust to falling asleep in the crib and not in your arms. At two months it's still ok to help her out, just make sure you keep trying and giving other techniques/options a chance first before defaulting to holding her. If she doesn't settle after 10-15 min pick her up and get her to sleep that way. Real sleep training doesn't make much sense before the 4 month mark, and eventually her naps will lengthen. At this point it's really mostly about practicing good sleep hygiene and not starting any habits that she/you or both of you get stuck on. If you have the feeling that the day went poorly regarding naps, you can supplement with an assisted nap, just don't make it a habit.

STEPHANIE

Honestly I’ve tried putting her down drowsy but not asleep, almost asleep with eyes closed, and fully asleep (lift her arm and it’s dead weight). Each way she still opens her eyes and stays awake the second I put her down. Just now I held her asleep for 30 min then put her down and she still woke right up. I’ve tried the pacifier once I put her down (and before), and I’ve tried keeping a hand on her once she’s down, shushing noises, wiggling her.... I’m out of ideas. It’s like she doesn’t know how to go go to sleep without being held! Should we practice getting her to sleep on her own every nap of the day and if it doesn’t work within 15 min I hold her for her nap?

Caroline
CAROLINE

That’s what I would recommend and remember, dark room (for melatonin production and less distractions), whitenoise and within the one hour window.

STEPHANIE

Should we practice getting her to sleep on her own every nap of the day? And if it doesn’t work within 15 min should I hold her for her nap?

Caroline
CAROLINE

Yes, practice that but if it doesn't happen at first or for a while, keep at it. Try to switch up your soothing routines, then there's less of a chance of her getting stuck on one. Good luck!

STEPHANIE

Thank you! If she wakes up shortly after I leave the room and is laying there awake but not crying, should I go back in to get her back to sleep or leave her alone until she cries?

STEPHANIE

^ Above questions and:
She always wakes up shortly after I lay her down. She only stays asleep for long periods of time when I hold her. Any ideas?

Caroline
CAROLINE

That's pretty common, have you heard of the 4th trimester concept? Check out the happiest baby on the block to learn more about that. Don't go in if she's not crying because she may be working on getting herself to sleep. When she starts fussing also give it a minute, some babies do that as if to blow off steam before they fall asleep.

STEPHANIE

So if she doesn’t sleep long enough with each nap, by the end of the day she is beyond tired and has a fit sometime in the evening out of shear exhaustion- sometimes so tired she won’t even nurse. Is this ok to continue until she gets better at taking longer naps during the day? She only stays asleep for 15-40 min at a time right now.

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
My almost 7 month old went from an 11 PM bed time (already a late bed time) to 1 AM. How do we move her bed time earlier?
MELISSA, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! At first I would like to take a look at the entire schedule, as both night and day sleep are on one continuum and influence each other. So at 7 months old, her bedtime should be between 6 and 8 pm. Seeing how this Q&A session is closing soon, feel free to send a message straight to me, but please do let me know what her schedule looks like right now, and what her general daily routine is and I'm happy to help!

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Too much noises when sleeping?
JOHANA RAMOS, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Thank you for the last advise!
I have another question.....
I know that when she wants to be fed or changed or something she will cry, but instead she makes these noises i dont know if to worry or not. Some sound like she is pooping, and others like she has gases... is it normal.

Caroline
CAROLINE

Yes, infants make all kinds of funny noise, if she is doing it around the time she eats, it may in fact be that she is responding to what's called the gastro-colic reflex. That's fancy speak for working on a poop or gas :-)

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Sleep regression?
RHIANNON, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

My 8 month old just started waking up every hour on the hour, doesn’t matter day or night. It is like she wants to be held the whole time, which we have never done. Any tips?

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! Hm, if she was able to self-soothe to this point, is there anything else going on? Is she working on a new skill? Standing up, walking something like that?

RHIANNON

Yes she is trying to stand up all the time pulling herself up on to everything. It all started on thanksgiving night she had croup. She still has a little cough so I’m wondering if that is it. For example today she has only slept 30 mins all day, so one would thing she will sleep all night but she won’t.

Caroline
CAROLINE

Ok, I have a hunch that's what's causing it. How does her daytime schedule look like? If she is missing sleep during the day, try to minimize the sleep debt by getting her to bed extra early right now. Sleep debt also causes kids to sleep worse, not better, so less is more.

RHIANNON

Today she only slept for like 35 mins all day so 15 mins times 2. She just fell asleep at 830 so we shall see how long this lasts

RHIANNON

Well she made it 3 hours.

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
8 month old twins that are waking too early
BIANCA, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

Hi, my twins are 8 month old (3 weeks early). I’ve been doing 6:30 wake, 9am nap1 ( they sleep 1.10 to 1.5 hr) nap 2 is at 1:30pm (they sleep 1.10 to 1.5 hr), bed at 6:30pm it worked well until about a few days ago. I have since tried bringing back the third nap and I feel like it’s a mess. My baby boy also takes a while to fall asleep for his naps lately ( stands, crawls talks cry’s).

Thank you

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! They are probably done with the third nap, so I wouldn't force it. Try to move the second nap to 1pm and do an earlier bedtime between 5:15-5:45 for a little while. Maybe your son is working on some new skill. Stay consistent and before too long it's hopefully all back to normal again.

BIANCA

Thank you, yes he is trying to walk. He has over the last week or so been pulling up on everything.

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
How can I get my 8 month old baby from co-sleeping to sleeping thru the night?
NATALIA, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

I have an 8 1/2 month old baby who cosleeps with me and eats many times throughout the night. In fact she is eating less and less during the day (though she does enjoy solids). I thought she would just naturally start stretching more between feedings but that hasn’t happened.

How can I help her to develop self soothing habits and sleep through the night? We moved her to her own room. She’ll sleep there for the first stretch of the night, but around 11pm she will wake up and not be able to stay asleep. She will snooze when I feed her but keep waking whenever I put her down in the crib.

How can I get her to learn how to self sooth? And sleep they the night?

Caroline
CAROLINE

It sounds like she is using you/nursing as a sleep prop. In order for her to learn to self soothe, you essentially have to stop doing the work for her. If she stops munching all night long, she will most likely start eating more again during the day. So you should first decide if you want to keep a feed or if you would prefer to night wean. Then you need to decide if you are ready to stop cosleeping. While I can't recommend bedsharing at any time before a child is one year of age because of the inherent safety risks, you cannot continue cosleeping if you want her to learn that she has to sleep in her own space. Then you need to decide which method you want to use to teach her the self soothing skills. While CIO is the most direct way of doing so, you can use timed intervals or the chair method as well. If you are consistent, you will be successful with either one. Let me know if you want to learn more!

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Dont want to let go of me
JOHANA RAMOS, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

I have a three week old baby girl! The first week i think inwas too mommy of her. Its my first baby and i wanted her all the time on me. Without realizing that she would get use to that! Now all she wants to do is suck on my nipple and slepp on me..... what should i do please!!

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! First off, you have not caused this. They all like to be held and cuddled, and she may just be more of a cluster-feeder than other babies you know. It's not possible to spoil a Newborn. I would encourage you to make sure that she is getting in a full feeding each time, and this should naturally extend the time in between feedings. Make sure to double check with one of our lactation consultants on here as they may have a couple more tips for you!

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Sleep through the night?
COURTNEY, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Will a breast fed baby ever reach a point that they are able to sleep through the night? Do formula fed babies sleep longer?

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! They absolutely will! In a baby that hasn't developed any negative sleep associations and knows how to self-soothe, sleeping through the night will happen automatically once the need to eat is superseded by the need to sleep. In other words, if there is nothing else going on your baby will sleep through the night without much intervention once they consume enough nutrition during the day. While formula-fed babies early on tend to show longer stretches between night feedings than breastfed babies, I haven't heard of any differences regarding the sleeping through the night "milestone".

COURTNEY

Thank you!

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
3 month old
MADHU, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

My breast fed 3 month old was sleeping for 6 hrs and feed and then sleep for 5 hours but lately she is waking up every 2 hours it’s driving me crazy I super tired. How can I get her to sleep longer.

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! Is she eating every time she's waking up? If you are practicing good sleep hygiene, with awake times no longer than 1-1.5, her sleeping in a dark room, with a whitenoise machine on and a temperature between 68-72 degrees, in her crib/bassinet/pack'n play, than she could be going through a growth spurt. There is one happening right around the three month mark. At this age, formal sleep training doesn't make sense yet (I don't recommend attempting it before a baby is at least four months old counting from the due date). Hang in there, if it's a growth spurt and she is healthy it will be over soon and her sleep windows should lengthen again.

CAROLINE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Toddler hates sleep
CHANDAN, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

M pregnant and i need rest but my baby hates sleep .she is 24months old.she can't sleep in the morning and wakes up in the night.need help

Caroline
CAROLINE

Hi! Take a look at your daughter's schedule. If she wakes anywhere between 5:30 and 7 am, then this may be her natural wake time and there isn't much you can do about it. However, I'm sure if you actually got a full night's sleep before that, it wouldn't be much of a problem, right? I would encourage you to make sure she gets a nap around the 1 pm mark every day, and goes to bed at night between 6-8pm (depending how the nap goes, short nap=early bedtime, long nap=later bedtime, but still make sure she doesn't get overtired and put her to bed rather sooner than later). Provide her with a nice and calm bedtime routine (nothing fancy, short and sweet). Make sure her room is dark and between 68-72 degrees. Generally, you want to respond to the night wakings in the most boring but consistent way possible. So if she comes out of her room, walk her back with as little talk as possible. If she yells out at night, let her know that it's time to sleep.