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How to Rock Out a Newborn Schedule

When you hear the words newborn schedule, what is your response?

  • Do you sigh to the melody of anticipated awesomeness?
  • Or cringe to fingernails on a chalkboard?

In all honestly, though, scheduling a newborn is a little misleading. You don’t actually do the scheduling.

Your newborn does.

In fact, a newborn schedule in the first 4 weeks doesn’t look too much like a schedule.  There’s no napping appointment at 9:30.  No “bottle at 11” to check off the list.

If a standard schedule is like playing Bach, a newborn schedule would be improvising jazz.  Both schedules have the same general notes to follow (feeding your baby, napping, etc.), but at the end of the jam-session they sound completely different.

Goals For Your Newborn Schedule

We have three goals to focus on with our newborn schedule.  They are…

  1. Learn what are the typical rhythms of eating and sleeping newborn babies go through.  This helps you know roughly what to expect.
  2. Learn the difference between “napping” and “habituating”
  3. Learn how to adjust a sample newborn schedule to fit your baby’s preferences and needs.

This newborn schedule has been designed for full-term babies. If your baby was born premature, certain adjustments will be required. I teach how to do that  in my milestone book.

A Newborn’s Natural Rhythm

For the first week, your infant is going to be sleeping about 16-18 hours every day.  (Doing the math…this means she’ll be awake for only 6-8 hours, and half of that is eating.)

By week four, she’ll adjust to sleeping around 15-17 hours a day (7-9 waking hours), and get up about 2-3 times during the night to eat.

For breastfeeding moms, you can expect her to eat every 1.5 hours (minimum) to 3 hours (maximum).  Don’t allow her to go longer than 3 hours between feedings or your milk may suffer and she may not gain weight.

For formula feeding parents, your baby will eat less often.  Expect her to chug 2-3 ounces every three to four hours.

The Sneaky Snacker

If you find yourself breastfeeding your newborn every hour or so, you may be satisfying a Sneaky Snacker. Next time she eats, watch her closely.  Can you see her jaw clearly dropping and hear her swallowing?  If so, find a local lactation consultant who can help you make sure your milk supply is staying up with demand.

Napping vs. Habituating

You have an enemy. An enemy who can transform a happy content baby into a fussy, unsootheable monster within just 30 minutes. It’s the cunningly destructive Captain O.

Also known as Overstimulation.

How much power does Captain O have over your newborn?  Depends.  Some temperaments are more sensitive than others. And honestly, since you’ve only really known your infant for a few weeks (if that) it’s going to be difficult to tell how susceptible she will be to the powers of Captain O.

Observation is your best offense against Captain O.  (I can’t help it! I’m loving this alliteration vibe…)

Identifying Captain Overstimulation

When you think about it, it’s not surprising that newborns are so easily overstimulated.  She just spent 9 months in a warm, dark, muffled place.  No bright lights.  No jarring noises. If you’ve spent more than 30 minutes trying to calm your little bundle, your very attempts to soothe may have overstimulated her.

Swaddle her up, lay her down in her crib with the lights dim, and give her a few seconds to calm down.  Oftentimes the sudden lack of sound or movement will surprise and soothe her.

This may not work all the time, especially if your baby is struggling with acid reflux or colic, but is still worth the try.

The Dangers of Habituating

Habituating is a term The Sleep Lady uses to describe when a newborn is “fake napping”.

Basically, your infant is verging on the brink of overstimulation, and so shuts down.  She looks like she’s sleeping, but really she’s trying to self-soothe.  It’s common for babies until they are 6-8 weeks old.

How do you know if your newborn is habituating?  She will wake fussy and irritable, like she hardly slept at all.  (Yeah, I know.  That’s no flashing neon sign.)

If your newborn can’t find quiet tranquility during the day (constantly habituating), she will seek it at night.  This means she’ll be alert and ready for play when you want to be unconscious on a pillow.

Your best defense is an offense: prevent the need for her to habituate in the first place. So try your darndest in those first four weeks to keep your baby isolated from the bright and noisy Captain O.  Get a good noisemaker to drown out active siblings.  Stay home as much as possible.  (Whispering would be overkill.)

UPDATE: I was recently introduced to a new baby product that’s amazingly helpful during this transition. It’s called the Hush Hat and it’s an excellent barrier for your baby when you know you’re going to be in a louder-than normal area. (Like your older son’s T-ball game…) We are now recommending it to all our Newborn Sleep Session Clients!

A Sample Newborn Schedule for Month 1

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, your newborn schedule should sound like JAZZ, not BACH. Remember, you want to catch her natural rhythms.  Use the times listed as “suggestions” to when you may spot her hunger and sleep cues.

This sample newborn schedule to rotates every 3 hours. Thirty minutes of feeding, thirty minutes of playing, and then a two hour nap. (With one exception at the end.) If your baby shows signs of being hungry or needing to sleep, give her what she needs and then adjust your newborn schedule from that new time.

I highly recommend keeping a baby journal. It will help you keep track times (which you won’t remember, trust me) and allow you to easily look back and pick out her emerging natural patterns.  

Patterns like, She always gets tired around 9:30 am, or She sleeps better after a 45 minute playtime… and other important cues.

At this point in the newborn schedule, we make a few adjustments.  You want her last feeding of the day and your bedtime to match to maximize sleeping time for you both, somewhere around 10:00 or 11:00 pm.

So, to help give that last nudge of getting-ready-for-longer-nighttime-sleep, try to keep her awake for one or two hours before bedtime.  (This is great Daddy bonding time!)

If she can’t make it to 10 or 11pm, feed her and put her to bed earlier, keeping track of her signals and times for future reference.

To continue our sample newborn schedule, let’s begin again at the 7:00 pm wakeup…

As you can see, the last playtime of the day is extended (if possible) to 2 hours instead of the usual 30 minutes.

The danger, again, is overstimulation (Captain O strikes again!) you have to lay her down for bed while she’s tired, but not too tired.  If she’s too tired, she’ll have a hard time calming down to sleep.

Tracking your newborn schedule and habits in a notebook or baby tracker can teach you what her “moving to exhausted” signs are.  The sooner you jump on those, the easier getting her to sleep is going to be.

Want another perspective on what a newborn schedule can look like Julie over at Jules and Co. gives an example of what her newborn’s daily routine looks like, along with a free printable to hang on your fridge. Check it out here.

The Overnight Newborn Schedule

Once she’s down for the evening, don’t wake her unless it’s been longer than 3-4 hours.  At this young age, you don’t want her to “sleep through the night”.  It’s not healthy for her.

When she starts stirring for a meal, probably around 1 am (if your last feeding was 9:30), feed her in near darkness with little sound or movement.

Unless she’s got a poopy diaper, has leaked, or has a bad diaper rash, lay her back down to sleeping without a diaper change.  There’s nothing like cold air on a cute bum to overstimulate and ruin your sleeping chances!

Your Next Step

Now that you’ve got a good idea about what your newborn schedule should look like, let me depress you a little.

Next month it all changes.  But I’ve got your back.  Get your cheating schedule for the next month.  And while you’re cheating, check out my 62 tricks to encourage sleepiness.

Be patiently persistent! And remember…with every day your newborn gets bigger and bigger, which means that tiny tummy is getting bigger and bigger…which means she can sleep longer and longer!

Have You Read These Yet?

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164 thoughts on “How to Rock Out a Newborn Schedule

  1. My newborn is 7 weeks in 2 days and after every feed during the day the max sleep she will get is 45min… I have no idea how to fix this. Sometimes she will take 120mls of formula and some feeds will only be 60mls. Im hoping this is just a faze.


    I try and put her back to sleep but nothing works.. if it does works..she sleeps for 10min. Is there something I’m missing? She was born at 41 weeks.

    1. Virginia, the first thing I would do is have her looked over by the doctor and make sure there’s no silent reflux or medical reason for the wakeups. Then I would start experimenting with different sleeping locations (in a swing, in the car seat, in the crib, while you’re carrying her in a baby carrier, etc.)

      Thirdly, don’t be too discouraged. Newborns are often all OVER the place when it comes to sleeping and eating. They are trying to figure out how to deal with this brave new world! Keep feeding and cuddling with her. The older and bigger she gets, the easier all this will become. xox

  2. Hi,
    my 7 week old sleeps well during the day but at night he never goes to bed before 1am! his schedule during the day is really close to the one you guys have but starting around 9pm he will wake up and stay up crying or just awake until 1am. Then he will sleep all the way until 730am.
    How do I get him to sleep earlier if he is not willing to go down?

    1. Rita, at this age it’s very common for some babies to just be all OVER the place when it comes to sleep. A few little tips come to mind, hopefully they can be helpful.

      1. Try to make sure he’s not habituating too much during the day. That can lead to him being over-tired by the time the night arrives. By all means, run errands and leave the house, but you may want to try to stay around the house and put him down for naps in a dark room with a noisemaker like this one or something to drown out any noises. Even if he’s in a swing or his car seat, trying to limit loud bright lights in the late afternoon may help.

      2. When he does go down for naps, you can help him learn the difference between day and night by slowing down, speaking quieter, and moving to a darker part of the house. Then, when he’s up do the opposite – speak louder, move faster, and open the shades. This eventually can help him understand the difference between bedtime and playtime.

      I hope this can help!

  3. Hello! Our newborn (5 1/2 weeks old) is on a semi routine. By the way she was a week and a half early. However it looks different and I wanted your feedback if we should modify anything. Basically she’s following the feeding 2-3 times a night. However sometimes for example she will wake at 6am, nurse for an hour (she’s a very pokey water and nursing took her a very long time to even do so I can’t always make it go faster). Then she’s awake for another hour. Then at that point I can sometimes get her down for a nap but other times she’s hungry again because it’s been two hours so I have the nurse her and then put her down. I’m trying to stick to the eat play sleep schedule but because she eats slowly and then stays awake she needs to eat again. Any suggestions? Like I said she was born early.

    1. Hi Sarah!

      Wow! You’ve had a great start! I’m glad for you. Yes, it is a little challenging because she eats slowly, but she IS very young.  In addition to that, she was born early. The good thing here is that she caught on and is nursing well! So what you need to look at is her real age. For instance, if she was born four weeks early, she’s actually only 2 weeks old right now (developmentally speaking). At this age (heck even at 6 weeks) you’re still nursing them quite often. This should encourage you in that it is very expected that you may need to nurse her again before she sleeps. Preemies catch up, but it requires more frequent feedings until they catch up to their adjusted age. So give your self the freedom to nurse her a bit before she goes back down for the next nap. Your eventual goal will be to make sure that she is awake when you lay her down so that she doesn’t need to nurse in order to fall asleep (that could turn into a pesky little sleep crutch before you know it).  For now, it really sounds like she needs a few extra calories as she works towards catching up. When she is a more efficient nurser and she has physically matured, you can certainly go back to your eat play sleep schedule. Great plan! Hope this is very helpful!  You are doing GREAT! Enjoy your sweet little one! Amy

  4. Hi Chelsea!

    I think you are already on to the same idea that I am…I think that you may be putting her down a little too soon. (when she is only up for 45 minutes before another nap) Your little one is at the stage when she is likely to have regular moments of the dreaded “fussies”. This is a lovely time (between 5-8 weeks) when babies are just a little fussier than they have been previously (especially in the afternoon and early evening). The good news  is that she will likely move through this in the next few weeks,  and you will be closer to the age when you can more easily regulate naps. The not so great news is that “the fussies” can be easily confused with tiredness. I suspect that this may be happening for you right now. She may actually need a little more interactive playtime with you so that she is truly more ready for a good nap. Consider that babies at this age require approximately 6-7 hours of daytime sleep at this age, spread over 3-4 naps. Enjoy some intentional playtime with her to keep her engaged and stimulated until she is truly tired and not just fussy in general. On the other hand (although I don’t think that this is an issue for you) don’t let her stay up longer than two hours in between naps because then she will indeed be overstimulated and tired.  Also, be sure that she is actually awake at that 45 minute wake from a nap. She may just be stirring, so give her a bit of time to work that  out first.

    It’ s important to note that some of her naps will just be shorter ones. Naps at this age are difficult to regulate because her little brain just hasn’t developed to the point of sorting out daytime sleep as well as night time sleep… .yet. But she will. 🙂  However, if her naps are consistently only 30-45 minutes, you can try quietly going into her room when she wakes and pat her and “sh-sh” her in the hopes of helping her back to sleep. If this doesn’t work, then get her up with happy smiles and try again at the next nap (if it is also a short nap).

    Heather and I would be happy to work with you individually on this, if you’d like. We have one-on-one Super Sessions available where we analyze your sleep logs and make recommendations and create a plan with you to work through. Click here to learn more about these one-on-one sleep sessions.

    do hope that this has been helpful Chelsea! Keep us posted and take good care, Amy

  5. Hi there! I’ve been having trouble getting my 6 week old to nap. It takes me forever to get her to sleep and then she has short naps. I swaddle her, rock her to sleep, put her in a swing, make the room dark, and play white noise (not in that order). In the evening she’s often over tired and it’s hard getting her to sleep but then she sleeps great at night, only waking to eat. Occasionally she’ll have a good day and have two or three hour naps, but lately it’s been about twenty minutes. I might be getting over stimulation confused with sleepiness? I don’t feel like I put her down too late because she almost never lasts even 45 minutes from awake time before I think she’s getting tired. But she wakes cranky after her short naps and won’t go back down. Can she be over stimulated without being tired? I’m worried I’m trying to put her down too soon. It’s really exhausting swinging her in my arms and walking around trying to get her to go to sleep! It takes me longer to get her to sleep than her naps take.

    Xx Chelsea

  6. Hi-

    my daughter is 11 days old (born march 22) and I’m struggling to get her back to sleep at night. She has gotten the routine down during the day: Sleep, nurse/diaper, play and repeat. So at night now, after she feeds she wants to be awake and can take up to an hour (the other night it was closer to 2 hours before she went back to sleep and then only slept like 1/5 hours) from finishing her nursing to go back to sleep. And then she is up about 2 hours later because she is used to napping for 1.5-2 hours during the day. How do i get her to go right back down after a night time feed and possibly stretch her sleep time longer at night? Right now she sleeps close to 3 hours when i put her down at like 8-9 pm and than after that its more like 2 hours. I have not gotten to that 1 am feed yet.



    1. Amanda,

      Congratulations on your new baby girl!
      It sounds like she might have her days and nights mixed up, this is very common for newbies. 🙂

      I recommend you start by keeping a sleep record. Notice if she is doing longer sleep stretches during the day. If so, then I recommend that you help her shorten those up a bit by waking her after an hour and a half (or so). Take a look at this schedule, it’s a better fit for where your little one is now.

      Hope this helps!

  7. I’m having trouble at night getting my baby to go right back to sleep after nursing. During the day stew gotten used to the routine of nursing, diaper change and then “play time/awake time” before she goes back down for her nap. Now at night sometimes it takes an hour from nursing until she’s back asleep because of the daytime routine. Any suggestion? I only change her diaper at night if I know she’s pooped so I try to keep the stimulation to a minimum & I only turn on a very low light (15 watt bulb) so I can make sure she’s latched and actually ute sing.

  8. Hi,

    I have a 5 week old baby girl and she’s generally a clam not fussy baby. I’m breastfeeding her and she wakes up approximately every 2 hours at night to feed but around 2 out of the total nursing sessions (at night), she only feeds for like 10 minutes and then pulls away from the breast. So I’m wondering is it possible that when she woke up, she just wanted to nurse to fall back asleep and wasn’t really that hungry? Because sometimes she pulls a 4 hour sleeping stretch and other nights she wakes up exactly every 2 hours… My question is if she manages to sleep 3-4 hour stretches on some nights, does that mean I should always aim for those stretches and refrain from feeding her when she wakes up after 1.5-2 hours?


    1. Siham,

      Because your little girl is still so brand new I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to do any sleep training (she won’t be ready for real sleep training until after her 4 month milestones though you can do sleep shaping, changing the environment around her to help her sleep, before that). The one thing I would say is to work with her as much as you can to make sure she gets a good feeding when she does wake up. This may mean stripping her to her diaper and wrapping her in a blanket. It may mean gently blowing on her little cheeks to keep her focused on the “task” of eating. It may even mean using a warm washcloth (warm!) to dab her cheek every now and then. When she pulls away, you want to know she got a full feeding, however long that takes.

      I hope this helps! Congratulations on your new little one!

  9. My LO is now 5 1/2 weeks old. Since birth, even at the hospital, she’s been great at sleeping. She would have slept through the night if I’d let her. After a couple weeks our pediatrician told us to let her sleep since she’s gaining weight really well and it’s what her body wants. Only problem is in breastfeeding, so I’m having trouble deciding if I should let her sleep through the night still or if I should wake her for a quick middle of the night feed.. Also during the day she takes very long naps. But I wake her if it’s been 3 hours since her last feeding. She I still be waking her every 2-3 hours to eat even though she’s 5 1/2 weeks old now? Or should I let her sleep longer stretches and just pump during her nap? It’s all so confusing to me..I had always assumed that she’s wake through the night and take shorter naps during the day when she was this little like a lot of babies usually do…but she loves to sleep.

    1. Hailey,

      It’s funny, you think that the only thing that will cause angst is if your baby doesn’t sleep but I know that the opposite can also be true! If your little sleeper is gaining well then I would go with what the doctor said about letting her sleep through the night (yahoo!). Your body will adjust to that. You could also try letting her go 3 1/2 hours between feeds during the day. Your mama milk must be extra rich! Very soon (very soon!), she will emerge from her sleepy state and you’ll be remember back fondly to these early days. 🙂

  10. Do you recommend having the baby sleep in your bedroom with you or in his own bedroom?  I ask because my first child clearly did NOT sleep and her sleep regressed by allowing her to sleep in our bedroom with us.  Hubby wants to keep the new baby in our room with us, but I really am thinking he would (the baby, not my man!) be better sleeping in a separate room where it’s dark and controlled and quiet, and where we won’t wake each other up constantly.  Thoughts?

    1. That’s really up to you both, and the age of your baby. I chose to keep my babies in a bassinet next to the bed for the first 6-8 weeks, but that was mostly because I didn’t want to have to trudge off to the nursery every few hours. 🙂

      Once they got older, though I started to realize that I would wake up at every movement (I’m a light sleeper) and assume I needed to intervene, when really she was just re-adjusting. At that point we would move them into the nursery and use a monitor in our room. That way, I would KNOW when she was needing a nighttime feeding and not just jumping the gun because she rolled over. 🙂

      So, this is a basically a long way of saying you have to decide what works best for your family. Remember this, though, you really can’t screw up anything, sleeping wise. Even if something becomes “a bad habit” it’s can be worked through and corrected later on. You can’t screw up his sleep, so just do whatever you feel is a good fit for your family, and then deal with any necessary adjustments later on when he’s older. (And if you’re not sure how to do that, come back here and I’ll help you out!) 🙂 xo

  11. Hello
    Concerned new mommy here. My son is only 3 weeks old and has broken out on his face…im not sure if its the dreft baby detergent we use on his clothing or if the water from our faucets is to harsh for his skin…we use johnson n johnson original scent no perfumes to bathe him and the rest of his body is fine…what could be the cause of the baby acne on his face? It only pops up when ive washed his sweet little face…i dont use any soaps on his face.

    1. Ebony,

      I think you’re on the right track starting with detergent and the soap you use when washing your little guy. Is the Dreft free and clear of perfumes and dyes? Also, you could try switching to something a little more natural for his soap (Target sells California Baby products for one). In addition, it could be a growth spurt (babies can be like teens when they get a growth spurt and breakout from that). I wouldn’t be too concerned unless it spreads or causes him discomfort. If that happens then you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of a food sensitivity.

  12. I’ve been working on establishing a schedule with my (almost) 4 week old and its been going reasonably well. I’m struggling with two things though:

    1:  The past couple days after play time my son has been FIGHTING sleep. At first he did well if I put him down in a reasonably quiet room or with a white noise machine all swaddled up at the first signs of tiredness but like I said he is no longer soothing himself to sleep and loses his mind after about 15 minutes of laying there and will only fall asleep if held. I know I can’t spoil my baby by holding him and love the cuddle time how do I transition back to a self-soothing baby?

    2: I need babies schedule to start at 5 am because we MUST leave the house by 6 in 4 weeks when I go back to work. I suppose I can wake him at 5, “dream feed” him and have the real schedule start at 8? Suggestions on how to manage that?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hannah,

      It sounds like your little guy is getting a little overstimulated during play time. Try moving him to a quiet room for play time (so maybe not the main room of the household if there is a lot of stimulation, people, noise, etc…) and I would also recommend moving his nap time up by 15 minutes too. It might be that when he shows you that he is sleepy he’s actually already passed his sweet spot for going down. Some babies do this! 🙂

      Regarding the early schedule, I think your idea is a good one. Start by doing a dream feed and then after a few days see if you can keep him up for a few minutes (talk together, sing, play) and go from there. I would keep a detailed sleep log while you do this transition so you know that he is getting enough sleep.

  13. I’m very interested in trying to get my 3 week old started on a schedule. Once the nap period is over should I be waking him up? I thought the “never wake a sleeping baby” applied to daytime as well.

    1. Tiffany,

      I would go with your mama instincts with this one. Generally speaking, it’s best to let newborns sleep as long as they need to, their brains need a lot of rest in the beginning! After 6 weeks you will start to notice that your little guy is a bit more wide awake. That might be a better time to start to gently guide him into more of a schedule (by waking him at the end of naps if he is still getting night and day mixed up). This timing should be better too in that the holidays will be over! Better to start after all the excitement is over. 🙂

  14. Hi there! First off thanks so much for this post, I found it (and several others on your site) much more concise and helpful than 10 other sites/books I’ve been killing myself reading put together!

    I’m hoping you might have some advice to help me with daytime naps with my 4 week old. Each nap time during the day is worse than the one before, it’s harder to get him down, he won’t stay asleep long at all. We started using a pacifier a few weeks ago, and we wait until he gets fussy before offering it to him and so far have avoided giving it to him at bedtime, but once he gets it he starts crying as soon as it falls out of his mouth. The last 3 days I’ve ended up spending his entire naptime going and putting the pacifier back in, and he has not gotten more than 10-15 minutes of sleep at a stretch during the day. Sometimes he finally falss asleep right as it hits the 3 hour point since the start of his last feeding and I’m stuck trying to decide if I should wake him up to eat or let him get some sleep at last. Last night he was SUPER fussy all evening, and it took us over an hour to get him to sleep at his bedtime.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Krystal,

      How is your little guy doing at night? If he’s sleeping well at night then you can probably rest assured that the hard naps do not have a medical reason behind it (we always start there!). What is he sleeping in? Have you tried a Rock N Play? These help your little one feel more secure so he can get past the wakeful times and sleep longer. Regarding the pacifier. It’s completely up to you. You may find that the pacifier stays in better if he’s sleeping in the Rock N Play as well. If you are up for the bother then when he’s old enough to put it back in on his own it becomes a self soothing tool! 🙂
      One other thing, try putting him down sooner for his nap. If you miss his sweet spot then it will be hard for him to calm down and then the dreaded “too tired to sleep” cycle begins.
      Hope this helps! If this doesn’t do the trick I highly recommend you take a look at Heather’s Napping Webinar. She shares all sorts of helpful nap time hints.

  15. Hi, love this post. My first boy rocked a similar schedule with little help from me and has always been a great sleeper. My second is now one month and I’m hoping to encourage him to sleep well as early as possible, though he needs more help. I’ve now taught him to fall asleep on his own in his bed with a swaddle and soother. However, during the day he does not stay asleep in his bed longer than 20 or 30 min at a time and then I need to pick him up. He will sleep longer if he’s in his car seat because we’ve just returned from an outing, or in his carrier. How can I help him have longer naps in his bed? It is dark with blackout curtains and a noise machine, just like at night. He always wakes up when I’m in the middle of doing something with his brother!

    1. Andre,

      Have you tried a Rock N Play? It sounds like your little guy likes having an elevated head (hence the car seat) so he might really prefer the Rock N Play.

  16. Hello there,
    I looked at your blog today and thought I would try this out on my three week old. Because we are in a bad pattern she eats and is rooting all day when awake. I have given a pacifier but she still is rooting after a good feeding. Also around 4pm to 12 she is crying/screaming or sucking on me as a pacifier she takes short naps during this time like 10-20min. The only thing that gets her to nap the short but is putting her on the boob or the running the vacuum cleaner. No swing vibrating chair or sound machine work. Do you have any advice to turn this issue around.

    1. Melina,
      The first thing I would double check is that there are no medical reasons that she needs to suck all day. Has your doctor ruled out acid reflux (silent or GERD)? That’s usually the first place I start, just in case. For more information on acid reflux you can take a look at this article (it’s about formula but the information on acid reflux is what I hope will be helpful). In the mean time I would invest in (or borrow) a good baby carrier. It sounds like she needs a lot of “mama contact” time. A carrier is a great way to give her what she needs and have your hands free for other things as well. Here’s an article about the different kinds of carriers if you are interested.

      Hope this helps!

  17. My daughter just turned three months/14+lb and for the past week or so has resisted going to sleep at night. She takes 3-4 naps a day most of which range from 40 minutes to 1.5 hours. She goes down for her naps in her swing pretty quickly & easily after a little routine of turning on white noise machine, story, swaddle, and walking/sushing/jiggling. Her final feed is between 8:30 & 9:30pm. First we put her in pjs, read books, then eat and swaddle. She used to fall asleep eating and we’d just put her in her rocker napper in our bedroom but now she is up and it can take 40 minutes plus to walk and shush her to sleep and then I have to hold her until she gets into a deep sleep before putting her down. She is ebf with one night feeding between 3 and 5:30 am. Once asleep she only wakes for this feeding and goes back to sleep after and I’m fine with keeping that feed for now. How can we get her to bed at night earlier & faster? Thanks!

    1. Carrie,

      It sounds like she is healthy and doing great (apart from taking her time with bedtime!).

      The first thing that comes to mind is that you should try putting her down a little sooner. It sounds like you might be missing her sweet spot for falling asleep and when that happens it’s kind of like you have to wait for it to come around again! Try feeding her at 8 (even if that makes her night time feeds closer than what she is used to) and then put her down before 8:30. Give that a try, if that doesn’t make a difference try moving bedtime up by 15 minutes until you see a change.

      Also, this article might be more of a help to you since she is three months old now.

    2. Should I let her cry it out a bit if I put her down at 8:30?  If she’s not asleep when we put her down at night she normally starts crying.  I don’t mind the idea of crying with check ins, I was just wondering if she was old enough or if I should still do the jiggling/shushing to try to get her to sleep.

      Also I just bought a merlin sleep suit but haven’t tried it out yet.  Are you familiar with these and if so, do they seem like a good idea?  She just seems to be getting sick of her swaddle but still startles.  I thought it might help me transition her from her rock n play swaddled to her crib unswaddled Thanks!

    3. Carrie,

      I wouldn’t let her cry too terribly long without responding. At this age, it’s more likely to escalate. She’s just to young for any behavioral training at this age. I would do the jiggling/shushing thing instead – whatever works usually, at this age. It’s very common for this age (12-18 weeks) to have some fussy times as they are adjusting to a lot of developmental changes. Hang in there! It will improve!

      I am familiar with the Magic Sleep Suit and I do recommend it – especially for babies who tend to prefer their stomachs or seem colicky. It provides just a teeny bit of pressure on the stomach that many babies like (as if they are on their tummies, but they’re not.) It’s also a great help when it comes to transitioning – good instincts on that! 🙂 xo

  18. Very helpful post and responses. I’m hoping you can advise me with my little one. I have an 8 week old daughter who seems to have the signs of acid reflux – cries after nursing and often after burping, spits up after each feeding (often multiple times and not just watery spit-up, but also the chunkier stuff) isn’t comfortable and cries/screams on her back, in a stroller or carseat, (sleeps swaddled and a little on her side in a rock and play or crib) and pretty constantly wiggles, squirms, pitches forward and to the side, arches back, brings her knees up, grunts, claws and grimaces. Sometimes she will nap 1.5-2 hours during the day and sometimes wakes after 20 minutes screaming, as if she is in pain. I’m wondering if I should ask her doc for medication or just give it more time? Something I’m eating? My second born had colic/acid reflux/whatever and I’m doubtful the meds really did anything, she just needed a lot of time and grace. She took Zantac and that was 5 years ago, maybe there is a better medication/dosage now?

    Also, my 8 week old won’t take a pacifier and I’ve tried (at least 8 kinds, huggable/soothies, avent, playtex, mam, nuk, gerber, etc, etc, etc) so it’s very hard to soothe her and I’ve become a human pacifier but that seems to add to her digestion problems because she nurses for comfort, and then spits up more and the cycle continues. Sometimes after 1 hour of trying to soothe, we let her cry for 5-10 minutes and start over but I’m hesitant to nurse to sleep around the clock. I know babies need to use that suck reflex about 16 hours a day, but with a 5 and 7 year old, it’s difficult. Any suggestions? Keep offering a pacifier…..do they often take them after the first few weeks?

    Thanks in advance for your help,


    1. Joyce, firstly I would follow your instincts and ask the doctor about reflux – especially since there’s a family history there. I would stay away from dairy products (if your breastfeeding) and perhaps also ask about adding probiotic drops, since recently doctors have started to notice that those can help refluxing or colicky babies. He will probably start her out on some Zantac, but if it’s been several weeks and things aren’t improving, ask him about using Prevacid. Prevacid can only be given for a few weeks, but for some kids it can really help bridge that growth gap – helping them get a little bit older and outgrow some of the symptoms.

      In regards to soothing, if a baby won’t take a pacifier…there’s little you can do about that. (Except making sure she’s rejecting it, and not just spitting it out because she can’t get the tongue movements quite right.) The theme at this age is “Whatever Works”. If nursing her to sleep is what it takes to soothe her and keep everyone calm and functioning, go for it and don’t feel bad. Nothing here is permanent. Everything can be adjusted and retrained when she’s older. 🙂 So kick any guilt or shame on that to the curb.

      You may also want to give baby wearing a try. Some baby personalities really want to be close to mom, and baby wearing helps us meet that need without giving up our hands. You can read more about that in 7 Reasons Baby Wearing Isn’t Just for Crunchy Moms.

      Finally, I just want to give you a quick encouragement about baby #3. That was a huge milestone shift for me, and it totally kicked my buttushki. 🙂 If you’re struggling with that too, I’d just give yourself lots of grace and permission to be “selfish” with your family and your time. I think it took me 6 months to get my motherly “juggling machine” working again, it was all too much in the first 6 months. In fact, you may find this post about my first outing as a mom of three uplifting. I hope this can encourage you Joyce! You are doing a wonderful job, even on those days when everything feels like it’s falling apart. xoxo

  19. Hi there,

    I have a 10 1/2 week old and he was a great napper until the last two weeks. I’ve been trying eat play sleep and putting him down drowsy. He goes down but then is up a few minutes later in hysterics. I’ll soothe then lay him back down, and then five/ten later he’s up again. It’s almost impossible to continue like this since I also have a 21 month old who comes into the room crying for mama when he wakes, disturbing him altogether. He sleeps just fine in the carrier but that’s about it right now. I know it’s probably just a phase but wondering if you have any tips. I let him fuss for a minute to see if he’ll go down but typically it just escalates quickly… Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

    1. Brianna,

      It’s such a challenge to work with new sleep curves when you have another little one who also needs your attention (I know!). If the carrier is working, great! It can be your go to so that you can avoid frustration on your part and the “too tired to sleep” downward spiral on your baby’s part. He is really too young to self sooth at this age (until his 4 month milestones) so letting him fuss probably won’t work, as you stated. You don’t want to rush right in, you probably already know this, but it’s not to be expected that he’ll be able to soothe himself. That being said, take a look at his nursery/sleeping area and check to see if there is anything you can do to keep him asleep or help him go back to sleep when he gets to the short wakeup moments in his napping. This article suggests some helpful things such as completely darkness and a noise machine (look at #6).
      I also recommend you check out our article about 2-3 months and what to expect.
      Hope this helps!

  20. I am a first time mom with my four week old daughter. She has been amazing! But I’m still trying to figure all this out. I am breast feeding and keeping track of when and how long. I see her symptoms of her wanting to sleep during the day. What’s the best way to get her to sleep since she doesn’t always fall asleep after nursing. I give her the paci which falls out a lot. I swaddle her at night but not the day. She sleeps great once she’s good and asleep but what’s the best way to get her to sleep? Do I use the noise machine just at night or at nap time too?
    Also, I have a hard time sleeping because I am always on high alert for her noises. Any suggestions for me?

    1. Rebakah,

      Congratulations on your new little one! What a wonderful adventure you are just beginning. So, the answer to your question of how to get your baby to sleep is…it depends on the child. However, I can add to that. You can follow the same methods you use at night for daytime napping (the swaddling and the noise machine) which are great, by the way. I think the biggest thing to remember is that her wake window is pretty short right now, about 1 and 1/2 hours before you start heading toward the next nap, so don’t miss it! This article can help you transition to the next stage, coming soon! Bookmark this one because it’s where you will find links to all the different schedules we have on our site.
      One last thought, if your little one is having a hard time falling asleep in her crib (or Rock N Play, gotta love those!) try tucking her in to a baby carrier and let her snuggle with you a little more and sleep at the same time. It’s win, win!

  21. Im struggling to get my 3 week old into a routine. She has reflux and needs to be held up after feelings. Usually she falls asleep and then is startled awake by diape change and has a hard time going sick to sleep. Diape change sooner doesn’t work because she usually hasn’t pooped yet. I also worry that she’s getting accustomed to falling asleep in our arms. Any advice?

    1. Tanaz,

      The good news is that babies as little as yours really can’t be spoiled! However, I imagine that your arms get tired at times. I recommend trying a baby carrier if you haven’t. It’s great for the little one and for you too. Here’s an article about the different types if you are interested. Also, have you tried the swing or a Rock N Play for naps? They are great for babies with reflux. Regarding the diaper change, can you hold off on that until after her nap? Obviously if it’s a bad one then you have no choice. I guess, trust your mama instincts on that one, sleep is just so precious!

  22. Hi Heather! My daughter will be 6 weeks this weekend and we think she has reflux so the doctor has recommended Maalox and keeping her upright for 20-30 minutes after each feeding, which has helped a lot. My main concern is that she is getting use to falling asleep in my arms! When I put her down after keeping her upright for 20-30 minutes, she usually fusses a little bit and then falls asleep. Should I be concerned that she’s getting into a habit of falling asleep in my arms?

    Also, during the night she typically goes about 3-4 hours and then wakes up to eat (I am solely breastfeeding). I typically feed her at 9-930pm and she wakes at 1-130am for another feeding. She will then sleep until about 4-430. After the last feeding, she usually sleeps for a much shorter period of time, maybe an hour-hour and a half. Is this normal?

    Thanks in advance for your help!!

    1. I wouldn’t worry about holding her right now. She doesn’t feel well, so I’m sure that you’re comforting to her. When she’s older you can work on the whole “sleeping in mom and dad’s arms” thing, but now isn’t the time. Just enjoy the cuddles for now. 🙂

      That sounds very normal to me, but if you’re concerned share it with your doctor and lactation consultant for their opinions as well. Sounds like you’re doing everything you should be Haeri. Hang in there!

  23. Hi Heather,

    Firstly, I’d like to say how much I love your site! It is loaded with great info. I was hoping you’d have some advice. I’m a first time mom and not sure if this is all “normal” baby stuff or not.

    My daughter is five weeks old, but was born at 37 weeks. At times I think that matters, then others I feel like she is doing stuff earlier than she should (amazing neck support already etc). My daughter has a hard time falling and staying asleep. She generally falls asleep in the car no problem and I leave her in her seat afterwards just to get things done! She also falls asleep if I wear her in a wrap but will wake if I put her down. At night, she usually sleeps from 10-2 but will then wake every 1.5-2 hours. She isn’t able to get to the next sleep cycle in her own, so I feed her and she generally falls back asleep on her own. Day time not so much. She fights it. That and she’s unhappy pretty much all the time. She will be clam for five minute intervals then starts to cry. The one exception is her first awake period in the morning when she is content for about 30 minutes. She also gets very upset at the breast, putting herself into such a meltdown that I can’t sooth her. She pushes away from the breast, goes red in the face and go has a very hard time calming down. It’s as if the food that should smooth her pains her. I’m hoping to get in to see the midwife this week. I am stressed as I will no longer be in their care after she hits 6 weeks. I don’t want to make assumptions and say she is colicky or that she has reflux, or gas or whatever. Maybe this is normal for her age? I keep saying that it will pass and get better. My friends all ask how I’m loving my time off with my baby and to be honest, it’s so hard that there are few times when it is enjoyable! I love her to death, but I am concerned that she isn’t happy and that upsets me. I have been flagged as potentially having post partum depression, so if there is something I can do to help make this easier for her, I’d appreciate it! I really want to avoid setting myself up for additional depression red flags!

    Many thanks for your advice!

    1. Jenny,

      Congratulations on your first! It’s a huge transition so I hope you are getting help and support from friends and family (don’t be afraid to ask for it!). It can be so frustrating when the feeding isn’t going well. I recommend you concentrate on that first. She might have a bit of acid reflux going on, this would make sense with the fact that she sleeps better in the car seat and the carrier (both keep her in an elevated head position). I recommend you get a Rock N Play if you don’t have one already and use that for sleep, day and night if it works! I also recommend you start her on probiotic drops. These have been proven to help babies that have reflux. Sometimes their little intestines just need a bit of assistance! By the way, you could take probiotics too, if you aren’t already. It will help strengthen your body (to help balance the lack of sleep!).
      It would be good for you to talk all this over with your pediatrician. If the probiotics and keeping her upright for 20-30 minutes after each feed aren’t doing the trick then your doctor may want to prescribe medication for a short time. Zantac is usually the first drug prescribed – it makes the bile less acidy. It can be prescribed and used for a long period of time. Prevacid is usually the next thing they prescribe. It actually reduces the amount of acid being produced. Because of this, it can only be prescribed for a short period of time – which is why it’s usually the last resort.

      Do stay on top of the depression by reaching out for help when you need it! I hope you can get out of the house by yourself too once in a while. That’s so important! It really helps to remember that there is a big, wide world out there, it puts things in perspective.
      Bless you!

  24. This helped my little family so much! I learned more than I thought I could about a newborns needs when it comes to sleep. My little man learned to put himself to sleep in just one day of practice. Thanks very much for a great article!

    1. I’m glad it could help! If his sleeping habits change down the road, don’t be discouraged. That’s very normal. Hopefully I can help you then too! Thanks for commenting!

  25. Im having a hard time getting my 10 week old to sleep. I have been wearing him in the ergo since he was born and he does his naps in it. I often try to put him down once he has been asleep for about a half hour and he wakes right up. I give him some time to see if he will go back to sleep and he cries until I put him back in the ergo and he goes to sleep. I have a two year old so the house is noisy and she wakes him a lot when I am wearing him. I don’t know what to do because it is so hard to transfer him and I wanted him to have good naps in his bed, plus my back in starting to suffer. I have been trying to put him down drowsy but he cries and gets really upset. I am able to nurse him to sleep at night and he will sleep for about three hours. Then I just bring him in the bed to sleep with me. I wasn’t planning on cosleeping but found that I was able to get the most sleep if he was in the bed and didnt get up so often. I feel like his sleep is suffering because he seems like he is overtired and I want to get him on a schedule where he can be well rested and happy. I know it is early to sleep train but I am starting to feel like I don’t have a lot of other options. Thanks!

    1. Monica,

      I think your instincts are right on, I am sure you’re right about him being over-tired and therefore having a hard time with sleep! It should be called “the second child syndrome”, especially when you have a 2-year-old in the house! 🙂 I recommend a couple of things: Try a Rock N Play. These are great for little ones who just need extra cuddling. It helps them feel really secure. I also really recommend a white noise maker. This should help with the early wake ups he’s getting!

      Take a look at this article for some other sleep tips. Also, take a look at this one. even though your little one is too young for sleep training, #6 should be helpful. Hope these changes help you and your little guy get some better sleep.

  26. Hi,
    My 3 weeks old, when awake (after almost every feed) constantly wants something in her mouth. She keeps opening her mouth every two seconds and will only calm down if offered a bottle or pacifier or else keep crying. Evening rocking or soothing her in my arms doesn’t work. I know she is not hungry, she is just in the habit of sucking. I don’t want to continue using pacifier as I am not pro pacifier. Once it becomes a habit its hard to break it. How to soothe or calm her sucking habit without offering bottle or pacifier. She is exclusively breastfed through bottle (I express for her).

    1. Aisha, it’s very normal for newborns to want to suck on something to self soothe. It’s not a habit, it’s a natural reflex. So don’t feel you need to train it out of her (that’s an exercise in futility and frustration because babies need to suck on something). At this young age, let her suck on anything that soothes her. It’s okay for you to want to not give her a pacifier, but you’ll need to suffer through, to speak giving her other things to suck on until she figures out where her thumb is. 🙂 I’m actually a fan of the pacifier, since it helps babies self soothe, has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, and affords parents some peace and quiet! It’s not too hard to break the habit when they are old enough to not need it anymore. My kids were weaned off the binky in 24 hours. After their first birthday I declared the pacifier a “crib only” tool, so they only had it for naps and bedtime. When they turned three, we took it away completely it took 24 hours to make the shift because they were ready. Hope this can help Aisha! These early weeks are hard, but it does get better. Be flexible and do whatever you can to help her adjust. Remember, she’s just made a major life adjustment! She was cozy warm and quiet in there, and this world is VERY different! It takes a few weeks for her to adjust, and allow you to get to know each other. It will get better. 🙂

  27. Hi there,
    Thank you for your blog! I’m a second time mom and I still feel like this newborn thing is brand new! I have a question regarding my 4 week olds sleep. She has been waking around 35 minutes into her naps for the past few days. (With a 45min-75min wake time) Before she would take 1.5-2.25 hr naps and we have not used sleep props. She gets swaddled, white noise, bounced until drowsy, and placed in her rock n play for naps (darkened room, same cues every time) Just wondering if this is a still way too early to be worrying about short naps or if I should be attempting to extend her sleep..? Also, might this be a result of a growth spurt or leap? I have given it some attention and tried to first allow time for resettling, then rocking her for a few minutes to get her calmed, then picking her up and patting her if it isn’t working. (Unsuccessful more than 75% of the time). I read all about how to “fix” sleep problems but id really rather not START any sleep problems.. I should also mention I find it incredibly challenging to devote all the time to lull baby to sleep and then have to extend her naps when I have a 2.5 yr old at home as well. It makes me wonder how mothers do it with 3 or more kids?!

    1. Ada,

      I understand feeling like it’s all new even when it’s your second. After all, she is new to you and your family and she’s her own person, yes?!

      I am wondering if you might be missing her wake window. If you do, this can keep her from sleeping as long as she should (a little counterintuitive but true!). It’s so easy to miss the window when your baby is little. Also, you mentioned that your first-born is 2.5 so that makes it even more likely that you could be distracted and not realize how much time has gone by! I remember feeling like my brain was going to burst when I went from 1 kid to 2. 🙂 But they don’t stay little long. Usually if you decide to have 3 or more the older ones are old enough to do more (like get dressed!) on their own.

      Here’s an article about 2-3 months of age with an example schedule. Take a look at this to get an idea of what your little one might need. I also recommend keeping a sleep log so you have a better idea of her natural rhythm. I hope this does the trick.

      Congrats on your new little one!

  28. Loved the info you shared on newborn schedules! As a newborn care specialist and multiples expert, I’m a huge advocate of gently easing babies onto a schedule as early as possible! It ALWAYS pays off!

  29. My little guy is almost four weeks old and is having a hard time sleeping at night. He sleeps a lot during the day, every hour or two he takes a 2-3 hour nap. I have tried waking him from his naps but he doesn’t eat well when he gets woke up and is unhappy. He doesn’t have much awake time during the day where he is happy so it is easier if he sleeps. I have a toddler so the house is noisy and bright but it doesn’t seem to bother him. He only sleeps at night from 11 to 1 and then from 5 to 8, the rest of the night he is moving around and wanting to nurse for comfort. Is there anything I can do to help him sleep better at night and have more awake time during the day where he is happy?

    1. At this young age, everything really is trial and error. You’re trying to figure him out, he’s trying to make sense of the crazy world he just entered… So you’re in good company. This is very normal. Newborns have a very short “wake” periods during the day. Usually they can only be awake for an hour before they’re ready to sleep again (and feedings happen within that hour, so it can seem super short!) I would work on some of the rhythms above in the article, but don’t feel defeated or hopeless if your baby’s routine feels different than this one. Go with what he’s telling you. A sleeping/feeding log can really help with this! It doesn’t haven’t to be elaborate (I remember jotting my daily times down on a paper towel at one point!) but it will be helpful in trying to spot rhythms. Newborns also show a great ability to “sleep through anything” at this stage. If you notice that ability fading in around 8-12 weeks, it may be necessary to start having him nap in a quiet nursery with a noisemaker. But for now, enjoy it as much as possible. Try to ride the wave as much as possible, sneaking sleep whenever possible. Hang in there, friend. It will get easier.

  30. Hello! I have a newborn baby girl who will be 5 weeks in just a couple days. She is very calm and content and doesn’t really fuss or cry too much. She is formula fed and was doing great at night but just in the last week I’ve been having some issues. She does fantastic with her first stretch at night going approx 4-5 hours in between her first night feeding at around 10:30-11ish. She is swaddled and sleeps on her back in her bassinet. The problem is after her early morning feeding around 4. I change her, feed her and she falls asleep right after she’s done her bottle. I hold her for a bit to make sure her food settles and place her back in her bed. This is where the problems come in…she will start crying anywhere from 20-45 min after being laid down so I go to soothe her by trying first with her pacifier and if that doesn’t work I’ll pick her up and she’ll fall right back to sleep only to repeat the on and off fussing till her next feeding 3 hours later. I’ve also tried putting her on her side but she does the same thing. How can I get her to settle in a deep sleep again after her middle of the night feeding??

    1. Amanda, it’s really hard to tell with a baby this young…so many things are still unknown. I would perhaps try feeding her sooner than the regular 3 hours for a few days and see if that makes any difference. Hang in there friend! It takes a lot of trial and error in the beginning, but you’ll both hit your stride eventually!

  31. I kept a baby journal for my babies. It was the only way I could remember what was going on and objectively see the patterns. Don’t make it too complicated…just a notebook, date each day and add one line entries through-out the day.

  32. Hey. I have a 6 week old son. He does great with taking naps in the daytime but at night is where i have the most trouble since he came home it’s so hard to get him to go to sleep. Yesterday he was up from 2pm and didn’t go back to sleep until 1:30am the next morning with maybe a total of an hour nap in between. Then he only slept til 5am. He is formula fed. I need advice on how I can put him down for bed around 9:30-10pm. I tried tonight to just lay him in his pack and play he was fed and with a clean diaper but he just cried and screamed until I picked him up. He does well if he sleeps in the bed with me whether it’s on my chest on cuddled in my arms. I tried swaddling him but he doesn’t like covers on him. I’ve also tried laying him in his pack and play beside my bed and that doesn’t work. HELP!!!!!!

    1. Sheena,

      Congratulations on your new little one! This early weeks are so intense but so precious too!
      Have you tried a Rock N Play? They help newborns feel more secure while sleeping. Do give this a try if you can. It made a big difference with my little one!

  33. Hi Danielle,

    So I’m a second time mom and I thought this would go a lot smoother this time but it’s not. I have a 6 week old that will only take day naps for 30-45 minutes at a time. I read most of the posts and just couldn’t find an answer. But I guess I’m confused on how you say just start over from the time they wake up. So after he has slept for just 45 minutes do I feed him and then play, sleep etc.? And why don’t you want food to be associated with sleep? With my first son that’s the only way he would take naps because he had a full tummy and then woke up after a couple of hours, played, ate and then slept not the eat, play and sleep that you suggest. I’m just curious to know and your post and schedule are awesome and I plan on looking back at this for a guideline.
    Thanks for your time.

    1. Brittanny,

      I know what you mean about the second time round. I also hoped it would be smooth sailing BUT our second-born was my hardest of all of them! Yikes!
      Anyway, the reason we recommend the Eat, Play, Sleep routine is because the feeding time does not have a chance to become a sleep crutch. Don’t get me wrong, some babies do just fine with eating before sleeping, they just adjust and can learn to sleep on their own as they develop. Some babies, however, really get stuck.

      However, your little one is still so little, 6 weeks! Your job right now is just to help him sleep anyway you can (safely!). Still, if you wish, you should try nursing him when he wakes up and then make sure you know that the wake window is only an hour, less then you might think. For myself, I know it was easy to miss that window because I was distracted, having two. If you keep him up till he is over tired then he won’t sleep as long when he does nap.

      Hope this helps!

  34. My daughter is 6 weeks old. We have been very fortunate with her nighttime sleep, she will sleep about 6 hours from 10pm-4am (approximately, the exact times and durations vary). Then she will wake for 1-2 hours to eat and be changed, then sleep again for 2-4 hours. She sleeps in a pack and play next to our bed at night. Our problem is with daytime napping. I would like her to nap in her crib in the nursery during the day. If she falls asleep nursing, I let her sleep. She has reflux and needs to be held upright for 30 minutes after eating. If she is showing sleepy cues and isn’t hungry, we swaddle her and rock her to sleep. She wakes very quickly when put down, usually within 10 minutes. I’ve tried both the crib and the pack and play. She seems to only nap well during the day if we’re holding her, she’ll sleep for 3 hours if we let her. But she sleeps so well at night… She is very active in her sleep, thrashing around and making noises even when swaddled. Maybe her movements wake her? But again, she sleeps well through this at night.
    I’ve tried putting her down drowsy but awake, but this just leads to a lot of cryimg. She’s only six weeks old, so I don’t want to let her cry for very long. I feel very lucky that she sleeps so well at night, so I can’t complain much about the daytime sleeping. But she is so much happier when she gets good naps, I just can’t continue to always hold her for her entire nap.

    How can I get her to nap without holding her? How long should I try to get her to nap? How should I introduce “drowsy but awake” without making her cry it out?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Michelle,

      Congratulations on your little one! I highly recommend you try a Rock N Play. These are great for reflux babies because they keep the head elevated. They also provide more of a feeling of security so the baby doesn’t feel like she’s in a wide open space! Hope you can give this a try, I think it would help your little one.

  35. I have an issue with my 3 week old. She seems to be going through a phase of eat an ounce, sleep 10-30 minutes, and then repeat over and over throughout the day. Her pediatrician has recommended I feed on demand (formula) due to initial weight gain issues. Towards the morning hours she will eat a hearty 3-4 ounces and sleep for a while, 3-4 hours bit its a constant cycle of feed, catnap, feed, catnap all day. To add to the issue she got an infection from the hospital on her bum, so diaper changes are an all out hysteric event, but must be done frequently to heal her poor red bottom. This may also be off topic, but a lot of the time when she feeds she will search for the bottle while it is in her mouth!! I’m getting a little worried, but all the pediatrician is really going by is weight and that is getting on track. Help!

    1. Krista,

      Weight gain is usually the best way to judge whether your baby is thriving. Having said that, though, if at anytime your mama instincts tell you something is wrong, go with it and take her in to your doctor. If you aren’t satisfied with the help you are getting from your doctor you should feel free to get a second opinion.
      Regarding how to get a fuller feeding here are some suggestions:
      Try stripping her to her diaper and wrapping her in a blanket.
      Try gently blowing on her little cheeks to keep her focused on the “task” of eating.
      You may even need to use a warm washcloth (warm!) to dab her cheek every now and then.
      When she pulls away, you want to know she got a full feeding, however long that takes.
      The other thing I would say is just to remember that she is still so young and might need a LOT of cuddling. I love using my baby carrier for just that reason. It helps me give my little one the touch she needs and I can still get some (a few) things done around the house. I hope this helps! This time is so intense but precious. It will be over before you know it!

  36. Please help! I’m trying to get a schedule for my 5 week old figured out. At this point however I would be just thrilled if I could have the energy to recognize an unfolding schedule. My baby boy does not go back to sleep easily after feeding – it takes anywhere from 30 mins (that’s a good night) to upwards of an hour (time to feed again!) which can result in me getting maybe an hour of sleep at a time. And this is while he is sleeping in bed with me! If I let him sleep on my chest then usually he will fall back to sleep pretty quickly but I really don’t want to let him do this as it’s not safe, I don’t sleep and it’s not sustainable! But if I don’t get sleep at night I am much more willing to have him sleep on me for a nap so I can nap as well.
    Please please offer help! My husband sleeps downstairs so he can be rested for his very demanding job so it’s just me. And all day it’s just me. I’m at a loss and feel very much like a failure.

    1. Karin,

      First of all, you are NOT a failure (I can feel your over-tired nerves speaking)! You are searching for answers and you will find them… you have come to the right place.
      Here are some suggestions:
      Try to keep a written schedule of what your little guy is up to (I keep one on my phone and update it whenever I am nursing). It is amazing how impossible it is to remember anything or problem solve when you are exhausted but with a written schedule you will be armed and ready to follow some of the suggestions in this article.
      Your little guy is still so young so probably still needs a lot of cuddle time. I recommend two things, a Rock n Play for sleep and a baby carrier for “mommy closeness time” during the day. The Rock n Play is great for giving little ones a feeling of security. The baby carrier is a way for your little guy to get enough “mama time” while you can still get something done around the house (love them!).
      One last thing, take a look at a few more of Heather’s wonderful articles on sleep to add some more tricks to your toolbox and if things don’t improve consider taking one of her sleep workshops. They are fantastic!

  37. When you say “playtime” what suggestions can you give to play with a three week old. She is not old enough to really do anything like play and when she is awake she mostly is crying. Any suggestions would be great. Trying to entertain a three week old is hard for me to conceptualize. We have a swing, not into it, we have a chair that vibrates, not into it. She just wants to be held all the time.


    1. Leslie,

      You are right about her being too young to play (as we think of play)! 🙂 However, she will love it if you take the time to interact with her, hold her in your arms so she can see your face and talk and sing to her.
      If she doesn’t like the swing or the vibrating chair, just wants to be in your arms, now is the time to invest in a baby carrier. I love this one but this one has also gotten good reviews.
      If you can carry her and get a few things done around the house it may save your sanity! Sounds like you have a little cuddler on your hands. Treasure this time even though it feels intense. It will be over before you know it!

    1. Madz,

      Glad this blog is helpful to you! If you want to receive new posts as Heather writes them you can become an Incredible Infant subscriber at http://www.incredibleinfant.com/subscribe .
      With such a new baby you are really in the most intense time right now. Good news, it gets easier! Hang in there, new mama! You can do it!

  38. I have a 4 week old that will only fall asleep while nursing. He wakes up, eats and either falls back asleep or is awake for a little while and then has to eat again to take a nap. I also have a very active and loud two year old which makes putting him to sleep very difficult. I’m returning to work soon as well. Any tips on how to get him to nap without nursing. I’m starting to feel like I will be trapped in my house forever because he needs me to eat andsleep. Thanks for any advicee.

    1. Sara,

      He’s such a little guy it makes sense that he would still need that comfort. Have you tried a pacifier? If you want to weigh the pros and cons take a look at this article.
      I also recommend this article about sleep. Hope this helps!

    2. Thanks Danielle. I am not against using a pacifier but we have tried several different kinds and he won’t take them. I feel so lost because if he wakes up and eats I’m afraid for him to be awake because I know I will have to nurse him again in 30 minutes to get him to sleep. This is very hard to do because I have a two year old that is having a hard time adjusting to the new baby and I’m home alone now. I feel like I dont want to breastfeed anymore because I am so exhausted from being a pacifier. I’m just worried if I stop he will never sleep again.

    3. Sara,

      I remember those desperate feelings of being needed by a baby and a toddler at the same time (I still have moments like those but my older kids can sometimes help out now). First, remember that this is just a season though it feels like time is in slow motion, no doubt. Also, do try some of the ideas found in the article I suggested. If none of these help I highly recommend that you attend one of Heather’s sleep webinars. You can find more info about them here. Hold on, mama, you can make it!

  39. I have an 8 week old and his sleep habits are all over the place. His latest is not sleeping at night…at all. He will take a morning nap and an afternoon nap, with me waking him after two hours and desperately trying to have playtime to keep him awake in the hopes that he will sleep at night. He sleeps for about 30 minutes to an hour in the evening, then he’s wide awake all freaking night! We are trying to develop a nighttime routine and we are trying to help him self sooth so he can put himself to sleep (which he’s great at in the daytime). The problem is we rock him until he has just About fallen asleep and put him in his bassinet. He immediately wakes up and starts fussing. Should we let him cry it out or is he too young to calm himself down? My husband wants to keep letting him sleep in his swing but he doesn’t sleep well at night there either anymore. Thanks for your help!

    1. Oh, sleep! The most elusive element to having a newby in the house! Jamie, sounds like you have a night owl on your hands. First, let me recommend you take a look at this sleep training article and then read this article about napping.

      If you still have questions after those articles I recommend that you sign up for one of Heather’s sleep workshops. It’s fantastic and will help you pinpoint some things you can do to help your little guy get the sleep he needs (brain development time, right?!). Go to http://www.incredibleinfant.com/baby-sleep-workshop to sign up. One last thought, a Rock n Play has saved us with our little one (she’s only a few weeks older than your son)… worth a try! Wishing you much sleep!

  40. Forgot to add, for her “evening nap” (which is typcially anywhere from 5:30-8 or 6:30p-9), she is VERY hit or miss. Sometimes, she will stay awake for the entire time but she cries unless held/walked, etc. Sometimes she sleeps very well. And sometimes its a mix of catnapping and crying. I think that is also fairly normal, but just thought I’d add it since I’ve given so much other information already. 🙂

  41. Hi! First, let me start by saying I really love your site! It’s been great resource for me already.

    I am the mother of three kiddos. My youngest is 5 1/2 weeks old. My older kids are almost 12 and 9 1/2. So, while I have had newborns before, I am truly relearning everything at this point.

    I really am posting to get some reassurance. I’d really like to start getting my LO into a more predictable routine (if not schedule at this age). It would seem that my daughter’s days are a bit all over the place (which I think is fairly normal at this point.) We have a rhythm to our day for the most part – she wakes, eats, plays, and then (hopefully) goes to sleep. The only time this is a bit different is for her “bedtime” feeding. We give her a bath, dress her, feed her, and then put her to bed. It had started to look like we had some fairly regular feeding times, etc. But like clockwork, the day she turned 5 weeks old, things started to come apart a bit. She had been eating every 3-4 hours during the day, and would go anywhere from 4.5 – 6 hours at night. So, she was getting roughly 7 feedings a day. Basically, after we put her down for bed, she ate once during the night. Starting the day she turned 5 weeks old, she added a night feeding. She also had been a pretty good napper up to this point, but has started waking during her naps and needing to be soothed until she goes back to sleep.

    From my limited memory of my other children during their first few months of life, I know that we didn’t really have a “schedule” because things changed for them so rapidly. I’m worried this time around because 1) my LO is formula fed and I feel like we may be overfeeding her – especially when she adds a night feeding (she’s taking 4ish ounces per feeding), and 2) she definitely has reflux issues (ped has already given us meds for it after witnessing her burping and swallowing several times during a visit), and I’m concerned that some of her broken sleep/ wanting to feed more issues have to do with her reflux.

    Just as additional information, we started off breast feeding, she had issues latching because of a very high palate. I started pumping, couldn’t keep up with the demand, supplemented with gentlease at first. She started having very loose poops 5-6 times a day. SO, after consulting the ped, we switched to soy. (I’m not thrilled with going with soy, and I have been considering going to nutramigen or alimentum. She’s still very gassy even with the soy, still spits up fairly frequently, and has had a little stuffy nose lately.) Also, she typically sleeps in a “newborn napper” that attaches to her pack n play. It is sort of like a cradle, and I think she prefers it because it has a bit of an incline. Occasionally, she has slept in the bassinet, but she always sleeps fitfully when in it. Also, she is a very loud sleeper no matter where she sleeps. We swaddle her pretty much every time she sleeps, and she sleeps with a noise machine on at high volume.

    Anyway, sorry for the super long post. Does it sound like we’re just on a typical “newborn is all over the place because they’re a newborn” path, or could I possibly be missing something that would make our getting into a regular pattern a little easier. With two older kids and husband who is gone 10-13 hours a day for work, it would be SOOO nice to feel like that I’m not doing something/ missing something that makes our life more difficult!

    1. Stephanie, I totally can relate with the “relearning” everything. That’s exactly how I got into the “baby blogging” business in the first thing. It’s amazing how much we can forget! (Don’t worry, though, your instincts are still spot-on, even if your how-to’s are a bit fuzzy!)

      I wouldn’t worry about overfeeding her at this point – unless your doctor specifically tells you you should be. She’s probably hitting a growth spurt, and needs that extra feeding. If she’s refluxing, it could also be she’s hungry because she’s spitting a portion of every feeding up. (Does that make sense?)

      I would let her sleep whereever at this age – especially with her reflux. Those things can be adjusted easily when she’s older and the reflux is more controlled. It sounds like you are right on the money. If you haven’t tried giving her probiotic drops (like these), you may want to try that also. Recent studies have shown they can help. I think you’re doing great. Just keep your head down and know this is just a season, it’s not forever. Things will improve!!

  42. Great articles! I’m bookmarking this site. 🙂 I only have one question, what can be done for a young baby who is dependent on a sleep aid to the point that it is disruptive to their sleep? My 8 week old uses a pacifier to go to sleep and wakes with 10-15 minutes and cries. So we put the pacifier back in and soothe her again but sometimes she can’t get settled again and I just get her up. If I nurse her to sleep she cries immediately when being put down. we’ve tried waiting until she is in a deep sleep to put her down, propping the pacifier near her mouth, etc. I know that lots of parents run into this issue and if she were older I would just let her cry and self soothe without the pacifier. Since she is so young I am not sure what to do! She is getting terrible daytime sleep and ends up overtired. Any suggestions?

    1. Laura,

      So glad you have found this site helpful! The art of helping your baby sleep can be complicated. I recommend reading Heather’s post about sleeping here. Also consider attending one of Heather’s sleep webinars. You can go to nappinghelp.incredibleinfant.com for more information.
      I hope some of Heather’s suggestions will do the trick!

  43. My little one is just over a week old. I read through the posts and answers and I know that my baby is young compared to some of the other posters but this is my first baby and I am a little lost.
    For the first 4 days My LO slept great day and night. Waking every 1 and a half to 2hrs to eat. And staying up for some “playtime” at 9am, 2pm and 7pm. But that has all changed. She has begun comfort feeding every half hr. She will only sleep if she is laying on me. Her Dad and others have tried taking her to help me sleep but after 20mins she begins to cry until she is returned to me. I returned to the hospital and spoke with the lactation consultant I saw during my stay there and she made some suggestions but I haven’t noticed a change yet. She suggested that we have her sleep next to me in a bassinet (she wouldn’t ) or move her crib next to our bed (this has helped some). She will sleep in the crib (one side has been removed and the entire crib is attached to our bed so she is safe) but only if I place my hand on her. She won’t however sleep as long in her crib as she does if I let her sleep on me. We were also told to get a carrier so I could wear her (I am getting this tomorrow). Is there anything else I can do? I already don’t eat dairy, I make sure that it is quiet. None of my friends or family have ever breastfed so They haven’t been much help. I need sleep but with her current rhythm it’s just not possible.
    Anything would be helpful even if it’s just a “hang in there”
    Thank you
    Also she was 3wks early not sure if that makes a difference.

    1. Lacey, firstly you did exactly the right thing – you started talking with a lactation consultant. That was well-done, and sign of some good instincts.  The first thing I would do is try to keep her awake so she gets a FULL feeding when you’re breastfeeding her. This may mean stripping her to her diaper and wrapping her in a blanket. It may mean gently blowing on her little cheeks to keep her focused on the “task” of eating. It may even mean using a warm washcloth (warm!) to dab her cheek every now and then. When she pulls away, you want to know she got a full feeding, however long that takes.

      Also, you may be seeing signs of her little personality! She sounds a lot like my Elena, who was (and still is) a cuddler at heart. Here are some tricks we used to help recreate the “I’m being held” feeling in the crib. Also you may want to try a rocker like the Rock ‘n Play – lots of parents have found that useful.

      It does matter that she was 3 weeks early, it just means that her brain is still growing about 3 weeks behind her physical age. The brain has no idea “birth” has occurred, and it’s still playing catch up. She will absolutely catch up (so don’t worry she’ll be behind forever) but you’ll want to keep that in mind as you’re starting to learn her milestones. She may achieve her milestones a little slower than babies who were full term. I only mention that because I don’t want you to worry unnecessarily.

      I hope this can encourage you. You are doing a fantastic job. Just remember, the goal at this age is to give her lots of tender cuddles, plenty of food, and steal sleep whenever you can! This stage will pass in a blink. Hang in there! xo

  44. This is a great and useful post. I was just wondering, they say that during a baby’s development stage sleep is paramount however I read in your article that it is not healthy for them to sleep all through the night? Or I might have misunderstood it. Thanks for sharing this. – Amy Jones

    1. You’re right, sleep is extremely important for a baby’s development. That’s when the brain grows the most! That said, newborns don’t have the stomach space to go all night without eating. It’s important to have your doctor be aware of your baby’s eating and sleeping schedules, so he can help you make sure your baby’s growth is steady. Hope that clarifies things, Amy! Thanks for commenting!

  45. Hi. I’ve been reading all of these previous comments. My son is 3 weeks, he has a few concerns. 1st he does get overstimulated a lot and the fussiness is driving me crazy. I can try to get him to sleep after he’s been awake for a bit and he’ll just get upset and cry or stare off at things. He can stay awake for hours. Sometimes he looks like he’s finally asleep and then all the sudden open his eyes again. He will do this during the day and night. It seems he’s always wide awake after feeding even if I leave him in bassinet with lights down, or don’t change his diaper. He also hates swaddling hell kick and cry until I unwrap him unless he’s really tired. That leads me to number 2, he has a poopy diaper 98% of the time I feed or pick him up and there often kind of runny along with lots of gas and getting hiccups constantly. He’s bottle feeding and eating 3 oz about every 2 to 3 hours I’m worried its just going through him. lastly number 3, he has a problem with actually throwing up like everything (majorly), not all the time but at least once a day I tried him on the gentlease for a couple days but he got really bad diarreaha and bum rash. Do you have any suggestions? I was concerned with maybe he has an allergy or milk intolerance??or reflux? Thank you for listening!

    1. Janae, I think your questions about the reflux/possible milk allergy are good ones. I was thinking that while reading your comment. I would talk to your doctor and share some of these concerns with him/her. That will give you a better starting off point. It does seem like there’s some digestion issues that he may need help resolving. Once he’s feeling better you’ll start to see changes in his temperament and sleeping. Start with the doctor, though. That’s the first step. Well done, mom, for being aware of these things and asking questions!

  46. Ok. I lived this article, but here’s my dilemma…..My little one is 6 months now we have been doing cereal/baby food for about 2 months now (with Dr’s approval) and we are still sorting out what works and what doesnt. That being said…here’s what her day tends to look like…6:45 am wake up and she is always pleasant even from a dead sleep. Dressed/diaper and off to the sitter. At the sitter she has cereal for breakfast about 9am. She has tons of playtime with her cousins and she LOVES to catnap….about 2nd or 3rd she has a vegetable for lunch and again nap and playtime. Then at 545 I pick her up and we head straight home. And yes on top of her food she has about 3-4 4oz bottles while there. Once home she is usually asleep when we arrive and probably for a half an hour after we arrive. Dinner time is always kind of whenever. But never earlier than 7:30 and no later than 9 or 9:30 just depends if she has a bottle and when. I try to feed her about 830 and then I try to keep her up until 930-10 to which she has a bottle and/or pacifier and passes out until anywhere from 1230-330 sometime 430 or even on my LUCKY nights till 530….what my question is, is this…how can I get her eating and sleeping habits fixed or is she OK? And if she is in fact OK shouldn’t she be sleeping all night already?
    -Thanks exhausted mom…..

    1. A few thoughts for you, Paula. Firstly, I would love to work with you as a part of my sleep coaching workshops in creating a better daytime routine (which can really help for the nights). That’s my first recommendation, because then I can see your exact child’s history (you fill out a questionnaire beforehand) and we can then discuss online back and forth to help you get these things ironed out.

      The best first step is to for me to talk directly with the parents, since every child’s different. That said, sometimes that’s not realistic. In that case, I would refer you to this schedule for the 6-9 month age range and see if that helps. My guess is she’s overtired by 9:30, and that’s causing more wakeups during the night and the early waking in the morning. (I know it seems backwards, but it’s totally true.) As I said, it’s hard sometimes to write these “Scheduling” articles because I have to generalize so much. If you can’t join me in one of my monthly workshops, I would start keeping a eating/sleeping log for several days and see if you can’t move things to follow that 6-9 month rhythm.

  47. My 2.5 week old is sleeping great once I get her to sleep at night, but we are struggling during the day. She wants to nurse every 30 mins to an hour and rarely naps. Most days she will have one 2-3 hour nap and one cat nap. While she is awake the rest of the day she only wants to eat. I want to feed her on demand at this age but it’s draining. My husband is also frustrated because he can’t hold her during the day without her crying and she is only soothed by nursing. At night she is sleeping from around 10 pm to 8 am or later waking every 3-4 hours to eat, then right back to sleep which I am very pleased with. Suggestions?

    1. Jill, I would try to limit that 3 hour nap – it could be throwing the rest of the day off. 1) Make sure she’s getting full feedings – don’t let her fall asleep without finishing first. (Tickle her toes, blow gently on her face, strip her to a diaper and cover her with a diaper…) 2) Don’t let her sleep more than 1.5-2 hours without eating. 3) There’s a growth spurt coming up, which could be why it seems she’s nursing so much. Don’t limit her feedings and feed her whenever she’s hungry. She needs the calories and you’ll need the stimulation to produce more milk as she grows. 4) Watch her closely for signs of extra gas or reflux, which could make her grumpy in between feedings. Is she spitting up? Does she seem to get really upset 20-30 minutes after feeding? If so, talk that over with your doctor. Hang in there Jill! This is just a season, it will improve. 🙂

    2. My daughter did this as well and sadly I had to change to formula 1) because I wasn’t producing enough and 2) because when I did produce she still seemed unsatisfied. I switched to Enfamil gentle ease (the purple box) her day time feedings and naps straightened out for the most part and by that I mean her naps now are still occasional catnaps but she tends to have at least 2 3rd in to 2 hour naps. She is 6 months now and I switched her over at 2 months. I weaned her off breastfeeding by using platex nursers with drop in liners they have the best/most mother like nipples. And switching to formula was the best decision I ever made. Also if that doesn’t help or you don’t wanna do that try gripe water or gas drops……God Send….I swear by it. That plus the gentle ease formula was a great idea. Hope this helps some.

  48. My 2 week old always falls asleep while nursing. I am trying to think of different ways to engage him during playtime. Do you have any suggestions?

    Also, he has very active bowels and has a poopy diaper after almost every feeding. Any suggestions for how to avoid overstimulation in the middle of the night when having to change his poopy diapers & re-swaddling him?

    1. Jennifer, I would talk to your doctor about the constant poops. He’s your best resource there. 🙂 I used to strip my newborns down to their diaper and wrap them with a blanket when I nursed them to help them stay awake. I would also gently blow on their face, tickle their toes, or even use a warm washcloth to dab cheeks to keep her working through the feeding. It’s okay if a newborn falls asleep on the breast. What you want to avoid is having her fall asleep before she’s gotten a full feeding. But even full feedings will make you feel like a milk cow at the beginning. 🙂 That’s by design – your breasts need the stimulation and that tiny stomach can’t hold a lot of milk! If you find yourself having to do a feeding every 30-45 minutes…that could be a sign of snacking. Check that over with your pediatrician or lactation consultant.

  49. What if my baby doesn’t sleep the full 2 hour nap? Is it best to rock her when she wakes and try to get her to go back to sleep? I’d love to get her to take a 2 hour nap as she is currently only taking cat naps.

    1. That’s not uncommon at this age, Shannon. I would get her to sleep as long as possible, then adjust those recommendations to fit the rest of your day. It’s MUCH more important that she gets all the feedings she needs, than she follows this schedule. It’s meant to be some suggestions so you can see what a rhythm might look like. Try to make sure she gets full feedings, (if your breastfeeding) and isn’t snacking throughout the day. You can do this by trying to keep her as awake as possible throughout the feeding – so you know when she finishes eating she’s really finished and hasn’t just fallen asleep, only to wake up 20 minutes later because she’s hungry…does that make sense?

  50. My baby is 6 weeks old and all he wants to do is sleep during the day. I fight to keep him awake. Today he was up at 730 am, ate and went back to sleep. Seems like after every feeding he falls back asleep. Yesterday he was awake and wide eyed for a short period of time. I feel like I am doing something wrong. I try to keep him awake with activity but it still doesn’t work. Should I be concerned? To add to the above, my baby is also a premie and was born at 37 weeks. Not sure if this has anything to do with it.

    1. April,

      Firstly, you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s common for babies at this age to be ready for a nap after only an hour awake sometimes. The “Schedule” above is just to provide a frame of reference. Always use your baby’s natural cues and your doctor’s feeding recommendations over anything I write. I’m writing for a billion zillion people. Your baby is wonderfully unique and you and your doctor will be able to determine what is “normal” for your little one. My articles are more of a launching pad for questions. 🙂

      As he gets older, these “Waketime Windows” will get larger. For now, take the opportunity to grab some zzz’s yourself. If you are still uncomfortable, go back and mention it to your doctor. The fact he was premature does actually make a big difference. Remember, even though his birthday says he’s 6 weeks, his brain has no idea he was born early. It still assumes he was in the womb for three weeks. This means that even though his physical age is 6 weeks, his brain is probably working at the pace of a 3-week-old. This is really important, otherwise you’re going to panic that he’s behind in his milestones, when really he’s just perfectly on time. (I do talk abut finding Adjusted Age in The Milestone Marker, FYI.)

      Does that make sense at all? Eventually he will get caught up and you won’t be able to tell (so he’s not mentally handicapped or anything), but for the first year it’s going to take some time for his brain to catch up to his body! I just want to make you aware of that, so you don’t feel sad or down if some full-term babies are hitting milestones before your son. He will get there eventually.

  51. I have been reading all the previous posts and I hope that you can shed some light on some troubles I am having. My almost 6 week old doesnt sleep well during the day, but I do think that she does good at night for her age.

    During the day, I try the eat, wake, sleep method on a 3 hour routine and she was doing well with it for a few weeks, but just recently had starting having some hiccups. She only eats 2-2.5 oz of formula at each feeding and then I try and keep her awake for a bit and then lay her back down when she seems to start fussing or I catch her yawning, which most often seems to be about the right time for her to be getting sleepy according to the 3 hour schedule. I swaddle her, give her a paci, cover her eyes with a minke lovie and rock her until she is drowsy and if I lay her down at the right time she will usually nod off. The problem then is that she typically will only sleep for 45 minutes and then wake up and is of course hungry b/c I dont think she is eating as much as she should be. I dont mind getting her on a 2.5 hr schedule versus the 3, but I do think that she should be napping longer. Throughout the day she does this about 3 times. Most recently she has been a bit fussier and more difficult to get to eat a 3 oz bottle, which is what I am trying to get her to eat so that she sleeps better. She has also been quite a bit fussier when it is time to nap and twice I have made a bottle and she eats about 1/2 oz and then falls alseep and she has had some fussiness during late afternoon feedings, like her tummy hurts.

    So…last night I got some Soy formula to try on her so see if her tummy is keeping her from eating and sleeping well. My two-year-old was diagnosed as “lactose intolerant” at about 5 mos old and was on Soy formula and still drinks only Almond milk today though I am able to give her meals that are prepared with cheese and other dairy products without any problems.

    I put her down around 8 or so with my toddler and then stir her up a bit around 10:00 to feed her before bed, which sometimes she takes and sometimes she doesnt, and she wakes at 3:30 am for a feeding and then not again until morning and I use the same swaddle and lay down routine as I do at nap, though she doesnt have to have a paci b/c she is so tired already. She does really good and so I dont want to complain too much or screw up her schedule to ruin her nighttime habits, but I also want her to get some rest during the day.

    I know that it is too early for sleep training and my OCD and over scheduling personality I think is starting to get the best of me, but my toddler still has a paci and also wakes up several times throughout the night and I want to make sure to establish good sleep habits this time and not make the same mistakes I did with the first one.

    I will be returning to work in two weeks and she will go to daycare so it will really be out of my hands at that point. I know I am stressing too much about this, but it there anything advice that you can give me or any words or wisdom to make me feel better? I also struggle with postpartum emotional issues which are making this so much harder for me and lack of sleep (mainly from my toddler and not the baby) are really getting to me.

    1. Candace,

      I can totally understand why you are concerned! It’s hard to function when you’re exhausted with a newborn and toddler terrorizing the house. 🙂 The first thing I would recommend you do is to take a 48-hour feeding log. Take a note of when she’s eating, how much she’s eating, when she’s sleeping, and when she’s waking up. Then take that to your pediatrician and see what he says about her feedings. He will be able to tell you if he feels she’s eating enough during the day.

      I would also hold the schedule in a very loose hand. If she seems sleepy to you, ditch the schedule and put her down. Otherwise, you may miss her “sleepy window” and she’ll be harder to get to bed (and stay asleep). At this age, the average “waketime window” is between 1-2 hours. This means that she will start showing sleepy signs within only 1 to 1.5 hours after waking.

      Schedules are good to help you find cues, but if you try to stick to tightly to them, they can bite you in the butt. 🙂 Especially when a growth spurt pops up. At this age, use the schedule as guideposts, but let your baby’s cues drive the car. 🙂

      One last thing…it’s always hard to admit when we (as moms) are having emotional struggles. For some reason, it can feel like failure to admit that we have feelings that we don’t know what to do with! Thanks for being willing to share your postpartum struggles. It encourages me, and I’m SURE it encourages other moms. I would encourage you to seek support from your OBGYN about this, or feel the “going through it with you” power from wonderful websites like Postpartum Progress – interacting with moms are in the trenches at the same time can really help. (massive hugs!)

    2. Thank you so much for your comments. Saylor is now 12 weeks old and we recently went through our first big growth spurt. She was fussy, woke up a lot and wanted to eat what seemed like all day long. I relaxed on my schedule and I made it through and we are now back to our normal routine which seems like a miracle compared to that week. Lol she has been eating better since then and though she still doesn’t nap she is sleeping until about 3 or 4 and waking only once to eat. I do wish I could get her sleeping a few hours longer, but I’m not going to complain just yet. My now 2.5 year old is still up at all hours of the night and we just can’t seem to get her insomnia figured out.
      I’m back at work, up all night and exhausted after the weekend of short naps and long nights but I pulling through and doing much better emotionally since going back to work. Some people like myself need that adult time to keep your head on straight.
      Thanks again for the support. I love that you make time to give each comment your feedback. It really helps struggling moms like me. Hugs

    3. Candace, I’m glad to hear that! As for your 2.5 year old, first make sure you’ve covered all the medical things that could be causing her wake ups. Have you seen my article on sleep apnea in kids? It’s a place to start. 🙂

      I’m glad you’re doing better emotionally. We moms have to stick together, because this “kid” thing is the hardest job on the planet. Nothing like a little adult interaction and hugs to help us get through the not-so-good-days. In fact, next week’s post is going to be all about that! I hope it can encourage you! 🙂

  52. Hi Lisa I’m having a similar problem. My 6 week old only sleeps in our arms or swing. She sleeps well 11-3am quick feed then sleeps 3:30-6ish. I want to move her to her crib but with my attempts she wakes right up screaming until you pick her up she’s fine. I want to try the CIO method but is 6 weeks too young to start? Also does it make a difference that my in-laws watch her during the day 6:30am to 3pm. Does that make a difference on her night time routine and should I start telling them to put her in her crib for naps as well or just night time with me? I am off this whole summer as well so would that be a better time to start the Crib training or just get it done with now?! 🙂

    1. Whitney, 6 weeks is too young to start CIO – because babies that young don’t have the ability to self regulate their cries. If they stop crying it’s not because they’ve “learned” anything…it’s because they’re too exhausted to continue. Does she have to be held when your ILs are home? Firstly, at your next well baby exam, share these symptoms with your doctor so he can look her over for any possible medical reasons (like reflux – not all reflux babies spit up). Then you could try once a day to put her down to sleep (usually the first nap of the day works well) drowsy but awake in her crib. If she starts to really cry, pick her up and soothe her, then try again the next day.

      If you push a baby to sleep coach who isn’t READY to sleep coach, you’re asking for a LOT of crying, for a longer period of time (potentially). If you wait until a baby is READY to sleep coach, then usually the length of time it takes to do the coaching is greatly reduced. 🙂 In the meantime, just let her sleep in the swing or in your arms. These things can be adjusted (or may adjust themselves) when she’s a little older.

  53. I really wish I had read this before my son was born. I really think this would have helped. We didn’t start sleep training until he was 8 months old, and I had been nursing and rocking him to sleep. I think that this caused a lot of problems, and now he does nap and sleep through the night, but it is always a bit of a struggle, because he really wants to nurse and cuddle to sleep, even though he is a year old. I can really see now how structure helps so much, how it keeps things calm, and feeling safe, and how a schedule from the beginning would have been so beneficial.

  54. My little one is 7 weeks tomorrow and for the past week or so has finally started sleeping at night (in her crib!)without being held – from 4.5-6 weeks she would wake up as soon as we put her down. She may only sleep in 3-4hr shifts from beginning of feed to beginning of next feed (formula feeding) but she sleeps!
    However, during the day she won’t sleep in her crib. I got her to nap today finally in her playpen, but usually it has to be the car seat or swing. We also currently have our house up for sale and have to be out at a moments notice for showings which is making it difficult to get her into a routine.
    I watch for the cues and try to put her down sleepy, but not sleeping but she wakes up 10-15 mins later crying. I’ve tried putting my hand on her chest, or rubbing her brow to settle her, and she’ll settle for another 5-10 mins then we start all over again.
    I like the look of your schedule, and want to try to implement some of the timings because they are similar to what we have now – but my question about the nap time is you’ve set aside 2hr windows for sleeping, but if she will only sleep for 30mins-45mins then do I keep her up and try to hold off her bottle til the next scheduled feeding time?
    I’m a first-time mom, trying to wrap my head around all this. Any advice would be helpful.

    1. Lauren,

      Firstly, congratulations on helping her fall asleep on her own! That’s a huge step!

      At 7 weeks, she’s too small to begin a formula nap coaching program. My advice at this age, is to get her to nap however (and where-ever) you can. If that means the swing, so be it. The goal at this age is to try to help her get the rest she needs so she’s not crazy-overstimulated and exhausted come bedtime – which leads to a difficult night.

      Once she gets a little later you could use the Sleep Shuffle method for her nighttime sleep and then do some nap coaching to lengthen the daytime nap to more than an hour.

      As for the feedings, try to keep a journal for 48 hours to see how much she’s eating (and how long it takes her). That can help you see whether she’s snacking or is getting full feedings. If they are full feedings and she’s waking at 15-20 minutes, then I would try to soothe her with a pacifier, or patting her, or singing, etc. reminding her you’re there and she can fall asleep. It’s possible that she wants to soothe by sucking, and so wants the bottle even if she’s not hungry.

      Finally, the last thing you may want to do is discuss this with your doctor to make sure there’s not an acid reflux issue that is causing her to wake up in pain 15-20 minutes after eating. Perhaps try to feed her earlier in your bedtime routine, and then hold her upright and rock with her for about 20 minutes, and THEN put her down and see if she naps better? These are just some thoughts I had – please comment back if they’re all jumbled and don’t make sense! LOL It’s at the end of the day, when my “mom brain” is especially short on smarts! 🙂

    2. Hi Heather – this does help a lot! But I think I got you confused. She plays for a while after she eats. During the day we are trying the E.A.S.Y method (eat, activity, sleep) so she eats a full bottle, then we play on her mat for a bit, do some tummy time and I watch for her cues to tell me she’s getting tired. When she starts yawning consistently and gets fussy, I try to swaddle her and lay her down – this is when she only lasts 15-20mins, tops. Then I have to go in and reassure her, she may start to nod off then she seems to wake herself back up 5 mins later and we start all over again. I try not to go in until she’s crying, if she’s just “talking” I leave her, but sometimes she will “talk” for up to 30 mins then I begin second-guessing that I put her down too soon?
      At night she seems to do ok, she seems to realize that when she eats in her room and it’s dark she knows to go right back down (except last night! Haha) but during the day she seems to hate laying down to sleep in her crib or playpen.

    3. Lauren, thanks so much for clarifying! I’m sorry if I misunderstood. I should really avoid writing responses at the end of the day when my brain is mush! 🙂 (And yet…here I am, trying to think on mush again!) So let me try again… 🙂

      Your Question: The nap time is you’ve set aside 2hr windows for sleeping, but if she will only sleep for 30mins-45mins then do I keep her up and try to hold off her bottle til the next scheduled feeding time?

      My response: Since she’s so young, the “newborn schedule” above really has to be interpreted loosely. If you’ve tried to go in there and get her to go back to sleep, and she’s only napped for 30-45 minutes, go ahead and get her up and feed her. Feeding at this age should be on demand. When you think she’s hungry, feed away. Then watch her very closely for signs of getting close to the all-important “sleep window” and put her down again for a nap. I know it sounds crazy, but for babies this little (until around 4-5 months) that can be anywhere from 1 to 2 hours after they woke up from their previous nap! (For her, since she’s pretty young on the 0-5 month scale, I’m guess it will be close to an hour. So even if she’s only sleeping for 30-45 minutes, watch for sleepy cues again 1-1.5 hours after she wakes. If she’s sucking on her hands, rooting with her mouth, etc. these are some of the hunger cues that it’s time for a feeding. (This article shares what different baby cues mean.)

      Does this help answer your question? Or should I try again? 🙂

  55. Hi! I have an almost three week old daughter who won’t sleep anywhere but my arms. I am exhausted! I have five older kiddos and have never experienced this. She wakes up and screams if I swaddle her. She eats about every 1.5 hours, is exclusively breast fed, and she eats really well! I just need her to sleep in her crib. I have tried the Moses basket, and she does not like that, she does not like the swing either. I am at a loss. She has been congested for about two weeks, but the pediatrician does not seem concerned. She is just 7 lbs, and has gained weight since birth, she is just still so tiny! Any help would be so greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    1. Anne, it’s possible that with all the activity in the house, she may feel a little overwhelmed. Especially if she’s a sensitive baby. Usually those types of babies find some pressure on their tummies comforting, and since we are putting babies to sleep on their backs, they prefer to be held. Since she’s so little, there are few things I can recommend to help. You could try some of these crib tricks and see if those help. In the meantime, I would try to sling her and wear her around with you. It’s exhausting, but she’s just so little. The name of the game here is survival. Remove all expectations for yourself (outside your home for sure) and just focus on a few “absolutely necessary” things. Do you have family or support who can come and help with the other kids? Or are they old enough to help run things? Just tell yourself the next few months you’re going to “hermitville” and you’re going to be very family-focused for a while. There may be more pizza than normal. Or more TV than normal. But this is a season, so it’s okay. Give yourself guilt-free permission to focus on your newest blessing and helping her cope in the wide world she’s suddenly found herself in. Please let me know Anne, if I can do anything to help. Ditch the schedule above if it doesn’t serve you. You’re a great mom, and you will do exactly whatever needs to be done. (hugs)

    2. I have been watching my baby over the past few days. Here are some things I have noticed: she does not like a lot of activity, she prefers calm and quiet; she does not like stressful situations (like when we are having discussions with our high schooler…); she does not like her crib, I have been trying to get her to sleep in there, on her tummy ( she does have a lot of gas pains, and she just crunches up every time), she does not like being swaddled, I have tried to calm her while she is laying down, but that doesn’t work, she has become extremely attached to me as she doesn’t let anyone else hold her, if my husband (her dad) holds her she screams at the top of her lungs…she does this for everyone except me, when I get her back after screaming, it only takes me about 30 seconds to totally calm her down. She doesn’t particularly care for my other kiddos, she tends to get really squirmy and very upset around them. I am barely getting two hours of sleep a night, I cannot get in any type of workout, showering is hard as is making meals and doing any cleaning that has to get done. I have never had a child like this before, and am left wondering if this is normal or at least not uncommon. I am feeling a bit smothered because I don’t get a break from her. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, I would just like to shower without feeling guilty because she is screaming and getting herself totally upset almost to the point of being inconsolable. Do you have any suggestions or tips? Thanks for your help so far!

    3. Anne, this isn’t the first comment/email I’ve read with a highly-attached baby/struggling-to-survive mom! A few things I would ask you (if we were having coffee). 🙂 1. Does she seem fussier after eating? Have you discussed these symptoms with your doctor to rule out silent reflux or other issues that could be contributing to some of this? A highly sensitive baby, like it sounds yours is, can be a real challenge at first. Everything seems to “put them over the edge”. Do what you can to help drown out the things that upset her (teenagers! lol) with a noisemaker in her nursery (or your room, wherever she’s sleeping). Definitely start with the doctor, though, and rule out any medical issues first. Silent reflux doesn’t involve much spitting up, so it’s easy to miss sometimes. Hang in there friend!

  56. I’m hoping for some advice. My don is now 4 weeks old. He was just diagnosed with reflux and we started Zantac yesterday, I started an elimination diet last week. Not expecting any change in sleeping or any way to change his sleep until he feels better but I was hoping for some advice for how to go about it. He will only sleep while being held at night. He will sleep in a bouncy chair for usually 20 minutes-once for 40. We have tried a swing, car seat, glider, rock n play, co sleeping, and crib. We’ve swaddled with arms in and out, shhd, patted, white noise, warmed the area first, on my shirt from that day, dark, in the light, he wont take a pacifier and yet if he’s on my chest he’s slept as long as 3 hours. So during the day I hold him or put him in the bouncy chair and then at night he sleeps on my chest and I’m propped up. He is EBF and was tongue tied. We are currently finishing up treatment for thrush. And his latch still compresses my nipple but the pain has improved some. He generally has 2 hours of awake time where he’s not crying it nursing. He was a 42 week c section baby who is now 10 pounds (left hospital at 8.5pounds) I was thinking we’d still put him in his rock and play every night and hope the length of time he’ll stay increases. So far though we only get 10-20 min with all or none of those things mentioned above. Any thoughts? Thanks for reading!

    1. Leslie, you are doing everything PERFECTLY. Just perfectly. You have been to hell and back so far, and you are shining like a star. He is very lucky to have such wonderful loving parents! Reflux babies tend to sleep better on their tummies and propped up. They do have these special baby bean-bags you may find helpful, see the reviews here on Amazon.

      I’m not recommending you put him on his tummy while sleeping (that’s a SIDS risk), but you could try to give him more tummy time during the day. The rock and play is a good suggestion. Keep working with your doctor on the reflux, keep trying new things. You’ve got the right instincts. 🙂

  57. What a great post, so useful and full of quality advice (which can be rare, especially on sleep). Too often the advice that parents get is unreliable and sometimes of myth. I think you may find an interest in our friend Heidi who has some great ideas about how with the proper education, guidance and patience you can help you and your infant attain a healthy and happy sleeping schedule.
    Get inspired here!

  58. Hi Heather,
    I have a 7 week old. She started out sleeping on me, then I transitioned her to sleeping next to me, then to the bassinet and now The crib. The problem is that getting her into the crib has become a 1-4 hour process of me holding her while she soothes herself to sleep with a pacifier. There are two issues…One is that I am unable to put her down drowsy. And two is that she fights sleep which is one of the reasons I can’t put her down drowsy. She will fight sleep…literally kicking and rubbing her fists on her face and burrowing her face into me or the mattress . Or she will cry until I pick her up and give her the pacifier. I take the pacifier before she gets laid down because I don’t want to keep putting it back in her mouth all night. How do I get her to fall asleep on her own and or stop fighting sleep? I have spent up to 4 hours trying to get her down. I need help. Also, is there a certain time to put her down? She generally falls asleep anywhere between 11pm & 1am, even though I have been trying to get her down recently at 8p. I am a confused mess. Please help me.

    1. Lana, firstly don’t feel too bad at being a confused mess. We are ALL confused messes at 7 weeks, no matter how many kids we’ve had. At this age, your goal is to survive. 🙂 I do have a few thoughts for you, though.

      1. Are you swaddling her? That may help with the kicking, which I suspect is part of the problem – she’s re-stimulating herself.
      2. As for the pacifier, I would really encourage you to keep that pacifier in her mouth. Sucking is one of the only self-soothing habits a baby has, which is why so many babies nurse to sleep. I’ve heard many parents report the wubbanub was helpful in keeping that pacifier in place. Perhaps something to try… Otherwise, I would put her down and let her suck on that thing, sitting next to her if you have to to keep it in place. Sucking helps her get into the deeper levels of the sleep cycle.

      3. As to the schedule, I wouldn’t try to make her do much at this age. Instead, follow her cues and start writing down the times she’s doing things. Then compare that to the schedule above to help you find your baby’s daily rhythm.

      I hope these things can help Lana! You are doing a great job as her mother! She’s a blessed little baby!

  59. Totally agree with this! As much as I was a stickler for the schedule with my 3 kids- the beginning is absolutely about learning their rhythm! And each child is completely different (even with my twins)! But once you learn their sleep patterns- scheduling is made easy!

  60. Heather

    I have a 4 almost a 5 week old who will not sleep unless I am holding him but just at night. He naps fine during the day in a bouncer but at night he just screams when I lay him down after his first sleep. I put him to be in a bouncer in his crib or a mini pack n play next to my bed (tried this last night) and he is fine until 1am(ish) but after that feed he won’t let me lay him down. I try rubbing his back etc e is swaddled but just scream yet the moment I pick him up and lay him in my arms he falls right to sleep. I am so tired!! I have 2older kids but have never had this problem and feel like I am doin something seriously wrong with this little guy! Can you help? I don’t feel comfortable co sleeping!!

    1. Katie, you’re not doing anything wrong. 🙂 Different babies have different preferences, and it takes a while to figure those out.
      Have you seen my tips for crib-haters? You may find some suggestions there to try. Also, I would consider putting him down on his tummy. My Elena was a lot like that, she was a terrible sleeper at first, preferring our chests. Eventually, I realized she really wanted to feel something against her cheek, and that pressure on her tummy. So I would put her on her tummy and tuck a blanket under the crib mattress, so just the corner would touch her hand. It really helped her. It was hard for me to put her on her tummy, but we were out of options at that point. You could pick up an angel care monitor and it can help take away some of the SIDS worries.

  61. Hi
    I am a first time mom and I’m interested in sleep training/scheduling feeds with my little one… He has reflux which wakes him then I find I am rocking him to sleep after. I also do this to put him to sleep initially. With feeds I have a hyperactive letdown and after 10 minutes of feeding he cries and cries because he can’t keep up with my milk… Then he has the hiccups and reflux..

    Also by the time I’ve fed him (1/2 hr) then put him to sleep (1/2hr) he’s up in an hr to feed cuz it’s been 2 hrs

    Help! I’m tired

    1. Jessica, perhaps try pumping a little first. Then when it’s time for a feeding, he can nurse for 10 minutes, and then when your letdown picks up, have someone give him the bottle of your pumped milk and pump the rest for the next feeding. That will help your supply stay high, but also prevent the “drowning in milk issue”. As to your sleeping issues, that depends how old he is. Newborns can’t be coached to sleep more because they’re waking out of hunger for the food they need to grow (their tummies are too tiny to last long without refilling). They aren’t waking out of habit – which is the sign that some sleep coaching is needed. That said, try the pumping thing and see if that helps. He’s probably waking so much because he’s not getting a full tummy, and if he has reflux, when he DOES get a full tummy he spits it up again. So I would concentrate on controlling the feeding (by pumping halfway through), and working on getting his acid reflux under control. (Have you talked to a doctor about that?) I think if you can get those issues improved, he will sleep more for you. Hang in there! You’re doing a great job. These are things we can work on. Let me know how it goes.

  62. Dear Heather
    I’d love your thoughts on this. My 7 week old little girl only naps on me during the day. When I put her in her bassinet, she wakes within ten minutes. This happens even though I’ve waited until she is in the limp-limb stage of the sleep cycle (I’ve tried putting her down sooner, or drowsy but awake and she starts crying almost immediately). The room is dim, white noise playing, she’s swaddled. She won’t take a dummy.

    She also doesn’t nap for two hours at a stretch, generally between 45 mins and an hour and a half. All on me or in her sling. Her night sleeping is fine, although it takes an hour or more to get her down. We have ruled out colic and reflux with our paed, but the doctor did say that perhaps she had some sensory integration problems.

    Do I just persist with putting her in the bassinet (at the expense of unbroken napping) or do I leave it to work itself out.
    It’s hard with a baby on me ALL day!
    Let me know what you think 🙂
    Many thanks Lauren

    1. Lauren, you are in good company – I get a lot of comments from moms about “how to stop having to hold the baby constantly”. (In fact, I’m writing that in as a future topic…) Start with these suggstions to make the crib a little more friendly. Try to figure out ways to recreate yourself, without yourself. 🙂 Pick a few of those, and then let me know if we still need to brainstorm… 🙂

  63. Thanks for the reply… He typically will stay awake for feeding & awake time for about an hour, then sleeps for 2 until the next feeding. (Except yesterday at church, when he decided he didn’t want to sleep at all while we were there! Good times 😉 he’s doing a little better in the middle of the night, but he still seems soooo gassy, he grunts and curls his body for about 20-30minutes after putting him down. We got some gas drops to try… It just seems like every night is hit or miss, our daughter was such a good sleeper, that this is all new to me. I’m wondering if this is just something he will outgrow in a few weeks? At least I’m hoping… Cause having a 16 month old along with a 4 week old is pretty tiring! Any other suggestions? Or do I need to just wait it out…? If it were allergies or anything like that, would the symptoms be constant instead of just at night?

    1. Kelly, it could be allergies…in that his gassy tummy just feels worse at night because it’s been filling with gas all day. You’re using gripe water…you’ve got the gas drops…you’ve avoided dairy for a few days… hmmm…. What a little puzzler! The one hour awake, 2 hour down is typical for a 4 month old, so that’s not it… (And I totally get you, btw, about the “anti-sleeping at church thing” it’s like they KNOW! lol) Is he pooping normally? Nothing thicker than Peanut Butter? What bottle are you using with the pumped milk?

      Right now I’m guessing the culprit is the gassy tummy. What if you tried a Dr. Brown’s bottle for a week for the pumped milk? Is he constipated? If so, add 1 teaspoon of prune juice to the pumped milk once a day and see what happens. You are right that he will out grow this eventually. My husband and I called the 7-10pm “The Witching Hour” because Bella would transform into a night-mare fuss-machine during those hours for some reasons. That said, there’s no reason we can’t keep trying things to see if we can make things better. Try these things, and then let me know if we need to do some more brainstorming!

  64. My 7 week old sleeps on me at night. I do a bedtime routine starting at 930, then feed her and she is out, I then lay her next to me and she will sleep for about 3 hours and then wake. from then on she sleeps in my arms until about 9, with 3 nursing sessions ( only about 5 mins,) throughout the night. how can I start getting her to sleep in the crib better without the want to sleep on me? I am just to scared to lay her down because she will wake, she feeds to sleep. Any suggestions?

    1. Amber, I would start trying to lay her down drowsy, but not asleep. Then sit by her or hold her hand until she’s completely asleep. I talk about this in the Sandman’s Guide to Getting Your Baby to Sleep article. Typically I encourage parents to start doing this after 10-12 weeks, because expecting a baby to sleep completely through the night at 7 weeks is probably unrealistic (not impossible, just rare). That said, if you understand your baby’s limitations, you can use some of those suggestions now in helping her learn how to self soothe. You also may want to check out this article on how to over come crib-hatred. 🙂 Hope they can help!

  65. Our son is almost 4 weeks old, and he naps pretty well during the day (usually I have to wake him at 3 hour increments to feed him, then I keep him awake a little bit and he falls back asleep for a bit before we repeat the process.) the problem comes at night.. He is super fussy in the evening (although I know most babies are). but then i nurse him around 10pm and put him down for the night, he usually goes to sleep fine, but when he wakes around 1:30 or 2:00am to eat, it takes him a good 1-2 hours to settle enough to sleep again… It seems like he is in pain & just won’t settle… I burp him, rub his tummy, give him gripe water & haven’t eaten dairy in a few days… Plus he is on a probiotic that I mix once a day into a bottle (I pump once a day). We are at our wits end about how to get him past this, I feel so bad for him, but have tried everything. Any suggestions? I don’t think it’s reflux or anything, because he naps well during the day, it just seems to be a problem in the evening & the middle of the night feeding…

    1. Kelly, I’m curious if you cut back his naps during the day if he would do better at night. Try to keep his naps at 2 hours. So he has 1 hour for eating and playing in between. Give that a try for a few days and see if it helps. If not, let me know and we’ll come up with something else! 🙂

  66. Hi-My little boy is 6 weeks old and has started an odd problem. Ever since his birth he has slept like an angel during the night, for about 10-12 hours waking up only too feed (ohh do I feel blessed). He still does this only this past week or so he has started to skip his daytime naps!His naps are now only after feeds for about half an hour. This of course leads to him being overtired and incredibly irritated as evening comes, so putting him down takes hours. It´s killing me to watch him in the evening crying his eyes out due to this. We have a routine of bathing, rocking and feeding which he enjoys but after that he wakes up and it´s as if no routine took place. he will fall asleep eventually and like I said sleep like an angel during the night.

    I try to keep an eye on his signals (which are often very hard to spot) but it no matter how quick I am at putting him down after seeing them we are still in this situation.

    -I would love your thoughts on this.
    thank you!

    1. Elisabeth, normally I say go for signals, but in his case you may find the clock more helpful. I would try to follow the sleep/eat/play rhythm throughout the day, starting with whatever time he woke up that morning and then adjusting after that to match the rhythm listed above in the article. If he doesn’t sleep more than 30 minutes, that’s okay, start the cycle over again from when he last woke. Does that make sense? Then make sure he is completely awake at the end of the nap. Don’t go in there unless you’re sure he’s actually not going back to sleep. Then go in smiling and ready for kisses, feed him, and let him play until it’s time for sleeping again.

      Does this make sense at all? Comment again if it doesn’t and I’ll try to explain it better. 🙂 Give that a try and see if it helps.

  67. HELP! My 6 week old (she was 10 days early, I don’t know if that matters) will not nap and really struggles with sleeping. She will stay awake for 4 or more hours at a time and I know this is not good. She was awake today from 8:30 am -2:30 pm I look for those sleep cues and try to put her down but she just wakes up. She fell asleep for about 20 minutes and that is all. It takes sometimes 2 hours plus to get her down at night. Most nights when she wakes for a feeding she is very hard to get back down. Sometimes it takes an hour or more. This morning from 5:30 – 8:30 am she was asleep but made loud crying like noises. When I would go check on her, her eyes were closed so I just left her alone. As a very newborn she was doing the same things when we got home from the hospital. Newborns should sleep and she would stay awake for hours. I know she is not getting enough sleep and I am soooo worried. She is on Zantac for reflux which the reflux is what I thought the original problem was but she is still not sleeping. I have read Baby Whisperer and I tried getting her on that schedule but I spent hours trying to get her to nap and so that was not working. Now if she is asleep, I will NOT wake her to eat because I know I won’t get her back down. HELP!!

    1. Vicky, first of all 6 weeks is still really young for a baby to be sleeping independently. ESPECIALLY if that baby has had reflux issues. So don’t beat yourself up too much about the “Getting on a schedule” thing. With this sweet baby, getting a rhythm is all you can hope for until she gets a little older. If she is gaining weight, and is eating, I wouldn’t wake her to eat unless it’s been longer than 4 hours. (Check that advice with your doctor, though, first. She’s so little you want to make sure.) If she’s NOT gaining weight, then waking her to eat is going to have to happen. 🙁 Second, are you breastfeeding? If you’re using formula, I would recommend giving a thicker acid reflux formula a try.

      I’m guessing she has a negative association with sleeping, due to the reflux, and so fights it. Is she sleeping flat on her back, or on an incline? Have her sleep in a swing, or in something like this. The incline can help with the reflux. At this point, the name of the game is to GET THROUGH. Don’t worry about developing sleep crutches too much, rock her, do whatever it takes to help her and we can worry about the scheduling and sleep later. 🙂 If she DOES have a negative association with sleep, you’re going to have to help her through thickening your breast milk or using a acid reflux formula and rocking, walking, or putting her in a rock ‘n play to sleep.

      I hope this can help you Vicky! Feel free to write back anytime. You’re doing great!

  68. Hi Heather. I got the book you recommended(by Kim West). It’s very informative but it seems like all my attempts at “drowsy but awake” are futile. Baby Just cries . My baby is 6 wk (actually 10 but preemie by 4 wk) she will sleep at night well ONLY if I’m
    Holding her and she constantly wants to comfort nurse. Same for the day. I have a toddler so this is quite challenging. And I go back to work in few weeks so won’t be able to carry her around during day for naps and fear shell get overtired. My question is this; is it too early to let her cry during day for attempts at nap because I don’t think she’ll learn to self soothe without tears.

    1. I think you’re right about being a little early. Your preemie 6 week old is too young to expect her to transition well. Set it aside for a week, a vacation from “trying” anything may help you not be frustrated. Then, after a week, try it again. It could be that she’s just too young, especially with her being premature. As for naps, try to get her to adjust to eating after she wakes up, not before she goes to bed. Even if she only sleeps for 15 minutes. Try to keep her quiet for 10-15 minutes, as a “nap” and then feed her. The point here is you want her to associate waking with eating, and not so much eating with sleeping. (Does that make sense?) The one exception to that would be when you are putting her down for the night – then you would nurse her before bedtime.

      You’re doing great, I know it doesn’t feel that way sometimes, but you really are. She is healthy. Sounds like she’s growing. These things will get worked out. Even if she does get overtired for the first week when you return to work, she will catch on to the new rhythm. Just be patient with her.

      Also, if you haven’t yet, give her a lovey – a tiny stuffed animal or a blanket or something she can hold and bond with. The sooner she bonds with this, the better it will be for you, since it will give her some comfort when you’re not around and help her sleep better. Do these sound doable? or have you tried them?

  69. My 4 week old has to have a pacifier in his mouth while sleeping or he won’t sleep just lay there and cry. If it falls out of his mouth he wakes up.
    He has to be rocked to sleep either in someone’s arms or in a rocker. He doesn’t like to sleep flat on his back, he will only sleep in his swing or the rocker. I don’t get any sleep during the day or night because he’s consently having to be rocked or I’m putting the pacifier back in his mouth and on top of feeding him every 3 hours or less.
    He cries all the time! Should I just let him cry it out?
    Please help!!!!

    1. Kassi, three things popped in my mind.

      Firstly, it could be an allergic reaction causing tummy troubles. If you’re breastfeeding, try eliminating dairy from your diet for a week and see if that helps. If you’re using formula, try switching to the first tier of formulas for allergic babies (the second tier would be hypoallergenics, but they are expensive, so try the sensitive low-dairy formulas first.)

      Secondly, it could be colic. Colic is not something I personally experienced (so other commenting moms may have more to offer here) but I’ve heard that gripe water is helpful (linked here on Amazon). It’s on my “to research and write about” list.

      Thirdly, based on how much he hates sleeping flat on his back, it could be reflux. Have you noticed that it gets worse after eating? You may want to talk to your pediatrician about testing to see if reflux could be causing these problems. Have you tried wearing him around the house in an wrap or carrier? That also could be helpful.

      In the meantime, I would let him cry it out ONLY if you are reaching your limit and need to step away for a few minutes. (4 weeks is a little young for CIO.) I would also recommend getting a pair of corded ear plugs (corded because loose earplugs are choking hazards) and using them when you feel like your head is going to explode because of all the crying. They REALLY helped me stay calm in my head with my little fussinator. http://www.incredibleinfant.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

      Let me tell you though, Kassi, you are doing a great job as his mother. I know this is the hardest thing you’ve probably ever done, caring for him, but you were MADE to do this and you CAN do it. Rest in the knowledge that he won’t always be this fussy. It will improve over time. (hugs)

  70. Do you wake her up again at 4 am to feed then go directly back to sleep? Or you let her sleep from 1 am till 7am ?

    1. It depends. If your baby will sleep until 7am, don’t wake her up and let her sleep. If she starts getting into the habit of waking at 5:30 or 6:00am, you may want to dreamfeed her. Basically this means you very gently and quietly feed her a little before her natural waketime. So she’s only barely awake enough to eat, then you lay her back down. Every child is different, but this really helped my kids learn to be late sleepers. They would consistently sleep until 8:30 or later because they’re tummies were full. That said, a friend of mine tried this with her son and it backfired. He was ready for the day to start at 5am. You’ll just have to try it and see how your baby responds. I would make sure, though, that you have enough curtains on the windows, etc so it still seems dark and quiet. And avoid changing the diaper if you can. Just feed, sleep.

  71. HI heather,
    My 4 week old usually eats and falls immediately to sleep, wakes up and does it all again. He is really only awake after 2 or 3 feelings a day and when that does happen he usually eats after playtime to go to sleep. I don’t see anything like this in your schedules. I realize this is his natural pattern right nOw but I am worried I shouldn’t be feeding him to sleep. Thanks!

    1. Lindsay,

      At 4 weeks I wouldn’t worry about it. Since he’s sleeping almost all the time anyway, it’s hard NOT to feed him to sleep. 🙂 I would just sit tight and watch his natural rhythm set in. Then, at around 6-8 weeks you can start making small adjustments to start weaning off the nurse-to-sleep habits.

      For now, indulge him and let your milk supply get established by feeding him when he seems hungry. You can adjust things in a few weeks. You’re doing great!

      Heather 🙂

  72. Hi Heather, my 7 week old has been sleeping at night in a swing (my little lamb) since birth and in the vibrating bassinet for daytime sleep. I am getting nervous about the weeks going by and knowing that she’ll eventually have to make the transition from no swing or vibrating bassinet to idle crib!!! I of course won’t know how this will go without TRYING first! Any suggestions on easing her transition? I will definitely keep the music/white noise as a constant and add your suggestion of a secured blanket brushing against her cheek. Thankyou again!

    1. I guess I would start to ease her off the vibration. Perhaps by turning it off after 20 minutes…then after a few days 10 minutes…then 5…then trying to lay her down without it at all. Kinda stair-stepping her down rather than quitting cold turkey. Hope it helps!

  73. Hello, I have a few questions about sleep training! I have a 7 week old who startles herself awake with flailing limbs unless we swaddle her. Therefore she isn’t really able to physically self soothe herself yet (like with sucking on her fingers or a lovie) right? Therefore I don’t want to just lay her down for a nap or sleep without first rocking and shushing her, helping her get almost to sleep? She sleeps really well at night and I usually have to wake her to breastfeed and change. I’m hoping te reflex fades soon so she can learn to self-soothe. Also, I’m really good about keeping daytime bright and exciting while nighttime boring and dark. I was wondering if I should make naptime light or dark? I’ve been having her nap with lights on and white noise because I wanted her to know its a daytime nap. Is this incorrect? Thank-you so much for your time I absolutely love your site and appreciate your advice and wisdom, Sincerely, Janelle

    1. I hope I can help! As to the whole “flailing limbs thing” my EM was particularly susceptible to The Superman Pose (as my husband called it). Swaddling is a smart idea – good job on that one. One extra thing we did with EM was place the corner of a blanket next to her cheek, tucking the rest of the blanket under the crib mattress so she couldn’t pull it over her head. My EM was very much a touchy baby (still is a touchy 5-year old!), so having that soft fabric brushing against her cheek really helped her self-soothe. (And idea you could think about.)

      Yes, I would also make naptime dark. It’s really more about teaching her the difference between playtime and sleeptime, than day and night. Try that and see if it helps.

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