6-9 Month Baby Sleep Guide

If your baby is in the 6-9 month age range one of two things is happening:

1

Things are getting dramatically better!

Your baby is taking longer more predictable naps, you’re down to 0-1 feedings at night, you’re no longer wearing flannel PJ pants to the grocery, and you’re reading enough to show your face at your monthly book club meetings. WOO HOO!

2

Things are bad or possibly getting even worse!

Your baby is taking short unpredictable naps, bedtime is a dreaded chore, and you’re up so often at night you wish you could go back to the newborn phase because that was easier. (If so keep reading!)

You’re probably done swaddling your bigger baby but some older babies still need to be swaddled although I promise you you’re very close to being done with wrapping up your baby Houdini. You’ll want to continue to use loud white noise and work hard to make sure you aren’t keeping baby awake too long. Your 6-9 month old baby is hopefully taking somewhat longer and more regular naps (check out Baby Sleep What is Normal for more details on this). Most babies at this age are napping ~3 times a day. The first 2 naps are serious where the 3rd nap (which falls in the late afternoon/early evening) is generally more of a cat nap.

Teaching Your Baby to Fall Asleep

teaching baby to fall asleepYou can no longer nurse, rock, pat, etc your older baby to sleep. If your 6-9 month old baby is sleeping poorly THIS is the problem. It’s not the teething, growth spurts, wonder weeks, learning to roll over, or any of those other changes that make parenting an older baby so exciting. The problem is that they haven’t yet learned how to fall asleep on their own.

The process of gradually reducing the amount of nursing, rocking, and butt patting you do can be frustrating. But it’s REALLY important. Also? Failure to do so almost guarantees you will never ever sleep through the night. That’s how important it is.

I know it’s not easy but trust me, the longer you wait to deal with this issue the more likely it is that you’re headed towards cry it outsville. I’m not saying you can’t avoid this path, but as your baby get’s older, it get’s harder to do so. So really, now IS the time.

Further Reading

How and Why to Use and Loose the Paci
Weaning Baby OFF the Swing
When Night Weaning isn’t Working
Bedtime What Time?
Why Your Baby Hates the Crib
What to Do About Short Naps
Are You Keeping Baby Awake Too Long?
Sleeping Through the Night Part 1
Sleeping Through the Night Part 2
What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night – Part 3
And of course the ever popular – Baby Sleep What is Normal?

 

200 Comments


  1. Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me why my 6 month old girl can put herself to sleep by herself without any tears or problems when she goes to bed and sometimes will through the night but 2/3 times a night needs feeding/rocking back to sleep and will cry as soon as she is put down? She is bf but has one bottle of ff when she goes to bed at 7pm. Up until 4 months she was sleeping 10 hours. She also is a terrible napper, very rarely puts herself to sleep and has 4 x 30 minute naps. Any help would be very much appreciated :-)

    • Same exact story for my almost 9 month old Blake. Any breakthrough?

      • Same here for my nearly 6 month boy!

        Settles himself down for nap times really well and even at bed time but we have 2/3 wakings in the night at least 2 he “needs” feeding. Is this normal?

        Also bf with a bottle of formula at bed time!

        Any advice would be really appreciated

    • Me too. Please help! My baby goes to bed totally awake, puts herself to sleep no problem. But then she wakes up 3 or more times during the night and SCREAMS. Like a demon. Why can’t she self-soothe during the night???

      • My 8 month old daughter does the same thing. She’ll go down awake at bedtime and for naps but starts waking up every hour at 1:00am. At that point she will only settle when held and starts screaming as soon as I bend over to put her down. I usually feed her between 11 and 12 so I know she’s not upset because she’s hungry. I’m desperate for any suggestions at this point!

        • My little girl is 8 months and exactly the same as yours night times are awful she’s fine until 1am and then boom she’s awake screaming and has to sleep on me then she screams every couple of hours after that. I wouldn’t mind as such but she’s exhausted in the mornings she’s actually tired from the time she wakes up because of it!!

    • This is the same as my seven month old little boy, he was a perfect sleeper up until 4 months and its just getting worse and worse.
      I put him to bed if a night and at nap time and he is quite happy to put himself to sleep but he wakes crying of a night every hour or so now its crazy, I’m going crazy!
      Anyone have an answers!?!?!

  2. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE we need help with our 7 month old daughter. Her naps have fallen apart to the point that she now sleeps no longer than 30-60 minutes in a day. At three months we managed to successfully wean her off nursing to sleep and lately it seems she is trying to reintroduce it. Strangely not even that calms her anymore. She is so sleep deprived and exhausted, and we are extremely worried about her. When it’s clear she simply CANNOT sleep without help I nap with her, or attempt to, which usually just results in her pulling her hair, scratching her ears until they bleed, kicking me repeatedly, scratching my face, crying with frustration…. she doesn’t have an ear infection, and if she’s teething she has been doing so for months… We are at our wits end. No amount of soothing helps her to settle down but as her parents we KNOW she is overtired and it is getting serious. We have totally run out of options and I feel like a major failure. Does anyone have ANY idea what is going on?! ;(

    • Hi Kirsten,

      poor you! I really feel for you. I too have been battling my daughters lack of sleep, both at night and during the day. She is 6 months, and a very inquisitive, alert baby, but it means that she prefers to be awake than asleep! Listen, I am only a few steps ahead of you on the path to glorious sleep, but when this happened to us a little while ago, I did whatever I could to get her to sleep. The stroller normally works (I would go out 2-3 times a day, rain or shine), the car at times (though I think this is a dangerous one to get her used to as you could be creating a rod for your back), my trusty Beco carrier (the only one she likes) to walk around, outside if the weather permitted but it also works in the house, nursing her to sleep (she particularly liked this at about 5pm for a half hour cat nap). I also bought things to extend the naps, so a black-out drape to put over the stroller (its called Snooze Shade and its designed for cutting out the light in strollers) and also something called Robopax, which is a flat stroller- rocker thing – you put the stroller or car seat on it and continues to mimic the motion. Good when you want to come home but keep them sleeping and dont want to lift them out of the seat. I also got a white noise cuddly sheep, which makes tidal sounds (and which sounds similar to my own shushing). I also tried lying down with her on my bed whilst nursing her (which didnt really work, to be honest, but it felt nice!). Have you tried giving her a massage? That does help now and then – just smooth some olive oil on her and do some gentle strokes, I reckon you can find some advice on strokes on the internet. I assume you have checked out any medical reasons she could have ie colds, teething etc? Have you also tried feeding her more during the day? Doing all this does make you feel as if all you are doing is either feeding her or trying to get her to sleep, but I think the concerted effort did help her body get reconditioned to sleeping again. It is still hard as she refuses to take her midday nap anywhere other than in her stroller (though she does do swimming in the mornings, and that tires her so much I am able to put her into the cot for a nap – a miracle!!) Once I was able to get her up to 2 hours a day (which took me about 1-2 weeks) I started with the sleep training all over again. Phew. Good luck, my thoughts are with you.
      I love this site, BTW. Its amazing that Alexis devotes so much time and energy to it. Thank you!

      • Ah thanks Zuzu for all your advice!! Unfortunately I have tried all of these things :(
        I massage her legs while nursing her if she seems hyper. She doesn’t sleep in the car, or in the stroller. I used to wear her all day long in a baby carrier until my back started hurting and it stopped being effective. She is a pretty large baby (95th percentile.) and not the easiest to carry around!! We use white noise, we have solid routines, and she “sleeps” in the swing during the day, cot at night. She had a very strong nurse to sleep association so I can’t lie down with her anymore for any naps because she then expects it every time and it is not sustainable. Plus, these days she just ends up hanging out on my boobs but not sleeping.
        Over the past few days we decided to take the bull by the horns and just CIO for naps. I think when a baby is resisting all forms of comfort, and is tearing her own hair out from exhaustion you just have to do what you can and insist on sleep. Luckily after a day it was a success and now she is slowly starting to sleep longer… Long may it last!! Of course, now she is waking up all night instead. AGH!!!!!!! At some point I will get some sleep :/

        • Hi Kirsten

          I have just been reading through your post and I can identify completely with what you have gone through. It seems things have settled for you now? My baby at 6 months went through the exact same problems with pulling and scratching at her ears (one more than the other) until it bled. I eventually figured it might be some eczema. I decided to use a mild hydrocortisone cream which helped a little. I brought her to the doc who said I was doing exactly the right thing but if the milder version didn’t work to use a stronger one SPARINGLY the odd time and it worked immediately!!! Massive change with her. In case your little one starts this problem again it’s good for you to know. I have had eczema and I know how uncomfortable the itching can be. These creams are the only thing that work during a flare up. In between times keep her skin (backs of her knees too) well moisturized. Good luck :-)

          • My son also has eczema, which was interfering with his sleep patterns as well. Though we used hydrocortisone in the beginning, I stumbled upon Aveeno’s baby lotion for eczema and have not needed to use hydrocortisone since (a humidifier and daily baths followed by a thorough moisturizing routine also help). If it is not eczema and the MD has ruled out other medical conditions (e.g. food allergies), talk to the MD about possibly getting an OT eval for sensory processing issues completed, especially if you see additional symptoms. This is a good website for more information (with a symptom checklist): http://www.spdfoundation.net/index.html

            I am an OT and it is not at all infrequent for these kiddos to have difficulty sleeping! Good luck!!!

        • i am sure your child is showing symptoms of magnesium deficiency , as simple to cure as epsom salts in the bath at night.i hope this helps !

  3. Hey Alexis,
    My 5 month old will only fall asleep while breastfeeding. He will rearely sleep if i am just sitting down with him or rocking him and will NEVER fall aseep without me holding him. Would it be okay for me to put him to sleep in his crib with a bottle of warm water? Would it help at all? I sure don’t want to have a kicking screaming 2 year old when i won’t breastfeed him to sleep everynight anymore. Is it necessary to have him sleep on his own now? Is it possible? Since the day he was born, even in the hospital, he has slept in bed with me. Around three months old I started putting him to sleep (on the breast as always) and then putting him in the crib. This is when he started to sleep through the night again. But recently, he has been waking up 2 hours after i put him in the crib and wants me to change him, and put him back to sleep. Sometimes he will wake up again 2 hours later and sleep through the night once i put him back to sleep or he’ll just wake up the first time and sleep through the night. Sometimes he will wake up later in the night while im sleeping and ill just bring him into bed with me, which will be followed by him waking up throughout the night and having to continuously be nursed back to sleep. I’m really not sure how to get him to go to sleep on his own especially considering i live with his grandparents and his 14 year old aunt and i don’t want to keep them up with a screaming baby. Would it be worse to just have him sleep on his own at one or two years old?

  4. Hi Alexis,

    I am struggling big time to get my almost six month old, ebf son to sleep for naps. At night, we did CIO about a month ago and he now sleeps on his own every single night with no tears. I place him awake in the crib and he falls asleep within a few minutes. He sleeps ttn from about 7:45 until sometime between 4 and 6. When he wakes up, he nurses, then goes to sleep for about two more hours. Sounds great, no? The problem is that he will not self soothe for a nap like he does at night. He has a total sleep-nursing association. He falls asleep on the boob, but when I pop him off, he wakes up and cries. If I am able to pop him off without crying, he wakes up when I put him down in the crib and screams. I have let him cry (to see what happens) and he can cry for over 20 minutes without falling asleep. I use blackout shades, white noise but no more swaddle because he breaks out of it. Any ideas/suggestions? Naptime has become a major source of anxiety for me and I dread putting him down to sleep. I’ve read the advice on how to wean from a paci, but am not sure how to apply it in this situation.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Diana, I am having the exact same issue with my 7 month old… sleeps well at night with minimal wake-ups after we sleep-trained her, but naps are still extremely short and it is almost impossible to get her to settle without a bottle (and then usually what happens is that she falls asleep with it, and either wakes as soon as we put her in her crib, or wakes about 15-20 minutes later and nap is done). I suspect we may headed towards crying-it-out at nap-time, but I am not really sure how to accomplish this. My understanding is that CIO works so well at night that they are so tired that eventually they have no choice but to fall asleep on their own, but that this is not the case during day sleep. So I am not really sure how to accomplish sleep-training her for naps (although if I have learned anything from Alexis, I think the first step would be to break the bottle-nap association!) I would appreciate any insights that any others may have as well!

      • As of about two weeks ago, I’ve had a napping breakthrough :-) Instead of nursing right before attempting a nap, I started putting my baby down for a nap about two hours after the start of the last feeding. Works like a charm. I used to be afraid to nap him without feeding him, thinking that he would be hungry, so I’d start a feeding and then he’d fall asleep. I was never able to transfer him to his crib without him waking up. Now, 9 times out of 10, I put him in his sleep sack, and rock him for a little while in his dark room with white noise going, and he falls asleep for a decent nap. I am now doing eat, play, sleep for his routine. Try to put your baby down at the same times every day, or about two hours after she last woke up. It’s working for me!

        • Great suggestion. Does she root for the boob when your are rocking her though? I can’t seem to rock my little guy without that happening, when I don’t give in, then he cries. When you put her down in the crib is she sleeping or awake- if awake, does she cry?

          Also, to confirm you put her down 2 hours after she woke up or 2 hours after you last fed her? Thank you again for your suggestion, I am hoping it will work with my little one.

        • Great idea, I am inspired and will try it starting tomorrow! Thanks!

      • I’m at wits end. My 6 month old is a TERRIBLE napper. We have his bedtime routine down to a T and he sleeps from 7pm-4:30am. He wakes because he’s wet so we change him, feed him and ALWAYS lay him in his crib awake. He sleeps until 7am. Then we get him up and do our normal daily routine. Naps are an entirely different story. I do the same routine with him every time. I breastfeed him, rock him for 5 minutes, lay him in his crib awake but sleepy and give him his kisses and leave the room. He wakes 20 minutes later EVERY TIME! And will not go back to sleep. We have tried CIO and he will literally cry for the next 40 minutes straight. I have did the whole pick him up, cuddle him, soothe him and lay him back down…he still cries. I soothe him in his crib…still cries. He has a radio in his room playing all the time around the clock. He just hates napping. He has been like this since he was born. We even switched from 3 naps to 2 as was suggested… still nothing. I cry as much as he does. I can’t stand to hear him cry. It’s now been Day 7 of trying the CIO consistently for naps and he still is no better than Day 1. I’ve tried putting him down earlier, later, etc. Still nothing. I think each baby is different. I’m getting so stressed and frustrated especially reading when ppl have their babies sleep an hour – 2 hours at a time. It makes me feel like a failure. When I know I’m not. As long as they are loved, dry bum, fed, cuddled, and happy I don’t think there’s any more you can do for them. As of today, I’m just going to let him get up after his 20 mins, and hope he naps longer the next nap. Oh and I have tried stirring him to get a new sleep cycle to start…still doesn’t work.

        • Hi Tiffany, i just read your post and your baby couldn’t be more similar to my 9 month old son. Just wondering whether you have had any break through since writing this or whether i too need to just accept that he sleeps no more than 25 minutes at a time!! i have tried everything you mentioned and am literally at breaking point. Thanks.

        • I did have problems during 3-5 months old with my lil guy. (Sleeping only 30 minutes at a time and then waking up ready to go, only to be super sleepy and cranky). What I found was that he was so alert to his surroundings that he needed extra help getting to sleep and staying asleep.
          So against advice, we tried a few things: First we put him on his belly (my Mom actually told me to- hate on me all you want) and patted his lil butt/back until he fell asleep. Worked instantly, like a charm.
          Second we bought a white noise machine (cheap at walmart) and cranked it up to the max. This way it drowned out noisy family and friends in the house, but more importantly created a soothing environment for when he woke up. Hearing the same exact sound as when he went to sleep helped keep him in sleep mode I think. Whereas a radio is always playing different songs, and has people talking which could actually be stimulating him when he hits the end of his sleep cycle. (Just a thought).
          Thirdly we added a humidifier for the nights he seemed to be getting a clogged nose and having trouble breathing- just enough to cause little snorts that would startle him awake.
          Lastly to break his 30 minute nap habit- I would head back in his room round 20/25 mins and wait for him to stir a bit- and I would pat his lil butt gently again so that he relaxed back into sleep. (You may have something different that helps your child fall asleep/fall back asleep, but patting worked for us) After doing this for a while, I would go in watch him stir…. and fall back asleep!! It was beautiful.
          Lil man is almost nine months now, with a new trick- pulling himself to standing in his crib, and his sleep schedule got thrown out the window lol. This means no amount of patting or soothing would get him to sleep when he was trying to learn. After tons of frustration and research last night, I went in to my crying baby boy, who was lying there miserable, unable to fall asleep- and I massaged his legs. I’d never tried it before, and he quieted down probably thinking oh, that’s new.. and drifted off.
          So although I have had a few wins I know I’ve got tons of battles ahead :/ It’s good to know though, that I’m not alone and there is always a blog somewhere out there to help me with my situation- hope this helps even just one tired Mom out there! :)

  5. Hi Alexis,

    I love your site and have been using this since my baby was born. She is 8.5 months now and we started the CIO method at month 6 but due to illness, travel etc, she kept regressing back to her old ways. We are doing it again now and it is generally going ok – except
    A) she always cries for 10-20 mins when going to bed – will there ever be a time where the crying completely goes away?
    B) she wakes up at 2:30am crying. I have started giving her just water to night wean her. I know she is not hungry coz she drinks just an ounce before pushing the bottle out. She then plays/complains/whimpers till 4am and finally falls asleep when I go into check on her around that time. I end up rubbing her back for a minute or two coz I am not sure how long I should let her stay up past 4am and I don’t want to be sleep deprived.
    She doesn’t cry much during this time. I am not sure what’s going on and how to fix this- should I just let her stay up till she finally cries enough or figures out to sleep on her own?

  6. Hi all … idk where to start
    it wont be wrong if i say we havent slept in months (surprisingly we got 2 weeks or so with 4-6 stretches of night sleep since i started to ST (PUPD)my lil bundle of joy -(5.5 months then and now 6 months)

    We started initially with a completely OT baby getting up every hour or two and then till last week we came down to 6hrs of straight sleep with 1-2NW – 1 for 5min and the other for feeding ..He would go down in an hour or to the max 2hrs. We were really enjoying this new routine where we all were sleeping and happy, but suddenly i have no idea what happened … since last 4 days its getting worse and worse …last night he was getting up every hour and tonight i put em down at 6:30pm and since then hes getting up crying every 5-10-15 minutes.

    Today i thought may be i should start nap training and so i did …naps have been going crazzy lately, wondered if thats leading to NW+ OT … hes been taking two 30 min naps and one 40-50 min nap since a week now, Today took two 30min naps and i was so disheartened and felt exhausted and lost .. no matter i started an Early BT my lil angel took an hour and a half to finally sleep (felt like he forgot ST which ive been doing more than 15 days now)

    i feel like quitting all nap/sleep training and just taking things how they are (either ways its not helping me or my baby)

    Please please please help me… i just dont know what more to do ..

    • I wish I could have told you exactly what was wrong with your baby. I see this was from Feb. I hope it is better now. :( In case anyone has similar problems with their child- something is WRONG. Wakes up after 5-10-15 minutes of sleep?? Ya, that’s not right. That’s not even a full cycle for a baby (30 mins). Something needs to be figured out- what is waking him. My son had silent reflux at 2-4 months that caused him to wake constantly. (Painful bouts of acid coming up into his throat, and being swallowed back down, ouch) We went through hell fixing it. Look up silent reflux symptoms to see if any fit him. If not you have to watch your baby to see what he is doing during sleep. Scratching (Eczema/teething) Shivering (Too cold) Sweating (Too hot) Startling from noises (Very alert baby) Learning new trick, like rolling (practicing in his sleep)
      Don’t just give up. Research!!! Take the time to see what is affecting your child, what he/she needs to make sleep happen. Good luck.

  7. I thought I was alone until I seen all these story. My 7 month old will put herself to sleep for her naps which are only 20-30 min if I’m lucky! Bed time I nurse her to sleep she’ll sleep until for a 2-3 hours then she’s waking up I really don’t know what else to do I let her cio and it really did help the first night she sleep 6 hours by the 3 night she was sleeping 9 hours then she got sick and now the cio is just a thing in the past please any advice will help!!

  8. Hi,

    Iv come across your page and I’m ever so grateful for your info, my baby is 6.5 months and never been a good sleeper but got worse around the 4 month Mark, I have followed your steps by feeding him 20 minutes before bed and just putting him down in his cot awake. we have done this for naps for a week and have managed for 2 nights with maybe 2 minutes of crying/fussing, my big question is when do you think I can start cutting his nighttime feeds as I cannot cope with the 3-4 night feeds any longer!! he doesn’t have a pacifier!

    This is my second child but my first slept through from 6 weeks….so this is all new to me!

    Thanks Claire

  9. My daughter has just turned 8 months. She is a great napper. She was taking 3 naps until now but she has started resisting the 3rd nap. What happens now is that I put her down for the night at about 7 or 7:30 and she wakes up after an hour or so and thinks she is waking up from a nap. She refuses to go back to sleep and thus she is staying awake until 10 or 11 pm. Also she can get a little moody during this time. CIO is not an option for me because she will vomit if she gets worked up. Any suggestions? Or is this normal?

    • maybe try an extended night time bedtime routine and a dreamfeed before she usually wakes up?? just a thought

  10. I’m at a loss with my 7 month old. Her naps are textbook (morning, afternoon and catnap in the evening.) She falls asleep on her own. I need only put her in her crib, day or night, and she puts herself to sleep. It’s her nights that are driving me nuts. She typically sleeps from 7 to 1 am. After that, it’s downhill with her waking every 1-2 hours until 6:30. She is hungry for some of those wakings and so we’re not ready to nightwean her but would like to get us down to just 2 night wakings. We’ve tried everything (CIO and no cry solutions). Nothing works and I don’t understand why, after 1 am, she can’t stay asleep. Any suggestions?

  11. Hi Alexis!

    I have a 7 month old who sleeps great for our sitter (3 hr naps, 5 days a week) but won’t nap for more than 45 minutes when he is at home on the weekends. He sleeps well at night although in my new-mom-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing-and-just-need-a-nap stage, I resorted to feeding to slep. So when he wakes up during the night, usually no more than once, I have to get up and nurse him back to sleep (sometimes hubby helps out with the bottle and sometimes, like magic, the baby sleeps ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE NIGHT! HALLELUJAH!). But feeding to sleep doesn’t seem to help for nap time. He usually falls asleep when I feed him but the minute I put him in his crib you would think he was in mortal danger!

    I guess I have two qestions: 1) How in the world can I get this child to nap for even an hour or two and 2) How do I break the feed-to-sleep routine I have gotten myself into without the pain of sleepless nights. I can’t imagine willingly going through that again.
    Any help you can give would be awesome. I realyl look forward to the weekends but with a great dread of how bad the nap situation will be.

  12. That is not only a load of crap, it is downright harmful misinformation. Really? If you don’t stop snuggling/nursing/bouncing/rocking your 6-9 month old to sleep you’ll never sleep again? Wow. I always nurse and bounce my 7 month old daughter to sleep and she sleeps 12 hour nights with 3 1 hour naps during the day. I know plenty of parents here in Portland, OR who did all of the wonderful security enforcing things you’re advocating against, and guess what?? Their teenagers aren’t asking to be rocked to sleep. Shocking, I know. Please consider that lack of human contact is unnatural, especially at night time. One reason so many Americans are so depressed. A better solution is practicing good sleep hygiene – an hour of calm down time before bed that includes things like massage, a warm bath, chamomile tea for mom, soft music, reading a book, and having total darkness in the sleeping room. Not using the bed or bedroom for anything but sleep. These are good sleep habits for babies and adults alike. Whatever you do, DON’T stop comforting your baby. The nights are long but the years are short, and soon you’ll be longing to hold that little baby in your arms again. Think about it.

  13. Another note, babies are biologically designed to process breast milk quickly and need to eat frequently – not sleep through the night. My daughter nurses 3-4 times during her 12 hour stretch and neither of us has to actually wake up. Their brain grows the most in your entire life in the first 2 years. It’s not biologically appropriate to expect a baby to sleep through the night. And if you cosleep and breastfeed, it doesn’t have to sacrifice anyone’s needs.

  14. Hello! Question about babies who just learned how to roll from back to tummy: my little guy is up every hour at night crying and when I go to him, I find him on his tummy very upset. I know he knows how to get back, but he doesn’t seem to remember that skill in the middle of the night. Is this something one just has to ride out and wait until babe has mastered this new skill or is this a CIO kind of thing? I feel bad letting him cry, because he’s so upset when he gets stuck. What is your advice?
    Thanks!!

    • My little girl (6mos) is having the same problem. It really freaks her out, and she can’t figure out to just lay her head down to the side. And as fast as I turn her on her back, she’s back on her belly. Also, she constantly has her hands in her mouth, which she usually gags on. I always swaddled her, but now she rolls over while swaddled, so I felt like it was time to give up swaddling. Any advice would be wonderful. :)

      • This happened with my 6 month old…5 months at the time. He eventually got the hang of it. He would wake in the middle of the night on his tummy and cry and cry. I’d flip him back and half an hour later he’d cry again. I flipped him back onto his back about 4 times the first night and then gave up. I let him cry himself to sleep which only took 5 minutes and over 3 more nights of him realizing I wasn’t coming back in to flip him over…he got it. That was 3 weeks ago and we haven’t had any issues since. I do not swaddle any more though. Only give him a very lite flannel blanket and only put it up to his belly button. I just turned the heat up a little more so he won’t get too cool. And make sure he has a sleeper on with socks or the sleepers with toes.

    • I just laid my baby on his belly to sleep (which is ok because he knows how to roll) He loved it and slept like a log

  15. Please help! I read your article about 2 months ago and it was working pretty well until about 2 weeks ago. My daughter is almost 9 months and at 7 months 1 week, we decided to let her CIO after reading your article. She had been nursing all night in order to fall asleep so I was slowly trying to night wean her as well. At first, after putting her to bed around 8-8:30, she would wake up for the first time around 1-2, then again around 5 and then around 7:30-8. That worked itself to dropping the 1-2 am waking and even one night to a solid night of sleep! But, in the past several weeks, I have done everything the same and she is waking between 12-1, 3, 5, and then 7. Also, it typically goes straight to a full scream instead of whining first then gradually getting louder. The past 3-4 days have been especially challenging bc she has now learned to pull herself up on her crib and gets very angry/unable to self soothe. I have resorted to putting her in bed with me the last few nights and that doesn’t work as well as it used to. When left to let her CIO it is now taking close to an hour for her to cry herself to sleep, which it used to take about 5-10 min max. Please help!

    Also, I have a Baby Bjorn travel crib that is used when we visit family that she will not sleep in (screams violently). It is hers and so the sheets/blankets etc are all familiar. Any advice on this issue? It had made it almost impossible to visit family. Thanks!

  16. Hello and good morning.

    We had to camp out in CIOville for a few nights and while it was horrible, our 6 month old now sleeps 10-11 hours at a stretch. The only time he wakes in the night is when he rolls over and can’t quite get back again. Poor bug. :) Anyhow, I can now put him in his crib for naps with minimal crying (5-10 minutes). BUT I have been finding that he is not sleeping–just playing! Sometimes he prattles away. But this morning he is just enjoying the feel of the fabric of his blanket and the breathable bumpers on his crib. He has no toys in the crib; just his little “lovie” blanket. I assume I should just roll with this; he isn’t screaming or even fussing. Just chillin’. The issue is after 20-30 minutes, then he will start to scream–quite often this is case. Shall I just continue with our CIO method that worked? I hate to go back to it; but teaching him to sleep seems invaluable. Thanks.

    • Sarah,
      I know you asked a question to Alexis about CIO, but I found your post inspiring. I was hoping you could help. My son has a strong association to nursing to help him calm down to be able to sleep. I put him down awake at night and he can settle. However, last night I tried to separate nursing by 20 minutes in his bedtime routine before I put him down awake. He was besides himself. He cried for over an hour, screamed really to the point I had to go in because he woke my 3 year old up- who has night terrors and he desperately needs his sleep.

      Anyway, it all backfired on me. I went in to feed him and then put him down awake after the hour + of crying. It seemed that nursing for a few minutes did the trick. When I put him down, he was out for the count at 8 p.m. HOORAY, right? NO… he was then up every HOUR on the hour starting at midnight.

      Needless to say, I am just at my wits end. I cannot function and need help. When you were camping in CIOville, after you put baby down awake, how many feedings did you do during the night? I am in a tug a war kinda battle with myself, thinking I should follow Dr. W’s path… put baby down nursing but don’t go in until 11, only 2 feeds and then not go in until 6 {which is easier on my little guy and he doesn’t cry for hours initially but horrible during the night} OR work on what this blog is saying, distance nursing from bed and night feed when needed, then try to wean when bed awake is established.

      Any words of advice or wisdom? My baby is 7 months old tomorrow. Oh and he has white noise, swaddle, lovey and in crib. He is a BIG boy and no longer works in the swing. Thanks.

      • Sorry one last thing. My little guy can fall asleep during the day in the car without nursing before putting him in to the seat. That shows me that he can sleep without nursing BUT needs motion. I hate to go to the swing when he does fine in the crib with nursing. OH GOOD LORD, I feel like a crazy woman.

        • Hi, Joanne!

          I am so sorry you are having troubles! It’s hard, I know. I am a first-time momma, so I am certainly no expert. BUT I did email pretty much every mother on facebook friends list and almost all of them told me that they had to let their kiddo CIO so that they could learn to sleep on their own. My little guy is sooo stubborn (he gets it from me and my husband, poor guy!). I thought that we rounded the CIO corner last week but then he started regressing. He would cry for an hour and still not sleep. I called the pediatrician and she said to let him go a bit longer (with checks, of course). He cried for 80 minutes and fell asleep. It was horrible and I felt like a neglectful mother.But for us I think it was a battle of the wills. BUT that night, we switched his bottle with his bath so that he was not feeding to sleep and he cried 10 minutes and passed out. the next night about 10 minutes and slept and last night he cried about 5. For naps, I give him his bottle and he usually falls asleep. I wake him just a little and pop him int he crib. Naps now (knock wood) are lasting about 1.5 hours or a little less. So all of that to say: Be consistent and be strong. I do not have another kiddo to worry about; I can see how that makes it a lot harder. For us, managing naps first really helped because then our sleep was less disrupted and that makes life better for everyone. He also has never taken a paci so he really needed to learn to self soothe. So maybe try to manage naps first (I know Alexis said that nighttime is the first thing to address) but maybe our backwards approach will work for you? :) I hope this rambling helps! I am praying you and yours all get some rest!

          • Thank you so much for the reassurance and helping me to realize that I can help my son learn how to sleep. I tried CIO again tonight- books and cuddling being the last thing we did and your prayers must have been heard because he fell asleep after 5 minutes of fussing! So thank you. I will have to pick your brain when I start to night wean. Thanks again.

  17. I’m not sure if this comment has already been posted by some one else, so I’m sorry if this is a repeat. I’m so baffled by my 8 month old. Lately (and I’m talking about the last 2 or so weeks) his naps have been becoming shorter and shorter. He seems to nap about a half hour to 40 minutes during the day.
    I thought, perhaps, I wasn’t keeping him up long enough. He’d start to show the “I’m sleepy” signs (rubbing eyes, yawning, getting increasingly fussy) about 2 hours of awake time, so down I’d put him for a nap (I do put him to sleep awake, we’ve been doing that since about 5 months and it’s going well). Half hour to 40 minutes later, he wakes. Sometimes happy, cooing, babbling, etc. Sometimes fussy. So the week before last, I thought “well, maybe he needs to be awake a bit longer before napping” and I’ve widened that awake window to 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours. Sometimes he naps more than an hour. Mostly not. Mostly he’s between that half hour to 40 minute range.
    What’s the deal? What could I be doing wrong? What ELSE could I try to help him nap longer? He doesn’t do this at night. He’s not a fantastic, sleep through the night kind of fellow yet (though last night he did randomly bless us with 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep – however, most night’s it’s 3.5-4 hours at a time…).
    Any suggestions? Any tips?

    • Not sure this is any help, but my little one used to have short naps… 30-45 min, and all of a sudden he started taking longer ones again! Perhaps just a phase? My guy is 8months, and his naps are 1hour-2.5 typically, and twice a day. They used to be 2 naps for shorter, he just changed all of a sudden. Maybe it will pass!

    • i’d love to hear about this too as i am in the same pickle!! my girl is almost 8 months and suddenly is taking 30-40 minute naps, and the middle of the day nap is getting almost impossible. she falls asleep for 10 minutes, then is WIDE awake and chipper, and i try again 1/2 hour later. if i let her cry, one day it was 1 hour and then next 30 minutes and she took long naps but then her 3rd was short too. i tried extending the window and that didn’t work either. i am also hoping it’s a growth spurt that she will grow out of. she also got less hungry at the same time so maybe??

      • Okay, so I don’t know if this will help you or not, but he is finally sleeping great naps. I can count on at least 1 hour & 20 minutes for each of his two naps now. By the end of March, this weird nap thing went away. I honestly think the culprit was teething. He finally cut his bottom two middle teeth – ones those bad boys were through the surface, he started taking amazing naps.
        hopefully your little one gets her schedule back on track soon! It’s so frustrating when you know your babe needs the rest but just won’t take it.

  18. I’m soooo glad!!! Did you feel like you conquered the world after he fell asleep?! I always do! We had a bit of a roller coaster last night: E went right down; no fussing. But had a soaked diaper around 11:45pm. My husband changed him in the crib (that’s a new trick that usually helps!) and baby boy was not having it. So he screamed for about 12 minutes and then conked out and slept until his usual 5am bottle. He has been drooling like crazy; I think we’ve got some more teeth! I will keep you in my prayers!

  19. Hey Alexis,

    I’ve literally read every post on your site and can’t figure out why my LO is such a poor sleeper, STILL. He is almost 7 months old, and is super inconsistent. One night he will only wake up twice, and the next night he will be up 8 times. He falls asleep on his own no problem. I’ve sleep trained him. I’ve tried ignoring his cries unless I think he is hungry. It didn’t work. He is breast fed and I’ve upped his solids to 3x a day. He naps 2-3 times a day (I have nap trained him as well). I’m at a total loss… I have no idea what to do next. Please help!!

  20. Hi everyone! My 8 month old knows how to put himself to sleep, he has done it a lot since he was a few months old. He gets up a lot at night to eat… 3-6 times (another issue in itself – I am exploring the idea of night weaning, once we are settled in our new home in about a month). At bedtime, he fights going to sleep, and cries and I pick him up to comfort him, but sometimes (most often) it is a battle…is there anything I can do to improve that? We have a nighttime routine. I get him ready the second I see any sign of sleepiness. I am not super keen on CIO, but would that work because he does know how to fall asleep? He sometimes accepts the snuggles, sometimes isn’t happy no matter what you do. Just dislikes the day being over? Would love some advice, or comments! Thanks!

  21. My 7 month old seems to be getting worse with nighttime sleep! I have done everything- we weaned him from the swaddle into the majic sleep suit and he is now weaned from that, we stopped giving him his pacifier at night(and this helped dramatically up until the last couple weeks), he falls asleep on his own at both bedtime and nap times, we have a set bedtime routine that we follow every night and he goes in his crib awake and falls asleep on his own. The problem is that when he wakes up in the MOTN he won’t fall back asleep on his own usually unless I nurse him. A month ago, I tried night weaning by gradually reducing the amount of time he was nursing and after a couple days (and lots of crying) he slept from 7-5, then nursed and went back to sleep for an hour or two, for 2 nights in a row. After that, he would sleep until about 4-430 am and I nursed him then because I figured it was close enough to 5 am and wasn’t worth making him CIO for an hour. And then it started be 3:30 or 3. And now within the last couple weeks, he has woken up as early as 11:30! If he wakes up really early then he will wake up again about 2-3 hours later for another MOTN feeding, so now sometimes he is getting 2 MOTN feedings. At one point I decided that if he woke up any earlier than 4 am, I just wouldn’t feed him and let him CIO if he had to. Well he cried for 2 hours straight one night and 1.5 hours another night. He is also teething and I couldn’t take another night of that so I started just nursing him when he wakes since that’s the fastest way to get him back to sleep. I have also been giving him a dose of Motrin at bedtime and another one when he wakes up if its been 6 hours. His first tooth came in last week but he still hasn’t been sleeping any better and I have still been giving the Motrin because I’m scared not to. Last night he woke up at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:40 and would not go back to sleep after feeding him at 4:40. I spent my morning crying and feeling sorry for myself that at 7 months things still aren’t better. Please HELP!!!

    • kind of having similar issues…although your make mine sound much better! i was having issues and brought back the dream feed. we feed her in her sleep at 10 pm before going to bed and then we know she is def not hungry. also if there in another time they are always up DF then too. you can wean off the DF but that way you aren’t responding to the cry. if you fed them in the last 4 hrs you know they can’t be hungry. my daughter was doing great and now wakes up between 3:30-4 am babbling and won’t go back to sleep for 45 min-1 hr. driving me crazy! anyone else have any ideas? i was going to try wake to sleep but am terrified!

    • This happened to mine to at around this time. I did some dream feeding before i went to bed (like 10 pm) as someone else also suggested, merely to reassure myself that when my baby woke up before midnight she wasn’t hungry. i also made sure (again!) that i was putting her down sleepy but awake and letting her get herself to sleep. this really seemed to help, as she would then tend to sleep until 3 or 4 am after doing a bit of crying for bedtime (like 10 minutes). if you’re putting your baby down awake already, then maybe try to do the dream feed and see what happens.

  22. I understand the sleep deprivation aspect of sleep schedules, and I’m a first time mom. However, my 6 month old girl, has always recieved comfort when she needs it. Our day naps are always nurse to sleep, and she doesn’t ever sleep in her crib during the day. She’s on her play mat or play pen etc. at night, we nurse to sleep, and she usually goes down around 9-10 in her crib with nightlite and sleep sheep going, and wakes up at 5-7 ish for a feeding, then back down for another few hours. It’s not fair to say that nursing a baby to sleep will cause sleepless nights, cuz clearly my ‘do what feels natural’ system is working a lot better then some sleep solutions other ladies here are trying. Every baby is different, so one solution may not work for everyone! We are now nursing until she’s drowsy and putting her in the crib almost asleep, going to slowly and painlessly wean her off. But if I let her CIO I end up with a wound up scared upset little girl. They’re only young once, I will cuddle while I can!

    • That’s good for you that that is working so well but it’s also not fair to say that your “do what feels natural system” is working a lot better than what others are doing. If I could nurse my baby to sleep for every nap and at night and he still napped well and slept all night, then I would do it but for most people it isn’t that easy!

    • Hey Jayme,

      I’m really glad things are going so well for you! Trust me there are MANY parents of 6 month old babies who would LOVE to have a baby go down without a peep and then happily sleep for 8-9 hours. A nice chunk of sleep makes everything so much more manageable and I’m happy it feels natural to you!

      But Jamie is right – most babies can do this “nurse to sleep” when they’re younger but for 97% of them it will eventually blow up on them. Usually between 6-8 months. So maybe you are in the 3% that can roll with this and honest we all hope that’s the case!

      But if your gentle baby starts waking up hourly, or bedtime devolves into a mess where getting her to fall asleep is increasingly more difficult and takes longer or starts to feel all but impossible, then IF those things happen, you may want to consider that the plan that worked so great when she was born is no longer working.

      Or look at it this way, if nursing to sleep worked so great for most babies nobody would ever need to do CIO because it wouldn’t be an issue. But the reality for most is that it almost always does blow up on you eventually. And IF that happens you may feel differently about parents who turn to CIO to solve problems they’ve created. Because IF that happens you may end up being one yourself.

      But I hope not.

  23. hi, i have a 9month old son who is sleeping terrible at night. he will nap in his cot on an afternoon for about 45mins which is normal for him, he will also fall asleep on his own but as soon as its bedtime it falls apart and is waking up every hour during the night. we r all sleep deprived even the dog!! anybody got any advice?? thank u.

  24. Hello fellow tired,

    I was wondering if others have had the following experience and found anything that helps. My 7 month old is sleeping pretty well these days – falling asleep on her own for naps and night, sleeping through the night. A relief! But every once in a while she starts screaming hysterically a few hours after falling asleep. The pediatrician suggested night terrors but I thought that happened more with older infants? Anyway, we usually wait a bit before rushing in, just in case she’s still sort of asleep (she does moan and sometimes cry out without waking up) but last night she became more hysterical so we went in her room and ultimately picked her up – which didn’t really help. We eventually went outside to walk around for 30mn. Another 15 mn later she seemed calm so we put her in bed – she started screaming again. Finally she spent 20mn using the boob like a paci and I was able to transition her into bed, where she cried 2 mn and went to sleep. Then slept until morning. SO. Any similar experiences, advice, thoughts?

  25. My son is 8 1/2 months old and our biggest challenge is going to sleep at the beginning of the night. When he turned seven months old we sleep trained and it took about seven or eight days. We started with Ferber’s “controlled crying” method, but after two or three days we decided that going in was just making him more upset. So, we then switched over to Weissbluth and just left him to cry. It was torture and made us feel super crappy to say the least.

    It worked for a while and most nights we’d have no more than 15 minutes of crying before he’d be out cold. We went to visit my in-laws over Memorial Day weekend and his bedtime schedule got a little messed up. We knew we needed to re-sleep train when we got home, but we are back to hour long scream fests. Well, the first two nights he cried for at least an hour (second night my husband caved and rocked him to sleep), last night the baby fell asleep on his own in about 20 minutes, and tonight was another mega scream fest for an hour before I caved and rocked him.

    When we go in he’s all sweaty and seems so stressed out. After rocking for less than five minutes he’s out cold and we plop him down in his crib.

    It blows my mind that we are completely back to square one after two or three nights of being a little “off”. It makes me feel like we can never leave home overnight again.

    Does anyone have any advice on what to do? Has anyone else had the experience of CIO taking a lot longer than the lovely little three day scenario described on Alexis’ website and in the Ferber book?

    If it helps to provide a little more context–

    The go to sleep routine has been the same since he was about four or five months old (diaper and jammies, boob, 3 board books, 2 rounds of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, a quick prayer, hugs and kisses, in the crib then we say “We love you very much and we’ll see you in the morning. We love you. Sweet dreams.”). Our time of day is consistent (we only vary if he’s giving us cues that he’s ready earlier or seems to be too alert). Naps are sort of a mess even though I have been trying to get them straightened out since he was six weeks old. He goes to daycare three days a week, so I feel like a big part of the crappy nap situation is the lack of consistency in sleeping environment and routine day to day.

    We know giving in and rocking is probably the issue, but I don’t know that we can handle an hour or more of screaming (not crying… screaming!) for a week or more again. It feels cruel.

  26. I don’t really have any answers, but your question reminds me of one I’ve had for a while now about CIO – which is that even though we sleep trained our daughter, with relatively minimal fuss thanks entirely to this website, but its not “permanent” if you know what I mean. She still has days every once and a while where she cries before bed or before a nap – and we’ve been tracking when it happens to see if there’s something different happening on those days, but there isn’t. I wonder if others have the same experience? If so, then it seems like even once your kid has learned to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night, successful sleep is an ongoing process (and relatively fragile – I know my sleep is. Even before baby a week-end away would mess with my sleep and since baby, I’m still not sleeping through the night even though she is). I went into sleep training with the expectation that it would be a silver bullet, so the first time after successful sleep training that my daughter had trouble with her sleep I jumped to the questions “what did we do wrong?” and “how do we fix it” and then “are we back in a CIO situation, or should we adopt a different strategy since she already knows how to sleep on her own and STTN?”

  27. Really? We will never, ever sleep through the night? My mom nursed me to sleep and somehow I managed to figure it out. The only reason I am writing this comment at 1:00 in the morning is because I’m up late freaking out over your website and wondering how my every instinct could be so horribly wrong. Every month or so I start to doubt myself and stumble across all the CIO advice on the Internet, but the fact is that I enjoy nursing to sleep and I don’t mind waking up at night and peacefully sharing a bed with my 7mo in the wee hours of the morning. I’m not ready to tell my baby she needs to toughen up and that life sucks and everyone sleeps alone. Oh, and she has torticollis so 1) there’s no way it is healthy for her to sleep in a swing and 2) stretching her while she’s asleep in my arms is the only way I can really make headway with her physical therapy. Every baby has a different situation and a different personality and I get it that your info is helping a lot of tired people. But all these articles do for me is make me feel like crap. I’m off to read kellymom dot com for some reassurance that I’m not a bad mommy.

    • Emily…I feel ya…I put my kids down awake and I guess that’s supposed to make for babies that can fall back asleep when they get up, self soothe I guess…but mine (twins) go down at 7 on their own and are back up screaming bloody murder 40 min later, no matter what. We have left them to fuss it out, for over an hour, but they hyperventalate, no crappy shush pat works, nothing unless I nurse them back to sleep. All. Night. Long. I think some babies just don’t fit into these general suggestions…and it sucks…I’m listening to one twin scream now, and she’s only been in bed for 2 he’s and this is the 3rd time she’s been up already. Uhhh :-)

  28. Dear Alexis,
    I sent a comment last night a 1:00am and luckily I don’t think it went through because it probably came off as pretty b*tchy. My baby was sleeping soundly but I was freaking out and couldn’t sleep because I’ve been obsessing over your website. I read your website when she was three months and thought everything made sense and that I would make an effort to teach her to go down awake. I was able to get her to do it a few times, but then she was diagnosed with torticollis and I found that the most effective way to stretch and massage her neck was to wait until she was asleep in my arms. It was more important at the time to address her actual medical problem than to hedge against a hypothetical one down the road. Now her neck is much better but she is 6.5 months and can’t fall asleep on her own. She wakes up a couple of times a night and it has never really bothered me. Everyone is getting enough sleep, more or less, not counting last night’s insomnia and sobbing (mine). You seem to say I’m damaging my daughter for life and that we will “never, ever” sleep through the night. It’s really hard to change something that’s working because of something you read on a website, especially when she cries if I try to put her down awake and it makes bedtime a horrible ordeal of tears and self-doubt. Don’t some people just keep on nursing to sleep? How can I trust that what you recommend is going to be worth suffering over?

    • Hi Emily, I meant to post my response directly to your comment, but silly me, I posted it in the main thread instead.

      http://www.troublesometots.com/6-9-month-baby-sleep-guide/comment-page-2/#comment-74843

    • Hey Emily,
      Hmmm….I’m not entirely sure how to respond to this. Of course people are able to come here and express their feelings. Even if their feeling is, apparently,
      “You suck and are making me full of anxiety.”

      But I would like to suggest something and probably you won’t agree but I’m going to throw it out anyway.

      I’m not the one making you feel anxious. You are.

      Look if everybody is sleeping fine and you’re totally comfortable with where you’re at right now then why are you reading anything online at 1:00 AM? By not sleep? Or read a good book? Scratch that, it’s 1:00 AM, go with the sleep plan.

      I suspect that you’ve got some stuff going on there and you’re not alone. Parenting a baby is hard. There is a lot to worry about. It’s easy to get freaked out. But I’m going to suggest that the fact that you’re leaving comments here at 1:00 isn’t the problem, it’s the symptom.

      But to answer your question:
      “You seem to say I’m damaging my daughter for life and that we will “never, ever” sleep through the night. ”

      No – I’m not saying that. I’m not saying you are damaging your daughter. In fact nowhere do I say that anywhere. Nor am I saying that she’ll never ever STTN. I am saying that it will take a long time. And this is not my personal opinion it just is what it is.

      Should you believe me? Well that’s up to you. I’m not trying to sell you anything. But if, many months from now, you find yourself not feeling quite as content with sleep as you are now, you may want to come back and reconsider what I share. And if not? I honestly do wish you all the best with your journey.

      • Hello again,

        I just wanted to say that you are absolutely right – I have been suffering from a lot of anxiety lately, and it is certainly not your fault, or the internet’s. I was also avoiding accepting the fact that our sleep situation had been gradually declining – not horribly, but not what it used to be, either – because I was so desperate to avoid CIO. You hear so many horror stories (including from my own mom about baby me) about babies crying for 2 hours, puking, sobbing all night, etc., and I was afraid to even try.

        Well, we accidentally let her cry it out, and it was the easiest thing in the world. My husband and I decided we would let her cry in her crib for 10 minutes on the clock, because we had had enough and just needed a break. Lo and behold – a miracle. She fell asleep and has been going to sleep in her bed for a week now, and night nursing is down to once per night. I’m still suffering from (apparently unrelated) insomnia and anxiety, but at least bedtime is better and I’m so proud of my big little girl.

        So needless to say I feel a bit sheepish writing this reply, but I wanted to let you know – no hard feelings. Quite to the contrary. :-)

        And thanks, K and Becky, for your kind words.

        Emily

        • Hey Emily,

          No worries – when you write about people not sleeping you can’t be surprised to get a few grumpy exhausted people leaving grumpy comments now and the. And I can relate – it only takes 3 nights of bad sleep before I morph into an utter banshee. This is pretty much why we rarely go camping :P

          And hey – how great that things have gotten so much better! Also the “waking up all night” thing only lasts a week or two. Your body is still conditioned to wake up constantly but you’ll get over it.

          Thanks so much for circling back around with a friendly update – glad to hear from you :)

    • Hi Emily,
      My 6.5 mo old also wakes to nurse a couple times a night, only once if I’m lucky. I also don’t mind it and like snuggling him when he’s so sleepy. He does put himself to sleep but that hasn’t been the magic solution for sleeping through the night. We dipped our toe in CIO and turns out we didn’t like the way it made us feel. We don’t mind going in to soothe on the odd occasion and baby usually sleeps well.

      Point being, if you are not bothered by your situation then why stress over CIO or what a website says? I found this website helped me sleep train with no crying – swaddle, white noise, put down awake, and lots and lots of consistency. I also find by reading the comments that a lot of people have pretty gnarly sleep issues and I’m actually pretty lucky. I don’t think Alexis or anyone would recommend you do anything that you felt negatively affected your child’s health.

      I guess I felt the need to respond to you because I read some desperation in your words. It can not be easy dealing with an infant with a medical condition but you should feel confident that you’re doing the best thing for your personal situation. And hopefully you have a good support system in place that can lift you up when you’re having a rough day. Hang in there!!

  29. Emily, I am not Alexis, but I couldn’t help but respond to your comment.

    I don’t think you are a bad mommy. You are doing exactly what your baby needs right now. I think medical issues always trump other concerns.

    I also know a woman who nursed both her babies to sleep every night until she weaned and she said she didn’t think it had any effect on their sleep. Every baby is different so if what you are doing right now works for you and baby, then that is great! It is just good to keep in mind these skills and developments that can occur as your baby gets older so that if you do start experiencing any issues, you have an arsenal of information to help you solve them.

    I too have cried at 1am thinking I was a bad mommy, but this too shall pass :) Love your baby, try to help them sleep and thrive and you are doing exactly what you should be doing.

    Good luck!

  30. I have a 9 month old daughter who slept great up until the age of four month 8-12 hours a night from day one. She would nap great to during the day. Around four months it just stopped. She cries all the time. I can’t leave her sight. She will cry for hours if I just lay her in her crib playpen swing. Basically anywhere. I dread night times. We are both exhausted. She is averaging about seven hours in a 24 hour period for sleep. I know this isn’t enough for babies. If I have her in bed with me she tosses and turns and wakes up whimpering and crying. She also jolts and twitches a lot. We have struggled with constipation on and off as well. I don’t know if this is a factor. My dr doesn’t seem to be to concerned about the bowel or sleep issues.
    So far I have tried the CIO method. We bath and massage with lavendar before bed. I’ve tried bottle before bed. Going to bed with a bottle. If she falls asleep in my arms and I go to transfer her to a crib or playpen she jolts awake screaming. I think nights would be easier for me to handle of she didn’t constantly cry all day long as well :(
    Any suggestions?

  31. Help. Im a second time mom, and my 6 month old will not sleep in her crib. She also wont sleep if she dont have her bottle. She has acid reflex, the doctors said nothing was wrong with her since she was born but one doctor thought she might have it. They put her on the medication and it worked wonders. But she is so used to sleeping proped u, she will not sleep laying down. She constantly has to have her bottle in her mouth even if she is not drinking it and will not take a binky. I dont know what to do she wakes up every 1 to 2 hours. I have tried everything I could think of and nothing works.

  32. My daughter was 2 years old. She is tough if requested nap. What should I do. Let her to play and take a nap or I have to force her nap. Are the effects of child labor for not nap. How many hours she had to take a nap so she can has a positive impact on health and the intelligence? Thank you.

  33. So, nap time and putting-down-to-sleep time was going really well, until I decided that I needed to stop nursing baby to sleep (he is 6 months). Until now, he went to sleep like a dream, would nod off at the breast and continue to sleep for full naps during the day, and varying lengths of time at night. The reason why I stopped doing this (nursing him to sleep) is because hubby and I recently started to do sleep training to get baby to sleep through the night. That’s going really well, and I’ve had more sleep in the last couple of nights than I’ve had in the past 6 months. The problem is that in the last week that I’ve been putting baby down awake during the day means that he screams his lungs out instead of napping, sometimes not napping at all, or for only a short periods of time, and it’s snowballing, because he’s short on sleep so not falling asleep as well at the next sleep time (though nights are ok, thankfully, cross fingers, knock wood, etc.)
    SO, do I just soldier through nap times, try to keep him on his schedule (nap at 9 AMish after 6:30/7ish wake-up, long afternoon nap from 1-3:00 or until he wakes, sometimes 3rd short nap in afternoon, bedtime at 7/7:30), in hopes that it will eventually all straighten out, and he’ll learn to fall asleep on his own and start napping normally again, or should I go back to nursing to sleep? Are there any good tips that I should be applying?

    • I was just reading some previous posts and comments and am realizing that there are some basic things that work for most babies, but at the same time each baby/family is different. Nursing to sleep is lovely because it is quiet, warm, cuddly and EASY as far as putting the little one to bed goes. But, Alexis, you were absolutely right in saying that though it may work for the first few months, it usually ends up blowing up in your face eventually. And here I am. So we are learning the hard way, and we will learn. Little guy is finally asleep, and I’m sure that it will get easier in the next weeks or hopefully days. And though it is difficult in the short term, I know that I want a baby who is ok with, or maybe even enjoys, hanging out in his crib for a while as he relaxes himself to sleep. And he will get there. My daughter did, and he will too. But any magic solution tips will still be appreciated, if there are any :-D

  34. Alexis – Please help!!! I’m a first time mom of a premature baby and feel like a total failure. My son arrived almost 2-months early, so when we first brought him home we held him so much – partly out of fear, he was so small just over 5 lbs and I had to make sure he was breathing cause babies are so fragile (isn’t that what all first time mom’s think?). All the docs said that he needed the extra attention because he was still suppose to be in my belly. Then when his due date came all the docs said now it’s his “fourth trimester” time. Well all my shhshing, rocking, holding, etc. has back fired I think. He is now 6 1/2 months (chronological age), adjusted to 4 1/2 months and his sleep is TERRIBLE!!! Both naps and night sleep :( I was in heaven when he use to sleep from 9:30-5:30! Then I pushed his bedtime earlier and he slept 8-4 then nursed then back to bed until about 7/7:30. Now – he goes down at 8 and honestly is up every 2 hours or so. I’m trying to put him down awake but he just screams and cries and I can’t take it. My husband and I are so exhausted. We don’t know what to do. For his sleep training do you believe that it should be based on his actual age or adjusted age? I’m on your site everyday for at least 30-60 minutes, and while it all makes sense I just don’t know how to get my son to follow. I know sleep is important for EVERYONE and it’s the one thing that is lacking right now. Please any insight and/or advice?

  35. My almost 10 month old recently started waking in the night. We successfully let him cry it out when he was about 6 months old. He would go down awake and sleep anywhere from 6-7:30. About 3 weeks ago he started waking up in the night. At first just once, and now 2 or 3 times. He would have a bottle and then go back to sleep in his crib easily. Lately, he will fall asleep when he is picked up or after a bottle and then will cry when he gets put back in his crib. It seems like it may be separation anxiety, but I’m not sure how to get him back on the right track. Do I just need to let him CIO again all night?

  36. I can’t seem to find any information on how to get baby to nap. What if she fights every nap? I’ve been fighting this for months. I always have to nurse my 8 month old down, and stay with her, or she catnaps. She won’t CIO in her crib, she just cries off and on for over an hour, we’ve even gone as long as two. She goes to bed at night no problem now (thank you Alexis!), in her own crib, by herself, and sleeps 11 hours with only one interuption, yet nap time is torture! This is my everyday fight, and I can honestly say that I have absolutely no idea what to do! I stick close to home to try to put a routine naptime into affect, but it just ends up a fight! I’m at my wits end with this and I have been stalking your page hoping you will be writing another magic article, this time about napping, soon :(

    • That last sentence sounded pushy. Sorry. Maybe you have some naptime insite or could point me in the direction of someone who does? I do really appreciate the help you have provided so far, I guess I am just hoping you might have some ideas :)

  37. My daughter is almost 6 months. 2 1/2 weeks ago she started waking 2 to 3 times a night. She had been sleeping 10 -12 hours a night since she was 6 weeks old. At first she would wake up and stay awake for 2 hours or more. We’ve had some nights that she would stay awake for 30 mins, some for an hour (1-3 times) I have been giving a bottle when she was just inconsolable. She’s been swaddled up until a few nights ago but since she started rolling over in the swaddle I stopped (I feel like she was rolling over because she was awake so much). I took her to the doctor last week and was told she had a “very early ear infection” and was started on antibiotics. Nothing has improved and I’m losing my mind! A few nights ago I started putting her to bed awake but drowsy and when she wakes up she just whines and will whine for up to an hour before I finally give up and go get her. She’s a very happy baby, rarely fusses in the day. I’ve also increased day time feedings. More milk, more solids thinking she wasn’t getting enough calories. She just woke up for the third time tonight cried for what seemed like an hour, keep in mind I had just put her back down 30 mins before she woke up this time, I gave her about an ounce put her back down and now she’s sleeping again. She typically takes 3 naps in the day, 2 are about 1 1/2 hrs and one about 45 mins in the evening. My husband works off and has been gone this entire time. I’m also a stay at home mom, which is wonderful, but I’m just overwhelmed and need advice! What happened to my happy, sleeping baby?!?

    Sent from my iPhone

  38. I have an 8 month old daughter. She has no problem putting herself to nap during the day, but at night she wakes up calling for me, and wont stop unless I nurse her. She does this 3 times a night. I wouldn’t mind it if it was 1 time a night.

    Any suggestions? Do I just not go to her? It’s so hard.
    I want to break this habit if it is one now.

  39. Help my 8 month old son was on a great sleeping schedule in bes by 8 falling asleep by himself sleeping until 6am. I recently went back to work on 3rd shift and now he wont fall asleep himself and is up crying most of the night my mother is with him. When I am home he does sleep thru the night but doesn’t fall asleep on his own this is nuts he was so routine now its out the window please help

  40. I have a 7 month old daughter who was a sleeping champ from 2-3 months of age (slept 10-12 hours straight every single night), and then daycare and probably the 4 month regression hit, and she started to wake up at night. Initially it was just once a night, then twice a night. Now, she’s waking constantly – falling asleep right away, but waking up immediately after she’s put down, and even when she’s “down” she’s waking every 90 minutes to 2 hours. We’re lucky if we can get 3 hours in. Feeding her is the sure-fire way to get her solidly back to sleep… until the next go-round. I want to get her to fall asleep on her own – I really do- but here’s my issue: she is ready to fall asleep when she gets home from daycare at 5:30 or 6 every night. She’s hungry, but she’s also ready to go to bed. I can’t keep her awake after I feed her, because she’s already too tired. She’s not a great napper at daycare (bad days are 1 30 minute nap, good days are 2 naps of 45 minutes nap and an hour long), but given the fact that she’s in a room with 11 other kids, I’m not sure how much additional sleep is possible. We do the white noise machine (both at home and daycare), dark room, etc. We try to do a bedtime routine, though I’ll admit that it’s shortened because she makes it clear that she’s tired and ready to go down – she doesn’t have patience at that point in the night for a prolonged routine. I have tried waking her briefly after she falls asleep nursing before putting her in bed, and while that worked for a while, it now makes her escalate into full on crying because she’s awake and wants to be asleep and can’t figure out how to get there. Any suggestions? Please help. Not only am I tired and worried about the fact that the trend keeps getting worse, but I’m also really concerned about whether she’s getting enough sleep. It’s clear we’ve established bad sleep habits, and I don’t know how to get out of them.

    • One 30 minute nap some days–yikes! Poor baby and poor you. :-( I think you’re right that overtiredness is your first issue here. Day care sleep is such a tricky problem.

      This might sound bizarre and contrary to all the usual “early bedtime requires no late naps” advice, but it sounds like your baby NEEDS a bit more nap so what about a cat nap immediately after day care? If you feed her before leaving, then put her in the car, would she do a 20-30 minute car snooze in the 5-5:30 range? That might be just enough to perk her up for some evening play time. THEN you can establish a nice solid bedtime routine ending with put down AWAKE somewhere in the 7:30 to 8:00 range?

      Right now you have all night waking because a) overtired, some days really extreme and b) perhaps sleep association, i.e. falling asleep while eating or immediately thereafter. I think if you can figure out any way to have a not-overtired-but-sleepy baby AT BEDTIME, with good separation of food and sleep, you’ll get on a better track. And bonus–it’s possible that once she’s less overtired she could start napping better at day care? Fingers crossed for you. Good luck!

    • I wanted to tell you that you’re not alone. My daughter has very similar problems napping at daycare, and is the same age. Her usual day is one 30 min and one 45 min nap. We’ve fallen into a pattern of setting her down for a nap as soon as I get her home (at about 5), because she’s just exhausted. Then I generally have to wake her at 6:30, to eat and have a little time with us so we can set her back down between 7:30 and 8. I feel like this is a bad pattern, but not sure what to do. Even when she’s well rested, she doesn’t sleep more than 10 hours a night, so I fear that setting her down at 6 or so would just be a disaster. (Though I count myself lucky, in that night sleep isn’t too bad – generally one night feed and often one other waking.) Alexis, is this pattern of poor napping at day care that we are both experiencing common? Is there anything we can do? It seems like all the things I read about baby sleep are geared towards sahm or babies with a nanny. I suspect that the problem is too long waketimes, but my day care has tried setting her down at more appropriate times and she won’t sleep – it’s just too much fun. (One day her first nap was extremely late as her and two other girls were just chatting away in their cribs.) I am hoping as time passes it will get better…

  41. Hi Alexis,

    I have been reading your site since my son was born. He is now 6 months and, with much help from your advice, is an amazing sleeper. He goes to bed around 6:00 and sleeps straight through until 6:00 the next morning. However, he only takes very short (20-30 min) naps during the day, and needs these about every 2 hours. This means he is taking about 3-4 naps throughout the day.

    My question is: what would a typical 6 month old sleep schedule look like? He just turned 6 months on Christmas. Am I on the right track? Should I be leaning more toward creating a predictable nap time schedule, or just continue putting him to sleep whenever he gets tired?

    My main concern is day care in February. He will be in a room with children up to 3 who do not nap 4 times a day of course. Therefore, he will only be getting one nap each day which is simply NOT enough. I am so worried my awesome sleeper will turn into a cranky, overtired baby.

  42. Hi! my son just turned 9 months, so we are a little late due to some reflux, etc. But I am determined now to do some sleep training! He goes to daycare during the day and naps well. But within the last month, he fights sleep horribly…we have to do a dog and pony show to get him to sleep! I nursed and he shared a bed with us, moved him to a bottle at 4 months, but we are still sharing a bed! He is eating some solid foods now so that helps sleep. But I am wondering the steps I should take. We have tried a few times lately to nap or sleep in his bed, but only after he falls asleep. He doesnt stay in there very long before he knows I will get him and bring him to my bed. I am afraid that he wont nap well in his bed, and I know how important naps are! so do you have any advice on getting him in his bed first? I know I have to do this before we start to sleep train, because its not going to do much good in our bed! I am wondering what I need to work on first, weaning off “bottle to sleep” or putting him in his bed!

  43. Hi, I have been to your site awhile back and we had a great run but are stuck at the moment. My dd is 8.5 months, she usually sleeps 11-12 hours at night with minimal waking, and if she does wake, she puts herself back to sleep (most of the time). Naps are another story. We we’re doing quite well for awhile but now she loves to stand the second she stirs and thus won’t put herself back to sleep if she wakes mid way through a nap. She definitely knows how to get herself back down so that’s not the problem. We keep waking at 30 min or so, stand up, and won’t go back unless I pull her out, rock her, or nurse her. I used to be able to put her down to sleep awake but have been rocking her lately because if she’s awake at all when I put her in the crib, she stands up and starts screaming. Any advice? I keep intervening on the naps because I don’t want to get into an overtired state, but I also don’t want to be creating a sleep prop. Should we go back to cio even if she’s standing and crying? At a bit of a loss

  44. Hello Alexis-Thanks for the great info. So our twins have nailed the night sleep thing. We have a great bedtime routine and they are going down (at 6 months old) between 6:15-6:45 nightly and sleeping for 12 hours with one mid-night feeding snuck in there. However, naps are still a struggle. Our boy is sleeping in 45-90 min nap stints, 3 times per day and a catnap at the end of the day, generally. However our little girl screams at almost every nap and skips some here and there after crying for 30 min. When she does fall asleep, its for 30-40 min at the most 3-4 times per day. We feel like we are always putting her down…. some sites say that we should put her down sooner, than 2 hours, some sites/books say she can have 2-3 hours of awake time. Watching her queues is not working so now we are putting her down at set times to see if that works. We have no fallback options other than holding here, where she will nap in your arms for an hour no problem, but we are resisting that after breaking her sleep association with us for night time….it is heartbreaking to hear her cry when put down after almost falling asleep in your arms! Help!

    • Hey Jason,

      So essentially she sleeps great if you hold her but fights sleep furiously if put in her crib yes? Then my answer is: more soothing. I know she’s 6 months but maybe she can sleep great in the crib at night but needs MORE during the day (swaddle, swing, white nose would be your go to). Because the imperative to sleep is far weaker during the day than it is at night so she may very well need more help during the day.

      Also my 2 cents is that twins need to be kept on a schedule even if it’s not always the easiest option. Your sanity demands that they sleep at the same time so floating about with one sleeping, one awake, etc. is a doomed strategy. Forget the sleepy signs, put her down at the same time every day. 2-3 hours awake is long for a 6 month old although she might be awake 3 hours prior to bedtime, I would lean more towards 2-2.5 tops.

      So both kiddos sleep at the same time. And if one needs MORE then give her MORE.

      Good luck!

  45. Ok, so things have definetly improved with my 9mo. She goes down awake, wakes up once to eat, and makes it until morning. She dropped a nap, and now takes two, good quality naps a day (1.5-2hrs). BUT. its almost like all the hard work I put into the whole “going down awake” thing has gone out the window. For the past two nights, she has been going down just fine at 6:45-7ish, and then waking about 30mins later crying. All out, top of her lungs, shouting out “mama!” kind of crying. At first I thought Id just let her cry it out (because going in to console her was just making it worse) but she will cry so hard that she poops and I need to go in to change her, the whole process making her even more angry. What happened?! What do I do now?!

  46. Hi Alexis, my husband and I have turned to your site for advice since our son was only about 4 weeks old and have found it to be an extremely valuable tool. 2 weeks ago I would have said my then 32 weeker was turning into a great sleeper after a lot of patience and work he was going to sleep by himself at bedtime, 1 MOTN feeding which was down to 4 ounces and his naps were starting to get longer from about 40 min to 1.5 or 2 hours. Now, he is 8 months old and an easy crawler and pulling up and surfing our furniture. This was very exciting until he started doing it in his crib. Now I have to stand over him and lay him down 20 times before he falls asleep otherwise he beelines for the edge and pulls himself to a stand. I obviously don’t mind doing this but I’m worried that if I keep helping him get to sleep now that I’m ruining all of our previous work. He isn’t very sturdy yet and I’ve seen him fall and bump his head when I haven’t gotten there quick enough. What do you suggest is the best way to go about helping him with this newest phase? I try to soothe him as best I can before laying him down but with his new mobility he isn’t a huge fan of me “restraining” (holding) him.

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