0-3 Month Newborn Sleep Guide

*Baby older than 3 months? Check out the 3-6 month sleep guide.*

As much as the idea of snuggling up with a newborn all day long for days (err, months) on end sounds kind of nice at first, when you get in the thick of it (i.e. you haven't brushed your teeth since yesterday, your stomach has been making sounds that would scare a bear away and the last time you showered was, well, you can't even remember when) you start to think that while this was nice for a few days or even weeks, now it's lost a bit of it's charm. 

We all have things to do and we all have our own personal insanity beeper that starts to go off when we've done nothing outside of care for a newborn for so long. Add in an extreme lack of sleep to the picture and you've got
a worn out parent who could really use a break. My insanity beeper goes off pretty early on, but some people can go on for quite a while before they feel like they're about to loose their mind. 

My goal is to help you not get to that permanent-shoulder-injury-from-holding-a-sleeping-child and can't-walk-without-running-into-the-wall you-are-so-tired state. Ideally, you'll also avoid any extreme crying at a later date from sleep training. I know many of you will snub my advice here. I get that some people don't like to enforce any sort of structure into a newborn because they either don't feel like it, or they don't agree with it. I'm not offended. You don't want to do something as much as I DO want to do something during this time! And I know some of you will take some of my advice but not all of it and that is totally fine too. Something I've learned from working with thousands of parents over the years is that we are all different and our children are all different. You do what you feel comfortable with, and you make changes along the way if you need to. And don't forget, if you pass this newborn window and sleep isn't going so great for you, there is still plenty of hope. It is never to late to get a full nights rest, for you or your child :)

Most of the info I'm going over has already been covered in various posts (like this one) but I know many of you would appreciate a newborn specific approach to these gentle sleep training methods (see what I consider sleep training here). I can only go into so much detail here without making this post 20 pages long, but there are plenty of links throughout the post that'll give you more info on a subject if you need it. Be sure to check out the Newborn Survival Guide too if you haven't already. And if your baby is over 3 months of age, check out the 3-6 month sleep guide.

How do I encourage my newborn to be a great sleeper?

You've probably heard the phrase "you can't spoil a baby" about a million times by this point. I know I have. Just throw this phrase out the window. It isn't remotely helpful. I expect all of you to be holding and cuddling your baby plenty, but the idea that whatever you do right now doesn't matter isn't on par. You are creating habits all the time with your baby, yes, even a newborn, and those habits will make a difference in the future. That's why I'm working on helping you establish eating and sleeping habits that you can live with right now, and in the future.

AND A WORD ON CONSISTENCY (yours and baby's)
Children thrive on routine and consistency. They learn what to expect which helps them feel more secure in their environment. When you are inconsistent (this is especially important as your child gets out of the newborn stage) you get inconsistent results. So if you want sleep to go as smoothly as possible, be as consist as possible. Your child won't know how to react to a situation if you keep changing all the rules. There will be times when things will be off for various reasons (vacations etc), but try to make it more the rare occasion, rather than the norm.

Another reason it's so darn important to be consistent is that children are totally inconsistent. The only consistency with children is change! One day he goes to sleep easily, the next he doesn't. One week he sleeps through the night then suddenly he starts waking frequently. Inconsistent!  Keeping things consistent on your end, while changing with your child when needed (like increasing how long they are awake between naps as they get older), will help things go more smoothly for all of you.

Always monitor baby's health, follow your pediatrician's advice and have regular pediatric well visits. Baby should be growing well, eating well and having plenty of full diapers on whatever feeding and sleeping method you choose.

If at any time something doesn't seem right to you then stop doing it. Although I'm suggesting methods that have worked well for many families, I firmly believe there isn't a one-method-fits-all approach. Do what seems right to you and listen to your baby and your gut feeling at all times. 

Lastly, please, please try not to take things to the extreme (like only feeding if it's been at least 3 hours even if baby is hungry much sooner) and try not to get set on the averages and estimates I give below. Your baby is unique and will have her own averages and she'll also likely vary a bit from what I say below. She isn't a robot after all. Having some sort of guideline can be helpful, but it shouldn't run your life. Always try to follow your baby's lead too.

Some babies are born naturally good sleepers while other are not, regardless of what you do. I can't emphasize this enough! If your baby isn't sleeping as good as your best friend's baby (although, research shows that quite a few people lie about how well their child is sleeping!), don't get frustrated. Truly look at what is going on to see if you could be contributing to things (it happens quite often but can be hard to admit) and troubleshoot. After that, all you can do is try to be happy with the unique baby you have, even if all characteristics are not so easy to live with. All children have tough and easy characteristics to work with, your baby's tough area may just be sleep.

Because this post is really long and because things are listed in steps (sort of), here's a quick list you can reference. Some of you will have to take things one step at a time. Some of you will be able to tackle most or all of it at once. Just move as quickly or slowly as you need to without overwhelming yourself.
  4. E/W/S CYCLE

You're first goal will be to get full feeds in so baby will spread out her feeds both day and night and not snack constantly. This will give you a break during the day and help you both sleep longer at night. To do this, you'll need to keep baby awake during her feed so she'll have more than a snack and not wake up 20 minutes later starving and ready to eat again. This can be a pretty hefty task at first for such a sleepy head, but it'll get much easier as she gets older (find tips on keeping her awake here). Don't kill yourself over this, if you can't get her to eat more, let her snooze for a few minutes then try again. If you are breastfeeding a very sleepy baby and worried about your supply, look here for some helpful info. 

In my opinion, the eat/wake/sleep cycle (see below) makes giving full feeds much easier to do.

If you are breastfeeding, you will probably be feeding baby pretty darn often for at least the first few days while your milk comes in. If you are bottle-feeding, baby will probably be eating every 2.5-3 hours (from the beginning of one feed to the beginning of the next feed--you'll end up with a couple hours break between feeds). She may be eating a bit more often and that's ok. You want to feed her when she's hungry. Just keep encouraging those full feeds. She may need more frequent feeds at first, especially if she is a small baby or a premature baby (listen to your pediatrician's feeding advice here please!) And remember to keep in mind that babies cry for many reasons other than hunger. If it hasn't been very long since her last feed, before offering a feed, first check to see that something else isn't bothering her, like a burp.

Many newborns like to sleep all day and stay awake all night. This will switch on it's own eventually, but some of the suggestions below, like the e/w/s cycle, will help this switch sooner and also usually lead to longer night sleep sooner.

I like to start off doing a eat/wake/sleep cycle approximately every 2.5-3 hours during the day (baby will just eat and sleep at night). This means you'll feed baby, have her awake for a bit, then she'll go down for a nap and repeat. You can find example newborn schedules on this post. Working on full feeds at first usually leads to baby falling naturally into this spaced pattern of eating. If baby hasn't woken up after 3 hours (from the beginning of their last feed), you will wake baby up to offer her a feed and start the e/w/s cycle over again. Waking baby up ensures she has enough food and is awake enough during the day (see PDF feeds for more on this).  For the first couple weeks you'll very likely have more of a eat/sleep cycle, but by week two or so you'll probably get some waketime in there. I like the eat/wake/sleep routine mainly because it gives some structure to your day, encourages full feeds, helps with longer night sleep and helps baby go to sleep without a sleep prop--you can find out all the nitty and gritty out it on the e/w/s/ post

During the first couple weeks, it isn't uncommon for many parents to just work on helping baby take full feeds and get into a routine. In terms of naps, this means that they try to encourage long naps (you can often easily get a newborn to fall back asleep after a short nap), but don't necessarily work hard to put baby down to sleep for a nap awake (unless he goes down really easily). In terms of night sleep, this means that the main emphasis is on helping baby distinguish night from day (see below) but not falling asleep by himself at night (once again, unless he goes down easily). This approach is totally fine. Getting baby into a routine of long naps and long night sleep is very helpful in the future. Just remember that if you don't work on having baby go to sleep on his own somewhat soon, you'll likely have some habits to break.

Also keep in mind that the e/w/s/ cycle is there to help you and your baby out. If you've given it a good try and it is simply making life a nightmare, then do something else. This doesn't mean I'm suggesting you give up after 3 days. The thing about babies is that a lot of the habits that people get themselves and their babies into at first are done because they make life easier-- but they very often make life harder in the long run. I'm trying to make things easier in the long run and that sometimes means more work upfront, but there is a limit to how much work up front everyone can handle. If you've reached your limit, don't worry. There are plenty of other things you can do to encourage your baby to sleep well. And you don't have to start off at the newborn stage--it can be done at any stage down the road too (you just may get more resistance from your baby).

With the e/w/s routine always remember that it is important to monitor when baby is hungry, not just how long it has been since the last feed. Babies go through growth spurts and cluster feedings and various other things. The 2.5-3 hour suggestion is just an estimate. You do what your baby needs! Don't get overly strict with following a perfect schedule--it won't happen easily with most babies (remember how they're not robots?)

Whether or not you are doing the e/w/s cycle, having a consistent morning wake time (baby gets up at around the same time each day, give or take 30 minutes) will help your day be more consistent and will help baby's sleep organize itself better. Also make sure to expose baby to light first thing in the morning and darkness at night to help set her body rhythms.

Bedtime can be a bit tricky with a newborn. Some newborns get really alert in the evenings and fussy and will not fall asleep until late (remember that witching hour I mentioned in this post?). Getting them to bed for the night between 6-7 pm can help you avoid this fussy period entirely. Sometimes though, you simply have to deal with the fussy period and get them to sleep when they'll finally go to sleep--fighting it and getting discouraged over the late bedtime only makes things that much harder. There are also some babies that do better with some extra cluster feeds in the evening (which moves bedtime a bit later than the usual suggested 7 pm ish) or parents that have their babies go to sleep a bit later at this age for various reasons. I suggest trying to keep bedtime not much later than 7, but at this age, an early bedtime usually won't make or break things unless it helps decrease evening fussiness or if baby is very tired in the evening. An early bedtime will be come much more important as baby gets closer to 3 months though. It can be the difference between a good night's rest and frequent night wakings.

With a newborn, you will probably feed baby every 2-4 hours at night. As baby gets closer to three months of age, baby will probably sleep 10-12 hours at night with 1-2 feeds. These are averages for a baby with very good sleep habits, so please don't freak out if your little one isn't in the 'average' category.

Ideally naps will happen after your baby has eaten and had some activity and last until the next routine eat time. This means that they'll last naps around 1.5-2.5 hours. It isn't uncommon to have baby take short naps, even after you attempt to extend them out.  If long naps are not happening, you can look at the short naps post for tips. If you still cannot get long naps going, and you want to have feeds that aren't closer together than baby is requiring, then consider changing the cycle around to what fits your situation. People often end up with eat/wake/sleep/wake/sleep/eat/ or something along those lines. The point is to try to have something that is somewhat consistent and doesn't have baby feeding to sleep. And try not to stress yourself out! 

The last nap of the day is often a short one, if it happens at all. Some babies will get pretty fussy in the evenings and have a hard time being happy at all, nevermind sleeping. Some babies simply won't sleep well in the evenings for the first few months even if they aren't very fussy. As I suggested above, try out an early bedtime to see if this fixes the issue. If that doesn't work, don't worry. Stop trying to force the impossible and go along with it. Get some extra snuggles in during this time (a baby carrier can be very handy) and even consider going out during baby's sleep time since he won't sleep anyway.

Baby's naps and the length of time they can stay awake between naps are always changing. It can be tricky to keep up with all the changes, especially as a first time parent. Find out more about dropping naps here and here. You can find some example newborn schedules here.

When you put your little one down to sleep, there are several things you can do to increase the chance that she'll go to sleep easily and stay asleep with no crying or further assistance from you, now and in the future. We'll start by going over one of the most important things, how long your child is awake between naps, also known as waketime.

A big thing to keep in mind if you are doing the EWS cycle or simply have a newborn, is that newborn's have very little waketime --they are hardly awake at all! It's important that you let them get the rest they need and keep them awake very little between eat feed. Watch closely for their tired cues and put them down right when they start displaying them (during their sleep window). On the EWS cycle you can even predict when they will get tired and start getting them ready for sleep before they start to show their tired signs, helping to prevent them from getting too overtired by the time they get to sleep. Keeping a baby awake longer in hopes to make them sleep longer rarely works, in fact, it usually results in overtiredness that makes falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult for them. You can find a chart with average times newborns are awake and other info to troubleshoot waketimes here. Keep in mind that a baby that has a too sleepy of feed may end up needing more waketime than usual for them to go down well for their nap.

Newborns get overstimulated very easily. Looking at a blank wall is stimulating to them, imagine how some of them do having grandma's energetic face two inches from theirs for 30 minutes straight! You get the same effect as putting them to bed way past their sleep window--bad sleep! There will be lots of time to play with baby soon, but for now, if your baby seems extra sensitive, keep things pretty calm. With brand new babies I often change their diaper in the middle of the feed to help keep them awake during the feed. As they get a bit older and more awake, I often change the diaper at the beginning of a feed to prevent overstimulation after the feed (this is just for newborns, older babies can generally handle a diaper change without getting overstimulated).

Most parents prefer to have their new little bundle sleep in the room with them for a while at night. I generally recommend having baby sleep in a basinnett/crib/co-sleeper next to you--it's simply more practical than co-sleeping for most parents in the long run, and you'll probably end up with less night wakings in the long run his way too. If you do decide to co-sleep, there are still plenty of things you can do to encourage good sleep habits, they'll just be a bit more tricky to carry out. 

For naps, I recommend having baby sleep in his own private space away from the craziness of every day life. By 6 weeks, 3 months at the latest, I would try to move baby in to his own sleeping space for naps and, if you feel comfortable, night sleep. After this time, the move can be much harder to make (especially if you are co-sleeping).

Make sure your baby's sleep environment is safe and that she is dressed safely. Before you had a child you may have thought, well of course I'll follow all those AAP regulations and not have blankets in the crib and not have my baby sleep on his tummy etc, but once you're in the thick of it and horribly tired, you can feel tempted to try almost anything. There are some other alternative, like a swing, that can be useful when you feel tempted to try something unsafe. If tummy sleeping is still happening, I at least recommend getting some sort of movement monitor for sense of mind (my favorite is the snuza). 

Most newborns aren't very sensitive to light and sound--they'll sleep through anything. As they get closer to 3 months, most are going to have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep if it is noisy or light. I always suggest having children sleep in a dark room--it simply results in better sleep at almost any age, especially mid nap and in the early morning hours. I also suggest the use of a white noise machine. It helps most newborns sleep better by imitating their loud womb and by blocking out outside noise.

Before baby goes down for naps and at night, it's a good idea to do something I call a pre-sleep routine. This consists of ritual of things you do every time (same order, same things) before baby goes to sleep. They can include singing a song, reading a book, saying some comforting words ("its time to sleep now"), etc. Usually the nap routine is a shorter version of the bedtime routine. It's a good idea to start this pretty early on--even within a couple weeks of birth. Babies start to fall into habits pretty quickly and a pre-sleep routine helps to signal to their body that it is time to relax and go to sleep. You can find more ideas of what to do at this pre-sleep routine link. The 4 S Routine is a common pre-sleep routine that people do.

During the pre-sleep routine it's usually a good idea to swaddle your baby. Swaddling helps most babies fall asleep better and sleep more soundly. It gives them a bit of the crammed, womb-like feeling and security they are used to. I prefer to use blankets made just for swaddling (like the miracle blanket, but you can also use any old blanket. Just make sure to give baby freedom of movement at the hips and keep the blanket out of baby's face. I also attempt to burp baby again after I swaddle--you can often get another burp out.

Tanking your baby up before bed can help her sleep a longer stretch at night. This can be done by cluster feeding (generally for babies under a couple months) and by doing the dreamfeed. Cluster feeding involves feeding baby a bit more often before she goes to sleep at night. So instead of every, say 3 hours, you might feed every 2 hours for the last couple feeds. Just make sure you aren't force feeding and overfilling baby. That can just lead to stomach upset and lots of messy spit up.

I find that cluster feeding isn't always helpful. So if it isn't working for you, don't worry about doing it (unless baby is cluster feeding on her own, of course).

With a dreamfeed, you will feed baby a few hours after you put her to bed for the night, right before you go to bed. So say she goes to bed at 7 pm, you'd get her up while she's pretty much still asleep and give her a feed (which is why it's called a dreamfeed, she's still kind of dreaming) so that you can get a longer stretch of sleep yourself and not go to sleep only to awaken to a hungry baby 30 minutes later. You can read up more on clusterfeeds and dream feeds on the links above.

 If you are only going to do one of the above methods, choose the dream feed. A cluster feed without a longer stretch right before bed can lead baby to eat less right before bedtime which often means less of a stretch than if she'd gone say, 3-4 hours right before bedtime. A baby that has eaten just 2 hours before isn't going to take as big a feed as one who hasn't eaten for 3-4 hours. The same holds true for the dreamfeed. You want at least 3 hours before offering it unless you are in the process of dropping it.

It's time to work on putting baby to sleep drowsy, but awake. You were probably all wondering when I was going to get to this part. You knew it was coming, didn't you?! It couldn't be just as easy as the stuff I mentioned above. 

Believe it or not, but doing what I suggested above will nicely extend night sleep out (so you all get a consolidated chunck of sleep!) for most babies without doing anything else. And many babies will even go to sleep at bedtime without much of an issue. But naps are a different story. There are the occasional babies that will go to sleep easily, but most will fight sleep and/or get upset when you try to put them down to sleep. I'm going to go over a couple things that will help you do this successfully and with as little drama as possible. But keep in mind that changes don't happen over night. This is a process that will take some practice and time, for everyone involved.

We can't really go on much further without talking about sleep props. Sleep props are the eventual cause of most sleep issues. A sleep prop is something your baby associates with falling asleep, like the bottle or breast or being rocked. These don't seem like such a big deal when you've got a brand new baby, but if she wakes up the second you ever put her down or the second you stop nursing, it can be pretty frustrating, especially if it's the middle of the night and you are utterly exhausted, or she's several months old and you are even more exhausted. So while many people prefer to keep up sleep props for some time, like until they become an issue or until they feel they can't keep it up anymore, I recommend trying to avoid them as much as possible to prevent sleep issues.

Take note that I say as much as possible. This is very important to keep in mind. Sometimes you'll use sleep props, even if it isn't in your future plans. You can't exactly go through having a newborn without ever holding them while they sleep. That is just too precious to miss out on, and sometimes, like if you are out and about or your baby just will not sleep, it is necessary.  Sometimes, you simply don't  have the physical or emotional energy to help baby sleep without sleep props, and that's OK too. There are many things worse than a baby with sleep association issues--like a baby who has zero sleep or a mom who's going half insane caring for herself and family. You do what you need to do in your unique situation. You can always break a sleep prop addiction at a later date.

You've probably heard of someone who's held their baby to sleep or nursed their baby to sleep for months without any problem--no hourly night wakings at 9 months of age and no holding baby for his entire nap, every. single. time. The tricky thing is, you don't know what sleep prop will or will not cause an issue in the future. Most props will end up resulting in an issue, if not by 3/4 months, then almost always by 9 months. But there is always that baby out there who can have every sleep prop done in the world and they will still sleep like an angel. I wish I could tell you if that was your baby (and I wish I could give you or myself that baby!), but I can't. So that's why I suggest trying to prevent sleep issues form using sleep props, rather than fixing them down the road (which is quite possible, just not particularly fun or easy to do!)

When baby starts to make sounds or even cries, follow the old crossing the street saying: stop, look (if you have a video monitor), and listen. It'll take some time, but you'll get better at determining what your baby is "saying". Is he in pain? Is he just making a sound in the middle of his sleep? Is he settling himself to sleep? Even before you've figured out what baby is trying to tell you, it is almost always a good idea to wait a few moments before going in to baby. If he is hungry, it'll be much eaiser to feed him and get a full feedig if he's wide awake, and if doesn't need something, he may fall asleep if you give him a minute. Much of the time parents rush to the aid of their children they are just going through a sleep transition--but before you know it, it turns into a habitual waking reinforced by the parents.

Now comes the especially tricky part. Since there's no way I'll ever be able to work with each of you individually to see what would best for you, I'm going to give you some of my favorite options to choose from to see what works best for you--everyone has their own personal preferences and comfort levels. Some people feel comfortable starting these methods from day one, other people like to wake several weeks or even months before working on this.

For naps, you will limit your time helping baby fall asleep. If baby is still awake after trying to fall asleep for 20 minutes, you will help her fall asleep so she doesn't get too tired. If you and baby feel up to it, you can attempt sleep training up to an hour for a nap, but most likely this will be a little tough for the two of you, especially if she's under 6-8 weeks. Once again, these guidelines are just for healthy babies that are growing well, and once a mother/baby pair are breastfeeding well. 

Sleep Training Options For Naps:
  1. When baby starts to fuss, after giving him a few minutes to see if he'll go to sleep on his own (if you feel ok with this), pick him up and do what I call an extended pu/pd. You pick up baby when he cries and try to comfort him. You can walk around the room to do this or give some jiggles, but getting him used to less movement is helpful for the future, so only move around if you have to. Once he is drowsy, lay him back in his bed. Repeat as needed up to a max of 15-20 minutes. At this point, you will fully help baby go to sleep so he doesn't get too overtired. If you think you and your baby can handle doing it for longer (limit of an hour), then you can try this. Just don't do it for more than two naps in a row without making sure he gets a good nap in, however you have to make that happen (with feeding being a last resort).
  2. Ideally when baby starts to fuss, you will wait a few minutes before rushing in to see if she can settle herself to sleep (I call this "fussing it out"). If you don't feel comfortable waiting (or if it always backfires), you can go in right when the fuss turns into more of a cry, or when you hear the first fuss.  Keep baby in her bed and comfort her in whatever way works--pacifier (stay for a minute to make sure she's got a hold on it), shush-pat, comforting words, head stroking. Try to stay out of her site. She probably won't notice you early on, but you'll start to be a distraction as she gets older. Once she is comforted, leave. Repeat as needed up to 15-20 minutes into the nap. After this time, help her get to sleep in whatever way you can, avoiding feeding if possible. 
  3. When baby starts to fuss, leave her for 3-5 minute intervals, calming her each time you go in (calming, not putting her to sleep). Calm her in anyway that, works, trying to keep her in her bed. The limited crying solution suggests starting an approach like this closer to 4-6 weeks. I find it works fine at this age with a time limit. I wouldn't' keep it up for more than a total of 15-20 minutes. At that point, you will help baby to sleep in whatever way works, outside of feeding to sleep (unless you really, really have to). You are helping her to sleep so she doesn't get too sleep deprived which will likely frustate further attempts of sleep at this age--and be a little too warring on a mom who's just had a baby. If you feel your baby can handle more than 20 minutes, feel free to try it for up to an hour, but I wouldn't do this for more than two naps without helping her get a good nap in.
  4. When baby starts to fuss, leave her for a max of 15-20 minutes before going in and helping her go to sleep. Some babies almost always fall asleep by this time, others don't. If your baby rarely falls asleep after 15-20 minutes, I suggest another method right now.
You can treat bedtime similar to how you treat going down for naps, helping baby go to sleep after about 20 minutes. If you feel up to it, you can work for longer (there is no 1 hour limit at bedtime like there is for naps). It's also a good idea to double check that baby isn't hungry (especially if she was sleepy during the bedtime feed) if she is taking a little while to fall asleep.

I personally don't have the stamina to work on bedtime much with a brand new baby. I will hold or nurse to sleep at first (unless baby goes to sleep easily on her own) and put baby to bed more and more awake as the weeks go by. As long as baby is going to sleep not held/nursed most of the time by 2-3 months, this method usually doesn't cause issues with extra night wakings for people. If it does, then it's time to change the method and not hold/nurse to sleep anymore :)

It the middle of the night when baby wakes, give baby a few minutes to see if she will fall back asleep on her own ( I know, this is hard to do, especially if you are wide awake right by her!). If she doesn't, go ahead and offer a feed. If it hasn't been very long since she last ate, try to help her go to back to sleep in whatever way you can outside of a feed. If she won't go to sleep or wakes up again shortly after, assume she is hungry and feed her. As baby gets older, if she is having frequent night wakings not due to hunger, then you may also want to work on night wakings the same way you handle bedtime (see above).

Guess what, I'm going to tell you one other lazy thing I do in regards to sleep with brand new babies. :) When I give my babies middle of the night feeds, if they don't fall back asleep easily, I  hold or feed until very drowsy, sometimes even until they are asleep. I do not have the energy to spend tons of time soothing a newborn to sleep in the middle of the night so this is how I handle it. For me (and many others), as long as you are working on day sleep and bedtime (eventually), it doesn't usually cause any issues and baby will start going to sleep easily during the night with time and no extra work. The plus side of this is that just like getting baby used to sleeping at certain times during the day makes her feel sleepy at these times, ensuring she sleeps well at night will help her feel sleepy at this time and make future sleep easier then.

With diaper changes, I change the diaper in the middle of the feed the first couple weeks. Once a couple weeks have gone by and baby is less sleepy, I change the diaper at the beginning of the feed to make it easier for her to fall asleep after the feed. I try to avoid changing diapers early in the morning (like at 5 am) since this can wake up baby a bit and possibly even lead to some future issues with early morning wake ups (she gets used to being awake at this time as a newborn and keeps up the habit for months). I also try to get most of the burping done before I finish up a feed so that baby can be nice and relaxed before being put back down to sleep.

This is a touch similar to the core night method, but imo a lot easier for mom/dad and baby. After about 2 weeks (I generally feed every 3 hours at night before this time to make sure baby is gaining weight well and to make sure my milk supply is good) if baby is growing well, I start to monitor how long she is going at night. If she goes longer than the usual 3ish hours a few times, then I will start working with that time. 

So let's say baby goes 5 hours a few times. From now on, if she wakes sooner than 5 hours, instead of feeding her right off, I will see if she will easily extend out to the 5 hours. This usually involves me doing the easiest thing possible in the middle of the night--popping a pacifier into her mouth (I have a love/hate relationship with pacifiers and this is one reason I LOVE them!). If this doesn't work, I will pick up baby to see if she'll easily fall asleep in my arms (you can do whatever normally helps baby fall back asleep). Most of the time baby will quickly and easily fall right asleep and we'll get 5 hours between feeds in there, sometimes longer. If baby doesn't fall asleep after trying for a short time, I will give a feed and try again the next night. 

Keep in mind that I am not pushing her to sleep longer, I am working with how long she has shown me she can comfortable go on her own. At this age, my goal isn't to push baby to cut out extra feeds. If she doesn't easily go X hours with some gentle encouragement, then I will not push her to do it--she may need the feed. That said, with the ok from your pediatrician, you can try to extend out middle of the night feeds with this method around 1 month of age if baby is not extending them out on her own.

Don't fret too much about backtracking at this age. You may take a step back here and there, but overall you'll be taking steps forward.  I keep doing this method as sleep continues to extend out. I also use this method to extend a feed if baby eats very little for a feed a few nights in a row and seems to be waking out of habit or because they don't sleep well on their own yet, rather than hunger.

Some important things to point out about this
  • I often don't go more than 5-6 hours the first 4 weeks, you'll want to see what your pediatrician suggests
  • When picking a feed to extend out, you need to work with the same feed (2 am one, 5 am one etc.), not just any feed throughout the night. Babies fall into patterns of sleeping longer and shorter at different times of the night. 
  • You need to have some sort of daily routine in place with a set morning wake time and bedtime hour in place. Unless baby is eating around the same amount each day and night and going to sleep around the same time, you can't expect her to sleep predictably long at night. Check out example newborn schedules here.
  • It is common for a baby to do a longer stretch of sleep at night followed by a shorter stretch of sleep
  • Just because your baby takes the pacifier, it does not mean she has gone back to sleep and wasn't hungry. It is possible that she is sucking on it unsettled and hungry and not asleep. At this age, you don't want to offer a pacifier instead of a feed if your baby needs it. So if you offer the pacifier and she doesn't seem settled or she wakes shortly after, assume she needs that feed for now. Keep in mind that if she has been awake sucking at the pacifier for some time, she'll very likely be overtired and not take a good feed. This means that she may wake 1-2 hours later hungry again. So the pacifier can definitely backfire if you don't use it right. Sometimes, like if you are trying to drop a feed with an older baby this will simply be part of the struggle short term but will resolve long term.
  • While this method is often pretty painless for me and involves me being awake for a matter of seconds, sometimes if baby is really stuck in a feed (that she obviously no longer needs--eats very little etc.), it can take a bit of work short term. But the good news is that persevering for a few nights (at most several nights) will give you a longer stretch of sleep long term. Once the feed is dropped, the waking often goes away on its own (assuming there aren't other big sleep problems).
  • I started having my son Jacob sleep in the rock 'n play sleeper when he was a few weeks old (due to him hating sleeping flat on his back--reflux being part of the problem). He immediately started to sleep an extra two hours at night. I tried this sleeper at night with my next child, Stella, and I had similar results. So yeah, I'm kind of in love with this sleeper since it gives me extra shut eye at night! The transfer from sleeper to flat bed at a later date is easy-peasy for most babies too.

Common Newborn Issues
  • Painful reflux: If your baby appears to have reflux that is bothersome (some spitting up is common and normal due to a newborn's immature stomach sphincter) then let your pediatrician know. Some reflux medications can make a world of difference. Also, try to keep baby in an upright position for approximately 30 minutes after a feed. I haven't had good luck with using wedges to keep babies propped up while sleeping, although I have had good luck with the Rock 'n Play Sleeper .
  • Dirty diaper: Most babies this age do not care much about a dirty or wet diaper. Lots of parents connect wet diapers with night wakings, but most likely this is not what is causing the waking, now or in the future. But you never know, so it worth considering. If you are having issues with leaking diapers, check out this post for tips.
  • Growth Spurts. Newborns have loads of growth spurts, or times they will eat/grow more and possibly sleep more or be fussy.
  • Colic. If your little one has colic you'll probably be holding and bouncing and doing all kinds of things to help her be happy and, if you're lucky, sleep. These things can and often do result in a baby having sleep issue when she gets older because, well, she's always had them to go to sleep so that's what she keeps needing to go to sleep. Don't worry about it. You have your hands full as it is. You can tackle sleep issues when the colic improves. You'll get a bit more protesting during the process, but it is never too late to improve on sleep.
  • Ear Infections. Ear infections and babies are not fun, but unfortunately they go together quite a lot with some babies. Breastfeeding, holding upright while bottle feeding and not smoking around your baby can reduce the risk of ear infections. If your baby has recently had a stuffy nose and suddenly gets a fever, is extra fussy or cries shortly after being layed flat, suspect an ear infection. Actually, regardless of what is wrong, any fever at this age warrants an immediate call or visit with your pediatrician. 
  • GasYour baby's digestive system is still trying to figure things out, and until that happens (and even maybe after :) you've got a little gas monster on your hands. Be sure to burp 2-3 times during a feed and if needed, try out different bottles if you're bottle feeding. If you're breastfeeding, you may want to adjust your diet a bit, although most of the time this doesn't seem to make much of a difference. Getting gas somewhat under control will help your little one sleep more soundly. If he wakes up suddenly with a high pitched scream, you might be dealing with gas. I also always recommend  probiotics to help with gas, especially for formula fed babies. Refrigerated ones (I highly recommend this one for babies) are the best, but this one seems to still have decent results and is easy to find online and in stores.

Common Questions:
Do I really need to wake my baby up to eat during the day? 
If your baby is growing well and not going an abnormally long period between day time feeds, then no, of course you don't need to wake baby up. BUT, not waking baby up during the day for feeds may lead to 1) not enough food/feeds during the day which means more feeds at night and 2) an extension of day night confusion--baby will be getting her long sleep stretches during the day and waking more at night. The above two things don't always happen, but from my experience, most newborns will sleep longer at night at a sooner age if they are woken during the day every 2.5-3 hours for a feed and some waketime. What you do is up to you. If it feels wrong to wake baby up during the day for a feed and she's growing well, then don't do it. Just realize that an extended night sleep may take a bit longer for your little one.

Won't fully assisting my baby to fall asleep (say, after you've tried extended pu/pd for some time and it has failed or in an attempt to make a nap last longer) end up backfiring? I thought I was trying to teach her to fall asleep on her own? Wont' she start to depend on me if I don't let her do this?
Great question! If this has occurred to you, then high five, you're starting to understand this whole sleep prop and habits thing I've been talking about. I admit it does sound a bit odd to suggest helping baby to fall asleep on her own when you're trying to teach her to do it on her own, but it is necessary. With a baby this age, if she gets too overtired, you will get nowhere. Sleep will just keep getting worse and worse. And you know what, so will mom's patience. She has just had a baby! She needs some rest right now too. I don't expect she can handle helping baby sleep all. day. long. It is emotionally and physically exhausting. Believe it or not, but at this age, all the practice baby gets trying to fall asleep, even if it is just for several minutes at the beginning of each nap, really adds up. Most will get better at falling asleep on their own even if you end up helping them at times. By the time they are 3-6 months old, you'll stop helping them fall asleep when needed (it really backfires), but for now, it is in their best interest. 

Can I successfully breastfeed while encouraging my newborn to be a good sleeper?
Why yes, yes you can! The idea that breastfeeding automatically leads to terrible sleep and that there is nothing you can do about it a common myth. I've successfully breastfed past a year with my children and I've talked with hundreds of other parents who have done it successfully too--all while on a routine. You can find out more about breastfeeding and routines here.

Should I give my baby a Lovey?
At this age, babies will not respond much to any sort of lovey, and most of them are not very safe for their age anyway. Wait a bit longer before introducing them, usually not before 4 months.

I've tried putting baby down drowsy but awake and have tried one of your four methods listed above, but it just isn't working. Baby is never falling asleep for naps or at night and is a mess. And, coincidentally, so am I! 
Some babies are pretty crummy sleepers early on. They just are. You can be the Queen of Babyopolus and this baby will still not sleep well for you! Yes, experience and your natural ability can help things along, but I've been around enough babies to know that there is a lot more to it than just this. So what to do if you've got one of these sleep resisters?

First off, make sure you have really given this some time and consistent effort and that you are not expecting too much from your baby. Unless she's naturally a great sleeper, you probably won't have a totally awesome sleeper at this age (but I'll help you get that awesomeness eventually!). She'll have some good days and some bad days. That's expected.

Next, give yourself a break. You are still a great parent! You have not done something wrong and you are totally fine to use a sleep prop if you need to! It's really ok! One of the main reason I wrote the post on how to get your baby to like a swing is that I know some of you simply have to use a swing frequently to survive these first few months. Baby needs to get some sleep and you need to get some sleep. It's ok. It really is! Sleep training will still work out marvelously down the road and you'll get your awesome sleeper, you'll just have more of a transition at this time. 

Do I need to worry about limiting naps at this age?
Too much day sleep can rob night sleep. I know, most of you are thinking what, there's a baby out there that sleeps too much during the day! I can't get mine to sleep at all! Too much sleep in the day does happen sometimes though, and the result can be less sleep at night. With newborns, if you wake them around every 3 hours during the day and try to give them a little bit of awake time before they go back to sleep, you rarely have a problem with too much daily sleep.

When will my baby start to sleep through the night?
The all too common question! I've outlined when babies often start sleeping through the night on this post. After helping countless parents with sleep, I can tell you that following the suggestions above will help you get there sooner rather than later. Remember to keep in mind that every baby is different and sleeps through the night at a different age.

Every time I lay my baby to sleep she suddenly pops right awake again. What can I do?
This is pretty common. Your baby, while drifting off to sleep, notices something different (being put down) and wakes right up again. And sometimes, because she's somewhat startled awake or has just had some of her tiredness knocked off by sleeping a few minutes, she'll be wide awake and not seem the least bit tired at all. There are a couple ways to deal with this. One way is to make sure she's in a deep sleep before you put her down, that means you'll have to wait 5-20 minutes before setting her down. Check to see if her arm is limp before setting her down and set her down slowly, step by step, possibly staying cuddled up with her for a moment in her bed before taking all contact away. This works with many babies, but not all.  The other way is to put her to sleep before she gets so drowsy (or falls asleep) and work on having her fall asleep there alone, or with your help.

My baby wakes up 15 minutes after I put her to sleep (or some time around that). Help!
Check to see that gas or a remaining burp isn't a problem. I always burp baby before putting her to sleep just to make sure there's nothing there. Make sure she wasn't overtired or overstimulated before going to sleep since this can lead to super short naps. She may have also been put to sleep too drowsy or fast asleep and is waking up wondering where you went. You may want to check out the short nap post.

Some babies will be quiet after you put them down and then start to cry several minutes later. If you look in a monitor, you may see that they either never fell asleep or that they started to fall asleep (or got into the early stages of sleep) for several minutes then popped wide awake crying.

My baby wakes up from a nap after being asleep for 45-60 minutes. How can I get her to sleep a bit longer?
Make sure to give her a few minutes to see if she'll go back to sleep on her own.  If she won't go back to sleep on her own, try helping her go back to sleep (avoid a feed if possible). If, after about 20 minutes she still isn't asleep, get her up and plan on putting her down for another nap pretty soon. Check out the short naps and extending naps posts.

My baby always fights sleep. She gets upset the second I start getting her ready for bed.
Some children are just like this. They don't like to shut out the world. Keeping things extra calm a short time before their nap can help. Making sure they don't get overtired can also be helpful.

What if my baby won't fall asleep after putting her down awake?
If you've gone through one of the four options above and it has been more than 20 minutes, I would probably help her go to sleep so she doesn't get too overtired. If you and her feel up to it (and, preferably, she's over 6-8 weeks), you can keep working on helping her go to sleep on her own her entire nap (limit of 1 hour per nap of trying).  If she doesn't fall asleep after 1 hour, get her up and put her down again when she starts to get sleepy (this will be pretty darn soon). Try not to have her fall asleep on you if you can help it. Make sure she at least gets a good nap in every 2 naps or she'll for sure be an overtired mess. 

What if it's time to feed her but she either hasn't fallen asleep yet or is about to go to sleep?
If it is almost time to feed her but she still hasn't fallen asleep for a nap, go ahead and get her up, feed her, doing your best to keep her awake. Then put her down again for a nap after the feed is through. If she falls asleep eating, it isn't the end of the world. As long as this isn't happening all the time, it isn't a huge deal. As she gets closer to 3 months of age, it's a good idea to not have this happening much or it can turn into a big habit.

If you're about to put her down for a nap but she needs to eat soon (maybe your e/w/s/ routine is a bit off because she's been struggling falling asleep for naps), go ahead and feed her right now, trying not to have her fall asleep while eating.

How should I handle early morning wakings?
If baby is waking early in the morning at this age, most likely she needs a feed. If that isn't the issue (and you've given her a moment to settle and haven't rushed in), then after making sure there isn't something else going on (a poopy diaper, too cold, gassy etc) help baby go to sleep by any means necessary while keeping things as much night-like as you can (dark, quiet etc). You want her to get used to sleeping during this time so she doesn't continue to wake up early and alert. Two of my newborns have gone through a short period where they wanted to go for the day at 5 am. It passed, but it was super tiring. Just keep things nice and boring and sleepy and you'll get past it!

Let me know if I missed any questions you may have! 


  1. Hi Rachel,

    I came across your blog the other day and it's been helpful. I read some of the books that you reference with my first baby and it's handy to have the main ideas all summarized in the same place! I have a 21mo son and a 6 week old (tomorrow) daughter. With my son I did a combo of Babywise and Baby Whisperer. He definitely had to be sleep trained, but was easy and responded to the tips and tricks very well. My daughter has not been as easy!
    I'm having trouble with naps and hoped you could help. She sleeps great at night - goes down, wakes once to feed, then goes right back to sleep. Naps are another story - she will not fall asleep out of my arms. Even if she falls into a deep sleep (where she's so deep she's twitching!) I will lay her down, swaddled, in her bassinet and about 5 minutes later she'll be wide awake. I've also tried to put her down when she's only a little asleep and the same happens. I've resorted to carrying her in a moby wrap during the day - something I swore I would never do! I know that gas is not an issue - was in the first two weeks, but not anymore.
    I have tried shush pat, but she just lay there with her eyes wide open for 20 minutes. This method is a bit tricky for me to commit to since I have my son to look after at the same time. I also tried CIO for three naps a few days ago and she ended up laying in her bed for about 1 hour, alternating between crying and just being awake. I ended up getting her out when there was an hour left before the next feed, cause I needed her to get some sleep before she ate. I know that CIO needs more than a few tries to work, but I don't feel completely comfortable doing it at only 5 weeks. The baby swing doesn't even put this kid to sleep!
    I wanted to hear your opinion. Half the people I talk to and books I read say that the things you do now set a pattern, and she'll be dependent on me to nap if I keep this up. The other half say that she's still in the newborn transistion phase and will grow out of this and eventually be able to sleep on her own. What do you think? Any tips or tricks I should know about? Thanks!

    1. My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using www.InstantBabySleep.org - by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children.

  2. Sara,
    I agree with both statements you mentioned...things you do now set a pattern and babies can outgrow things a bit when they get out of the newborn stage. It is the rare baby I hear of that is held all day to sleep and suddenly starts sleeping by herself when she gets older with no work. That said, many babies do improve a bit naturally as they get older (though not all). Sorry, not a great answer :)

    With newborns I like the 4S routine (or something similar) then trying to have them sleep on their own. Since they are so young and get overtired easily, I only suggest letting them try to go to sleep (however you do that) for a limited period of time so they don't get overtired (maybe 5-30 minutes depending on what you feel comfortable with and how baby responds). After this, try to get baby sleep however you can so she doesn't get overtired then try again with each additional nap. Babies often get better over time if you do this although you might have to do some mild sleep training later dependng on the baby.Some babies you will have to do something more extreme with this method. Most people don't have hours to spend at their baby's bedside each day (to do shush-pat or whatever) because they have other kids or whatever so this is something that can work for many people. I do think it is best if you can have baby not sleep on you because that makes the transition a lot harder than say a standstill or moving swing but you can only do what your baby will do.


  3. Thanks Rachel! I like your idea of trying it for a limited period of time. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I didn't really think of compromising like that :) The most frustrating part of this is that she goes to bed awake at night and puts herself to sleep, so I know that she can do it. I'm wondering too if it's a waketime issue during the day, so I'm going to try to keep an eye on that - I often get so caught up with my son and other stuff after I finish feeding the baby that she stays awake alot longer than the average waketimes.
    Thanks for your response - it's great to have other moms to bounce ideas off of and hear a fresh perspective!


  4. sara,
    No problem. Hope you get things worked out. Naps and Nighttime are often somewhat separate things for kids. But the fact that she can put herself to sleep at night is encouraging.

  5. Hi, found your site and hoping you're still checking messages here. We have an 8 week old boy with reflux and swallowing issues(risk of aspiration) and probably colicky as well. He only sleeps on us and whenever we've tried moving him to the bassinet or crib he doesn't last more than 15-20 minutes before he wakes himself up. We swaddle him. He sleeps better at night(once he's finally asleep after lots of fussing). We noticed he's sensitive to noise and light. What can we try to help him put himself to sleep and stay asleep? He is on several meds, but can still spit up an hour after eating and is uncomfortable every few minutes even when sleeping on us. When he's awake during the day, he can play happily and all of a sudden starts screaming and we can't catch him in time for a peaceful falling asleep routine, unless he'll accept the bottle and fall asleep while eating, but then he gets bothered by a painful burp or spit up. He also pacifies on the bottle when he starts stirring in discomfort. Need help!

    1. Christina...
      I'd work on helping him to fall asleep without eating. Try a pacifier or some other method. The eating right before he sleeps is going to worsen the bad reflux, especially if you try to have him sleep flat. You may have the most luck setting things up for good sleep right now (see the top sleep post and sleep training define post) and maybe some gentle sleep training (see st tab) since he has some health issues that you need to monitor.


    2. Hi Rachel,
      Your advice and balanced approach has been SO helpful to us as we were wading through so many different baby philosophies and books -- thank you so much!
      I had a related question that I was hoping you could help me with. My 4 week old was doing really well with a regular E-W-S cycle up until about a week ago. Then she started having issues with spit up (up to 10 times a day, fairly large amounts, although she has been gaining weight fine). To try to reduce the spitting up, I started following some advice to wake her up more frequently so doesn't eat such large meals (~2.25 hours instead of ~3 hours when she would normally wake up on her own), let her do some non-nutritive sucking to slow things down, hold her upright on my chest for about 20 minutes after eating, and make sure not to jostle her for a while. Doing those things has helped with the spit up, but now she's sound asleep by the end of the feeding and will stay asleep while I hold her still. I used to change her to help wake her up after eating, but now I can't lay her down or she'll spit up. She also seems to have reverted a bit to sleeping all day and not sleeping as much at night. I've been prioritizing taking care of the spit up over sleep training for now because it seems like a more pressing health issue, but do you have any suggestions for maintaining some degree of sleep training in this situation?
      Thank you so much!

  6. Hi Rachel,

    I THINK my baby is habitually waking up at night. She is 10 weeks old. I cluster feed at night and then do the df between 10 and 11. She dropped the 2:00 am feeding but she is still waking up every single night between 2 and 3. I walk back to her room, shush pat, give her a paci, and she falls right back to sleep. Sometimes this helps her sleep until 4:30 or 5:00 and then some nights she will wake up again at 3, 4, 5, etc. I've been doing the shush pat and giving her a paci during those times, and I usually give in and feed her if she wakes up at 4:00. It's driving me crazy b/c I don't know what to do! :) I feel like we are "tanking" her up before going to bed and she is 12 pounds now....I don't think she's hungry at 2:00 and 3:00! Am I wrong? Should I try the wake to sleep method? I go back to work in 4 weeks and would love to get her sleeping until at least 5:00 so mommy is happy too. :)

  7. Hello,
    I am having problems putting down my 4 week old. Everytime I feed her, than put her down for a napy , 10 minutes later she is crying. I have tried even feeding her more but its the same situation. I never can put her down without her crying 10 minutes later. It is not her stomach, I have tried gripe water and gas drops as well. What can it be and what should I do ? Thank you !

    1. c87 etc (whoa, what is some name!),
      Likely, it's just that she hasn't learned to sleep on her own and she is waking up and needing help to go back to sleep, or she isn't able to fall asleep on her own (after a little trying). Take a look at this post to see if any of the things help you out, but a lot of it is just their age and some extra time and practice needed. Some babies will sleep great from an early age if put to sleep at the right time but other babies will have a difficult time dozing off--many even in their parent's arms.

  8. Hello there,

    I have a nearly 6 week old who doesn't extend his time between feeds at night time. He is on the baby whisperer 3 hr routine though he still often struggles waiting 3 hrs between feeds and it becomes 2.5 hrs.

    I have recently started tanking him up and have dream fed him since he was a couple of weeks old. However after a dream feed at 11pm, he will still wake at around 1:30, then again at around 4:30. He is then fed again at 7:00. Cluster feeding hasn't appeared to make any difference.

    I bf during the day. This lasts between 30 and 45 minutes but sometimes more as he is such a sleepy eater. His dream feed and two night feeds are 2 formula (180 ml) then one expressed bottle (150ml) and he usually finishes the lot.do you have any suggestions for helping him drop one of his night feeds? I was wondering if I should gradually reduce the amount in his 1:30 bottle?

    Your advice would be much appreciated.

  9. I have a question about napping. I'm trying to do Babywise with my 6 week old and nap time is a huge struggle right now. She cries for 20 min. and then finally falls asleep but then wakes up 20 min later screaming and will cry for another 20 min. I try to go in and pat her but she is so worked up she won't calm down. If I pick her up she calms down but as soon as I put her down again when she looks tired, she begins screaming for 20 min. This goes on the entire nap period and I am feeling so horrible letting her cry. I don't know what to do. I'm hoping you have had similar issues and can help. At bedtime she seems do well. She eats at 8 and then goes down really well and sleeps until about 11 and then I feed her and she's asleep until 3:00 or 4:00 and then eats again at 7:00 or 8:00 am. She is formula fed so I don't think its an issue of her not getting enough food. She is on an every 3 hour eating schedule during the day. She usually is awake for about an hour including her feeding time (although I struggle to keep her awake while eating). Do babies at this age really nap for 2 hours? My first would only ever sleep 45 minutes so I haven't been very successful with naps until they are a bit older (4-6 months). I'm hoping you can help me.

    1. Kendall,
      Many babies will nap 2 hoursish at this age, but many will not take longer naps until closer to 6 months, and there are even a few children in there that won't take longer naps until sometime into their first year (this is assuming they've been given the chance to learn to take longer naps).

      If she's waking after 20 minutes, she was likely overtired or overstimulated before going down--which is likely just by the fact that it took her a while to fall asleep in the first place. Not sure where you are at now, but I would probably assist her falling back to sleep at this age, especially since your attempts so far haven't helped out yet. She'lll likely get much better at falling asleep initially and falling back to sleep as she gets older.

  10. Hi Rachel, I love your blog. Thank you so much for your helpful posts! I have a 5wo who is a pretty decent sleeper with 2-3 hour sleeps and a longer 4-5 hour sleep at her first "night" sleep. I am new to Baby Whisperer but love to idea of putting her down awake and letting her fall asleep by herself. My question is that her wake times are much longer than suggested 45-60 min and she is difficult to put down. She is routinely up for 2 hours throughout the day and sometimes 3 hours before her night sleep at 10pm. I know that she's tired because she's displayed her sleep cues but she won't fall asleep (or stay asleep). After feeding (30-40 min), I do burp, diaper change, play and wait for her to show her sleep cues. Normally this happens about 60-75 minutes after waking. Then I move to the bedroom (darkened, white noise). I sing her sleep song and hold her upright while doing the shush-pat until her eyes close or almost close. From here I put her down and continue to pat. She'll fall asleep but wake a few minutes later. When this happens I do PU/PD to calm her. After 30-40 minutes of this, she may sleep in her bassinet but usually for naps, I'll put her in the carrier so at least she'll get sleep. If it's nighttime, I will feed again and try the sleep routine again if she's not going down. Of course, the longer this goes on, the more overtired she gets and the more tense/exhausted I get! Do you have any suggestions? Am I expecting too much from a 5 week old? BWT, she sleeps about 14 hours/day and is exclusively BF and gaining well. Thank you!

    1. Camille Schram,
      I would start the pre-sleep routine earlier than you are doing it. Either her initial overtired cues are being missed (some babies don't display very obvious ones until they are overtired) or by the time you get her almost to sleep she's been awake too long.

      Here's the thing, she's obviously not really putting herself to sleep on her own at all, she's relying almost completely on you. If you aren't there giving full support, she's awake. You have a couple options, you can keep doing what you are doing but I would consider trying to diminish the amount of help you offer--try not to put her completely to sleep, let her do some herself-- and if you do pupd, do a version where you hold until sleepy not until crying stops so she doesn't get so overstimulated. I would only do this like 15, a max of 30 minutes before helping baby to sleep for good--a carrier or a swing etc. You can also help her go to sleep now and work more on this stuff as she gets older and gets less overtired. Helping her sleep well for a few days to get over the over tiredness then starting again with helping her learn to sleep may also be more successful.


    2. Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your reply. Now I begin her sleep routine much earlier and she is SO MUCH easier to put down. I still help her fall asleep but put her in her bassinet a littler earlier and help her transition to sleep by placing a hand on her belly (instead of patting on the back). I leave it there until she is in deep sleep. I also stay close by so if she starts fussing in the middle of a nap I put my hand back on her belly and shush. It seems to work in putting her back to sleep without having to pick her up. It's only been a few days but I'm grateful for the progress made so far!

    3. Camille Schram,
      That's great news to hear Camille. It'll likely get easier for her as time goes by. If it doesn't (because some children start to keep wanting your attention instead of letting you lessen it), that's ok, you can just address it then in what way seems best.


  11. Hi Rachel. Thanks for the post, it is very helpful. We have been doing e/w/s cycles with our now 4 week old since birth. It has been going great till the past few days. She now will only sleep during the day if someone is holding her or in the swing. If I put her down she wakes up after 30 mins or so, or won't even go to sleep. In addition she has been fussier than usual and waking up earlier (every 1.5-2 hours) to eat. She consistently up to this point had to be woken up to eat every 3 hours. So my question is, how do I know if we're having a nap problem or if she's going through a growth spurt or her first wonder week? The advice for growth spurts/wonder week is to hold your baby often and give lots of love, and that the schedule will "go back to normal" once it's over. So should I just give it a few days or so and if she still won't nap lying down then try done of your tips? The thing that's confusing to me is that she is still sleeping her normal night time hours (11-3, 3-6:30) even though we're having all the new patterns during the day. that makes me question that it's a growth spurt/wonder week. All I know is that she has been a very different baby over the past 2 days or so. Thanks for your help in advance.

    1. Newmomma,
      Sounds kind of like she's gotten out of the super sleepy brand new baby stage and is simply having difficulty going to sleep on her own. Make sure to swaddle, watch the waketimes etc. At that point, you can decide if you want to work on helping her go to sleep on her own, or opt for holding/swing for now until having her sleep on her own at a later date.

      Fussiness may be related to her age too (it'll get worse for a few more weeks). Or she could have reflux or something. Address this with your per at your next visit. I'd be surprised if she needs to eat every 1.5 hours (from the beginning of one feed to the next) even if she was in a growth spurt. I wonder if she simply is having a hard time transitioning back to sleep during a nap and isn't actually hungry--that is something you'll have to evaluate. Some babies change over night with their sleeping (they suddenly become more alert etc) but sometimes it is simply a matter of waiting a couple more days then everything will go back to normal.

  12. Hi Rachel,

    I'm in desperate need of some help. My son is 5 weeks old. He was generally good at night and not bad during the day until he hit 3.5 weeks then all hell broke loose. He began cluster feeding in the evenings from approx. 6 to 10 pm and as I am breastfeeding I could not handle this. I found your website when I was googling help for the cluster feeding. So we started the e/w/s cycle but I can not get the first nap to take. He'll sleep from 20 to 40 mins and then waken but display no hunger signs so I try to sooth him back to bed but this ends of lasting until his next cycle should begin. Then sometimes he'll go for an afternoon nap butnpot always it ends up being late afternoon or evening. Then I try again at night and this could be the same as the day. He'll feed for like an hour and then I'll put him to bed with a story and the 4 s routine. He only wakes 2 times in the night but that's only if he goes down properly. I haven't been able to get the dream feed down right yet. I've been trying this routine for 4 days and for the first 2 it went pretty well with most cycles but the last 2 and now again today its like we have taken 10 steps backwards. Help!!!!!

    1. Paul DeVuono,
      If you can't get him back to sleep after X amount of time (say 20 minutes) then go ahead and get him up and put him down for a nap again relatively soon. You'll end up with a eat/play/sleep/play/sleep/ etc cycle, but your little one needs to get some sleep in there, and you need some rest too! Make sure to observe wartime etc, and try out other methods to help him back to sleep after short naps to see if something else works.


  13. Hi Rachel
    I'm so happy to find your blog - it's been so helpful and very thorough. I have two goals for my 7 week old I was hoping you could help me with:
    1.). Get her to fall asleep herself when I put her down drowsy (and self soothe!). I've been guilty of putting her to sleep while holding her in my arms and bouncing on a yoga ball. Works well but I know this is a habit I need to break!
    2.). Transition her to a crib from a bassinet/rocker. Since day 1 she has hated the crib and we first had to co sleep with her in our bed. Now it's been about 4 weeks of her sleeping in the bassinet. Would love to move her to the crib!

    Do you suggest I attempt the above simultaneously or focus on one first? Also, random question, do your suggested wake times include time spent feeding?

    Thanks so much!

    1. CA Mom,
      The waketime include feeling time.

      Don't worry too much if she has a hard time with the crib at this age--she is still really little. Sometimes putting a baby in the corner can help with the transition. At this age I'd probably do 1 or 2 first, but not together--but if you do both together it will be fine. You may want to start with the crib at night then move to days. Make sure to set things up for good sleep too (see above and the post setting your child up for good sleep).


  14. Hi Rachel,
    I have a 3.5 week old son. He is pretty good at putting himself to sleep. I can often put him in his crib wide awake and he will go to sleep on his own. Only problem is he wakes up 15 minutes later. I burp him, and lay him back down. Then he wakes up every 10-20 minutes for another hour - 3 hours. I am not sure what to do about it, as I am already putting him down awake, so it's not like he is waking up wondering why he isn't in my arms anymore. Help please!

  15. Hi Rachel,
    we have a 10 week old girl. we follow yr suggestions for the extended pu/pd. it works well to put her down for her night sleep. As for the naps we are able to relax her and we do pu/pd for a few times untill she stops crying. After that she stays awake for 30 minutes and just moves around alot but doesnt make a sound. We dont know what to do as she is not crying but also doesnt seem to get sleepy (she keeps yawning though). pretty much after 30-40 minutes she starts crying out again. I usually pick her up and hold her a bit but by the time she is down in her be she is asleep. I tried to pat and shush instead of picking her up but she doesnt react to that. Do we just have to keep going and wait till she grows out of it or can we do more to help her?

    1. Enrico Ryll,
      I wonder if adjusting the waketime would make a difference. It might be too long or too short. Also, instead of doing extended pupd a few times for the nap, simply putting her down after a soothing pre-sleep routine and letting her be for a few minutes might solve the problem. It sounds weird, but the extra work calming some babies before they go to sleep sometimes backfires with them. You'll have to decide if you feel comfortable doing this though :)


  16. Hi Rachel,

    I'm struggling with a 7 week old who can actually fall asleep by himself in the crib, but cannot stay asleep for more than a few short minutes. Occasionally I have gotten a 20-30 mins nap from him, but usually it's less than 10 mins of sleep, and then some fussing until we go in to pu/pd again. In fact, the same thing happens at bedtime/after his DF! We barely get any sleep unless we hold him the entire nap or night.

    Some more info: he does have reflux but is on meds (Omeprazole), and he is extremely gassy (I'm trying to remedy this by cutting out dairy and block feeding due to my oversupply).

    When the reflux first kicked in and before we started him on meds, we did hold him for naps (upright) and upright on our chests for night sleep because he was inconsolably unhappy/crying after each feed. However, over the last 2 weeks or so, we have been doing extended pu/pd and he will fall asleep by himself in a crib, drowsy but awake. The only problem is he won't stay asleep! He continues to wake and fuss, so that after 20 mins or so, we give up and just hold him for the rest of the nap. This even happens at nighttime after his late night feed at 10 pm. Last night, we did extended pu/pd from 10:30 pm - 12:30 am after his DF, and he literally could not stay asleep for more than a few minutes at a time. We finally gave in and took turns holding him to sleep throughout the night. It was torture!

    His reflux is manageable with the meds--not as much spit up anymore. He does sleep inclined on a wedge, but it doesn't seem to do anything. He is constantly gassy though, and a lot of the times when he wakes fussing, he does end up burping (or spitting up a tiny bit). If his constant waking is due to his medical condition, how will we ever be able to get him back down after a DF or a MOTN feeding, since we can't give him a 45 mins wake time to hold him upright and burp him? It seems impossible to get him back to sleep right away.

    If we just have to wait for his reflux and gas conditions to improve over time, could you suggest any tips on how to make the next couple of months more bearable in terms of naps and bedtime? My DH goes back to work in 1.5 weeks, which is why it's been so important to us to sleep train (in some way) so that we at least don't have to hold baby all night long, or during every single nap. Unfortunately, he hates the swing, bouncer, Ergo and Moby wrap!

    Thank you for any advice!


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Clarrissa, I am having the same issue mentioned above. I have been holding to sleep from week 2. I tried different method to not hold to sleep but hardly working. Do you have any tips for me?

  17. I need help regarding my almost 11 week old daughter. I have a very difficult time trying to get her to sleep by herself, and it ends up taking forever to get her to sleep, and then she sleeps for a short time. I have a two year old which is why I need to teach her independent sleep, but am having a hard time balancing over tiredness and appropriate amounts of rest for her. If I get her ready for sleep before her 1-1 hour 15 minute wakeful period, and have her in her crib, she will generally just be happy until I go in there and Rock her. No crying, just looking around contentedly. Then when I start to rock her she cries hysterically and does so for 15 minutes or so until she falls asleep. 30 minutes later she's up and crying, and we do the whole thing again. She can and will take long naps if I rock her to sleep (originally) or have her in the moby. What do I do if she's in her crib happy? Leave her? It just seems like she gets overtired and doesn't even try to sleep. I do put her in drowsy. I am trying to decide if it's worth the frustration at this point to teach her or if I should wait until she's 4 months old and letting her cry is more acceptable.
    Also, in the evenings she wakes up from her nap around 5:30/5:45, and seems happy and content long past her hour wakeful period. Then, when 1.5 hours roll around and I begin rocking her (not because she's acting tired just because it's been too long) she takes forever to get to sleep and then wakes up an hour later, screaming. This usually repeats 2 hours after that. Is it because she's overtired, not tired enough, or am I a sleep prop? She has been sick with a cold, which is on it's way out, and prior to that she would sleep 10-7 (which I miss as she's now waking at 3 for a feed). Is her bedtime naturally late right now and I'm trying to force her to sleep earlier? When she wakes up it's clear she needs to go back to sleep, so I generally rock her back to sleep or nurse her.
    Thank you for any advice!

  18. Hello! While I am a parent for the 2nd time, our first experience was not typical; our son was born at 28 weeks and spent 4 months in the NICU. He came home with an NG tube and on O2 and was FTT, so feedings, sleeping, etc. were anything but normal. So, now we have a 4 week old baby girl, who was born at 37 weeks weighing 7lb 4oz (no health issues, no NICU). We have been using the EASY routine for the past few days and it is going well. She loves her nap time, that is for certain, and typically eats 3-4 oz at each feeding. That being said, she seems to prefer going 4 hours between feedings, rather than 3. Should I be waking her at 3 hours, even though she typically wakes herself by 4? Also, because she is on the 4hr schedule, her cluster feedings run late (7 and 9pm) and we can't seem to fit in a dream feeding before 11pm. So we skip it and she wakes anywhere from 4-6 hours from the 9pm feeding.
    For example, her feedings yesterday were 3:30 am, 8am, 12pm, 3:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm (about 21-23oz)...and then she woke again this morning at 4am and again at 8am, then 12pm (it's now 2:24p and she is napping). If she stays on an 8am waking, should I just adjust dream feedings to between 11p-12a. Or should I wake her earlier (7am)...to fit in the dream feeding by 11p? I feel like she can go for 6hrs at night, but would it be better to do the dream feeding and hope to eliminate the 3-4am feeding?
    Sorry...so many questions...this typical baby stuff is just as daunting as all the medical issues we had with our first little boy :)
    Thank you! Heather (mom to Jack and Harper)

  19. Hi Rachel,

    We are attempting the e/w/s routine with our first little girl. The first few days, I was trying to keep her awake for the entire suggested awake time. She ended up get WAY TOO overtired and every nap time/ bedtime we had a problem getting her to sleep.

    The past few days, I have taken cues from her for going down for naps and it has been working quite well. Although, I don't feel like I get a lot of awake time with her, the she has been sleeping well at night.

    Today, though, she is falling asleep VERY soon after she eats. I don't want to try to keep her awake, but even as I am talking to her, her eyes are closing. I am not sure what to do - I don't want her to get overtired if she needs the sleep and I try to wake her up, but I also don't want to throw off her sleep schedule.

    1. Swimming in Fountains,
      Tiredness levels with babies will still vary from day to day when they are really young. Don't worry if she falls asleep while eating sometimes and doesn't have much wake time. If she isn't going dry long during feeds (getting hungry) or sleeps shortly after falling asleep then wakes up full of energy consider that she may need to be more awake during the feed or have a couple minutes of waketime after the feed. Try to ensure she has full feeds though--you may need to burp her a couple times during the feed to make this happen.

  20. Hi Rachel,

    First of all, thank you for this! My baby girl is 8 weeks old and I've been reading (and re-reading) this post for the past couple weeks! There is so much material out there, and I SO appreciate how you consolidate everything into one place. I was hoping to ask you a couple questions that have come up with her:

    1- she has always been a sleepy baby, and if she doesn't get enough sleep, she is a major fuss. That said, she usually falls asleep around 6:30 but doesn't get up for the day until 8:30 or so. I've tried to wake her earlier in the morning, but after her feeding around 6am, her eyes are shut and she is sleeping so soundly (ie she sleeps through her burp and change, and I am not sure if i should wake her). Do you think this is too much sleep at night?? If so, any ideas about how to make it more balanced? After falling asleep around 6:30, she usually feeds at 8:30pm when I go to sleep, again around 12:30 or 1am (we are working on extending this with the core method), then twice again at 3ish hour intervals until about 8:30am...

    2- can you help me with understanding more about a bedtime routine? If she is going down about 6:30pm, should the feeding before that be around 5/ 5:30 to accommodate for the feeding + bedtime routine? Also, she requires assistance falling asleep... Usually 10-20 mins of rocking or bouncing on a medicine ball... Is that excessive?

    Thank you so much in advance!!


    1. Marilee,
      To get baby's longest length of night sleep while you are sleeping, you usually want to have at least 3 hours between feeds before you give the last feed. You want baby to be hungry enough that she takes a good amount of milk and go can a while with what she has eaten. If it has only been two hours since she last ate, she isn't going to eat as much and isn't going to go as long after that. I hope that made sense :) So I suggest feeding later than 8:30 or dropping that feed. She may surprise you by going a bit longer than usual!

      2) I always feed right before bedtime, even if that means I have some waketime before I do the last feeding of the night instead of after the last feeding. So if bedtime was at 6:30, I would feed around 6.

      I don't think 10-20 minutes is excessive. I would just keep in mind that she is getting pretty used to needing help falling asleep the, especially if you are doing bouncing etc, so you'll want to decrease this with time or plan on having to drop it at a later date (it'll likely take a lot longer than 10-20 minutes to get her to sleep later on if you keep it up for a while--and it can lead to more night wakings)

      1) The sleep after the 6 am feed could actually be the first nap. Many babies have very little waketime at this time and are really sleepy. But I'm not sure how long she's awake then. It would need to be more than like 20 minutes. Either way, I wouldn't worry tons about it. She 'll be sleeping longer soon so things will soon get all changed up again and you'll probably be able to adjust to have less night sleep. If something isn't broken, no sense fixing it :)


    2. She may also be considering the dreamfeed the night feed. Or her body simply isn't really set to considering anything the bedtime feed for sure yet :)

    3. Hi Rachel,

      Wow! I'm so grateful you replied :). Thank you!

      One other quick question if you have the time?

      My daughter rarely will nap without being held. I try to put her down in various stages of sleep (even when she is "out"), but she continues to wake at the most 10 minutes after I put her down unless she is in my arms. She sleeps at night in a cosleeper beside the bed with no issues, it's just the naptime routine that's making me nervous.
      Any ideas?

    4. Marilee,
      I don't have any quick and easy advice for naps outside of working on a good pre-sleep routine and putting her down at just the right tiredness level. They can take time to improve and lots of effort and consistency (and possibly some protests, particularly if baby is older). You probably want to rule out reflux, sometimes that causes babies to wake shortly after being put flat. Some babies simply want to be held by some nice and cozy and warm arms :)

  21. I have two kids. One is two and the other is 6 weeks old. With my 2 year old by the time she was 6 weeks old she was waking up twice a night to eat then would go straight back to bed with no crying and would sleep until the next feeding. She slept through the night around 9 weeks. With my new baby I am starting to lose hope! Since he was born we have been on the 3 hour feeding cycle and doing E/W/S. We have had our good days of naps and our bad days. On the bad days I have had him CIO and it doesn't work. He will cry for an hour and a half and not fall asleep. Even on good days he usually wont take a fourth nap and he definitely has witching hour from 8-10 pm. Sometimes during witching hour I can get him to sleep but others I either have to hold him or put him in the swing. The part that Im starting to lose hope on is the night time sleep. He usually wakes up around 1am. I feed on one side, change diaper, feed on the next side and will put him back to bed. He usually goes down great on this one. Then the majority of nights he will wake back up 2 hours later at 3 am. I have tried the binki and it doesn't work. I ll usually have to hold him till he falls back asleep then He will wake back up around 4 or 430 to eat again. Now this is the one Im having a hard time with. He cant go back to sleep on his own after this feeding. I either have to hold him or put him in the swing. We are doing the same wake time everyday. It just seems odd that he isn't catching on by now and is waking up three times a night. Any suggestions on what I could be doing wrong? Do some babywise babies do this at this point? It seems like most dont :(

  22. Hi Rachel.
    I have an 8 week old boy who has been a "C" baby since day 1. I started out with the EWS cycle, and still do this. Some days I'd swear I gave birth to an angel, because he follows this routine amazingly. :)

    Then my cranky baby comes to visit(and he usually stays for days), and he will not go down for naps! We do the put in crib drowsy/awake (with room darkened) and if he starts to fuss, we either pat/shush OR when that doesn't work, we pick him up, rock and calm him, then try again. Usually this works within the 20 minutes. But on cranky days, it doesn't and I find myself taking him for a walk/putting him in swing/rocking him to sleep, and sometimes that still doesn't work! So then I get desperate and nurse him, and sometimes that doesn't even work. And now we've spend 3 hours with a crying baby.

    Then finally exhausted, he eventually crashes for 3 hours. And I'm not sure whether to wake him, or let him sleep.

    More info: he sleeps great at night. Goes to bed around 10pm sleeps 5-8 hours, wakes, feeds, then back to bed until around 7am.

    What do we do? The inconsistency is making me crazy. And I've read so much! So many books and ideas and now I'm feeling confused and discouraged.

    1. Marsha,
      At this age, babies change so much. They can be content for a few days then fussy the next few days. Read the posts on the wonder weeks and it'll tell you more about some of these predictable fussy times.

      If you know he is having a rough time napping that day, then you may want to intervene early on with sleep to make sure he gets a good nap. At this age, that is more important then learning to sleep by himself. One thing that works for most babies if you haven't tried it is baby wearing. I have a post on baby carriers too. A stretchy wrap will probably work best at this age. You might also want to try an earlier bedtime to see if that helps. More sleep at night can help him be more rested during the day.


  23. Hi Rachel,

    Your blog/website is amazing. I am so grateful you took the time to put this together! I do have some concerns and troubles with my 3 week old. He as of late is having a harder time going down for naps. He gets sleepy while feeding, hasn’t been taking to the second breast and takes a lot to go down for a nap. I want him to be able to go down on his own, but after I diaper change him in between breasts, he has stopped taking the second breast. He also won’t fall asleep after I try putting him down in his crib. Swaddling hasn’t worked, white noise does, but I would prefer he go down on his own. I have tried the 4 S approach and I’m trying to stick with it, but it seems like he constantly needs me to pick him up, put him down and after two attempts, I have to add in white noise. This typically works. But I also feel like I’m creating a sleep prop by doing this. Should I be giving him some awake time after feedings at this point? Besides the diaper change? If I’m recognizing his sleep cues right, he starts to zone out shortly after the diaper change or during it. Actually he falls asleep on the first breast. Any tips you can offer, I am completely open to trying anything!

    Thank you so much!

    1. Danielle Campacci,
      Read my post on white nose for my thoughts on that. I think it is something worth trying and nothing to be worried about.

      Don't worry if he doesn't take the second breast. If he seems content, is having wet diapers and is going 2.5-3 hours happily between feeds, he's getting plenty. Your milk supply will changes with time as will his appetite. My stella rarely takes from both breasts even at 3 months. At 3 weeks, he will be getting less sleepy (which you've noticed) but still pretty much eat then sleep. See waketime charts for more on this. Try to keep awake during feeds as much as you can, but don't stress too much about it at this age (there is a keeping baby awake during feeds post too).


  24. Hi Rachel

    This is such a great blog, and you have really helped to give me some tools that I feel comfortable with to try with my 8 week old son. I have read Baby Whisperer, but find your posts a lot more practical - thank you!
    My 8 week old son has been resisting naps and has been waking up as soon as I put him down in his bassinet, no matter how drowsy he is. I resorted to letting him sleep on me or taking him for a walk in carrier to get naps in. My husband and I have been trying extended PU/PD (not that effective with our son) and we have moved onto trying the second point - settling after a few minutes with a pacifier/shush pat whilst leaving him in the bassinet. This seems more effective.
    My question is: If after doing this for 15minutes and he settles and no fussing for around 5 - 10minutes (?asleep) but then starts fussing again - is this when you recommend doing whatever it takes to get him to sleep to avoid overtiring him. Or would you try pacifier etc again a few more times and start another 15-20min cycle of trying self settling. It seems that what is happening is he is getting 10min catnaps and then when finally asleep for longer than 10minutes, this could have taken an hour already and then he only sleeps for 30 - 40min.

    Also, "doing whatever it takes to get him to sleep" - is it ok to let him fall asleep in my arms and put him down when/if able?

    Thank you in advance for your time and response.


  25. Hi Rachel,

    I am actually writing to you a second time. Thanks to you my 7 week old has made such progress. We have a FWS cycle of 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and are pushing the night feeds as much as he can. Right now we are facing the catnapping hurdle. I have realized that my baby boy has a wake time of maximum 1 hr and 15 min or so, and if I put him down, he naps so well. The problem is his nap lasts about an hour and half to two hours which is good for his age, but b/c his wake time is so short, it doesn't take him to his next feed. It poses two problems, I have to distract him and his fussiness till the next feed, but then he has been up for over his wake time and becomes overtired for his next nap. Any ideas?

    1. Danielle,
      At that age, feeds every 3 hours are closer to what most babies can comfortably do. If you still have a hard time doing ews d/t nap length, then you simply change the routine down to fit your situation, trying not to feed to sleep.

  26. Hi Rachel!
    I am writing with the hopes that you could possibly help me. I am a home schooling mom of 5 with a truck driver husband...I am desperate for a bit of advice. None of my children have been good sleepers and I am no stranger to the 45 minute nap issue. They've all been "needy" and difficult infants that transform into awesomely amazing children.
    #5 is an 8 week old little boy. I will try to make this as concise as possible because I know you are busy. Here is a rough schedule of ours:
    up between 7-8am, Nurse, down for 2 hour nap in swing (if in bed it is only 45 min. nap)
    Up, nurse, down for 45 minute nap regardless of swing vs. bed...repeat all day long. Gets increasingly fussy as day goes on and harder to put down as well. Sometimes I can extend a nap if I put him in the swing after getting him out of the bed, but never if nap started in the swing.

    Bedtime routine starts at 7:30-8pm..rocking, lullaby, swaddle, nurse until sleepy, put binky in, put in packnplay pat/shhh until almost asleep, slip out of room. Sometimes I have to go back in 2-4 times until he is finally out.

    sleep from 8:30/9-12/1 am. Bring to my bed nurse until nodding off, replace with binky falls asleep beautifully.
    at 2-3 am he wakes again, nurses nods off and then the 45 minute nap thing starts all over. From about 3:30 or 4am until about 6am he is awake every 45 minutes and only nursing will get him back to sleep. Finally if I unswaddle him, nurse him skin to skin and do not remove him from the breast he will sleep for about a 1.5-2 hour stretch and then we get up. This is the issue that I am struggling with. I am honestly awake from 3:30 am until about 10pm at night...very little sleep. How can I kill the 45 minute "naps" in the middle of the night? I try so hard to keep him quiet so my other kids stay asleep and so my husband can actually get some sleep because of his 15 hour long hard days are really taking a toll on him. Should I just roll with it and hope it gets better or do you have suggestions?

    1. Michelle C.
      As for daytime fussiness that increases throughout the day, I would try to put down for naps even earlier. As you said, he is overtired. I know this can be hard when you are so busy with other children--just do the best you can. Are you trying to not rush in, even with the swing? Make sure to give him a chance to fall back asleep mid nap (especially with the swing). If it is easier for you, you can even do all sleep in the swing right now. Making sure he gets the best sleep possible and that you are able to survive this tough time is the most important thing right now. As far as sleep props, the swing is one of the easiest to break later on.

      See if an earlier bedtime will help. He is reaching an age where it can help a lot of babies.

      He is at an age where he's probably still working on consolidating his nightly sleep. He may also have some fussiness that is at that time in the evening. I would also rule out any reflux with your pediatrician. Sometimes if you work on having baby sleep really well when you want them to (in the early morning hours for you) for several days then their body will start to sleep better then. But nursing endlessly during this time might end up not helping matters, so I would try to do other things if possible (hold pacifier in mouth, let him rest on your chest with pacifier skin to skin?). Some of this may just take some time to resolve :( I hope some of these suggestions help you! You certainly need more time to sleep!


  27. Rachel
    Thank you so much for your reply. He does have a touch of reflux but it is about 90% under control and only flares if I eat dairy. I do not rush to him during the day normally but try to get to him before he escalates which can happen very quickly sometimes. I will try to start bumping bedtime earlier to see if that helps. I have discovered that instead of doing 3-4 45 min naps... If I undwaddle him and allow him a good stretch and few minutes of awake time he settled down a bit and will sleep longer. Is that a habit I do not need to start? I appreciate your time and your blog.

  28. Hi rachel
    Your blog is a great source of info! Thanks so much for doing it! I have a 10 week old and a few questions...
    1- when I swaddle her before she freaks out so much until I feed her...sometimes I can stop before she falls asleep other times she passes out. What are some ways I can stop nursing her after I have swaddled her?
    2-is waketime before bed the same? Most days I have lots of trouble getting her to take a last nap but feel like I can't put her to bed so early bc she needs more feeds. Right now she goes down close to 7:30-8:00 wakes up 1/2 hr later then goes until 5-7am.

  29. Hi Rachel

    Your site is awesome and I've found some really great info. But, now I'm stuck and getting frustrated...

    y 9 week old is having a heck of a time settling for sleep, even physically resisting it by arching and thrashing about. She's textbook (mostly), no reflux and sleeps well at night. But getting her to sleep for naps and at BT is tough.

    A few weeks ago, we started rocking and singing her to sleep. Although not great in the long run, it cut down on crying and took only 10 minutes. But in the last several days, it doesn't seem to work anymore. I've tried shshing, shh/pat, singing, humming, walking, jiggling, putting her in her crib, etc. Sometimes one or two or three work. Other times, it's just such a battle. The longer it takes, the more OT she gets.

    We do a wind down - diaper, swaddle, sing a bit, white noise, then start rocking or whatever. It's at that point she often starts crying, arching, thrashing her head about, and/or 'climbing' with her legs. If I put her down, she either lays there wide wake or starts crying frantically (not a mantra or "I'm trying to settle" cry).

    Her A time is generally 60-75 min.

    I'd hoped to get her to self-settle with ssh/pat but at this point, I'll settle for whatever will stop the thrashing/arching/fighting. Any ideas? I'm really starting to dread each nap time..day after day after day...

  30. Hi Rachel - until what age do you recommend the dream feed?


  31. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for the time and energy you spend helping other moms!

    My 8wo is a good sleeper. My concern is about the amount of awake time I have with her. I feel like I get very little awake time with her. She wakes and feeds for 30 minutes, we play, and the she starts to show signs of sleepiness at around 40 minutes. I swaddle her and set her down around 50 minutes and she is usually asleep, with little fussing, within 60-70 minutes of being awake. My question is, since she spends 10-20 minutes awake, but calm, before she falls asleep, should I try to keep her awake for longer or is that an appropriate amount of time for her to be awake before falling asleep?

    1. Khanh.stenberg.
      It sounds like she is doing well with that waketime so I think it's just fine.


  32. On those nights when we are trying to transition our 3 month old from rock n play to crib and its taking hours and hours (for example giving up and putting back in the rock in play at 3am) should we still wake him at his normal wake of 7/8am? Also, I’ve read to not let your baby cry it out while swaddled, as they are supposed to be able to use their hands to self soothe. Do you agree with that? And if so, can babies’ mouths reach their hands while in the Magic Merlin suit? First time parents here just trying to figure out this sleep thing!

  33. Also, thank you thank you for your site, it's the most comprehensive helpful I've been able to find. Its helped us tremendously in the 2 days.

  34. What an amazing find. Feeling so blessed to have found your blog and can't wait to tell my other mummy friends. Thank you for all your great advice.

    1. I'm so glad you've found it helpful Kate!

  35. Hi Rachel, my 6 weeks old baby still confused with the day and night time.. shebhas no problem sleep during day (especially in the morning) and start ti be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep starting late afternoon till morning. She sleeps in her room but I open the door and someof the blind during the day. Take her out dor aun few mins during the day. I cant seems to wake her up during the day. Any inputs.. oh and can I do the self settling at night? Coz you mentioned its for naps. Thanks Ivanna

    1. *take her out for sun few mins (sorry for many spelling mistakes.. very hard to type and spell check on mobile)

  36. my little boy is nearly three months old but he was a preemie so his adjusted age is 3 weeks. He will only sleep on this tummy which is already a problem but the other problem is that he wakes up in the evening. I have started with a routine, bath, feed and bed but it does not work out because he wants to be awake in the evening. eventually he will sleep but I am talking about 12 o'clock. And then at night he wakes up eats and is fussy, often it is wind but after he has relieved himself from it he wants to play. He just won't go to sleep and he will scream if I encourage him to sleep. Any suggestion on what I can do? Is it too early for a routine? Thank you :)

  37. thank you for this. currently I'm going crazy trying to help my four week old daughter stay asleep. she keeps falling asleep either in my arms or occasionally in her bassinet then awakening crying within five minutes. whether in a deep sleep or just drowsy. I usually resort to holding her through a nap just to get a break. caring for her takes up nearly 100% of my time and I have two other young children and a husband who I'm basically ignoring. she had been sleeping well at night until a few nights ago. she just can't stay asleep outside my arms except maybe once a day for half an hour. my brain is a blur. what's the first thing I should do to help her stay asleep in her bassinet??

  38. Rachel,this blog saved me when training my daughter at 3-4 months. I used your extended pu pd and although it was very challenging at times,it really worked. Now at 14 months,she sleeps 11hours at night and is great for day sleeps too. I'm a bit of a slave to my own routine but it's worth it. Before I had her,I never realised that sleep was a learned skill, I just assumed babies decided when to sleep themselves! Thank you again for your wonderful blog,Deirdre from Ireland

    1. I'm so glad you've found things to help you and your daughter with sleep here! It's always so nice to hear success stories. I think it's pretty surprising for most new parents (at least those without very easy babies) how hard sleep can come! It certainly was for me! Good luck with everything. I've always wanted to visit Ireland. It sounds very nice compared to Utah right now where everything is very drab and dead!

  39. My first child get intto the EWS routine pretty easy, but i am having troubles with my second one to get her into a routine, she is 3 weeks old. She got used to take the breast to sleep, and she won't get a pacifier. Even if I swaddle her, walk around, rocky her, she usually cries a lot and i give her the breast in the edge of going crazy. How can i chance this bad habit from us?

  40. My first child get intto the EWS routine pretty easy, but i am having troubles with my second one to get her into a routine, she is 3 weeks old. She got used to take the breast to sleep, and she won't get a pacifier. Even if I swaddle her, walk around, rocky her, she usually cries a lot and i give her the breast in the edge of going crazy. How can i chance this bad habit from us?

  41. Rachel, Your blog has been so helpful!!! My daughter is three weeks old as of yesterday, and we started sleep training yesterday. It is going pretty well, but we have had her sleep in a Rock N Play for naps and at night. She is not a huge fan of her crib. I read in your post that you also used the Rock N Play but I wasn't sure if you used it just at night. I am worried that it will be hard to transition her into her crib later, but I feel like it is going to be pretty difficult to get her used to the crib while also doing sleep training. Should I work on one or the other or is it better to do both at the same time? Thanks!

  42. Hi Rachel! This blog is loaded with fantastic information, all of which has been very helpful. My issue is this, my son (11 weeks old) sleeps very inconsistently at night. Don't get me wrong, he only wakes up once or twice which I am thankful for, however that once ranges anywhere from midnight to 6 am. Every night is different. This has been going on since he was about a month old and I feel as if he is not making any progress. Sometimes he'll wake up for the first feeding at 4 for 3 nights in a row and then night 4 he'll wake up at 12:30, next night 2, next night 330, next night midnight (you get my drift). We don't rush to him at night in hopes that he will just settle back to sleep, but that's only happened a couple of times. Any suggestions? I would appreciate any help you have to offer. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hillary,
      I would check to see how consistent the days are. I would double check bedtime consistency and also see if it is early enough. Some kid are definitely inconsistent with night wakings for a while and then they become more consistent around 3/4 months. That is a pretty big gap for the night wakings though, but it could still improve on it's own soon. If he doesn't already fall asleep on his own, that could be contributing to things. If you want to try it out, you could always try to put him back to sleep when he wakes in another way besides a feed if he wakes to eat before X time (2 am etc). Kind of like the core night method, but less strict.

  43. Can you explain how the extended pu/pd is different from the regular pu/pd?? I've read about both but don't understand what makes them so different? Thank you!

    1. msgm,
      You extend/lengthen the time you are doing the pu. Instead of holding baby until they stop crying or calm down a bit, you hold them until they are drowsy again.

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Rachel thank you so much for the post!! It's been so helpful to have the information but also for there to be freedom within it to use maternal instincts!
    My question is about my 3 week old. We are in start to get a bit of rhythm to our day and want to use the suggestion of ews routine. However, she will often fall asleep straight after a feed or on the breast and I'm not sure what to do! Put her straight down for a nap? But then we don't get wake time in at every 3 hour cycle. Also how long do you recommend wake times to be?
    so much thanks again! Rachael

    1. RLB,
      I would do you best to keep baby awake during that feed, see the post on keeping sleepy newborns awake. You can only do the best you can, so if she falls asleep, she does. And if she doesn't make it to the 3 hours, then go ahead and feed her sooner. Look at the waketime length post for wake times at different ages. or the sleep averages charts.

      good luck!

  46. I have a three week old little boy and he hasn't awful witching hour usually around 7 p.m. but today it was around 430. You mentioned trying an earlier bedtime first will that cause him to get too much sleep at night? Also you said if that does not work then to basically carry them around for that nap. I have a wrap that I can carry him around in and I'm thinking about maybe trying that for that last nap of the day. Do I do this every day? And how long do I do it for, for a few weeks? he sleeps really good at night and the rest of the day other than from about 7 to 10 o'clock at night. Thanks for your advice in advance

    1. Kiley,
      Going to bed around 7 will not be too much sleep at this age with the night wakings for food still.

      I would carry him around for that last nap until he doesn't need it anymore, possibly until 3/4 months with some babies. He may improve significantly by 6-8 weeks and no longer need it though. Just try to see if the nap happens every week or so to see where you are at. best of luck!


  47. For a 14 week baby would you still put a time limit on the PU-PD method? Also, with this method would you tackle bedtime or naps first?

    1. Unknown,
      At 14 weeks, I would most likely not have a limit on the pu-pd method. It would depend on the baby. Some babies are still extremely sensitive to over tiredness a that age and I might wait a little bit longer if that was the case--at the same time, if sleep was really rough, getting good sleep habits in place would cause a lot less over tiredness in the long run.

  48. Hi Rachel,

    First and foremost, thank you for all of the great information. We've started to look into sleep training with our 3-week old son. We've been working on establishing clear routines, helping him distinguish day and night, etc., and have been putting him in his crib awake but drowsy. I'm guessing it's best to swaddle him at this age so he doesn't startle himself awake; however, he gets upset every time we swaddle him. If we swaddle him and put him in his crib awake, he cries and fusses every time we put him down and this goes on for 20+ minutes every time. If we don't swaddle him and put him in his crib awake, he’s happy - he just kind of hangs out in there and kicks his feet around without fussing or anything - but is wide awake and eventually gets overtired. Do you have a recommendation on swaddling vs. not swaddling? Do we just need to keep trying until he eventually gets used to it and falls asleep? Is it possible that he's too young to start sleep training?

    Thanks for any help or advice you can provide.


    1. Dave,
      Take a look at the swaddle post for info on swaddling. I would swaddle at this age. If he fell asleep easily without swaddling, then I'd say there is no need to change anything, some kids are simply different. But since he isn't falling asleep either way, my guess is he's resisting the swaddling because he wants to stay awake and play and is having a hard time going from awake to drowsy to sleepy. See this post

      I think sleep training at this age is fine, but it can include many different things. Think of it as helping him start to learn to sleep well on his own, or setting things up to give him the best chance to fall asleep on his own, stay asleep on his own and sleep long periods. at first, you will be helping out a lot, but over time, it will get easier.

    2. Thanks, Rachel! I really appreciate the help.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Hi Rachel,
    I have a 7 week old son and he has problem keeping awake during feeds and after feeds for wake time. He would latch for a good 10 mins and sometimes unlatch himself without having a full feed due to gas. He's very gassy and if I were to burp him, he would fall asleep and doze off and it's almost impossible to get him to relatch and continue feeding. He would go into deep sleep and then gets awaken halfway through his sleep and cry. I usually try to let him cry it out or carry him for a short while before he falls asleep on his own again.

    He feeds around 2.5 hours interval in the day, sometimes 2 hours but rarely beyond 2.5 hours. His feeding time alone can take more than 30 mins trying to wake him up and relatch (sometimes successful). Hence he doesn't have wake time and gets disturbed sleep time. I have tried many ways to keep him awake (tickling, singing, talking, burping etc) but many times unsuccessful. I am hoping to establish a good EWS cycle so he can lengthen his night sleep. Currently, he sleeps at 4 hours interval at night and cluster feeds hourly at around 9-11pm.

    Thanks for your time and help!


  51. Hi Rachel,

    My 10 weeks old daughter sleeps very bad during day. I am doing 3 hour eat/play/sleep routine for a month already. It helps a lot to know when I should expect her to be tired, and I do not keep her up for longer than 1h15min. Around the time she should sleep for a nap she often starts being fussy (but not always) which I think happens because she knows it is time to sleep and she is tired but does not want to go to sleep. When I start preparing to put her down for a nap she starts crying, so she is crying while I am swaddling her, rocking her and singing a little song to her. This takes 5-15 min and then she is asleep. Previously, I would hold her for her nap or have her in a sling. I ended up doing this because nothing else worked and I did not want her to get overtired. I understand this is a really bad sleep prop so 2 weeks ago I started to try to rock her until she is drowsy but awake and then put her down while helping her to fall asleep by cuddling and extended pu/pd. During first few days she would not fall asleep after me cuddlign her for 5-10 min and I would do extended pu/pd for another 10 min, after which I would pick her and hold her so she would not get overtired. After the first days things started to work better and she fell asleep from drowsy several times and stayed asleep for 1-2 h couple of time but mostly woke up after 30-40 min. And after these 30-40 min I held her again. But I think the more I try to do what I do the more difficult it gets to make her sleep. first of all, it takes longer time for her to fall into deep sleep (like more than 30-40 min), when she stays asleep for shorter and shorter time (like 15-20 min, so the whole nap including her falling into a deep sleep and a deep sleep itself is around 45-60 min). Yesterday she did not fall asleep from drowsy at all although I tried to help her for 1 hour before each nap. I think she is maybe generally overtired after days of our sleep training? Should I fully help her sleep for several days and start the training again? Should I exclude holding her sleeping completely if she does not fall asleep by herself (but I am so afraid she will get overtired if I do not do it)? Do you think I just should wait until she is a bit older to try another sleep training method? It is difficult for us to have any soothing pre-sleep and pre-nap routines because she is fighting sleep and crying before sleep every single time (I also feel pretty bad when I am rocking her and she is crying and resisting with her body). Putting her down fully awake and without rocking does not work. I try to not overstimulate her and keep things quiet for 15-20 min before her nap time. She is healthy and breastfed. She gets around 15 hour of total sleep every day (if I help her obviously). Concerning the nights, she goes to bed at 6-7-8 pm, depending on how long it takes her to fall asleep completely. We also rock her at bedtime and sometimes she falls asleep from drowsy but usually falls asleep in our arms and then we put her down. She wakes up 2 times at 10 pm and around 2 am, i feed her these two times and she usually goes back to sleep by herself or after 1 min of holding. And then she wakes up around 4 am and is very difficult to put down again (feels like she is ready for a day). We try as much as we can to put her down again and after much of struggle she can sleep from 5-6/6.30 and then we start a day.
    To be honest all this seems to me as quite big sleeping problems and I do not know what to try.

    Thank you for your help in advance!

  52. Hi Rachel,

    I would love your advice on our daughter. She is currently 3 months old and a good sleeper overall. We have a set wake up time at 6 am every weekday. Occasionally she will wake up at 4 or 5 am and I will let her sleep till about 7:30 before waking her for her morning feeding. Right now she is waking up 1-2 times a night to feed. Some nights if I feed her around 10-11pm she will sleep till 6. On the weekends we let her wake us up whenever she is ready. We do not have a set schedule during the day. We live and work at a boarding school. I am a teacher so I am able to come home to feed her during the day, but I have a different schedule each day. So during the day I wake her up to eat at different times before I have to get back to class or head off for afternoon activities. We try to have a set bedtime of 7, but it doesn't always work and we aren't sure what to do some nights. Tonight for example, she went down for a nap around 5, maybe closer to 5:20. At 6, she was still sound asleep. Should we wake her to start bedtime routine? Or should we let her sleep? We ended up waking her around 6:30 to do so. Sometimes she will go to sleep so well at bedtime and naptime. Other times, not so well. The times that are not so well are what I would love your advice on. We will put her down, in her crib, she will take her pacifier and we won't hear a peep. Then 10-15 minutes later she will cry, usually a wet diaper. Then we will put her down again. Sometimes she goes right back to sleep, other times she starts fussing. She will cry, won't take her pacifier, unable to be soothed in her crib. She won't calm down when we pick her up, hold her, rock her. She sometimes will calm down if I rock her with her pacifier in, but not for long. The only thing that will calm her down is going into a room with lights(dimmed lights). Is she just getting overtired because of the wet diapers? Or is she not tired enough? Typically we keep her up for 1-1.5 hours. At night it is usually more at the 1 hour side of the spectrum. Often she will be in her crib, crying( a fussy cry, not a screaming cry) with her pacifier in her mouth. If she is just fussy crying, should we just let her do it? Today she was doing it, not taking a pacifier and in a few minutes she was asleep. At nighttime it seems to go on for an hour or so though. Any suggestions and advice would be very appreciated. Please also comment about the no routine, should we have a bedtime issue as well. Thank you so much. Your blog is awesome!

  53. Hi Rachel
    Thank you so much for your blog. It's amazing. I wondered if you could help us with our 6 week old who is chronically overtired and won't nap. For the last 2-3 weeks it's been almost impossible to get him to nap in the day and when we do he'll only nap for 30 minutes at time.

    In the day I try to breastfeed every 3 hours and do Eat, activity, sleep. However he's a very slow feeder - he often falls asleep while feeding or gets distracted so I have to break feeds up with nappy changes etc which means a feed (both sides) can take 1-1.5 hours. This means he's usually showing signs of being tired before he's finished feeding and I let him feed to sleep (especially in the early weeks), which I know isn't ideal.

    If I put him down for a nap asleep he often wakes 10 minutes later. If I put him down awake, it takes 30 mins-1 hour to get him to sleep. In either case he will wake from his nap 30 minutes later. Then whatever we try (including taking him out in the pram or the car) he won't go back to sleep until I feed him to sleep (either because by that point he's due the next feed or I do a split/top up feed before he's due, which means he ends up doing lots of small feeds for the rest of the day).

    Over the last few days he's managed only 3 or 4 30 minute naps per day (mostly in the car or pram), which I know if far too little sleep for his age.

    He is generally still sleeping well at night. He has a dream feed at around 10.30pm, sleeps until 3am and then until 7am so I know he can settle himself back to sleep. However, he is getting more and more difficult to put to bed at 6-7pm and over the last week has started waking every 30 minutes until 10.30pm.

    We have tried putting him down for naps in his crib where he sleeps at night, which is dark and quiet, and in his Moses basket in the living room, which has background noise/he can hear us. The result is the same.

    Please could you give us some advice. I don't know how to break the cycle of him being too overtired to sleep. We are all getting increasingly tired and unhappy!

    Many thanks

  54. thank you so much for this wonderful blog! you are a lifesaver with all of this amazing information. we are working on putting our 7 week old to bed awake and we're using the extended pu/pd technique when he cries. however, we find that he stops crying when we open his bedroom door. should we still pick him up? or should we step back out of the room? or is there is different technique we should use instead of pu/pd? thanks again!!!

  55. I found your blog and have about 25 pages open on my phone browser of all your different topics :) I have a 5 week old and decided at 4 weeks I/he needed some structure when he went from typical newborn, sleeping all the time to fighting naps and (I now, know) becoming over tired. The first few weeks we were just winging it and chugging along- baby slept wherever I was (my arms, whoever's was visiting arms, mamaroo in living room etc). He didn't have a "bedtime" because he ate/slept, so "how could he?" I thought

    The first few days of implementing a bedtime and e/w/s were beautiful! He put himself to sleep in minutes and the first stretch each night was 5hrs from a feed (4-4.5hrs of sleeping) then 3hrs and 3hrs.
    However his waketime seems to be at most 1hr sometimes 30-45min. After feeding he's awake but yawning and starting to glaze over. I was putting him down then but is it a problem his wake time is so short? This meant he was either sleeping 1.5hrs-2hrs each nap which put his total nap time higher than the averages, or putting our schedule at more like 2-2.5hrs (which also meant more naps). He also only nurses for 10min total often (he is very efficient per our lactation weigh ins!). Should I be trying to change anything?
    Last question is how do people do this routine and still "live"? My son is so much happier when we are in sync on a routine but I feel like we can't go anywhere, that I have to tell grandparents they need to leave because it's time for him to go down (before they'd just hold him until he sleeps) and I feel like my husband doesn't get any time with him because everything has to be done a certain way. (He just wants to hold him on the couch). I know that once his wake times are longer we will all get to spend more time with him but right now the feels like he is still eating/sleeping, but instead of being with us for the sleeping part he's now put down to sleep in out room, so
    It feels like we aren't spending anytime bonding and snuggling our newborn. I'm feeling overwhelmed and conflicted. I appreciate your help!!

    1. Amanda Heir,
      I'm not sure if he's born early, but if he is, that'll make him even more time. I say if the wake time is working, then just go with it. He will wake up more soon and you will probably be able to extend the entire schedule out a bit. If he is nursing quickly but content, I wouldn't worry about it, especially if he's eating 2-2.5 hours.

      I agree it can be really hard to get out while trying to have a routine and also get those snuggles in (not as much for me now that I have more children and am super busy with one thing or another, but still true). For getting out, I wouldn't worry about taking him out and having him sleep in the car seat or baby carrier sometime. I would also try to see if you can have him sleep at a friend/family member's house sometimes while you visit them. I would also not worry about holding him for some sleep periods. It's important to get those snuggles in. The evening is a good time to hold too, since many babies are fussy or start to get fussy then around this time and don't sleep well on their own either. Most babies do fine being held sometimes. If this isn't the case, then you can adjust things now or a bit later in the future. It's all about trying to find a good balance. In the end, there is no perfect solution to everything, you just have to make the best solution for your situation.

      good luck!

  56. Hi
    I just came accroas your blog and am hoping that you can help me as all else has failed:(
    My now 2 month old just flat refuses to sleep. I have tried everything that was ever advised on sleep but nothing is working. I feedcmy daughter then play with her and put her to sleep. Mostly she will not sleep. I tried modifying tge waketine but no difference. At times wen she does fall asleep she ll be up in 20-30 mins and cry endlessly. The same story for nights as well. I m honeatly tired of this whole routine where i spend an hour trying to get her to sleep nly to hv her wake up in 20 mins.

    1. rkk,
      With babies this young, there is often only so much you can do as far as sleep goes. It's nice to avoid sleep props, but if you've tried lots of things consistently and nothing is really working, then you may need to help baby sleep until she's older and you feel more comfortable doing some sort of sleep training with her (there are some methods listed above for this age range). Sorry, not the best things to hear, but that's how it goes with babies sometimes (well, often, really).


  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. I came across your blog and love it. My 6 week old is a pretty good sleeper she sleeps 2-3 hours during daytime naps. The problem we have us getting her to sleep, she generally only goes to sleep while nursing or bottle feeding her. We really want to break her of that and aren't sure where to start. Bedtime is the worste she fights sleep so bad. Do you have any advice?

  59. I am pretty sure my baby went through a growth spurt last week when she was 4.5 weeks- her spurts have never been super obvious.., maybe an extra feed and a couple early feeds in the day. This week she is five and half weeks and either she is having another spurt or she is regressing. She sleeps after an 11 pm feed and can sleep 4-5 hours but the last three nights she's waking after 3 hourst. She's also been very fidgety at the breast all day which a bit new. I feel like she is constantly going through a growth spurt. So confused.

  60. No problems with flat head and the Rock and Play? I know they can get that from lots of things but since the babies love those so much it seems to be an issue. All of the bad reviews seem to be because of flat heads so I haven't gotten one. Thanks.

    1. Mg, I have a review of the rock and play sleeper that you can find in the index that goes over that issue a bit.

  61. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for this awesome article and site! I have been using your suggestions in this article for the last week or so with my 4 week old, and I've been getting pretty great results. However, now I am confused and worried. I swaddle him before every sleep session, since he will startle awake if I don't. I lay him down drowsy, and he will oftentimes fall asleep with no fuss, or 5 minutes of fuss. Sometimes I have to go in and shush and bounce him a little. If he wakes 'early' or in the night, I let him fuss it out for 5 minutes before I go in to soothe him. However, I just read an article today that stated to not swaddle when you are doing any sort of sleep training involving letting them cry since 'a baby can't self soothe unless they have access to their hands to suck on'. What do you think about this? Your methods had been working so well for us, and now I'm confused. Thanks!

    1. Unknown,
      I personally think that a baby can settle on their own while swaddled. I've seen it time and time again. Yes, they can't suck on their hands or something (or bug themselves with their hands as is often the case :) but they do other things to settle themselves that they can do swaddled (suck lips, wiggled hands around etc). That's just my opinion, you'll have to do what you feel comfortable with. Best of luck!

    2. I would tend to agree with you. It is obvious that since he is settling down to sleep often only after 5 minutes or so of fussing instead of screaming and screaming that he is finding some way to make himself feel better. I decided to experiment with leaving one hand out of the swaddle, we will see how that goes. So far I have just observed him hitting himself with it instead of sucking it...he doesn't seem able to consistently find his mouth yet anyways, so what's the point?

    3. Reeshunleashed,
      yeah, most babies this age will just bug themselves if they have a free hand, at least much of the time.

  62. Hi Rachel,
    I have another question for you. Sometimes I'll put my one month old down for nap or sleep drowsy, he'll fuss for two minutes, be quiet for 10, fuss for 1 minute, be quiet for 6, fuss for 3 minutes, be quiet for 7, fuss for 2 minutes...you get the idea. I'm not sure what to do with this...I usually try to wait 5 minutes before going in to soothe, but he's not really giving me a chance but also won't really settle down!

  63. Rachel,
    I just started trying to implement an EWS schedule with my 8 week old. He doesn't fall asleep on his own yet, but I'm having the hardest time keeping him awake during feeds. He falls asleep no matter what I do (I read your suggestions too). If I can keep him awake (or wake him up), he wants to sleep immediately. If I insist on keeping him awake, he gets overtired. Any suggestions? Should I let him fall asleep for a little while and then have playtime when he wakes up 30 or so minutes later, followed by an intentional nap? Yesterday he got so tired at the end of the day without falling asleep at the breast, he was inconsolable.

  64. Hi Rachel,

    I hope you are still checking this post!

    I have a 10 week old who struggles with naps. She goes down without any fussing at night and sleeps for a long stretch, wakes up for one feed and goes back to sleep again.
    During the day, she will not sleep unless she is in my arms. She has to be rocked, patted and shushed to sleep.

    I have tried putting her in her crib drowsy and fully asleep and she always wakes up as soon as she's down or 5 minutes later. She's been this way since she was about 2 weeks old.

    I really don't want her to develop a bad habit, which I suspect she already has. She's very cranky in the day too as she doesn't get the sleep she needs.

    She is swaddled, in a dark room with white noise when she sleeps. When she is in my arms she also fights me before eventually sleeping.

    We have tried leaving her to sleep on her own, patting her in the crib till she sleeps.

    Please help!

  65. Okay so my 6 week old will sleep in her room in the rock n play for naps fine during the day. She will even go to sleep completely on her own sometimes but at night she only wants to sleep on me (she will sleep up to 6 hours like this) I have gotten her to sleep in her room at night a few times but most nights she wakes back up after 20-30 minutes. I have tried letting her cry for 5 minutes or so but she just keeps crying worse. I have tried extended pu/pd but it seems to make it worse. Not sure what I should do? Can I let her cry herself back to sleep at this age if she is fed, burped, and changed? I feel like letting her cry is the only thing that will work. How long can I let her cry at this age before it is too much? Thanks!

  66. I had the same issue with my daughter, she slept in her rock n play for naps and at night if she wasn't asleep on me. We tried the babies magic merlin suit such a sleep saver! We feed her until she is almost asleep and then put her in her crib and she will either sleep all night or wake up just once to feed.

    1. oh wow! It really made a difference instantly? She will just sleep in her crib on her back in that? If it will fix this I will buy it lol I go back to work in 6 weeks and am trying to resolve this!

    2. It really helped she sleeps on her back in her crib. I was nervous about trying it because it was $40. The first week or so that she used it she woke up once or twice but would go right back to sleep.

    3. Did you have to do anything to get her to go back to sleep? Or did she just go back to sleep on her own? Are there any stores that carry it or just online?

    4. We feed her if she has been asleep for a while and then put a pacifier in her mouth and she may cry a little but after about 5-10 minutes she is asleep. Any longer than that and we console her. Sometimes she will wake up at 5AM and talk to herself but fall back to sleep. The suite really helps to dampen the startle reflex that wakes her up. I got mine on Amazon with 2 day shipping I'm not sure if stores have them.

    5. Well I swaddle her right now in a swaddle me and it works good but when she wakes up and gets all worked up she usually will get an arm out.

  67. Grayson is 7 weeks old today! His sleep has drastically improved in the past 2 weeks, after climaxing in awefulness. Previously he could only sleep being held or in his swing and consistently woke up at the 40min mark. I started my own sleep training before finding all your research and now we've incorporated everything possible from yours for about a week. We need some help with some issues though!

    1)Grayson is breastfed, but gets a 1 oz snack at bedtime to help him accept a bottle for my return to work @ 13weeks AND to help fill his tank for good night time sleep. It definitely helps, he sleeps 3-5hrs before getting up the first time at night (daytime naps are 2.5hrs max). We do our bedtime routine and try to go down, if this doesn't work he gets a bottle about an hr after the breast feed. He needs the bottle about 5-6/week. 50% he falls asleep eating and 50% is drowsy and goes down after. How can we use this aid without making it a sleep prop?

    2) I'm working very hard and consistently with naps & monitoring wake time with hope this will trasition to helping improve bedtime but mostly to improve our middle of the night 1.5-2hr wake times. How can I create a nap routine that will be portable enough to use at daycare in 5weeks? He'll be in a room with lights on, crying babies, and no white noise! By then he'll be better at self soothing, but won't have his sleep association things or anyone catching his tired signs :'(

    3) When I return to work we'll have a very irregular schedule with baby sometimes being dropped off for child care at 645am, 830am, 130pm, or no child care at all (I'm a nurse and can not have a regular schedule). How can we form a schedule that will accomodate all this iregularity?

    4)How do I incorporate any type of errand (grocery shopping!) into this rigid 3hr sleep training schedule?

    5) He continues to have 1-2 aweful naps/day. He wakes at sleep transitions about 50% of the time and won't go down at all about 25% of the time (wakes fully when put down drowsy). He averages 15-16 hrs sleep/day despite ample opportunity for more. He doesnt show great sleep signs, but when he does its usually an hour + after being awake. My mommy instincts say he's just not tired! But the logical side of me says more awake time at this age is too much!


  68. My 4 week old doesn't want to stay asleep in his bassinet at night. He usually goes to bed without much protest around 8 (swaddled and after a full feed, although we have not yet mastered the going to bed when drowsy part). But It's the middle of the night that we're having a problem with... He just doesn't want to go back to sleep after he wakes up for the 11/12 o'clock feed. He gets drowsy toward the end of the feeding and even falls asleep while I'm burping him, but wakes up within 5-10 minutes after I put him in his bassinet and can't settle back to sleep. Sometimes I can get him to take the pacifier but he grimaces and spits it out most of the time, and the shush/pat doesnt work for long. He gets all worked up so I end up having to pick him up and hold him until he falls asleep again, but of course the same thing happens and we do this over and over. Sometimes I think he's hungry, maybe a growth spurt, so I put him to breast but he doesn't really eat and just uses me to pacify and fall asleep. If I'm lucky he's only up off/on for a couple hours but last night this went on from about 12:30-5 even after full feeds. He only got cat naps while I held him and I got no sleep. He finally fell asleep and stayed asleep for 4 hours. When he woke up, he was all happy in his bassinet... I changed him, played with him, fed him, and put him back in his bassinet drowsy after about 1 hr of wake time and he elas able to fall asleep and stay asleeo for 3 hours. So I know he can do it, and usually has no problem during the day. I'm so tired and I'm concerned he's not getting enough sleep at night. It scares me that I'll end up falling asleep holding him and something bad will happen. My husband and I are at a loss of what to do... Any tips?

    1. About a week after I wrote the above, my 5 week old did a complete switcharoo... He's sleeping pretty well at night but naps have suffered. He mostly catnaps and fights sleep really bad. We're working on re-establishing the eat/wake/sleep schedule but he still will wake up after 30-60 minutes, one 2 hour nap in the afternoon if I'm lucky. He seems like he just doesn't want to miss anything since he's so much more alert and aware of his environment. In a brighter note, my husband and I are a lot more rested since we get to sleep better at night.

    2. Nellie, not an uncommon change. Naps can often struggle once baby wakes up a bit and can require some time/baby getting older and work to get on track. Luckily night has improved at least

  69. Hi! I have a question about how I would get enough feedings in once baby sleeps thru the night if spacing out feedings every 3 hours. We have a 5 week old, so a ways to go but I'm trying to create habits now. He has his first bottle around 6:00 6:30am so that would be about 6, 9. 12, 3, 6, 9... Then he wakes up once per night to eat right now (lucky I know). So the question is if we put to bed earlier how will get enough feedings in if he misses that 9pm feeding with the 3 hour spacing? Thanks!

    1. Once baby drops a feed at night, he will be getting less feeds in. The key is really whether baby seems satisfied in regards to hunger and is growing well, rather than the exact number of feeds (unless you are breastfeeding in which case you might have to be more careful about how many feeds you give at first). Your son may need a cluster feed in the evening though if you move bedtime earlier, if he is only waking up once at this age to eat, or he may end up waking up again to eat more at night. It really just depends. I've heard of some babies (bottle fed) who stop waking up to eat at night at extremely early ages. Every baby varies. Just make sure you aren't pushing to drop the feeds at this age (as in baby does it by himself happily) and that he is healthy and growing well per your pediatrician.

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  71. Hi Rachel,

    I have been reading your guide and also the book The Baby Whisperer, but I have been having trouble with my 6 week old baby for his naps during day time (he's pretty good at night). I follow the 4S ritual as well as the shh-pat method, but every time once the baby is drowsy, I put him down, still shh-pad but he cries again, so I'm afraid by picking him up so many time I might have overstimulate him and he would cry even harder ( face turns red, he even holds his breath sometimes), so I just hold him over my shoulder until he's asleep. I'm afraid at this point he's being used to being held until asleep and he won't be able to sleep on his own. Please help. Thank you so much!!

  72. My son who is almost 3 months wants to nap all day and only wake up for a bottle but when he wakes up he is screaming bloody murder. He sleeps all night until about 5 or 530 and does the same thing screams bloody murder and it take me a good 10 to 15 minutes to calm him down and sometimes my husband has to take him to calm him down what is going on and how can I help him.

    1. Vantashia,
      It's normal for some babies at this age to still be crying really hard when they wake up- either because they are hungry or overtired or just want to be held. That said, if he's screaming whenever he wakes and only awake for a feeding, then I'd take him to the doctor to make sure he's well. It's not unusual for a baby to only be awake an hour at a time, but only being able to stay awake for a short feed isn't very long. I'd check to make sure he's really asleep when you think he is, not resting in his bed awake. Also, some babies if they're overly hungry or tired will get worked up and cry lots and be hard to calm down- even when offered a feed. Anyway, start with the pediatrician and evaluate the other things mentioned. Good luck!

  73. I have a 6-week-old daughter who has been a fairly good sleeper thus far, but I'm afraid I've started some habits that are really starting to interfere with our good sleep goals. After she woke up from her newborn tiredness, she went through a fussy period in the evenings and needed to be in arms and, often, at the breast from about 6-10 each night. I'd always fed her between 10-11 before I went to bed to get her in the habit of taking a dream feed, then put her down for the night without a problem. I've been trying an earlier bedtime the last week and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. She's often wide awake in the evenings. She's been waking twice during the night to feed since early on and always ate and drifted right back to sleep at the breast and I was back in bed in about 15 minutes. Last night, however, she was wide awake from 2:50-5 am. I nursed her as usual, put her down, and she started crying. I went back in and picked her up and she had a big spit-up and was wide awake from then until about 5. Nursing didn't help and just overfilled her, resulting in more spit-ups. She won't take any pacifiers, so that very useful tool isn't available to us... at least not yet. She had been sleeping well swaddled in the swing, but even that isn't doing the trick anymore. After an hour an a half of wake time this morning, I got desperate and put her in the baby carrier where she is now sleeping while attached to my breast. I really want to get out of this habit. I'm exhausted and also have a two-year-old son who is suffering as a result. I feel terrible about this and would like to move toward getting baby to nap on her own so that we can all be more rested and I can have more patience and time with my sweet son (who, incidentally, is a fabulous sleeper). I remember it being hard work with him in the beginning, but he was my sole focus... Now it just feels impossible. When I attempt naps in her room during the day after 50 minutes to an hour of wake time, she seems to pop wide awake after she's swaddled and fights my attempts to cuddle and soothe her into drowsiness. I desperately want to start good habits early, but am I expecting too much for a 6-week-old?

  74. Hi! Your blog is amazing, but honestly a little overwhelming. I have a 7.5wk girl, EBF, healthy and growing. Baby-led feedings til now, she goes 2.5-4 hours between day feedings and 3-5 hours between night feedings (5 is occasional). I am going back to work in 4 weeks and would like to be on a schedule by then- not rigid, just somewhat predictable. She has been settling in her crib for good between 9-11pm, after we start trying to put her down between 8-9. I don't ever feed to sleep, but we always rock her to sleep and put her in crib totally asleep. If she wakes, we rock more. If I can get in bed by 10:30, I might piece together 6-7 hours of sleep for myself, 8 if I'm lucky. I would like to build in some predictability!
    I've always naturally followed ews pattern, but I have NOT been waking her during long daytime naps when she passes the 3hr mark.
    To tackle the huge task of adopting a schedule, where should I start? Keeping her eating every 3 hours by waking during the day? Getting her to be able to fall asleep on her own during naps and then later in the evening, too? Bedtime at the same time every night? Thanks for helping us get started in the right direction!

    1. Rebekah,
      Start with having a consistent morning awake time. Work on full feeds so baby will easily be able to go around three hours between feeds. Wake up after three hours. Bedtime hour will naturally become more consistent. Work on going to sleep on own after you get above routine down. You may have luck with putting to sleep less and less drowsy (over weeks).

      Yes, it is a bit overwhelming at first! Sorry!

    2. Thanks, I was so excited to read your reply! :) I've already had some positive results from sticking to a 3-hr schedule.
      Here's a kicker: I had success with naptime on Day 1 with extended pu/pd and got baby to fall asleep after crying a bit on her own. We never had to exceed 20 minutes, and one naptime she didn't fuss at all! The average might be around 8 minutes of crying before she goes to sleep. (I feel like the quality and length of those naptimes has suffered, but it might be my imagination. Need to track this for several days to see if it's true.)
      But extended pu/pd did NOT work at night; each time I laid her down, she became hysterical and cried like she has never cried before. My hubs and I decided that we are not comfortable doing the nighttime training. Per 'Bedtiming', I see it may be too soon developmentally for her (gestationally she is 7 weeks tomorrow).
      So here I have a double-standard. We will continue to rock her to sleep at night, and wait for a later date and softer method that we're both comfortable with.
      But in the meantime, letting her CIO for a few minutes at nap time and potentially be trained out of rocking down for naps THIS early.... what do you think? Have you heard of 'half-trained' situations such as this? :)

    3. Rebekah, your day/night plan sounds fine. Not uncommon for babies to act different during the day and night. She may switch later on too :)


  75. Thank you so much for this post and your others!

    I have a question about wraps and where they fit in here. My 9 week old bub loves chilling with me from about 8 AM till 2 PM in my Baby K'Tan (I take him out for feeds, changes, and a little play here and there).

    How do wraps fit in with your nap sleep suggestions? Am I setting us up for hard times later by wearing him through his first two important naps of the day? He has great head control but loathes tummy time, so was hoping to use baby wearing to keep his head a nice round shape!

    1. Michelle, the wrap for maps may or may not backfire. It's hard to know. With some babies it keeps them well rested and helps with nice long naps which helps give full feeds which then helps keep feeds spaced apart. Some babies will sleep well later, even on their own because they are well rested and have gotten used to sleeping at a certain time and for long periods (a couple hours compared to 15 minutes at a time). BUT some babies will get really addicted to needing to be snuggled to sleep. But maybe they would have struggled sleep wise no matter what? Anyway, my point is it is hard to predict. Keep in mind that sleep can always be adjusted later on, that you need to do what you need to do to survive right now, and that working towards more sleep on baby's own by 3 months will be helpful in the future.


  76. Hi

    I have a 10 week old son and he seems to have a lot of problems sleeping. I was hoping you could help me out.

    For all naps, he needs to be held to sleep. That involves walking around or swaying him. Sometkmes that takes half an hour or more to work. If I try putting him down awake, he will cry. I tried leaving him to cry but he doesnt quieten down. I tried latting hm on his chest n shushing him, it doesnt work either. He just keeps crying.

    If he does nap, his naps are usually half an hour,45 mins. They are rarely more than an hour. He often wakes up with a cry and is seldom happy after his nap.

    As for ews cycle, I feed him when he wakes, n try to put him to sleep after he is awake for an hour or if he has been yawning a few times. But he always snuggles into my chest and try to burrow down to my breast. I try my best tk put him to sleep but it annoys him because he wants the breast. Sometimes, when it is past an hour of trying, I just feed him. After feeding I will change his diaper and I try gettng him to sleep again.

    For the nightime routine. I give him a massage, bath, feed a bottle of expressed milk, sing a song and then hold him. Again sometimes I can just sit n hold him, most of the time he needs to be rocked and putting him dkwn awake would end with him cryibg. Patting him in his sleep dont seem to calm him too.

    When he does go down, it ranges from 615pm to 645pm. We wake him up for a df at 11pm. He wakes at 130-2am, 4am, 5 and 6am.

    Pleasee help! =)

    1. An example would the first nap this morning
      He was fed at 6am and woke at 630, he was rocked to sleep as I want him to wake after 7. He was put down with his eyes closed. Woke at 8am.

      I fed him but he kept unlatching on his own. So I wiped him down n chabged his diaper and clothes. Played with him for awhile and tried to feed him at 830. He unlatched several times. I gave up and brought him to the room at 845.
      I swaddled him and sat him down to cuddle him. He kept protest crying and used his legs to constantly push himself upwards. Tried to rock him n walk him, same effect.

      9am I removed swaddle and walked him in a birghter room. He settled and I put him down to swaddle. He protested. Tried to shush and pat, but he continue to protest.
      910am I picked him up in the swaddle and swayed him till he settled and stared into space. Put him down with eyes open and walked away. I saw his eyelids shut but 5 mins later he woke up with a cry.
      I waited 2 mins before enterin.g tried shush and pat for 2 mins. No signs of settling so I picked him up and rocked
      He slept at 915 only to wake at 950. I tried all kind of ways to get him to sleep and he just wouldnt even though he is tired.

      1025 I gave up n fed him.

  77. Hello, my baby just turned 1 month yesterday and we have had a lot of trouble getting him to sleep at night.
    Our bedtime ritual is eat, sing a song and then I put him down sleepy but awake around 7:30pm. Sometimes he falls asleep right away and other times he cries a little and goes to sleep which is fine. The problem is that he wakes up crying 5-10 minutes later. He is again able to soothe himself to sleep but will cycle like this for hours: sleep for 10 minutes, cry for 1-2 minutes, self-soothe, repeat. There is no point in me trying to soothe him because he is already back asleep by the time I get to him... at least for the next 10 minutes.
    It's impossible for my husband and I to sleep when he does this, but I also worry that he is not getting into a deeper sleep cycle like this.

  78. Hi Rachel,
    This post is really helpful! MY 6 week old is not napping well currently and we're working very hard on waketimes and trying to get 2-3 good naps per day, which sometimes we do and sometimes we dont. First, he has some trouble falling asleep--sometimes he cries and sometimes he doesn't (just lays in bed and looks around in the dark until he falls asleep) and we also deal with the 45 minute intruder. My worry is inconsistency--I'm trying to do what I can to ensure that he gets enough sleep, but I'm afraid I'm creating bad habits by doing what it takes to ensure amount of sleep (although I'm still being conservate in what I do). Sometimes I go in and re-settle if I think I can, sometimes I try to let him fuss it out, etc. Is this ok at this stage? I'm trying to give him as many chances as possible to self settle without sacrificing overall sleep. Is this a good approach?

  79. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for your honest posts, they're great!
    My LO is now 4 weeks old today! He is a great sleeper, he feeds every 3-4 hours (sometimes during the day I wake him) feeds take between 30-50minutes depending on his hunger level and he takes either 1 side plus or minus a snack from the other. At night he is basically asleep by the end of the feed and I put him down in his bassinet in our room. During the day he naps in his room again 3-4 hours between feeds (I wake him at the 4 hour mark) and see how far he'all comfortably settle if he wakes before 3 hours. Usually just with patting and shushing.
    However the last 2 or 3 days he has been falling asleep at the breast during the day 2 times or so. Sometimes he wakes when I put him down to sleep - in which case I leave him to settle, if still grunting (not usually crying - he seldom cries) in 10 minutes or so I go in and shush and pat him. I do this 2-3 times. If he's still awake I offer him a cuddle/burp and then if all has failed a feed when he then falls asleep at the breast.
    Am I starting to get him into a poor routine? An expectation that he needs a feed to settle? Or at 4 weeks is this still okay?

    1. Amy Margaret Bicknell,
      I think you are fine with what you are doing. Babies go through extra tired and fussy days here and there and generally it isn't a big deal when you make some adjustments to work with that. If this turned into a long term thing and he slept worse and worse over days and weeks then you might want to make adjustments.

  80. Hi Rachel,
    I just have birth 3 days ago and I was searching disperately for an advice and I found your amazing blog!
    My milk hasen't come yet and I am breast feeding so my baby isn't gettinh enough. This makes her very fussy and she would want my breast for constant 6 hours with a lot of crying and small 5-10 min napping on my chest. When she finally sleeps and I try to put her in her bassinet, she wakes up crying and never stops until I pick her up again and put her back on my chest. By thatt time she would want my breast again to fell a sleep.
    The problem is 1. my breasts are getting realllly sore and I'm trying all the lotions and gel pads..etc. 2. she is not getting enough. and 3. I can't get her to sleep on her bassinet thus I can't sleep! I've only slept for a total of 5 hours since I gave birth and I'm getting really exhausted.
    Btw, my husband helps a lot but she won't sleep with him either even when he put her on his chest.
    Another issue is that when she start to ask for my breast and I get her to latch even tho it is a good latch and she is hungry, she move her tongue take couple of sucking then cry again and leave my breast even tho she still crying and looking for something to suck and she would not take a pacifier.
    Last night I started to give her 15 ml of formula at night after I offered my breasts for an hour. This was the only time she slept for 2 hours in her bassinet but I don't want to make the formula a habit.
    Any advice or suggestions would really make a difference I am willing to try anything.
    Thank you so much!

    1. unknown,
      It sounds like you are feeling unsure about how breastfeeding/latching is going. I would see a lactation consultant asap. They will help direct you in the right direct. Your ob/midwife or hospital should be able to hook you up with one if you don't have one already.

      My guess is that it is more of a need to sooth rather than a hunger issues. If that helps reassure you at all. But double checking with the lactation consultant is a good idea. Regardless, your milk will come in soon if it hasn't already.

      I am guessing that she is very overtired as well. I would work on trying to get good long sleep periods (even if that means you hold her the entire time). If she is well rested, she will eat better and then sleep better. It's a circle. Prop yourself up well with her on your chest so you are comfortable. I would have other people help hold her as well (so you get rest!). She may want you more, but she will get used to other people and situations if given the chance. Your husband will grow confident in his parenting skills as he is given time to practice. I know lactation consultants are against pacifiers this early on, but if you keep nursing that long you have a potential for big issues so I would push the pacifier. Offer it when baby isn't super upset. Offer it after baby sucks on your finger a moment first. Offer it sticking more towards the roof of baby's mouth and jiggle/tap it around a bit to get her to start the sucking reflex. Look over the 4 S post on this site for soothing tips. Make sure to try the baby squats that I mention-hold baby against chest and squat up and down fluidly.

      Things will get easier. You may be engorged which is why she could be crying at the breast. Hard to say right now given what I know and that she is so young, but the thing about babies is that things are often totally different in a few days so don't stress too much.

      Make sure to swaddle and try white noise. have your husband take her out in the carseat in the car if you need to. Yes, it's awesome if a baby will sleep on their own but it doesn't come easy for some and so you have to take it in stride and work on it later and do what you can now to get by.

      As I read your first paragraph over again, she sure sounds excessively fussy to be crying even while being held by you and nursing for hours and I would consider having her double checked by your pediatrician if she is still that fussy right now. It's hard for me to know from just reading this if what's going on is within normal limits of a baby so it's always best to double check :) Most likely she is fine though!

      Being a mom is a lot of work! You've got this!

  81. Hi Rachel! How do you handle naps in the stroller or car seat? If I don't get out of the house each day I will go crazy! Plus sometimes I actually have things to do. But I also want this to be as effective as possible so both Baby and I can get more sleep!

  82. We can get baby down for a 5-6 hour sleep and a quick feed then another 3-4 sleep but after that she wants to be up for 3-4 hours. We try everything to get her back to sleep, but she keeps fussing and we end up giving her a bottle almost every hour and sometimes we get a catnap of 30-45 minutes. So she goes to bed at 7-7:30 and she gets up at 12-1 for a feed (an hour by the time she goes back to sleep) and then sleeps until about 4:30-5am and won't go back to sleep!! We are exclusively pumping so her bottles at 10 weeks old at bedtime are around 5 ounces. She does 5 ounces at the first wake up and we try for 3-4 at the second wake up. Any suggestions on how to get her back to sleep at 5am? She finally goes back to sleep 8 for 45 minutes then was up until 11am then took a 45 minute nap. She took a long nap at 1:30 for 3 hours and she is taking a catnap now. We are close to being on an okay schedule but that three hour stretch at 4:30-5am is terrible. Any suggestions out there?

  83. Hello, I have an almost 3 week old and she absolutely refuses to sleep on her back. I have tried everything and she wakes up as soon as I put her down. I've tried letting her get into a deep sleep, putting her down partially awake, burping her, letting her lay on me for awhile, I mean everything and she will not sleep on her back. Any suggestions?

    1. Mcburr13,
      Swaddling and with noise sometimes helps with this. You can try a swing or rock and play to see if she'll sleep ok this way. Getting a bit older may help with this, too.

    2. I put her in a sleep sack every night and use a white noise machine, she hates the swing and rock and play I have (see told you I've tried everything lol) the only way she sleeps is either on her tummy for naps during the day so I can watch her or on my chest at night on the couch so I can make sure she doesn't roll off of me or suffocate from being on her stomach. I'm desperate at this point but I'm trying to do what's best for her and not have her sleep on her stomach because if anything happened to her I would never forgive myself but she can't keep sleeping on me I know it's not safe. Like I said before though she literally will not sleep on her back no matter what I do or how tired she is. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me, I truly appreciate it!