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6 months, No Naps, and Not Sleeping Well At Night

by Connie

My 6-month-old slept only in a car seat until a week and a half ago. He accepted the transition of sleeping in his crib relatively easily (had to use some transitioning props), however now he only sleeps for an hour and a half to 2 hours at the most and wakes up.

I can not put him to bed “drowsy but awake”. He can be drowsy, eyes half closed, I put him in the crib and he is wide awake, crying, which turns to wailing, which leads to flailing his arms and legs, which leads to me picking him up AGAIN to try and soothe him to start all over. He prefers to nurse to sleep.

Are there just babies out there who cannot self-soothe and put themselves to sleep?

I will NOT do the cry it out method. I am so desperate for someone who knows what to do to come over to my house at night and show me what to do! Or at least to tell me how much protesting is normal. When he screams and cries, he can NOT be soothed by singing, patting, shhing, music, NOTHING, but picking him up. What in God’s name can I try??? In case the advice is to get him to nap more (I know good naps lead to good night sleep), please tell me how to do that, too!!!

I was at home with him for the first 6 months and he nursed to sleep 2 – 3 times a day. As long as I held him he took half hour to 2 hour naps. Now I am back to work. How can the dad and baby sitter get the poor thing to take naps???

Baby Help Line:

Tips To Help 6-Month-Old Baby Sleep And Nap Without Nursing

I can sure hear and understand your desperation. Your baby is not able to self-soothe, he wakes up frequently at night, he wants to nurse to sleep and he absolutely hates being left awake in his crib…

You know what; I’d say you have a perfectly normal baby. 😉

On top of just simply being a baby and rapidly becoming more and more aware of his surroundings and particularly who’s around him, he has “lost” his mom one week and a half ago. No wonder he prefers to sleep in your arms!

But even if his behavior really is normal, that doesn’t mean that it is endurable. I’m like you, I don’t like the cry-it-out method, but there do exist other ways to help a baby sleep better without crying. It might take a little longer, but in my opinion that’s worth it.

Have you considered co-sleeping at all? In my experience, during shaky periods, when baby is scared to be left alone, sick or simply just doesn’t sleep well, co-sleeping is by far the quickest way to get some sleep as a mom. Your son is soon 7 months old and you can look forward to even more separation and stranger anxiety. He needs you!

Research shows that if the parent responds to their baby’s needs to be close to feel secure, it will actually speed up the child’s independence, so don’t feel bad about taking him up for example when he is crying in his crib.

Some babies also settle easier if dad handles the night waking; holding them, giving the pacifier or let them sleep with dad. You can always try!

To help your baby take naps without nursing, I’d definitely recommend stroller walks. If you can figure out your baby’s normal eat and sleep pattern, write it down and have dad or the baby sitter feed him and then take him out for a walk before baby gets too tired, chances are great that he will fall asleep while in the stroller. Not many babies can resist a nice stroller walk for long. This way your son will also learn how to fall asleep without nursing.

If for some reason, stroller walks outside are not working for you, the stroller is still a great tool to help you son nap without nursing and also to nap for longer hours. Read my answer in this thread with a 7-month-old who also won’t sleep alone.

To stop nursing baby to sleep at night, you can read about three different methods here.

While it certainly varies, you can check out how many naps and hours of sleep a 6-month-old baby usually need here.

If you go to our baby sleep tips, you’ll find some additional tips to help improve your baby’s sleep patterns.

In addition, I can really recommend the book “The No-Cry Sleep Solution”. You can read my review of it here.

I hope this helps a bit.

Above all; don’t worry about being alone with a child who doesn’t sleep alone or through the night – they usually don’t at this age!


Find comments below.

Comments for “6 months, No Naps, and Not Sleeping Well At Night”

Feb 27, 2012

Baby not sleeping well
by: Sammee

Connie your baby sound just like mine. My son just turned 6 months and just like yours will not soothe himself. During the day he has very regular schedule I just followed his call. Every two hours he will sleep 30-40 mins. At night he wakes up to nurse every 2 hours. I find comfort in the fact that there are others in similar situation.

Apr 27, 2012

me too!

by: Anonymous

My baby is only 4 months but he sounds the same! I finally tried sleeping him on his tummy instead of back and it worked! Although he still will not take naps on his own.

May 16, 2012

Nap with baby
by: Debbie

I had the same issues as you. I recommend that Dad or another care-giver (or you, on weekends)nap with baby. If baby cries and wails, just comfort him verbally. Eventually he will drift off if he is tired. (It is not CIO, because you are there with him). He may cry for 10 min the first few times, but after that it will go down to 1 min and you can leave him to go to sleep on his own! Night time sleeping will improve after you try this too, because baby is learning to soothe himself. Remember, it’s not CIO if someone is there with him. Good luck!

Jul 12, 2012

me too!
by: Anonymous

My 6 month old is the same! No naps, no sleep unless it is on top of mommy…thank god there are others like us out there. It is not my choice to co-sleep really – just a matter of survival. Are there any other survivors out there who can tell me when this ends? We have tried the no-cry sleep solution and it just made things worse – much worse. We are getting desperate…please help!

Jul 12, 2012

It will end

by: Sammee

My son is now 10 months. He now naps by himself twice a day some times for 2 hours each time. He also falls asleep in his own crib on his own after nursing. He does wake up at night one or twice. I usually nurse him and he goes back to sleep right away in his crib. Things are a lot better. We did try the no cry solution, we also found that it made things a lot worst. So… after 6 months of trying everything (and I was going almost crazy) we tried letting him cry at 9 months. The first night was horrible, he cried for 45 mins but I hate to say it it worked for us. The next night he only cry 15 mins, after that most nights he falls asleep on his own. There are nights when he will still cry and we will at this time go and comfort him, but in the end he does go to sleep on his own. I think the main issue now is timing bed time just right. I do not think that I would have tried the cry-it-out method any earlier and I suspect it may not work for all. I wish you all the best

Jul 13, 2012


by: Anonymous

I am having the same trouble with my daughter! I don’t know how I can function,let alone her! One thing I do that seemed to had helped before was a night light! Then I put her in a sleeper with no blanket! I also tried before she went to bed, rubbing a little orajel on her gums and giving her some tylenol for teething! Her gums are super swollen. I have heard that can play a role in sleepless nights and at about this age is when they start to cut teeth! I think I am going to try some soft baby music…like a sleepy CD ya know? I am not the type that can “sleep when she sleeps” ya know? Any suggestions would be great!

Jul 26, 2012

6 month old son, wont sleep at night,
by: Anonymous

I’m having a bit of a problem at the moment with my 6 month old son, that is waking up at 2am then after his bottle, he will wake up every half an hour crying and crying so bad, that you have to pick him up and hold him till he falls asleep.

he has a problem with sleeping, he will sleep one hour to 2 in the mornings and then in the afternoon, then he goes to bed at 8pm at night and sleeps well till 2am then from there he will wake up and cry every half an hour…

how can i help him to sleep better in the morning hours?

i need advise….


Aug 30, 2012

Tips for baby sleep
by: Rakesh

If Babies are crying there is a definite reason.
Because they are always right!
Some tips you may try
1) Make sure he/she takes enough food, before sleep.
2)Wear a high Quality Diaper which do not irritate the baby.
3) Change the diaper in Midnight, if it doesn’t disturb his/her sleep.

Sep 19, 2012

My 8 Month Old Daughter Strange Sleep Habits!

by: Amanda

My daughter is almost 9 months old she will not go to bed @ 9pm or even 10pm she stays up till 4am then goes to sleep and she will not sleep through the whole night she will wake me back up about 6am then I can’t get her to go back to sleep till about 10ish but then there are days she will go to to bed around 4:30am and sleep till 12 noon but it has gotten to the point where she only sleeps from 4:30am – 6:00am I am always tired I feel like a robot. My daughter sleeping schedule is really messed up One day I literally stayed up for 2 days in a row with out sleep to get her sleep schedule normal I finally got it to where she went to bed @ 9pm and she would sleep till 8am the next morning she did that for a week then my mother came over to visit one night which was way too late she came over right @ 9pm and now since then my daughter’s sleep schedule is all back to messed up hours.. What to do????

Jan 12, 2013

Too late

by: Anonymous

9pm is very late for a young baby. She is probably so overtired. Try puting her to bed earlier and earlier each night. I used to put my LO to bed at 7:30 and it was just too late. He now goes down at 6pm and sleeps until 6am. He naps have gotten much better. He is usually up for 1 to 2 hrs before an 1 hr nap and then 2 hrs for the rest of the day with 30-40 min naps in between. Most babies need to be put down between 6-8. Especially if they are having trouble sleeping.

Jan 12, 2013

by: Anonymous

P.s i think no matter who it is, you have to have people respect there sleep schedule and not keep them up for that persons enjoyment.

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