baby only sleeps and naps when breastfeedingPin

Mom’s Question:
My baby only sleeps and naps when breastfeeding and I don’t’ know what to do!

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 wail, 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 an hour to 2-hour naps. Now I am back at work. How can the dad and baby sitter get the poor thing to take naps???


Baby Helpline:

Tips To Help 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.

Here are some ideas to try out to help your poor sleeper:

1. Co-sleeping – Have you considered co-sleeping at all? In my experience, during shaky periods, when the 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.

2. Settle with dad – 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 it!

3. Stroller walks – 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 his dad or the baby sitter feed him and then take him out for a walk before the 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.

4. Inside stroller “walks”  – If for some reason, stroller walks outside are not working for you, a 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.

5. End the nighttime breastfeeding – 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.

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!


Anyone else who has a baby that only sleeps and naps when breastfeeding? What can you say about the situation?

Comments for “Baby Only Sleeps and Naps When Breastfeeding”

Jul 12, 2018 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 once 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 worked for us. The next night he only cries 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 bedtime 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, 2018 suggestion….

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, 2018 6-month-old son, won’t 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 2 am 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 8 pm at night and sleeps well till 2 am 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, 2018 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 does not irritate the baby.
3) Change the diaper in Midnight, if it doesn’t disturb his/her sleep.

Sep 19, 2018 My 8-Month-Old Daughter Strange Sleep Habits!

by: Amanda

My daughter is almost 9 months old she will not go to bed @ 9 pm or even 10 pm she stays up till 4 am then goes to sleep and she will not sleep through the whole night she will wake me back up about 6 am then I can’t get her to go back to sleep till about 10ish but then there are days she will go to bed around 4:30 am and sleep till 12 noon but it has gotten to the point where she only sleeps from 4:30 am – 6:00 am 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 without sleep to get her sleep schedule normal I finally got it to where she went to bed @ 9 pm and she would sleep till 8 am 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 @ 9 pm and now since then my daughter’s sleep schedule is all back to messed up hours.. What to do????

Jan 12, 2019 Too late

by: Anonymous

9 pm is very late for a young baby. She is probably so overtired. Try putting 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 6 pm and sleeps until 6 am. 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, 2019 Ps
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 person’s enjoyment.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Mary

    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!

  2. 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!

  3. Metoo

    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.

  4. 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.