Having trouble getting my 4 month old to nap. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-11-2012, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello Everyone,


I am a stay at home dad and am having trouble getting my little one to nap. My wife and I are hoping not to make her "cry it out," but I am having trouble. I cannot nurse her down for obvious reasons and she doesn't respond to the bottle like she does the breast.....i.e.falling asleep. I am trying to have her nap about every two hours or so.....she shows all the nap signs when I attempt to put her down but fights it. I try everything; rocking, walking, swings, slings, music, a combination of these.....the only thing that works every time is a car ride. Any suggestions?


Also, I am starting to lose faith with our decision on parenting style such as: co-sleeping, not letting her cry it out, etc., but she seems to be becoming more of a high needs baby. She now has to be held or I have to be within eye shot or she cries. Everything we read claims that she will become more independent with co-sleeping but it doesn't appear that way.


Please Help


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#2 of 6 Old 04-29-2012, 11:31 AM
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Hi MrMom,

First of all, hang in there - it's hard taking care of a newborn! My first baby is due this September, but I worked as a nanny for about 12 years so my advice below is based on that.  It may be somewhat useful to you because as a nanny obviously I also wasn't nursing the babies I looked after :)

It's pretty normal that she needs to be held or be able to see you at this age.  You mentioned that she doesn't like the Moby, have you tried any other types of slings or different positions, or have you tried the Moby again?  Sometimes it takes a few minutes or a few wears before a baby will get comfy in the sling.  I haven't met many babies that don't eventually like the sling and it's SO useful for getting things done around the house with baby content. I would try everything to get your baby comfortable with being worn.  Maybe try out different slings of your friends from playgroups or go to a shop that sells them and ask for help.  There are dozens of positions and some babies like some and hate others.  Wearing your baby will save your sanity if you can get her to like it. 

As far as co-sleeping, studies show that this will make her more independent/confidant/self-assured than sleeping alone so I would keep at it.

Babies read a lot from our cues, so if you are feeling frustrated and tense because she's fussy and won't go down for a nap, she could be 'feeling' that and unable to relax and fall asleep.  Many people say you shouldn't rely on a crutch like the car, swinging, etc to put the baby down but I must admit that swaddling the baby, holding them cradled in your arms, and bouncing gently on the exercise ball never lets me down! The trick is to bounce for at least an extra 5 minutes past when they look asleep and then slow the bounce to a stop over another 2-3 minutes, you can't just stand up or they will wake up right away.  If she's used to cosleeping, maybe she will go down if you are sitting in a rocking chair or bed together and she can sleep on your chest or in your lap.  Not ideal for getting other things done, but that's how lots of babies nap at first.  Swaddling, then bouncing her gently in your arms or putting her on your chest/shoulder and patting her back/bottom rhythmically while going 'shhhh shhhh shhhhh' softly and rhythmically also works.  In that case, she'd typically sleep 'on' you and eventually (as she gets older) you can lower her into her bed. 

One family I worked for would put their newborn in the carseat, cover carseat with a swaddle blanket, and then bounce the carseat on the couch by pushing down by the handle - it worked really well but I avoided it because it was exhausting!

Good luck!

Miranda, 30, wife to DH, 41, mama to DS, 2, and thrilled to be expecting another in early June 2015.
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#3 of 6 Old 04-30-2012, 12:52 PM
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swaddling and bouncing on the bed is worth trying. some babes really do well being bounced. when my first was a few months old(actually right at 4-4.5 months old), a friend's dad showed me to lay her in the crib and bounce her. it seemed crazy but it put her out! now my 4th baby calms down being bounced, even at 7 months old. if she's really fighting sleep, i swaddle her and hold her in the cradle hold, sit on the edge of the bed and bounce away LOL works out my muscles, too!

drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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#4 of 6 Old 05-08-2012, 01:28 PM
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I'm writing this with a 12-week-old sleeping in my lap, so I'm in a similar boat. Sometimes I can put her down to sleep, but she won't go down often during the day. You might consider the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child for some options. I have not tried sleep training (the author doesn't recommend it til after four months), but he makes some compelling points about babies' natural sleep rhythms and getting your baby down. Not cry-it-out, but definitely not attachment parenting. Might be worth looking into. Good luck!
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#5 of 6 Old 05-09-2012, 03:48 PM
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Have you tried a sling + exercise ball. A ball can be much more soothing than a rocking chair. Our nanny had a great wey of doing bottle in sling and bouncing a bit. When DH was a SAHD he mimicked nursing to the extent possible, bottle on boppy

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#6 of 6 Old 05-09-2012, 05:02 PM
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Having you tried starting the nap thing somewhat before she's "showing all the signs"?  I think my LO at that age was only awake for 1.5 hours at a time - BUT she took 4 40 minute naps a day on my lap drinking her bottle.  Not the greatest, but she needed those naps. 


Many of the benefits of attachment parenting are not going to be immediate.  The confidence and independence that you are expecting to see in your child - we hope for that over the course of years rather than months.  Some babies are just high needs.  There are some great threads on this site about high needs babies.  Trust me.  It's not you.  It's her. :)

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