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Q&A: My Baby Will Not Take a Nap

by Dr. Christine Wood, M.D |
2 Comments

Q My 6 week old baby won't take a nap during the morning or afternoon without a fight. Sometimes, it takes me three hours to put him to sleep. I check his diaper, feed, cuddle and warm him, with no results. I've heard there is a two hour limit to put your baby to sleep, but it doesn't work for me. Should I let my baby be awake over two hours? Should I let him cry, and for how long? What else can I try to help him go to sleep?

A At 6 weeks of age, do not expect your baby to take regular naps. If you are breastfeeding, I usually recommend demand feeding. Try feeding him more often. If you are formula feeding, you might try feeding more formula.

Check with the baby's doctor, and make sure the baby is gaining weight well. Babies at this age usually settle down and fall asleep when they are full. I usually recommend letting them cry to sleep after about 4 to 6 months of age if feeding and weight gain are all fine.

Even at this age, naps are sometimes difficult. At 4 to 6 months a baby may not nap easily. I find if babies cry for more than 15 or 20 minutes, they are unlikely to fall asleep for a nap. Sometimes it is best just to try again later for the nap.

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the co-founder of Call Your Ped.com a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at http://www.callyourped.com


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Arun Feb 15, 2011 05:57:24 AM ET

My 6week baby does not sleep properly every 10min he wakes up please give me answers

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Krystle Feb 4, 2009 03:22:00 PM ET

My daugther will be 11 months old this saturday and i rock her to sleep during the day for her 2 naps, because if i didn't she would cry for 2 hours and have no nap at all. she goes right to sleep, no rocking at night and sleeps all night. what do i do? i know she is tired but she won't do it alone. help.

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