July 02, 2015

Q: My 5-month-old baby refuses to nap. She starts crying as soon as I put her in the crib and will only fall back asleep if I pick her up. What should I do?

A: First, take a look at her nap schedule. Perhaps she's just not tired when you want to put her down. Babies this age need about 14 hours of sleep total, about 10 at night and four during daytime naps. If your baby's started sleeping longer at night, her nap times may need to be adjusted accordingly.

When it is time for baby's nap, the one thing you shouldn't do is leave her to cry for 15 minutes and then rock her to sleep. This teaches her that if she cries long enough, you'll pick her up. You have two options: Either let her fuss until she learns to fall asleep on her own (while you frequently check in on her), or promptly pick her up after she starts fussing, play with her for five to 10 minutes, then put her down again. Remember, your goal is to teach your baby to fall asleep on her own -- how you get there doesn't matter.

Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the February 2002 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team

Comments (1)

December 4, 2018
Quick tip for all you parents all out there: My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website >>>>SleepBaby .org<<<< - that website has been 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! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! Sorry, you can't post links here so you'll have to turn it into a normal link. >>SleepBaby .org<< Best of luck to you and your family! :)