Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My seven-week-old refuses all his daytime sleep

The main problem is with getting my seven-week-old son to sleep during the day. He is amazing at night and we follow the night time routine and he goes down well between 6.30pm and 7pm. He has to be woken at 10.30pm for his feed and is now waking at 4am and then goes back down until 7am. He does this no matter what we do during the day. I have been following the routines since day 1 and he will not settle for his morning nap or lunchtime nap. I have persevered for weeks but he simply cries for the whole time and gets himself really upset and will not settle. He then has his 2/2.30pm feed, and is very sleepy and then sleeps for the rest of  the afternoon until 5pm when we begin the evening routine. The nursery is very dark and I have tried top-up feeding just before he goes down at lunchtime but nothing seems to work. I have left him to cry for up to 45 minutes one day and felt terrible and he was really upset and it was too much for him. Please help, as I am at the point where I feel I may be better abandoning the day-time naps and just let him sleep when he needs to. I don’t really want to do this in case it affects the night time which is going so well.


Some babies become overtired very quickly and are unable to settle to sleep. In the early weeks, many babies are only able to be awake for 1 and a half hours until they need to settle again. As soon as Lucas shows any signs of becoming tired take him straight to his room and begin his wind down.

For the next few days, try to settle him by 8:30am not 9am so you may need to begin to wind him down at 8:15/8:20am. Sit with him, half swaddled, if he needs it, in his darkened room. This wind-down time is very important for small babies as they need to learn how to get from being wide awake to sleepy. By holding him quietly with no eye contact,  you will teach him how to relax. Remain calm yourself as babies easily pick up on your tension. You may find it helpful to play a CD of calming music quietly as this will help you relax as well. There are plenty available, both of music and just calming natural sounds. Choose one which you like as it is more likely to succeed.

Once Lucas is really relaxed on you and heavy-eyed, put him in his cot and leave the room. To begin with, he may cry and be unsettled. Leave him for 10 minutes then re-enter and re-settle him, without picking him up if possible. I find a hand on the stomach and one or two strokes on the head can calm most babies. Then leave him again for another 10 minutes.

Look at p.39 in The Complete Sleep Guide for Gina’s detailed description of crying down in a young baby.

Although you have tried a top-up feed at midday, have you tried one at 8:30am? It is always best to eliminate hunger when trying to solve a problem.