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Why Baby is Very Fussy at 3 Months: 3 Reasons and 3 Tips

Very fussy 3 month old babyIf your baby is very fussy at 3 months old, you might dread the days. You are likely tired and frustrated trying to make your baby happy all day. If this describes you, this is common and there are three primary reasons this occurs. This post will share these 3 reasons and give you 3 tips to get through this frustrating stage based on 10+ years of experience as a sleep consultant.

Baby Very Fussy at 3 Months From a Growth Spurt

Growth spurts are common throughout the first year. They tend to occur around 7-10 days old, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks (or 3 months), 4 months, 6 months, 8 1/2 months, 10 1/2 months, and 12 1/2 months old. Of course, every baby grows and develops on their unique timeline so you can’t expect them to start and end at the exact age but these are the average ages.

During a growth spurt, your baby is likely to be fussy for one major reason: hunger! Babies going through growth spurts typically get hungry very often to the point you feel like you are feeding them all day and night!

Babies going through a growth spurt also sleep a lot. They tend to get tired very quickly, take longer naps, and go to bed earlier.

Growth spurts last around 3-4 days to a week and once they are over, your baby’s fussiness should lessen.

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Sleep Regression and Developmental Leap

If your baby is very fussy at 3 months old and it comes on suddenly, they could also be going through a developmental leap. At 3 months old, many babies are becoming smoother with their physical movements and become more active. They might start rolling in one direction, from back to front, or from front to back. These developmental milestones can make your baby fussy.

In addition, this is a common age for babies to start breaking out of the swaddle. It’s a common time to stop swaddling.

During many developmental milestones, babies go through a sleep regression. During a sleep regression, your baby is likely waking frequently at night and taking short naps. The sleep regression around this time is the 4-month sleep regression. Some babies start this regression at 3 months old and the 4-month sleep regression lasts 3 to 4 weeks at its peak.

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Illness Leads to Very Fussy Babies at 3 Months

When you have a newborn, you typically keep visitors to a minimum to make sure no one unknowingly gives your baby a cold. However, eventually, you want more visitors and to get out of the house. So, a common reason for babies to be very fussy at 3 months is due to illness. It’s typically a cold though almost all children get RSV at least once in their first two years. My son got RSV within the first 3 months of his life, too.

In addition to viruses, if your baby is very fussy, you might consider if they have GERD or Infant Reflux. Taking a trip to the doctor might be in order as this is a very common condition diagnosed, now. And, if your baby is on medication, we have found that sometimes the dosage needs to be adjusted around this age. Babies grow very fast these first few months!

Also, if your baby has experienced colic, this is a common age for it to end. However, some babies don’t stop until closer to 4 months old.

What about teething?

Generally, teething doesn’t start until after 5 months old even if your baby is drooling. This is NOT as likely causing your baby’s fussiness.

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3 Tips to Get Through This Fussy Period

Assuming you’ve ruled out any health issues with your baby’s doctor, there are ways to get through this frustrating stage with your 3-month-old:

Feed Your Baby

This might seem like a no-brainer but we see some parents who are very rigid with their baby’s schedule. For example, those following 12 Hours by 12 Weeks will feed their baby only every 4 hours. During a growth spurt, though, that can lead to very long days of fussiness! In addition, in some cases, sometimes you will get short naps if your baby’s next meal is landing during the middle of a nap.

Consider increasing the size of your baby’s feedings in addition to feeding more often during a growth spurt. Or, it could be time to start solid foods with your doctor’s permission. Some doctors will add solid foods earlier if the baby has a big appetite. Generally, we try to wait until 6 months old so it depends on the baby.

Shorten Wake Windows

When your baby is growing and developing rapidly, they might get tired more quickly than they did a few weeks ago. Consider shortening the wake windows before naps and bedtime. The proper 3-month old schedule can do wonders for a fussy baby!

Wear Your Baby and Go for Walks

When babies are going through developmental leaps and/or illnesses, they often feel a bit more apprehensive about the world around them. They want to be close to you and sometimes distracted. Going for a walk with your baby in a carrier can be a great way to give them both!

Whether your baby is 3 months, 6 months, or 10 months old, they are going through a lot this first year. Hang in there and know that these stages pass quickly. As the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short.

The post Why Baby is Very Fussy at 3 Months: 3 Reasons and 3 Tips appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

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Baby Won’t Nap in Crib? 5 Tips to Get Baby to Nap in the Crib and When

When your baby won’t nap in the crib, it can be a long, exhausting day for both of you. Your baby might take short naps or take long naps but only in your arms. It’s hard to get anything done having just 30 minutes or being confined to a chair while your baby sleeps. This post will explain why babies don’t nap in their cribs and give you 5 tips for getting baby to nap in the crib based on my 10+ years as a sleep consultant.

Why Won’t Baby Nap in the Crib?

There are usually a few reasons a baby won’t nap in their crib. Here are the top reasons:

Baby Only Sleeps in Arms

Many babies only want to sleep in your arms or chest. They were in your womb for many months and want to mimic that same safe environment. This is why babies love swaddling!

Baby Likes Movement

If your baby likes to be rocked to sleep or in a carrier, they may prefer to be moving when they sleep. Once you get them to sleep and lay them in the crib, they are no longer moving and can’t seem to stay asleep!

Baby Doesn’t Like to Sleep on Their Back

Your baby may not like sleeping flat on their back. Instead, your baby might prefer stomach sleeping or side sleeping. However, that’s not considered safe! You should always try to put your baby on their back to sleep, if possible. Be sure to follow all of the safe sleep tips.

Baby Takes a Short Nap Then Wakes Up

Your baby may sleep in the crib for a little while but then wakes up after a short nap! This is extremely common and usually, related to how they’ve gone to sleep in the first place. They don’t know how to go into the next sleep cycle without your help. We call these sleep associations

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When to Start Naps in the Crib

When you have a newborn, typically, you’d have your baby nap in the common area so you can tend to them quickly. This is true especially if you’re still recovering from delivery. As your baby becomes more aware of the world, though, naps in the common area can be disruptive.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to start naps in the crib around 8-12 weeks old to 6 months old. It’s often easier to work on naps in the crib before they can sit up and/or stand up.

If your baby is older than this, it’s never too late to try to get them to nap in the crib! However, it often gets significantly harder at 18 months old or older.

How to Get Baby to Nap in the Crib – 5 Tips

Getting your baby to nap in the crib will take effort but since your baby will nap until 3 to 4 years old, on average, the effort is WELL worth it!

I work with parents a lot who don’t mind holding the baby the first few weeks or even the first few months. But, once your baby gets heavier, the newness of having a new baby wears off a bit, you have more to do around the house, your baby becomes mobile, etc. it becomes very difficult to sit for long periods of time holding the baby. And, every mama could use a break sometimes!

Don’t feel bad if you want your baby to nap in the crib. In most cases, it will pay off for both of you! They will be more rested and you will have a little time to do chores, work, or take a break.

Here are 5 tips to get baby to nap in the crib:

1. Spend Awake Time in the Crib

I know you want your baby to sleep in the crib but we have to start somewhere. First, get your baby used to the crib during awake playtime. You don’t want the crib to be a “foreign” place. In fact, you want it to be a comforting, welcoming place!

You can consider a crib mobile but consider some are meant to stimulate and some are meant to soothe. Be sure to buy the right kind of mobile to promote sleep and napping!

Also, be mindful that too much downtime in the crib can have the opposite problem. Your baby might equate the crib with playtime or, worse, cause insomnia or difficulty sleeping.

I recommend you spend around 8-10 minutes of awake time in the crib at least 2-3 times a day when you’re first starting out. Once your baby is napping in the crib, it is not usually necessary to continue doing playtime in the crib. But, of course, it doesn’t hurt either!

If your baby cries when placed in the crib, start with just 1-2 minutes at a time and work your way up. Be sure to interact with your baby by playing peek-a-boo, singing upbeat children’s songs, and just being silly sometimes!

2. Consider Swaddling

I can’t tell you how many parents come to me and say they are swaddling their baby at night but not during the day. They are worried about confusing the baby between day and night sleep. And, this is a reasonable worry! Newborns do have day / night confusion for several weeks until it’s sorted out.

However, once it is sorted out, your baby generally can’t confuse day and night even if they tried! Our circadian rhythms (aka internal clocks) handle all of that.

So, if your baby is younger than 6 months old, consider swaddling your baby for a bit longer even at nap time and especially if they still have a strong moro reflex.

3. Put Baby in the Crib Asleep

Another “baby step” (pun intended) you can try is putting your baby in the crib already asleep. If you are rocking or feeding your baby to sleep, for example, do so, and then wait approximately 10 minutes until you can lift their arm and it drops down like a log. No resistance or your baby “catching it.”

Once they are asleep, put them down gently into the crib, feet touching first and at an angle, so you don’t activate the feeling of falling. Once laid down, put a hand on them gently to make sure they stay asleep. If necessary, pat or rub them gently while shushing to keep them asleep.

4. Create a Nap Sleep Routine

Most people create a bedtime routine fairly early but don’t think about creating a routine for naptime. But, a nap routine can prepare your baby for sleep just as it does at night!

Nap sleep routines, however, should not be very long. They are usually approximately 5-10 minutes long, possibly a little longer if your baby’s schedule is set to have a feeding before naps rather than a more customary eat-play-sleep routine.

Your nap routine can be simple. Here is an example:

  1. Go to the nursery and close the blinds/curtains.
  2. Change your baby’s diaper (if applicable.)
  3. Read 1 or 2 board books.
  4. Turn on the white noise and turn off the light.
  5. Hum or sing while swaying or rocking for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Lay your baby down in the crib.

If your baby cries when being put in the crib, we’ll work on that in a step below, don’t worry!

5. Start Sleep Training

If you put your baby all the way to sleep, put them in the crib, and they take great naps, there’s nothing you need to change!

However, if your baby wakes up as soon as you put them down to sleep and/or takes a short nap, then you typically need to change the end of the routine and put baby down AWAKE. Again, this is due to sleep associations that I mentioned above. If your baby needs your help to fall asleep, they will struggle to go BACK to sleep without help. That can lead to short naps or skipping naps altogether.

If your baby cries when put in the crib awake, I know this can be troubling. Change can be hard for all of us and we don’t blame them! But, just like all people, we can adapt to a new way of doing something with enough time and practice.

When your baby is crying, your intuition is to fix it right away. Understandable!

Even if your baby is unhappy about changing your routine of putting them down awake, you can help them see this as their new “normal” in no time.

Nap training generally takes approximately 2 weeks of sleep training to accomplish with the first 4-5 days usually being the hardest. Once your baby has a few successful naps in the crib, they will see it’s not as bad as they thought!

Keep in mind that people often equate “sleep training” with “cry it out” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are gentle ways to teach your baby to sleep on their own (see below). It just takes some time and effort on your part.

Consistency is key as with any new habit you’re trying to make. We have hundreds of articles on this site about getting better sleep for your baby. If you’re ready to bypass a bunch more reading, consider buying Mastering Naps & Schedules with over 40 sample schedules for your little one. Or, feel free to continue reading more about naps on our blog.

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The post Baby Won’t Nap in Crib? 5 Tips to Get Baby to Nap in the Crib and When appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.