icon-arrow-down icon icon-arrow-fill-down icon icon-arrow-next icon icon-arrow-prev icon icon-tag-close icon
My baby will only take naps in his swing
Q: My 4½ -month-old son sleeps through the night in his cot. But when I try to have him take his morning and afternoon naps in his cot, he just cries. If he does fall asleep it is for no longer then an hour. He usually takes his naps in his swing and always sleeps very well. I have tried the cot lately and cannot handle hearing him cry. I tell myself that when he’s too big for his swing we will deal with it then. Does he not like his cot during the day because that’s how he distinguishes between day and night? I definitely don't want to ruin that. Will he finally get tired of the swing?
Vicky Avondale
A: I’d let him take the lead on this, Vicky. If he sleeps well and happily in the swing, why not let him? He’ll quickly outgrow it for more comfortable sleeping. If he outgrows the swing but still won’t accept his cot during the day, try his stroller.

You raise a very interesting theoretical question when you ask whether this is his way of distinguishing between night and day. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we can’t really get into the mind of an infant and have him tell us what is there. But his behaviour tells us a lot, and we have to read it, just as the Egyptians “read” hieroglyphics before they adopted writing. He’s trying to tell you something, so just keep “listening” and try to figure out what it is.

One other suggestion is that you reserve something very special that is kept in his cot—a cuddly toy, a special blanket, an interesting mobile. Don’t let him have that special item unless he is in his cot, night or day.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education