Nap Time Help! - Fairfax,CA

Updated on March 24, 2009
S.G. asks from Fairfax, CA
8 answers

Hi. My daughter is 20 months old and nap time has always been a bit of a struggle. We co-slept for the first 6 months and she transitioned into her crib for night time really easily, but always fought sleeping there for naps. It took me a long time to get her to start napping in there when she was around 11 months, and then when she was 16 months old she once again would refuse to sleep in there in the day. I finally decided to I had to let her cry it out because she was tired and getting sick because of lack of sleep. This was a long process but it worked and after a couple of weeks of 30 minutes of crying, she finally started going down without tears and sleeping between 1-3 hours. I would still nurse her until she's sleepy and then she snuggles in and sleeps.

Last week she suddenly started to scream and cry when I put her in there for nap time. I tried to go in and nurse her and put her back down, but more crying and screaming. I tried to let her cry but after 30 minutes, but she never went to sleep. Next day, same thing... and for the past week! I know she is sleepy and gets cranky later in the day.

I do not think I am going to nurse her before sleeping any more, since that does not seem to be working and I think it is time to break her of that crutch (plus it means only I can put her to sleep in the day). I have been getting ready to wean anyways. She goes to bed at 7 every night and usually gets up around 6:30 in the morning. Nap time was at 11, and since we have been out of whack I have tried later (11:30, 12:00) but today she fell asleep in the car at 10 and I let her sleep for an hour since I didn't think I'd be able to get her down any other way.

Any ideas on how to get her in to the crib and to sleep? What might I be doing wrong? It makes for a really long for both of us without her sleeping, especially since I leave for work at 2!

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answers from Sacramento on

When you put her down for her nap, go through the normal soothing routine, then put her in the crib and leave her there to cry it out for up to 1 hour. She won't like it, but will soon learn that no amount of screaming will get her out of nap time. It sounds like she is testing boundaries.

It is very difficult to listen to them cry--on more than one occasion my husband found me in tears sitting outside the nursery.

Also, read Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Making sure that she gets the sleep she needs is good parenting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

Hi S.,
Good suggestions from the other moms. Also, maybe just try giving her a little board book or something as you lay her down, and maybe turning on some quiet music. I always told my girls (and still do, even though they are almost 4, and 6.5!!) "You don't have to sleep, you just have to be quiet and rest until it's time to get up." Well - you will be surprised how often they fall right asleep once you've taken away the "challenge" of staying awake! Being that your daughter is nearing 2 years old, she might just be asserting her will. Perhaps if you don't engage her on this, she will stop fighting you. (But then again, maybe not! Who knows! =)



answers from Modesto on

The No Cry Nap Solution book has lots of good suggestions. The reason I like the book is that it gives a chapter on each particular problem so you don't have to read the whole book - you can just go find your problem and suggested solutions.

Also - The Baby Whisperer has a great website where you might find some useful advice from other moms. There's a forum where you'd be able to search for answers to your problem or post a question yourself. IT doesn't cost anything and I found it a useful website.

Good luck!



answers from Sacramento on

Hey S.,

I don't have any great nap technique advise, but I have a quick suggestion.

Check and make sure she doesn't have a little ear infection going. When my son suddenly refused to sleep as a toddler I thought he was just being stuborn and let him cry. Turned out he had an ear infection. The Dr. said the bedtime only crying comes from the increased pressure when he lays down.

It's probably not the case, but my son had five ear infections one year and never pulled at his ear or had much of a fever... just refusing to lay down and then general crankiness that could have been from the pain or the lack of sleep.



answers from Sacramento on

I totally agree with you that at 20 months stopping the nursing at naptime is appropriate. It sounds like your idea of trying to make naptime later is also a good thing. I find that around 1 p.m. seems to work best for the kids in our childcare. Another plus to that is that you would have more time with her in the morning before going to your afternoon job. If your care for her is in your home, a later naptime won't interfere with the time when you have to leave. You mentioned her going to sleep in the car. That's pretty typical with a toddler. You may want to try to schedule your car trips at times when her going to sleep won't interfere with a naptime routine. I know that isn't always possible, so would suggest you gently waken her and then put her back down at regular naptime.
My last suggestion is that you find a way to have her nap other than in her crib. Make it something that is special for that time of day. We found fold up cots at WalMart online that the kids in our care love to sleep on (not that we don't have our own naptime issues, but the cots are great). These are similar to the fold up canvas chairs that have become popular in the last few years. They cost around $30 each, but in my opinine are a good investment. You can order them and have them shipped to the nearest store for pick-up so you don't have to pay an extra shipping fee. The cot would make an excellent naptime place, and also serve for an away from home bed on vacations, etc. They are large enough that you can use one until the child is well into school-age years... probably at least until ten years of age, depending on the size of the child. If I remember correctly, there are two lengths, and we chose to purchase the longer one because they will accomodate older children as well as being good for the babies. (and by the way... no, I don't get a commission from WalMart for suggesting this! LOL!) If you are interested in looking for the cot, you'll want to enter the manufacturer name 'Regalo' in the WalMart search engine.



answers from San Francisco on

I know your pain. I read "Healthy Sleep, Happy Child" for some really good information. Sleep times change as they get older and the book comments that the nap moves to a later time and they drop from 2 naps to one usually. The nap is probably better at around 1pm now and eventually will disappear. My daughter is almost 3 and is fighting the nap now. SOOO frustrating to us. She won't go down at 1 or 2 anymore so I gave up trying. By 5pm she is exhausted and passes out which is bad for us because she than wakes up around 6:30pm and doesn't want to go to bed at night. We don't know what to do except try to keep her up until bed time but her whining and crying is unbearable. Anyway, I suggest to push the nap to 1pm and see what happens. Also get the book. It's alot of info but just read what you need. It was very helpful with naps and their necessity. LOL



answers from San Francisco on

I have read through some of the responses and have another thought. Are you typically gone to work when she wakes up? If so, I would put her down earlier so she can see you don't leave when she's asleep, or, wake her up before you leave. I would not leave while she is napping!!!

I would resist napping too, if my mom escaped while I'm asleep. I'd want to keep an eye on her and make sure that doesn't happen again!

Good luck - this too shall pass.



answers from Portland on

Hi S.,

We co-slept for naps and nighttime until my son was 1 1/2. We managed to have a no cry transition both to the crib and to his room for both naps and nighttime. I don't know if your daughter uses a pacifier but we started by making pacifier use available only in the crib. This made the crib a great place to be for him. In the evening if he's particularly wired, I'll lay him down with a book and leave the door cracked. I can hear him in his crib naming animals and other things he sees in his book then within 5 minutes it's silent and he's breathing deeply.

Stopping the nursing to sleep will likely be difficult. I had to remind myself that crying in the arms of someone who loves you (dad or grandma or whomever) is a whole lot different then being left to cry. My son figured it out in about a week and each day did get easier.

Good luck! Oh, and I agree with the poster below. If you are gone when she wakes up that may very well be part of her fighting naptime.


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