Hi, I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady and in today’s video blog, I’m going to answer Brooke’s question:
“My 10 1/2-month old daughter has a terrible time with naps. She absolutely cannot seem to nap without nursing until fully asleep and she never naps for babysitters. I really don’t have many complaints for the nighttime sleep. She sleeps in a toddler bed in her own room for 11 to 12 hours and rarely wakes before dawn and if she does have a night awakening, she falls back to sleep quickly with either a short nursing session or a back rub and a lullaby. I’ve been doing the Shuffle for bedtime and it’s going so well that I have decided to start with naps this week but now I’m regretting it.
“Yesterday for her morning nap, we did our usual routine: book, music, nursing but I set her down before she fell asleep. She cried for half an hour and I had to repeatedly pick her up, rock her or even her nurse her briefly. And when she finally did fell asleep, she woke after half an hour in which point I just gave in and nursed her mostly back to sleep. She skipped her afternoon nap altogether and today was much worse, she cried for over an hour and at least half of that time was spent all out hysterical screaming regardless of whether I was holding her or not.
“Could I take a temporary break from nap coaching and try it again in a few weeks? We need a nap solution but The Shuffle clearly isn’t it at least not right now. What would you advise? -Brooke.”
I absolutely think you should take a nap coaching break. I only recommend trying a nap for an hour maximum anyway. We never want to have our children crying for more than an hour because that’s hard enough as it is. Because of this I would take a break. I want you to do whatever works to get her well-napped. Hold her, rock her, nurse her, or lie down with her. Get her well-napped so you can go back to working on her night sleep.
How Young is Too Young for Nap Coaching?
I want you to have a long-term night plan. I’m not sure if you have one, but I noticed that she’s 10 1/2 months and she’s in a toddler bed:
• Is this something you want to keep long-term?
• What are your plans for safety when she becomes increasingly more mobile (which is really the biggest issue with having babies in beds)?
If you keep her in a toddler bed, you will need to make sure her room is safe and she can easily crawl off her mattress.. Please take some time and create a nighttime plan.
You said that you were doing a Shuffle at bedtime, so please consider these things:
• Is she awake enough at bedtime?
• Are you slowly reducing your intervention with her when you’re next to the toddler bed?
• Are you staying at bedside to help her stay in the toddler bed?
• Are you creating a consistent plan to address her night awakenings? This is incredibly important because what you’re doing has the potential to get worse, creating more problems and confusion: “Sometimes I feed her or sometimes I rub her back. Sometimes I sing,” then she doesn’t know what to expect when she wakes up.
If you aren’t consistent, as she starts to wake up more and more she may get increasingly more upset if you are inconsistent in your response. If you only want to focus on one thing, I would focus on bedtime.
Also, please think about how you’re going to respond to her awakenings consistently. Eventually you’re going to have to address this and if the awakenings start to get more frequent, that’s your sign. Then you need to start having a consistent response to the middle of the night and then do the same for naps.
If you take a break from naps (which I have a lot of parents do, or I have a lot of parents not address naps and only work on night) then do what works to help her sleep. In other words, do whatever works for naps, but know that it will eventually stop working. Either she will wake up the minute you put her down or shortly thereafter or you find yourself having to hold her longer and longer to get her to sleep only to have her wake up briefly.
Those will be some of your signs to say, “Okay, now, it’s time to start nap coaching.” But if you’ve worked on those other pieces at night, nap coaching should be much more successful because remember, night sleep develops first and it’s easier than daytime sleep.
I hope that helps.
Video filmed by In Focus Studios