Baby Sleep Problems: Napping Difficulties

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  • February 20, 2013

Would you like to have me answer your sleep question in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s video:

Hi. Kim West, the Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Otello’s question.
“I have difficulties with getting my baby girl, five-months old now, to nap. As soon as she shows the first signs of tiredness, yawning, rubbing her eyes, I rock her in my arms, I give her a pacifier, which she doesn’t really use, except when she goes to sleep at night, but it takes me one hour. So, sometimes two hours to get to sleep, not to mention she’s really fussy during this time.

Sometimes I get her to nap faster if I take her for a walk in her stroller, but it doesn’t work every time. During the day, she also sleeps fairly well in the car seat, if I take her around for errands. I’ve even tried rocking her in the closet, which is the only part of the house that is darker, but she’s fusses there too.

I just don’t know anymore what method to try or what to do, to avoid nap time being such a painful big fight for both of us. If you could please help with any advice, it would be greatly appreciated.”

I’m really glad that you wrote in with this question, because nap questions are really common and they’re tricky. Part of the issue here is that her day sleep is only newly developed. It really is at about four months of age where day sleep starts to develop and begins deepening and lengthening. Their day sleep develops after their night sleep.

Some important things I would like you to know, are that the yawning and the eye rubbing signs could be too late! So for some kids by the time they’re yawning and rubbing their eyes, you’ve already missed their sleep window.

So at her age, I want you to watch the clock. Notice how long has she been awake and move upstairs to start to settling down the environment about 30 minutes before you put her down, or at least 20 minutes before. See if you can get her into her crib before she’s start yawning and rubbing her eyes.

Even before I would suggest for you to start working on the naps, I would first make sure that she’s going to bed awake at night. At her age, night sleep is developed and you want her to learn how to put herself to sleep at bedtime, which is the easiest time to do this.

Once she has learned the skill of both putting herself to sleep and back to sleep during the night, you can then apply it to her naps. So you could add it to the morning nap first, and then the afternoon nap.

If you’re putting her down while she is asleep at bedtime, then I want you to start there. In the meantime, if you need to put her in the stroller or in the car for her to get good naps, before you start putting her down awake at bedtime, that’s okay. Clearly the sleep crutch of rocking her to sleep isn’t working anymore and it’s actually time to start working on sleep coaching her.

So I would start at night first, and then add on the naps slowly. Good luck.

Sleep Tight,

Kim, The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have successfully made it through a sleep crutch and regulated your child’s nighttime sleep or naps, please encourage Otello! Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

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