Baby Sleep Problem: My Baby Won’t Nap for More Than 30 Minutes!

 

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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 Jenny’s email:

“My daughter is 12 months old and I’m trying to teach her how to fall asleep and stay asleep on her own. She does pretty well at night. She goes to sleep easily and can sleep through the night for 11-1/2 hours.” Wow! Good job Jenny and daughter!

“But we’re struggling with the naps because I went to get her when she woke up in her crib and nursed her and let her keep sleeping on me for several months, she now seems conditioned to wake up after 20 to 30 minutes. What can I do to help her reprogram her brain to stay asleep or at least go back to sleep? She’ll fall asleep for her nap after only a few minutes of crying and my feeling is that if she sleeps for less than 45 minutes, that’s not enough. What do you suggest to solve this baby sleep problem? Do I get her to sleep longer? If she was on my lap, she’d sleep one to two hours. We have been at this at earnest for nine days now. Any advice would be most appreciated. Jenny”

 

Nap Coaching Isn’t Easy

 

daylight savingsJenny, nap coaching is definitely the hardest part of sleep coaching. And you and your daughter have done a great job! Look at how much she has learned in just nine days. She is sleeping through the night! And just so you know, naps take on average two to three weeks to fall in to place. Usually, the first nap is the easiest and the second nap is the hardest. So, you are right where I would think you would be at this stage. You’ve gotten her sleeping through the night and you’re struggling with naps. And catnapping is tough, especially if she has been catnapping for a year!

 

Avoid Disaster Naps

 

So, remember my rules about catnapping that are outlined in detail in my book “Good Night, Sleep Tight”. You put her in awake for her nap. And when she wakes up under 45 minutes, you’re absolutely right, that isn’t a complete nap. I would go in, reassure her, “it’s okay, sweetie”, give her a little pat, a little reassurance and then depending on whether you’re staying in the room or leaving and doing checks, I would do that and I would really try for an hour if you can and if not, at least a half an hour to see if you can get her back to sleep. If she doesn’t go back to sleep, you do dramatic wake up, get her out and then you’re going to have to try for the next nap again and that could be 45 minutes later because she hasn’t had a really good nap. It is true that while you’re nap coaching, you’re kind of tied to the house!

So, don’t lose hope. Know that this is the hardest time and you have to keep going and it gets better. The morning naps are going to fall into place first and then that little stubborn afternoon nap will fall into place, promise, especially if you’re consistent.

Okay. I hope that helps Jenny. Thanks! For more details on nap coaching, see my book “Good Night, Sleep Tight”.

Sweet dreams,
Kim
The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have made it thru nap coaching successfully, please encourage Jenny to stick it out! Please feel free to click the “reply” link under their comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!


5 comments
roseyposey
roseyposey

Please help! I have this problem too, but it's really extreme. I've done the Shuffle with my son, who is eight months old. His night sleeping is great now. But despite following the advice in your book to the letter and very consistently, he just won't sleep beyond catnaps. I worked through the Shuffle for naps as well. I'm outside his room offering occasional verbal reassurance when he gets distraught at this stage, and I spend at least an hour trying to get him to resettle every time. But he just doesn't go back to sleep, and we've been sleep coaching for two months now. I've seen great progress at night but just none at all in the day. We have blackout blinds in his room, and use white noise. He has a solid pre-nap routine that we do every time. When he effectively skips naps (ie sleeps less than 45 minutes) I've tried implementing "emergency back up plans" like putting him in his stroller for a walk, rocking him, co-sleeping etc, but nothing makes him drop off for longer than that deadly 30 minutes. What should I do when nap training just seems to be... not working?

It's not even like I can revert to what we were doing pre-coaching for naps for the time being, because he just did the same thing and didn't nap! He's otherwise healthy so no underlying medical issues. But please give me some advice because right now I have a VERY overly tired and very stubborn baby who reduces me to tears at least one a week with his brutal catnapping habit! Your book has revolutionized his night sleep, please help me do the same with his naps!

Cynthia Shaw
Cynthia Shaw

We have a 13 month old who moved to one nap early. She sleeps fairly well at night, 11-12 hours, with fussing here and there, but nothing we need to go and check on (knock on wood). However, we really can't get more than 45 minutes to an hour out of her for a nap.  We have room darkening blinds, white noise to drown out Big Brother and I am consistent with the time I put her down (between 12-1, depending on if she wakes up at 7 or 8; she has lunch beforehand). She wakes up and I do not go in right away, I usually wait 15-20 minutes, but she does not go back to sleep.  If I go in, however, it just results in hysterics if I leave.  So if I go in, I'm committed to getting her up.  Is there anything I can do other than wait longer to see if she goes back to sleep or just gets upset at being by herself for so long?

AmandaLawrence
AmandaLawrence

I would love some help. I have a bright, alert and happy 6 months old baby boy whom I have rocked to sleep for every night and nap.  I just started your sleep training last night for his bedtime as he started continuously waking up throughout the night and I would have to rock him to sleep or nurse him again.

 

So, I started putting him to sleep by rocking and before he was asleep I put him in the crib, which he promptly "woke" up from and wanted to play.  This happened tonight as well. He will want to play with me for like 30 to 45 minutes, or just play in his crib.  I kept trying to turn him over as he sleeps on his tummy, but I fear that made him more mad or more stimulated....He's just never fallen asleep on his back before.  Basically, do I just sit next to his bed while he plays until he just gets so tired that he starts crying and then I can pick him up and put him back down like you suggest?   This is what finally got him to settle and sleep but I fear it's b/c I was holding him (albeit only for a few seconds) and not b/c he just put himself to sleep in the crib.  

carebear
carebear

My son is 5 months old this isnt my first but ive never had a problem with getting his sisters to sleep but i cant seem to get him to go to sleep on his own and stay asleep at night he was on a scedule where he was going to bed at 7 and waking up around 4:30 then up for about a half hour then back to bed till around 6:30-7 but then he went for a sleepover at someones house so i could have a break and his scedule is all messed up he wont sleep hardly at all at night he wakes up more than 4 times a night I feel I need to learn some ways to be able to put him down by himself without being rocked or held or wrapped up any advice would be a great help. thanks

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