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Nap routine at 9 months? Ours is a mess!!!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi there,


I have three little ones (9 months, 4, 6) and we have had a pretty good daily rhythm here for awhile. My 9 month old has been doing the 2,3,4 thing (two hours from wakeup to first nap, three hours in between naps, four hours in between second nap and bedtime) for several months now. Suddenly lately, he's had a really hard time settling down for his first nap. He's fussy so I try to nurse him down (he nurses to sleep 100%) and he just unlatches and rolls around, wanting to crawl off the bed. Totally happy. This goes on for quite some time, up to two hours - I take him out of the room til he's fussy again and we do it all over again. Yeah, two hours. Focusing on naps like that wears on my patience big time. Just now I tried to nurse him on and off for 20 minutes and then finally gave up and got up to get myself ready to go out, and by the time I was finished (10 mins tops) he was a whining mess again. In no condition to go out. But still won't sleep.


So after he finally sleeps, which is LATE, in between when he used to do the first and second naps, he can't make it til bedtime anymore. So then he wants his second nap like 5-6pm. Way too late to be napping. So then DH and I have to tag team in order to keep him entertained until he can pass out at a reasonable time.


It seems like he's dropping his first nap but I feel like he's not ready yet, he can't drop that amount of sleep and still be happy. If I let him go to bed for the night at 5-6pm to compensate, he will wake after a short while and be ready to go til like 11pm - midnight. He treats it as a nap.


I have read some about babies dropping naps, and 12 mos or so is much more common than 9 mos for this. I think at his age he still really needs that good morning sleep for REM and brain development.


The reason I'm asking for your thoughts is that this is totally messing up our day. I'm moving toward homeschooling here in another month and we like to have that late morning time to do some structured activities...me spending two hours on and off trying to nurse the baby down while the other two entertain themselves is not going too well. Just basically wondering if I should stick with it or just let him drop the nap and put him down for a slightly earlier nap in the afternoon?? I think the problem is that he is so busy developmentally, he has trouble switching it off. Every single day he has new moves and new sounds. Tips, thoughts ,anything would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 5
I think you may be trying to put him down too early. Is he fussing and rubbing eyes two hours after waking up or are you sticking to the established routine? Just something to think about. My DD needs at least three hours to get ready for her nap.

My DD (now 15 months) went through a terrible nap regression around 9-10 months where she completely refused to nap. I had to get blackout drapes to darken the room, use white noise (a fan) to drown out sounds and had to do a shortened version of our bedtime routine (no bath). We'd go into her room, I'd already have the drapes closed, turn on the fan, read a few books, and sing her lullaby while nursing her down. She used to nap 2 hours after waking up but I had to push it to three (and now often four) or she just wouldn't be ready. Darker room and white noise are my reccomendations. If she isn't ready to nap, I learned not to push it. It just means I'd spend longer putting her down than she would stay asleep. I just give her more time to play and try later.

Good luck; I hope you find something that works.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions! I am an old pro (haha) with babies that won't sleep and we have room darkening curtains and a fan running already. :) He is acting ready around 2 hours after waking up, it's probably more like 2.5 now. But that is a great suggestion to push it to 3, if I plan on that then it will be easier to structure our morning. I'm not a schedule freak or anything, far from it...but with three kids life is so much calmer with some basic structure to our days! I appreciate the recommendation and will give it a try tomorrow morning. Right now it's 4:30 and he has slept a whole five minutes all day...and shows no signs of being tired. I just tried to nurse him down about 10 minutes ago after we came home from running errands. I am going to try again soon as I don't want it to get too late. I would definitely put this phase in the 'nap regression' category as well. This has been going on for about a week now.


Thanks again!

post #4 of 5
There's one more idea I forgot to mention. When DD clearly needs to nap but can't settle down (head nursing like an angel, arms and legs wheeling and going a mile a minute) I give her a small soft toy to occupy her hands and give her something to look at. Most times it ends up flying across the room but usually not before it settles her down a bit. It just seems to focus her attention in one place long enough to forget about flailing and kicking and she relaxes enough for the nursing to do its thing. I don't know if you have a sleep fighter but the fuzzy kitty helped me get many naps that seemed impossible at the time. :-)
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Well I tried these suggestions and unfortunately we're still pretty much in the same boat. Sigh. He still gets VERY cranky about 2 hours after waking but won't nurse to sleep until at least 3 hours after waking. So that means I have to stand on my head for an hour trying to keep him happy. Not the end of the world but a pain in the rear as far as trying to do things with my other 2 kids. Then at 3 hours I have been able to nurse him down but it takes 20-30 minutes, during which time he is very, very tired and sad. Still unlatching and rolling away but then putting his head down on the bed and crying. Then, and this is the part that is so frustrating, he will wake up after 10-20 minutes and be happy and ready to go again. For a little while. This is a ton of work for a 10-20 minute nap and it also keeps us from being able to go anywhere for the first four hours of the day!


I think he's just so excited by everything going on lately that he does not want to stop to nap. He does much better during his afternoon nap and sleeps usually 90 minutes, going down easily.


I think it's just a developmentally related issue that will probably resolve in a few weeks' time, I really don't think he's dropping his morning nap for good. But what I have learned at this point in my parenting career is that I could always be wrong. Haha. It just makes sense since he just started commando crawling a few weeks ago, is starting to pull himself up, has a few 'words' and several new sounds, etc. He is basically in learning overload all day long.


This.too.shall.pass. ;)

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