how to get a 12 month old to nap - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 02-16-2011, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I spend around 3-31/2 hours every day trying to get my DD to fall asleep for naps and bedtime. I am losing my mind.


She has never been a good napper, and usually napped in the carrier until about 6 months when she would not fall asleep in the carrier because of excitment from noise and motion. Then she napped in the bed (for only 30 minutes), then when that didn't work, back to the carrier (but in a quiet, dark room and I walk and rock her). If I put her down after she falls asleep, she is awake within 20 minutes. She is almost 12 months now. I have to work, I'm a single mom and this can not go on any longer!!!


I've read NCSS, Sleep Lady book, Dr. Sears. None of them had anything useful. Today I was so exasperated I decided she could just cry it out. So I put her in her crib and left her there. But she didn't cry. And she didn't fall asleep. An hour later, and she still wasn't asleep.


My mom has suggested she just doesn't need to nap, which is not true. She gets tired, cranky, and clingy. 


I feel like I've searched every book and website but to no avail. I'm not sure anyone here will have the miracle trick that will help, but I feel like there are a lot of wise people who have helped their children gently fall asleep. Any advice is appreciated!

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#2 of 3 Old 02-16-2011, 07:07 PM
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My oldest was a craptastically bad sleeper, and the only way I could get her to nap was to put her in the Ergo (the mei tai woke her up when I pulled her out of it, but the Ergo unhooked easier and didn't disturb her), and vacuum or steam clean the carpets. 


Once she was asleep, I'd wait a few minutes, turn off the vacuum, make soft shushing sounds, then tiptoe upstairs, unhook her and lay her in the papasan swing very gently. I'd snap her in, tuck a blanket around her, and turn on the swing. 


And wait. Most of the time, she'd stay asleep. Sometimes she'd stir and I'd shush quietly and lay my hand on her tummy.


She napped in her swing until she gave up naps altogether, at 22 months. When her legs got longer, I'd just tuck them up tailor-style, and tuck the blanket around them. (ETA: She was still under the weight limit for the swing.)


She would rarely nap in the car, or while being held, but the Ergo + vacuum + swing was the tried and true way to get her to nap.


Also hung blankets over her windows and put a white noise machine in her bedroom (we coslept at night, but the swing was in her room).


Would any of that help? Bless your heart. :( At 12 months, my oldest was napping once a day, and I had to get her in the Ergo before she started getting sleepy, or she'd hit a second wind and it would take hours to get her to sleep.

SAHM to Guinevere (04/05/06) and Eowyn (02/13/09)
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#3 of 3 Old 02-17-2011, 12:24 PM
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How long is she awake between naps?  Some people think that it is too "scheduled" to think about wake times between naps, but it totally changed my daughter's sleep life when I started paying close attention to them.  My DD is 11 mo. and she can go no longer than 3 hours from the time she wakes up until her first nap.  (Of course she can stay awake, but not without becoming an overtired, cranky mess...)  So after she has been awake for the day for 2hrs.45min., I do her winddown routine, which consists of a book and nursing in her dark room.  I put her in her crib and she will sometimes stay awake for a few minutes and babble, but usually is quiet and asleep within a couple minutes.  This is the baby who up until 6mo. would ONLY sleep while being walked in the Ergo, when I finally decided that something had to change because I could get NOTHING done. It just took practice, practice, practice.  I always tell her what we're doing beforehand, and now it has become so routine that when I tell her it's time to "rest with Lamby" (her lovie), she puts her head on my chest.  I do the same thing after about 3.25-3.5 hours of wake time in the afternoon for her second nap.  Her bedtime ritual is similar, though longer and there is something about the routine of it that she knows what to expect and doesn't fight me anymore.  Bedtime is about 3.5-3.75 hours after the last nap ends.  It isn't always convenient to pay so much attention to the time, but I went from nap and bedtime battles all.the.time., to generally easy transitions.  The max wake time for a 11-12 mo. on two naps is 4 hours, but unless your DD sleeps really well at night, I would err on the side of slightly shorter times at this stage.  GL!

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