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Napping 101

Vanessa V.
VANESSA V.
Child Sleep Consultant
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Nap schedule not going according to plan? Team Tinyhood to the rescue! Troubleshoot your little one's current routine and get on the right foot for a restful 2018. Led by Tinyhood Sleep Consultant, Vanessa Vance.

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VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Napping for 7Month Old
CHRISTI, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Hi Vanessa, my 7month old daughter is generally a pretty good sleeper -sleeps through the night and takes regular naps in her crib. We have white noise going, blackout shades, cool temps, etc.
Except for the newborn stage, she’s never napped too long. Usually naps are 45 min and occasionally she’ll nap for an hour or an hour and a half, but not consistently or often. She’s also recently been staying up for much longer periods, and seems to really be fighting her 3rd nap, so Ive tried dropping it this last week and a half. On regular days when both naps are only 40ish min, she’s barely making it to an early bedtime and I’m having to stretch that wake time to get her second nap late enough.
Any tips for lengthening naps at this point? Should I try forcing that 3rd nap back in? I have tried allowing her to wake up and waiting before going in, but I’ve yet to see her fall back asleep after a significant wait.

CHRISTI

Do you recommend she be on a clock schedule for naps at this age? I’m a stay at home mom, so it’s definitely possible (once I figure out the naps) but wondering what you think. So far, she has a routine and I’m noticing patterns but still go off sleepy cues and wake windows more often than anything else.

CHRISTI

One more quick question... For the last couple weeks, she always wakes from naps crying or cranky, whereas in the past she would wake quietly, then proceed to giggle or “talk” while playing in her crib until I came to her. She did have a cold around the time when this change started, so I figured she just wasn’t feeling well but now that it’s pretty much cleared up, I’m wondering if she’s still tired or if the change is completely normal for this age. Any thoughts?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Christi,
Have you ever sleep trained your daughter before? She sounds overtired (waking up cranky). If you want some information about nap training: Nap training results are seen on week 3-4, after being consistent for week 1 and 2. Typically, we suggest following the one hour rule at this age (for nap#1 and nap #2- they stay in the crib for at least one hour. They will rest, cry, sleep, or self-soothe during this hour. They may sleep longer than one hour. We may need to cut back the napping if nap#3 isn't happening). Typically the nap transition to 2 naps is around 8 months of age. She sounds too young for 2 naps now. The typical nap start times are around 9 am, around noon, and nap # 3 2 hours after nap # 2 ends (usually 3pm-4pm ish). Nap #3 is a cat nap of 30-45 minutes long. No need to follow the 1 hour rule.

If the nap #1 or #2 are too long, it can make nap number 3 difficult to make happen.

We move to following the clock times for naps, around 4 months. sleep cues are less reliable after 4 months of age.

Bedtime should be early at this age. between 6-8 pm. Likely 6 or 6:30 pm.

CHRISTI

Hi, great info. We did some mild sleep training for night, but when naps were short we left her in the crib an extra few minutes as she played to make up for any shorter naps. 9 and noon nap times plus that 3rd cat nap is exactly what she had been doing (just with slight variation based on an occasional earlier/ later wake up and no actual attention to exact timing so 9:15, 8:50, 12:15 etc) but I track her sleep on an app and that’s where the naps fell. Bedtime is currently 645 (asleep) but she’s often nursing by 615, so I’ll push a little earlier.

CHRISTI

The big nap push back came upon our return from Christmas vacation where her “schedule” was thrown off some and though naps were taken, I wasn’t able to stay as consistent with our routines. Thank you!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Which app are you using to track sleep? I am always on the lookout for ones parents like

Vanessa
VANESSA

Go outside after and or before the naps., When you change time zones (you may not have flown). The sun does the hard work of helping you reset to the normal routine. And, you being consistent again with routines when you return from travel.

CHRISTI

I use Baby Nursing. I do like it but more so because it’s all-in-one rather than a super great sleep tracker in itself. I’ve tracked nursing, sleep, and doctor height/weight/ notes since birth but you can also track pumping, diapers etc. It’s mostly a bunch of timers and room for notes. You’ve probably heard of it!
I also have the Nanit baby camera from their Black Friday sale, so the accompanied app tracks her sleep too and saves the stats and turns them into charts and sleep summaries, which is pretty cool.

CHRISTI

I’m in Boston, so we are outside as much as we can but with little sun and an early sunset, it’s tough. I do turn the lights up in our apartment though. I appreciate all your tips!

Vanessa
VANESSA

I am in TX. See my crazy advice! Thanks for the location update!! It is 67 in the afternoon here (me shaking my head at myself). When you run errands in the car --- will get her some sun, it walking to the T.

CHRISTI

I’m from Houston!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Christi,
Thanks for sharing the tips on the sleep tracking apps. How are the naps going recently?
Best,
V

CHRISTI

Better, I think! Since starting the first nap earlier, she is going down quickly and napping 50min-1.5hours or so (asleep time, not including a few min of settling), but doing great with the hour in the crib rule. She’s also back to not waking up crying anymore- yay! So I often have to pay attention to my monitor to see if she’s “up”, since she’s usually in there stretching and rolling around, tapping on the crib bars.
Nap #3 on the other hand, hasn’t been very successful. I think she’s taken the 3rd nap once since we talked and that was after a feed and a busy day of errands over the weekend. Ive been putting her down but she’ll cry and scream at the top of her lungs for quite a while (over 30min) and I honestly just can’t take it at that time of day in our little apartment and don’t want her to wear herself out too much before having to go hours before bed... I nanny for another child in my home so between juggling the two of them that is the hardest part of my day. To make up for that I pushed nap #2 back to around 1pm (rather than noon) but open to suggestions. She seems to be doing better and still sleeping 12 hours at night but with a bedtime of 615/630pm.

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hey Christi,
Sometimes they are ready for the transition to one nap - earlier than 8 months. This is okay to pursue. When you are on 2 naps: nap times of 9 am and 1pm are ideal times. If she is overtired, you can do nap # 2 earlier at 12:30pm. Move it to crib 1.5 hour when you are on 2 naps. You can use an earlier bedtime as an emergency 5-5:30pm is the naps leave her overtired. Don't use the emergency time for longer than 1 week. 6pm is sustainable. Normal bedtime is 6pm-8pm. Earlier is better for a younger baby (not 8 pm).
Great update!! Thank you!

CHRISTI

Thank you!!

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Recent napping changes
PAULA, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD

Now that we are back from the holidays and my daughter is back in school M-Th, she so tired that by 4:30pm she has started falling asleep. I have tried to keep her awake but she’s just exhausted. If she naps then she is up late and it starts a bad cycle. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle this situation? Do you think it will just take a few weeks to get her back on the old routine?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hey Paula, you are in a tricky spot. Nap Purgatory. It is normal for the naps to cause bedtime to push back. Any amount of napping can do this, if your child is sensitive.

Can you write out a 24 hour schedule for me: her wake up time, nap times, bedtimes, any night wake ups. What type of bed is she in.

Here is a great guide to see if you are lining up with the average 3 year old for sleep:http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/02/average-sleep-charts-by-age.html

It is typical for the nap to disappear at age 3 -4. Some kids nap once every 10 days during the transition. It is about choosing what is best for the FAMILY's overall schedule. You may need to expose her to sunlight and push past the overtired and use an super early bedtime during the transition. 6-8pm is typical bedtime. Sometimes, if they don't nap 5-5:30 pm is a good bedtime (dont' use this more than 2 weeks straight, or you will have early morning wake ups)
Best,
Vanessa



PAULA

Hi Vanessa, the last couple of days have seemed to settle back into the normal routine. Up at 7am, no nap and in bed by 8:30pm. We traveled heavily during the holidays so her schedule was a complete free for all. I think that after the second week of being back in the normal routine that she may be back on track. We were very careful to keep her busy at the 4:30pm time that she was starting to nap. It really helped. Thank you!

Vanessa
VANESSA

This is so wonderful!! My son will fall asleep in the car after 5 pm. Perform errands early in the day to avoid this

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Rocking my baby to sleep
CRISTINA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

How do I stop rocking my baby to sleep every time? She is 4 and a half months and I rock her for every nap and at night, then I put her on her crib super sleepy and she’ll fall asleep by herself (sometimes). If I don’t rock her she can’t fall asleep and I just can’t let her CIO. It breaks my heart. What else can I do?

CRISTINA

And I don’t mind rocking her... but she’s getting heavier!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Cristina,
After 4 months of age they no longer need the intensive parent driven sleep associations (rocking, patting, shhhh, nursing/sucking to sleep). It is a great age to teach sleep training instead. Most children who would benefit from sleep training, need to be put down in a quiet alert state vs in a deep sleep state. If they go down too sleepy, they will wake up at normal sleep state transitions (sleep cycle changes) and feel tricked. "WHAAAA. where am I? I was with mom and cozy before!!" You can start practicing laying her down - quiet yet awake at the first nap of the day and keep adding it in more often throughout the day/bedtime. Schedule can be an issue too. Naps move to scheduled on the clock vs based on sleep cues (unreliable after 4 months of age).

http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/02/average-sleep-charts-by-age.html
This is a great chart to help you with many sleep questions and nap timing and transitions.

Sleep Training Methods - Blog post.
http://www.weebeedreaming.com/my-blog/sleep-coaching-methods

Let me know which method you are drawn towards. No checks (extinction), Timed Checks or Chair method.

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Sleeping too much
JOHANA RAMOS, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

I have a two month old baby girl. She is sleeping all the time. She does not sleep more than 3-4 straight at night Ever. She just wakes up, eats, and back to sleep. Im breastfeeding. The only hours she is awake for more than an hour is at 10 pm till like 12 or 2 am... what should I do?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Johana, they do sleep a lot in the beginning. The longest she should be awake is one hour at her age. When she is awake for 2 hours, she should be offered a nap earlier, at the one hour mark.

JOHANA RAMOS

Ohh okeii.... when dies she start to sleep fewer time?

Vanessa
VANESSA

The only predictable sleep should be expected at the beginning of bedtime for around 4 hours at this age.

Vanessa
VANESSA

Aim for bedtime to be early around 7 or 8 at night

Vanessa
VANESSA

Here is a great guide to help you anticipate any sleep changes http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/02/average-sleep-charts-by-age.html?m=1:

JOHANA RAMOS

Thanks for the info? Another question if I may... is it bad for her to nap a en chair? Its not a swing or anything. For some reason she hates the crib and hates to be laying down facing up. She would give in easier sleeping belly..... why is this!?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Johana Ramos - which country do you live in? I am in the USA. I am taught to follow the AAP guidelines.

Good news is around 8 weeks of age, they start to follow cues. This is a great time to start practicing using the crib, placed to sleep on her back. And, start practicing laying her down quiet, yet away. Usually the 1st nap if the day is the best time for teaching. The more you use the crib, the easier it gets. If she gets lots of practice at laying down quiet yet awake, she may not need sleep training at age 4 months and older 😀😎😍

Vanessa
VANESSA

The belly sleeping is not recommended at this age. I increases the risk for SIDS bc they are in a deeper sleep, they are more likely to have a SIDS event. Scary, right? Stick with placing her on her back at this age. Let's keep her alive!

JOHANA RAMOS

I live in Arkansas! 🙂 if she starts crying I rock her on me and try again?

JOHANA RAMOS

Very scary!!!!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Yes. Try to let her fall asleep on her own, from a quiet awake state. If it doesn't work, after 5-10 mins, follow a parent driven soothing to sleep methd - patting rocking shhhh etc. Dr karp's DVD happiest baby on the block is awesome for the parent driven soothing tips and teaching how to swaddle

JOHANA RAMOS

Ohh okeiii 😉

JOHANA RAMOS

Thanks for all the info. Also, guideline really helps

JOHANA RAMOS

Heii! So i put her without rocking her like two hours ago and she sleep like almost and hour and a half by her self on her back she woke up like half an hour ago feed her she fussed a little offered to sleep again and her back while being awake and she stayed there!!!! Yeeeeiiiiii she soothed herselff!!!!!! Soooo happy for her! Hopefully she will sleep more hours.....

Vanessa
VANESSA

Amazing! Congratulations mama! Way to go!!

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
My baby sleeps a lot during the day
YARLY, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

I have a 2 month old who wakes up during the night to feed but come morning she doesn’t want to wake up to eat. She seems so peaceful sleeping and once I wake her up she is very inconsistent with her eating habits she eats different amounts all the time. Should I wake her up at certain time each morning even if she wants to stay asleep?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Yarly, Check in with our feeding experts and your pediatrican about milk (formula, bottle - pumped milk or formula, or breastfeeding.

On to Sleep questions - The only organized time of sleep is nighttime. Beginning at 8 weeks, you will see night sleep is consistent at providing 4-5-6 hours of sleep at the beginning of night. Bring bedtime early 7pm-8pm. Then she will sleep solidly 7 pm - 12pm. Daytime sleep is not organized until 16 weeks. expect everything during the day - short naps - even as short as 10 minutes, erratic naps, not predictable at all.
Offer a nap after she has been awake for 1 hour. This will prevent being overtired.

Fourth Trimester Tips
Here are some additional resources:
1. http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/02/average-sleep-charts-by-age.html
2. DVD - teaches soothing and swaddle. happiest baby on the block by Dr. Karp
3. DVD Dunstan Baby language. helps you "hear" what your baby is telling you.
4. Purple crying period
http://purplecrying.info/what-is-the-period-of-purple-crying.php

Vanessa
VANESSA

"?Should I wake her up at certain time each morning even if she wants to stay asleep?"

After you check with your pediatrician about the feeding needs, the answer from a sleep perspective is - She is to young to "wake her up at a certain time". Let her sleep. You rest /sleep when she sleeps. The rest adds up an helps you have more energy. After 4 months old is when we will as for a consistent wake up time in the morning