Tips, Ideas & Advice – Baby’s Afternoon Naps (Or Lack Thereof)

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Welcome back to Tips, Ideas & Advice!

Last week, Melissa from A Wide Line… asked:

How do I get Quinn to nap at home in the afternoons? He will nap in the morning, and sleep at night in his crib, but refuses to do so in the afternoon. We follow the same routine, have blackout curtains, the room is cool, I nurse and rock him until he’s drowsy, but he still does not sleep. The only way he will sleep is if we take him out in the stroller or car. I’m at my wit’s end and am tired of driving around aimlessly to get him to sleep! Please help!

Melissa, here are some of the tips, ideas and advice from fellow moms who are all too familiar with this little problem. I do hope you find them useful.

Leighann of Multitasking Mumma (@multitaskmumma):

Baby’s routines and sleep change so frequently that stressing out over an afternoon nap is going to hinder you more than help you. Is he cranky? Is it ruining his night’s sleep? You indicated that he slept in the morning and at night well. Perhaps he’s not tired, or his pattern has changed. Go with the flow mumma… there are many more changes to come 🙂

Rach of Life With Baby Donut (@donutsmama):

I’ve heard that the afternoon nap is the hardest.  My daughter is 8 months old and I still have trouble with it.  My best advice, and this doesn’t help with the naps, but it saves my sanity – quit trying to make her nap.  If she naps, awesome.  If not, that’s okay, we’ll just do an early bedtime.  I tried everything too – car rides, laying down with her, rocking her, letting her sleep in my bed. Some days it works, other days it doesn’t. I keep trying every day though and I give her the opportunity to nap.  Some days she’ll take it, other days I have to accept that today will be hard.

Kimberly of Mama’s Monologues (@mamasmonologues):

Since it seems that he’s napping fine in the morning and sleeping well at night, it doesn’t seem like sleep itself is the problem. I think in that case first I’d cut back on his morning nap. If he’s sleeping for an hour, let him sleep only 30 minutes. At that age my kids needed to cut back on the sleeping time in the mornings to accommodate for an afternoon nap. If that doesn’t work, try pushing his afternoon nap time a little later. Maybe he’s just not tired at that point and needs to be awake a little longer and become more stimulated, therefore getting more tired.

Hopes of Staying Afloat! (@hstayingafloat):

Have a white noise machine going in the background while you are rocking and nursing, keep it on has he sleeps. They sounds might mimic the road noise from the car, or the sounds he hears when you are walking with him in the stroller.  My second son really didn’t like the sounds of the white noise machines so we just decided to put a fan on in his room on low.  He is now 5 and still likes to sleep with a fan on in his room. Have some soft music playing very quietly during your routine and leave it on as he sleeps.

Elena of Mommy Is In Timeout! (@elenawollborg):

I have no idea if my kids were good sleepers because of things I did or if they were just that way. But, here are some ideas. I swear by some of the things you’re already doing – routine, blackout curtains, etc. Do you use a noisemaker at all? You can buy fairly inexpensive ones at Babies R Us and places like that. I got mine at Brookstone and I always play ‘white noise’. The other thing I found with my kids is finding that sweet spot when it comes to timing when you’re dealing with 2 naps. I never did more than an hour in the morning. Even if my boys were still sleeping, I always woke them. Then they’d do 2 hours in the afternoon. Also concerning the sweet spot, is finding the best amount of time to put between the 2 naps. I also used a 2.5 hour rule between wake up time from morning nap to going down for afternoon nap. Maybe these are all things that you’ve tried – but if not, hope it might help! Good luck mama. 😉

Thank you all so much for contributing! Do follow these wonderful bloggers on their blogs and on Twitter.

Melissa, I hope you can use some of these wonderful ideas, I know some of them helped me back when my son was that age and was having trouble napping in the afternoon.

Next week’s question comes from….me!

My son is pretty fussy with food and sticks to just a few things he will eat. How do I get him to try new things without making it a daily battle? 

Moms, I really need your help on this. I want my son to develop a healthy attitude towards food, so this question is not just confined to feeding a toddler, but 5 year olds, 7 year olds, even 10 year olds and teenagers. Any help you can give is much appreciated!

Please email your tips, ideas and advice, or question/ topic you want me to highlight, by Friday, September 23, 10.00 p.m. (EST) to: mamawantsthis{@}gmail{.}com

Do you have any further ideas to add to help a 6 month old nap in the afternoon?




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  • September 20, 2011 Kimberly

    Great advice! Elena and I must have lived the same life. I used those same guidelines with all of my kids. I don’t know if it was just luck or it really did work, but all 3 of mine were great sleepers.
    Kimberly recently wrote…Our TomorrowMy Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Leighann

    awesome tips from everyone!!!
    Leighann recently wrote…It’s A PARTY.. but I’m not invited.My Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Rach (DonutsMama)

    I love reading about what everyone else tried. It can be kind of tricky b/c every child is so different, but at the same time, it’s good to see what other things I can try!
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently wrote…The Best Gifts in Life…Sometimes Cost MoneyMy Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Elena

    Great advice! I hope it helps. Sleep schedules can be so frustrating – but I’ll back up several of the other comments – you do just have to go with the flow. It will happen. Good luck! 😉
    Elena recently wrote…Mommy Loves The Garbage DisposalMy Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Kim

    I forgot about our white noise machine! It didn’t work for our girls when they were little babies, but when they were over 12 months old it helped. Our oldest one day told me to turn off the “noise maker,” I think when she was about 22 months old because she wanted to fall asleep in the silence!
    Kim recently wrote…The Missing PartsMy Profile

    • September 20, 2011 Alison

      It’s good when they reach the stage where they don’t need sleeping aids 🙂

  • September 20, 2011 Kiddothings

    Great tips from all the experienced mommies here. I like Rach’s advice to go with the flow. It really does help to keep us sane.
    Kiddothings recently wrote…VersatilityMy Profile

    • September 20, 2011 Alison

      Sometimes, you just HAVE to!

  • September 20, 2011 Melissa

    Thanks so much, everyone! This is really helpful. We do have a white noise machine, which I believe helps. I’ll definitely tweak the nap timing here and there and see what happens. I appreciate the advice telling me to just relax and go with the flow. I need to work on that! Thank you all for the great advice, and thank YOU, Alison, for featuring my question!
    Melissa recently wrote…Quinn’s Weekend Adventures: All Dressed UpMy Profile

    • September 20, 2011 Alison

      You’re welcome Melissa. I do hope some of these ideas work for you, let us know how you go!

  • September 20, 2011 Mrs. Weber

    My little gal didn’t do an afternoon nap until she was 8 months old…then it just clicked! Prior to that, she’d sleep for 2 hours in the morning and that would be it. Now that she’s more active, she naps an hour or two in the morning and an hour or two in the afternoon. I like to keep her busy and stimulated and I think that helps to wear her out in the afternoon.

    Ohhhh babies. Each one is so different! Best of luck!
    Mrs. Weber recently wrote…Where I’m FromMy Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Amanda Austin

    These are all great tips! You know what I’ve found with my LO, sometimes the afternoon nap is very short, but sometimes that’s for the best. He sleeps 2 hours almost on the dot in the mornings, then the afternoon nap is sometimes just an hour. If it does go longer than an hour, he has trouble sleeping at night.

    The white noise machine is AMAZING and I highly recommend that, too. We have one and it helps him get relaxed and stay asleep. We actually sleep with one too.

    I agree with Kimberly, too, I try to tire mine out before his nap. Sometimes all it takes is 10 more minutes of playing. I play until he gives me the cues that he’s tired, and that’s when we get the best results.
    Amanda Austin recently wrote…Target Tuesday: Backyard bonanzaMy Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      Love the tiring out concept. I run up and down the hallway with my son to tire him out if we don’t go out. Works wonders 🙂

    • September 21, 2011 Melissa

      We do have a sound machine, and that really helps. I usually try to do calm activities before nap time. Maybe I’ll try more activity to tire him out before we start winding down for bed. Great idea, Amanda. Thank you!
      Melissa recently wrote…Two weddings and a MeltdownMy Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Christi

    The white noise suggestion is a great idea. I have one in my room that helps me sleep!
    Christi recently wrote…These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: A Tribute To Bloggy Boot CampMy Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      Did your parents get you to sleep with one when you were young? 🙂

    • September 21, 2011 Melissa

      Thanks, Christi. Yes, we LOVE our white noise machine. I think it helps drown out other noises that might wake him and it gives his body cues that it’s time for sleep.
      Melissa recently wrote…Two weddings and a MeltdownMy Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Barbara

    I think this is all such great advice!
    Barbara recently wrote…AcceptanceMy Profile

  • September 20, 2011 Natalie

    These are all great tips…I also find that afternoons are the hardest! I find sometimes that if we are just out and about he’ll be ok and sleep like a rock and go to bed early!
    Natalie recently wrote…Back to RealityMy Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      The notorious afternoon nap, we’ve all been there!

    • September 21, 2011 Melissa

      Yeah, I’ve discovered I’m definitely not alone in this dilemma. Glad we all have each other!
      Melissa recently wrote…Two weddings and a MeltdownMy Profile

  • September 21, 2011 Shell

    No one said stack gates ontop of each other to keep him in his room and then invest in earplugs? Oh, I guess that’s just what we do here. Oops.
    Shell recently wrote…Why I Hate to RecycleMy Profile

  • September 21, 2011 Galit Breen

    Naptime! I swear by naptime! At our house you nap until you can independently do quiet time. Boom.

    {Great topic and still loving this feature of yours!}
    Galit Breen recently wrote…Glee Starts Tonight & I’m Celebrating Scary Mommy Style!My Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      Yes, great principle, Galit! And thank you.

    • September 21, 2011 Melissa

      Love that. I had that rule as a child, too, and I plan on doing the same with my kids. I just wish I could explain this to my six-month-old. He doesn’t see the logic for some reason. 🙂
      Melissa recently wrote…Two weddings and a MeltdownMy Profile

  • September 21, 2011 Jessica

    My kids love smoothies and fresh squeezed juices. I have them help me make them and we use fresh fruits and vegetables.
    Jessica recently wrote…VlogTalk: Apple of My EyeMy Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      Ok I will (finally) include your tip for the next installment!

  • September 21, 2011 Robin

    I figured that might be the trick – just giving up on the nap. Mine still needed it though, so it was always a battle for us. Sigh. No easy answer to that question.

    Will ponder the food question. I may have some ideas on that.

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      Just have to try everything until something works! And thank you, look forward to your email.

    • September 21, 2011 Melissa

      Thanks Robin. If the baby wasn’t so cranky without the nap, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But after four hours of fussing and crying, we’re both a bit cranky. He definitely still needs a nap. I could use one too.
      Melissa recently wrote…Two weddings and a MeltdownMy Profile

  • September 21, 2011 Mama Track

    Great tips! We didn’t establish our nap schedule until the boy was a bit older (9ish months), so I would say just go with the flow for a little longer.

    On the food thing, we struggle with this too. Our pediatrician said not to worry about it until he’s 4 or 5. Keep offering variety, only offer foods you are ok with him eating (i.e., healthy foods) and let it go. Food can become a power struggle very easily. At 4 or 5, we are going to institute the “one bite” rule, but the dr. wasn’t optimistic about it before then.

    Good luck!
    Mama Track recently wrote…A Moment Out of TimeMy Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      Thanks Natalie, I hope to get many useful ideas for the food battle 🙂

    • September 21, 2011 Melissa

      Thank you! I keep hearing that it gets better. It gives me hope.
      Melissa recently wrote…Two weddings and a MeltdownMy Profile

  • September 21, 2011 My Inner Chick

    I wish you gals were around when my boys were babies !!! :)))
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Wondrous Winter WhiteMy Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      There will be a few other topics that will be of interest and use to you in the future I hope!

  • September 21, 2011 Ann

    This is a GREAT series….I just wish I had ideas to share. I have to say, the ideas you’re gathering are incredible and I imagine SO many folks are benefiting from it!
    Ann recently wrote…Pot Roast!My Profile

    • September 21, 2011 Alison

      Thank you Ann! I do hope there will be relevant topics for you to contribute to and benefit from soon.

  • September 22, 2011 Kimberly

    Naps….what is this nap you speak of? Sounds like an elusive mythical dragon that does not reside in this house of Chunky.
    Kimberly recently wrote…He’s Got Dumps Like A Truck, Truck, Truck…My Profile

    • September 22, 2011 Alison

      Hehehe, oh dear 🙂

  • September 22, 2011 Julie

    We have a fan that has a sea breeze setting on it. The light breeze comes and goes, which totally lulls anyone to sleep who is lucky enough to be in front of it.
    Julie recently wrote…But what about the consonants?My Profile

    • September 22, 2011 Alison

      I want that fan!!

  • September 24, 2011 leah aka FFPMaMMa

    Sorry ladies…I am playing catch up and instead of clicking “show all as read” on my reader, I always hop on over to my favs to check them out. I was curious to see what others had to say so that I was not duplicating anything. So, since I don’t see my suggestion…here goes:
    I do agree that each baby is different and that routines change for some. My girl is now 18 months, but her afternoon nap started changing around the 9 month age. I didn’t know if she would sleep or not. I would put her in the crib with a book or two to look at. This kept her entertained sometimes for an hour! If she slept, great, if not I still had an hour to myself and she began to understand quiet time. Now there is no more afternoon nap. What is odd to me though is that she will take one nap…usually btwn 11 and 12. This seemed odd to me as she wakes up at 7 or 8. She would go strong till bedtime (8ish), no problem. Recently now we are adjusting her to eat lunch before nap and go till about 12:30.

    All that to say, Quinn might just be ready for the one… and morning is not odd for my girl for her nap.

    Hope you find what works well for him! Good luck & thanks Alison for the opp!
    leah aka FFPMaMMa recently wrote…Missing Again: a Cold CaseMy Profile

    • September 24, 2011 Alison

      Hi Leah, thanks for your input! I’m sorry if I didn’t include your earlier input – I did not receive an email from you? I can only include the tips I get via email, as it’s the easiest way for me to collate all the info. Trying to draw it out from the comments will take me too much time, so if you did include it in comments last time, I apologize for having missed that.

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