Sleep Training- Nap Edition

Quick, meadering question as I am going a bit crazy from house/packing chores and existing on not very much sleep.

What the hell is the secret to getting W to be consistent with naps? We are on a schedule, he is doing well with sleeping through the night in his own crib. But naps? He gives naps the middle finger and it is driving me bonkers.

I mean doesn’t he realize that I am trying to do a bajillion things and that I schedule those things to be done when he naps??

So nap time happens, W has been fed, changed, and is showing signs that he is ready for a nap. I put him in his crib: sound machine goes on, mobile turns on, pacifier goes in, he is quiet, turns his head, looks dreamy, I sneak out.

Five minutes later he is screaming. SCREAMING.

I use the same CIO technique that eventually worked for him in the evening but it is not working during the day.

So how long does he hang in his crib and I keep doing the every 10 minutes check in? When the schedule says it is time to get up do I just get him up or is the goal for him to stay in the crib until a nap happens.

Because holy hell it is NOT happening.


  1. Ummm…. I know this is not what you want to hear, but some kids are just not nappers. Gray gave up both naps by 11 months and Cole (at 9 months and change) has no interest in a morning nap (though he will still nap for an hour or so in the afternoon).

    What I’ve had more success with is encouraging Cole to amuse himself for short periods of time while I get things done. For example: I need to do something in the kitchen, so I strap him into his high chair and put some cheerios on the table in front of him. He throws them on the floor or puts a couple into his mouth, while I empty the dishwasher.

  2. It’s hard and I am at this very moment listening to my almost 3yo cry from his room, “no naps mommy”

    When the kids were younger I did the cio and it worked well, the key for me was stretching that 10 minutes to 15 or 20. As long as they weren’t crying so hard they were gagging, I let them do their thing. If they didn’t nap then I got them up after an hour and we played a little and had another boob snack and tried again.

    All I can say is keep trying. I hope it gets better for you soon.

    When you’re ready, I’m ready to start working on food blog design.

  3. hugs to you. i still rely on the kids napping for my own sanity on the weekends, so i know how hard it is when it just won’t happen! what would happen if you did not go in every ten minutes to soothe him? we did do that for nighttime, but not for naps. if they were screaming, we set the timer for 20 minutes and waited it out. 9 times out of ten, they were asleep by 20 minutes. if they were escalating or seeming like they were about to barf, then we went in obviously! how long do you think he would scream? could you do/do you want to try cio? what about using a swing? would he nap in a swing? swings saved our lives until the kids were about 1. and now they are great sleepers, so i know it did not wreck their sleep for life (which is what i was always afraid of!). is the mobile at all overstimulating for W? i wonder if he stares at it while trying to fall asleep and then almost can’t look away to fall asleep. good luck! sleep stuff is so hard!

  4. I was one of those not a napper kids. My mom still made me stay in there and “rest”. I know he’s a bit young, but will putting something in there that he can use to distract himself with help, perhaps? A toy, a stuffed animal, one of those soft books that he can “read”?

  5. I am sure someone has suggested this- but I live and breath by Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. And if I went in every 10 mins Cate would never nap. I never let her cry for an hour-but at first I let her cry 20-30 mins. She would never do that now-’cause she knows that it doesn’t work. But that’s Cate.

    Sleep training is the worst. Sorry, buddy.

  6. If a baby is acting sleepy-a baby is sleepy. If he wakes up that soon and screams that’s cause he wants to hang out with you-not because he’s slept enough.

  7. This is horrid I KNOW….but my Lilly (ten months) goes down like a champ at night….I put her in the crib she rolls over and passes out asap. During the day….well ummmmm….we have to co-sleep….or her head seriously flies off her head and bounces off the wall. I think I got hit once. She will scream non-stop. If we sleep with her (or lay with her) she will take 2 two hour naps a day….sometimes 3 depending.

    Wish I could help cause this sure doesn’t help at all.

  8. I’m with the 20 minute CIO crowd. My daughter wouldn’t nap at all. I finally stopped going in every 10 (or less) minutes and she started sleeping for 3 hours.

    You aren’t a horrible person for letting him settle and take a nap.

  9. I’m right there with you! I’m amazed that Henry will fall asleep at night on his own and sleep at night because he definitely doesn’t want to take naps during the day. And I know he needs one because he gets fussy and sleepy eyes! I’m not really ready for CIO method yet…I let him cry for 5 mintues for this nap, and I went in to put his paci back in and comfort but he would not calm down. I eventually just picked him up and rocked him until he fell asleep (about 5-7 minutes) and then put him in his crib. He is still asleep now (15 minutes into the nap), but I’m not expecting it to last long because it usually doesn’t. One thing I am doing differently today is I have a warm blanket on him…I know that is against the “rules,” but I’m watching him closely on a video monitor.

  10. With Rowan I had to black out her windows. unless her room appeared to be in the throws of midnight, she wouldn’t sleep.

    I stapled black trash bags over her windows and covered the uglyness with her curtains. she slept like a baby!

  11. I followed Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby too.

    First I had to figure out how many naps my son needed during the day. Because even he wasn’t sleeping, it wasn’t because he didn’t need to! Poor kid was suffering, as was I. Anyway, we settled on three naps (he was 7 months old).

    Enter sleep training. Put him down at 9 am, nursed, cleaned diap, etc. etc. Let him cry up to 60 minutes (I know, I *hated* it, but it worked). If he fell asleep earlier than that, great, we got a nap — even if it was short, we were on the right track. If he DIDN’T fall asleep… well, that’s when things were tough. I had to keep him up and play with him and stimulate him until his next nap.

    Then 12-1ish, try again. Let him cry up to 60 minutes. If he fell asleep great, if not… well, awake until the next nap.

    Rinse and repeat at 3-4ish.

    It took exactly 8 1/2 days of this. I was about at my breaking point. Then suddenly it was a like a lightbulb switched in his brain. I put him down, and he took an awesome nap! And it continued! Now over a year later, he is a great napper. It was the best investment of time and patience I’ve ever made. He still loves his crib, I can put him in awake and he’ll fall asleep on his own. The transition down to two naps and then one naps (when he was ready) did take some effort, but then we were soon back in business.

    Good luck!

    • natasha says:

      Hi quick question for you since you did CIO for naps as per HSHHC and it worked. I am attempting that with my 4 month old. She is responding well. First nap today she fussed for 10 min and fell asleep. However she woke up at 39 min. What should I do if that happens again. I let her fuss for 10 min until the nap hour was complete. After that I went in and got her but she still seems tired. How long do you let them fuss?

      Or do you not at this point until they are trained and then you work on extending naps?

  12. Alexicographer says:

    My son is older (2.5) but my policy on naps honestly is that naptime is about me, not about him. Now I will say two things (1) I am very lucky to have an easy-going kid who is a good sleeper (knock on wood) and (2) he will “read” to himself (i.e. page through a familiar book looking at the pictures) if left to his own devices and if need be — this has been true from a pretty early age.

    I put mine in his room in the afternoon (1-2ish, depends on my scheduling needs and his mood, in that order, though my needs only rarely need to override his mood), and we go through some chatting and me fetching him books and looking at them with him a bit and then I leave and pretty much stay gone. I tell him he needs to stay in his room (bed — he is still in a crib, see item (1) above) and can read or sleep. Typically he’ll page through a book for 10-15 minutes and then sleep for 1.5 — 2 hours.

    I know this isn’t directly relevant to your question … but … my point is naptime doesn’t need to be about sleeping but can be about mom having some time to herself. I’m not quite sure how best to achieve this (and I know every kid and every mom is different) but it seems to me some of what we did when DS was littler was to put him down and (if need be) talk to him but not touch him or pick him up. Though just to be clear, I haven’t followed any hard-and-fast rules (“I never pick him up”) and have always been somewhat flexible based on my judgment about his needs as well as my own fatigue level, etc. I’m pretty sure that from a very tender age we had books and/or soft toys (age appropriate, no choking risks, etc.) in his bed with him.

    Don’t know if there’s anything useful in there for you but I do think that it’s really useful if it’s practical to have an established hour- (or more) long time when mom gets to do her own stuff during the day, regardless of whether the kid/baby is actually asleep or not. Good luck finding an arrangement that works for you and W.

  13. Alexicographer says:

    And obviously re-reading the above … I don’t mean that his naptime is just about me! Obviously it’s also about him and he does need the rest. But it is important for me, too, and preserving it (whether as sleep time or as quiet time) is important for us, for now.

  14. Oh, naps…what a sore subject around here. Soph is 19 months and I can probably count on one hand the number of times she has slept longer then 22 minutes. I know this is not what you want to hear but if he is sleeping good at night I say your doing good. I have just come to the realization (while still complaining alot) that she just is not a napper and I need to just make it work. I know place her in her pack and play and get some errands done around the house. Some days it messes with my sanity but for the most part we just try and make it work. Sorry I don’t have any good advice but I do share you pain, I really, really do.

  15. This post couldnt have come at a better time–Oman has always been a decent napper–but literally in the past week, he has just NOT-WANTED-TO-NAP! And dude, he needs to nap–I NEED him to nap. So Im trying different approaches–but you can bet Ill be back here to read the comments you get, too!

  16. When we first did CIO for nights with Daniel, naps were for shit. After a few weeks of good night-time sleep, naps are making a comeback. I gave up on being the nap-in-your-crib nazi because that was definitely not happening. We have a vibrating bouncer that is now Nap Central and that works pretty well. i’m sort of planning to move it into his room, just so we don’t have to tiptoe during naptime (and not get anything done). All I can say is, maybe after a little while of good nights (a few weeks?) naps will slowly get better. As you know, I gave up on CIO for naps after a 4 hour crying bout that just about killed me. The more he sleeps, the more he wants to sleep, and I hope that kicks in for W. too.
    also… Daniel can tell when we are sort of frantic and have lots to do, which we handle by sticking him in various contraptions like the jumpy and the playpen and the exersaucer and he usually has a meltdown if we don’t give him the leisurely attention he is used to. Which sucks when there ain’t no leisure.

  17. Sounds seriously sucky, sorry. No advice for you really I’m afraid, though we do cover BB’s mobile with a pillowcase before naps (and at night) to stop him geeking out on it.

  18. Let’s see, I don’t even remember. But do you know what I am doing RIGHT NOW? Cry it out. (And actually, I just read a post that made me cry, so both of us.) And…she’s asleep. Rock on.

    I am going back through my sleep records from our training period (well, the main one, it never actually ends completely) to see what I can see for you. I shall email.

  19. Lu has a nap at 10am, if I am lucky she wakes up at noon. Sometimes she naps again at 4 but only if I’m lucky. I’m rigid about bed times but naps I kind of go with what she wants. I’m sure that’s not helpful.

  20. A blankie saved our sleep deprived asses. Something to cuddle, lovey, whatever you want to call it. It helped her soothe.

  21. My assvice: ditch the mobile and anything else that is stimulating. Some babies are shitty nap takers. And a Big Fuck You for having a sleeping through the night baby you dirty whore. =)

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