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toddler nap battles

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  • toddler nap battles

    my 29 mo old and i have been struggling with our naptime routine and getting to sleep. she sleeps in our bed, although her crib is in our (only) bedroom, too. we have a 3 week old baby, and lately i sleep in our family bed with both kids (between them and with bedrails) while my husband sleeps on the futon in the living room (only temporarily, we keep hoping). at night i lay with our toddler until she falls asleep--usually takes 30 minutes, or so--but at naptime (when my husband is at work) toddler is very resistant to falling asleep. she jumps, kicks, hits me occasionally, tosses and turns, gets out of bed, etc., etc. after an hour of this i usually resort to putting her in her crib for 20 minutes of crying (i talk to her from the doorway or sometimes i stay in the room) which tires her out enough that she will lay still with me in bed and finally fall asleep. i know that this method is no good for lots of reasons (crib becomes place of punishment, letting her cry to name a few) but i can't figure out how to change this pattern. when she does finally fall asleep she sleeps soundly for 2 hours, so she clearly still needs her nap, as do i, of course.

    not sure what else to include so i'll stop here...

    thanks sooo much for any advice!

  • #2
    Well, I think you just had that new baby so the house is in sort of a flux. After I had my second I would often make sure I ran my older boy out (at the park or other location, even the back yard) before naptime. Maybe she has a lot of frustrations and bodily expressions to get out and would be better to get them out before you had a fight over naptime. You are also adjusting to a lot! Give her some understanding and dial it down a notch. It has become a power struggle between you two! Are you getting the support YOU need (friends, neighbors etc......Call in some favors!)

    It took my firstborn (and ME!) about 5 months to feel back in sync with each other after the second was born. No one will argue with the fact that she is tired and needs a nap! A lot of what you describe (jumping around, kicking in bed etc) is pretty normal for the age. If you combine that with new sibling issues I can see how you are at your wits end.
    Have you read Siblings without Rivarly? It is mostly about older siblings but the language and approach to having two or more children can start now.
    How does your daughter feel about the new baby? How has your and your firstborn's relationship changed?
    I understand! I'm pregnant with my 3rd now...I hope that works well!


    • #3
      A few thoughts

      Around that age most of my little ones either gave up naps or started taking them much later in the day. I imagine it's a combination of evolving sleep needs/patterns and not wanting to give up precious time with you. My 2 1/2 y/o has been napping *much* later than usual and also going to sleep later than usual, but still getting up at the same time so he's needing less sleep total these days. A year ago he was doing two naps, 6 months ago it was one in early afternoon, now it's one in late afternoon. I think it's possible that your daughter is not ready for her nap until much later than usual and she's finally falling asleep after much crying and unhappiness once she is finally ready.

      Is it possible to try moving naptime a couple of hours and see if that's easier for her? During her normal naptime you might want to try really increasing the cuddle time so she doesn't have as big of a reason to resist napping later. Perhaps nurse/hold the baby while cuddling in bed reading stories or some other calming but fun activity.

      Does your baby nap during this time too? Another thought is perhaps you could all snuggle in bed around naptime and rest together. She may not resist if you're there with her. I know we all try to get the little ones down for a nap and then catch up on everything else, but there really is something to the advice of napping when baby naps, and if you can get everybody napping then that's even better.

      Good luck. I know it's so very tricky when you have multiple little ones with multiple needs, not enough sleep and not enough of you to go around. I hope you're getting some breaks and taking care of you too!