How can I get my 10-month-old to take naps?
Q: My 10 1/2-month-old has had trouble taking naps over the last few weeks. Since he has gotten older he now takes 2 a day. He is very attached to his pacy and blankie, and would always sleep with them. Now, he throws them out of the crib at both naps. He won't settle down and will actually cry and even poops during these times. He never used to do any of this. I've tried different times for naps & feedings, picking his pacy up for him, not picking it up etc. Please help!
A: 8 -- 12 months is a notoriously difficult phase for naps -- and is often a time of extra fussing and clinging. Your baby is going through some tremendous developmental leaps -- and he's both excited by them, and scared. Once babies start to crawl, they often get fussy, clingy, and don't sleep well. So he doesn't want to be away from you much -- and he now realizes that sleep means being away from your side. So he forces himself to stay awake now in order to be with you. Teething can often be painful for him, too. Add to the mix his changing sleep needs -- his sleep is becoming more "consolidated", meaning that he needs fewer naps. This all combines to give you a cranky, clingy little guy!
Try giving him only one nap a day -- maybe around 11 am, and see if that helps. He'll be tired earlier in the evening, but that's OK. And if he still doesn't nap, keep trying -- some days he'll sleep well, and some days he won't. He's bound to be a lot less predictable than before. Focus on nighttime sleep, and let naps happen (or not). Also, give him the extra reassurance and cuddles he needs now as he's going through major advances. Try using a baby backpack to keep him close by -- yet still freeing you up to get things done around the house. And make sure to get extra rest yourself, as this can be a frustrating time for parents. Support him through this challenging phase and you'll be rewarded by a more confident toddler in the next few months.
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Answered by Dr. Heather Wittenberg