Crappy Napper

Help! I am caring for a 7month old that has recently started refusing to nap. I know she is tired, she gives me the signs, and as soon as I put her down she starts screaming bloody murder. We had gotten her off being rocked to sleep and being held to sleep. She won't nap and ends up being crabby the rest of the day. I dread going into work now.


RaleighWorld said...

I had the same problem with the baby I care for. He also has an ear piercing scream. What the parents are having me do for the now 9 month old I care for is put him down and I sit there and shh him intermittently. If he is crying which he used to do he'll where himself out. I don't necessarily agree with the method. Its called the Sleep Lady Shuffle. There's a book. I had to read it, I think it's confusing to them but he's being taught it and it's what's been working so far. It used to take an hour to get him to sleep so be prepared.

What is tricking me is if he wakes up early say after 20 minutes it's tough to put him back down. Hope this helps. It'll be great to have some break time again I'm sure!! Good luck!

melissa said...

When I've encountered that, I've found it most helpful to create a nap time routine. Even with a 7 month old, take him in his room, turn on a special cd and read him an age-appropriate story. Lay him down and say good night. I find that staying in the room doesn't help. Good luck!

Lyn said...

My 14 month old charge was always a quick sleeper. At 7 months old he would only nap twice during the day for less than 30 minutes each time. I've never before had a baby sleep so little! Once he hit about 11 months old he dropped himself back to just one nap in the afternoons for 45 minutes to an hour.
It sucked when he was so tiny and refused to sleep during the day for more than a nanosecond. However he always slept through the nights. 7PM until 6:30ish every morning.
As weird as it sounds, I honestly think there are some babies who get so frustrated with trying to cross the finish stone of their latest milestone that it inhibits their sleep patterns. I've read similar theories in books but never thought it was true until my current charge. When he was 7 months old he pulled up on his hands and knees and would rock back and forth trying to figure out how to crawl. He would be visibly upset that he couldn't do what he wanted to and would melt down. He would wake suddenly from naps and immediately try again in his crib. Once he finally figured out how, he slept, well, like a baby for a couple weeks. Then it was trying to pull up, then walk. It's possible your charge is just as frustrated.
If I were you the only thing I would change is I would try NOT to put down my charge until they were falling over while playing. That level of tired. Then begin the normal process. I would at least try it for a few days before deciding if it does or doesn't work for her as it takes a couple of days for babies that age to fall into a pattern.

Ally said...

Let the baby cry. Healthy sleep habits are formed in infancy. Babies need to sleep, if she is showing signs of tiredness, it means she is tired. I wouldn't recommend waiting until the baby is so tired it can no longer stand. Set up a routine, and stick to it. How does the baby fall asleep at night? Does she sleep through the night?

Lyn said...

Perhaps I should have used the term micro napping instead. :)

MissMannah said...

Lyn, I've found if I wait until C is falling over asleep then she is overtired and is more likely to pitch a fit and eventually get her second wind.

What we do is put her down as soon as she looks sleepy and let her play in her crib for awhile. Occasionally it will take her up to an hour to fall asleep. We also do cry it out, as long as she isn't hysterically crying. When she gets so worked up that she can't calm herself down, I will very quietly go in her room and pat her back and shush her a little. As soon as she's calm, I leave again or she'll pop her head up and start "talking" to me.

aregular said...

I agree with what MissMannah said about putting the baby down before they are at the overtired stage. Was also wondering if the baby has had issues with acid reflux? Sometimes kiddos have pain when laid down flat as opposed to being elevated when they have reflux.

nycmom said...

2/3 of my kids were and are bad sleepers. I have chronic, lifetime insomnia and my mother did also. Though I do require a lot of sleep, I don't usually get it. To make matters worse, my husband has unusually low sleep requirements.

My two bad sleepers were very difficult infants and both don't need much sleep compared to the average. They dropped first nap by 9-11mo and all naps around 2yo. My almost 5yo only had his first full night's sleep, without waking for some kind of comfort, at 4.5yo. Yes, I know the instant response would be CIO. Well, I tried it. Twice for over a week both Ferber and Weissbluth. By the end of my diligent 7-10 days, he was sleeping worse than ever. It just doesn't work for all kids. He would scream, vomit, fall asleep sitting up then hit his head or shake like a leaf in fear. Both my difficult sleepers had unusually sensory needs (one was very oral with a paci and remains a finger biter at 12yo; the other is extremely tactile and always wants some kind of physical contact -- on the plus side, he is extremely physically affectionate and loving!). The only childrearing book I ever read was "No Cry Sleep Solution" in desperation. It is fine, but mostly common sense to an experienced mom/nanny. It certainly did not make an appreciable difference except taking up my precious sleep hours.

I think the key is to respect that all kids are different. Try CIO with parents' onboard. Try other sleep approaches. Try the tricks: baby carrier, car seat, driving, swing. But do not take it personally if it doesn't work. Most importantly, don't ignore db's signals. 7mo is past the colic age. We all get so caught up in how it is "supposed" to be that it allows little room for outliers. Some kids really do need more or less sleep. Some really do respond to different approaches. It IS fine to use what works.

thewheelsonthebus said...

By seven months, my son stopped napping. He is now an extremely active preschooler. He is active from the time he wakes until bedtime. He sleeps 12 hours a night though. Genius & hyperactivity are in his genes. I honestly feel that he doesn't want to miss out on anything during the day. No rest for the weary. All kids are different. Sounds to me like this baby just needs an hour or quiet cuddles, dark room, soft music. If he needs sleep, he will. If he doesn't, he won't. Just provide everything so he can, if he needs to. Routine helps. Noise is essential imo. Babies hate silence. Put a cd player in babies room & darkening window shades. Please update us!

OceanBlue said...

If you can try and avoid going back to rocking cosleeping.

I spent a month sleep training the twins I care for only to have it completely undone by visiting relatives.

Took me over a month to get them back on track. It's harder once they are older and habits start forming.

If she starts showing she's tired at the same time every day, put her down 15 minutes before that. Don't worry if she plays a bit she'll fall asleep.
Try not to take her out of bed, dn't form the habit of if I scream I get out. Comfort her while she's still in bed.

Try to keep her in bed for a predetermined amount of time. If nap time is at 11 every day make sure she's in her crib at 11 and keep her in until noon.

Dn't let this be playtime. During actually play time make sure she is playing, but not overstimulated.

Finally, get yourself some music, not just for the baby, but for you to help you relax during the nap time freak outs. Headphones are a godsend.

keep the music low enough that you can still hear the baby.

Good luck!

MissMannah said...

Wheels, maybe your son's "hyperactivity" is due to being overtired. A baby simply does not outgrow his naps at 7 months and it is unhealthy for him to be awake all day long like that. My charge sleeps 12 hours at night and still naps at least 2 hours a day, often the 2+ hours are all broken up. And yes, I agree your son probably is very smart. It has been shown that bright children will resist sleep more because they are too interested in what's going on around them to sleep. But babies don't know what's best for them and they won't always sleep when they need to. Sometimes we have to be the adult and make them.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

Yikes! By rocking her to sleep and holding her, etc. you have created a monster.

I see parents doing this all the time. Their child will not fall asleep on their own, so they devise a plan to get them to sleep sooner. Some parents put the child in the stroller while others put them in the car seat and take a drive around the block.

You know what I did when my kids were infants?
I just laid them down in their cribs, gave them their pacifier and/or favorite blankie/stuffed toy, etc. and closed the door. Sure they cried a little bit, but eventually they learned to sleep on their own.

Sleeping is something all people need to learn to do w/out being coddled.

I know "attachment parenting" does not allow having a baby cry it out, but to me that is the only way for him to learn to fall asleep on his own.

It may take a few weeks, but be firm and before you know it, all you will have to do is put your baby down and then they will fall asleep all on their own.


Bethany said...

Oh boy! I can empathize.

Get your self some earplugs.

Try and set up a routine for the baby for everything. Feeding, playing and sleeping.

Put her down 10-15 minutes before she usually starts showing she's tired. If she starts rubbing her eyes at 1:00pm everyday start putting her in bed by 12:45.

If you want to you can do something like sit in her rocking chair read a little book or sing a quiet song. Giver loves and goodnight a place her in her crib.

It's alright if she plays for a little while. It's ok if she cries, you probably know how her different cries sound. So you know if she really needs you. Walk a way don't hang out in the room patting her.

If she gets hysterical. You can go in pat her a bit and give her her binky or blanky if she has one.

Don't take her out of the crib if you can for at least an hour. You are trying to reset her clock and teach her how to rest again.

Don't go back to rocking her to sleep or letting her nap on you, Beliee me when I say it's ten times harder to sleep train the second time around.

Stay calm. She'll become more frantic if she senses you are upset.

A said...

In my 30 years of nannying I have always worked magic by gently rubbing the bridge of the nose, don't know why or how, but it works. Worth a try!

canadananny said...

that' so funny! I've had a lot of succes stroking the eyebrows from the nose out to the temples! (I usually use CIO, but I work weekends in the winter at a daycare for kids while parents go ski...I don't mind stroking/rocking/singing these kids to sleep because they are usually only there once or twice!)

Safety monitor said...

You put a blanket and stuffed toy in the crib with an infant? If you were my nanny I'd fire you.

Wednesday said...

@ safety monitor- very uncalled for. obviously things were different in terms of safety a few to 10 years ago. My the family I work for doesn't change their baby on the floor for fear of nirovirus. Well I was changed on the floor along with the 100s of babies I've nannied for and we're all just fine just like Amy's kids. People have different ways of doing things. At 9 months my charge sleeps with a monkey he knows not to smother himself with it.

Safety monitor said...

I apologize, I realize rereading my post how rude it was. I know a family who lost a child to SIDS, and I was reacting emotionally. I have become a fanatic about crib safety.

Yes, in the past many of the safety precautions we take now were not in place, and we survived, but not everyone did. If using carseats, placing infants to sleep on their backs, cutting up grapes and all the other things our grandmothers didn't do prevents the loss of even 1 child in 1 million, isn't it worth it?

NannyBrandie said...

#1 Get ear plugs, if her cry is making you anxious, having ear plugs helps you calm down and make the best decisions.
#2 ask her parents if her sleep schedule has changed at all during the night/or on weekends. Usually around that age, babies will realize "Hey, If I cry a lot when I want to cuddle my mommy/daddy/nanny to sleep, they will just come and get me" :)
#3 if it has, and they are getting up in the middle of the night, let them know that it is effecting her day time nap schedule as well, and if they could please try to let her cry it out, so that way she can get use to self soothing.
#4 check for teething? growth spurt? sickness?
#5 If all of the above does not apply, then start the sleep training all over again, have a few board books before bed, rock in a rocking chair for 5 minutes, kisses, place her in her bed, sing a few songs, say good night and walk away. Typically I do not let babies cry for more than 20-30 minutes, depending on the cry. If she hasn't stopped by then, go in and calm her down (Dont pick her up) buy rubbing her back, belly, and then leave again.

Hope that helps

Lyn said...

That is totally irrelevant to the OP's situation.... Hasn't that been made clear by now?

Allie said...

Lyn, I thought Nanny Brandie's advice was great!
Thanks for the tips everyone . She's been great the last few days, but I'll keep these in mine should she go back to the crying.

Denvernanny said...

To nycmom: Thanks for the advice. I have had similarly difficult times with my children (especially my ADHD son as a baby). We tried everything BUT listening to his needs. If I could do it over, I would cherish his babyhood more and worry about him sleeping "normally" a lot less.