Sleeping FAQ: 24+ Months – Lunchtime Nap

The time of my 2 year old’s lunchtime nap will clash with his nursery slot.

My son is due to start nursery in January 2006, when he will be 2 years old. I am also due to give birth to my second son on 2.2.06.

My son goes to a crèche three times a week and loves it. He is definitely ready for nursery as he loves being and playing with other children.

My problem is that the only nursery I can get him into near me in London only have afternoon spaces available from 1.15-3.45pm.

He currently wakes at 7/7.30am and still has a lunchtime nap of two hours, at 1-3pm. He needs this or is overtired in the afternoon. He goes to bed at 7.30pm and usually lies chatting in his cot until he falls asleep around 8pm.

He has always been a good sleeper. He is happy in his cot [he still wears a grobag] until he falls asleep. When he wakes he never cries, just chats to his teddybears.

I am really worried about his nap schedule when he goes to nursery. Obviously I could do with the time when he is at nursery to do errands and to be with the baby. My son also needs the stimulation and company of other children and, in my opinion, will cope very well with going as he is an outgoing child who is very happy in the care of other people. But I cannot cope with a newborn and an over tired toddler!

Should I let my son have 2 one hour sleeps, one before nursery and one after? Or 2 hours in the morning? But then will he make it through to bedtime? I am sure that once nursery starts I will have to put him to bed earlier and he will fall asleep quicker but I do not want to be up at 6am.
I thought other mothers must have had this problem or does everyone manage to find a morning slot for their toddler?

Trying to change your son’s good sleeping patterns could well take some trial and error before you hit on the right combination. At two he will still need a sleep of sorts but with the hours you have been allocated this is probably going to have to be in two naps. It is doubtful whether he will be willing to sleep for 2 hours earlier in the morning, be woken and given lunch before speeding off to nursery.

Ask at nursery what other children of his age do? You may find he could have an hours nap when first there which would be his normal time for sleeping. Although you are keen for him to play with the other children adjusting to new people, a new baby and new sleeping times may all be a little too much at first.

You may need to build in quiet times into his mornings in the first few weeks when he is adjusting to being out in the afternoons. If you feel he would be willing to sleep before his lunch for an hour then try putting him down but most toddlers do take some time to come round after their daytime sleep. If you have to rush him through his lunch in order to make his nursery time, the whole time of day could become fraught and unpleasant.

Consider keeping a nap in at 1-2pm when he is first there, and the possible need for a short nap at 3.45pm. This could help him enjoy his time at home with you and stay roughly with his usual bedtime, perhaps making his bedtime 15mins earlier.

It is difficult to know how he is going to react to missing out on some of his sleep. Many toddlers adapt well to nursery hours and, although do not sleep for so long when there, manage to get through. As long as you are vigilant in watching his reactions and adjusting to an earlier bedtime, if needed, he should benefit from his nursery times without becoming chronically over tired and difficult.

Sleeping FAQ: 18-24 Months – Lunchtime Nap

Ella’s (20 months) short lunchtime nap is causing other problems with sleeping and eating.

Ella is one year and eight months old. The problem is that she is only sleeping 30-40 minutes at her lunchtime nap. The knock-on effect is that she is waking earlier in the mornings too. She also often doesn’t want supper as she is too tired. She is very run down from lack of sleep and subsequently keeps getting various illnesses. She currently has terrible conjunctivitis and a cough and cold. I always put her down at 1pm and she used to sleep for about 1.5 hours but not since the beginning of January. I have tried putting her down half an hour earlier or later but it doesn’t make any difference. She definitely needs more sleep as she often falls asleep in the car at the end of the day. I have tried leaving her to cry to go back to sleep but she just shouts for me. I have tried going into her room and telling her to go back to sleep but this just makes her hysterical. I’m not sure why this is happening. She was a “contented baby” from 7 weeks old, slept through the night at 14 weeks and we haven’t looked back since. We did go on holiday over Christmas and the daytime sleep has been bad since we got back. Her room is dark so that’s not the problem. Please help!


You are obviously well aware of what Ella’s problem is. Lack of sleep causes so many other problems. Unfortunately, changes in a toddler’s routine when occasions such as Christmas come along can take a few weeks to sort out.

Try putting Ella down 10 minutes earlier for her lunchtime sleep for a few days. If you notice a small improvement, move it 10 minutes earlier again so she is going down by 12:40pm. Rather than moving the sleep by half an hour sometimes gradually increasing the time she spends in her cot will mean she sleeps just slightly longer each day.

I would also try to wean her off taking her milk to bed at 1pm. Ella may well enter her light sleep after 30-40mins and miss the comfort of her bottle. It would be better to offer this as a drink in a beaker before you settle her down then encourage her to snuggle down with a favourite teddy or comforter.

Have you tried offering Ella a yogurt, fromage frais or milky pudding at lunchtime? This may fill her up enough so she doesn’t need any milk to settle with.

As she is so tired and not always eating a good supper try to offer her a snack of fresh fruit mid-afternoon. This will help boost her immune system and not interfere with her appetite too much. Whilst she is not feeling really well you may have to think up some tasty meals which are easy for her to eat. Making “picture food” often works as does offering smoothie drinks which are made with milk, juice and fruit. Try tiny, bite-sized portions of finger food especially at teatime to help her eat enough.

Whilst she is still missing so much sleep build quiet times into her morning and afternoons. Settle down with a few books together, watch a short video or suitable TV programme which will encourage Ella to rest. Keep her to a very simple routine without too many visits out and about until she improves on her sleep and is better able to ward off infections.

Have a look at Gina’s article on the site at the moment about the lunchtime nap to see if anything there adds to this advice.

Sleeping FAQ: 18-24 Months – Lunchtime Nap

My daughter of 19mths has suddenly stopped sleeping at lunchtime. How can I get this nap back?

My daughter of 19mths has always settled with no problem by 1pm for two solid hours, sometimes slightly longer, always woken by 3pm. Suddenly she stopped sleeping at lunchtime and is also taking longer to settle at night. She is in bed just before 7pm and sometimes still awake chatting but not crying at 8pm. She seems to be awake earlier than normal in the mornings although not much before 6.45. Until this began to happen my daughter had always slept until 7am or mostly later, sometimes 7.30/8am, with the two hours at lunchtime. The worse she sleeps in the day, the worse it is at bedtime; although she is not waking at night, she is waking earlier in the mornings. I believe this could be since we paid a day trip to family where she was settled in her travel cot for lunchtime nap, she would not sleep and cried hysterically for 1.5 hours despite cuddles from myself and husband, she eventually fell asleep on my husband’s chest which is the first time since she was days old that she has not been put down and fallen asleep on her own. This was a week ago. I truly believe she is overtired although she is not miserable; she is also eating lots more than normal so possibly a growth spurt. I am 17 weeks pregnant and need to rest at lunchtime! Today she did not have a nap at all just chatted from 12.50 till 2.15 when I went and got her. Other days she is settling around 1.30pmand I wake her at 3pm.

My daughter eats three meals a day, having her protein meal at lunchtime. This is something such as beef stew and dumplings, with mixed vegetables. After this she will have cheese biscuits spread with cheese spread. For tea she will eat pasta with a sauce followed by yoghurt. All her food is home made. My daughter rarely has biscuits or sweet things. She does not really eat fruit apart from the occasional piece of banana but loves her vegetables. She drinks around 11ozs of milk in the day and about a beaker and half of water in total, given throughout the day.

At this age sleep needs can begin to change. When first learning to walk your daughter was really tired with all her efforts in the morning, and ready for a good lunchtime nap. Now that she is probably a competent walker she is not using up so much energy in trying to keep upright and so is less tired.

Despite the problem possibly starting originally with a refusal to sleep in a travel cot, this side of the problem has not remained. Your daughter is content and chatting in her cot, so is resting as much as her body needs at this time. It would seem she is just not tired enough to sleep.

As you are in the early stages of pregnancy you may be feeling tired and so not taking your daughter out and about so much. Now that we are in the middle of winter, it is a good idea to make the most of the short days by going out in the morning. If you have to leave some housework undone, do so. You can catch up in the afternoon as darkness falls so early. If you batch cook, and so have frozen meal portions for your daughter, lunch won’t take too long to get ready once you come in around 12/12.15pm. You may even be able to set your cooker to automatic so all you will need to do is cook some green vegetables for her once you are back. Try to get out for at least an hour, letting your daughter have some free running in a safe place.

Continue to put your daughter down for her nap. She may be moving to a time of only needing 1.5 hours of actual sleep in the day. Gina does say that most babies will need two hours sleep midday until they are two years of age. But she recognizes that some can also suddenly cut back on their sleep at this age. As your daughter is happy in her cot at lunch-time and taking a while to fall asleep it would appear that she is one of those children who does need less daytime sleep. Try putting her down around 1.15pm and see if she settles herself quicker at this later time. Providing she remains content and not crying at this time don’t worry too much about it. Take a break yourself and put your feet up.

By cutting her lunchtime sleep back to 1.5hrs your daughter should settle earlier in the evenings.

Make sure that after her bath is a quiet time of day. Running around and getting a “second wind” will not help her settle to sleep well by 7.15/7.30pm. Aim to have her in bed half an hour after coming out of the bath.

Toddlers can seem to change overnight from one phase to the next. It can be frustrating and worrying but, if your daughter is managing to cope with less sleep in the day, than that is a sign of her growing up a little.

Getting out into the fresh air on a daily basis if at all possible does really help toddlers of this age, who have amazing reserves of energy. They may need to be in a buggy for shopping trips but ensuring that they have enough time to run free in a park, garden or fields on most days will help them sleep better. Winter time can be difficult with small children. Just getting them ready to go out takes twice as long as in the warmer months of the year. This can make it seem too much of an effort, especially by the afternoon. Make sure she is dressed suitably for the park which may be damp and muddy. The best option is an all in one suit which is waterproof and lined with fleece to keep her snug. This, with a pair of wellies, hat and mitts should keep her warm but allow her enough freedom to move. If she is allowed to jump into puddles, climb up frames and slide down again she will be getting all the exercise she needs. This will all help her eat a good lunch and she will be far more likely to sleep well at naptime.

Sleeping FAQ: 18-24 Months – Lunchtime Nap

My 18mth daughter settles well when with her grandparents for this nap but screams and cries when she is at home.

My 18mth daughter has all of a sudden started to resist being put down for her lunchtime nap. She is ready for this nap as she seems quite tired at lunchtime. I have bought lunchtime forward to 11.45pm so that she goes down at 12.30pm. Grandparents have no problem with this nap, it is just at home she screams and cries and is difficult to settle.

As your daughter’s grandparent’s care for her during the week, her routine with them is familiar to her. If you care for her at weekends the novelty of Mummy being with her may be contributing to her sudden resistance to being put down for a nap. Ask her grandparents to tell you exactly what they do each day. They may have a little routine with a special song or phrase which signals to her that it is nap time. If there seems to be nothing different between the ways in which they and you put your daughter down for a nap, you may like to start a little routine.

Make the time just before her nap quiet and low key. Find a story she enjoys and read this to her just before putting her into her cot. Sing her the same song each time you settle her and remind her that you will see her as soon as she wakes. If she does cry when it is nap time, and you feel that she is tired and ready for a sleep, put her down and leave the room for 5-10 minutes. If she continues to cry then return briefly, reassure her that you are there and then leave again. It may take a few weeks for your daughter to settle down again for her nap when being cared for by you. Providing you are consistent in the way you manage this time of day your daughter will realise that when you are caring for her she will be put down for her nap in the same way as her grandparents do.

Sleeping FAQ: 18-24 Months – Lunchtime Nap

My daughter, aged nearly two years, has started to have inconsistent naps at lunch time, often remaining awake in her cot chatting for 1.5 hours. This began after a period of illness where she lost her appetite. Following the afternoons when she does sleep well, she will not settle to sleep until 8pm in the evening and, on the afternoons when she doesn’t sleep well, she is a total nightmare as she is so irritable.

My daughter aged nearly two years has started to have inconsistent naps at lunch time, often remaining awake in her cot chatting for 1.5 hours. This began after a period of illness when she lost her appetite. Following the afternoons when she does sleep well, she will not settle to sleep until 8pm in the evening and, on the afternoons when she doesn’t sleep well, she is a total nightmare as she is so irritable. Her habit of hitting me is escalating despite my efforts to resolve it. 

I am at my wits’ end. I wouldn’t mind her dropping the nap if she wasn’t a complete horror in the afternoon as a result. She looks exhausted and definitely needs this sleep. I am due my next baby in 6 weeks and need to get it sorted. Do you think this is just a phase? What should I be aiming for at this age? I admit she might not be getting the exercise she needs due to the weather and my pregnancy.  However, yesterday morning she had two hours at a soft play place and ran herself ragged – but still she did not nap even though she was desperate and told me all afternoon that she was tired!

My daughter takes three good meals a day and drinks cow’s milk from a beaker.

The daytime sleep needs of this age group can vary tremendously. Some toddlers still need a two hour sleep at lunchtime until well over the age of two whereas others will cut back quite a lot, needing only a short nap to keep them going throughout the afternoon without becoming over tired. A toddler’s needs can change quite suddenly so it can be difficult to know quite how to handle a sudden shift in your daughter’s sleeping patterns.

Your daughter appears to need a shorter nap but is not quite ready to drop it completely.  We would suggest that you still put her down in her cot at lunchtime, at around 1pm/1.30pm, but call it rest time and not sleep time. Draw the curtains but leave them open slightly, to allow a little light in the room. Play a cassette of gentle nursery rhymes that your daughter likes, making sure it will play for an hour.  Use the same cassette for the first couple of days and, after she gets used to settling in her cot for rest time, you can vary the recording you play for her.  You may find that some days she will sleep and others she won’t.  If she has had a very hectic morning she will be more likely to sleep but do not allow her more than one hour.  If she has not gone to sleep within an hour we would advise that you get her up, otherwise she may become frustrated laying awake any longer than that.

Once your daughter gets up you should establish a further period of quiet time, as this will be helpful when the new baby arrives. If your daughter enjoys listening to stories you could spend time together curled up, on either a sofa or your bed, and enjoy looking at a pile of books together. Make this a cosy time, snuggling together under a blanket so she gets the idea of being quiet. If she is not that good at listening to stories for any length of time, you could try the distraction of a video or DVD, but make sure you both sit and watch together. You may need to be firm about her staying on the sofa or bed for this quiet time but, if you use this time to take a rest yourself, she will be more likely to remain close to you.

On days that your daughter does not sleep you will need to ensure that her afternoons are not too exhausting. Find some quiet activities which you and your daughter can enjoy together.  Have a supply of play dough and art materials such as scrap paper, coloured pens and glue sticks.  Your daughter can help with cookery sessions, for which you can use instant cake mixes. Also, try to get out for a short walk each afternoon. Changing her scene and occupation throughout the afternoon may help her be less irritable with you.

It may take a couple of weeks to establish a new routine for your daughter but, if you are persistent and consistent, you should be able to create a quiet period each day. If your daughter does start to nap for a shorter time on a more regular basis, play around with her bedtime a little to find the best time to put her down so she settles to sleep with in 15-20minutes. She may settle quicker if she is put into her cot at 7.15pm.

Sleeping FAQ: 12-18 Months – Lunchtime Nap

My 1 year old daughter has started to fight going down for her daytime nap on the days when I care for her.

My 1 year old daughter has always been a CLB, following the routine to the letter. We started having a nanny 1 day a week 2 months ago and the nursery for 2 days a week one month ago (we have to do this until we get the full 3 days in the nursery in a couple of months time). She adjusted immediately without much separation anxiety (at least not displayed) and has her usual lunchtime nap from about noon to 2pm with the nanny as well as in the nursery. However, on the days she is home with me, she will either have difficulties settling for the lunchtime nap or will wake during the nap and will not re-settle. Her crying might become hysterical; she reaches out for me and will only settle on my arm. As this is not a case of wrong sleeping associations since she has never had problems before, I was reluctant to try controlled crying, which has worked in the past when her sleep pattern was confused due to previous illness, holidays etc. Also, Gina says to respond to the child’s needs when experiencing separation anxiety as it will then be quicker to pass than if ignored or “adjusted” with sleep training. My doctor has also explained that even if separation anxiety is not apparent in the nursery or with the other carers, it is usual for the child to display clinginess when back with the mother. After having responded to her needs for about 2 weeks last month, lying down with her every lunchtime nap I grew afraid of now installing wrong sleep associations in the first place. So I stopped about 2 weeks ago and did sleep training for 3 days and it seemed fine. But as she has displayed the same behaviour at today’s lunchtime nap again, I am now really confused as to whether my daughter’s sleeping problems are due to over-tiredness (she had a stressful week and has just recently dropped her morning nap) or separation anxiety or the fact that the times of her daytime sleep vary now a little from day to day and are not on the exact minute as it was previously the case, when I was the sole carer. And what harm could it do to her if I applied sleep training again? However, if it is separation anxiety in fact, how long am I to let her sleep on my arm for 2 hours? And how do I avoid her getting used to it and how do I realize when she is crying just to “have her way” and be on my arm, without real separation anxiety? I know that she needs her full 2 hrs. of daytime sleep, as she is obviously too tired and in a bad mood on the days we did not manage – a totally new experience to me and to her, as she has always been in the routine and perfectly happy. Please help us get our CLB back and help her get the sleep she needs, without losing trust in me because I will not pick her up and respond to her wishes or needs.

My daughter has cereal and fruit at breakfast, after 200mls formula. On the days she eats her lunch at nursery she will have carbohydrates such as potato or rice, vegetables and some kind of a sauce, often combined with chicken or fish. This can be pureed or mashed for her. When her nanny cares for her she will have plain vegetables with potato or rice. About every other day she will have meat added to this, and it is mashed. On the days I care for her she will have the same or convenience food by HIPP. My daughter will take about 200-250gr of lunch followed by 100-200gr of fruit puree or pieces.

She takes cereal, fruit and bread at teatime, followed by about 200mls of formula at 6.50pm.

My daughter wakes at 7am and naps from 12-2pm. She settles at 7pm.

As your daughter has had to get used to going to going to nursery and to having a nanny care for her in the last two months, as well as dropping her morning nap, it is not surprising she has become rather upset when going down for her lunchtime nap on the days that you care for her.

So often a baby will accept being cared for by other people but when you, her main carer, are there she will show the anxiety she may be feeling. At this age your daughter is unable to articulate her needs and feelings about the changes in her life but knows that when you are there she wants to be with you. Although separation anxiety may be one of the reasons for her not settling there are other factors to be considered.

To help your daughter settle better to her lunchtime nap when you care for her, there are several things you can try.

  • One of the reasons for your daughter’s protests may be that she is not really tired at 12 midday. On the days she is at nursery or with her nanny she may be much busier than on the days when she is at home with you. By letting her settle to sleep 30-45 minutes later she may be more willing to fall asleep without such a fuss. Once the morning nap is dropped it is usual for a baby of this age to be settling to sleep at 12.30/1pm, and sleeping for two hours.
  • If it is possible to let your daughter sleep for longer in the morning, then try not to wake her until nearer 7.30am. This will help her get through the morning, until her new settling time for the lunchtime nap, without becoming too tired and upset. If your daughter wakes herself by 7am then gradually move her nap time on by 10 minutes every few days until she is settling between 12.30-1pm.
  • Looking at your daughter’s food intake, it appears that she may be feeling slightly hungry. At her age it is advised that she receives 50gr of protein daily, preferably at lunchtime. If you do not wish to feed your daughter animal protein every day then you must make up for this by giving her vegetable protein sources, such as lentils. Take a look at a vegetarian cookbook written for babies and children and you will find recipes which will help you balance her meals, as she will need more vegetable protein than animal protein. Or ask the advice of your doctor.
  • At her age your daughter should be able to cope with her food chopped finely rather than mashed and pureed. Encourage her to self feed using a spoon and offer her finger foods at each mealtime. These could be batons of steamed vegetables, such as carrots or small florets of broccoli. You could also offer her small sticks of cheese, especially on the days when she does not receive meat at lunchtime.
  • Although convenience foods are useful at times they do not have the same nutritional content as home cooked food. The protein content may be lower than the recommended 50gr and the water content of convenience food in jars can be quite high.
  • If you have a look through the Contented Book of Weaning or Gina’s Cookbook for Babies and Toddlers you will find plenty of recipes which can be made up in batches and frozen in portions suitable for your daughter. This may help you have ready meals for her on the days when she is at home. You can defrost her portion first thing in the morning and cook her selection of fresh vegetables to add to it at lunchtime.
  • Offer your daughter a drink of water before she goes down for her nap to make sure she is not thirsty.
  • When you care for your daughter make the time before her nap a special time for the two of you. Have a quiet time looking at a couple of books in her room and maybe sharing a cuddle and a song. Tuck her up in her cot and tell her you will see her when she has had her sleep. If she has a favourite toy, tuck that in with her or even give her something of your own, such as a tee shirt you have worn, so she can sleep with it. The familiar smell may take away some her fears.
  • If your daughter begins to cry when you put her down try the method of gradual withdrawal with her. This is described in full in the Complete Sleep Guide, page 49. This involves staying near her cot and reassuring her with your voice at intervals and then gradually moving yourself away, across the room, from her. It can take time for this method to work but, if she is feeling slightly anxious about the recent changes in her life as well as some separation anxiety, this will help her to settle without relying on you holding her for the whole nap time.
  • Once you have adjusted the time of her daytime nap and looked into her present food intake you may find she is less resistant about going down. It may take a few days of broken naps when you are caring for her but she should become used to the fact that you are not going away whilst she sleeps. By remaining close, but not actually holding her to sleep, she should begin to feel more reassured about settling herself, as she does on other days of the week.

Separation anxiety can be a difficult phase to get through when a baby seems to need you at her nap times. Play lots of games of ‘peek-a-boo’ and ‘hide and seek’ during the day. When you have to move to another room always tell her that you are going and either wait for her to come with you, if she is crawling or walking, or call through to reassure her that although you are out of sight you are still nearby. You do need to deal with this phase in a way that is sympathetic but also realistic. Your daughter needs her sleep at lunchtime and you know that she is capable of settling herself to sleep in her cot when you are not there. Using the same way to settle her each and every day she makes a fuss should help her understand that even though it is you who is caring for her she must sleep on her own. This consistency on your part will reassure your daughter and help her move through this phase.

As your daughter does not make a fuss when going to bed at 7pm, when again she will be separating from you, it is certainly worth looking at how active she is in the morning, adjusting her nap time and checking her diet as well as considering separation anxiety to be the only cause of this current difficulty.

Sleeping FAQ: 12-18 Months – Lunchtime Nap

My son is only 17 months old but doesn’t seem to need daytime sleep.

My son, Oliver, is 17 months old and weighs 11 kilos. He truly is a contented baby and has slept through the night since he was 5 weeks old. He has an excellent appetite and eats a wide range of food. We follow a mostly organic diet and use a number of the recipes from your weaning book – thank you Gina for all the great advice in your books. I am a working mum and Oliver spends the day with our nanny, Jill, and they have a excellent relationship. Jill follows the same routine as I do, we have a menu and a schedule.

Oliver sleeps from 7.15pm to around 7.45-8am, sometimes I have to wake him. If he wakes by himself he will happily chat in his crib for 10 to 15 minutes before I go into his room. He goes into his crib awake and settles himself to sleep every night.

His daytime sleep routine has always been a bit more of a challenge. As a baby on 3 naps he would sleep for an hour maximum and take a total of 2.5 hours in the day. We (myself or Jill) generally rock him to sleep in the rocking chair and then put him in his crib. He has never volunteered sleep during the day in spite of quiet time and wind-down periods, hence the rocking to sleep. He now takes one daytime nap at 1pm for 60-80 minutes maximum. He doesn’t get overtired, is rarely cranky. He used to go down around 12.30pm but we moved it on to 1pm when he began taking a long time to settle.

Ten days ago he refused to settle for his daytime nap. He cuddles as usual and eventually falls off to sleep after about 10 minutes, but when we put him in his crib he wakes and cries. We lift him and cuddle and rock over again. After 3 or 4 attempts he will stop cuddling and want to play. I am not aware of anything else changing in his routine that would have had a knock-on effect here. We have tried leaving him in his crib using the controlled crying method but he gets very upset to the point of being inconsolable.

It has always amazed me how differently he responds to sleep in the day versus night. I have tried in the past to eliminate the support to sleep during the day but have never been successful. We have tried making his nap later, even as late as after his afternoon snack but we get the same result. If he is in his stroller later in the afternoon (4pm-ish) he will take a catnap. It doesn’t seem to be affecting his mood or energy level but I worry that he isn’t getting enough sleep in total and it is so important to their development. I think he may have trimmed about 10-15 minutes of his night sleep as well.

Is he just early in giving up his daytime nap or should we persist in trying? I would love to hear your recommendations on how we get the nap back. It was only an hour but it was a welcome break for Jill.

As Oliver is showing no ill effects from dropping his daytime nap I think you are all going to have to accept that he has grown up quite quickly! Oliver does get up quite late so possibly waking him nearer to 7am might mean he would go down for a lunchtime nap.

I would suggest that you build a quiet time into Oliver’s day at the time he would normally go for a nap. Would he play in his cot for 45 minutes whilst you or Jill are doing jobs upstairs? Or perhaps you could begin to have a story session on the sofa after lunch so he is rested for the afternoon.

Toddlers who have just given up this nap do need careful watching for signs of over-tiredness. You may find he will need a shorter lunchtime nap every few days if he cannot manage to get through every day with only his afternoon catnap.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 Months – Lunchtime Nap

Since staying with relatives my 9-month-old son has begun to wake in his lunchtime nap

One month ago I went to Italy to my parents’ house; my son had no problems in setting for his naps but at the lunchtime nap he began to wake up crying loudly after 1 hour or max 1 hour and 30 minutes (before he was sleeping for 2 hours and he woke up very happy and singing). I made sure of the fact that he was not hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable. I thought perhaps that some new sounds could be upsetting him but he woke up also when there was no sound at all. Now it is already a week that we have been at home (in Ireland) and he continues to wake up crying after 1 hour and 15 minutes. Yesterday I tried to let him cry (I went to his bedroom to reassure him after 10 minutes and then every 15 minutes): he cried for 1 hour and and half and he was more and more upset. Today it was the same. I do not want to let him cry again if I am not sure that this is a solution (and the only solution).
The worst is that it is very difficult to convince him to have another nap before dinner; if he has no late nap he has some difficulties to settle for the night and he wakes up earlier in the morning.

Usually he goes to sleep happy and smiling and he sleeps all the night without any problems.

My son is on 3 meals a day and drinks 180-210mls formula at 9.30am, 4.30pm and 9pm before he settles for the night.

He wakes at 8am, naps at 12-12.30pm and 3-4.15pm. He settles for the night at 9pm.

During the second part of the first year the sleep needs of a baby change. They are able to go longer in the morning before needing a nap. As your son starts his day quite late, and goes to bed later than the timings in the book he appears not to have a morning nap at all. Most babies of this age still need a short nap about 2.5 hrs after they have got up in the morning. The timings in the book for this are at 9/9.30am at his age, the nap being no longer than 30-40 mins. With the later timings in your day your son is up for four hours until he goes down at 12 for his lunchtime sleep. As breakfast is late he is settling for his long sleep before rather than after lunch. He may well have been able to cope with this length of time awake when younger but he will now be far more active in the day and so needs his nap times adjusted. You have already noticed that he wakes earlier in the morning, and is reluctant to have a longer sleep in the afternoon. This means he will fall asleep exhausted at 9pm only to wake earlier in the morning, something which often happens.
If you want to continue with the later morning/ evenings then you will need to readjust the timings for the lunchtime nap. You may also have to bring forward his bedtime by an hour if your son continues to wake early in the mornings.

If your son wakes at 8am, give him breakfast by 8.30am and then try for a short nap around 10/10.30am, letting him have 30-40mins. He then could have his lunch bought forward to 12/12.15pm and be settled at 1-3pm for his long nap. It may be possible to then get him to 8pm for bedtime, any later and you may have the problem of early waking again, due to him going down exhausted. At his age it would be better if he was settled to sleep in the evening around 7.45pm to allow him time to chat and settle himself.
If your son has had his main meal of the day before his long sleep he is far more likely to settle for nearer to 2 hours. The fact he has begun to wake-up but is crying shows he needs more sleep at this time of day. By having had lunch before the nap hunger is unlikely to be the reason if he still should wake. He is probably over tired and fighting sleep at present. By putting in a short morning nap you may find he is able to settle himself again within about 20mins of waking if it should still occur.

If you decide to stay with your present timings and he still wakes after 30 mins to 1 hour, don’t leave him crying for a long time. Get him up and give him lunch then he will be more likely to settle for an afternoon nap around 3/3.30pm. Your family circumstances may dictate your reasons for having these timings. Providing you understand your son’s need for structured sleep in the day it may be possible to juggle things around so he is able to be up late in the evening as well as sleeping later in the morning, providing his needs for daytime sleep are being provided for as well.

Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 Months – Lunchtime Nap

Can I move my 8.5-month-old son’s lunchtime nap onto 1pm?

My son is 8 months old and sleeps at 9.30am until 10.15am, from 12.30pm till 2.30pm and the full 12 hours at night from 7am-7pm. However, due to other commitments, I need to move his lunchtime nap to 1pm. I was thinking that I could let him sleep from about 1.15pm to about 2.45pm, giving him about 1.5 hours and maintaining the morning sleep as is. Can you please advise me if this is the right thing to do? Will he be able to go from 10.15pm till 1pm comfortably?

It is impossible to say how your son will be able to manage this change but the way to find out is to move things forward very slowly. Keep him up for 5 minutes longer every few days before settling him for his lunchtime nap. This way he should get to 1/1.15pm without being too upset.

One thing which may happen is that as he gets older he begins to cut back on his first nap in the morning and so become very tired by 1.15pm. You may need to juggle his whole day a little to accommodate this, but always try to move things slowly over a period of time and most babies adapt quite well, providing they are still having an appropriate amount of daytime sleep for their age.

Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 Months – Lunchtime Nap

How can I get my 6.5-month-old daughter to nap for longer and settle better?

I seem to be surrounded or read about people’s babies who take long naps. I can count on both hands the number of times my 61/2-month-old daughter has ever done a stretch of sleep longer than 45 minutes at lunchtime. I can’t remember when she last slept for 2 hours. Rarely she sleeps for 1 hour and 20 minutes. I used to leave her crying and sometimes she resettled herself at lunchtime but she’s changed and in just 1 month seems so much older and wakeful. She sleeps all night 7.15pm to 7.15am and at every nap time and bedtime she screams constantly until she finally falls asleep. She doesn’t have any wrong sleep associations (never has had): no dummy, cuddling, she is not hungry or thirsty, she sleeps in a dark quiet room, she has a light show and wind down time – you know the drill!
She’s naturally cut her morning nap to 30 minutes (she naps at 9.30), at lunchtime she will only do 30/45 minutes and whereas she used to need another nap at 4pm of 20 minutes she now stays awake until 4:30/4:45 which is so on top of her dinner at 5pm (not to mention the end of the day). If, on those rare occasions, she has a lunchtime nap of 1 1/2 hours, she can make it till bedtime. At lunchtime she won’t nap until at least 1pm. She fights at every nap. She a big girl and has been crawling for weeks now and is very inquisitive which I thought would wear her out.
The older she is getting, the more worried I’m getting as I can see her last nap coming past 5pm and she won’t be able to make it to bedtime without it (or won’t want to sleep either). (I also have a 3-year-old so sometimes her naps are out). Is there anything I can do to tweak her routines?

As you have a 3-year-old as well it is not always easy to get a baby into their cot before they are overtired. As your daughter fights sleep so much she may need some quiet time to really calm down before her nap. This is not always easy to do when there is another child to be cared for as well but try to use ten minutes before your daughters usual nap time to sit with both of them quietly and look at a book. Your inquisitive baby may not like to sit on your lap but will probably come crawling over to you if she sees you sharing a book with your older child. Looking at several short books before naptime or bedtime can help a very active baby or small child just begin to wind down a little and become more used to the transition of being busy in the world to falling asleep in a quiet room. If you do this before each nap, or at least in the morning and at lunch she may become less resisting of settling herself to sleep.
In the afternoon it may be possible for you to take a walk with both children around 4pm. Even if you daughter does not fully nap, she will be resting from all her activity whilst in her pram or buggy. Often just a 10 minute doze whilst walking home well before 5pm can help an active baby of this age get through to bedtime. If you time your walk to be around 4pm she has the chance to nap before 4.45pm, rather than needing to nap just before tea. With a baby who does fight sleep as much as this you will need to be aware of the time and start a gradual wind down using books in the day and a very quiet bath and bedtime routine in the evenings. Again, not always easy to do with two small children but worth trying to help her settle quicker.

Getting her to sleep longer at lunchtime may not fall into place until she no longer needs a morning nap. You could try cutting this nap back to 20 minutes so she is woken before 10am and see if this has any affect on her lunchtime nap. Although a lot of babies need this morning nap until nearer a year many do cut back on it, , especially if they sleep well at night and do not wake early in the morning.

Look back on the days when she does manage 1 1/2 hours at lunch and see if you can see any reason why this can be; is it on an activity day? Or the day after? What did she eat for lunch? How did she spend the morning? What time did she wake? This will help you see if there is a reason why she can sometimes do it. Leaving her to try to resettle at lunch is a good plan. If she will amuse herself in her cot once awake don’t feel you have to get her up after 45 minutes. Make sure there are one or two small soft toys for her to find, should she wake. If she is distressed it may be better to end the nap; let her have some active time in the afternoon before going for a walk around 4pm to let her have another short rest before tea.