Baby Only Naps in the Crib

Archived Q&A and Reviews

9-mo-old naps only in crib - hard to get outside

Sept 2002

Help- my 9 months old baby will nap/sleep only in her crib. She takes naps between once to twice a day,and between feedings and her naps, there is not much time for us to get outside of the house .I suppose this is not good nor for her development, nor for my sanity.Any advice?

This is a good thing, in the long run. You won't be driving around the neighborhood trying to make your child fall asleep when she's two years old. For now, I know it's a pain. For a while I felt like I had a tiny window of time in which to get things done between naps. At 15 months, you can shift to one nap and it gets a lot easier. Can you get someone to mind the baby monitor while you go out? Otherwise, you are really better off organizing your life around the naps, and finding good projects to do at home while she sleeps. It doesn't hurt her development in the slightest to be at home while she sleeps, and it is actually better for her to get good, sound sleep. Fran

I think a lot of people just plan their schedules around the baby's naps until they get a little older (like, when they give up the morning nap around 12-18 months). Can you hold out a little longer? Mom

Good for her - that's the best place for her to sleep! You may not want to hear this, but there are many sleep experts who profess that stroller naps and car seat naps don't count toward the healthy amount of sleep your child needs to develop. I would recommend getting out of the house as soon as your child wakes up and is dressed. Take a walk, do whatever it is you want to do, get a cup of coffee and nurse the baby while you are out. I don't tie myself to the house for their meals (picnics are more fun for everyone), but I do tie myself to the house for naps. Then come home when it is time for her morning nap and be ready to head back out as soon as she wakes up. Repeat again for afternoon nap. It won't be long (probably another three months) before she eliminates the morning nap and you'll have the whole morning to work with. As mentioned previously, you may want to look at the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth to reassure yourself that the sacrifices you are making are indeed in the best interest of your child. Good luck. Laura

Your post made me smile and throw up my hands at baby ways. I have the exact opposite issue. Only rarely will my daughter nap for me in her crib (she will for Dad). If I wish her to nap I go for long walks or try and shape an errand or social visit around a long drive there or back. That's my only break. I would love a few hours each day at home while she naps. Some days I just have Mom days where I don't stress about whether she will nap and try to have a book handy in the car in case she does. I should think that if you are really feeling cooped up that an occasional Mom Day or 1/2 day is okay and won't hurt your baby any. You might try to stretch her nap time and counter your isolation by signing up for a class that ends half an hour later than she naps or just when she would go down. Then you might find yourself driving around w/ a sleeping baby,transferring her to the crib or make it home and do the usual routine. There are days when I would do anything if she'd only nap in the crib! Babies are what they are and are pretty good at communicating to us what they need! Unfortunately it doesn't always jive w/ what we want! Jessica

Being restricted by my baby's napping and eating schedule has been, for me, one of the hardest transitions about being a mother. But, I don't think that I can speak highly enough about the payoff of having a well-rested child. (I am sure that you have found that most books agree on this subject.) My daughter is happy, energetic, curious, and resilient (little things that bother tired children don't bother her) when she is awake and well-rested. So, let your child nap, and be ready to go when she wakes up. I have the bag packed and by the door, so that the minute my daughter wakes up, we can change her diaper and leave. I often give her snacks in the park, in the car before an errand, etc, to avoid spending even more time at home. Soon your child will be taking only one nap per day, which will give you more flexibility, and I don't think that limiting her experiences in the meantime will hurt her. Getting good sleep is the most important thing for children's development, and ensures that the few times that you do get out of the house, she will gain more from the experiences by being alert.