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There is an updated version of this post you can find here: https://www.babywisemom.com/2013/08/new-skills-and-sleep-disruptions.html. For that reason, comments have been turned off for this post.
There will be several times throughout your child’s napping career when a nap is disrupted because a new skill is being learned. This can be frustrating for the parent, but there is little you can do. Baby/Toddler has a new skill and wants to practice, practice, practice! You can find this occurring in the early months with rolling, and even in early years with things like talking. Sometimes, my son will just sit and talk to himself. Here are some thoughts on getting through these situations as quickly and painlessly as possible.
- The disruption (rolling, sitting, etc.) will pass, but the question is when. The baby needs to physically be able to get himself back into the preferred sleeping position. So the question is do you continue to do it for him or require him to learn to do it? Fortunately, I only experienced this with Brayden when he learned to pull himself to standing in the crib. He could get up but couldn’t get down by himself. This seemed to only affect naps, not nighttime. He would start to cry because he couldn’t get back down. I worked with him when he was awake to help him figure out how to get down on his own, and then there were two days of naps where I went in and helped him sit back down. It didn’t take him long to learn and then he was fine. So, if baby is physically capable of getting back into position on his own, you might want to let him work it out. Otherwise he might start to enjoy your visits :). But I would be sure this is something he is capable of and that it is something he can do without much effort or he might get too worked up to get there and never fall asleep.
- I have experienced this situation with Kaitlyn several times already. She wants to roll and roll, she wants to try to crawl around, she wants to try to sit up…I am sure there are only more adventures ahead of us. To get through it quickly, practice, practice, practice! Take time during waketimes to work on the skill with your baby. Do it on the floor and in the crib. Help her get the practice in during waketime so hopefully she won’t insist on it as much at nap time. Once she is capable, it won’t be such a novelty.
- There is a problem with them practicing and then falling asleep late. She works on it, then she is overly tired and waking up early from her nap because of it. In this case you just need to accept the fact that it is happening. Do the oh well thing and move on with the day. Pay special attention to sleep cues so your baby doesn’t get overly tired before the next nap.
- As your baby gets older and you know she can comprehend your language, you can go in and lay her down and tell her it is nap time and not playtime and to go to sleep. This might not work for all children, but it will for some.
It won’t last forever, but it is sure to repeat itself in another form! Just keep working on it and be patient. It shall pass.
- Susanna said…
Valerie-Not sure where to post this. My 16 week old has recently learned how to roll over; he’s not that proficient at it but seems to do best going from back to tummy but has difficulty with going back. He’s now rolling over in the crib at night despite being swaddled. (During naps, he’s swaddled but also has an extra blanket on top to keep him from waking up) WOuld you go in and flip him back onto his back?? I don’t know what to do about it. Should I unswaddle so that he has hands to help him roll back onto his back? Also, do you have any tips on practicing rolling during waketime? Seems like he’s most interested in rolling when it’s naptime. Thank you!!
May 12, 2008 9:36 AM
Well, you will have to decide whether or not to flip him. I tend to wait a few minutes to see what happens and give them a chance to work it out. Then if they don’t figure it out, you then decide what you want/need to do. If they don’t learn to do it themselves, then it is likely time to leave them to themselves. I think I would unswaddle for a safety issue. He won’t really be able to flip himself back over if he is swaddled. To practice rolling, I just put them on their tummy a lot during waketime. You might put him on a bed (supervised) because he might like to practice there since it is softer.
May 12, 2008 9:13 PM