Pregnant and Toddler Won’t Sleep? What To Do

What to do when your toddler just won’t sleep and you are pregnant. Get 8 tips for making nap time and bedtime smoother with your toddler so you can maintain healthy sleep habits with your toddler even when you are completely exhausted from pregnancy.

Pregnant mom with toddler sitting on a bed

When you are pregnant and you have a toddler, you are so excited! You are excited for these two children of yours to grow up so close in age and be great little friends throughout their lives.

But you are also TIRED!

Toddlers are just plain exhausting, and when you add being pregnant to the mix in taking care of that toddler, you can barely keep up.

If your toddler decides to stop sleeping or resist sleeping, whether for nap time or bedtime, you can barely hold it together.

What To Do When You Are Pregnant and Your Toddler Won’t Sleep

You desperately want your toddler to sleep. But it isn’t happening. Here are all the tips for getting your kiddo to actually sleep.

Keep the Nap

Whatever you do, keep the nap. I know it seems like it would be easiest right now to not have to fight it and just let your toddler skip the nap. I PROMISE you that when your new baby gets here, you will want that toddler to have a daily nap.

Your toddler most likely will not nap every single day. That is normal. Still have nap time where your toddler is in bed for a nap every single day.

You have to think big picture here. Keep the nap. You will not regret it in the long-term.

>>>Read: What to Do When Your Toddler Cries at Nap Time

Give Warnings Before Nap or Bedtime

Some personalities just really need a warning that something is going to change. This is really common among oldest children.

Try giving a little warning before nap or bedtime. “In five minutes, it will be time to clean up and go to nap. Say ‘Yes, Mommy.’ “

I did have one child who did not appreciate a warning, so if you try the warning and it makes things harder, ditch it. It does seem to work well for most kids, and is even necessary for some. So it is worth trying to see if it makes the transition a little easier for you.

Have a Really Consistent Daily Routine

Your toddler will have an easier time with nap time if each day is quite consistent. You at least want the time spent before nap and bedtime to be really consistent each day.

This allows your toddler to mentally prepare and be aware that sleep time is approaching. They know that every day they eat lunch, then they have some free play, then they start the nap routine.

You can have some variance to your days, just make sure your time leading up to the nap is predictable. This acts like the “5 minute warning” as discussed above. It signals sleep time is coming.

You also want to have a sleep routine that you follow. Keep it short and simple. Keep it short and simple enough that it won’t exhaust you as a pregnant mama and also that it can be done when a newborn is in the house.

Make an Effort to Wear Out Your Toddler

Each day, make an effort to appropriately wear out your toddler.

This is easier said than done! You are exhausted for most (if not all) of your pregnancy. You might have major morning sickness going on. You might be rather large and find it hard to move around.

This does not have to be big or elaborate. You can go for a walk. You can get a toy that will help burn some energy and work gross motor skills. You can play a simple board game. You can do a simple learning activity.

Be mindful about making sure your toddler is getting some physical and mental stimulation each day.

>>>Read: How Easily Work Learning Activities into Your Daily Life

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Set Up a Sticker Chart to Reward Wanted Behavior

Rewarding the behavior you want to see is very powerful and effective. You can set up a sticker chart to reward positive behavior.

This can be that your toddler gets to put a sticker on the chart if she goest to nap on her own (so you don’t have to carry her). It can be that she gets to do a sticker if she goes to nap without crying. It can be that she gets a sticker if she stays in her bed.

For many toddlers, the sticker chart alone is reward enough, but you can also have something you are working toward. This can be an outing, a treat, or an activity.

Use a Timer or Okay To Wake Clock

The timer is very powerful. You can use it in many ways to get the behavior you are looking for. You can set a timer that will go off when nap is over. Make sure your toddler can hear it so he knows the timer determines when nap time is over, not his crying or antics.

>>>Read: 10 Uses For a Timer That Will Make Parenting Easier

You can also get an okay to wake clock. These are great for nap time and for night sleep alike! These clocks are really helpful when you have sleep battles going on.

Do Your Best to Be Consistent with Discipline

If your toddler is refusing to take a nap and/or refusing to stay in bed at either nap time or bedtime, you are probably allowing too many freedoms during the day.

This is very understandable and very common for pregnant moms! I did it, too. You are so tired. You end up choosing your battles, and sometimes you just let too much go.

Do your best to have consistency in your expectations, rules, and reactions so your toddler knows with a certainty what is okay and what isn’t. Fight your battles during awake time so you have fewer battles during what is supposed to be sleep time.

>>>Read: What To Do When Your Toddler/Child is Getting Out of Bed

Rest When You Can

Finally, try to rest when you can. This will enable you to have more energy for keeping your toddler busy and for staying consistent with rules and expectations.

Do not stay up too late. Do not feel like you have to wake up early every day. You are growing a human while caring for a toddler, it is okay to get extra rest time.

Have daily independent playtime for your toddler so you can rest during that time, also. Something I found exhausting with independent playtime when I was pregnant was cleaning up toys afterward. Mitigate that issue by limiting how many toys are available. You can also enlist the help of your spouse. My sweet husband was okay with me leaving toys out that he would just clean up when he got home from work.

You can also get a break if you team up and take turns with sleep times. Maybe you take the naptimes while you are pregnant and exhausted and your spouse takes every bedtime during that period. Maybe you can both do it together every time. Maybe your spouse can do it every time.

Take advantage of times you can rest and do less.


While it is a lot of effort to maintain a nap and a solid bedtime with your toddler while you are pregnant, it is definitely worth it. You will not regret having solid sleep habits in place once that new baby arrives.

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