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How to get baby to nap when you have a toddler

(36 Posts)
fizzicles Mon 03-Aug-15 19:31:25

I have a 2.5yr old dd and 5 month old dd. Toddler has afternoon nap of approx 2 hours most afternoons.

Baby will tend to have 3 naps during the day, but most of the time I feed her to sleep, and I'd like to move on from this.

When eldest was a baby, we put a bit of effort into teaching dd to fall asleep in her cot - but it took a good chunk of time, patting her, singing to her etc. My questions is: How do you do this when you have a toddler to look after?

Some days there is someone else (DH or DM) around who could do this or look after toddler, and if she's napping it'd be ok, but then when it's just me, I can't figure out how I can help baby sleep, as I can't leave toddler on her own for 15/20mins or however long it would take.

I'm also aware, that I'm by no means the first parent to have two children, so you friendly folk must have some helpful advice! I'm not prepared to just leave baby to cry, but would love to hear other suggestions or what's worked for you.


fizzicles Mon 03-Aug-15 19:32:27

When we're out and about, she will often sleep in car seat/sling/buggy, but I'm stuck on what to do at home.

Diggum Mon 03-Aug-15 19:50:50

Watching with interest as am currently PG and DC1 will be just 2 when DC2 arrives. I was musing on exactly this issue today.

KittyCatKittyCat Mon 03-Aug-15 19:53:17

Also watching! DC1 will be 17 months...

Ahemily Mon 03-Aug-15 19:53:52

Me too diggum! Good luck, OP - hope someone in the know can give you some advice!

Muchtoomuchtodo Mon 03-Aug-15 19:55:30

CBeebies blush

fizzicles Mon 03-Aug-15 19:56:00

Come on wise mumsnetters! We need your help

LibrariesGaveUsPower Mon 03-Aug-15 19:57:25

If your older one still naps you do it once they are down!

Cherryberry1 Mon 03-Aug-15 19:57:47

Also watching with interest...

Claxonia Mon 03-Aug-15 19:58:04

Yes unfortunately TV is the only thing that I found that worked. Otherwise oldest child would come and chat/cry/demand snacks when I was trying to put baby to sleep.

tippytappywriter Mon 03-Aug-15 19:59:29

I just gave up trying. DD slept in cot for naps good as gold and textbook baby. DS slept wherever and most often in buggy on the way to somewhere. With hindsight it was much handier as DD had nursery, groups etc to get to and from.
DS often slept in his buggy in the hallway at home. Refused his cot so often and would sleep happily in the buggy.

QuiteLikely5 Mon 03-Aug-15 19:59:30

In your shoes I would skip the babies first nap of the day so that he or she was extra tired. Then when she is tired put her upstairs to sleep in her cot. This way she will be very sleepy and less inclined to fight her new sleeping arrangement.

Possibly feed her in the room where the cot is too so she is not stimulated by any sounds etc

tippytappywriter Mon 03-Aug-15 20:00:57

Oh and he is 8 now and sleeps 7-7 in his own bed...not in the buggy!

Piazzapiola Mon 03-Aug-15 20:01:56

if you figure it out, let me know. I just put DS2 in the sling from day one, and now he's almost 9mo and will still only nap on me or in the sling. DS1 had already dropped his nap when DS2 was born so I never had any chance to only focus on DS2's napping.

DP and I just discussing a sleep consultant as DS2 wakes several times in the evening and sleeps in our bed and every one is getting a bit fed up sad

Needaninsight Mon 03-Aug-15 20:03:44

we put a bit of effort into teaching dd to fall asleep in her cot - but it took a good chunk of time, patting her, singing to her etc. My questions is: How do you do this when you have a toddler to look after?

You don't. And you will reap the rewards. A baby that just goes to sleep!

Put baby down, stroke head, leave room. Seriously. If they've never been pandered to, they don't need it ;)

In all seriousness, you will spend a lot of time telling the baby they will have to wait. The toddler's needs come first. As such, you end up with a much less needy baby than you had first time round (as is my experience, and 3 of my friend's experiences, all with small age gaps)

My daughter was 17.5months when no2 arrived.

SewButtons Mon 03-Aug-15 20:04:35

I practice quiet time with children around that age (I'm a nanny) , so maybe try at different times of the day telling her "mummy has to do xyz, can you play quietly for 5minutes"
See how good she is at it, she might be perfectly content to sit and look at a picture book for 10mins, it depends entirely on your daughter, I've have 2yr olds tell me to go away because they are playing.
Depending how that goes (try it over the weekend at first so that your dh can step in if necessary) you can stretch it out while you settle the baby, maybe get your toddler to play quietly outside the bedroom door.
I usually start off by just trying to be allowed go to the toilet on my own, and then work up to a cup of tea or time to hang out a load of washing.

Alternatively if that doesn't work as is entirely possible, some kids just can't play on their own, then cbeebies does work.

Needaninsight Mon 03-Aug-15 20:05:10

Ahh sorry ha. Just re-read your baby is already 5months! Thought you had a newborn. Hmm. Not sure then. Your daughter is a good bit older so able to understand that the baby has needs.

2littlefishes Mon 03-Aug-15 20:16:32

Initially I'd put baby in the pram an give it a rock, then I'd do less of the rocking an after a few weeks doing less and less could just dump him in and he'd fall asleep after chattering to himself for a bit. I'd leave toddler playing in the next room an just shush her if she wandered in.

He napped like this for a good few months an then he was ill and fighting going down so I decided if he was getting worked up anyway it might as well have been in the cot!! Took two or three days of him resisting and a bit of gradual retreat/shush pat but he's napped in his cot ever since!

Just under 17months between mine so initially there was no way she'd be left alone while I tried to settled him in the cot, but when transitioning him from the pram to cot, she was older an would play quietly on her own for a little bit.

scratchandsniff Mon 03-Aug-15 20:17:51

I wouldn't skip a nap as an overtired baby is even harder to settle. Sleep promotes sleep in babies IMO.

I make sure there is something on TV that DS1 really likes and have also resorted to some raisins etc in a bowl to keep him occupied. I end up quite often having to leave DS2 to cry and go in back in several times until he falls asleep. With DS2 I've actively encouraged him to have a comforter at nap and bedtimes and give it to him to hold/rub against his face. I also resort to the dummy if needed. A dummy was a godsend with DS1 as he was a terrible napper until he was around 1.

nottheOP Mon 03-Aug-15 20:22:24

I'd put the baby down in their bedroom at the nap times, checking back in for a few seconds every few minutes. Honestly, it'll take no time for the baby to catch on.

I used to do the last nap in the pram as it's handy to have that skill in your bag of tricks.

broomchickabroomchick Mon 03-Aug-15 20:22:31

I have a thread asking the same question! 3 year old DS and 4 month old DD. Tv doesn't work for us

fizzicles Mon 03-Aug-15 20:27:38

Thanks for the suggestions.

CBeebies would probably work, I'd just have to get over my guilt at letting her watch too much!

SewButtons I'll try the quiet time practice. Toddler is quite an extrovert so would almost always prefer to be playing with someone than on her own, but I'm sure she can learn!

Needaninsight in so many ways the baby is very chilled out, happy to sit in bouncy chair or watch mobile while I'm playing with toddler. She used to be an amazing sleeper at night, although 4 month regression has hit us hard! And she did used to sometimes just fall asleep when we put her down, but doesn't seem able to any more. I'm not sure I think it's reasonable to expect 2yo to understand baby's needs to be honest. I think that level of empathy/rationality might be a little way off! She is generally great with her sister, but still adjusting to not being the sole focus of or attention! If she's tired/hungry/in a bad mood she's not so keen to accommodate her baby sister (much like every other toddler I presume).

Lilipot15 Mon 03-Aug-15 20:28:48

Those who say you just put the youngest down and they sleep, when do you start that at? My presently 7 week old is feeding to sleep at the mo, also falls asleep in car/pram/sling but I'm watching for tips. Have a 17 month old who naps after lunch.

nottheOP Mon 03-Aug-15 20:36:57

I started at 12 weeks lilipot

nottheOP Mon 03-Aug-15 20:38:39

Just to add that he did cry but cried less than if I was rocking, that just seemed to over stimulate him or something

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