Q&A: 7-month-old nap strike

Stephanie writes:

"I have a
7-month old. As this of moment, she sleeps well at night. Also at this
moment, she is on what I would call a nap-strike, or semi nap-strike in
case I am being too dramatic. In the last week, at least one of her two
daily naps have shortened horrendously, to like 15-25 minutes. Although
she has always been a relatively short napper, it has never been this
bad. I follow all of the "rules" – early bedtime, regular schedule, she
can soothe herself, blah blah blah. Everyone says if you do that, their
naps will lengthen. Well, I have waited patiently and things are going
downhill instead of up. How can this be?

If solutions are to be offered, that would be interesting. However,
now I am trying to breathe and (hope!) this is only temporary. I don't
want to be poring over WeissbluthHoggFerberSomeMomWhoPostedOnYahoo.
Can someone please tell me that they have been through this and it all
turned out OK? Thanks."

I can absolutely promise you these two things:

1. You are not the only one who's gone through this, and

2. It's not indicative of the future.

One of the many, many dirty big secrets about baby and kid sleep is that it doesn't get progressively better. It goes in fits and starts, so you can be cruising along just fine, or at least limping along well enough that you can survive, and then out of the blue it all seems to fall apart. And you think you've done something horrible or your municipal water system has switched and it's causing your baby to freak out or your baby hates you or that your child will Never Sleep Again. But none of that is true.

If you think about all the patterns that appear in nature, one of the most common (and beautiful) is the spiral pattern. You see it in seashells and flowers and animal horns. And you also see it in baby development in general and their sleep in particular. Instead of being a linear progression, it spirals around so when it's on one side of the curve the sleep is good, but then as it comes around the bend it gets worse again.

What you can't necessarily see in the moment is that even as it's rounding the "rough nights" side of the spiral, the sleep is building and getting bigger and more solid, as the spiral grows outward. So you're looking at the good/bad cycle, and then all of a sudden your child is 7 and puts on her own pajamas and brushes her teeth and goes to bed by herself and you have to wake her for school in the morning.

I am going to guess that the short naps are because she's learning some new physical skill that isn't letting her sleep. She'll probably start crawling or pulling up soon (but she may not start sleeping again because then she'll be on to learning to walk). Or there may be some other socio-emotional development going on. Or maybe she's teething. Or maybe there's something else that we can't recognize because we haven't studied it yet.

If she had never slept longer that 20 minutes, I'd say it might be possible that she was just a catnapper (I've heard of a few, and it's brutal on the parents). But since her naps were longer before and just got shorter now, it's a nap regression of some sort. You could attempt some careful observation to see if you can figure out what's going on. You could also try changing her environment to see if that does anything. But really, the thing that will fix it is waiting until she hits the next nap stage and they stretch out again.

Do NOT get caught up in thinking you have more control over her sleep than you do. If you're setting the stage for sleep as much as you can, and teaching her that sleeping is safe, then she's sleeping the way she needs to be at that stage of development. You can't make her sleep any more than you can make her crawl when it's not her time developmentally to crawl.

Who else had a baby whose naps spiraled in length instead of getting progressively longer and longer? Does your kid sleep now?

48 thoughts on “Q&A: 7-month-old nap strike”

  1. Moxie, the spiral explanation is perfect! My daughter was a catnapper and gave up an semblence of a nap by 3. She is now 7 and sleeps like the dead all night (10.5 hours)! My son (now 4) has always been a good sleeper, but it ebbs and flows. If his nap is longer, he sleeps less at night and if his nap is shorter, or he doesn’t get one at all, he sleeps more at night. His sweet spot seems to be 13 hours of total sleep a day where my daughter has never been more than 12 hours.

  2. Thanks for this. It came right when I needed it. I have a 6 month old, and sleep does not come easy right now. Naps are not too bad, but we are waking up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours. Not fun for mommy!I will try to be more patient, and pray this passes quickly!

  3. My oldest daughter had nap regressions (either stopped napping completely or her naps shortened by half) when she was teething. It was such relief to figure out that was the cause and eventually know things would go back to normal in a couple of weeks. Good luck!

  4. Hello Stephanie. My seven month old did not sleep during the day for more than 30 minutes at a time at all on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. On Sunday we noticed the top of her first tooth and yesterday she slept from 9:30 until 2pm!!! Fortunately for me, my cousin has her during the day on weekdays while we’re at work so Mummy hadn’t gone nuts by this point :)She’s had similar patterns before with no tooth or obvious developmental advance to show for it. We just figure something’s going on, try to stay patient and then she generally has one day of massive naps and then gets back onto her ”schedule”.
    Sorry this is not really much of a solution, but I definately concer that this is likely to be a limited stage, after which your daughter will go back to doing what she ordinarily does. (Its too early for me to see the spiral, but I like the idea!)

  5. The baby is moving from 2 naps to 1 nap, she will drop the morning nap soon and start getting tired right after lunch. Skip the morning nap and put her down right after lunch, and soon you will probably get a nice little stretch of nap time in the early afternoon.

  6. My son was a cat napper as a baby. Would literally close his eyes, I’d look away for a moment, and they’d be open again. By the time he was 7 months old, he may have been napping for 30 minute stretches on a good day. A 40 minute nap was a gift from heaven.During all of this, his babysitter kept telling me that babies who sleep well before their first birthday regress after their birthday, and babies who are not great sleepers start sleeping better after their birthday. I know this is just her opinion and probably an old wives’ tale, but I clung to it. I needed to believe it. And guess what? It turned out to be true. Now my son is 3.5 and not only is he still napping, he naps for 2 hours. My friends whose kids have dropped their naps are jealous – but I know that I did my time in nap hell and deserve this little bit of heaven.
    Take heart, it will change – eventually and when you’re least expecting it.

  7. She may be “working on a project” 7 months is that time when kids are figuring out the Next Big Thing (crawling, standing, cruising, etc.) and it’s hard to sleep if there’s something you’re trying to figure out.

  8. As an infant, my daughter rarely took a nap. I thought there was something wrong, but the pediatrician said she was fine. She said “she probably doesn’t want to miss anything!” That was not exactly comforting, and I was exhausted. But my daughter slept well at night, up until about 5 months. Then she started a schedule of 3 naps of 30 minutes each. She also started waking more at night (3, 4, 5 times or more). She slowly transitioned to 2 naps, and now, at 16 months, she takes a wonderful 2-hour nap in the morning. She sleeps better at night, but sometimes she’ll still wake up 2 or 3 times, usually when there are teeth cutting through. I know that may not sound encouraging, but it is getting better for us. The spiral metaphor is right on for my daughter.All babies are different, so the “rules” that work for one or even lots of other babies might not work as well for yours. It sounds like you’re trying everything. Sometimes, I think you just have to get through the best you can (get some time for yourself, sleep when you can), and know that it WILL get better.

  9. My baby also went through something similar. I think it was a combo of learning to crawl and getting her first four teeth within 24 hrs-poor thing! Once the teeth were through her naps resumed to their original lovely length! Good luck!

  10. Then again, it might not be a phase, it might be a design feature.Fitz-Hume…man, we used to say Fitz-Hume was going through a phase, then she said she was a bad sleeper, now we just say that this is how and who Fitz-Hume is.
    She doesn’t like to sleep. She doesn’t like to nap. She is the world’s most miserable tiny human when she doesn’t sleep, but she just…doesn’t LIKE to sleep. At almost two and a half, she sleeps through the night about half the time. She has nightmares and night terrors. She has a 50% nap success rate.
    Conversely, her twin sister, who was raised in the same environment and same circumstances? Sleeps like a freaking log.
    When I tell people that Fitz-Hume is THAT old and doesn’t sleep through the night, parents of infants are HORRIFIED. Parents of older kids assume that we’re DOING IT WRONG. Eh. This is how she is.
    I only mention it for the other parents of erratic sleepers. Dude. It’s not you. Some kids are just like this.

  11. I think you just have to roll with the punches. My son was a problematic sleeper from birth. He has an active alert personality – loves activity & stimulation and has a hard time settling down and relaxing. I think he falls asleep in the car because he’s physcially strapped down! After 13 months of misery, we did some serious sleep-training at night and now it’s pretty good (except for teething, traveling, and any other minor schedule change)!But we were NEVER able to fix naps. He’s 17 months now, and I decided to stop obsessing. I try to follow his daycare schedule (one nap a day after lunch) but he often wakes up after 40 minutes. He’ll stop napping when he’s 3-4. And frankly, I can’t wait!

  12. My baby has good nap days and bad nap days. We went through a phase where the nap only happened for 30 mins max and it had to be with my boob in her mouth and her lying on my lap on the nursing pillow. She still only naps now with a boob in the mouth, or in the stroller, or sometimes in the car seat (yes, we’ve sat in parking lots to preserve the nap). Some days she takes 2 – 3 hour naps, some days she takes 30 minute naps, and some days she takes 1 hr naps only to wake up for 15 minutes and conk out again (with a boob in the mouth, of course). She’s almost 6 months old and night sleep is fairly decent but at least one wake up and sometimes 2. Right now we’ve gotten to the point that this is how she is and it will keep changing. Just keep thinking one day it will sort out. And like I think Moxie wrote in another post, one day it will no longer be your problem.

  13. Just a quick comment on a previous one about the baby possibly moving from two naps to one. It seems a little early for that. Most (“most”) kids won’t transition to one nap until 12-18 months…so I’d echo the developmental/phase/just-wait-it-out-it’ll-change philosophy, tough as that can be.

  14. What @akeeyu said. Some kids just aren’t great sleepers. I don’t know why this surprises us, since we all know that some grown ups need less sleep than the rest of us. Where did we think those grown ups came from?Anyway, Moxie’s advice not to get caught in the trap of thinking you have more control than you actually do is spot on.
    My oft-repeated advice about baby sleep, based on my experiences with my first, who wasn’t so fond of sleep- stop trying to solve her sleep problem, unless she is actually showing signs of sleep deprivation. Instead, focus on solving the real problem- what her lack of sleep is doing to YOU. Now it may be that you tackle that problem by working on some aspect of your baby’s sleep. Or it may be that you come up with some other thing to keep you sane. In our house, it is a combination of both.
    My 3 year old sleeps pretty well now- she makes it through the night most nights, although her bedtime is a little later than some of her friends. But to get her to nap on the weekend, we need to go for a walk. She absolutely doesn’t need a long nap. Getting to this stage was a long road, but we got here.
    My 9 month old sleeps better than her sister did at this age, but that’s not saying much. I’m waiting for a good time to try some gentle nightweaning- now is not it due to the onset of separation anxiety. And her naps are often 30 minutes long. You could practically set a watch by her.

  15. I was just coming on to ditto what @Meg said. IME and others I know, 7 months is very early to go from 2 naps/day to 1. The earliest I’ve heard (out of maybe 30 examples) is 12 months.Of my 3 kids, only 1 was a good napper at this age. It is so tough since that’s when you’re most tired as a mom (at least it felt that way to me). I agree with many others here: sometimes you just have to try what you can and then ride it out.
    My youngest is now 19 months and finally takes one good long nap–and it all started when I stopped giving him the pacifier all day. Now he only gets the paci in the crib for naps and bed, and when that started he went from a 1-hour daily nap to 2.5 to 3 hours.

  16. It’s getting a bit hard to remember the details (I’ve probably blocked them out). But I think that around 7 months DS’ 45-60 minute naps went out the window too and were replaced by 15 minute ones. Not fun. I think for us it was the pre-curser to the 8/9 month sleep regression, which, I’m sorry to say, lasted for us until 11 months.OK, that’s the bad news. The good news is that after that regression, even if sleep patterns spiraled, over the long run, things got much, much more consistent, and longer – naps included. DS was still waking in the night, but everything seemed to be more predictable.
    So DS was/is definitely on that spiral path with both the advances and regressions getting progressively better.
    About 8 weeks ago @23 mos, DS started sleeping through the night (we sleep trained and it went REALLY smoothly). Then, he got sick, I got mastitis, and we were back (argh!) in the swing of multiple night wakings. This has gone on for 2 weeks now. So yes, fits and starts. Sleep training round 2 starts shortly.
    But through all of this, naps have been really consistent (1.5 – 3 hours) since he was about 13 or 14 months old. We’ve hit every sleep regression there is. In retrospect, I can see that each regression or sleep interruption due to teething/sickness etc. after the 9 month regression has gotten a little bit easier and has been fairly predictable in regards to how to manage it and how long it will last (usually not longer than 1-2 weeks now).
    Hang in there!

  17. Your description of the spiral is really poetic Moxie. Yes, we have a spiral-er too. Actually her sleep was at its best at 7 months, but her sleep does spiral back and forth continuously. She is now 3.5 years and sleep is bad again. To tell the truth, her napping was always pretty bad, until she turned 2.5, then for 6 months or so she was napping 2, even 2.5 hours. That was a period where she wasn’t fighting it either.I really doubt Stephanie’s bub is going from 2-1 nap. Mine both did at 10 months though and that’s the earliest I’ve seen /heard.

  18. Ah, yes, I remember at about 7-8 months the naps were hard to come by. For us it hit right around the holidays, too, so that was just a bit of synergy I didn’t need. My DD, who fought sleep like a mortal enemy, finally started sleeping through the night at about 9 months. That’s not a promise that it will happen for anyone else, but hopefully some light at the end of the tunnel.Ditto what everyone else said about there is nothing you’re doing wrong. One thing to check is to make sure the room is cool enough, though – in the summertime we have to remember to keep the fans or A/C going so that she can get that little drop in body temperature that she needs to fall asleep comfortably.
    And as far as WeissbluthHoggFerberSomeMomWhoPostedOnYahoo?
    They can all kiss my grits.

  19. My 3 year old crappy sleeper sleeps fabulously now (although its usually with daddy at night) so I can tell you it gets WAAAAAAYYY better. When i say crappy I mean what my 8 month old does now which is CRAPPY! Napping is not regular. We’ll go through good weeks and bad weeks. Just when we get on target he gets a cold or a tooth and its crap for another week.Just be glad nights are still good. We’re in a bad spell. The baby will only “sleep” from 11pm-5am with one nursing at 1am. He had been doing MUCH better until a few weeks ago. He went to bed at 8:30 last night (yeah!) but was up for the day at 3:30 am! No joke. Took a 1 hr nap at 6:30am and that was all she wrote until noon.
    That being said, it gets way better. I seem to recall my first really leveling out around 18 months and then even better by 2. I can’t remember when our last really bad issue was and he’s 3 1/2 now. Seems like forever away but it will fly by. You’ll look back and barely remember this and how bad it sucked. Promise.

  20. Oh and meant to say that I’ve tried a lot of the sleep training/suggestion methods. On the second kid I realized that they might have worked for either kid if I had stuck with it, but I don’t work well with forced schedules and listening to crying babies.

  21. My daughter went through this around 7 months as well, and did cut her first tooth and learn to crawl during that time, so I’m sure it was related. I agree with the previous advice to realize that your baby might be doing fine with the amount of sleep she’s getting and it’s you who needs the longer naps, so if you can find a way to get yourself the down time and renewal you need to get through this phase that’s the way to go.

  22. My baby is now ten months old. At 7-8 months, I started to think he was dropping from 2 naps to one. His sleeping patterns were so erratic!! And then we were mauled by the 9 month sleep regression (all three of us)! And then something possessed us to take a 3 week roadtrip whilst baby j was learning to walk.Given that I am doing my best to maintain consistent and supportive sleep routines, here’s what else I’ve learned….not to fight my baby to sleep! He’s a human being, not a robot!
    To just relax, I can, and envelop myself and my family in as much peace and comfort as I can muster!
    When things get really crazy, when my baby is boncing off the walls and my husband and I are snapping at each other, I stop what I’m doing, look into my heart and I say, “I am a blissful being and I am radiating bliss!”. And in those moments, I know I to be true.
    I read somewhere in Moxie comments to “enjoy the day, not the nap.”. This has really helped me let go and accept those napless times…and has made me learn to get better at livng my life with baby in tow. rather than holding out for that free moment and going to pieces if I don’t get it.
    Ah! It’s such a tough transition! I am still wobbly at best. Love to you all.

  23. What @Cloud said. I’d focus on the problem of what baby’s current sleep habits are doing to YOU, and work to fix that.For example, when my DS was that age he also took super short, erratic naps – totally unlike every other kid at daycare. But as my daycare provider pointed out, DS was happy and seemed well-rested, so it wasn’t really a problem for him – he was getting the sleep he needed.
    The hard truth was it was actually a real problem for me on the days I was at home with him because I had shit to do like we all do, and wanted to know when I was going to get a break and for how long, and when could I leave the house. My problem was actually my own frustration at this unpredictability, coupled with the belief that everyone else’s baby slept for hours during the day (not true). Sometimes sleep issues aren’t necessarily just about sleep, that’s what I’m trying to say.

  24. Oh one more thing, since Moxie asked how things had changed – DS the baby cat-napper extraordinaire is now 2.75 and he sleeps through the night about 5 nights per week, starting in his own bed (we used to co-sleep) and usually ending up in ours for an am cuddle while we all slowly wake up. He started sleeping through about 16 months – with many regressions and some hellish spirals out of control. He also still takes a 2 hour nap during the day – please oh please let that continue for the next year (it won’t)!

  25. Nap-Strikers Mom Here…I am really enjoying these posts and I can’t wait for more. It is so exciting to be the featured question!In response to some of the comments, I do not think she is going down to one nap, either. I think her sleep is fragmented for some mysterious reason, as she is waking up more easily. So, that has to do with her brain and I can’t really do much about that.
    Do people think that reason modern parents care so much about naps is that because during the day, we are usually alone with the child and naps are the only break we get? I bet 200 years ago when people had relatives and neighbors around, no one cared or probably even knew how long their kid napped for. I doubt there was a sleep log next to the butter churn. Who worries about naps when you have an extra set of hands around? But I digress. Thanks everyone! Keep the nap hope alive.

  26. @Stephanie, I think you’re right – back in ye olde day, children were raised by the extended family or community, not just by one parent at home alone with them. I bet they didn’t obsess about things like naps the way we do now. I know for sure that for me, it’s all about the break I get. I have changed my 3 year old’s nap time to be in synch with my 5 month old’s so that I get that precious half hour that they will (maybe… hopefully) sleep.And FWIW, my now three year old was a Professional Nap Striker until the glorious day that I dropped her down from 2 naps to one. She was only 9 months old, but I’m telling you, it was the best thing I ever did. She went from 2 or 3 erratic, half hour long naps (that seemed like an all-out battle to get her to sleep for) at who-knows-what-time each day, to one glorious 2-3 hour nap at exactly 12:30 and she went to sleep on her own quickly and peacefully. I could actually PLAN MY DAY. I could start to count on getting at least an hour and a half to do stuff. It was fantastic. She did that until about 2 1/2 years old, when she started napping for shorter periods (now only about an hour) and skipping the nap entirely every few days.
    5 month old has 2 naps a day. At 10:00ish and 2:00ish. Sometimes its half an hour, sometimes its 2 hours, or anywhere in between. But at least she seems to always get tired around the same times, not like her older sister who was much more erratic. So I can now sort of plan my day. Ish. Sometimes.

  27. With my first, I started antidepressants right around the time he turned 8 months old. Certainly, my post-partum depression was not caused by 45 minute naps, but that made it so much more difficult to deal with in a healthy manner. That baby is now 3 years old; he sleeps through most nights and naps a few days a week for at least 2 hours. Other days he is content with “quiet time” in his room.My 3 month old, however, is slowing killing me with 45 minute naps. I hate the 45 minute nap so much.

  28. My daughter was an excellent sleeper from about 3 weeks on – and really, she was fairly good from the get-go, it just took us awhile to find a rhythm/schedule that worked, etc. BUT! I remember this time period as one that was bound to drive me crazy because she started to mess w/ her naps and I was like “What the?” BUT it got better. It got a lot better. And we’ve had fits and starts, just as Moxie said throughout the last 2 years (she’s now nearly 2.5), but mostly she’s great. Developmental leaps, weather, etc. mess us all up. I don’t remember “doing” anything really, just wading it out. Sorry I have nothing more than encouragement, but at least there is that!

  29. I had a cat-napper, and now a low-sleep-need 6-year-old. It’s been awesome ever since I stopped listening to the Sleep Authorities, but before that it had me terribly stressed out.If your kid is happy and energetic, it’s quite possible that she just doesn’t need a lot of naps. These days, my 6-year-old goes to sleep with somebody sitting by her door, once all of her questions are answered; generally hits the hay 9:30 or 10 and gets up at 8 but can miss an hour or two without much ill effect. She sleeps through unless she’s sick or has a bad dream, but bad dreams are much rarer these days than when she was 3 or 4. Exercise is really key for her to make sure she gets quality sleep – for 3 weeks she was at camps that were outdoors all day and covered 3-5 miles of hiking in addition to playtime. I think she was down by 9:45 most nights of those weeks.
    Honestly, it was nice for us to stop having to worry about naps by 2 – who wants to be stuck on a nap schedule? And now if we want to do something cool like stay at Disneyland late into the night so the rides will be less crowded, she’s fine.
    (All of this is probably influenced by the fact that we’re night owls with fairly low sleep sensitivity ourselves.)
    Peace, low-sleeper moms!

  30. @Charisse, I hear ya about the Sleep Authorities. My life got remarkably better once I started ignoring them too (I swear I could hear their collective gasp when I dropped by then 9 month old down to one nap a day). Then with baby no. 2 I stupidly sought their advice again. Took a while but I’ve tossed them to the curb again, mostly.@eep, remember the post Moxie did a while back about 3 month olds and 45 minute naps? The ones where we were all throwing our hands in the air and waving them around like we just don’t care? Go back and find it and give it a read. It probably won’t make you feel better or solve the 45 minute nap dilemma, but at least you’ll get a chuckle and will re-affirm that You Are Not Alone and It Will End Someday.

  31. This week I got to prove my theory that any stress my active/alert type daughter who is now two and a half experiences during the daytime shows up as night terrors, nightmares, awakenings, screaming, howling, thrashing and punching and kicking or just utter awake-ness for hours at 3 AM. The what and how has evolved over the two plus years.I actually got DH to take half a day off( unheard of) for her annual blood-tests for her allergies. She dreads them and was horribly distressed. Horribly. But as we finally left the receptionist said ” bye bye” and my little girl answered ” sniff, sniff, sob, bye bye” which got a lot of aww reactions.
    Then she was happy, played, enjoyed her meals, enjoyed being with daddy, looked the model of contentment. Like she does when daddy leaves on business, which is often and unpredictable.
    That night was the worst for months and months. So sleep issues do get better really. Terrible night.
    I have been told that such a pattern must mean that she is terrified of showing her feelings in the daytime and blah blah, all my fault.
    So thank you @ akeeyu ! Honestly, thank you! For I believe it’s just how she is.
    I’m sorry to say that she’s not napped regularly since 18 months. Strike that wasn’t but the end. Like the end of nursing at 16.5 months. The end. The mastitis that followed still comes back to haunt me at PMS time. Sorry, TMI, but I feel great sympathy @ the milliner.
    She never was a great napper or a great sleeper and I am also sorry to say that 8-13 months was a none-shall-sleep phase. She didn’t nap for long ever, but she catnapped on the move only then, and the nights lost all longer stretches of sleep.
    Fortunately I could still feed her then; it wasn’t fun to feed four times a night but it was something that would send her back to sleep.
    DH was having job issues and stresses of the Great Recession kind so he slept in another room and travelled an awful lot. I was unaware of the link up then.
    During the day she’d be lovely and alert and charming strangers, at night I went out of my mind.
    It sounds awful but I’d rather have a baby who slept at night than napped if it was either/or.I found that if my daughter napped for longer it meant less sleep at night.
    I do think 8-11 months is an upheaval for anyone so doing what you can and getting through it is all you can do.
    I used to get some breathing space and time to myself even though I always had to push my daughter in the pram for her to nap. It makes a long day.
    She does nap after terrible nights. Which is great because I passed out for over two hours the day after those tests myself and she joined me.
    Blimey, nothing of any use for the original poster. Yes, naps went downhill at 7 months, and so did nights, and my child doesn’t sleep through at 2.5 very often but still it is better than it was. Much.

  32. @Wilhelmina, Oh no! Recurring mastitis during PMS? Ack and argh. I’m praying, PRAYING this doesn’t become a recurrent thing for me as I’d like to start gently and slowly weaning.@Hush @Stephanie @Melba, I think you’ve really pin pointed the biggest issue regarding no/irregular nap times: You don’t get that much needed break.
    By far, that was the worst for me on no or irregular or short nap days. I was so, so sleep deprived, and not being able to have at least 30 mins to myself to nap/regroup/eat/relax was so difficult. We had the added bonus of DS being super cranky if he didn’t get a decent nap. It pains me just thinking about it.
    @Hush, Totally agree that the unpredictability was killer – you couldn’t get anything done, or go anywhere. It was so hard not to feel incompetent. And half the time, if you did go out, you screwed the nap schedule for the day because they fell asleep in the stroller/car. Man, I don’t miss those days.

  33. @stepanie I think you are absolutely right about that.I have been so obsessed with naps. But, things have gotten a whole lot better for me since I realized that I was desperately attached to my baby’s nap being long enough for me to do my yoga practice. I was working really hard at not bring attached and failing miserably! Ha ha! Not very yogic! Now my husband looks after my baby for an hour each morning so I can do my practice…and it’s better for both me and my baby. If he naps for 1.5 hours, great! If he naps for 30 mins, great! No more pressure. (well, that’s not exactly right). 

  34. @nej: Hahahahahahaha. (I did think about that as I was posting.)@Wilhelmina: Mastitis during PMS??? That’s beyond awful. I wonder what’s causing it. You’re not lactating anymore but you still get it?

  35. Hah. I came over to peruse the archives for tips on developmental leaps, and lo and behold, here’s a response to my exact problem.My 8-month-old has just moved from army-crawling to getting up on his hands and knees (but not actually crawling). And his sleep has become not-so-great. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that the sleeping thing is because life is just too important to miss right now.
    He’s also developed separation anxiety, I think. He gets upset when I leave the room or just wander out of his line of sight.
    @Stephanie – I agree that we obsess over sleep because it’s our only time to eat or pee in peace. I was at a barbecue this weekend, and I keep thinking about the difference between being with my baby all the time around other adults (fine) and being with my baby all the time all by myself 24 hours a day because my husband is away (oh god.)
    Anyway – thank you, Moxie. This helps me feel so much more compassionate and so much less like I’ll never get to take a shower again.

  36. Night sleep around here started to go wrong around 6.5 months and still hasn’t recovered (10 mo next week) and during that time the naps shifted around as well. Sometimes we get two naps a day, and sometimes 3 (!) but the third then disrupts bedtime because it runs so late.For me the key is to manage MY expectations – I’ve had to cancel lunches and appointments because BabyT’s sleep schedule is still all over the place and once she finally is down for a nap, I sure as hell don’t want to wake her.
    Curiously, since our night sleep is fragmented (2-3 wakings per night and we had 0! for months before that) I’m more inclined to be able to “go with the flow” and I’m not as uptight about “Sleep Expert #1 said blah blah” and I don’t worry about “wrecking” our nights since they’re crap anyway.
    So yeah, another vote for a more zen approach and finding time for yourself another way or at different times.

  37. OK, from out of left field – if bub is 7 months, did she by any chance recently start solids?My daughter’s sleep went pear-shaped at around the same time, and in retrospect it was clearly food intolerances associated with her starting solids at about the 6 month mark. Sleep disturbances aren’t always the first thing we look for when starting solids as we’re too paranoid checking for hives and weird poo, but if bub has by any chance recently started solids, I think it’s worth a little bit of detective work.
    In my daughter’s case, food intolerance switched her naps from big beautiful 2 hour + stretches to weird waking-screaming-at-1:15-on-the-dot affairs, and any reversion to the short nap pattern is always a sign we need to look at something in her diet.
    Of course it might be nothing to do with this, but since 10-15% of the population has some degree of food intolerance, and since it took us until my daughter was 20 months old to suss out her food intolerances (by which time she had developed a whole suit of behavioural issues around sleep too) and get some freaking sleep, I am always keen to flag it as an issue early and often!
    Best of luck with your lovely girl.

  38. @Moxie and @The Millener,The boob thing is not common at all. I went to the doctor who sent me to a specialist about the recurring severe pain in the right breast after ovulation as we were both worried it could be malignant as well as sore.
    When I became pregnant my smaller right breast became much larger than my left ( I am very left-handed) and after my daughter was born it produced much more milk. I pumped to bring the supply up after a bad start and it made twice as much.
    But it was prone to blocked ducts in one section. My daughter was voracious and I regularly got over-full and the ducts in that section would swell and get infected.
    After the first time with antibiotics I anticipated the trouble by using the pump, hand-massage of the agricultural kind and then the baby for relief.
    I actually got that tip from a college friend who now lives on small-holding where she has a cow.
    There was a huge growth spurt at 15 months and DD fed around the clock. She trebled her birth weight then too. Born at 50th centile she moved to the 99th by 3 months.
    Then she stopped and I thought it was a strike and I pumped, but the pumping wasn’t enough to keep the right side pain-free. So I got mastitis again, more antibiotics and was told to stop pumping as it was a month since the abrupt stopping.
    That worked but I was left with a very sore still lactating boob. Then TMI I got pregnant and my bosom grew as it does and then I miscarried at 13 weeks nine months ago. Which did nothing good for the bosom.
    Hormonal chaos resulted along with the loss and the grief, then when the cycle became regular I got the pain in the right breast. It’s not infected but it throbs and hurts.
    The specialist said that it’s harmless and just that after ovulation the body prepares for lactation by opening the ducts in the breasts and preparing the nipples. That hurts in those ducts but it will get better over time. I need to keep an eye on any changes and keep getting mammograms.
    For real TMI I find that post-ovulation if I hear a young baby cry with hunger my right breast reacts a lot and my left a little.
    It is less sore now, so I hope that there will be more improvement. One of my ante-natal mum friends had a breast abscess that needed draining under general anaesthetic more than a year ago and she still gets pain in that breast too. She was told the same thing, give it time.
    I have met lots of mums and heard of lots of mums who ended breastfeeding without any of that going on. At all. And a good friend had another baby this June and she had no problems re-starting at all. Easier than the first time.
    Abrupt stopping is quite brutal and I think that all the advice by the La Leche League and other breast-feeding support groups not to stop abruptly is because it can lead to this sort of outcome. It just isn’t something you can avoid always. If you feed on demand you stop when demand stops and that’s not something you control.

  39. Heading off in the tangent re: the boob thing, @Whilhelmina… I recently weaned my daughter (5 mo. old, weaned from breast to bottle) and I strangely have 1-2 ducts on each side still producing milk. I haven’t nursed in 2 weeks (and I weaned slowly, not suddenly). But every few days, the same duct will get all swollen and painful, and I have to hand express in the shower to drain it. In a few days its full and painful again. Its baffling to me, because there’s no nipple stimulation from baby, and I’m only hand expressing enough to relieve the pressure and pain, so why am I still lactating in these 1-2 stubborn ducts?It seems strange. And its annoying. And after reading your comments and your story now I’m not sure if it will ever go away!

  40. Dear All,my daughter is 7 m/o today and we’ve been going through a rough patch lately. After reading a few of Moxie’s answers, I must say I cried a lot today. I can’t say my daughter is a difficult child, because that would be lying. She just needs a lot of attention. She is extremely social and is only happy in the company of other people or children. So that can sometimes be a little tough on the one person that is with her 24/7… ME! But I’m not complaining. She will go to daycare in Sept and I know I will not be sharing so much of her life and development as I do now. But I do believe it will be good for her as she enjoys being around other people so much. I’m just not sure whether she will mind not having as much attention as she does at home. We’ll have to wait and see…
    But on this sleeping topic, until a few weeks ago, we thought we were the luckiest parents in the whole wide world. Our daughter slept her best in her own bed, in her own room, the whole night through, since she was 6 weeks old. But then all hell broke loose at 6 months, when she started waking up every night, several times a night, sometimes every half an hour! Not having really gone through massive sleep deprivation, we were starting to go insane. We try to keep calm as we know babies read that from parents, but it amazed us how she seemed to be fine with the whole shenanigans, as her mood during the day didn’t seem to be affected.
    And then I came across this website… Well, basically, I learned today that we’re not alone and that our daughter is not as weird as we thought. And that it is ok to just make sure she is happy and just wait and see what happens. And that feels soooo good!! Even the cat is happy!!
    So I thank you so much, Moxie, and all your readers who chip in with their experiences.
    Keep up the good work, keeping us sane!!

  41. I am so glad I found this information. WeissbluthHoggFerberSomeMomWhoPostedOnYahoo can kiss my grits too! I am so tired of the experts’ advice. Also, what has been so disheartening to me is other moms. It seems like when I talk to other moms with babies around my son’s age (7 months), they all say their babies sleep through the night. These moms have been saying this since the babies were little too (like 8 weeks and onward). They tell me that they put their babies down at 7 p.m. and they don’t wake until 7 in the morning. I think, “what am I doing wrong.” However when I talk to moms of older children they all tell me it was about 1.5 to 2 years old before their babies sleep through the night. Could these other moms be fibbing a little? Anyway, it’s good to know that I’m not alone. That is all I need to hang in there for Holden. We have decided to let Holden have his process and not do any sleep training. It seems like if we set the guidelines for good sleep habits when he’s ready he will hopefully settle into them. And I figure some day (when he’s a teenager) he’ll be sleeping all day and that might be a whole other issue. They are only babies for such a short time. Although it doesn’t feel like it now, this too shall pass and we’ll be onto something else. Thank you Moxie and all the other moms here for sound advice and honest sharing.

  42. Well, I just found this article and it could not have been better timing! I almost cried in relief as I was reading it! At this moment I am holding my 7 month old daughter who has gone into a complete sleep regression and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I was sure it was my fault and I was a horrible mother, even though I’ve been trying to do everything right. Your spiral explanation made it so much easier to understand and now I feel better equipped to deal with this. Also, your first paragraph was hysterical! Thank you, thank you!

  43. Wow! My daughter is 7 months and has Never slept more than 30 min per nap since 3 months old! I too have been fixated on how to fix her sleep ‘problems’ and tried Everything the ‘experts suggested in their books.. she is the sweetest most happy go lucky baby..Never cries unless she’s having a vaccination or nervous when picked up by a stranger..and I too would feum all day over another 30 min nap these days more like 20min nap…..and I would miss out on enjoying my little girl and her budding personality.. I’ve relaxed these past few days and what a change!! For the both of us :). It really helps make life much more easier when you stop and look to the future.. I have a sweet little girl! Amazing! And Its sad but I’m finnnallly starting to enjoy life as a new mum as sleep deprived as I am.. never slept thru..two months of 5am wake UPS and non independent sleeper etc..and so excited for the future with my little non sleeper ;p thank u Moxie for such a great site ..

  44. Thank goodness for this. My nearly 7.5 month old has gone from one hour naps to 15 min naps for the last 2 weeks. He used to sleep a 4-6 hour stretch at night, too (between 3 and 5 months) but since 5 months has been up 4-6 times a night. He crawled at 6.5 months and is super quick now. I didn’t notice any changes in behaviour with his two teeth, but the development just seems so rapid I guess it’s not surprising. After several weeks of the wakeful nights, I adapted to co-sleep to cope, and now I’m just going to hunker down and wait for these short naps to run their course. So refreshing not to find a blog whose answer is leave them to cry.

  45. Mine is exactly at this stage now. Turning 7 months in a week. I am getting crazy as he was doing 90 min naps before and now it’s 30min and not a minute longer: I can’t stop asking myself where I have gone wrong, what I should do more or better. Thanks so much for this article: It saved me from total panic. It already happened to us exactly a month ago and lasted a week. But it still freaks me out. He had started 2 naps a day, but now he’s back at three and it’s barely enough.

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