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I put my 6-month-old down for the night a little while ago. She was awake when I put her down, and less than ten minutes later with no crying, she was dead asleep. I try this during the day, and she cries until I go get her. She only naps in a couple 15-30 minute bursts.

Her nursery is unfortunately pretty bright during the day even with blinds closed (due to huge windows and a skylight). It's also warmer upstairs during the day.

My main question is: why such a stark difference, and what can I do to make napping more like nighttime sleeping?

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Good question! As a side note, consider yourself somewhat lucky... most parents have the opposite problem (the child goes down for naps fine, but it is difficult to get the child to sleep at night)! –  Beofett Sep 13 '11 at 12:35

3 Answers 3

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Every baby's metabolism differs (just like every child's and adult's!)... she may just not be a napper. Most 6mo infants wake during the night -- the fact that yours is sleeping better than most at night may mean she's getting enough sleep without the naps.

Unless she is acting sleep-deprived in some way, I'd not worry about it, and not try to force a nap routine... doing so may cause her to learn to fight sleep as a habit, and mess up the great bedtime success you've already achieved.

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I noticed that getting the blackout window panels from Target helped my daughter during naptime. Actually, they helped quite significantly. Before I had the money to get her curtains, I would just put blankets on the windows to block out all the light. Then just turn the tv down in the other room and make sure that no light enters her room from the hallway, or a little amount, it will make it feel like night-time. You could always lay on the floor in her room, if you don't have much else to do, and take a nap with her.

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I've considered some way to block the light in her room, but we have sliding glass balcony doors (which we can draw blinds over), and triangular windows on top of those (which have no blinds). –  Sarato Sep 14 '11 at 17:09
    
There is window film that will tint the windows without blinds. I've never used it, but I hear it's just like car window tint. bit.ly/oVGSSo –  jlg Sep 14 '11 at 17:35

Light

Speaking from the experience with my son, sunlight is a major factor. I would highly recommend to find a way to block out the light, and since you commented that this isn't easy, then my next recommendation is to have the nap in a different room which can be darkened.

While napping in a place different from the night bed may require some getting used to, this might even work to your advantage because it clearly signals nap time rather than bedtime, but that's probably a minor side-effect.

Sounds

Aside from the sunlight factor, ambient sounds can also make a difference. I assume that you're already trying to avoid loud or unusual noises ("don't vacuum during nap time," etc.) but you could even introduce new, soothing sounds. We discovered by coincidence that the sound of rain soothes my son very well, so we have a device to softly play "rain" while he sleeps (or at least while he falls asleep). Some kind of white noise or ambient sounds might help your child, too.

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Fun fact: I have a friend who needed the vacuum cleaner in her room in order to fall asleep when she was little. They ended up recording the sound on tape to save wear-and-tear and eletricity . ;) –  Macke Sep 18 '11 at 15:27

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