My question is similar to this one: 10 month old won't nap

At first it seemed that our baby wouldn't nap after she started crawling, but she's also been teething like crazy so it's been hard to pin point the cause. But while we make progress on one front, the lengths at which she is able to go without sleeping doing something else are a little extreme. Our baby can will herself to stay awake despite being put down what we consider early enough, or late into exhaustion.... we recently took a 4.5 hour drive to San Diego, figuring that if we left at her nap time she would fall asleep in the car seat like she used to. Nope, stayed awake the entire time. She isn't crying either, she will just calmly keep herself awake, but she turns into a little manic machine that just starts bouncing everywhere and can't focus on anything.

This keeping herself awake happens in the car, when we're out and about, in her crib, or even holding her and rocking her, even if we give her baby Tylenol. She started keeping herself awake by moving her body, then babbling, and we were able to address these issues more or less. But now it seems like she just refuses to close her eyes if there is any amount of light in the room and is able to keep herself awake simply by having open eyes that dart everywhere.

I've resorted to taking her into a completely dark closet with me, which usually ends up with her going out cold within 5 minutes since I've taken away every conceivable distraction. But once we try to transition her to someplace that isn't completely dark the whole process begins again if she opens her eyes even once.

She is usually able to sleep through the night though. But this seems related to the darkness again as we are able to get the room pretty dark at night, which we aren't able to do during the day despite having blackout curtains.

Update: I got an upvote on this which reminded me that this post exists. I'd like to provide an update.

Our 10 month old who refused to sleep is now a 3.5 year old who refuses to sleep. A week ago we went on a camping trip for the weekend. We left on Friday, she didn't nap. We got the campsite, set up, and tried putting her down at 7. She kept herself and my wife awake til 10pm. At 10:30 I went into the tent and slept until my daughter woke me up at 3am and refused to go back to sleep and kept kicking me and keeping us awake since she didn't want to sleep. We left camping early as we could not do another night of it, and we tried putting our daughter down for a nap on the campground and she started throwing a big fit saying she wasn't tired. So we packed up to leave early and put her in the car, within 10 minutes of her screaming she's not tired in the backseat, she accidentally blinked too long and passed out. But she still doesn't usually sleep in the car, on another trip she has stayed awake through an 11 hour drive from Arizona.

I could give you unlimited examples because our daughter does not want to sleep. Every single time she's fallen asleep has been an accident. If any of you have any advice I'd love to hear it. And note: We now have a son who's 7 months old. That boy does not have any sleeping issues.

  • 2
    It's a shame that this hasn't received any responses, but I think it's symptomatic. It's quite common, in me experience, that kids that age simply need to be carried around until they literally can't keep themselves awake. Some comfort: it passes, eventually.
    – user36162
    Sep 15, 2019 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


We have a similar situation and our toddler naps quickly with the blackout routine but he also falls asleep in the car on his own even when we aren’t expecting it. I’m not sure self-soothing in a ten month old is really a reasonable expectation. You may be able to stick it out until she is a little bit older and more able to learn gradually with Cry It Out or by lying in the room next to her. We still have this challenge ahead of us but my own mother tells me not all intense or bright children are able to shut off and nap. For me I enjoy rocking him to sleep in the dark and singing to him but at some point he will be too big to hold for that, so we may have to try explaining or cajoling at that point.

One more suggestion is an outdoor stroller walk (weather depending, you could try an indoor shopping mall). The glare of looking at things go by seems to have a similar effect as darkness, but that was when he was younger. Good luck.

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