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Help with getting an infant to sleep at daycare

Home Forums Parenting Infant Help with getting an infant to sleep at daycare

This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Cathy Flowers 1 year, 8 months ago.

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    My daughter takes great naps at home, two naps that are 1/12 to 2 hours in length each.  But since she started daycare 6 months ago she has had trouble napping at daycare.  She rarely takes more than one nap and that nap is usually only 30-45 minutes in length.  Once every few months we do get one nap over an hour and once a week she doesn’t nap at all!  It seems that the distractions / noises / etc prevent her from falling asleep and when she does sleep another baby will cry / the phone will ring / etc and wake her up.  And once that happens she can’t go back to sleep.  Her teachers have been great with trying everything we can think of but nothing has worked.  She is so tired and cranky every evening and passes out in my arms during her final feeding.  We have to put her down early which gets her a little extra sleep but means that my husband goes 3-4 days without seeing her because he gets out of work late and I don’t get quality time with her during the week because she is always exhausted.  And it doesn’t make up for missing 3-4 hours of napping each day.  She is happy by nature and so during the day with all of the fun and friends at daycare she smiles and laughs and pushes through.  But once we leave, all bets are off.  On weekends when she gets the naps she needs she is the happiest kid right up till bedtime and such a joy for us to be with.  Are there any recommendations for things to try to help her get better sleep at daycare and bring back my happy child during the week?  Thanks!

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    Does she have a special blanket or toy that she plays with?   My daughter uses the same blanket every night so I bought multiples and leave one at her daycare center and have one at home.  Is the daycare able to isolate her a tad bit away from the other infants so that the noise won’t be an issue?  Or maybe put her in a place where it isn’t as bright during the day.  Falling asleep to peaceful music might also help so when there are other noises in the center it won’t be as noticed since the music is playing.

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    Thanks for the suggestions!  She does have a special blanket…we do the same thing as you with have multiples and leaving one at daycare.  They do try to isolate her when they can but it doesn’t seem to help much.  I will mention the brightness to them and see if that will help.  I think they play music but I will check on that.  Thanks!!!


    I learned the best tip from my son’s infant caregiver: wash your baby’s blanket, then sleep with it for a night or two before returning it to his class for the week.  That way it smells like mommy and daddy and is that much more comforting at nap time.  It worked GREAT for both my sons!

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    We had the exact same problem.  My daughter was totally exhausted and a mess by the time she got home, but was a joy at day care.  She pretty much slept through her evening bottle once she started daycare.  We just had to put her to bed very early and give her good naps on the weekend to catch up.  Yes, we felt like we never saw her, but it didn’t last forever and we figured it’s better to have her healthy and happy than exhausted.  She eventually got used to the noise at day care and started sleeping a little better, but it took several months.  And once she turned a year old and was allowed to sleep on her belly, she started taking great naps at school.

    One thing you may not have tried is a sound machine or white noise machine.  Our kids sleep with them at home and they work great to smooth out the sound environment.  (We use something called "SleepMate".)  To be honest, though, it didn’t make much of a difference at day care – I don’t think they gave it a very good try – but it may be worth a shot.  Good luck!

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    Media Mom

    You don’t mention how old your baby is, but there are a lot of good suggestions from other posters here. A white noise machine is a great idea, and I know they use one in my son’s infant room. If they already use on your baby’s room, see if the teacher will position his crib near the machine. If they don’t use one already, so if they will — or if you can bring in your own "Sleep Sheep," which is a white noise machine that could be velcroed to the outside of his crib. I agree with the parent who said to remember, this won’t last forever, and keep in mind that while it may be rough now, your baby may be better positioned to make the transition to toddler, where they only take one nap, than an infant who is still very dependent on 2 naps a day.

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    The white noise machine is a great idea.  I will talk to her caregivers about that.  I know they don’t use one currently but maybe they can start using one to drown out other noise.  Unfortunately it has been eight months (she started at the center at six months old and she is fourteen months now) and we still haven’t had an improvement.  One 35 minute nap each of the last two days 🙂  I have pretty much given up getting good naps from her at daycare!  She conks out early at night and naps for 4-5 hours each weekend day so I guess that will just need to be enough for now.  We will see if maybe the white noise helps.  Thanks so much for your advice!

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    Hi, she is fourteen months now.  I will see about finding a sleep sheep if the center doesn’t have a white noise option.  Thanks for the recommendation!  I agree that she is probably better positioned to transition to toddler!  We don’t even try for a morning nap any more because she nevers sleeps during that time and was just keeping the other nappers up.  But I would still love for her to take a good afternoon nap!  Maybe white noise will help.  Thanks so much!


    At my center a 14 month old would only take 1 nap per day while in care.  30-45 minutes is short, but not uncommon.  My daughter, now age 3.5, has always been a 45minute-to 1 hour napper at school and a 1.5-3 hour napper on weekends.  I spend a lot of naptimes down in our toddler unit helping with ratio while teachers are on lunch because so many of our current children are short nappers.  What I found with my daughter was that if we just kept her up until bedtime each night instead of giving her an extra nap after she came home, the tiredness caught up about mid-week and she would get a solid 2+hour nap once or twice at school during the week.  As she got older, the naps stayed the same length, but the evening moods got much better.  If you can hold out another month or two, you should see less crankiness at night.


    Priscilla Matos

    My son loves his naps! I put him in a Zipadee-zip sleep sack too, and it just helps him get into sleep mode. Have you considered a zipppy?

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