how can I get my 15 month old to nap properly and without drama?

Kiri - posted on 07/20/2014 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Ok so I got myself into a pickle with my 15 month old. I fell pregnant when she was about 5 months old and when my girls father left me I got pretty depressed and felt overwhelmed and was sure my now 15 month old would be very jealous of her little sister. In reality she isn't and loves her very much. Always giving her cuddles and kisses and helping me gently rock her or burp her. But back to the topic at hand! While I was pregnant I was tired a lot and so we always napped together. Now I need to get her to nap on her own in her own nap. Thing is she is used to nursing all nap time and cuddling up with me. This just doesn't work anymore with her little sister now here and needing me too. Then theirs house chores and I would like to take a shower with out her in the room opening the shower curtain so the whole bathroom ends up wet.... How do I go about this? Ive been trying sitting down with her and nursing her while I read her a chapter of a book but its not working she just screams. I leave her for 15 minutes then I go in and rock her in my arms then leave her again but I feel like going back in makes her cry louder and seems to give her more motivation. I don't know what to do I don't like the cry it out method but is it the only thing that will work? Do I just leave her to cry for however long?

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Chet - posted on 07/21/2014

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One of the best things about having kids this close together is that the older child usually copes extremely well with the arrival of the new baby. A very young toddler will either act like the baby doesn't exist, or they'll show a lot of positive interest.

The bad thing is that you essentially have two babies at the same time... but not like twins. Instead, you've got two babies at very different stages of development.

Our first was 16 months when our second was born, and our third was 17 months when our forth was born. My husband also had to go away to work when I was pregnant with our third, and again when our forth was two months old.

I would very seriously consider not fighting this battle with your 15 month old. If it's possible for her to nap once you get the baby down for her nap, or for you to nurse the baby in bed and have your daughter curl up with the two of you so you can all cuddle together while she naps, do that. Or if you're open to tandem nursing that would be another option. Or put the baby in a carrier, put your 15 month old in the stroller, and go for a walk if she'll fall asleep and nap in the stroller.

You need to be creative and find solutions that work for everybody. I always felt that there was too much to do to waste time and energy on an uphill battle with kids this age.

What usually worked for me were things that included all the kids somehow. I found it difficult to go back and forth between kids, so as much as possible, I worked to make things a group effort. Often, I could figure out a way to be there for two at the same time in some capacity. So there was a lot of reading and singing to the toddler while the baby nursed... or me, the baby and the toddler all napping together... or me giving the toddler a bath while the baby used the Jolly Jumper in the bathroom doorway... or the baby sitting in a baby seat in the middle of the table while the rest of us ate.

As for the shower... I feel your pain. There were times when, if I knew we would be at my parents' place that day, I'd just wait to shower there so they could watch the kids and I could get 15 minutes alone in a bathroom with the door closed. If somebody came over to visit, they could read a book to the toddler while I showered!

Toddlers often love water play. One thing to try would be to bring a chair into the bathroom for you daughter to stand on, put a few inches of water in the sink, and give her some smaller tub toys to play with in the sink. Or you could try having a box of special toys to give her in the bathroom when you have a shower. Although, at that age, pulling back the shower curtain when the shower is on is pretty hard to compete with!

The good news is that 15 month olds are still developing very quickly. Things that are an issue right now she could outgrow in a couple of weeks. Sometimes you just need to be patient, and try again later. She may be more open to new nap routine in a month or two. Don't feel like what's happening right now is going to be your reality forever.

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