Baby Nap Challenges
So, you taught your daughter how to sleep, and it has been fantastic for a month, until now. You focused on nighttime sleep because naps were too hard for you. You quit a couple of days into teaching. Now you rock her for each nap. Now, the great nighttime sleep seems to be completely falling apart. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Day sleep and night sleep are two very different kinds of sleep. They are like apples and oranges. They also do not live in the same time zone; think apples and oranges that reside in New York City and India.
It is helpful to visualize sleep as a train. Night sleep is the engine, and nap/day sleep is the caboose. The caboose/nap sleep is coming, but it is trailing behind and will not arrive at the platform at the same time as the front of the train. Nap sleep typically trails behind the success of night sleep by at least three weeks.
It was not that naps were not working; you needed to give them more time. Naps are hard, and teaching naps requires you to have even more mad Zen Master skills and patience than when you taught your child how to sleep at night. Naps will happen, but you need to have faith, commit, and stick with it! The payoff is huge. A well-rested, well-napped child is everything.
As far as your daughter's night sleep breaking down? Think about it; in her mind, sleep is sleep. If she sleeps independently at night but gets rocked during the day for naps, it is a super confusing message. In her mind, she does not differentiate between day sleep and night sleep. She is not thinking, "Oh yeah, I get what they are doing. It's my Ten AM nap, so they rock me."
The inconsistency is the number one factor of why her night sleep is breaking down. Consistency is the most significant factor for sleep success.
Get your plan of action airtight before you start. Put your child to sleep for the night, and each nap, in the same way, each time. Know if you stay the course, are consistent and follow-through; she will do the same too.