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Q&A: My 9 month old will only nap in her crib

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D


Q My baby is 9 months old. She is breastfed, and on a very good schedule. She takes two naps a day anywhere from 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. each nap. My problem is that she can only take naps in her crib, where it is dark and quiet. She is a very active child and very interested in everything around her. Whenever I go out, and it's her naptime, she cannot fall asleep in her stroller. She is fussy, and I know it is because she is tired, but she is so energized by everything around her. It's frustrating, because I feel like my time is so limited. I do try holding her, but she gets very squirmy, so I end up just going home and putting her to bed and I just don't ever get anything done. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your help.

A This is a difficult problem and probably one you will just have to decide is right for you. She just has her sleep associations that allow her to fall asleep, and these include being in her crib and somewhat dark. Because she has a heightened awareness of her environment, it is hard for her to fall asleep in new environments. Remember, you can not control if a baby will fall asleep, you can only offer conditions that will help them fall asleep. Some babies do seem to be able to fall asleep anywhere, and she is just not one of them! I doubt you will be able to change her for now. You may need to resign yourself to this fact, and do what you need to do in life. Hopefully, she will go to bed earlier at night on those days. Then, alternate days where you get home around naptime so she can get some good naps, at least a few times a week. You may also want to just hire a sitter during her naptimes so you can get what you need done.

Good luck.

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at

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neena Dec 16, 2011 04:37:42 PM ET

We r having the same problem with our 9 month son. he needs his crib, sound machine and blinkie. great sleeper in his own environment...but won't sleep in the car. makes it difficult to get anything done

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Milly Feb 2, 2011 01:56:33 PM ET

Our 9 month old is the same and we are considering going on vacation in march, i don't want to be stuck indoors, so have been trying to come up with ideas. we haven't tried it yet but we have brought a blackout for her pushchair, so fingers crossed.

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ro Nov 24, 2009 02:36:14 PM ET

Try wearing your baby! i find that popping her into my ergo helps to settle my 9 month old wherever we are. i can run errands through her nap time, and although she won't sleep, she is much happier being worn!

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