XP: Napping on the way home from daycare — The Bump
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XP: Napping on the way home from daycare

Those who have babies in daycare, how do you deal with this?  DS almost always falls asleep on the way home from daycare and will take a pretty long nap if I just let him sleep.  The problem is, I'd rather he go to bed early so he can get some good sleep since I have to wake him up at 6 or so.  I know babies are "supposed" to drop that third nap at around 6 months, so I'd prefer he didn't fall asleep, but he's exhausted from daycare and I can't keep him awake.

What do you do?

I'm REALLY trying to get him to sleep better.  Right now he sleeps around 6:30 PM - 5 or 6 AM.  Some nights he only wakes once (usually around 4 for a bottle) and other nights he wakes 5 or 6 times.  His naps are TERRIBLE, both at home and at daycare - he'll nap twice a day (always at different times) for 30 minutes.  He's cranky most of the time because he's overtired.  I'm hoping if I can get him on a better schedule, as Ferber suggests, his sleep will correct itself.  I don't want to CIO with him if I can avoid it - I'd much rather tweak his schedule so that I'm putting him in bed at the appropriate times.
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Re: XP: Napping on the way home from daycare

  • We commute an hour to work each way.  LO's daycare is right on-site at my work.  She is not the best napper at daycare.  She'll do about an hour from 11-12. 

    She sleeps 12 hours straight each night and naps the entire commute both ways.  I actually like this schedule.  My LO is extremely active as well.  She plays all day long, crawls, cruises and almost taking her first steps unassisted.  She's tired after daycare. 

    We are happy with this schedule for the time being.  We're moving in a few weeks and our commute to my work and her daycare will be about 10 minutes.  I am wondering how her nap schedule will change.  We'll see. 

    I'm not so adamant about her dropping a nap.  I let her sleep and eat on demand, and will continue to do so.  It sounds like your LO is sleeping all night long, so what is the problem?  To answer your question though, I don't think it's possible to keep a tired baby awake during the commute home after a full day at daycare. 

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  • What if you tried just getting him ready for bed as soon as you get home (whether he wakes up first or not)?  Would he go to sleep for the night whenever you get home?  If he's barely napping, maybe he just needs an earlier bedtime?

    We just kind of rolled with it at that age because not much we did seemed to help.  DD didn't STTN until she was over 10 months, and napped like crap until she was almost 1.5.  If she fell asleep in her infant carrier, we brought her in the house and she would typically wake up within 10 or 15 minutes because the car wasn't lulling her to sleep.  But she took that after-daycare catnap for a long time. 

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  • My baby is a bit younger than yours and until this week was doing a post daycare nap on the way home.  This week so far I've noticed that she stays awake in the car, and ends up going down really well at 7.  This morning she actually slept in for me and I had to wake her up to get changed an fed before daycare.  It was great to have the morning to myself to get ready.  She sort of just did this herself and hopefully it continues. 


    Are you doing an 11pm feed?  If not, try it.  Have him stay up a little then with a diaper change and long feed.  It might help to correct his sleep pattern without having to do CIO.  Good luck. 

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  • When my son was that age, he often fell asleep in car on the way home, around 5 pm. I'd bring him inside (still asleep) and he'd usually sleep for another 30-60 minutes. Then he'd wake up, we'd do dinner/bath/nursing, and he'd go to sleep for the night around 8 pm.

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  • image laurakaz13:
    It sounds like your LO is sleeping all night long, so what is the problem?
    The problem is that he's VERY inconsistent with his sleep. He wakes up often at night (sometimes 4-5 times) and needs to be rocked back to sleep. His naps are terrible both at daycare and at home, so he's tired and grouchy all the time.

    I'm reading Ferber's book, and he really stresses the importance of a consistent schedule in developing good sleep habits. We dont really have a schedule due to daycare. I don't want to let him cry it out without laying the foundation for him to sleep successfully. I just want him to be happy, and now he's clearly not.

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  • I just started reading Ferber's book as well.  DD is not a great napper and never has been.  She takes about three naps at daycare ranging anywhere from 20 minutes to 70 minutes.  I know I cannot really control her schedule at daycare but we are pretty "strict" about her schedule at home.  Everynight we start our bedtime routine between 6:15 and 6:30 and in bed by 7:15 at the latest.  She knows what to expect as we follow the same bedtime steps everynight, except the night she gets a bath.  On bath nights I start her routine a little earlier.   

    I do let her sleep on her way home from daycare but I also only have about a 15-20 minute commute.  Sometimes she will stay asleep in her carseat when we get home but usually she wakes up when we step in the door.  The little nap doesn't seem to affect her going down at night.  So, depending on the length of your commute I don't think that nap should have too much of an effect on him going down at night. 

    Since following Ferber's method I have found DD to be much happier in the morning and when I pick her up from daycare.  We both know what our routine is when we get home at night and it has made for a much happier and more enjoyable evening.  Good luck!


  • Our drive home from day care is only about 10 minutes but DD usually falls asleep.

    I let her sleep for a few minutes when we get home so that I can unpack her bag, take off my coat, go to the bathroom, etc. Then, I take her out of the seat and change her diaper. That usually wakes her up for about an hour of playtime. Then, she takes a bath, has her bottle and goes to bed.

  • Our almost 11 month DD  is woken up around 6:20am. she takes 2 naps at daycare, 30min in morning, 2 hours in afternoon.  She STILL takes a nap on the commute home (it's about an hour).  We get home at 6:15, do our evening routine and she's ready for bed around 7:30-8:00. 

    On the weekend, she'll only take two naps, but the morning nap is about 2 hours as well.

    Talk to your daycare provider about trying to get better at naps.  They should have lots of experience and techniques to discuss, and should work with your son to get some better selep.

    And keep looking at that Ferber book.  Sometimes our baby is TIRED and will yell, cry and resist rocking/stories.  and as soon as we put her in her crib she'll cry and yell into her blankets.  But once we leave the room, she'll give a few more squeeks and squaks and then quietly drift off.  Not all babies are the same, but I wanted to share our positive experience/results from doing Ferber.

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  • We are almost a year and the girls still sleep on the way to and from daycare (about 45 minutes).

    Our schedule is wake at 6:30 (somtimes I wake them and sometimes they attempt to wake me at 6:15). Sleep in car from 7:15-8.

    At DCP, they sleep about 45 minutes in the morning and about an hour in the afternoon (when at home it's about 90-120 minutes per nap). Then they sleep in the car from 5-5:45.

    They go down for the night at 7 and sleep all night.

    We have had issues throughout the months of one waking at night for various reasons. If they are actually sick is the only time I pick them up in the night. I know you don't want to CIO and yes it sucks, but teaching him that when he wakes up and cries that mommy will come rock him doesn't help him either. Maybe you can try methods that involve going in and patting his back until he settles, etc.

    Also, I'd actually encourage him to sleep on the way home and as long as he wants in the evening. It sounds like he's not getting enough sleep so I'd work on getting the right amount of sleep in any way you can get it and then when you have a non-sleep deprived baby attempt to change the schedule.

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  • We only live about 5mins from daycare, if he's so exhausted he falls asleep on the ride home, I let him nap...course that was when he was in the infant carrier ...and he'd sleep for about 30mins in that after we got home.

    Now he's in a rear facing convertible seat, and he doesn't sleep through me trying to get him out of the car seat.

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  • I normally let her sleep on the way home and then take her in the house.  Typically she wakes up when I bring her in, but sometimes she'll stay asleep for 30ish minutes.  Our house is pretty loud due to our toddler, so she normally doesn't sleep longer than that.  It doesn't seem to affect her ability to fall asleep at night, so I don't mind her sleeping on the way home.
  • Sleep begets sleep.  I'd let him snooze on the way home (you can't really stop it, anyhow).  I usually would let the kids sleep a little when we got home, but you could always just wake him up when you get home and put him to bed at the normal time. 

    You can still have a schedule, even with daycare.  I found with both kids that putting them down for the first nap 1.5-2 hours after they woke for the day worked best.  I think daycare tries to keep them up too long, sometimes, so I would just suggest to them that they put him down pretty early.  Second nap is usually about 3 hours after they wake from the first nap.

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