Episode 102: How To Manipulate Your Baby’s Nap Schedule

4-16 months

Apr 9, 2020

Are you struggling with inconvenient nap times and need a change? How do you change your baby’s nap schedule? In this blog post, I’m sharing how I manipulated my daughter’s nap schedule so I could have peace, sanity, and work time! Happy life, right? But, I do want to get truthful with you guys—we don’t have naps anymore in the Campbell house, but we used this strategy a few years ago with our girls.

How to Adjust Your Baby’s Nap time

So I have two girls— Ellie and Hattie. When we first moved to Virginia, our Ellie was three weeks old and we lived with my parents for eight months as we figured out where we wanted to build a house and find a job.

While we were living with our parents with two girls 19 months apart, Hattie was on a two-nap schedule and Ellie was on one. I was stuck at home all day with napping children! Does this resonate with you? I literally needed to change because when Hattie woke from her first nap, Ellie would be getting ready for her only nap of the day. When she woke from her nap, Hattie would need her second nap. Basically, my whole day was napping.

Since we lived at home with my parents, I needed to be able to get out of the house and go to the gym. But, of course, all of the gym classes were during nap times and I was desperate for a change. I felt confident I could manipulate Hattie’s nap time.

As soon as I put Hattie down for her nap at 9:30 am, I would get all of our gym stuff ready to go and wake her at 10, after a 30-minute nap. We’d head straight to the car, go to the gym, and then I’d have the childcare workers give her the bottle.

I’d work out, return home for Ellie’s nap and then prepare for Hattie’s second nap. So yes, my baby only got a 30-minute morning nap, but I needed to get some space and a break.


  • 7am: Up for the day
  • 9:20am: Baby in crib for Nap 1 (8 month old)
  • 9:30am: Get toddler ready to go, pack bottle, snack, and diaper bag
  • 10:00am: Wake baby up from nap (total of 30 minutes)
  • 10:15am: Arrive at gym childcare
  • 12:15pm: Quick lunch at home after gym
  • 12:45pm: Toddler down for Nap (2hr)
  • 1:30pm: Baby in crib for Nap 2 (8 month old)
  • 3-3:30pm: Baby up from nap
  • 6:30pm: Bedtime routine
  • 7:00pm: Both in bed for the night

Sleep Training Doesn’t Have to be Restrictive

There are countless times I have to tell the parent: please stop tracking, stop logging, just stop. Because you can get so obsessed with their sleep. Thankfully, Hattie was easygoing and we made it work with this nap trick! I have no idea how this would have happened with Ellie because she was a little bit more sensitive to sleep, hence why I became a sleep consultant.

There are some babies who are a little bit more needy and this may not work for them, but you can try it.

I manipulated her naps on the days that I wanted to go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Occasionally, I would go to a MOPS group and do a similar sleep schedule. Maybe for you it’s a preschool drop off, gym, or music class for your toddler.

So I want to encourage you that if you’re feeling trapped right now, and you didn’t realize that you could do this—yes, you can. Here’s your permission slip, manipulate your child’s nap.

Maybe you wake them up after 30-45 minutes, which is one sleep cycle. Get your kid up and then move on with your day. Go outside, go to a park, or go run around.

If you are not taking care of yourself, then everything else is going to start to crumble. No matter how strong you think you can be and how emotionally resilient you think you are, you’re the one I care about the most.

Honestly, it’s going to be some trial and error. Like I said, not every kid is the same and sleep is not black and white. Whatever it is, go for it. And then tell me, I want to know, I LOVE hearing your stories. There’s a reason that every single Monday on Instagram we do sleep wins.

It’s because I fully believe that we have to celebrate the fact that your kid is a great sleeper. And I also do this because I think it’s amazing to hear these stories and even people who have great sleepers tell me they love reading other people’s stories.

More from Little Z Sleep Consulting

I’m so glad that you found this blog post because I’m not the only person selling online sleep training programs, but I do believe that we have an incredible way of delivering personal and helpful information through our podcasts, blogs, and YouTube channel.

I put out podcasts like this about manipulating your child’s nap schedule because I don’t ever want you to feel like you sleep train and now you’re in a prison.

It’s the opposite. When you teach your child how to go to sleep, you can have freedom and flexibility.

Until Next time,

Sweet dreams


How to change your child's nap schedule | Little Z Sleep Consulting

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