Written by Aparna Hari
Babies have unique ways of letting you know that it is time to nap. Yawning, rubbing of eyes, fussy behavior and crying without reason may all indicate that your munchkin is ready to go to bed. But despite feeling sleepy, not all babies want to nap. They want to take advantage of their newfound skills and not sleep at all. So, how to get your baby to nap?
Over-tired and/or overactive babies take more time to settle down to sleep. But no matter what’s ruining your baby’s nap time there are a few other steps to help your baby’s nap get on track and stay there. Sleep training, sleep routine and a consistent sleep schedule are the three important things to keep in mind. Here are some facts that can help you understand how to help your baby to nap well.
In This Article
Most babies get into a proper sleep routine at around 4th months of age or anywhere between 4 to 6 months. This is where the circadian rhythm starts setting in, babies start understanding the difference between daytime and nighttime and sleep for longer stretches at a time.
Before this, babies seem to sleep through most of the day and night only waking up to have milk and poop and pee. Once your baby reaches 4 months of age and is able to nap for longer hours, you can teach them to nap 2 to 3 naps in a day at consistent intervals. This will help them fall asleep at night and sleep through the night with minimal waking up.
Any parent knows how difficult it can get to put a baby to nap, especially when the baby is in no mood to sleep. Still this task is not impossible. A few tips and a lot of patience can help you and your baby get into a comfortable sleep routine. Here are the top 5 tips to get your baby to nap.
Each baby will have unique cues which will let you know that your baby is ready to sleep. Rubbing eyes, yawning, sucking thumb, making faces, getting silent and not wanting to play are some common baby sleep cues. But remember, each baby is different, and some babies can display unique sleep cues too. It is up to you to be able to identify them. Once you sense these signals, you should put your baby to bed so that they sleep before getting overtired and cranky.
Babies tend to sleep and wake up at all sorts of times, but it is important that you let them follow a specific timing for sleep both during the day and at night. This will help you establish a sleep routine for your baby which will come in handy as your baby grows and especially when you move to a new place, or your baby goes through a phase of sleep regression.
Your baby gives you cues that it is time to sleep. Similarly, you should give your baby cues too. Create a wind-down or a bedtime routine for your baby. This can include a bath, a bedtime story and lights off. Commencing this routine will let the baby know that it is time to sleep.
Most babies find it difficult to get to sleep. In such cases, you can take the help of sleep training methods such as cry-it-out method, pick up put down method, fading sleep training method or no-cry sleep training method to help establish a proper sleep training routine for your baby. You can choose a method depending on your baby’s age and the problems you are facing when trying to get your baby to bed.
[Read : Sleep Training a Baby]
Babies tend to not fall asleep when they are over-tired. They tend to get cranky and do not wish to sleep. It is always advisable to let your baby have some alone time before they go to bed. You can let them play alone with the toys. This will help them relax.
Babies need to nap through the day so that they stay well-rested and do not get exhausted before bedtime at night. Maintaining scheduled naps is also an important part of sleep training for babies.
Different babies have different nap and sleep schedules. Given below is a rough guideline on baby naps during the day and sleep duration at nights.
A newborn may sleep for a total of 14 – 17 hours only waking up to drink milk. They will have multiple naps throughout the day and night. Mothers should wake babies up every 2 to 3 hours to feed them. Babies have tiny stomachs and thus need to be woken up constantly and . This schedule may continue till the baby is 3 months old.
At around 4th month of age, your baby’ s circadian rhythm gets set. They may nap about 4 times during the day and sleep for about 9 to 10 hours throughout the night waking up for about 2 times to drink milk. Day naps can vary anywhere between 30 mins and 2 hours. This schedule may continue with minor changes till the baby turns 6 months old.
A 7 to 8 months old baby may stay awake for 2.5 to 3 hours continuously and have 2 to 3 naps during the day. They usually sleep through the night waking once or twice for milk.
A 9 to 12 month baby may stay awake for most of the day with one or two naps. They usually sleep through the night waking up maybe once for feeding. Some babies may want to skip naps altogether but remember that your baby should have at least two naps during the day to maintain their sleep cycle and not get over-exhausted at bedtime during the night.
Here is the age-wise breakup of day naps and night sleeping hours for babies.
|Age||Total Sleeping Hours||No. of Naps||Duration of Each Day Nap||Night Sleeping Hours||No. of Wakings at Night|
|0 to 3 Months||14 – 17 Hours||4 to 5||2 to 3 Hours||8 Hours||3 to 4|
|4 to 6 Months||12 – 17 Hours||3||30 mins to 2 Hours||8 to 10 Hours||2 to 3|
|7 to 9 Months||12 – 16 Hours||2 to 3||30 mins to 2 Hours||11 to 12 Hours||2 to 3|
|10 to 12 Months||12 -14 Hours||1 to 2||1 to 2 hours||11 to 12 hours||1 to 2|
It is common for babies to not want to nap. There may be many reasons why your baby doesn’t seem to be interested in napping. Some of the common reasons include
So, what can you do about it?
Here are some things that can be helpful.
[Read : White Noise For Babies]
Most babies drop napping from 3 to 4 times a day to about 1 or 2 by the time they reach 10 months of age. These naps are of longer duration. Factors such as sleep regression, increased activity levels, a keen interest in the surroundings and a wish to play continually will prevent babies from napping during the day once they reach 9 to 10 months of age.
Parents must remember that at least 2 naps a day are a must. Otherwise, your baby will not get the rest they need to match the energy they spend in various activities. Lack of day naps can cause babies to get too tired and find it difficult to sleep at night.
To sum up, how to get your baby to nap? Sleep training your baby is the first logical step. Your baby must understand that you are particular about their nap schedules are they need to sleep when put to bed. Do ensure that they are active during the rest of the day so that they get slightly tired and get ready to sleep when put to bed.
Some parents resort to cry-it-out method to sleep-train their baby. Many mothers claim success in sleep training their baby with this method. This method may or may not work for your baby since every baby is different. You can let your baby cry it out and let them sleep on their own. But if this does not work after a week, you may need to try other methods.
The healthiest nap time for babies is when they are tired and show signs of sleepiness. Nap timings will vary with the baby’s age. It is always good to put babies to nap after a meal or breastfeed. Avoid naps after 3 PM or late in the evening for older babies as it interferes with their night sleep schedule.
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
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