Why Won’t My Baby Nap??
Why Won’t My Baby Nap??
If baby’s naptime is stressing you out, you are not alone! It is common for naps to be a struggle even after nighttime sleep improves. Here are a few possible reasons why you may be finding nap time a challenge:
1. Baby may be over-tired. When babies get over-tired their stress hormones increase, and they actually have a harder time falling asleep. If you wait until she’s fussy it may be too late. Try to keep a very close eye on her tired cues – you may need to get her down at the very first yawn/eye rub. Or even sooner. Take note of how long it takes for baby to start showing tired signs and try putting her down a few minutes before those signs normally appear.
2. Baby may not be tired enough: Conversely, if she is relatively happy when put down, but just won’t sleep, it is possible she is capable of a longer awake window. Between the ages of newborn and 14 months a baby will gradually move from lasting only 45 minutes between naps to having 2-3 hour awake windows, and eventually closer to 4 hours before bedtime. Of course, every baby is different. Take a look at this chart with average recommended amounts of sleep for each age.
3. Baby may be reaching a new developmental milestone. If she is just learning to roll over or crawl she may be having too much fun to want to nap! If baby keeps rolling into an uncomfortable position, help her practice rolling back during awake times. The same goes for learning to stand: during awake times, help her practice sitting back down on her own. Be patient through this phase, it won’t last forever!
4. Baby’s room may not be conducive to sleep. Ensure her room is VERY dark during naps, with not too many toys/distractions in or near her crib. Use white noise to create a calming effect, and block out any distracting sounds.
5. Baby may not know how to nap on her own. Falling asleep independently is a skill: if baby is used to being rocked or nursed to sleep, she hasn’t learned the ability to fall asleep on her own. Practice putting her down more and more awake, so she can learn to do it on her own.
Of course it’s not always that simple, right?! Don’t worry, there is hope! (Beyond ‘medicinal’ chocolate fudge ice cream for the stress.) For more help with naps, nighttime sleep, and the low-down on sleep training options, attend one of my affordable, weekly webinars or contact me for a personal consultation.