When Your Baby Won’t Nap
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your baby would take a nap so that you can get a break and so she’s less cranky when she wakes up?
In the perfect world, your baby would be napping when you want her to. The reality is that many babies are horrible when it comes to napping.
They would rather spend time with you than go to bed. They don’t want to go to sleep and miss out on all the wonderful things that are happening around them.
In any given day there are many things that can make it difficult for your baby to settle down into a good nap.
The following tips will make it easier for you to get your baby down for that nap you both so desperately need.
Unpredictability of Naps
Don’t let naps become an unpredictable occurrence in your home. If you don’t have any idea about exactly when you’ll be putting your baby down for a nap, then neither will your baby know when it’s naptime.
Set a routine that you’re going to stick to for a while. It’s normal for newborn babies to nap off and on all day long. However, once your baby is about three months old she’ll be able to sleep for longer periods of time.
This is the time when you need to start a napping schedule that you’re going to stick with so that your day is more predictable.
If you put your baby down for a nap right after lunch every day then she’ll start to recognize the routine. Babies nap better and longer when they have a napping schedule.
The Inconsolable Baby
If you wait to put your baby down for her nap until she seems to be really tired you just might end up with a screaming baby instead.
Don’t wait until she’s overtired and cranky. Putting her down for a nap will often lead to a screaming baby that is inconsolable because she’s overtired and just wants to be with you.
Overtired babies have a harder time falling asleep than babies who are put down before they reach that point.
Learn to read the signs that your baby is ready for a nap, such as rubbing her eyes or when she starts to seem a bit frustrated with everything she does.
If she’s crossed the line and is now overtired you can try swaddling her or taking for a walk in her stroller to do what you can to get in that nap.
When Your Baby Won’t Fall Asleep
While there are some babies who just fall asleep right after you kiss them and put them to bed, some babies just don’t want to fall asleep when you put them down for a nap.
You’ll leave the room and hear her fussing around for what seems like ages before she finally goes to sleep for what is usually a very short nap.
There are things that you can do so that she recognizes the transition between being awake and that it’s now time for a nap. You need to give her the cues that it’s time to sleep.
Make sure that the room where she’s napping is dark. Soothe her and calm her down before you put her into her crib.
If she doesn’t seem at all tired then you might want to try pushing her naptime back by about 15 minutes.
Keeping to a schedule is just as important for babies who don’t want to fall asleep as it is for those babies who are good little nappers.
The Frustration of Short Naps
Nothing is more frustrating than when you finally get your baby down for a nap and she only sleeps for about 15 minutes.
Babies need to sleep for at least 45 minutes in order for their nap to be of any benefit to them.
Your baby is only going to sleep longer than 15 minutes if she can fall asleep after being woken up naturally by the shift in her sleep cycle.
If she wakes up after only a few minutes don’t go in to see her right away. She needs to learn how to soothe herself back to sleep.
This might mean that you have to let her cry for a while but this may be the only way you break her of the habit of napping for a few minutes and then waking up thinking that her nap is over.
Napping Anywhere but at Home
Some babies seem to be able to nap just fine when they’re in the car or in the stroller. Then when you try to get them to nap at home they refuse to have anything to do with a nap.
The answer to this is to stay close to home as much as you can. Change your schedule so that you’re not running around when you know that she’s going to be tired.
Do what you can to keep her awake in the car so that once you get home you can cuddle her and put her straight down for a nap.
Sometimes you have to predict ahead of time how you can outwit your baby when it comes to getting her to nap!