Daytime Nap Sleeping Tips for Baby

By Misty on in Baby Sleep Help Baby Sleep Naps with 6 Comments

Daytime Nap Sleeping Tips for Baby
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Baby naps can be that time a day that you really look forward to, a time when you can actually take a moment to rest as well. Many will have you believe that your baby’s daytime naps are common place, that they simply sleep when they need to and will somehow establish a regular routine of napping. You though have learned that for most, baby sleep is anything but regular and routine. Babies from newborn to toddler can have very unique sleep patterns both during the day and at night. There are no two babies even in the same family who have the same baby napping patterns.

That is where we here at Sweet Sleep Baby can help. We understand that daytime naps are different than the way your sweet baby sleeps at night and we’ve put together a few sleeping tips for baby’s daytime napping.

The number of naps my baby should take

You have probably asked “how many nap should I let my baby take?” The answer to that question depends on the age of your baby. Newborn babies may seem to sleep frequently in the form of many short naps all through the day and night. But with time their sleep intervals can become more predictable and structured.

It is common for babies under the age of six months to take three or four naps per day and it is advisable for them to do so. Your young baby should get between 2 to 3 hours of naptime sleep each day, if not they may become cranky and fussy which is a sure sign that they are over-tired. This lack of sleep can also interrupt their eating schedules and their ability to sleep through the night.

Between the ages of 6 to 12 months your baby will shorten their daytime naps to just two per day, one in the morning and one in the early afternoon. As they get closer to 12 to 18 months of age the morning nap may go away but the afternoon nap time may become longer, sometimes up to three hours.

Most should continue the afternoon nap until about 5 years of age to help stay rested. Again watch for clues from your child as each is unique – some 8 month olds still require three naps while some 3 year olds stop napping all together. It is their behavior when awake that will indicate if they are getting enough naptime sleep.

Preparing your baby for naps

The best way to prepare for baby naps is by setting the mood. Start by calming down their activities from rambunctious play to story time or some type of quiet activity in order to set up a ritual of prepping for nap time. This could also include adding soothing music and dimming the amount of light in their room. Often you will find that they are giving off signs of becoming drowsy such as rubbing their eyes or starring off at nothing in particular.

When this happens lay them in a standard napping place such as their crib with the same nighttime securities in place. This is also true when they are 4 or 5 years of age and transition to a larger bed. You need to create an environment conducive to daytime napping that they will find comforting and inviting.

Scheduling your baby naps

When at all possible, set a schedule and stick to standard times for baby naps. You will find that they will follow patterns better if you provide regular times for eating, sleeping, and playing. With any luck this schedule will match your cutie pie’s own natural body clock.

Change their activities when nearing nap times for better baby sleep. They will begin to recognize the change in their surroundings and adapt their napping schedule to match. If times are interrupted, try to get them back on schedule as soon as possible so as to not alter what you have put in place.

When All Else Fails

Keep in mind that baby sleep is sometimes full of changes and interruptions. It can be altered by temporary health concerns such as minor colds or a change in their environment such a when visiting family.

As parents of young babies you soon realize that the old adage of sleeping like a baby does not mean restful, routine baby sleep. Training your little bundle of joy to take scheduled daytime naps can be quite challenging and place a strain on anyone’s patience.

Simply remember that your baby must feel ready for sleep and this can be encouraged by adhering to routines and rituals, and making daytime naps as comfy cozy as possible.

If there is a way we can help you and your baby more please leave us a comment below.

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  1. Nate

    April 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm · Reply

    Although, I am not a parent yet, I know the importance of having naps for babies. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Misty

      April 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm · Reply

      Thank you Nate! And don't worry, we will be here when and if you do take the plunge :)

  2. Edie Dykeman

    April 23, 2014 at 1:10 am · Reply

    Good information for new parents. Wish I had that info when my girls were babies. I was definitely a newbie!

    1. Misty

      April 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm · Reply

      Thanks Edie....We were all newbies at one time. I sure do wish Google was around to answer my questions when my first kids were born. Did I just age myself? lol

  3. Bonnie Gean

    April 23, 2014 at 3:34 am · Reply

    I disagree with the 3-year old not needing a nap at all anymore. That may work for parents, but the child should continue napping up until Kindergarten years. Heck... when I went to school, we were told to put our heads down on the desk and we napped at school during class! If the educational system felt it was necessary to give 5 and 6 year old children a nap during school hours, a 3-year old certainly needs to get nap time in at home, too! Just my 2 cents!

    1. Misty

      April 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm · Reply

      Some absolutely do Bonnie, that's why above, I first mentioned that most should continue until they are around age 5. But there are some kids, even at the young age of 3 who's sleep patterns are much different and may not need a nap. For example, right now my daughter who is only 17 months, is going through a phase where she is sleeping in until 11AM or sometimes noon. She's still going to bed at regular time, but she's requiring more sleep right now so she's sleeping in. However, now that she's sleeping in until noon on some days, she's not napping during the day before going to bed at 7. It really all depends on the child.

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