If you ask a new parent what they are struggling with, chances are, most of them will respond with something related to their little one’s sleep! A baby’s sleeping routine is one of the most difficult areas to cope with when you enter parenthood. A baby that sleeps only in short 30-minute bursts, a baby that cries constantly and won’t sleep, a baby that sleeps all day and keeps you up all night—even though most parents try to prepare themselves for these situations, it can be really overwhelming to figure a way out. If you are a new parent and wondering about the reasons your baby won’t nap, and how you can help them fall asleep, we are here with the best tips.
How many naps does my baby need?
Babies sleep for much longer hours than adults. Up to the first 3 months, newborns will sleep around 14 to 18 hours, although in short bursts, and spread throughout the day in around 5 naps or more. At this age, babies generally wake up multiple times during the day, and if your little one is not sleeping at a stretch for more than three hours, do not worry—this is completely normal.
As they grow up, their sleeping hours decrease. A 4 to 6-month-old baby typically sleeps for about 14 to 16 hours, with 2 to 4 naps per day. They start sleeping for longer hours at a stretch during the night.
A 7 to 12-month-old baby should be sleeping more at night, around 10 to 11 hours at a stretch. They should be napping for around 2 hours every day, and either not waking up at all during the night, or at least less frequently.
How long can a baby go without napping?
The wake time or the time your baby can go without napping depends on his/her age. Also, every baby is different, hence their napping routines can also vary. But generally speaking, for the first two months, your baby can go somewhere around 45 minutes to an hour without napping. From 2 to 8 months, this time increases to 1.5-3 hours, and for 9 to 12-month babies, the wake time is 2.5-4 hours.
Why is my baby not napping during the day?
There can be multiple reasons why your little one is refusing to take his/her daytime nap. Here are the most common ones:
Your baby isn’t tired
Babies need naps to recharge themselves and maintain good energy throughout the day. If they are not tired enough, they may keep playing at the time they usually nap. Forcing them to nap in such situations can backfire—they might just end up screaming and throwing a much bigger tantrum! A good idea is to engage them in a quiet play activity and try for a nap again after some time, say about an hour.
Your baby’s naptime routine needs a change
Naptime and bedtime routines help your little one understand that it is time for bed. It is essential to set up a good routine that calms down your baby. A gentle oil massage, a calming bath, and singing lullabies to your baby at around the same time every day can create a relaxing downtime routine for both of you. An oil massage with a blend of natural oils, such as our Nourishing Baby Massage Oil, also helps you to bond better with your baby.
Your baby is hungry
If your baby is waking up too soon from his naps or struggling to fall asleep, hunger might be the issue. You may want to consider if you need to increase his/her feeds. Babies’ feeding and sleeping needs change quite a lot within the first year, so it might be a little tough to adjust quickly to their routines. But if the extra feeding helps your baby stick to his napping routine, it’ll help you to get some more downtime for yourself too.
Your baby’s sleep environment is not right
Sometimes the problem may not be with your baby, but her environment instead. Make sure to dress your baby in season-appropriate clothing and keep her room comfortably cool and dark. You can also try using white noise to help your baby fall asleep. Till your baby completes a year, ensure that she is sleeping in a crib/bassinet on her back without any loose objects like blankets or cushions in the crib. The only things inside her crib should be a firm mattress with a clean sheet, and a pacifier, if needed—anything else can cause more harm than good.
Your baby is going through a developmental change
Babies go through a lot of changes in a short period of time, especially in the first year. During their transitional phases, their sleep routines can be impacted. If your baby is suddenly refusing to fall asleep at his usual nap times, and it continues for a few days, it could be that your baby is going through a sleep regression. This usually occurs when your child is going through major developmental changes. As your baby starts to become more aware of their environment and learn new skills like rolling over, crawling, or standing up, they just want to practice them–even instead of sleeping! Sleep regressions can also be caused due to other reasons like a change in the time zone or a certain illness. It should last only for a few weeks, and even though there will be many sleepless nights for you, remember that it will get better! If this phase lasts for more than a month, consult your doctor.
What age do babies drop daytime naps?
Infants and children initially need daytime naps along with night time sleep to fulfil their sleep requirements for holistic growth and well-being. As they grow up, however, their bodies are able to stay energized and healthy with shorter sleep. There is no particular age at which babies drop their daytime naps, but there are a few signs that indicate that your child is now ready to go without those naps:
Your baby does not want to fall asleep at his/her usual nap times:
If you are used to your baby falling asleep without any difficulty at specific times during the day, but now your baby just wants to keep playing or simply does not want to fall asleep, it can mean that she has enough energy for the day without napping. If your child is fussy during this time, she might still be needing some naptime. But if she shows no signs of tiredness or crankiness during the day even without her daily naps, it usually means that she is ready to stop napping altogether.
Your baby has difficulty falling asleep at night:
Daytime naps can delay your child’s bedtime if they don’t really need the naps. Try to shorten the duration of your baby’s daytime naps to help them feel sleepy at night.
Your baby is waking up early:
If daytime napping is making your kid wake up earlier than his morning wake time, it can mean that he is feeling fully rested with lesser sleep, and might be ready to drop nap time. If your child still needs some nap time, you can try to have shorter naptimes for him.
Your baby is not sleepy or cranky without napping:
If your baby feels energized to go about her day without daytime naps, she may be ready to drop daytime naps.
A baby’s sleeping habits are the trickiest to adjust to as a new parent. When their sleep routines are disrupted, it can easily exhaust you and make you feel overwhelmed. This is why you need to understand the reasons behind these changes. We hope that this blog post helps you understand why your baby is refusing to nap and how you can help them fall asleep.
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