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Napping Your Baby

Not only can it be difficult to get your baby on a night time sleep schedule, but many people worry about the daytime sleep schedule as well. Some babies love to nap and go down easily without many problems for mom and dad. Other babies and toddlers fight naptime making it a very stressful and difficult time for their parents.

napping-your-baby.jpgNapping a Newborn
When your baby is first born, getting him to take “naps” will seem like a piece of cake. Your baby will mostly sleep anyway, so getting him to rest shouldn’t be a battle. Most babies will fall asleep during feedings wake just in time for the next feeding and a diaper change. This is the time of your baby’s life that you will think your baby is “so easy” and perfect. As they get older naptime might become a little more difficult.

Napping a Three Month Old
By the time your baby’s three month birthday has come around, he will be awake more and possibly trying to put himself on a schedule. During this time you may find naptime becoming increasingly more frustrating as your baby is napping at different times of the day and for different durations. One day you may get a four hour nap out of him which starts at 9am, and the next day he may only doze a few times for 10 minutes at a time until three in the afternoon when he naps for three hours. This flexible nap schedule your baby could be on can get frustrating for you and can make it hard to get things done during the day.

Napping a Six Month Old
Not only has your baby hit a ton of milestones by six months, he is probably on a regular nap schedule throughout the day. Most babies will be waking up and going to bed at night about the same time, and taking a couple of naps a day for a couple of hours each. These will normally be in the morning and afternoon. At this point it becomes much easier for mom and dad to plan outings as well as meals in the house, because they know when their baby will be awake, and when he will be asleep.

Napping a One Year Old
Most one year olds are still taking a couple of naps a day at this point; however the naps may not be lasting as long. Your baby is probably up walking, running, and very interested in the world around him. It may be hard to get your baby to actually settle down and take a nap, when there is so much else that they would love to do. Enjoy the down time you do have however, because it may not last much longer.

Napping an 18 Month Old
By the time your baby is 18 months old he probably would have cut out one of his naps. Instead of a mid-morning and mid-afternoon nap, he will probably just be taking his afternoon nap, although it may have moved closer to noon or right after lunch. It also may have gotten longer. Where your baby may have only been sleeping an hour to an hour and a half in the afternoon, he could possibly be sleeping 3 hours now. Make the most of this time during your day and get stuff done.

Napping a Two to Three Year Old
Sometime during your baby’s second and third birthday it is highly likely that he will no longer be taking naps. There is entirely too much going on in his world and too much to see and do. You will put him in his crib or toddler bed and he may sit and play for the two hours he is there instead of napping. Your peace and quiet may be coming to an end. The good news is that since your child still needs at least 12 hours of sleep a day, it might be possible to put him to bed early, around six in the evening and have him sleep all night. This will give you that free time in the evenings to get done things that you were not able to get done during the day.

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8 Comments on "Napping Your Baby"

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[…] the park, to get ice cream or for a walk — just the two of you). Also, use the baby’s naptime to read, sing, dance, play, and talk to your older […]

8 years 8 months ago
My son is 14 months now!! He transitioned himself to one 3 hour nap 2 months ago. He sleeps from 7 (30) pm to 6(7) am. Give or take. He slept threw the night at 4 months to about 9 months, than started to wake up once or twice and still wakes up from time to time. Just needs me to rub his back for a minute or two to let him know i am still here. My advice would be to let baby tell you when she/he’s ready for bed. Don’t sleep train, it will only make matters harder… Read more »
9 years 6 months ago

I’ve got an 18 month old daughter who switched to one nap a day a couple of months ago. One afternoon nap for 2-3 hours really seems to work well. You probably don’t want your girls sleeping til 5pm…it might start making bedtime more difficult.

My problem the last week has been that my daughter has decided to play instead of nap, so she is cranky until bedtime. She will sleep from about 8:30 pm until 9:30 am which is good…but I wish she would take her nap!

9 years 7 months ago

I have a question. I have twin baby girls who are 18 month old now. They usually have two naps (morning for 2 hours, and afternoon for 1 hour). They sleep from 8pm to 6:30 am or so.

Lately it becomes very difficult for them to go to sleep in the afternoon nap. Sometimes it takes a hour for them to come down in bed and they usually sleep until 5pm or so. I am thinking it might be time for me to reduce their nap to only once a day and hopefully lengthen the nap time.

Any suggestions?


9 years 7 months ago

For a 3 months old baby, she probably needs a lot of more sleeps (around 16 to 20 hours?). So a couple of 30 min naps seem to be on the very short end. You might want to encourage her to sleep much more. It’s important for her brain and growth.

9 years 10 months ago

Thanks..My little 3 months baby gets nap times just so little, a few times for 30 mins/day but she usually sleeps thru the night for 6-7 hours.Is her nap times normal ?

[…] will be well rested and not hungry. If your baby is on a schedule and you know when he should be napping, try to schedule the party between naps. Don’t make the party last too long. Your baby has a […]

11 years 14 days ago

Thank you, I have been stressing about my 3month old baby’s random napping patterns. I was wondering if I should force her into a schedule even though doing so didn’t seem possible. This article helped me to realize that her daytime naps are normal and that scheduled napping might come on its own with time.

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