We’ve all been there, right? The baby is tired. You know it, and she knows it. And yet she still won’t nap! Why is that? And what can you do about it? If these are questions you’re asking yourself, then read on!
Naps can be frustrating
There’s no doubt about it- naps can be frustrating! A baby that hasn’t napped is going to be cranky, and the chances of an unsettled night ahead are higher too. An overtired baby finds it hard to settle for sleep, and is more likely to wake in the night for this reason too. So you want to get naps right, and when they’re a little skewed it can be really hard work!
Naps can also be frustrating because your baby is constantly changing her needs, her routine and her schedule. This is normal but that doesn’t make it any easier! Then throw into the mix teething or illness, and the whole thing can become pretty miserable!
Some babies find it hard to nap during the day, and that’s just the way it is. Remember that your baby’s temperament has a lot to do with how she sleeps, so often it’s part of their personality to just fight naps. Fun! Read this post on how your baby’s naps affect night time sleep.
Help your baby nap
There are plenty of things that you can do to help your baby nap better. The most important thing being… ROUTINE! Make sure you have one, at least. And when you have one, make sure you tailor it to your baby, and stay flexible. Your baby goes through a huge amount of changes in just the first year of life, which means that her nap needs change almost constantly too. So don’t become fixated on one set routine for your baby; your schedule needs to be fluid so that you can go with the flow and adapt as necessary.
For some, this will mean changing your routine slightly almost every week, for others the changes will be more gradual. But the fact remains that as your baby grows older, her nap needs will change, so she’ll need you to be on her side. If your routine more or less revolves around her nap times, then you’re on the right track. And this doesn’t mean that you can’t go out anywhere or that you need to cancel plans. Lots of babies can sleep on the go, or you can organise events around nap times just as easily. Remember that if you prioritise sleep, your baby is going to nap better and that means that you’re both going to be a lot happier.
Short naps can be so hard! But there are things you can do. Remember this post? Read up on the ways that you can deal with short naps and help your baby to sleep better during the day.
Sometimes babies are so tired, yet they don’t want to go to sleep! Again, temperament has a lot to do with this, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do about it. Read this post for more information.
When your baby’s nap routine is a little out, the most important thing you can do is to stay calm. Most ‘blips’ don’t last long, and there is no need for you to become so stressed than when baby does sleep, you just can’t relax. You need to reserve your energy as much as you can, and don’t forget that babies pick up on your stress too so try not to let it get to you. Remember that there is always a solution, and any issues will eventually pass.
Remember your gentle sleep training methods
If your baby struggles to nap, or to stay asleep at nap time, don’t forget to use your gentle sleep training methods to calmly encourage sleep. Stay with your baby as long as she needs you to, and gently remind her that nap time is good. Sleep is good. Be there for her when she needs you and don’t be tempted to skip naps altogether just because it’s easier. That said…
Time to drop a nap?
Sometimes problems at nap time can indicate that your baby is ready to stop sleeping during the day. Depending on her age, she may need to drop to just one nap, or she may not need to nap at all. Read this post and this post for more information.
Some more reading for you
I’ve written lots about naps previously, so here are some more posts you might find helpful: