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How To Get A Baby To Nap Longer – Tips To Know!

It’s true – a good nap can refresh the mind, body, and soul. When you’re growing as much as our babies are, naps are particularly important.

Your child needs regular naps to grow and recharge, and let’s face it, you need a chance to rest and replenish your energy reserves, too. 

If your baby is struggling to sleep, you’re not alone and trust us, we understand your struggle.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive list of tried and tested techniques to get them napping for longer and improve their sleep quality.

Do your baby (and yourself) a favor, and stick with us for the MOST effective tips you wish you knew sooner. 

How Long Should Babies Nap For?

As parents ourselves, we know just how much you desire a strong napper.

You know, those babies who get put down for a nap, and fall into a long and blissful sleep with relatively few troubles.

Before we take a look at how to encourage longer naps, let’s remind ourselves just how much sleep our babies should be getting. 

The recommended nap time will vary based on your baby’s age. Typically, a newborn will need eight to nine hours a night, PLUS eight hours during the day.

As they age, this number will decrease. By fifteen months, they’ll be down to fifteen hours with five hours of daytime naps, and by eighteen months, your baby can get through with just a two-hour daytime nap, as long as they’re getting ten or eleven at night. 

Remember: every child is different. While some may get their recommended hours in during one nap session, others will be short and sweet nappers, requiring frequent half-hour snoozes. There’s no hard and fast rule to follow here, as long as they’re making up the hours. 

How To Get Your Baby to Nap Longer 

How To Get Your Baby to Nap Longer 

If your baby is struggling to form a naptime routine, here are a few ways that you can encourage a healthier sleep schedule, and get them clocking up those naptime hours like a champ. 

1. Rethink Your Routine

In the words of Einstein, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

If your current naptime routine isn’t working, stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole: It’s time to rethink your routine. 

As our babies grow and develop, your once golden naptime routine may no longer work.

It’s not because your baby isn’t tired (if anything, they’re overtired!), they may just need a change of pace to encourage a restful snooze.

What worked for us was recreating our bedtime routine on a smaller scale.

This could involve reading a short story, placing them in a quiet and dimly lit room, giving them a bottle, putting on pajamas, or giving them their favorite sleepy-time toy.

If you haven’t been doing these things during naptime, it might be the change they need to feel comfortable, settle down, and sleep for longer. 

2. Make Sure They’re Not Hungry 

If your baby is 12 months or under, there’s a chance they’re waking up early due to hunger, especially if they’re not taking full feeds throughout the day, or their naps aren’t in line with their feeding schedule

Between 0-12 months, your baby should be taking full feeds every three hours. If you haven’t already, time your feeds for when they’re wide awake, but not too long before their nap.

This will keep them feeling satiated through naptime, so you can avoid nursing on demand and disrupting your nap schedule.

Structure and routine are key here, and it may be the answer to better sleep for you and your baby. 

3. Create The Right Environment 

Some babies get so tired at naptime, it feels like they could sleep through the second coming. Others require a carefully curated environment to promote sleep.

Even if your baby could nap anywhere, placing them in a cool, dark, and comfortable environment will encourage longer naps.

For fussy nappers, create a room that mimics nighttime – blackout curtains, a white noise machine, and a cool temperature can help make them sleepy.

It worked like a dream for us, and remember, it doesn’t need to be forever.

After a few weeks, your baby may not need as much encouragement to fall asleep, but if they do, don’t stress – we’re all different. 

4. Know Their Signals  

Are you familiar with “the window of opportunity?” – trust us, it’s a real thing.

Just as we yawn, feel heavy, and become quieter when we’re tired, your baby will have their own signals which can tell you when it’s time to put them down for a nap.

Your baby may not be able to communicate this, but by getting to know their signals, you can help encourage longer naps by putting them down when they’re ready.

If they’re rubbing their eyes, fussing, yawning, or going quiet, it’s time to encourage them to take a little downtime and work towards a nap.

If you notice this is happening at the same time each day, you have something golden – the opportunity for routine!

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should Baby Start A Nap Schedule? 

Ideally, you should start a nap schedule at three to four months. By this time, your baby’s behavior will be more predictable, giving you the opportunity you need to help establish a routine. 

What Is The Healthiest Nap Time? 

Although all babies are different, many will require a mid to late-afternoon nap.

However, if your baby isn’t getting the recommended amount of sleep at nighttime, they may require a late-morning nap. Get to know their routine to establish the correct nap times. 

Is A 45-Minute Nap Good For A Baby? 

From 4 months up, your baby will sleep for approximately 30-45 minutes per nap. However, between 60-90 minutes is ideal if they’re younger. 

Final Thoughts 

Nap time isn’t always easy, but with our tried and tested tricks, you can work your way toward a smooth-sailing sleepy experience.

All babies are different, but getting to know what works for your little one will make the world of difference to you both.

Are you looking for more tips on transitioning from contact napping, check out our latest article.

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