Why Won’t My Baby Nap? (Sleep Tips)

It’s no secret that babies sleep a lot (sorry if this is new news to you!). Newborns need to spend most of their energy growing and absorbing a whole new world that is around them, so of course they’re going to be sleepy most of the time.

That being said, it makes it all the more anxiety-provoking when we see that our little ones don’t seem to be getting as much sleep as we think they should be. It leads to a lot of questions, especially about whether you’re looking after them right.

Well, rest easy, because we have the perfect guide for you.

With the best information from professionals, as well as our and plenty of other parent’s experiences, we are going to explain everything that you could need to know about baby’s naps, as well as some tips that could help your little one take those midday naps better, as well as why they might not be napping, of course it could be as simple as needing a Nap Mat.

How Many Naps Your Baby Needs

Before we get any further into this guide, we should probably first set a good benchmark for how much sleep your baby should be getting.

After all, while many of us will have a decent idea our little ones should be sleeping, it can still be difficult to judge at times. Especially with how busy our lives can be!

Pediatricians will tell you that how much a baby needs to sleep changes as they get older.

  • In the first few months, babies will sleep for around 16 hours per day, usually in the form of 3 to 4-hour naps throughout the day, which usually happens between feedings.
  • At this time, they rarely stay awake for more than 1 or 2 hours at a time.
  • As they get older, babies between 4 months and 12 months will usually have 2 naps, one in the morning, and one in the early afternoon
  • Some babies may need the occasional 3rd nap in the late afternoon as well (though you should try and wean them from this after 9 months old).
  • From 10/12 months and above, your baby will usually drop the early morning nap, and only have their afternoon one that lasts between 1 and 2 hours.

You should consult with your pediatrician, so that you can get a better idea as to what will work best for your child, specifically.

But considering that these are averages and statistics that pediatricians often use in their assessments, this rough timescale will work as a pretty good general indicator.

Reasons Your Baby Might Not Be Napping

So, now that we’ve covered the basics, we can now start to discuss what the majority of people are probably here for!

Figuring out why your baby isn’t napping will take a little time to fully hone in on, so make sure that you take note of all of your baby’s habits for a few days if possible

Too Tired

Okay, this point might sound a little counterintuitive at first, but trust us on this one.

A young child that does not have a regular sleep schedule will often find that their natural sleeping behavior changes, much like with adults.

However, unlike us grown-ups, this can lead to your baby being restless and unable to sleep properly.

It’s one of the reasons that establishing a healthy sleeping schedule is so important for babies, according to pediatricians.

Bad Sleeping Environment

This is a big factor that can affect your kids if they tend to sleep and nap in a particular area.

Often, children need darker or more muted environments if they want to be fully rested after a nap, especially older children.

By the same token, however, some young children also can’t sleep in an environment that is too quiet. Some background stimuli can be a soothing presence for them, provided that it isn’t too disruptive.

Is it time to transition your baby to a crib if they are in a bassinet or cradle, are they needed more room to get comfortable?

Hungry Baby

It’s a feeling that we can all understand, to some extent!

Why Won't My Baby Nap? (Sleep Tips)

Babies that haven’t been fed enough are much more likely to be irritated, making it much more difficult for them to start resting properly.

Change In Development

As we’ve already outlined, the general sleeping patterns that babies go through a change as they get older.

If your child is at the cusp of moving from one of these stages to another (from newborn to older, or going into toddler years), it could just be the case that their sleep pattern is changing.

Just Not Tired

Of course, it could be that the obvious answer is the right one. Sometimes, a baby just isn’t sleepy and isn’t quite ready to nap yet.

Tips For Getting Your Baby To Nap

So, if any of the previous issues have affected your baby, make sure that you try out some of these ideas for your little one.

Put To Nap When They’re Ready

Generally speaking, this is a good strategy if you’ve noticed that your child seems too tired or not tired enough, and one that just needs you to be attentive.

Once you notice that your child is acting sleepy (yawning/rubbing eyes), make sure that you put them down for a nap.

Make A Routine

Pediatricians know for a fact that having a routine for your baby’s naps is both great for them, and reassuring for you!

Create The Perfect Nap Time Environment

Pediatricians recommend that you make sure that your child naps in a dimly lit room, where outside light cannot interfere with their sleep pattern.

(Keep your crib/bed away from any curtains, to avoid hazards for your sleeping baby.)

Are you sharing a room with your baby? Read here for tips on how to make that the most comfortable.

If you’re worried that they need a small number of stimuli, try having some white noise playing in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

What If My Baby Refuses To Nap?

If your baby doesn’t want to nap at all, try spending some time with them and engaging their mind. They’ll fall asleep soon enough!

Final Thoughts

In short, making sure your baby is rested enough isn’t always an easy task. But hopefully, you’ll find some of the advice here helpful for your little one.

Looking for some other tips check out “How To Get Baby To Sleep in Crib” Tips and Tricks!

We have also had the question if a crib is necessary to use for your baby, read our thoughts here.

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Michelle Jacobs

Michelle Jacobs

Michelle is a young mom and crafts fanatic. In her free time she loves to write about her latest creations, and how other moms can entertain their children with some colored paper and a pair of scissors!