There are few things more frustrating to parents than when your baby will not nap…she fights it and refuses to sleep…or she sleeps just 5-10 minutes. It is so commonplace that there is slang for it in the modern lexicon: the Nap FAIL. Here, we run through the top nap problems and offer solutions:

Nap Problem: Your Baby Will not Sleep Because He is Overexcited

Solution: Add quiet playtime in his bedroom to your baby bedtime routine. Make the room cooler, reduce distractions, and use white noise. If you are  breastfeeding, try avoiding stimulants, like chocolate or coffee, and see if that makes a difference in your baby’s sleep.

Nap Problem: He is Under-Stimulated and Will Not Sleep

Solution: Do not tip-toe around or keep the house silent. Babies find normal household noises soothing. And motion-loving babies benefit from sleeping in a safe device like SNOO. Remember the womb is rumbly and loud and constantly in motion!

Nap Problem: Something Is Bugging Her

Solution: Figure out if she is hungry and feed her. Look for other reasons she may be uncomfortable. Is she too hot? Could her clothing be uncomfortable?

Nap Problem: Your Infant is Overtired and Will Not Nap

Signs are: She falls asleep in the car, she slumps over before naptime, she is cranky and bleary eyed.

Solution: How do you get an overtired baby to sleep? Create a flexible schedule. I am not a fan of scheduling your infant’s life down to the minute. But having a flexible routine can be a real help if your baby is not sleeping well: She is a sensitive child who falls apart if her nap is too late; gets cranky when she is overtired; resists sleep; wakes too often; or wakes too early in the morning. I suggest the following steps for creating a workable schedule and getting naps back on track!

1. Baby Will Not Nap? First, Find Out Exactly What Is Going On

If you are like most parents, one day blurs into the next. So before you start shifting your infant’s sleep schedule, keep a daily wake / sleep diary for several days. As I have mentioned, this will help you quickly identify your infant’s typical pattern.

2. Next, Set Nap Goals for Your Baby

After the first months, a good goal is to put your little one down to nap about every 2-3 hours during the day. Keep naps to under 2 hours–actually, WAKE her at 2 hours (this helps maintain longer stretches of night sleep). By the first birthday, her naps will occur every 3-5 hours.

3. Now, Start to Organise Her Day

Some kids go from overtired to totally wired really fast. And once they cross the line, they get a surge of energy and struggle against sleep. So check your diary and try to put your infant down 30 minutes before you think the yawning will start. Use rumbly white noise through the full nap to help her stay asleep.

4. Be Consistent, Most of the Time

Experts love to warn new parents, ‘Be consistent!’ But that is the kind of advice that can drive new mums and dads nuts, since life demands that you ‘Keep It Real!’ Do not feel like you need to run your schedule like Her Majesty’s Royal Army–just try to be consistent. Use predictable (but simple!) cues at naptime: close the blinds, feed her milk, use the 5 S’s. In the first few months to build her trust and confidence, respond to her cries consistently and use the wake and sleep method (the best way to teach her to self-soothe).

Final Tips If Your Baby Will Not Nap

If you and your baby’s other caregivers can stick reasonably close to a flexible timetable and regular routines, within weeks, you should establish a pattern of great sleep! If you need additional help, then we recommend learning more about SNOO, the smart sleeper and baby cot. SNOO aids in sleep training  your baby and can help your sleep, too.. Learn more about SNOO here.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.