How to Make Babies to Nap Longer

image001Shorter naps for babies are usually between 10 and 45 minutes long. Some baby’s just naturally take “cat naps” while your feeding them a bottle or driving in the car. They may also sleep for shorter periods when they are sick or cutting teeth. However, there are babies that only take short naps on a regular basis and you probably want them to nap longer due to the inconveniences of shorter naps which includes no chances for a break for yourself.

So the issue is no one really benefits from babies taking short naps. Let’s take a look at what is normal for nap patterns and how to make babies to nap longer.

What You Need to Know About Baby Nap Patterns

Most babies nap from between 1 hour to 1 ½ hours. A short nap is when they sleep less than an hour and long naps are when they sleep over an hour. If older babies combine all their daily naps, they may even sleep as long as 2 to 3 hours in one nap. While some babies break up that time into a series of 15 to 30 minute naps. This is most common in newborn babies that need to eat more often and sleep for short periods of time around the clock.

A sign that your baby is growing and developing is that they start to take fewer naps, but sleep for longer periods of time. This will eventually be more routine and your baby will have a more predictable schedule. You will notice as your baby grows they will take fewer naps during the day and around the age of two and up they only need one long afternoon nap.

While babies begin to get ready to drop a nap, they tend to take a “short nap” in place of the nap that used to be longer. As long as the other naps are longer than an hour, it will be okay if your baby takes one short nap each day.

How to Make Babies to Nap Longer

If you don’t think your baby is napping long enough, here are a few tips to help you possibly increase the length of his or her naptime:

1. Take Note of Your Baby’s Sleeping and Awake Times

Keep track of when your baby seems tired and when he or she is more awake. If you try to put your baby down for a nap when they are too awake, that may result in a short nap. If you allow your baby to stay up and play when they are tired you might end up with an overtired and fussy baby.

2. Watch the Signs of Sleepiness 

Learn to spot the signs of a tired baby such as lowered eyelids, fussiness, rubbing the eyes, excessive yawning and nodding of the head. A chart to note when your baby shows these signs can help you spot the best times for naps. After you note the time this happens, start preparing for naps at least 15 minutes before these signs appear by feeding, rocking and making the house quiet.

3. Encourage Your Baby to Nap Longer After Waking Up

Most of the times a baby who’s already up can still be lulled back to sleep. If your baby seems tired after a short nap, keep the house dark and quiet and try to quiet baby down again. Pat her bottom gently and sing a quiet song to see if she will fall back asleep. This will help accustom your baby to soothing herself back to sleep on her own.

Using soothing techniques, if your baby wakes before 1 hour you can go into his room and pat his bottom gently, sing quietly or stroke his forehead gently. Also making a whooshing sound or place him back in his stroller and wheeling him around the house.

4. Keep Nap Areas Dark and Quiet

Try to put your baby down for a nap in their own bed where they sleep at night if at all possible. If that is not possible, try to put them down in the quietest place in the house and save loud chores for after naptime. Turn the phone ringers off and keep the TV down low. It may even be necessary to place a sign on the door that baby is napping.

5. Maintain the Right Humidity and Temperature

Your baby’s room needs to be a comfortable sleeping temperature. The recommended temperature needs to be right around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for sleeping comfort. Humidity needs to be around 50% to promote good sleep. If the room air is too dry, baby may get a stuffed up nose and will fuss because he can’t breathe well. Too much humidity can cause mold that can trigger allergic reactions. In the winter time when you heat your home, try using a vaporizer to raise humidity levels in the room.

6. Make Their Bed a Familiar Place

This is a very important step in how to make babies to nap longer. Making your baby’s crib a safe and comforting place will help him or her fall asleep easier at nap and bedtime. Allow your baby to play with some toys in the crib while awake. Keep close by and let them see you in the room with them and this will help them feel happy being in there. If your baby has good thoughts about the crib then if they awaken during naptime, they may be able to fall back to sleep easier.

7. Have a Naptime Routine or Ritual

Using certain techniques to get baby ready for naptime will signal that it is time to sleep. Just as at bedtime, try to do things to help baby settle in like reading a special book, having a feeding and turning down lights and TV.

8. Wear Your Baby in a Baby Sling

The latest “baby wearing” trend is perfect for a sleepy baby. When your baby shows signs that it is getting close to naptime, place him or her in a baby sling and wear them around the house. The movements may help lull your baby to sleep.

9. Be Firm and Consistent

Sometimes making your baby nap and not allowing them to control the situation works better for some parents. This means using some of the more harsh methods like allowing them to “cry it out” until they fall asleep. Not every parent agrees with this or wishes to use it, but it is one way to teach them that it is sleep time. The crying gets less and less over time.

10.It May Be Time to Let One or More Naps Go

If your baby is taking two to three naps a day and taking a shorter nap for one of them, you might be able to forego the shorter nap altogether at this point. Your baby may be ready to take one or two longer naps instead of three shorter ones. Watch baby’s signals and if they are more awake and not fussy, this may be an option. Babies between the ages of 3 and 6 months may be just fine with one morning nap and one afternoon nap. Between 1 and 1.5 years old, most babies take only one long nap.

Notes: Try napping with your baby to make up for the sleep loss

For yourself, napping at the same time as your very young baby can help with sleep deprivation and give you energy to be up during the night for feedings. If you breastfeed, you can fall asleep while nursing by lying on your side and allowing baby to nurse until you both fall asleep. After giving your baby his or her bottle, try lying down for some cuddles and see if you can both fall asleep together. Many moms try to use naptime for housekeeping and chores, but it is always better to sleep when your baby sleeps.

Watch a video to learn more tips to make your baby sleep longer: