Naps Sleep schedules

How to get your baby to nap?

How to get your baby to nap?

Daytime sleep is crucial for children at least till age of 3 years, but ideally up to age 6-7 years. Contrary to the common belief that less daytime sleep means more nighttime sleep, skipping naps can actually make your baby more irritable and overstimulated by evening, leading to difficulty falling asleep. Proper daytime sleep helps regulate their mood and overall development.

How much sleep does your baby need during the day?

Each age group has specific daytime sleep requirements to support healthy growth and development. As your baby grows, the amount of daytime sleep needed decreases, and the structure of naps changes.
First 4 months
Newborns spend most of their time sleeping, with up to six naps a day. These naps can range from short (30-40 minutes) to longer durations of 2-3 hours. Focus on wake times to prevent overtiredness.
By 5 months
At this stage, aim for your baby to have at least one, ideally two, long naps during the day. A third shorter nap of 30-40 minutes is also common.
From 6 to 8 months
The total duration of daytime sleep reduces to 2.5-3 hours, spread over 2-3 naps a day. Daytime awake windows becomes longer than morning and evening ones.
From 9 to 12 months
Your baby will typically take two naps a day, with wake times increasing to 3-4 hours. Morning wake intervals are shorter, while the longest wake interval is before bedtime.
From 13 to 18 months
While some babies may transition to one nap a day, it’s beneficial to maintain two naps until about 15-18 months. Aim for 2-2.5 hours of daytime sleep.
From 1.5 to 3 years
Children may start resisting naps, but try to maintain a nap schedule until at least three years of age. Sleep norms for this age are 1.5-2.5 hours, ideally starting around 13:00-13:30.

Why is daytime sleep important?

Daytime sleep is vital for a baby’s health and development. Here are some key benefits:
  • Prevents illness: Sleep boosts the immune system, helping to prevent infections.
  • Improves mood: A well-rested child is less likely to be fussy or irritable.
  • Enhances learning: Sleep aids in processing information and retaining new skills.
  • Supports concentration and memory: Consistent sleep helps prevent attention deficit disorders.

Tips for daytime sleep

For newborns up to 2-3 months old, establishing a full daily routine is challenging, but exposing your baby to bright light during the day and darkening the room before naps can help them distinguish between day and night.
By 4 months, establish a routine where your baby wakes up around 6-7 AM and goes to bed between 6-8 PM. Daytime naps should align with sleep windows based on your baby’s age and signs of fatigue. Aim for your baby to fall asleep calmly within 10-15 minutes.

Creating a sleep schedule

A consistent sleep and wake schedule is essential, but this will evolve as your baby grows. Their wake time will gradually increase, extending the intervals between naps.
Morning and midday walks in natural light can help regulate your baby’s biorhythms. If your baby has had a very active day, been exposed to many new stimuli, or is feeling unwell, try to put them to bed earlier to avoid overtiredness.

Need more help?

If you're struggling to build an effective sleep schedule for your baby, check out my self-paced online course "Mastering the Sleep Schedule" . This course provides step-by-step guidance to ensure your little one gets the restful sleep they need.