Tag Archives: baby nap training

10 Naptime Tips You Can Use Today

 
Ten NaptimeTips
 
Naps that are too short, or naps that are erratic and don’t follow any kind of predictable pattern, can sure get a parent down. It’s especially frustrating when your baby or toddler has been napping well, but then naps suddenly go into a tailspin. (Hint – this often happens during a sleep regression, or during a nap transition.)

If you’re struggling with erratic or shortened naps, don’t worry – we can help! In today’s article, we offer 10 quick tips that you can put to use right now in order to help your baby or toddler nap better.

10 Naptime Tips You Can Put To Use Today

  1. Watch for sleep cues. Yawns, rubbing eyes, starting vacantly – these are all signs that it may be time for a nap. If your baby starts fussing, she’s already overtired – work to put her down a little more quickly next time. (Note that sleepy cues are great in the first 6 months or so, but after that, you can start to watch the clock a bit more to determine when it’s nap time.)
  2. Remember that skipping naps does not equal better sleep! Missed naps lead to more missed naps (even though it seems counterintuitive). What’s more, if your baby or toddler has skipped a nap during the day, you may need to offer an earlier bedtime to compensate.
  3. If your baby is simply refusing a nap, that’s okay – take a break and try again later. You don’t want to push a nap for too long; often, it’s best to take a break and do an activity, and then to try again “fresh” later.
  4. TV and sleep DO NOT MIX, so avoid using the TV as a pre-nap time tool to calm your child. What’s more, too much TV time can lead to less nap time sleep (or even missed naps), so keep your little one’s TV exposure to a minimum, and make sure that TV time happens well before, or well after, nap time.
  5. The right schedule is key – naps need to be spaced out around feeding times, and naps can’t happen too close to morning wake-up time or bedtime. Need a good, age-appropriate schedule in a pinch? Check out our sample sleep and feeding schedules by age!
  6. Bedtime routine are great – and so are nap time routines! We usually recommend that you do a shorter, mini-version of your bedtime routine before nap time. Keep it short, but make sure it’s cozy and relaxing, and that it prepares your baby or toddler for sleep.
  7. Dim light and silence usual make for great naps. If your child’s room is too bright, try room-darkening shades; if her nap environment is too noisy, we recommend trying white noise.
  8. Try for a consistent nap schedule. You don’t necessarily need a rigid, clock-based nap schedule (especially if your baby is young), but keep in mind that on-the-go naps aren’t usually as restful as naps that happen at home, in a crib or bed. If you have a busy schedule, try to make sure that at least one nap (preferably the first morning nap) happens at home.
  9. As mentioned earlier, if your baby was napping just fine and suddenly isn’t, it’s most likely one of two things: a sleep regression, or an impending nap transition. (Of course, you’ll want to rule out illness or teething as a cause.)
  10. If you’re trying to work on sleep training during nap times, and working on teaching your baby or toddler to fall asleep independently at nap time, keep in mind that nap training is tougher than nighttime sleep training, in many ways. We usually (although not always) recommend starting sleep training at bedtime, and then moving on to naps once you’ve conquered nighttime sleep.

Naptime Help That Works…Guaranteed!

Many parents think that our personalized consulting services are meant for parents who are struggling with night sleep – but guess what? We have so many consultation clients whose primary struggle is naps – and our consultants are more than willing to provide you with a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that focuses mainly on nap help. So why not connect with one of our caring, compassionate sleep consultants, and get expert answers to your nap questions today?
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Or, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you may be more interested in all the nap resources we offer in our Members Area:
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
 
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! ;-)

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!
 

Have nap tips of your own? Need answers to your pressing nap questions? Share them below!

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7 Tips When Baby Won’t Nap

 
7 Tips For Babies Who Just Won't Nap

You know what’s cute? A cooing, babbling baby who’s grinning ear to ear as she holds onto her crib bars and jumps up and down on her mattress. So adorable!

Except that it’s nap time. And she’s not supposed to be cooing or babbling or jumping. She’s supposed to be SLEEPING, for Pete’s sake, and giving her poor parents a break!

Not so cute anymore, right?

I know a lot of you can identify with that picture, because you have a baby or toddler who simply refuses to nap. You try and you try, but in spite of your best efforts, your little one is wide awake during nap time.

As always, we’re here for you. :) Today, we’re exploring 7 tips for correcting your baby’s naptime issues.

7 Tips For Handling a Baby or Toddler Who Won’t Nap

  1. Make sure your baby’s room is “sleepy”. This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many parents don’t consider factor like light and noise when working through their childrens’ sleep issues. It’s true, though; if you want your baby to nap well, you need to do what you can to be sure that the room he naps in is “sleep friendly”.

    Remember that nap time sleep is different than nighttime sleep; that’s one reason why naps can be so challenging. Naps happen when the sun’s up, for instance, so you may need to invest in some good blackout blinds in order to make your little one’s room nice and dim for naps.

    It can also be hard to keep your home quiet for nap time (this is especially true if you have older children!) So think about investing in a white noise machine that’ll help block out background noise while your little one sleeps. Don’t want to pay for a machine? Try downloading a white noise MP3, or a white noise app.

  2. Evaluate your baby’s daytime schedule. If you want your child to take regular, consistent, predictable naps, then you need to have a regular, consistent, predictable schedule in place. Sure, this schedule may need to be adapted every once in awhile (to account for special occasions, trips, illness, etc.) But that majority of your days should look roughly the same; if they don’t, then it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to help your baby or toddler nap well.

    What’s more, your daily schedule should be created with naps in mind. Try not to fill your schedule with activities and then squeeze naptime in here and there; instead, build the naps in first, and make sure they coordinate around feedings/meals as well as morning wake time and bedtime. Once those things are established, fill in the schedule with activities (both yours and your baby’s).

    For help creating a sleep-friendly schedule, check out our Sample Sleep and Feeding Schedules page.

  3. Watch for overtiredness. This is especially important in the infant stage. Young babies become overtired very quickly, and an overtired baby is much harder to settle and put to sleep than a baby who’s rested and content. The same is true for toddlers; most toddlers become increasingly “wired” and resistant to sleep as they become overtired. So watch for your baby’s or toddler’s tired cues (rubbing eyes, yawning, etc.), and act on them quickly.
  4. Create a consistent pre-nap routine. We’ve written before about the importance of having a consistent bedtime routine in place. It’s just as important to have a consistent nap time routine, especially if your baby or toddler is struggling to nap well. The routine doesn’t have to be long or complicated; it just needs to consist of a few calming, soothing activities. A few minutes spent cuddling, reading books, and singing songs is perfect.

    A routine like this will not only relax and soothe your child; it’ll also signal to him that nap time is approaching. This is important; babies and toddlers thrive on routine and consistency, so having a regular pre-nap routine in place helps them know when it’s time to settle down and nap.

  5. Take the “schedule-busters” in stride. Sometimes, things that are totally outside of your control will come along and destroy your carefully-crafted schedule. Sleep regressions, for instance, can just obliterate any nap time progress you may have made. Same goes for illnesses, or teething. Even though disruptions like these are usually short-lived (a few days to a few weeks), they sometimes feel like they last for an eternity.

    Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for schedule busters (unless your child is ill; in that case, seek medical care.) Most of the time, you have to simply go with the flow, doing the best you can to stay consistent and working not to create any new bad habits that you’ll have to undo later.

  6. Be smart about on-the-go naps. If your baby or toddler isn’t napping well, one of the problems may be that too many naps are happening on the go. While an occasional on-the-go nap is fine, the majority of your baby or toddler’s naps should happen at home, in a crib or bed. Remember, moving sleep isn’t as restorative for babies and toddlers, so if your baby or toddler is regularly catching naps on the fly, in the stroller or car, it can lead to a big sleep deficit over time.

    For those occasions when a nap simply has to happen on the go, consider adding some on-the-go napping products to your arsenal. A company called Snoozeshade™ makes a number of sun and sleep shades that are designed to fit over car seats, strollers, and pack-n-plays. These products can make it easier for little ones to sleep while mom and dad are out and about.

  7. Know your nap transitions. Sometimes, if your baby or toddler isn’t napping well, it’s not because there’s a problem that needs to be fixed — it’s because your little one’s nap needs are changing. Educate yourself about when common nap transitions occur, and how to manage them; then, you’ll know better if your little one’s naptime resistance needs to be worked through, or if it may be time to drop a nap.

Need Baby Nap Help? We’ve Got You Covered!

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transShort or non-existent baby naps can be so frustrating – but you don’t have to suffer through them! We have a ton of nap resources – and one of those nap resources is our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes. Are you making any of these common nap mistakes? If so, they may be the cause of your baby’s non-napping. So download your free guide today, and start putting the tips to use as early as your baby’s next nap!
 

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Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
 
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! ;-)

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!
 
 
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Don’t feel up to working on your baby or toddler’s nap challenges on your own? While our Members Area is great for DIY moms who prefer to tackle sleep challenges on their own, we know that other moms much prefer to go straight to one-on-one help. Well, good news – we offer that, and you can start getting the personal help you need TODAY!

 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Do you have tips to add to our list? Share your napping advice with other parents! Working through your baby’s or toddler’s nap challenges? Feel free to ask your nap questions in the comments section.

Disclosure: The Baby Sleep Site™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link above and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site™ may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product. This commission will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and are good for our readers.

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How and When to Nap (Sleep) Train Your Baby or Toddler

 
How and When to Work on Naps

If there’s one thing we’ve written A LOT about here at the Baby Sleep Site®, it’s sleep training. Dare we say we’re sleep training experts? ;)

And usually, when we talk about sleep training, we’re talking about sleep in general — both nap time sleep and nighttime sleep.

Today, however, we’re going to consider the two separately. We’ll compare nap training and night training, and we’ll explore when it’s best for nap training to happen.

In Some Ways, Nap Sleep Training Is Different Than Nighttime Sleep Training

Why? Because nap time sleep is different than nighttime sleep. Remember, according to Dr. Weissbluth, nap sleep and nighttime sleep are actually controlled by different parts of the brain.

Some families find that naps are easier, but many of the families we work with testify to just the opposite: that naps are HARD. And that’s understandable. Naps tend to be less predictable and routine than nighttime sleep. That’s especially true if you’re an on-the-go parent who doesn’t spend loads of time at home. And of course, your baby or toddler’s naptime environment is far different than his nighttime environment. Nights tend to be dark and quiet — days not so much!

Something else to factor in: nap time sleep needs change and shift more than nighttime sleep needs. Your child will go through a handful of nap transitions in the first few years of life, because as he gets older, he needs progressively less daytime sleep.

So what does this mean for your sleep training plans? It means that training your baby or toddler for naps may present different challenges than training her for nights. So don’t be surprised if certain sleep training techniques work well at bedtime but not at nap time (and vice versa).

It also means that you may have to be more persistent in your nap time training. This isn’t true for every family, of course, but it might be true for yours. Don’t be surprised if your baby or toddler gets nighttime sleep figured out but still struggles with naps.

In Other Ways, Nap Sleep Training and Nighttime Sleep Training Are Very Similar

Training your baby or toddler to nap well may be a little more challenging than training her to sleep well at night. And you might find that you have to use different sleep training techniques at nap time.

But overall, nap training and night training follow the same basic principles, and they’re based on the same premise. Remember, sleep training is simply the practice of helping your baby or toddler overcome his bad sleep habits and learn new, healthy ones. That applies to both naps and nighttime sleep.

One of the biggest goals of sleep training is to help a baby or toddler overcome sleep associations. And sleep associations usually apply to both nap time sleep and nighttime sleep. For instance, a baby who has to be rocked to sleep at night will probably insist on being rocked to sleep for naps, too. A toddler who needs mom in his room in order to fall asleep at night will probably need her there at naptime as well. So in this way, sleep training for naps and sleep training for nights are similar.

Another overarching purpose of sleep training is to create some predictability and routine in a baby’s or toddler’s schedule.The level of scheduling depends on the family, of course; some parents want concrete, down-to-the-minute schedules while others simply want to establish some general times for meals and sleep. Regardless of the type of schedule desired, however, the “predictability and routine” aspect of sleep training affects both naps and nights. You’ll need to establish a timeframe for naps and for bedtime, and you’ll need to build some routines that will help ease your baby or toddler into both nap time and bedtime. Again, in this way, sleep training for naps and for nights tend to be the same.

When Should Nap Training Happen?

In terms of when to nap train your baby or toddler, you have three options:

  1. Do nap training and night training together: Some families opt to tackle naps and nights together, and to sleep train for both at the same time. This is kind of a “rip the band-aid off all at once” approach — it can be painful while it’s happening, but it’s over fairly quickly. Some parents also prefer this method because they feel it helps maintain consistency and eliminate confusion. If you’re nursing your baby to sleep for naps but not at night, that can be confusing for your little one, and it can cause setbacks.
  2. Do nap training first: Other families prefer to deal with naps first, and leave night training for later. For some parents, it feels less stressful to deal with crying and fussing during the day, as opposed to dealing with it a 3 a.m. And parents who take this approach sometimes report that when their baby or toddler starts napping consistently, it actually helps their nighttime sleep, since they’re not getting overtired during the day. This approach may make more sense for those babies or toddlers whose nights aren’t terrible, but whose naps are.
  3. Do night training first: Of course, some babies and toddlers nap pretty well but are up all night. In those cases, it could make more sense to focus on nighttime sleep training first. Some families prefer this approach because they feel that if they can finally get the rest they need at night, they’ll be more equipped to deal with any nap time drama that might happen during the day.

Nicole’s Note:
“Every family will be a little different. We do offer newborn-friendly nap strategies, including sample sleep-inducing routines for newborns in our e-book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep, as well as special Personalized Sleep Plans™ specifically crafted to guide your newborn baby to better naps in a gentle, safe way. If you still haven’t nap trained and your baby is now and older infant, or a toddler, it’s never too late. Of course, the closer he is to the age of transitioning away from naps (3-4 years old), the harder it will likely be (not to mention how persistence only increases!) We generally start with nights and follow with naps soon thereafter, but again, every family’s needs are a little different, so we keep an open mind. We do not have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of mindset around here.”

When you nap train is up to you, of course, and will depend on a lot of unique factors (your parenting preferences, your family’s schedule, your baby’s temperament, etc.) But as you work to create a nap training plan, keep this in mind: your goals in nap training will probably be the same as those in night training. But the training itself may look a little different, or progress differently, since nap sleep is different than night sleep.

And remember: if you need a little extra help in your nap training, we’re here for you!

How To Nap Train Your Baby or Toddler, and Improve Nap Sleep

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transShort or non-existent baby naps can be so frustrating – but you don’t have to suffer through them! We have a ton of nap resources – and one of those nap resources is our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes. Are you making any of these common nap mistakes? If so, they may be the cause of your baby’s non-napping. So download your free guide today, and start putting the tips to use as early as your baby’s next nap!
 

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Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and yes, EXACTLY how to nap train! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
 
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! ;-)

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!
 
 
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While our Members Area is great for DIY moms who prefer to tackle sleep challenges on their own, we know that other moms much prefer to go straight to one-on-one help. Well, good news – we offer that, and you can start getting the personal help you need TODAY! You can teach your baby a new way to nap – and we can help. We have helped thousands of families around the world with their babies’ nap trouble, and we can help you, too! Take a look at our consultation packages, and see which one looks like a good fit for you.

Click here to see all our personalized consultation packages.

Once you purchase, you will immediately receive access to the Helpdesk, and you can set up your account, fill out your Family Sleep History form, submit it to a consultant, and get started on the journey to better sleep!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

How did your baby’s or toddler’s nap training compare to night training? Did you sleep train for naps and nights at the same time, or did you break them up? Any tips for parents who are nap training right now? Chime in; we love hearing from you!

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6 Must-Have Products for Better Baby and Toddler Napping

Baby naps are, by far, one of the most talked about and searched topics here at The Baby Sleep Site®. We all want our babies and toddlers to take longer, more restorative naps, don’t we? After all, “sleep begets sleep” and a baby who naps well is more likely to sleep well at night, too.

So what can we do to encourage our babies and toddlers to get the naptime sleep they need?

There are a few tools you need to encourage better napping in your baby or toddler. First and foremost, you need to make sure you don’t make the 7 Common Napping Mistakes, and an age-appropriate baby nap schedule is a must. Next, you need to consider nap sleep training (and we don’t mean cry it out, we mean helping your baby learn to fall asleep and stay asleep at nap time!).

But can you do more?

Yes! Once you’ve mastered the basics of how to establish a good naptime routine, if your baby is still struggling to take quality naps, you may want to consider setting him up for success by adding a few “napping tools” to your toolbox.

Here are a few of our top picks for must-have napping products:

  1. White Noise Machine

    Most babies and toddlers can’t sleep with lots of noise; they need a mostly-quiet environment to truly nap well. But let’s be honest — for most of us, complete and total silence during naptime is impossible! The dog barks, the phone rings, your other children decide to play dinosaurs and stomp all over the house…you know how it is ;)

    If this sounds familiar, then a white noise machine is just the thing you need. White noise machines mask the other noises in your home, making it easier for your baby or toddler to nap. Here are a few we love:

    Dohm-DS Sound Conditioner — we recommended this one to our clients, and it’s the one Nicole actually uses at home!

    DEX Sound Sleeper — this is a nice, less-expensive option. It’s a good one to consider if you have to buy several noise machines.

    Cloud-B-Gentle Giraffe (or Sheep) — This one doubles as a lovey (see below) and a white noise machine. And did we mention it’s utterly adorable? Because it is! :)

  2. Room-darkening Blinds/Curtains

    Just as most babies and toddlers won’t nap well in a noisy room, many won’t nap well in a brighly-lit room, either. This is why room-darkening curtains come in handy; they offer a way to darken your baby’s or toddler’s room in broad daylight. (Note: Once your baby is no longer a newborn, you no longer need to worry about day/night confusion.)

    Here are a few room-darkening products we like:

    The Redmon Nighttime Nursery Blackout Liners are nice — they block out light and noise. And since they’re liners, then can be sewn to the backs of the curtains you already have, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice your decor!

    Redi-Shade Black-Out Pleated Shades — these shades offer a great way to darken baby’s room; since they have no cords, they’re perfectly safe to use around your little one.

  3. Lovey

    A lovey is any item that helps your baby feel cozy and secure. Loveys can go a long way towards encouraging better naptime and nighttime sleep.

    Your baby or toddler may already have a lovey; if not, consider checking out Ambajam’s line of soft, snuggly Cuddle-Up blankets. They come in large sizes (for older babies and toddlers) and mini sizes (for younger babies). We will be partnering with Ambajam soon for a giveaway, so stay tuned!

    We also love the Angel Dear Blankie — how adorable is this monkey version?! The Angel Dear Blankie comes in 35 animal varieties, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your baby or toddler.

    Finally, we can’t fail to mention a lovely classic: the Taggies Blanket. Each of Nicole’s sons had one of these as his lovey. The blanket comes in three patterns, and each version is full of the soft, textured tags that we know our babies love.

  4. Crib Mobile

    Many parents find that crib mobiles offer a nice way for babies to wind down at naptime. It can even become part of your baby’s naptime routine. Of course, not all mobiles are good for sleep. Some are meant to stimulate and others are meant to soothe. Make sure you get the right type of baby mobile.

    We like the Fisher Price 2-in-1 Projection Mobile because it grows with your child. Use it as a mobile for young babies; then, when your baby’s bigger, convert it to a music box that projects images onto the ceiling.

  5. Snoozeshade

    It probably goes without saying that your baby will nap best at home (or at daycare), in a dark, quiet room. But sometimes, naptime has to happen on the go — that’s life! And that’s okay.

    To make on-the-go naps easier, consider investing in a Snoozeshade product. Snoozeshade offers a full line of carseat covers and stroller covers that block out light. These provide a great way for you to create a dark, cozy environment for your baby at naptime, even when you aren’t at home.

  6. Miracle Blanket

    Now, this last product doesn’t exactly apply to toddlers, so if you’re a parent of a toddler, you can skip this one. ;) But if you have a newborn at home who just won’t nap, consider swaddling your baby for naps (and at night!) Swaddling has been shown to improve sleep for newborns.

    To make swaddling even easier, you might want to think about investing in a Miracle Blanket. No more complicated folding; the Miracle Blanket makes swaddling your newborn a cinch! And it’s recommended by medical professionals, so you can rest assured that it’s a safe blanket to use with your newborn.


What are your favorite, must-have napping products? Share them below!

To help your baby get on a solid daytime routine, make sure to check out our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (for babies) or The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (for toddlers). Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. Have a newborn at home? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a sleep plan; sometimes you’re just close to the situation or too tired to!

Disclosure: The Baby Sleep Site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link above and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product. This commission will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and good for our readers. Please do know this is just our opinion and you may have different opinions.

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How Many Naps Does Your Baby or Toddler Actually Need?

 
Napping is a hot topic around The Baby Sleep Site, and it’s no wonder: most of us count nap time as our favorite time of the day! Of course, naps are essential for the health and development of your baby, but don’t count yourself out — you need a little downtime during the day, too! And naps offer the perfect opportunity for you to get a little breather.

One of the most popular questions we get around here (aside from “How can I get my baby to nap longer?”) is “How many naps does my baby/toddler need each day?”

All babies are different and your baby will develop at a different pace than other babies the same age. Even twins develop at a different pace, sometimes! Just like some babies will walk first and some babies talk first, the age at which your baby will transition to fewer naps will vary, too.

Newborns and Naps

In those first few months after your baby is born, it’s best not to worry much about a napping schedule. Your baby’s brain is developing, central nervous system maturing, and sleep is organizing. As we’ve previously shared:

In the beginning, your newborn sleeps most of the time and you don’t usually have to worry too much about naps. Your newborn’s sleep schedule and patterns are highly unpredictable, usually, so it’s hard to tell if she will have 5 naps or 8 on any given day. You’ve just given birth (or partnered the birth), so as long as she sorts out the difference between day and night, you probably won’t stress too much about it, unless she isn’t “sleeping like a baby.”

Once your newborn has become more social, you may begin to have more napping challenges. You may also want more predictability in your day. This won’t come easily for some babies, depending on age, but you can begin focusing on getting your baby to nap better and get on a schedule, especially if your baby won’t nap at all. No naps or short naps can lead to fussiness (for you and baby!) and make it difficult for your baby to sleep through the night.

How Many Naps Do Babies and Toddlers Need?

Here are some guidelines for how many naps your baby or toddler likely needs:

  • From 1-4 months, the number of naps your baby takes will be variable, but will hover around 4-5 naps per day, depending on how long his naps are and how long he can stay up between naps.
  • By 3 or 4 months old, she will lean towards just 4 naps, rather than 5.
  • From 5-8 months, most babies will have three naps per day (though my son had four until after 7 months). They will start to resist the fourth nap, no matter how tired they are. There are a few babies who will only have two naps at a very young age, but those naps are usually long.
  • From 9-15 or 18 months, on average, your baby will nap two times a day. Although many people believe most babies can transition to one nap at 12 months, the average age is actually 15 to 18 months.
  • From 18 months to 4 years, toddlers nap once a day. The age to transition away from all napping varies a lot, from 2 to 5+ years old, but the average age is between 3 and 4 years old.

Remember, these are general guidelines and all babies are different. We have seen a few 10 month olds taking just one nap while others are taking three naps, still. Your baby’s sleep needs will vary. You should also know that a nap should be at least an hour to be considered restorative, except for any third or fourth nap of the day, which are almost always catnaps of about 30-45 minutes each.

My Baby/Toddler Won’t Nap — Help!

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transShort or non-existent baby naps can be so frustrating – but you don’t have to suffer through them! We have a ton of nap resources – and one of those nap resources is our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes. Are you making any of these common nap mistakes? If so, they may be the cause of your baby’s non-napping. So download your free guide today, and start putting the tips to use as early as your baby’s next nap!
 
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Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
 
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! ;-)

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!
 
 
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Is your child a champion napper? A no-napper? Something in between? Share your story!

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Can the “Wake to Sleep” Method Help Lengthen Your Baby’s Short Naps?

 
An older, wiser friend once told me, “Baby naps are God’s way of saying to parents, ‘I love you. Now go take a shower.’” Pretty accurate, right? Most parents look forward to naptimes, those brief interludes when you can actually pause for breath, do the never-ending chores, or have a little “me” time. In fact, this is such a hot topic that our quarterly Member tele-seminar a week from today is dedicated to discussing your baby’s short naps.

Of course, when it comes to naps, not all babies are created equal, are they? Some of you may have babies who are marathon nappers, providing you with several hours of uninterrupted time each day to shower and eat and pay bills and waste spend time on Facebook. Some of us, though, may not be so lucky. You may have a cat-napper who never sleeps for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time, but who seems to wake as cranky and exhausted as when she started. And even if your baby’s sleeping through the night, short naps can still be frustrating, especially if you’ve worked hard for those 30-40 minutes putting baby down in the first place!

Some people recommend the “wake to sleep” method as a way to extend short naps. But does it work? Can your baby’s short naps be lengthened with this technique?

What is the “Wake to Sleep” Method?

Tracy Hogg first introduced the concept called “wake to sleep” in her book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate With Your Baby. Tracy suggests in her book that a number of babies who wake frequently at naptime and at night are habitual wakers — that is, they’re waking out of habit, and not out of hunger or distress. According to Tracy, habitual wakers tend to wake at roughly the same times each night, and they tend to wake from their naps about 30 or 40 minutes after falling asleep.

Does this sound like your baby? If so, she may be a habitual waker. This would explain why her naps are so short, why she often wakes seeming tired and cranky, and why you just can’t get her on a nap schedule. She’s waking out of habit, and not because she’s actually had enough sleep. It’s not a coincidence, however, that it’s 30 to 40 minutes later. Your baby may not be able (yet) to transition to her next sleep cycle without your help, or she may not expect to be required to do it on her own, depending on her age. She wakes 30-40 minutes because that’s how long her sleep cycle is and some people can set a clock to it!

It’s important to remember that the “wake to sleep” method is used to solve the problem of habitual waking. Before using this method, it’s important to make sure that your baby isn’t waking out of hunger, illness, or discomfort. If you’ve ruled out those causes, however, it’s safe to try the “wake to sleep” method.

How You Can Use the “Wake to Sleep” Method to Lengthen Naps

The idea behind “wake to sleep” is that you’re “supporting” your child through the transition from one sleep cycle to the next. The first 20 or so minutes of a nap is light sleep, or REM sleep. After that, baby transitions into deeper, or non-REM, sleep. It’s during that transition period that babies often wake and aren’t able to get back to sleep.

With the “wake to sleep” method, you lightly rouse your baby (rubbing his back, making shushing sounds, gently tickling his feet, stroking his hair, or simply turning on the light and whispering his name, if he’s a light sleeper) before he begins that transition, and then you help him make the transition, gently easing him into the next stage of deeper sleep.

Should You Use the “Wake to Sleep” Method to Lengthen Naps?

At The Baby Sleep Site, we do our best to empower parents in their sleep training decisions and to remain judgement-free when it comes to offering advice. “Wake to sleep” is obviously a very gentle method that would support a no-cry sleep training philosophy. If you’re a mom with a very young (or newborn) baby, or if you have a strong aversion to any amount of crying, “wake to sleep” might be a good option for you to try (doesn’t hurt to try!). In those early months (when it’s too soon to begin any real sleep training but you’re so tired you feel like you might fall asleep driving your precious cargo around), it helps to have every tool available in your toolbox!

One recent client shared with us that she successfully used this method with her son (before seeking our help with her nighttime issues) when he was 2 or 3 months old. He was waking from his naps after exactly 45 minutes of sleep. She said this:

“At the 40 minute mark, I would gently jiggle his Pack and Play so that he would transition from one sleep cycle into the other. I did this for a couple of weeks and it worked…Now, he rarely wakes at the 45 minute mark.”

For her, “wake to sleep” was a nice solution to her problem, since her son was still too young for actual sleep training. The “wake to sleep” method can be a good way to help your newborn nap longer.

Although this method works for some families, we generally don’t recommend using the “wake to sleep” method as a way to extend short naps. First, it is risky in that you may inadvertently wake the baby you’ve worked hard at getting to sleep! And, if your baby is anything like Nicole’s, the moment he saw you there, he’d be up! Second, if your baby is taking short naps due to a schedule problem, wake to sleep likely won’t work. And finally, we don’t want to help our babies create any sleep associations that involve lots of work on our part, whether it’s rocking or nursing the baby to sleep, replacing a pacifier every 15 minutes, or easing the baby through every transition between sleep cycles. Ultimately, the goal is for your baby to learn to fall asleep and stay asleep by herself, without you needing to perform any tricks to make that happen. Of course, all babies (and parents!) are different. What you mind “doing” at nap time, and how often you do it, will differ from another parent.

Furthermore, many people acknowledge that while “wake to sleep” can work, the results aren’t necessarily permanent, since you aren’t teaching the baby any new habits. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for life.” This same principle holds true for many parents using “wake to sleep” to lengthen naps. The “wake to sleep” method may help you extend today’s nap(s), but teaching a baby good sleep habits will likely mean good naps every day.

How To Help Your Baby Take Better, Longer Naps (Once And For All!)

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transShort or non-existent baby naps can be so frustrating – but you don’t have to suffer through them! We have a ton of nap resources – and one of those nap resources is our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes. Are you making any of these common nap mistakes? If so, they may be the cause of your baby’s too-short naps. So download your free guide today, and start putting the tips to use as early as your baby’s next nap!
 

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Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
 
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars – including one that’s all about lengthening naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!
 
 
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While our Members Area is great for DIY moms who prefer to tackle sleep challenges on their own, we know that other moms much prefer to go straight to one-on-one help. Well, good news – we offer that, and you can start getting the personal help you need TODAY! You can teach your baby a new way to nap – and we can help. We have helped thousands of families around the world with their babies’ nap trouble, and we can help you, too! Take a look at our consultation packages, and see which one looks like a good fit for you.

Click here to see all our personalized consultation packages.

Once you purchase, you will immediately receive access to the Helpdesk, and you can set up your account, fill out your Family Sleep History form, submit it to a consultant, and get started on the journey to better sleep!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Did you try Wake to Sleep? What is your experience with Wake to Sleep?

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