Bedtime: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

Bedtime
Bedtime – depending on your situation, this word either sounds like music to your ears or sends a shiver down your spine! Most of us know from experience just how tough bedtime can be. Far from a calm, gentle wind-down before sleep, for some families, bedtime is alternately a battle of wills, a scream-fest, a marathon hours-long affair, or an eternal game of whack-a-mole in which you’re constantly fetching glasses of water and making trips to the potty.

So how do we get from nightmare bedtime to a peaceful bedtime? As they say, knowledge is power – and a solid understanding about the when, where, and how of bedtime will really help make bedtime a relaxing, happy affair for everyone in your home!

When Should Bedtime Happen?

When exactly you should put your baby or toddler to bed depends on a lot of unique factors, like age and daytime nap schedule, to name a few. In general, though, you can stick to this rule: for babies, stick to an early bedtime. Why? Because babies tend to wake early, AND because later bedtimes lead to overtiredness, which leads to less overall sleep (weird, yes, but true).

Toddlers, however, may actually need a later bedtime. Why? Because toddlers can handle more wake time than babies, and if your toddler is taking two naps, or if your toddler is down to one nap, but the nap extends into the late afternoon, then you may be looking at a later bedtime (say, 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.)

You can see bedtime by age suggestions on our bedtime by age chart (it includes a downloadable, printable PDF!)

Or, for sample schedule templates, view our sample sleep and feeding schedules by age. Even better – take a look at our custom schedule-maker! Simply enter your child’s age and usual wake-time, and you’ll get a sample nap schedule, complete with suggested bedtime.

What Does A Good Bedtime Routine Look Like?

A key element to a peaceful, sleep-inducing bedtime is a solid bedtime routine. But what does a great bedtime routine look like? Great question! For starters, watch the length of your routine. It should be on the short side, especially for young babies – a routine that’s longer than 5 or 10 minutes may very well stretch past a young baby’s wake time window, and may push bedtime too late, to the point where they become overtired. Older babies and toddlers can handle longer routines, but still, your routine shouldn’t take more than maybe 10 or 15 minutes.

As for what’s in the routine itself – that’s totally up to you! There’s no script. In general, jammies, a bedtime story, and a lullaby work great for all ages. For toddlers, you’ll want to include teeth-brushing and a potty visit. You’ll also want to include a feeding as part of the bedtime routine, for babies – just make sure you’re not feeding your baby to sleep, as that may create negative sleep associations. (Note – feeding a newborn to sleep can be a great way to get longer, deeper sleep, but once your baby is a few months old, you’ll want to work on falling asleep independently.

A bath may or may not work in your routine – some children find a bath calming, while others get really excited at bath time! So use your judgement on this – if your child gets wound up at bath time, try moving the bath to an earlier point in the day.

Finally, no matter what you include in your routine, try to make sure that the routine itself has a definitive end. Maybe say the same phrase each time before turning off the light, or maybe play the same lullaby song before you leave. You just need something that will signal to your child that the routine is done, and that it’s time to fall asleep. If you do this consistently, and for long enough, the end of your routine will eventually become like an “off” switch for your kiddo, and will really help you avoid the long, drawn-out bedtime ordeal!

For more bedtime routine help, you can read our bedtime routine article, as well as our tips on 5 common bedtime routine mistakes to avoid. You may also want to check out our article on whether or not a rigid bedtime routine is right for your situation.

How Does Your Baby Fall Asleep At Bedtime?

Believe it or not, HOW your baby or toddler falls asleep at bedtime has a lot to do with your bedtime successes of failures. Long story short, once your baby is past the newborn stage, the goal is for your baby or toddler to learn to fall asleep independently, without assistance from you. (Don’t worry about this in the newborn stage, though – when you have a newborn at home, you do what you have to do to get some sleep!) Now, “independently” doesn’t mean “in a room by himself/herself” – you can co-sleep or room-share and still work towards independent sleep. Independent sleep means that you are not actively doing something (rocking, nursing, holding, etc.) in an effort to make your baby or toddler fall asleep.

Why does this matter? Because if your child gets used to being rocked/fed/held to sleep, then that’s going to become a habit. And that means that when your child wakes at night (which is 100% normal, and something all of us do at various points during the night), she’s going to need you to help her fall back to sleep.

Sleep associations like rocking/feeding/holding to sleep can also make for what seems like an eternal bedtime routine! You may find yourself rocking/feeding/holding for an hour, only to gently set your child in her sleep space and have her wail. So frustrating!

So this is really the last step in creating the best, most sleep-inducing bedtime possible – work on helping your child go to sleep without your help. Do that, and you’ll be creating a strong foundation of healthy sleep habits that will lead to sleeping through the night…and who couldn’t use a little more of that in their lives? ;)

Banish Bedtime Drama, With The Baby Sleep Site®

Bedtime stalling, never-ending bedtime, bedtime tears (from mom AND baby!)…whatever your bedtime dilemma, we can help. Our team of expertly-trained, compassionate sleep consultants has dealt with just about every sleep issue under the sun, so they are well-equipped to help you! Start the consultation process today, and your consultant will craft a sleep plan that’s 100% personalized to your unique sleep situation, and that fits with your parenting philosophy and goals.
 
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.

Bedtime questions or tips? We love hearing from you – share below!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

Daylight Savings and Baby/Toddler Sleep – 2 Tips To Help Your Child Adjust To The Time Change

How Daylight Savings Time Affects Baby and Toddler Sleep
 

Daylight Savings tends to be a big topic here at The Baby Sleep Site®; we start getting e-mails in the Helpdesk up to a month before it ends, asking for suggestions on how to help babies and toddlers ‘fall back’ and adjust to the time change.

After working with many, many, many families to adjust to new time change schedules, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make the transition a smooth one.

And that’s what we are talking about today! We’re presenting two strategies for surviving the daylight savings time change.

2 Options For Surviving Daylight Savings

  1. Do nothing. If your baby’s is fairly adaptable to change, and is not sensitive to overtiredness, then you can simply do nothing, take the time change in stride. This means sticking to your baby or toddler’s normal schedule as best you can. The exception to that would be the morning wake-up time; that will likely be earlier for a few days, or maybe a week. For example, if your baby normally wakes at 7 a.m., then after the time change, she will probably wake closer to 6 a.m. However, keep naps and bedtime close to their usual times. You can bump them up a bit if your baby or toddler seems really exhausted, but remember, this is a short-term solution. You don’t want to do this long-term, or you will create a long-term schedule change.

    This is also a good option for babies and toddlers who are waking up and going to bed too late. If this is the case, and if you would like your child’s wake time, naps, and bedtimes to be a bit earlier than they currently are, consider yourself lucky — the end of daylight savings will shift your child’s schedule backwards by an hour!

  2. Tweak your child’s schedule ahead of time. If your baby is already waking up too early in the morning, in relation to your ideal family schedule, we recommend doing some preemptive work ahead of time to ease the transition. Moving your baby’s schedule isn’t always easy, but in the next week or two, you can successfully move your baby’s schedule forward by an hour and then move it again, if necessary, to achieve your family’s ideal schedule.

    For example, if your baby is waking at 5 a.m., and you’d like her to wake at 6 a.m. or later, you can move her schedule forward one hour to 6 a.m., wait for the time to change (where she will be waking at 5 a.m. once again) and then move her schedule forward again. This works best when your baby is at least 8 months old, but some 6 month old schedules can be moved as well. Younger babies generally will adjust naturally within a few days to two weeks as long as you don’t strictly stick to the earlier schedule (a young baby’s sleep is already highly disorganized).

If you are interested, our Shifting Schedules e-Book outlines detailed steps (with examples) to moving your baby’s schedule. Available exclusively to Baby Sleep Site® members, it deals with managing early-morning wake up times, as well as late bedtimes. It also provides tips and insights that are useful for tackling the time change. It even includes a case study that follows one family’s schedule shift as they worked one-on-one with Nicole. Members have the option to download and print a copy of the e-book at no cost.

Reminders About How Daylight Savings Affects Bedtime

Keep in mind that late bedtimes equal overtiredness. And overtiredness equals restless nights for babies and toddlers, and even earlier morning wake-up times. So watch your baby’s bedtime carefully, and make it earlier, if needed (for a few days, at least – while your baby adjusts). Here’s an example, to help you visualize this point: if your baby normally goes to bed at 7 p.m., after the time change, 6 p.m. will ‘feel’ like 7 p.m., since it WAS 7 p.m. just a few days ago. So if your baby seems sleepy around 6 p.m., respect that, and put him to bed a little early (maybe at 6:15 or 6:30). This shouldn’t be a long-term strategy, of course (few families want a bedtime that early!) But it’s a good short-term strategy.

Prepare For The Time Change Like A Pro, With Our Resources!

The end of Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner – we’ll be “falling back” before we know it! If you’re too tired or overwhelmed to do a bunch of reading and to create your own DST prep plan, let us do the work for you. You can connect with one of our caring, expert sleep consultants today, and she’ll send you your very own Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will walk you through every step of DST prep. It will also outline the steps you need to follow to improve your baby or toddler’s overall sleeping habits.

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.
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! Even better – as a member, you have access to our #1 Daylight Savings preparation resource, our Shift Your Child’s Schedule e-book. This e-book is the perfect tool for helping you gently shift your child’s schedule in order to accommodate the time change – and member can download and print a copy of the book! And don’t forget that as a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant, which is perfect if you have truly tough, pressing DST questions that require expert help. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 

How are you planning for the end of Daylight Saving’s Time? How do you anticipate it will affect your baby or toddler’s schedule? Let’s put our heads together and share some tips and advice!

2 Quick Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

 
2 Tips To Make Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

You don’t have to have school-aged kids at home to enjoy back-to-school season! But we here at The Baby Sleep Site® know that back-to-school season can be tough – if you have older kids, you have to work on reeling in your summertime schedule and get more serious with bedtime and morning wake-time, for example. (Hint – for help on getting your older kiddos ready for school, you can read our 3 tips for implementing a back-to-school sleep schedule.)

And many of our moms of babies and toddlers tell us that fall is the season when daycare schedules shift – babies “graduate” to different rooms as they get older, and that can translate into different nap schedules. Sometimes, that’s just fine – but often, it’s very challenging! Generally, we find that daycares tend to decrease naps a bit faster than we usually recommend (for instance, most 12 months olds are placed in the toddler room, and are only given one afternoon nap, but we usually recommend that parents try to hold on to two naps until 15-18 months of age). And the timing of daycare naps is very fixed – not starting nap time early if your little one woke up earlier than usual!

So, what to do? You can’t change the daycare schedule, usually – so how can you make the new daycare schedule work for your baby or toddler without sacrificing sleep?

We’ve got two tips designed to help you do just that. Keep reading, and get the details you need to keep the new daycare schedule from creating sleepless nights and missed naps in your house!

2 Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

  1. Calculate how much wake time the daycare’s nap schedule demands, and then compare that with how much you know your baby or toddler can tolerate. In our experience, daycares often expect a bit more wake-time from babies and toddlers than is age-appropriate (not always true, of course – but we see this happen quite a bit with clients). For instance, if the daycare schedule leaves 5 hours of wake-time between morning drop-off and the afternoon nap, but your baby can only manage 4 in the morning, then you’ll need to accommodate for that by changing bedtime, or re-arranging other parts of your daytime schedule.
  2. Try to prepare your baby for the new daycare schedule early. If you know that daycare will soon change your baby or toddler’s daytime nap schedule, try to get a head-start. Begin slowly moving towards the daycare schedule at home, by gradually shifting nap times until they match the daycare’s. This can help to gradually acclimate your baby to what’s coming, and might help ward-off over tiredness.

Finally, remember to take heart – this will be a short-lived trial! Your baby or toddler will eventually adjust to the daycare schedule just fine. :) Until then, though, if you’re going crazy trying to make the daycare schedule work for your little one, you could always consider connecting with one of our caring and compassionate sleep consultants! They will create a custom schedule that will work for your whole family – and for your daycare provider!
 
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.

You can also check out our special members-only article, 5 MORE Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work, for extra do-it-yourself scheduling and sleep coaching tips.

Are you facing daycare schedule challenges? Ask your questions, and we’ll answer! Have tips? Share them with your fellow parents!

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

QUICK SLEEP TIP: When To Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine

 
When To Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine

The word ‘rigid’ tends to have pretty negative connotations, doesn’t it? A rigid routine, for example, seems so inflexible, so set in stone, so…well, so rigid! We get that, and we never direct our consultation clients to adopt rigid schedules and routines if they just aren’t comfortable with that.

That said, though, there are times when we encourage parents to try adopting more rigid sleep schedules and routines – specifically, more rigid bedtime routines. Read on to learn why!

Quick Sleep Tip: Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine For Your Baby or Toddler

While it’s true that some kiddos are just fine with bedtime routines that change a bit from night to night, and that happen at different times each evening, that is not true for every child. It’s all about temperament, remember? :) Nicole’s oldest son is proof of that:

“My boys need routine and predictability, especially my older one, who inspired The Baby Sleep Site ®. My oldest has always been slow to adapt to changes. It was hard to even go on errands when he was a baby, because he’d start crying a lot due to the stops/starts. He hated all the inconsistency! The same is true for inconsistency in our sleep routines. When we are running late on bedtime, I used to try skipping the bedtime story (which would save a whopping 5-10 minutes or so), and then it takes my boys 30+ minutes longer to fall asleep! It’s not worth it to me to vary the routine that much, even if we are running late. Of course, now that they’re older, it’s okay to mix up the steps a bit (brushing teeth before PJ, or vice versa), but it needed to be the same every night when they were younger.”

So, here’s our quick tip: if bedtime is a problem for your family right now, try implementing a rigid bedtime routine. What do I mean by rigid? Simple – with a rigid bedtime routine, everything step in the routine happens in exactly the same order each night, and each step takes almost exactly the same amount of time (you don’t want to try and get the timing down to the second, obviously, but you get the idea – don’t spend 3 minutes on the bedtime story one night and 15 minutes on it the next ;) ). Sometimes, clients find that this kind of structure is EXACTLY what their baby or toddler needed in order to start sleeping better, and to fall asleep faster at bedtime. Specifically, this is true for clients who themselves have more laid-back personalities and aren’t very clock-oriented, but whose babies or toddlers are more inflexible and crave consistency.

How long will it take to see results?? Well, it will take your child a few days to get used to the routine, and to learn that the routine signals bedtime. And then it will take additional time for the routine to feel habitual. So don’t rush this process – give it time to take effect.

Will this work? Well, for babies who need consistency in their bedtime routines but aren’t getting it – probably yes. What about kids who don’t need so much consistency, and don’t mind changes? Honestly, having a more consistent routine won’t hurt them – it just may not produce noticeable changes in sleep. And remember, if you have bigger sleep issues, like strong sleep associations that are interfering with sleeping through the night, this tip won’t solve those. But, in some cases, this quick tip can help eliminate bedtime drama and reduce the time it takes your baby or toddler to fall asleep.

Try it and let us know what you think!

One-on-One, Personalized Help For Sleep Setbacks

Need sleep help for your baby or toddler? We’ve got a whole team dedicated to offering you the one-on-one support you need to make a meaningful difference in your child’s sleep. Sleep training may be one of the best decisions you ever make for yourself and for your family – so why not start today? Our trained sleep consultants are standing by, ready to help you get started. Your consultant will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you and your family, and walk you through every step of implementation.

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.
 

What do you think – would this tip work for your baby or toddler? What tips do you have for overcoming sleep setbacks? Let’s get the conversation going!

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
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10 Must-Know Baby and Toddler Nap Facts. (#7 May Surprise You!)

Baby Toddler Naps

We’ve written quite a bit about baby and toddler naps here on the blog, so if you’ve been following our site for awhile, you’ve had the chance to read a lot of baby and toddler nap tips and tidbits. But, some of you are new moms or new to The Baby Sleep Site® and we strive to educate all of our parents on the importance of good sleep and how to achieve it!

Today, we’re presenting you with 10 must-know facts about your baby’s or toddler’s naps. Think of it as your nap “cheat sheet”. ;)

10 Things You Need To Know About Baby and Toddler Naps

  1. The first nap of the day is the most important. This isn’t to say that other naps aren’t also important. But the first nap of the day tends to be the most restorative, setting the tone for the day, and it’s generally the one that produces the best sleep for babies and young toddlers.
  2. Most babies don’t transition to one nap at 12 months; most transition to one nap between 15-18 months. There seems to be a prevailing opinion out there that at the one year mark, babies should suddenly transition from two naps to one. And some will, with no problem. But we’re here to tell you that making the 2-to-1 nap transition at 12 months isn’t the norm for most babies. In fact, most babies aren’t ready to move to one nap a day until 15-18 months.
  3. Most 6 month old babies aren’t ready for just 2 naps per day; most still need 3 (or even 4). Just as there’s a misconception that all 12 month old babies are ready to transition to one nap per day, there’s also a misconception that 6 month old babies are ready to transition to just 2 naps each day. We think this misconception is at least party due to a recommendation that Weissbluth makes in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. In the book, Weissbluth states that only 16% of babies need a third nap after 5 months. Keep in mind this statistic came from a study of a limited number of children.

    We are not discounting Weissbluth’s studies, but we do take it with a grain of salt, since all babies vary in their ability (particularly mood-wise) to stay awake for long periods of time. In our extensive work with families, we’ve found that far more than 16% of babies appear to need 3 naps at 6, 7, even 8 months of age. Therefore, we usually tell parents not to rush into a 2 nap schedule with their 6 month old babies. Doing that increases the chances that their 6 month olds will become overtired, which will in turn affect their night sleep. We’ve found it’s better to stick to a 3 nap schedule (or even a 4 nap schedule) and then gradually transition to a 2 nap schedule around 8 months.

  4. Your child’s nap needs will change greatly between birth and 18 months. Greatly. This just makes sense if you think about it — newborns nap pretty much constantly during the day, while an 18 month old needs just 1 nap. That’s a lot of change during a relatively short period of time!

    So, how many naps does your baby or toddler need in the first 18 months of life? You can read this article for detailed information, but here’s the short version:

    *1-3 MONTHS – 4-5 naps per day, depending on how long his naps are and how long he can stay up between naps.

    *3-4 MONTHS – 4 naps.

    *5-8 MONTHS – probably 3 naps (though some will need 4 until after 7 months). A few babies will only have 2 naps at a very young age, but those naps are usually long.

    *9-15 MONTHS – 2 naps. Some babies will transition to 1 nap at 12 months, but that’s not common.

    *15-18 MONTHS – 1-2 naps. The transition from 2 naps to 1 usually happens in this window of time.

    *18 MONTHS-4 YEARS – 1 nap. 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.

  5. Nicole’s Note:
    “But, of course, my son was very NON-textbook. He had 4 naps until 7 months old, because he simply could not stay awake longer than 1 hour 15 to 30 minutes without turning into Senor Cranky Pants! It was simply NOT fun to even try. So, I rolled with it and he stayed home all day pretty much until he seemed to change overnight, taking 3 naps at 7 1/2 months old. He then dropped to two naps a short month later at 8 1/2 months. It happened so fast! He also transitioned to one nap early and away from napping early. I would never have guessed that based on our first 7 months. So, if your baby is struggling with staying awake for long periods, he’s not alone and it could change fast for you, too! :)”

  6. If your baby or toddler sleeps well at night, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll nap well during the day. Remember, nap sleep is different than night sleep. Naps happen during daylight hours, when the sun’s up and when it tends to be noisy and busy. External factors like that can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap well. And many families struggle with keeping a consistent daily nap routine in place — because life tends to get in the way! That, too, can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap consistently. Contrast that with nights — it’s dark, it’s (usually) quiet, and everyone is (usually) at home. That at least partly explains why many babies and toddlers who sleep just fine at night struggle with their naps.
  7. On-the-go, “moving” naps aren’t as restorative as naps that happen at home, in bed. This might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s true — naps that happen “on the go” (in a moving car, for example, or in a moving stroller or shopping cart) aren’t as restorative as naps that happen on a non-moving surface (like a bed). They aren’t as long, for one thing, and during a “moving” nap, your baby’s or toddler’s sleep won’t be as deep. The occasional on-the-go nap isn’t a big deal, of course; sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. But if the majority of your baby’s or toddler’s naps are happening in the car, or in a stroller, you may need to rethink your daytime routines and schedule.
  8. It’s possible for your baby or toddler to nap too much. Yes, we realize that this particular “problem” doesn’t plague most of you. ;) But it’s true; some babies and toddlers nap too much, and it negatively affects their nighttime sleep. How much nap time sleep is too much? You can check out this article for details, but here’s a fast breakdown:

    *INFANT STAGE (birth – 4 months) — newborns will sleep 14-18 total hours during the day. To maximize nighttime sleep, limit naps to two hours, and try to keep your baby awake for 30 minutes between naps. (Need help with newborn sleep? Take a look at our newborn e-Book.)

    *BABY STAGE (4-12 months) – babies need 13-15 total hours of sleep during the day. 2-4 of these hours should be naps (depending on how much sleep your baby is getting at night.)

    *TODDLER STAGE (12 months – 3 or 4 years) – 1-3 hours of total naptime is considered normal and healthy.

  9. Educate yourself on when common nap transitions occur, and how to manage them. Nap transitions are likely to occur at the following times:

    *3-4 MONTHS – baby transitions from 5 naps to 4.
    *5-6 MONTHS – baby transitions from 4 naps to 3.
    *8-9 MONTHS – baby transitions from 3 naps to 2.
    *15-18 MONTHS – toddler transitions from 2 naps to 1.

    As for how to handle these nap transitions? We have loads of resources on that very topic in our Members Area – keep reading for details!

  10. If a nap just isn’t happening, know when to give up and try again later. We end up dispensing this advice quite often to our consultation clients who we are working on nap training: don’t waste too much time trying to make a nap happen. No sense in spending 3 hours trying to force an afternoon nap to happen — at that point, you’re probably closer to bedtime than you are to naptime!
  11. When your toddler is finally done taking naps, consider replacing nap time with “rest time”. It’s always a little sad when your toddler finally ages out of his naps. Gone are those one or two hours of peace, when mom or dad could get some work done, catch up on chores, or take a nap themselves! However, the end of nap time doesn’t have to mean the end of your afternoon peace and quiet. Simply replace nap time with rest time.

BONUS NAP TIP: We like you so much, we’re squeezing in a bonus tip for you! This one deals with short naps, an all-too-common problems for the parents in our Baby Sleep Site® community. The fact is, short naps are normal for newborns and young babies, but by about 6 months of age, most babies are able to take longer naps. Want all the details on why short naps happen, and how to fix the problem? Check out this article on short baby naps.

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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!

Are you struggling with any of these 10 points? Have nap questions to ask, or nap tips to share? We want to hear from you!