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Why are naps so hard for my baby?

I hear you, mama! Your baby only slept for 30 minutes. They fought falling asleep for an hour. They only seem to want to sleep on you. All of these are incredibly common problems. Let me tell you something- you are not doing anything wrong!

Naps are the most difficult type of sleep to nail down. Why? Well, you have a few things working against you.

  1. Melatonin (the sleepy hormone) is produced by darkness, and it is not dark during the day.

  2. Sleep pressure is lower because your baby has not been awake for as long (*note* this does not mean to try to keep them awake longer).

  3. Babies have FOMO! Especially attached babies- they don't want to go to sleep and miss out.

So what can you do about it to make sure your child is getting the sleep that they need?

  1. Make sure you are timing their awake windows. Babies have specific windows of opportunity for their age. If they are put to sleep during this window, they are much more likely to fall asleep without as much of a fight.

  2. Just keep offering. They more you practice, the more they will learn. Even if they refuse the nap over and over again, practice it every day. My rule of thumb is to always attempt the nap in the crib and try to get them to sleep for 45 minutes. If they still won't fall asleep, finish the nap how you must to get them the sleep they need and prevent overtiredness. Then, try again tomorrow!

  3. Teach them to fall asleep on their own at bedtime. Chances are, if they know how to put themselves to sleep, they will be more inclined to do this for naps as well. Practicing at bedtime is best because melatonin and sleep pressure are now working in your favor.

Most importantly, look at every nap as an opportunity for practice. Do not expect perfection, especially if this is a new skill you are working on. If you would like any support, please contact Peaceful Peanut at the top of this page to customize a plan that will work for your family.


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