Every month I get tons of calls from parents struggling with naps, and they really can test your sanity! Even for baby who sleeps well at night, naps can present difficulties and when I work with a family they are almost always the last thing to fall into place, sometimes a week or more after night time sleep has become consistent.
Some factors that will help you achieve successful naps are:
Don’t let your baby become overtired. They will find it far harder to fall asleep at naptime and are also likely to have shorter naps. When babies become overtired they get a boost of adrenalin related to our ‘fight or flight’ reflex. Adrenalin overdrive and good napping clearly are not good bedfellows!
Put your baby somewhere dark and relatively quiet to sleep. Ideally at least one nap a day in the cot, but when this is not practical you can get some great blackouts for pushchairs.
Try to keep to a regular napping schedule, babies love routine! Though every baby has a slightly different level of stamina here is an idea of age appropriate number of naps.
- 0-3 months: 4 or 5 per day
- 3-6 months: 3 per day
- 6-14 months: 2 per day
- Age 14 months+: 1 per day