Naptime For Baby

Getting the proper sleep each day is important for the good health and happiness of your baby.  Babies require different naptimes at various stages of their first year of two.

In addition to regular sleep times, your baby needs a regular eating schedule.  Babies do well when they have a regular schedule for eating and sleeping each day.

If you are having trouble getting your baby to nap during the first few months of his/her life, you might try cutting back on the time the baby is awake by fifteen minute increments.  You do not want the baby to become over stimulated since he will fight sleep and be hard to put down to nap,  Your baby will give off some sleepy clues when he is tired.  Learn to watch for these sleepy clues and then make sure to put the baby down when he is beginning to show signs he wants sleep.

It is hard for some parents to hear their child crying.  It is not going to harm the baby, either physically or mentally, if he is allowed to cry  for fifteen or twenty minutes after you put him down to sleep.  If you let him, the baby will learn to self-soothe and will fall asleep by himself.  It is very important that a baby learns to fall asleep by himself.  This way if he awakes in the middle of the night he will be able to self-soothe and fall back to sleep.  A baby who cannot get back to sleep by himself may become the child who does not sleep through the night for years.

At various stages in the baby’s life the sleep requirements differ.  When the baby is newborn he will sleep anywhere between 16 and 20 hours daily.  Newborn babies will sleep between feedings.  It is a good idea to keep the baby awake for a short time after feeding and then put him down to sleep before he becomes over stimulated.

When your baby gets to be about two months old it is time to start allowing him to self-soothe during naptime and bedtime.  At this age your baby is probably taking about three naps a day.  It is normal for your baby to cry when you put him down to sleep.  This is okay.  If the baby continues to cry after 10 or 15 minutes, then go in and lightly pat his bottom or rub his back until he calms down.

You baby will likely cut back on the number of naps he needs to take each day when he reaches 5 or 6 months old.  Usually the nap in the late afternoon is the one he will not need as much.  At first, he may be fussy about not taking this third nap.  But, if you want to put him to bed at a decent hour at night and have him sleep soundly until morning, then he does not need that nap late in the afternoon.

Sometime between the ages of 16 and 20 months your baby will not need the morning nap.  Instead he will take a longer nap in the afternoon lasting about 2 to 3 hours.  In addition to this afternoon nap, your baby will probably sleep between 10 and 12 hours through the night.  Be sure you establish a regular time for the afternoon nap and for bedtime.

Your baby will probably wake up crying if he has a dirty diaper, if he feels uncomfortable or if he has not slept enough.  You want to take care of the problem and then encourage the baby to go back to sleep.

When a baby has proper sleep, he will wake up happy, smiling and alert.  Remember, you as the parent, decide when naps and bedtime start and end.  The baby does not determine the schedule.