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Naps are vital for little ones for so many reasons, but they are also an essential time for Mums to have a break too. Keep you baby and toddler napping during the day for as long as you can, for their, and indeed your, benefit. Make sure you take time out when your baby sleeps: no cleaning or tidying or cooking. Just have a relax or a nap yourself!
Why do some babies not nap?
- Over tired. This is the most common problem for disrupted napping during the day. Once babies get too tired, they have trouble relaxing enough to sleep and they fight it.
- Change in routine or place of nap disrupts their familiarity with napping and causes them anxiety.
- Over reliance on sleep aids or other sleeping techniques that you later withdraw.
- Overstimulated prior to going to sleep or a nap. It's important to "wind down" and go to be in a calm and relaxed state. Overstimulated babies may wake fitfully because they were not relaxed on going to bed.
- Lack of routine. If a 9 month old knows that every day after lunch they have a nice cuddle, they will calmly go and find their teddy and snuggle up for a lovely nap, they wil get used to this idea and expect it. After lunch comes nap. This is very important indeed and can be an essential tool when dealing with sleep.
- The moment has passed. As soon as you see the signs that your baby is tired, get them to bed directly. If you delay, you could lose that window of opportunity and find yourself with an over-tired baby instead of one that was ready to be put down to sleep.
The key is to get to know your baby and when they are tired get them straight into their cot for a good nap - all babies differ, but you will learn to spot sleep signs quite quickly!
Signs that a baby is tired:
- They get fussy and moody.
- They rub their eyes.
- They yawn.
- You feel they have been awake too long.
How long do babies stay awake before they need a sleep?
- 0-6 weeks: about 15-45 minutes! (Seems short, but it's true!)
- 6-12 weeks: 45-90 minutes.
- 3-4 months: 2 hours.
- 4-6 months: 2-3 hours.
- 6-12 months: 3-4 hours.
- 1-2 years: 3-5 hours.
- 2-3 years: 5-7 hours.
- 3-5 years: 5-12 hours.