Every parent knows the heart-sinking feeling when you hear your child cry from their crib, startled awake prematurely from their nap. You’re yearning for just a bit more of those precious, quiet moments.
Whether it’s to get more stuff done around the house, take a moment to catch your breath, or to maintain a consistent newborn sleep schedule or newborn nap schedule, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll walk you through how to get baby to nap longer with a few tips we’ve used ourselves with great success.
Rest is a golden thread in the fabric of your baby's health and happiness, and yet, it can feel like an elusive treasure. We understand the gentle balance of hope and uncertainty that marks these early chapters of parenthood. And, just remember - learning how to extend baby naps is as simple as investing in better weighted sleepwear at Nested Bean!
Why Learn How to Extend Baby Naps?
First things first…should you really take the time to learn how to get baby to nap longer? Is this even a problem in the first place?
Your child needs a certain amount of sleep for developmental reasons and could be held back by an inability to nap. Moreover, your child’s naps are your chance to take some time to yourself.
Physical and Cognitive Growth
Sleep acts as a vital growth agent in physical and cognitive development. Naps are not mere breaks in the day but pivotal periods where the synthesis of proteins takes place, leading to tissue growth and repair.
Blood supply to the muscles increases, energy is restored, and important hormones for growth and development are released during deep sleep.
Sleep is equally significant cognitively. It's during the quiet lull of a nap that a baby's brain processes learning. The neural connections that form the foundation for learning, memory, and attention are strengthened.
This is when the brain assimilates new skills acquired while awake, from the recognition of faces to the mastery of sounds and languages. Prolonged naps can facilitate these processes more effectively, contributing to faster and more robust cognitive advancements.
Naps have a profound impact on a baby's emotional health. Quality sleep is closely linked to emotional regulation and the ability to manage stress. It affects the balance of stress hormones like cortisol and supports the development of a child's temperament.
A well-rested baby is more likely to exhibit patience, a sense of curiosity, and open engagement with others. These factors together lay the groundwork for emotional resilience and the capacity to form secure and healthy relationships.
Longer naps help maintain the delicate balance of the wake-sleep cycle that is crucial in preventing overstimulation and irritability.
Babies learn to manage their own feelings of drowsiness and discomfort by providing a structured rest period, leading to better mood management and reduced fussiness.
Personal Time for Parents
A baby’s nap time is a precious interval for parents. It's not just about the opportunity to attend to chores or other children. If you can’t get your child to nap for more than 20 minutes though, you’re going to constantly find yourself interrupted as you handle these tasks.
This period is essential for mental health, allowing for a pause in the constant demands of caregiving. It offers a space for emotional replenishment, which is crucial to maintaining the energy and patience required for effective parenting.
How to Get Baby to Nap Longer: Our Advice to Extend Baby Naps
There’s no denying the role of napping in a baby’s development. It’s also an opportunity for parents to get some rest themselves, or catch up on tasks around the house. That being said, let’s get into how to get baby to nap longer. These tips will help you extend baby naps with ease!
Creating a Sleep-Inducing Environment
The environment is king in the world of baby sleep. Just as a blooming garden needs the right conditions to flourish, your baby's nap quality hinges on the ambiance you create. Darkness should be an ally in your nursery, with blackout curtains whispering secrets of slumber.
White noise from the gentle lull of a hushing sea or a distant waterfall can act as a barrier against the a noisy household. Temperature, too, should be a soft embrace - cool, but comfortable, mimicking the natural drop in body temperature that cues sleep. Aim for 68-72°F (20-22°C).
Above all, our weighted sleepwear can be the cornerstone of this haven. Like a gentle hand on your baby's back, it provides a reassuring touch, a pressure that whispers, “you are safe; you are loved”, encouraging longer, undisturbed naps.
Establishing Consistent Nap Schedules
Routine and consistency can’t be overstated when it comes to baby naps. If your child’s first nap is typically around noon, trying to put them down at 10am will be jarring. Observe and learn your baby’s natural sleep signals and start the nap routine before they become overtired.
Babies often show subtle signs of sleepiness before becoming overtired. Watch for these cues and start the naptime routine promptly - yawning, rubbing eyes, or a slight quieting can all signal readiness for sleep.
Babies’ sleep needs change as they grow. Be prepared to adjust the nap schedule to suit their developing patterns. It’s normal for the length and frequency of naps to evolve with age.
Pre-Nap Routines to Extend Nap Schedules
A consistent pre-nap routine signals to your baby that it's time to transition from playtime to sleep time. Here's how to establish a calming baby bedtime routine:
- Consistent Cues: Just like bedtime routines, naps benefit from repetitive cues. A dark room, baby massage for sleep, specific lullaby songs, or a quiet book can be signals that it's time to wind down.
- Relaxation Techniques: Gentle rocking or a warm bath before naps can soothe your baby, easing the shift from energetic activity to rest. We have a list of other infant sleep aids as well.
- Timing Matters: Observe your baby’s sleepiness cues and begin the routine before they become overtired. An overtired baby has a harder time falling and staying asleep.
Diet and Nutrition
What your baby eats can significantly impact their sleep quality. Ensure that your baby's diet includes a balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This mix can help stabilize energy levels and prevent a sugar rush or crash that could disrupt sleep.
You should also align feeding times so that your baby is not going to nap too full or hungry. Discomfort from either can shorten nap lengths, which is why you should read about the concept of dream feeds.
Adequate hydration is important too, but timing is key. Offering fluids after waking can prevent sleep disruptions from thirst or the need for a diaper change.
Dressing for Sleep Success
This is perhaps the biggest takeaway from our guide on how to get baby to nap longer. The right attire can enhance sleep comfort and duration. Choose breathable, natural fabrics to prevent overheating, which is a common disruptor of sleep.
Dress your baby similarly to how you would dress, with perhaps one additional layer. This can mean a onesie under sleepwear for an extra layer of warmth without risking overheating. Our guide on how to dress newborn for sleep and what to wear under sleep sack offers more insights as well.
For babies over a certain age and with pediatrician approval, a weighted sleep sack or weighted swaddle can provide a sense of security. The gentle pressure can help soothe babies and potentially extend nap times. This is really important for parents whose newborn won't sleep, so we’ll talk more about it later on.
Does My Baby Really Need to Nap Longer?
There you have it - how to get baby to nap longer. But let’s quickly talk about how much your kiddo should be napping in the first place.
Nap Needs by Age:
- Newborns (0-3 months): At this stage, babies sleep around 14 to 17 hours a day, including naps. Newborns typically have short wake windows of 45 minutes to an hour and may need naps after each wake period.
- Infants (4-11 months): As your baby grows, their total daily sleep requirement drops to about 12 to 15 hours. Wake windows expand, ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours depending on age and individual development. Naps tend to consolidate into longer periods, and by 6 months, most babies are ready for two to three naps a day.
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Toddlers need about 11 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Wake windows are longer, and naps consolidate further, typically into one long midday nap.
Wake Windows and Signs of Sleep Readiness:
The concept of wake windows is critical. Keeping a baby awake too long can lead to overtiredness, making it harder for them to fall and stay asleep.
On the flip side, not enough awake time might mean your baby isn't ready to sleep, leading to short naps or difficulty settling down.
Look for signs of sleep readiness like rubbing eyes, yawning, and general fussiness. Read our guide on the different wake windows by age to learn more. At this point, though, let’s introduce you to your new secret weapon in getting baby to nap longer…
Invest in the Premium Sleepwear Your Child Deserves at Nested Bean!
At Nested Bean, we understand that your child’s sleep is priceless, providing the foundation for healthy growth and development. That’s why we've meticulously crafted a line of premium sleepwear designed to support your little one’s slumber from dusk till dawn.
Zen Swaddle: The Gentle Embrace for Newborns
Embrace your newborn with the Zen Swaddle, your child's first companion in achieving restorative sleep. But, why swaddle baby? Should I swaddle my newborn at night, too? The benefits of swaddling are profound, and they’re more pronounced through our innovative design.
This 100% breathable cotton swaddle harnesses the power of a parent's caress through gentle, weighted pads. It's meticulously designed to support self-soothing and reduce the startle reflex for longer, sounder sleep sessions.
The Zen Swaddle is adaptable and safe. It evolves with your baby, offering the flexibility of arms-in or arms-out wrapping. Endorsed by safety experts, this swaddle is the soft embrace your baby deserves.
We also have different types of swaddles including our transitional swaddle (the best transition swaddle), zipper swaddle, and our bamboo rayon fabric swaddle. Learn about the various swaddle techniques like how to swaddle with arms out or swaddle with arms up in our blog.
Zen Sack: The Soothing Transition for Growing Babies
As your little one grows, so does their need for a sleep solution that accommodates their newfound mobility. Enter the Zen Sack: a wearable blanket that continues the calming pressure your baby loves, now in a form that's fitting for their changing sleep patterns.
The bamboo cotton fabric is as soft as a lullaby and as breathable as a whisper, ensuring all-season comfort with a TOG rating that's just right. Engineered for ease and safety, the Zen Sack is a trusted companion through every nap and nighttime dream.
We have both a bamboo rayon fabric sleep sack and winter sleep sack, either of these is a great choice if your newborn cries when put down for their nap and you can’t safely use a swaddle anymore. Learn more about when to stop using a sleep sack or transitioning from sleep sack to blanket in our blog. At this point, though, it’s time to wrap up our conversation on how to get baby to nap longer.
Final Thoughts on How to Get Baby to Nap Longer
Mastering your baby's naptime is a tumultuous journey, but it’s one that's made smoother with Nested Bean by your side. Remember, consistency is key, the right environment matters, and comfort is crucial.
We hope this conversation on how to extend baby naps has left you with clarity on how to make the most of these temporary breaks from watching your baby. Our blog has more resources to help parents like you feel comfortable and confident navigating the uncertainties of early childhood sleep.
That includes when should baby sleep in own room, what to do if baby cries in sleep, home remedies for teething baby at night, when do toddlers stop napping, baby cries meaning, sleep regression ,why do newborns sleep so much, when to start sleep training, and more.
Whether you need a sleep sack vs swaddle, you can count on Nested Bean. Trust in our expertise and experience to extend those precious nap moments with our Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack.
Visit Nested Bean now, and let's turn those naptime dreams into a reality for you and your baby. Shop today for sleepwear that invites longer, peaceful slumbers.