You already know napping boosts healthy body and brain development. But new parents need flexibility. Hey, you’ve got things to do, places to go. Who wants to be a slave to a nap routine?
You do. It doesn’t take long to find out that consistency is the key to developing a good baby nap routine. But most moms make these mistakes first—and you don’t have to.
Mistake #1: Waiting for sleep cues
Babies naturally signal when they’re tired: they fuss, cry, rub their eyes or show disinterest in feeding. But by that point, they are often overtired, making it difficult for them to settle at naptime.
Mistake #2: Letting baby nap wherever they are
You’ve heard, ‘never wake a sleeping baby’, But cat-napping in a stroller, swing, or car seat, your baby wont get deep sleep she needs. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Mayo Clinic also recommend napping flat, not sitting up, for optimal oxygen flow.
Mistake #3: Creating sleep crutches
Rocking, nursing, swinging, singing: when baby won’t nap, moms do almost anything to make it happen. But once babies exceed 3 months, they learn to expect all these activities and can’t fall asleep—or soothe themselves through wakeups—without them.
Mistake #4: Making the crib super fun
All the decor may look absolutely adorable, but when it comes to naptime, you want as few distractions as possible—especially as you baby grows older and more alert.
Mistake #5: Skipping the bedtime routine
Bedtime and naptime are a delicate balance; as soon as one gets thrown off kilter, the other follows—and babies get overtired and fussy: even familiar wind-down rituals are a struggle.
Mistake #6: Keeping her up, so she’ll sleep in
Later bedtime, later wake-up: seems logical right? Unfortunately, a baby’s internal clock wakes her up around the same time every morning—even without a good night’s sleep She’ll be overtired the next day. And that means fussiness at naptime.
Mistake #7: Eliminating naps too soon
You’ve heard that as babies get older, they start taking fewer—but longer—naps, and bedtime can be moved a few hours earlier as a result. Maybe she napped twice a day this week—but now seems overtired. How do you know when to start transitioning to fewer naps?
Mistake #8: Expecting quick results
Napping success takes patience: routines take time to form (babies under 3 months don’t even know the difference between night and day yet!), and habits take time to break. But being patient when you’re sleep-deprived an be a challenge.