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Baby Will Not Take a Nap

Alison Wood |28, May 2013


After months of sleepless nights and dark circles under your eyes, your little one finally began sleeping through the night as well as squeezing naps in during the day. But now, your little munchkin has decided that napping is not her thing. What is going on?

If you're baby's day was filled with flashing lights, loud sounds, crowds of hustling people and just plain busyness, she may have become over stimulated. In some babies, and even adults, overstimulation can make it very difficult to sleep. The pulse and adrenaline is pumping and many babies have trouble settling their bodies and minds enough to get some zzzz's during the day as well as the evening.

Dietary changes.
Simple changes in your baby's diet can affect his or her sleeping patterns as well. Foods and beverages that contain sugars and caffeine can interfere with sleeping.

Your baby's body is growing at top speed. During the first year, babies experience many growth spurts. These times of rapid growth can cause their sleeping patterns to become jumbled. If your baby was use to falling asleep with a full belly, it may be time to add a few more ounces to his or bottle or add an additional ten minutes to the breast-feeding session. If your baby is consuming solids, consider adding a few more ounces of baby food as well to ease him or her through growth spurts.

Lack of routine.
If you have never established a routine with your baby, it is difficult for him or her to know when to settle down. A routine is not always a strict time schedule; it is simply a way of doing things from day to day where the pattern is consistent.

Growing up.
As babies grow older, their bodies require less sleep. A typical six month old may take three naps per day as well as sleep through the night. At nine months old he or she may only need two naps -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once babies hit the one year mark, many of them only require a nap once a day that last for approximately 2 hours.

If your baby is moaning and can't seem to fall asleep, he or she may be developing a cold or an ear infection. Young babies, especially formula-fed infants, are susceptible to multiple ear infections during their first year of life. A simple trip to your pediatrician can rule out sickness as being a cause of nap-less days.

What can I do to get my baby to nap again?

Thankfully, there is rest for your wearied eyes! First of all, start with developing a routine that best fits your entire family's schedule. It is going to be extremely difficult to stick to a baby's naptime routine if you schedule it right in the middle of picking up your older kids from school or during the weekly grocery trips. Take time to evaluate your typical weekly happenings and then figure out what times are the less busy for your family so you can ensure your little one will be at home and in a quiet environment during naps. For most moms, this time comes around 9 am and 1 p.m. Depending on your baby's age, you may need to schedule two or four naps. The older the baby, the less naps he or she needs.

You also want to work at cutting down on short catnaps that only last 15 minutes and strive to get your baby to take the longer 2-3 hour naps. This will ensure your baby is getting sufficient sleep during the day, especially the deeper sleep his or her body needs to build a healthy body system. If you are struggling on how to actually do this, a simple step is just to keep your baby awake during the normal times he or she likes to doze off for a few minutes. Twirl, sing and bounce your baby to keep him or her awake. Then, as it gets closer to your desired nap time routine, begin more soothing and calming activities such as lullabies and rocking.

Next, if you think your child is experiencing a growth spurt, begin adding no more than two ounces to his or her feedings. Try this for a few days and see if things improve. If there is no improvement, there may be another underlying cause for the naptime blues.

If naps still do not improve, consider your baby's diet. Is he or she consuming a lot of sugar or caffeine? Have you changed your baby's formula recently? Have you added a new food to your baby's diet? If any of the above situations are true for your little one, remove those things from the baby's diet and see if napping improves.

If nap-less days continue, consider calling your pediatrician for advice or a scheduled visit. At times, sleep problems are associated with underlying health problems that your pediatrician can help diagnose.

Sources: WebMD, Parents Magazine

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.
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