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Reasons Your Baby Won't Nap, and How to Fix It

3 reasons your baby won’t nap:

  • You’re holding them to sleep
  • Baby is overtired
  • Your baby can’t fall asleep independently yet


If you’re reading this, you might be hearing your baby scream in their crib right now, fighting their nap like it’s their full-time job. Or you’re exhausted wondering ‘why won’t my baby nap for more than 30 minutes?!’ Well, look no further - this article is going to show you exactly how to get your baby napping amazingly. 


Before we jump in, I just want to give quick advice in case you’re currently reading this with a screaming baby that won’t go down to sleep - 


Do anything you can do get them down to sleep, including bouncing, rocking or breastfeeding. If nothing works for 1 hour, skip the nap, and try in one hour.


Now let’s get to the good stuff!


Reason #1: You’re holding baby to sleep


If you’re holding or rocking your baby to sleep - please don’t worry about it. I’m not here to shame or pressure you into doing it another way. You know your baby best!


But if you’ve reached a point where your arms are sore and you would just LOVE for your baby to fall asleep happily and peacefully in their crib at night - I get it. That’s why I’m here to help!


Before we continue, I need to tell you that until your baby is 6 months old, they don’t know how to fall asleep independently. This means that they need you to help them fall asleep. 


If your newborn won’t sleep unless held and you’re completely exhausted - I get it. I’ve been there with both my babies, mama. 


Here’s advice for newborns that won’t nap without being held:


  1. Put them in the carrier so you have your arms free and can do stuff around the house while they’re sleeping. 
  2. Get your partner, friend or occasional babysitter to help you get the naps out of the way so you don’t have to get trapped under a sleeping baby all day! Even 1 nap can help you feel better. 
  3. Get them falling asleep in your arms, and very slowly put them in their crib after they’re asleep. You can warm the crib up with a hot water bottle (and remove it before you put baby down) so the transition isn’t as abrupt for them. 


If your baby is over 6 months old they DO have the ability to fall asleep on their own in the crib! 


If you have a 6 month old, I recommend you start putting your baby down drowsy but awake. This could really help them get used to the crib.


Reason #2: Your baby is overtired


Does your baby fight naps, even though you can clearly tell they’re tired? There’s mainly one reason your tired baby is fighting their naps: they’re overtired.


Overtiredness happens when you don’t follow recommended awake times for their age. If you DO follow recommended awake times for their age, it’s possible they need a slightly shorter awake time to be able to fall asleep peacefully for naps. 


If you want awake times for all ages, you can get a free chart of them in my FREE Postpartum Survival Guide here.


If you’re wondering if it’s normal for babies not to nap - it is very normal for overtired babies to skip naps occasionally, but it’s very important for your baby’s development that they nap frequently throughout the day (or as recommended for their age).


Reason #3: Your baby can’t fall asleep independently yet


Babies can only learn to fall asleep independently and peacefully in their crib after they hit 6 months old. 


If your baby is over 6 months and you haven’t sleep trained them for night time first, naps can be really difficult. This is because babies have a lot of energy during the day and it’s super easy for them to resist naps! 


If they’re sleep trained for nights and are used to going down to sleep independently, naps will be so much easier because they will know what they need to do. 


I’m happy to help you sleep train gently and get your baby going down happily and peacefully here.


I hope this helped


If your baby isn’t napping well, I hope this guide helped you figure out the next steps to take. Comment below if you have any questions or if you want to work together. Good luck!

If you want baby sleep advice, postpartum guidance & tips for a healthy body after birth - get my FREE Postpartum Survival Kit now! 
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