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Should Baby Have a Nap Schedule?

Should my baby nap on a schedule, or just whenever he seems tired?

Re: Should my baby nap on a schedule, or just whenever he seems tired?

The Bump Expert

It all depends on the age of baby.

Before four months, baby needs an extraordinary amount of sleep -- up to 20 hours per day. Some babies can only stay awake for an hour at a time and the day is more of a sleeping/waking cycle, as opposed to a schedule. At this time, you can start to keep a log of when baby is sleeping and awake. After a week or so, look back on the logs to see if he has some consistent sleep patterns that you can encourage from day to day.

After four months, baby is neurologically capable of differentiating between night and day, sleeping about 11 to 12 hours at night and splitting up his daytime sleep into three naps totaling three to four hours (until about six months) and then two naps totaling two to three-and-a-half hours (until about 12 months). At this point, he can benefit from a more predictable, established sleep schedule.

Ultimately, it's up to you if you want to make a nap schedule -- you may find that takes a lot of guess work out of parenting. You don't have to worry that baby is getting too much sleep during the day or that you'll be escorting a cranky, overtired child to a playdate. Some parents who initially dislike schedules say that once they give them a try, they actually find them liberating. Even fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants parents quickly realize the value of guaranteed down time each day to eat lunch, catch up on email or take a much needed shower.

watch: overcoming naptime troubles


sleep experts conner herman and kira ryan Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, cofounders of Dream Team Baby

re: Q: Naptime Schedule?

Thank you for this! I was just wondering about naptime routines today. A friend told me not to worry about it (DD is 7 weeks)... I just have to go with her needs.

Mango2 |

re: Q: Naptime Schedule?

this was wonderful because my DD is 3 months and she is starting to fight naps and then by the end of the day she is so tired, it takes a lot of consoling to calm her down.

CA2NC2VA |

Q&A: Scheduling baby's naptimes?

How do I introduce a schedule though, my baby loves staying awake and seems like she doesn't really have a pattern.

jeanninegflores |

Q&A: Scheduling baby's naptimes?

My doctor told me not to keep my daughter up for more than 2 hours at a time. This has helped so much because I now start to rock with her/wind down after she has been awake for about an hour and a half and by the 2 hr. mark she has fallen asleep. She used to only sleep for 30 min. at a time but it still helped me to get her onto a schedule. You'll start to notice a pattern in the times your baby takes naps if you stick to that rule. My daughter loves to be awake too and it's worked well for me! Just have to make her have that downtime :).

morse.meghan@gmail.com |

Q&A: Scheduling baby's naptimes?

My 7 week dd hates napping...but has been sleeping through the night (3 to 4 hours) since the beginning. However, in the evenings she was screaming because of how overtired she was...we started the 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program a couple of days ago, based on following your baby's natural sleep / awake rhythms, and she has been sleeping much better during the day! She still hates sleeping in the daytime, but she's so exhausted that is I catch her 90 minute window, she's out like a light!

Lady Brat |

Q&A: Scheduling baby's naptimes?

My 2 month old has been sleeping through the night since probably 4 or 5 weeks. she sleeps about 7-8 hours at night and takes 2-3 hour naps throughout the day. We don't have her on any type of routine I just listen to her needs and how she acts. At first before naps it was a little hard and she would scream like crazy because she was so overtired and I didn't read her well. But now that I've gotten to know her and understand how she acts when she wants something, she goes down for naps wonderfully and sleep throughout the night. I think as long as you listen to your baby at first, then after a while you can understand their cues easily.

sarahtops |

Q&A: Scheduling baby's naptimes?

My LO is now 9 weeks and hates napping during the day. His dad works night so needs that nap during the day. How do I get LO to nap? He is good a night. 3 hours then eats and down again. Please help. Daycare costs are crazy and we want to be the ones who care for him. Thanks ladies

kmaurer14 |