1. Your baby is overtired. Babies that are overtired actually have a more difficult time falling and staying asleep. Following a flexible sleep schedule and watching your baby for sleepy cues can help ensure that your little one is going to sleep at the right times for his/her age.
2. Your baby is not tried enough. Just like babies can be overtired, they can also be not tired enough. If nap time is too close to wake up time then he/she may not be able to fall asleep. You want to make sure that your baby has the appropriate wakeful window between sleeps in order to make sure he/she sleeps well during nap time. Keeping track of your baby's sleep schedule can help.
3. Your baby is hungry. Little babies have little tummies and they need to eat frequently. If your little one is hungry he/she will have a hard time sleeping. Keeping a feeding log can be really beneficial in helping you keep track of when your little one is due to eat. If you see that your baby is due to eat around the same time he/she will be napping, then you can try feeding him/her before the nap so he/she doesn't wake up hungry mid-nap.
4. Your baby doesn't have a routine. Just like we (adults) like to wind down before it's time to sleep, so do babies. Having a predictable, soothing wind down routine before nap time can help your baby transition from "play time" to "sleep time". This pre-nap routine helps signal to your baby that it is time to sleep The key to creating a nap time routine is to do it consistently before every nap.
5. Your baby is not sleeping in a "sleep friendly" environment. Just like we (adults) sleep better in quiet, dark, calm environments, so does your baby. Creating an environment that is conducive to sleep can help.
6. Your baby is in a sleep regression/hit a developmental milestone/starting a nap transition. Sometimes you are doing everything right and yet your baby still is not napping well. The reason for your child's nap struggle could very well be due to the fact that he/she is either in the middle of a sleep regression (4 month sleep regression, etc...), has hit a developmental milestone (like crawling or walking) or is about to start a nap transition (ex: go from 3 naps to 2 naps) and these can all temporarily interrupt sleep.
7. Your baby doesn’t know how to fall asleep independently. Believe it or not, but falling asleep is actually a learned skill. If your baby relies on you to nurse, hold, rock or bounce him/her in order to drift off into sleep, then should he/she wake mid-nap he/she will need that same sleep association in order to fall back asleep. If that works for you and your little one then by all means you can continue, but it if doesn't, you may want to consider helping your baby learn how to fall asleep with less and less assistance from you.
If your child isn't napping well and your family needs individualized pediatric sleep support, please do not hesitate to contact Tracie at Rest Well Baby (www.restwellbaby.com) to schedule a FREE 15 minute initial phone call to learn more about her supportive sleep coaching services. Tracie is passionate about helping tired families get the sleep they need!
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Wishing you all a restful night's sleep! www.restwellbaby.com