Baby Won't Nap? 7 Possible Reasons, Plus Tips To Help Them Sleep
Your sweet little one brings you so many laughs, smiles, and — if we’re all honest — tired days. While caring for a baby is a joy, it can also be a challenge, especially when your baby won’t nap! These long days can leave you tired, frustrated, and with a fussy baby on your hands.
We’re here to help! While understanding exactly why a baby won’t nap isn’t always feasible, we’ll give you seven possible reasons why your little one is refusing to snooze. And, most importantly, we’ll also tell you about a few tips to help your little one sleep.
7 Possible Reasons Your Baby Won’t Nap
1) Your Baby Is Too Tired Or Not Tired Enough
If you lay your baby down and they refuse to catch some shut-eye, it could be that they simply aren’t tired enough. Babies sleep a lot, but they don’t nap all the time, especially as they grow older.
However, the other end of the spectrum is also possible. Your baby might be overtired — in other words, too tired to fall asleep. It’s possible that keeping your baby awake longer leaves them wired and makes it harder for them to wind down and fall asleep.
2) There’s Too Much Going On
Some babies could fall asleep in the middle of the noise and ruckus of a construction zone. Other babies may refuse to nap if there’s a change or something going on.
For example, they might have trouble falling asleep if they’re in a different place, the light isn’t right, or they can hear noises from downstairs or the next-door neighbors.
3) Your Baby Isn’t Comfortable
It’s understandable that your baby might have a hard time sleeping if they have a hungry tummy, feel cold or hot, or have a dirty diaper.
These are basic needs, and when they aren’t met, it may be that your baby won’t nap.
4) Sleep Regression
Your little one can go through what is called a “sleep regression” around developmental milestones when their body and mind are doing lots of growing and changing.
If you’ve ruled out other reasons your baby won’t nap, you can probably assume that you’re dealing with sleep regression if your baby was maintaining a good nap schedule and all of a sudden has a hard time.
5) You’ve Been Traveling
Traveling can certainly throw your baby off their groove. Going to or coming back from a different time zone can affect your baby’s nap and sleep schedule.
Keep in mind that the same can happen with daylight savings time.
6) Your Baby Is Sick
Your sweet one might sleep more when they’re under the weather, but being sick could also mean that they don’t nap as well as they usually do. For example, a stuffy nose can make sleep hard to come by for anyone!
Reminder: Always check in with your little one’s pediatrician if you think they might be sick.
7) Your Baby Doesn’t Need The Nap Anymore
As they grow older, babies need fewer naps per day. If your baby won’t nap, it could be that they are starting to transition from three naps a day to two, for example.
Figuring out why your baby isn’t napping can help you know how to make them comfortable, sleepy, and ready to snooze. That’s why we’ve gone over these seven possible reasons.
But we think it will also be helpful to share a few tips to help your little one sleep day in and day out. Let’s take a look!
Tips To Help Your Little One Sleep
Staying consistent with when and where you put your baby down for a nap can be helpful. While you don’t have to be a stickler about keeping to your baby’s nap schedule, consistency is definitely beneficial.
In the same way, it’s OK for your little one to nap on the go here and there, but for the best chance of your baby sleeping well day in and day out, put them down in their crib for naps as often as possible.
Make Them Comfortable
Make your baby comfortable for each nap by putting them in a clean diaper and ensuring that they won’t be too hot or cold.
Clean Diaper, Healthy Skin
Change your baby’s diaper and keep their skin clean and healthy with a gentle wipe. For an Environmental Working Group Verified, fragrance-free option, cleanse your baby’s delicate skin with Mustela’s Soothing Cleansing Wipes.
These ultra-soft wipes are made with 99% plant-based ingredients and specifically designed for very sensitive, rashy, or reactive skin. They’ll leave your baby’s skin feeling soft, soothed, and hydrated while providing relief for irritated skin.
The packaging is made from sustainably sourced sugar cane, and we’ve gotten rid of secondary cartons. This is another product that meets EWG Verified™ criteria, which means that it avoids EWG's ingredients of concern and is committed to full transparency.
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
When it comes to making sure your baby is not too hot and not too cold, you’ll want to think about what they’re wearing as well as the temperature of the room.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends in general that your baby should be dressed in no more than one extra layer than you would wear.
To keep your little one comfy and cozy while they snooze, try our Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas. Using microcapsule technology, these 100% cotton pajamas deliver skin-soothing moisture to the skin throughout the night.
As far as room temperature goes, common recommendations are between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Create (Or Maintain) A Naptime Routine
Naptime and bedtime routines serve to clue your baby (and their body) into the fact that it’s time to wind down, chill out, and go to sleep.
A bedtime routine is typically more involved than a naptime routine, but you can still choose and stick to the same series of short activities before each nap. For example, put your baby in their sleep sack, dim the lights, rock and read a book, and then place them in their crib.
Give Your Baby A Bath
It’s not realistic to give your baby a bath before every nap, though some parents make it part of their daily bedtime routine. However, a relaxing bath can be a good option when you have a fussy baby on your hands.
Just remember to use bath products that will be safe and soothing for your baby’s skin. Wash your baby with Mustela’s Organic Cleansing Gel with Olive Oil and Aloe, and make bathtime both therapeutic and fun with Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath.
Put Your Baby Down Sleepy
Putting your baby down sleepy is a key part of teaching them to self-soothe, which means they’re more likely to fall back asleep on their own if they wake up.
Put your baby in the crib when they are drowsy but not yet fast asleep. This means they’ll doze off to dreamland by themselves and don’t necessarily need your comforting hand to fall asleep.
Learn Your Baby’s Sleep Cues
To avoid the problems of your baby either being too tired to nap or not tired enough, learn and watch for your baby’s sleep cues that tell you they’re ready to hit the sack.
They might move more slowly, yawn, rub their tired eyes, or become less interested in things.
Think About Cutting A Nap
If your baby won’t nap one day, don’t automatically jump to the conclusion that it’s time to cut out a nap.
However, it very well might be that your baby is getting ready to make the transition from three naps a day to two (or two to one). Consider whether or not it’s time to make the change.
Sleep Tight, Little One
We’ve talked about seven possible reasons your baby won’t nap as well as several tips to help your baby sleep tight. Keep them comfortable with a clean diaper at naptime, soothing their tiny bum with Mustela’s Soothing Cleansing Wipes and Diaper Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe.
Whether the reason for your little one’s naptime blues is a sleep regression, sickness, a post-travel funk, or anything in-between, keep our tips in mind and remember that the napless days won’t last forever!