Bedtime Routines

Why and How to Extend Your Baby's Short Naps

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Learn why short naps happen and how to extend your baby's sleep. Say goodbye to sleepless nights with effective techniques!

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You've come to the correct place if you're fed up with your baby taking short naps and are seeking strategies to get them to sleep longer. 

Taking longer naps for your baby can significantly benefit both of you. It will provide much-needed alone time and ensure your child receives the sleep they require for average growth.

Check out this blog about baby bedtime routine

How many naps does a baby need at different ages?

Age Range Naps per Day Nap Duration (each)
0-3 months 3-4 30 minutes - 1.5 hours (can be erratic)
4-7 months 2-3 45 minutes - 1.5 hours
8-12 months 2 1-2 hours
12-18 months 1-2 Varies, often consolidating into longer naps
Beyond 18 months 0-1 May drop naps entirely, or have a short afternoon nap

To ensure your kid gets the optimum amount of sleep for their growth, you must know the ideal nap pattern for their age. For babies of varying ages, the following is a breakdown of the recommended number of naps and total hours of daytime sleep:

“Keep in mind recommended sleep times when planning nap times and bedtimes.”
💡Kids Health

Why babies take short naps

Babies can take brief naps for various causes, including sleep regressions, excessive weariness, irregular sleep environments, and overstimulation. Let us examine each of these elements in greater detail:

  • Sleep regressions: Sleep regressions can occur at different stages of a baby's development and disrupt their sleep patterns.  These regressions may be triggered by physical growth, increased activity levels, separation anxiety, teething discomfort, adjustment to new sleep patterns or schedules, and nightmares.
  • Not tired enough: If babies don't sleep enough at night, they may need to nap during the day. Parents must recognize the signs of tiredness in their children, such as rubbing their eyes, looking tired, or displaying behavior problems.
  • Inconsistent sleep environment: The length of a baby's nap can be negatively impacted by environmental factors, such as discomfort from things like irritating clothing, ambient light, or loud noises.
  • Overtiredness: Overtired Babies may experience difficulties falling asleep and may have shortened sleep. Overtiredness can lead to frequent fussiness, short naps, and increased night wakings. 
  • Overstimulation: Restlessness and overstimulation related to physical growth and increased activity levels can lead to short or nonexistent naps.
“While sleep regressions can happen at many points, it is common for one to arise around the 12-month mark.”
💡Sleep Foundation 

9 techniques to extend baby naps

Extending your baby's naps may benefit both you and your child. It will give you some much-needed alone time and guarantee that your child gets the sleep required for average growth. 

Here are some tips to assist you in getting your baby to nap for more extended periods and with more excellent rest:

1. Establish a consistent nap routine

When aiming to extend your baby's naps, implementing specific techniques can significantly impact the length and quality of their daytime sleep.

If you want to know the sleep routines by age, check this blog: bedtimes by age

2. Set a regular nap schedule

Having the exact nap times daily can help regulate your baby's sleep patterns and promote longer naps.

3. Start winding down

Incorporating a soothing storybook into your naptime routine can help relax your baby and prepare them for sleep.

4. Turn on a white noise

White noise can assist your infant sleep in a calm and tranquil environment by muffling distracting noises.

5. Place baby in the crib, drowsy but awake

Your baby can learn how to self-soothe by being encouraged to fall asleep on their own by being put in the cot when sleepy but awake.

"In short, naps in early childhood are not only important for physical rest, but also for the healthy cognitive and emotional development of children, as well as for the general well-being of the family."
💡Dra. Lorena Koppel

6. Create a comfortable sleep environment

Ensuring the sleep environment is comfortable, with appropriate room temperature, minimal light, and reduced noise levels, can promote longer and more restful naps for your baby.

7. Master wake windows

Understanding your baby's wake windows, or the optimal periods of wakefulness between naps, can help you time their naps effectively, preventing overtiredness and promoting longer sleep durations.

wake windows by age

In StoryBook, we have all the guides you need by age; take a look at them: 

8. Encourage self-soothing skills

Promoting the development of self-soothing abilities in your infant can help them fall asleep when they wake up during naps. 

This can be very helpful before separation anxiety starts to become a big problem, which is usually between 8 and 9 months of age.

9. Ensure a full feeding (but not too full!)

To help your baby feel comfortable and be ready for a peaceful nap, ensure they have eaten enough before naptime but not too much. Achieving equilibrium is crucial to prevent discomfort while you sleep.

How to transition from multiple short naps to longer ones?

Multiple short naps might be the current sleep routine, but longer stretches of blissful slumber are within reach! Here are some tips to help your baby transition:

  • Adjust wake windows: Each baby has a perfect window of time to stay up before needing to nap. By keeping track of wake windows, you can put your child to bed when they're just weary but not too asleep, encouraging longer naps.
  • Establish a calm nap schedule: A regular nap schedule tells your baby when it's time to wind down, just like bedtime does. This may include taking a warm bath, singing, rocking, or lowering the lights.
  • Enhance the ambience for sleep: Make sure the area where your infant sleeps is calm, quiet, and dark. Think about using white noise to reduce noise and establish a peaceful environment.
  • Signals for sleep and self-soothing: Encourage your infant to go to sleep on their own. This could entail putting them to sleep while still conscious and letting them settle for themselves.
  • Be patient and consistent: Remember that transitioning takes time, so be persistent and patient. Try your best to stick to the new schedule, and as your baby grows, gradually shorten their naps.

Remember that our StoryBook App has meditations, short stories, massages, and affirmations.

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Written By

Francisco Cornejo
CEO Storybook

Francisco Cornejo, a dynamic entrepreneur with a Masters in Communication from RMIT University in Australia, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Storybook. As a serial entrepreneur, he notably served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Honda Motors in Latin America, shaping the brand's regional presence. ‍ Passionate about family well-being and communication, Francisco leads Storybook in its mission to improve children's health globally, aiming to create positive impacts in both corporate and societal spheres.


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