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How to Get Your Baby to Take Longer Naps

Updated on January 21, 2011

My boy is still a cat napper at 6 months, though I have been able to help him sleep longer by doing a couple of things...

1) Putting him in his crib to sleep. I was letting him sleep in the living room on the couch in his boppy pillow, but this leads to frequent waking due to noise, etc. When he's in his crib he's in a quiet, familiar and comfortable place.

2)Good sleep begets more good sleep-Don't keep your baby up for a while if he starts to act tired just to "wear him out". This will cause his sweet brain to start pumping adrenaline, which in turn will keep him up longer and cause him to be exhausted and cranky. Play, eat, and move to quiet time when he starts rubbing his eyes or yawning.

3) Expect longer naps as baby gets older, shorter naps from smaller babies. Don't try to force very young babies to sleep longer by putting rice cereal in a bottle. It's an old trick which many think works but there is the potential that a very young infant could aspirate the solids. If your baby is breastfed expect to feed him or her about every two hours (or less) for the first month or two. After that it spaces out gradually. My son takes about 1 hour naps and sleeps for up to 5 hours at night without needing to eat at 6 months old.

4) Have a routine- This really helped my son to have a pattern to his day. He's an early riser, about 5:30 am to 6:00 am and he takes naps at about 8 am, 12pm and 3pm daily. His caregivers while I'm at work know this routine and generally stick with it.

5) If your baby is still a "neonate" (under 3 months old) he's still getting used to the world, so re-creating the feelings and sounds of the womb can help soothe him. Try swaddling your baby, using a white noise machine or a fan and rocking him to sleep. Also, if baby is in your arms try holding him belly down, but remember, it's always back to sleep!

Good luck, I know it can be frustrating to have a baby who sleeps twenty minutes, is awake twenty minutes, and then is tired again! Regardless, he or she will never be this little again so soak up every moment, peacefully dreaming or awake and screaming, because it only happens once.


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    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast

      Great hub - I've been spouting off "sleep begets sleep" to everyone I know for a long time now and I'm not sure they believe it, but I know from experience it is so true. It's nice to actually hear someone else say the same thing!

    • runrchic1 profile image

      runrchic1 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great advice!