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Nap Jail - Will it Ever End?

A question I receive often from parents is, when will my baby stop needing to nap so much!

Well, the truth is that you want your baby to nap well during the day, because properly spaced nap sleep is the key to consolidated night sleep.

However, I know all too well how having your baby on a good sleep schedule can feel a lot like “nap jail.” In those early months, it seems like all they do is sleep!

Rest assured it will not be like this forever (I can guarantee you when your child is a toddler, you will long for the days when your baby took two plus naps per day )!

Until then, your little one will need to have sufficient daytime sleep in order to have consolidated, restorative, overnight sleep. Trust me when I tell you that the better your baby naps during the day, the better he or she will sleep at night.

Here are some age appropriate guidelines on optimal wake times and nap sleep:

0 to 4 weeks:

Baby can only stay awake 45 to 60 min and can take two hour naps between those wake times.

4 to 8 weeks: Baby can stay awake around 60 to 90 min but will need to nap for approximately two hours between those wake times.

8 to 16 weeks: Baby can stay awake around 75 min to 2 hours but will need to nap around 90 minutes between those wake times. Three 90 min naps and a fourth 30-45 min catnap is appropriate.

4 to 6 months: Baby can stay awake around 2 to 3 hours between naps. Two naps lasting 60-120 minutes and a third catnap around 30 to 45 minutes is appropriate at this age.

6 to 8 months: Baby can stay awake 2 to 3 hours between naps, and some can stay awake up to 4 hours before bedtime. Two naps lasting 60 min to 2 hours each is appropriate. Some may still need a third catnap to help them bridge the gap to bedtime.

8 to 12 months

Baby can stay awake 2.5 to 3.5 hours between naps. Two naps lasting 60 to 90 minutes is appropriate. They should be able to go 4 hours between waking from second nap and bedtime. Two naps per day is appropriate.

12 to 16 months Baby can stay awake 3.5 to 5 hours between naps. Your baby will transition to one nap a day during this time frame. That nap should last 2 to 3 hours. Keep your baby on two naps a day until you see signs he or she is ready to transition to one nap.

16 months to 4 years Your child should nap in the afternoon for 1 to 3 hours. Most little ones will stop napping around age 4, although some children will stop napping around age 2.5. How do you know your child can handle not napping? Your child does not get cranky, irritable or show signs of fatigue up until bedtime. Toddlers and young children who no longer nap will typically sleep 11 to 13 hours overnight.

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