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What To Do If Your Newborn Won’t Sleep Or Nap During The Day

When everything you’ve heard or read tells you that your newborn should nap multiple times during the day, it can feel very isolating to discover…they won’t! If you’re racking your brain and googling your heart out for answers, these tips and tricks may help you solve the mystery as to why your baby is not sleeping during the day.


Reasons why your newborn is not sleeping or napping during the day

Newborn not sleeping during the day? There are many reasons your baby sleeps well at night but not for naps, and thankfully it’s probably not because they’re a natural-born party animal. Some of the most common reasons are outlined below.


Your baby is overtired

Once your baby becomes overtired, it’s much harder for them to get to sleep. In an overtired state, your little one can produce cortisol and stress hormones, making the task of falling asleep a lot harder. Watch for your baby’s sleepy cues, so you can put them down for a nap before they reach the point of being overtired.


Your baby is overstimulated

Babies are sensitive to light and sound. If you’ve taken your baby to a loud, busy place or they’re being passed around the lunch table by a legion of adoring fans, they may become overstimulated and unable to fall asleep right away come nap time. Consider some quiet time before a nap, and give your little one the opportunity to fall asleep somewhere appropriate when their awake time is coming to an end.


Your baby is hungry

Just as we don’t enjoy going to bed hungry, neither does your baby. It’s a good idea to schedule a feed just before nap time. You want to avoid feeding your baby to sleep if you can, but it’s important their little tummies are full before they nod off to stop them from resisting their nap, waiting to be fed.


Your baby is uncomfortable

If your baby is wet or they are uncomfortable with the temperature, they may not be able to settle themselves to sleep. Always ensure baby has a fresh nappy before their nap, and that they are dressed and swaddled in breathable fabrics that are temperature-appropriate to the climate you’re in.


Your baby isn’t taking the right number of naps during the day

Babies should have a certain number of naps each day, depending on their age. If they aren’t able to take the right number of naps, it may affect their ability to fall asleep. Here is a quick reference guide for average number of naps baby should take per day:

  • 2-3 months old – 3-5 naps
  • 4-5 months old – 2-3 naps
  • 7-12 months old – 2 naps

Create a consistent sleep schedule to allow your baby plenty of opportunity to get their naps in for the day.


Your baby is used to a different sleep cycle

If you’re in the process of changing how your baby falls asleep or training them to self-settle, that may be a reason baby’s not sleeping during the day. For example, if your baby is used to being, rocked, patted or fed to sleep and you are trying to have them fall asleep in their cot, it may take a period of adjustment before you baby becomes accustomed to a new sleep cycle or way of falling asleep.


How to get your newborn to nap during the day

In order to get your newborn to nap during the day, try some of the following ideas:

  • Create a consistent sleep schedule and allow your baby to have ample awake time before trying to put them down for a nap
  • Watch for sleepy cues and ensure baby is given the opportunity to nap before they become overtired
  • Ensure baby has some quiet time before their nap and is not being overstimulated by activities or their surrounding environment
  • Feed, change and swaddle baby just before they nap
  • Ensure your baby’s environment is conducive to sleep. If you can, dim the lights, ensure the room is at a comfortable temperature and minimise any disruptions


Common FAQ’s about babies not napping during the day

Many parents and caregivers experience the same hair-pulling frustration when their little ones refuse to nap during the day. Some of the more frequently asked questions are covered below.


What if my baby doesn’t sleep during the day?

Persist. Follow your lines of enquiry and investigate/change the conditions until you stumble on a combination that works, or a clue as to what the issue might be. It may be that your baby is having trouble settling, is overtired or uncomfortable. If you’ve tried everything you can, ask for help. Contact your GP, paediatrician or get in touch with one of the trusted services in our Support Directory.


Why is my baby fighting naps?

Your baby is unlikely to resist their naps because they don’t want one. It is more likely that they are having issues with settling for sleep, they are uncomfortable or potentially unwell. If you feel your baby may be unwell, contact your GP or paediatrician.


Why is my newborn not sleeping after feeding?

There may be many reasons your newborn is not sleeping after feeding. They may be uncomfortable, have gas or an intolerance. Begin by gently ensuring your baby has had the opportunity to get rid of gas in their tummy after feeding, or consult your GP or paediatrician if you notice your baby is showing signs they are in discomfort after each feed.


Should you swaddle a newborn for daytime naps?

Swaddling your baby for each nap and bedtime routine not only provides them with a feeling of security and comfort, it is a signal to your baby that it’s time for sleeping. Swaddles not only provide comfort, but help prevent baby’s sudden reflexes from waking them up during their nap.


How do I get my baby to nap without being held?

If your baby is used to going to sleep in your warm embrace, who would blame them? It may take a few days for them to get used to a new way of doing things. To begin this transition, ensure you swaddle your baby for comfort. If they’re not going to have your arms to make them feel secure, the swaddle will provide a feeling of safety. You may then give your baby a cuddle until they’re in a sleepy state, and then put them gently down into their cot or bassinet. It may take some time before your baby adjusts, you can help them by making this a consistent naptime routine and using other settling methods such as shushing or white noise to help them off to sleep.


At what age do babies stop napping?

At around the 2.5 to 3-year mark, your baby will likely show signs they are ready to drop their daytime nap. You will start to notice more resistance to the daytime nap and perhaps your toddler will be more wakeful at bedtime.


At Love To Dream™, we know that every child is different, and we’re committed to helping you to find the right solution for your family. With you at every step, Love To Dream™ believes today’s little dreamers are the shapers of tomorrow. For further advice from our experts, visit our Sleep Library.