What To Do When Your Baby Fights Naps

A fussy baby lying on its back.

(Image courtesy Unsplash)

It's a bad and stereotypical joke now to mention that becoming a newborn parent requires the sacrifice of regular sleep for a few years.

But it's more than that - it's a fact.

If a newborn baby is less than six months old, then over 57% of parents will get less than eight hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly. And if that sounds bad, consider that another 38% of parents with a six-month-old baby usually get less than six hours of sleep nightly.

43% of parents with babies at least one-year-old get less than eight hours of sleep. 

Unfortunately, the sacrifice of sleep for parents can't be helped. And it's not the baby's fault either. Newborn babies just can't help it. 

Newborn babies spend about 90% of their time sleeping and napping when they are not eating and pooping. And they need every second of their sleep time.

Babies undergo substantial growth spurts from the moment they are born. Their brains and bodies experience incredible rates of growth and expansion. 

Babies develop personalities within the first few months of life. Their brain cells, synapses, and neurons begin firing and growing more. And their essential physiological motor functions begin to develop as well. 

Your baby's first words, first steps, and ability to grab and manipulate objects with its fingers will occur in the first year of life. 

And so they must conserve a lot of energy and rest a lot during those crucial first months of life.

Most newborn babies will sleep 16 hours per day. The problem for newborn parents is that babies don't sleep for 16 consecutive hours every day.

Babies sleep in one to three or four-hour increments every 24 hours.

There is an art to parenting, and part of it is setting a sleep schedule for your baby. 

So, here is what to do when your baby fights naps when you are trying to get some rest.

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Related: Why Do Babies Smile in Their Sleep?

4 Reasons You Baby Fights Naptime 

The best way to solve a problem is to understand why it is occurring. 

Is The Nap Area Primed?

Your baby may be fighting against your scheduled nap times because you place it in an area with subtle and disruptive ambiance and noises. The nap time area may have too much light for the baby to sleep comfortably.

Remember, the first natural light that is baby sees is when it is born. A darkened room may remind a newborn of the calmness of the womb.

Your baby may fight naptime if you lay anywhere near subtle noises. Those noises don't have to be loud to disrupt your baby's sense of calm and rest.

Baby Isn't Tired Enough

A toddler too excited to sleep.

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

As previously mentioned, babies have irregular sleep patterns. A baby will sleep for one to three hours in increments every day. And there is no pattern to this ad hoc sleep schedule.

Are you keeping track of how many hours your baby is awake and asleep? Your baby may have just recently awakened from a previous nap and may have no intention of going to sleep now.

Baby is Too Tired to Nap

As a grown adult, have you ever gotten into bed after a very long day of work but could not go to sleep? Sometimes, your mind is so sluggish from exhaustion that you can't get to sleep for a while.

Babies also have this physiological sleep window. Your baby gets to the point where it is not so tuckered out it begins crying, but it is too drowsy enough to fall asleep soon.

Remember, your baby is experiencing a new world and still figuring out its sleep patterns. And at some point, it can become too tired to fall quietly asleep. So, it may instinctually begin crying and waking itself up.

Baby Starts Fighting Naps

Sometimes there is no fancy medical reason for it - your baby may not want to go to sleep.

Your baby may get excited, obsess over new sounds and objects, or start to have too much fun exploring its new world. 

And your baby's brain is developing all the time. It learns quickly. And it may want to sleep on its own schedule and not on the one you impose.

Benefits of Sleep and Structured Naptime for Baby 

The number one prerequisite of being a parent is accepting that you will sleep a lot less for a while. So, it may not be a problem for you to let your baby sleep or nap when it wants.

However, you should want positively encourage your baby to sleep on a schedule you develop.

Your baby will sleep 90% of the time in irregular periods. But as your baby grows, the nap time schedules you set will help it learn to sleep longer and appropriate hours as it grows. 

And over time, your sleep schedule will normally return.

And if you think about it, the early naptime schedules you set for your baby are really the blueprint for its early life schedule later on. Your baby must learn to schedule when it's time to go to school, do its homework, and go to bed.

What To Do When Your Baby Fights Naps 

There are a few things you do if your baby starts fighting its naptime schedule.

Monitor Baby's Moods 

Monitor your baby's behavior throughout the day. As we mentioned before, your baby may develop a physiological window for its perfect naptime. 

And if you miss it, it may just instinctually begin crying to wake itself up.

You know your baby. Monitor its moods. If you know when your baby is wide awake and sleeper, you can develop and enforce your nap schedule easier.

Put Baby to Sleep Before it Gets Overtired 

As you monitor your baby's mood, you will notice when it begins throwing tantrums or fighting sleep even though it is exhausted.

Learn to notice when your baby gets overtired or exhausted and put to nap before then.

Let Fussy Sleeping Babies Sleep 

If your baby is too fussy, it is not going to sleep. Pay attention to its moods. Learn to recognize when it is overactive and fussy and getting drowsy.

Babies develop personalities early. And it is better to learn to read and manipulate its personality instead of fighting it, especially when it learns to become fussy.

Sing Soothing Lullabies 

Develop a routine where you begin singing soft and soothing lullabies to your baby right before your scheduled nap time. 

Hopefully, your baby will start looking forward to lullaby time before naps. It can become a routine and special time for you and your baby. However, it will take discipline for you to keep up with it.

Here is a website with lullabies you can learn.

Develop Naptime Routine According to Age 

One-month and two-month-old babies sleep so much and on such an irregular period that they don't really need naps. Newborn babies sleep 90% of the time.

Consider how old your baby is, their personality, and how to persuade them to nap on your schedule. You will have more luck getting a four to six-month-old baby to nap on your schedule than a one-month or two-month-old.

Clear Crib of Toys and Distractions

Empty the crib of toys and clutter when you are trying to get the baby to nap. 

Dim the lights and close the window to keep outside noises out.

Prime your baby to learn its naptime when the lights are dimmed, distractions are put away, and it is placed into a crib.


A cute baby in deep slumber.

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Your baby starts developing a personality early in life. And it will instinctually learn to fight nap time as it grows.

Monitor your baby's moods. Learn to recognize its personality. And develop a routine custom to your baby's personality to teach it to stop fighting naptime.

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Related: When Should My Baby Start Talking?

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