What should I do when my baby refuses to take a nap? Sleep

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baby awake in crib
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You know that depending on age, your baby "should be getting" a certain amount of sleep throughout the day. But no matter what you've read is normal, your baby might be frustratingly resistant to getting some shut-eye at nap time. Here, moms and experts offer tips on how to tackle this common sleep issue. 

Use Process of Elimination

"If your baby refuses to take a nap, try to see what may be bothering him or her. Perhaps, he or she is hungry or needs a diaper change. If the baby is not hungry or dirty, try to soothe him or her with gentle rocking or singing. If your baby is exceptionally fussy, he or she may be sick, and you should call your pediatrician." -- Maria Lombardi, MD, a pediatrician at MariaFareri Children's Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Valhalla, New York  

"If your baby refuses to take a nap, try to see what may be bothering him or her. Perhaps, he or she is hungry or needs a diaper change. If the baby is not hungry or dirty, try to soothe him or her with gentle rocking or singing. If your baby is exceptionally fussy, he or she may be sick, and you should call your pediatrician." -- Maria Lombardi, MD, a pediatrician at MariaFareri Children's Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Valhalla, New York  

Aim to Keep Baby on a Schedule

"You'll learn your baby's cues and signs for being sleepy or overtired. Keeping your baby on a sleep schedule will help prevent him or her from becoming overtired. Although infants routinely sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, they often do so for only a few hours at a time. In the first month, babies should be woken regularly for meals." -- Lisa Liu, MD, physician at Loyola Center for Health at Gottlieb, assistant professor of family medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine,...

"You'll learn your baby's cues and signs for being sleepy or overtired. Keeping your baby on a sleep schedule will help prevent him or her from becoming overtired. Although infants routinely sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, they often do so for only a few hours at a time. In the first month, babies should be woken regularly for meals." -- Lisa Liu, MD, physician at Loyola Center for Health at Gottlieb, assistant professor of family medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Melrose Park, Illinois 

It's All About Trial & Error

"Babies have weird sleep schedules for the first few months. Definitely always try to get them to nap, but if they won't, you can always get them up and try again in 30 minutes. Go for a car ride, try putting them in a carrier and going for a stroll, or try rocking them or using white noise. Make sure they've been burped well, aren't hungry, and have a clean diaper. Eventually, they will sleep. It just might take some trial and error."

Rock Baby in a Dark Room

"It depends on time of day and how many naps a day your baby needs for their age, but if you know they're tired, and they're refusing sleep, do everything you can to create a quiet, dark, and soothing environment. Rocking the baby in a dark room is nice."

Get Moving

"Try taking the baby for a walk in the stroller or a car ride. Often, the motion will put them to sleep."

Try Snuggle Time

"I would lay my daughter on my chest and pat her booty while playing baby sleep music. It works every time. Sometimes I'll give her a bottle too."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.