Nap Time Quandary: How to Get Your Baby to Actually Sleep

Everett Napping in the Rock n Play

Nap time is a complicated thing as a new mom. Some days it feels like a ticking time-bomb. If you don’t time it perfectly, your baby will explode into fits of crying, screaming, and kicking. 

The Nap Time Quandry

Try putting your infant down for a nap before they are tired enough, you’ll likely spend your time wrestling an energetic baby for nearly an hour - leaving you both frustrated and exhausted. Perfect, now your sweet baby is tired… But it will be too late for him to take a nap - he will be ready to feed again. And can you blame him? He burned a lot of calories fighting that nap! 

Wait too long, and your little darling will be over-tired and unable to cope. The crying will get to new decibels, and you may find yourself fighting back tears as well. 

Your child is inconsolable, and you have no idea what to do besides sing, dance, or beg them to just. Go. To. Sleep.  And most likely, your little one will fall asleep, just as your Amazon shipment is being delivered and your dog starts barking like a maniac and startles the baby into another fit of hysteria. 

Oh, and did I mention that parents of an infant have to do this at least five times a day?! Ha, it’s no wonder we worship our coffee machines. 

For as much time we spend thinking about sleeping, there is not a whole lot of actually snoozing happening around here. Nate and I have been baffled by the fact that our three-month-old already knows to fight sleep. Like, isn’t that supposed to happen when he is four or five? Surely, we are supposed to have a few years of blissful nap time, right?? 

So, what’s a mom (or dad) to do? 


Nap Time Advice: How to Get Your Baby to Sleep

This was probably when you thought I would offer a big list of magical tips to turn your nap time from a nightmare into a zen-filled respite. Sorry, no such luck. 

No, seriously, I need YOUR tips. Comment below with your nap time hacks. I promise I will love you forever. 

Okay, okay, just so you aren't entirely disappointed, here are a few tips I have tried and have found to occasionally work. No guarantees, though. 

Nap Time Tips:

  • Follow a routine
  • Make sure baby is fed and clean
  • Swaddle
  • Stop swaddling... if baby keeps fighting it and cries when you strap them in
  • Turn on a noise-maker 
  • Lay the baby down drowsy, not in a deep sleep (I need to get back in the habit of doing this)
  • Put in earplugs (Kidding! I just wanted to be sure you were still reading)
  • Put baby to sleep after 90-minutes of awake time


If you have any fool-proof tips for staying sane and succeeding at nap time, please share! And if nothing else, tell me how you stay sane when your child won't sleep. Also, how do you know when your baby is ready to drop a nap?!

XO - Sleepless in Leslie