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Help! My baby will only nap on me.

contact naps

Ahh so your baby only wants those contact naps?

There’s seriously nothing more frustrating than when your little one refuses to nap in their crib on their own!!

It’s not about them skipping naps altogether. It’s just that they will only nap if they’re ON you. I know…I’ve been there too!

I want to help you with this problem with these tips on exactly how to get your baby to nap in their crib. So, if you’re trying different nap tactics but you’re still stuck with those contact naps even after attempting the crib and bassinet, then this post is just what you need!

In the beginning, we adore those newborn snuggles. As someone who is both a pediatric sleep consultant and a mom, I truly believe in cherishing those cuddles with a new baby. Enjoying those close naps in the beginning is wonderful and bonding, but as your baby grows, you might be ready for them to nap in their own space too.

These techniques I’m going to share are great for newborns and young babies, but once they reach 10 months or older, it can be more challenging since they are getting smart and are aware of their surroundings. If you find yourself in that situation, I’d love to talk with you more to see how we could work more closely to put together a detailed plan to establish healthy sleep habits for your little one! Just book a call with me to chat about it!

Now, let's delve into how we can help your baby nap peacefully in their crib...

baby naps in own crib

pick a time and commit

Tip #1: Let’s kick off nap training by choosing a specific day on the calendar. Get ready for a change! Pick a day to start and commit to it. Don’t make any big plans for the next couple of days and just plan to be home and not commit to any big outings or events. Make sure you have a plan in place before you start.

Start with the first nap

Tip #2: Start with the first nap of the day. This nap is like an extension of nighttime sleep for babies, so it is usually easier for them to fall asleep for the first nap. Focus on helping your little one fall asleep in the crib during this first nap. You can sit beside them, gently patting or shush them to create a new association with sleep in their crib. Let’s help them make this new connection during their best sleeping time – the first nap of the day!

the nap enviroment is everything

Tip #3: Checking the nap environment is crucial. For babies aged 0-12 weeks, swaddling provides a sense of security for better sleep. I recommend swaddling newborns and ensuring a dark room to aid sleep for all ages. If they are beyond swaddling, make sure they are dressed comfortably and warm enough for a nap on their own.

Next, You’ll want to make sure the room is dark…like dark dark, can’t see your hand in front of your face dark!

There are many benefits to having a dark room for sleep.  To make sure it’s dark enough, go into your baby’s room and close the doors and curtains. What does it look like? Do you see any light peeping through?

There are several products on the market for room darkening. I recommend getting something for the windows and for under the doors.

Consistancy is key

Tip #4: Patience and consistency are key. Perfect crib naps may take time to happen. It requires time and persistence. If it’s been 30 minutes of trying and they still haven’t slept, go out of the room into the light for a break and offer a feed before trying again.  Don’t let your baby fall asleep during this feed. After this, try again with the crib.  If the second attempt doesn’t work, then you should move on with your day. If your attempts to get them to nap in the crib fail, offer them a nap in the carrier, the car, or the stroller and just move on with the day. You can try again for the first nap of the day tomorrow!

Grant yourself and your baby grace

Seriously mama, It’s so worth it! I understand the struggle of helping your baby develop good sleep habits – it’s tough and tiring. But trust me, starting good sleep routines early on with your child is totally worth it.

Let's recap...

If you’re aiming to get your baby to nap in the crib, here’s what you can do:

  • Choose a day to kick off nap training and mark it on your calendar
  • Begin with the first nap of the day
  • Ensure the nap environment is just right
  • Stay patient and stick to the plan
  • Remember, it’s all worth it

If you’re feeling unsure and need a clear strategy to establish better sleep patterns for your family, book a call with me so we can see if working with a sleep consultant would be right for you and your baby.

We’re here to support you every step of the way. Our goal is to help you create a solid plan to teach your little one how to nap better, sleep through the night, and ultimately have a happy, healthy, and well-rested family