What do you do with naps when ‘life gets in the way?’


Hi – I have a question about naps….. My 4 month old daughter, G, seems to like to nap 3x/day. Once from 9-11am, then from 1:30-3pm and then from 4:45-5:30pm. So, her naps get shorter through the day. Today, we had her dr’s appointment in the middle of the day, so her mid-day nap was in the stroller and only lasted 45 mins (instead of the usual 90 mins). I know this is going to happen because we need to be able to get out and go places during day day, but I wasn’t sure what to do with her next nap….. should I keep it short (45 mins like normal)? or should I let her sleep longer since she missed the longer midday nap?

Those are beautiful naps for a four months old – wow! The answer is, it depends. It depends on how close nap #3 will end up to bedtime. The length of a nap will factor in to how long your young baby can stay awake before she needs to sleep again. You DO want her rested throughout the day, but you also DO want her to have a little awake time before bedtime to rebuild her sleep pressure. If midday nap was shorter, it likely meant she was ready for nap #3 earlier than usual and so even if nap #3 was a bit longer than usual she could still wake up around the same time she normally does (she flip flopped the naps) and be ready for bed also at around her usual time – perhaps falling a little bit on the later end of the 30 min bedtime window we recommend – on that day. The bedtime range of 30 mins gives you flexibility to accomodate those minor irregularities in schedule like you experienced today! Only wake a sleeping baby to protect her circadian rhythm which does best with regularity! HOpe that helps!

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