The Sweet Spot- How to get longer naps with less crying!

Any mamas out there have a babe that USED TO fall asleep so easily for bedtime and naps, but now it involves a whole lot of crying? Or maybe you feel like you are doing everything “right”, but she still cries each time you put her down?

The answer may be in your timing. Babies grow like crazy and with that comes the need for longer awake periods. The tricky part is that sometimes your baby may still seem cranky at the time you usually put her down. This is incredibly common, and sometimes as moms we need to gently persuade them into longer awake periods.

Adorable baby in his crib

But how? Every mom knows how it feels to watch the clock, counting the minutes till nap/bedtime. And now I am telling you to wait longer? The Mama Coach™ has the secret.

At the time you would usually put your baby down, offer her another nursing session or bottle. Don’t let her get sleepy or that 2 minutes on the breast will be her nap and there will be SO MUCH CRYING when you put her in her crib. This mini feeding session will rejuvenate your baby long enough to stretch her another 15-30 minutes to her newfound awake time. But it is KEY they stay awake!

Everyone has heard of the Eat, Activity, Sleep method? The Mama Coach™ has modified this to what I call the MAMA method. This method works great, especially for babes who aren’t taking solids yet.

M– Milk

A– Activity

M– Milk

A– Activity (this is a quiet activity 15-30 minutes before a nap)

Increase your baby’s awake time by 15 minutes every three days until the crying subsides. This method really works and is worth a shot! It can help with short naps too, as your baby’s belly is full before a nap. Compare the MAMA method to the eat, activity, sleep method where we expect a baby to nurse when they wake, be awake for 2 hours, then nap for 2 hours. That is a long time without milk, especially for a young baby.

Here is a guide to average awake times for babies. Every babe is different. Some can tolerate more, some less, but this can serve as a starting point.

Birth to ten weeks 45 min to 1 hour
11 weeks to 3.5 months 1.5-2 hours
3.5 – 5 months 2-2.5 hours
5 months – 7 months 2.5-3 hours
8 months – 13 months 3-4 hours
14 months – 3 years 5-6 hours

The above is just a range, you will need to find your baby’s “sweet spot”. It is very normal for your baby to need more awake time as the day progresses. Remember that overtired can look a lot like under tired and keeping your baby up too long will backfire and equate to a fussy baby who wakes frequently. Good luck finding the perfect timing! Please contact The Mama Coach™ with any questions!


Carrie Bruno RN, IBCLC



Share this post

Are you looking for support in your parenting journey? Click here to chat with a registered nurse.