As a parent, one of the most critical things you want to ensure your child gets is enough sleep. At four months, your infant is still developing their sleep patterns and may wake up frequently during the night. This may lead to erratic behaviors and decreased vitality during the day, leaving you and your infant feeling exhausted.
Understanding how many naps your child should have at four months can help ensure that they get enough sleep, avoid crankiness and maintain optimal health. This article provides easy to follow sleep schedules outlining the recommended number of naps infants should have at four months and how long each nap should last.
How Many Naps is Appropriate for a Four-Month-Old-Baby?
At four months, your infant should be taking anywhere from three to four naps during the day. This number will depend on how long each nap lasts and how long your baby sleeps at night. Since the average baby’s sleep totals 14-16 hours per day, it’s crucial to spread it out in a way that does not compromise their sleep quality.
Settling the Debate: Is Four Naps Better Than Three Naps?
Three naps are adequate for a four-month-old baby. While some parenting forums and sleep coaches argue that four naps work better, the risk is that your baby may not get enough sleep during the day or sleep well at night. A well-rested baby is happier and healthier, and it’s easier to maintain a consistent routine with three naps compared to four.
How Long Should Each Nap Be?
The ideal nap duration for a four-month-old baby is between 45 minutes and two hours. It’s essential to ensure that the nap duration is not too long or too short, as it can interfere with nighttime sleep or cause crankiness, making it hard for your baby to fall asleep.
How to Create a Sleep Schedule for a Four-Month-Old Baby?
Step 1: Consolidate Your Baby’s Naps
At four months, your baby is likely taking a series of shorter naps during the day. One of the key rules to follow at this age is to start consolidating their naps so that they rest for longer periods during the day. Instead of having naps that only last 30 minutes, aim to increase the duration gradually to 45 minutes, and eventually up to two hours.
Step 2: Create a Daytime Schedule and Stick to it
Establishing a daytime regimen for your baby can help them learn when it’s time to sleep or wake up. When planning your baby’s schedule, be sure to include feeding times, tummy time, and any other activities that need to happen during the day. Since babies thrive on predictability, aim to stick to the same schedule each day, providing comfort and routine to their daily activities.
Step 3: Align Your Daytime Schedule with Night-Time Sleep
On average, a four-month-old baby should sleep for 10-12 hours at night, with minimal wake-ups. As you plan your baby’s daytime routine, aim to align it with their nighttime sleep. This means that you should put your baby to bed around the same time each night and allow them to complete their nighttime sleep cycle without constant wake-ups.
How to Handle Nap Transitions?
Transition from Three to Two Naps
When your baby is around six to nine months old, it’s time to move from three naps to two naps a day. One of the signs that your baby is ready for this transition is that they take longer naps, and are awake for more extended periods. During this transition, you can reduce the first nap time by 15 minutes, and then add 15 more minutes to the second nap, which should result in longer naps during the day.
Transition from Two to One Nap
When your baby turns one year old, they will likely be taking one long nap during the day, ranging from one and a half to three hours. During this time, it’s important to ensure that you don’t disrupt their nap, which could result in a cranky baby for the rest of the day.
What Should I Do When My Baby Refuses to Nap?
Create a Soothing Environment
Start by creating a calming environment to help your baby settle down. You can try dimming the lights in the room, playing soft music, or using white noise to minimize external distractions. Comfort your child by holding them and gently swaying to a lullaby, which can help them relax and eventually drift off.
Limit Stimulation Before Nap Time
Sometimes, your baby may refuse to nap if they are too stimulated before sleep time. Take some time to ensure that your baby is calm before laying them down to nap. You can minimize stimulation by avoiding activities that excite your baby before nap time.
Try A Different Setting
Lastly, consider changing your baby’s nap-time environment. If they usually nap in a crib, try a stroller, a car ride, or a different room in the house. Some babies prefer napping outside, so letting them sleep on a blanket under a tree can help them drift off.
What Are Some Common Mistakes when it Comes to Nap Time?
Overstimulation During the Day
Overstimulation can interfere with your baby’s nap time. Ensure that your baby’s daytime activities do not over-stimulate them, causing them to have a hard time falling asleep when it’s time to rest.
Using Sleep Props
As much as it may be tempting to use a pacifier or a feeding session to help your baby sleep, it’s best to avoid them if possible, as they can cause sleep associations that can interfere with nap time in the long run.
Finally, being inconsistent with your baby’s nap time can create confusion, leading to difficulty transitioning from one nap to another.
At four months, your baby is developing their sleep patterns and is likely taking three to four short naps during the day. It’s critical to ensure that your baby is well-rested, as this can significantly impact their mood and health. As a parent, creating a consistent routine, setting appropriate nap schedules will help your baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, providing you both with much-needed rest.
- How many naps should a four-month-old baby take?
- How long should my baby’s naps be?
- When should I start consolidating my child’s naps?
- Why won’t my baby nap?
- What should I do when my baby wakes up from a nap after only 30 minutes?
A four-month-old baby should take between three to four naps per day.
A four-month-old baby’s nap should last between 45 minutes to two hours.
You should start consolidating your child’s nap when they are around four months old.
Some of the reasons why your baby may refuse to nap include over-stimulation, sleep associations, and inconsistent nap schedules.
When your baby wakes up after only 30 minutes, wait a moment to see if they can fall back asleep. You can also try and soothe them, but if they remain awake, consider it the end of the nap.
- National Center for the Study of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Safe sleep for my baby.
- Thompson, L. A., & Trevathan, G. E. (2008). Recommended sleep durations for pediatric populations: A community-based approach. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 4(6), 533–536.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep hygiene tips.