how long should I let my baby nap?

Amy - posted on 01/24/2014 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I know every baby is going to be different, but in general I'm really wondering how long I should allow my 3 1/2 month old to nap? Should I make it a limit of no more than 2 hours?---especially if it's going into his feeding time?? If I let him sleep that long during naps is that going to cause him to sleep less at nighttime? Is it okay to wake a sleeping baby--I've read that it's okay to do during the daytime naps---especially if he/she needs to be fed--but I just don't know for sure! I don't know what to do or believe!

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Amrita - posted on 01/29/2014

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let them sleep as mush as they want to. they will get up when they r hungry. u won't have to set time. their body system has more accurate understanding of time and need than us :) both my kids were very diff though. elder one slept for long, buy younger one is cheeky. he gets up every 2 hours for feed, even today he is 8 months old lol. let them sleep. :)

Ashely - posted on 01/28/2014

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When they were newborns, yes. And I used to worry but newborns just sleep, ALOT. They used to wake up to eat, and then fall asleep in the middle of their bottle, I would have to keep them awake so they could finish eating, the only other time it's ever happened is when they both had fever viruses, they would sleep as long as they had a fever, wake when it broke, and go right back to sleep as soon as it hit again. That may be something to ask your doctor about, it could be that he isnt sleeping very well when he does sleep so he's sleeping more.

Amy - posted on 01/28/2014

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Also, do your babies' naps ever last longer than the time that they're awake? Example: say your baby goes down for a nap at 3pm and he sleeps until 5pm. Then he is only up for 45 minutes and is ready for a nap again. So, he slept for 2 hours, then is only awake for 45 minutes and is back down for a nap. Is that normal and/or alright? Or should naps always be longer than the awake time? Could a child really be that tired?

Amy - posted on 01/28/2014

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thanks ladies. i feel bad kind of switching up his schedule now though...i've been trying to hard to keep on a feeding schedule of about every 3-3 1/2 hours and keep it in a pattern of 'feed, activity, sleep' (I at least really try to stick to that order even if I can't keep it at the 3 hours for feedings). I don't know if I should just let him tell me when he's hungry, etc... I don't want to confuse him and have him wonder when he's going to get to eat or when it's nap time since he's been kind of used to this 'schedule' because I know babies thrive very well on schedules. I stress about this everyday! I just don't know what to do....

Ashely - posted on 01/27/2014

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If he happens to sleep an extra hour or so, it won't hurt anything, he may wake up and take an extra ounce, but he should be fine. He will wake up when he's hungry, he'll let you know Momma (; Now if he has been sleeping an unusually long time and not waking to eat, then I would wake him, to make sure he's not feverish or getting sick. To be honest, I fed my kids every 3 hours up until they were about 3 months old, when they started sleeping through the night, then I would change them and play with them when they woke up in the mornings, make them a bottle (if they weren't crying telling me they were hungry right then, lol) we would go about our day and when they would start crying, I would eliminate whether they had a dirty diaper, gas or if they were hungry, I kept up with the time in my mind but they always let me know when it was time for them to eat. Your mommy instincts will kick in and if his nap doesn't seem normal, you'll know what to do, don't stress too much about it. I hope that helps in some way.

Michelle - posted on 01/27/2014

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I think you need to stop stressing about how much he is having and let him lead. Babies will wake when they are hungry and not all babies are the same. The advice on the tin is just a guideline, not what they HAVE to have. You will also find he will go through bursts where he will want more, that's when they go through growth spurts. Most formula fed babies will go 4 hours between feeds instead of 3 hours.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2014

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thanks! well, i'm currently in this napping dilemma: it is time for him to eat (well, on our eating every 3 hours schedule it's time), but he is still napping. should i wake him or wait until he wakes on his own?? if i let him sleep past and go onto the 4 hour mark, that's going to make his last feeding anywhere between 7:10pm-8:10pm...which will have only allowed him approximately 26 ounces of formula since 6am. aahhh what should i do???

Ashely - posted on 01/27/2014

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I have always let both of mine sleep until they wake up, UNLESS their nap fell late and would affect them sleeping well at night, at 3 months old, the usually took 3 naps a day, morning, mid-day and evening and each was maybe an hour/hour and a half long. I never had to put them into a schedule, they kind of fell into their own schedule. Babies will wake up when they're hungry, and if your baby is healthy and eating well, older people say 'never wake a sleeping baby'. Good luck!

Amy - posted on 01/27/2014

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Michelle~ Did/does your baby sleep well through the night? How many ounces were/are you feeding him/her throughout the day?

Amy - posted on 01/27/2014

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Chet~ My son does feed well and he's gaining weight properly. I mean, he's already 17 pounds but according to the math a 17 pound baby should be getting 39.5 ounces of formula in a 24 hour period and if I let him sleep until he wakes up on his own I am worried that he will not get enough calories throughout the day to help him sleep soundly and through the night.

I do try to keep him on a schedule, but I am working on being flexible with it because I found that if I'm not a little bit flexible with it I get very upset when things get off the schedule and it just screws everything up for the rest of the day. More than anything I really try to keep him on a 'feed, activity, sleep' schedule...but I also try and keep that schedule well-timed. If my feeding him every 3 hours doesn't pan out, I def don't let him go past 4 hours without a feeding. But maybe that's wrong/not working---maybe I should just let him sleep/eat on his own schedule. I really have no idea....that's what's so frustrating! Also, I don't want him confusing daytime and nighttime. If he's sleeping a whole bunch during the day, he might not/probably won't sleep through the night.

Michelle - posted on 01/25/2014

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If your baby is gaining weight and generally healthy then there's no need to wake then for a feed, they will wake when they are hungry.
The old saying goes: "never wake a sleeping baby" and I believe it. Why wake them up just to get cranky and then try and feed them. Let them sleep, it's best for you as well.

Chet - posted on 01/24/2014

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Sometimes you do need to wake a baby to eat if they aren't feeding well and aren't gaining properly. Outside of that, it really comes down to your personal philosophy.

Some people impose a schedule on their baby and work to have the baby conform to that schedule. We took an approach where we followed the baby's lead. My sense was that it was better to let a tired baby sleep and that they would wake up when they had gotten the sleep that they needed.

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