How To Get Your Baby To Nap In The Crib

4-16 months

Jan 11, 2024

There is nothing more frustrating than when your baby won’t nap in the crib independently!! And it’s not short naps. It’s not the lack of naps period. It’s just that they won’t nap anywhere except on you. But I’m here to help with these tips on how exactly to get your baby to nap in their crib. So, if you’re trying to implement nap strategies but you’re stuck with contact naps after you’ve tried naps in the crib and bassinet, then this post is for you! 

In the beginning, we loooove the newborn snuggles. As a pediatric sleep consultant AND a mom, I will never rob a new mom of enjoying those newborn cuddles. While you may want those contact naps at the beginning, as that newborn begins to grow into an older baby, you likely would love for them to learn to nap somewhere else, too.

These methods will work beautifully for a newborn and a young baby, but at 10 months or older, it will be harder because your baby is very aware of their surroundings. If that’s the case, I’ve still got you covered inside our Baby Sleep Training Course where you’ll receive a step by step plan on making sleep a thing for your baby! 

But for now, let’s jump in to how to help your baby nap in a crib.


So the first thing that I want you to do is to pick a day on the calendar. If you’ve been struggling with a baby that only naps on you, I want you to count down and get excited for the day that you’re going to wake up and try something new. You need a plan in place. This isn’t something to read through and then try and start right away. 

Instead, get a date on the calendar that you will begin these nap changes.


When you’ve picked your day, where I want you to start is the first nap of the day.

Why this nap? This nap is actually an extension of your baby’s sleep pressure, or the amount of tiredness that we feel before going to bed at night. For babies, the first nap is almost like a continuation of nighttime. This is why that first nap of the day is usually easier for the child to fall asleep. 

So, what I want you to do is dedicate yourself to helping your little one fall asleep in the crib during the first nap of the day. This may look like sitting beside them and holding them with your hands down to the crib, shushing them, patting them, and essentially doing what a stay in the room method would look like to help them fall asleep with your help.

We are trying to help your baby connect that sleep happens in their crib. We are making new connections with their body and mind! This will be easiest to do during that first nap while they’re most likely to sleep best to begin with.


If your baby is between 0-12 weeks old, they will be in a swaddle. Swaddling helps your infant feel more secure and confident to fall asleep. You can click here to learn more about why I recommend swaddling your newborn, how to swaddle, and which swaddles our team loves the most!

The next thing I want you to do is to make sure the room is completely dark. This recommendation is for all ages, but make sure the room is completely dark. Even though they won’t be able to see you well in the darkness, your presence will help them sleep.

Over the years, I’ve had many questions about making the room dark and the best methods to do so. You can click here to find out what is so important about having a completely dark room and my favorite ways to ensure that your baby’s room or wherever they’re sleeping is completely dark!


Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you can do all of these things once and get the perfect crib naps! It will take time and consistency. The first time it may take 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, they have not slept, you’re welcome to offer a feed. Afterward, go back and offer another nap in the crib.

After that second attempt, that’s really all I would do because we need to move on with our day. We need baby to nap and your infant may become overtired. So if the first day fails, offer them a nap on you, in a carrier or stroller, and move on with your day.


I know how frustrating (and exhausting!) it can feel to help your baby establish healthy sleep habits. But I want you to know that creating healthy sleep habits from the beginning of your child’s life is always worthwhile. 

If you’re trying to get your baby to nap in the crib, remember:

  1. Pick a day to begin nap training & write it on your calendar!
  2. Start with the first nap of the day.
  3. Check your nap environment.
  4. Be patient and consistent
  5. It’s worth it!

If you are feeling lost and confused without a clear plan of action, and you would like to begin the process of making sleep a thing for your family at any age, I want to invite you to take this free quiz and find out which of our sleep programs is right for you!

As always, we’re here to help. We want to make sure that you have a clear plan to really teach your little one how to have better naps, how to sleep all night long, and more so that your family can be happy, healthy, and well-rested for years to come!



There's nothing more frustrating than your baby won't nap in the crib independently! Here are five tips...

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