Best simple advice for preventing a cranky baby

Tip #3 – Preventing Tired and Cranky Babies

Here is another tip in my Tips for Mom series – this week I’m sharing a way to help prevent tired and cranky babies. Of course, we can’t always help it and can’t always stop or prevent it, but sometimes we can!

Tip #3 for Mom - naps help prevent tired and cranky babies

When I was a brand new mom our church was very very active. We had activities almost every single night. I was used to participating in all of them, even through pregnancy. We had worship and bible studies and out reach/evangelism nights, fellowship times, along with reaching out to the students on campus (we were in a college church that was very evangelical). It was a total culture shock to be fairly isolated at home with a baby.

So, like any guilt-ridden new mom, I kept up with all the church events with baby in tow. I figured the baby could sleep wherever and didn’t worry much about it. Well, in the beginning things worked out fine. She did sleep whenever she was tired and I missed very little. But as she began to get older, it was harder and harder for her sleep and she began to miss naps. This also was coming around the time she was old enough for child training to begin.

In case you didn’t know, when babies miss their naps they get cranky! They fuss and cry and say, “NO” to everything, they hit and kick. Life can get quite difficult with a cranky child!

I remember one particular day when we were at an afternoon outreach picnic (we’d missed her nap) and my little one was a fuss-pot and being quite rebellious. I was beginning to lose it. One of the moms (we only had 2) came up to me and said, “If our babies are cranky and disobeying because they are over tired, the fault is MOM’S!”

OUCH! Major reproof!

For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust. Ps 103:14

She was absolutely right! My baby was cranky because of ME. I was the one not wanting to miss out. Instead of me sacrificing my wants and desires, I sacrificed my baby’s well being. My job was to meet her needs as best as I could and I was setting aside her need for good solid naps so that I didn’t miss out on activities. Now, I’m not saying those activities were bad. But (as I’ve repeated one of my disciplers for the past 37 years) for the believer, the Good is the enemy of the Best. Those Good things (bible studies, fellowship times, even evangelism outreaches) became enemies to me as I forsook the Best thing God had for me in my making sure my baby got her essential nap time for her health and well being!

God knows what our weaknesses are, He is mindful (always understanding) what we are and are not capable of. We must learn from our Father and see the weaknesses, limitations and needs of our children. We need to know their physical maturity and what the needs are at given times of their lives. We need to be mindful that they are but babies or toddlers and where their limits lie.

So, my tip to you new moms is: make sure you make naps a priority for your little ones. And remember, if we allow them to get overtired and they get cranky, the fault might very well be ours! Of course (after having 8 babies) I believe that naps are ALWAYS a good idea!

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All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
Unless otherwise indicated, photos from pixaby.com


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11 Comments

  1. I remember when my kids were little and having to work around those nap times. It was rough sometime because, as you said, I had to stay home! When they were babies it was fairly easy to push back their bedtime because they could sleep anywhere. But once they got a bit older that bedtime routine became very important. Thanks so much for hosting today!

    Reply
    • So true that the bedtime routine was very important! Thanks for sharing, Nan, and for stopping by again!

      Reply
  2. We wrote about the same thing! haha! Well, kind of: I wrote about my battle with my youngest at naptime and what I discovered the culprit was. Sleep in general has always been an issue with my kids. From day one, neither wanted to sleep. One thing I did with my oldest was put him down at 6:30 P.M. – I think I did this until he was around 2 or so. He slept better during the day AND at night. sleep is so important, and when kids are sleep deprived, they sleep worse. Despite what we sometimes think: “If I put them down later, they’ll sleep longer”: sleep begets sleep. This has been my mantra. No nap? Well then, you get to go to bed at 7 and not 8. 🙂

    Reply
    • That is too funny!! I guess sleep is on both of our minds! 😀

      I completely agree with you! Years ago I used to babysit (it was how I paid for my babies’ births) and moms would come to me with over stimulated, sleepless little ones. They’d tell me how they never napped and didn’t sleep well at night. Within 2 weeks they had totally changed – because I had regular and mandatory naptime. Everyone went down for naps, and everyone slept! “Sleep begets sleep” – I love it and it’s the absolute truth! This is much more pithy than what I used to say, but it is true nonetheless! Thanks for sharing, Rosilind, and for coming by, sweetie!

      Reply
  3. Absolutely!!! I completely agree – to a point. With my first 3 babies (in 3 years), my schedule revolved around their nap times. Grocery store trips, library, zoo — all happened before or after naptime. Then along came #4 when my oldest was 5 and starting K. That’s when I learned there is a give-and-take within a family regarding the schedule. Right now my oldest four are 6-11 yrs and I have a 20 mth old with #6 coming in July. It is not realistic to our lifestyle or fair to my 4 big kids to create our schedule around their brother’s nap times.

    I’ve learned that babies/toddlers are flexible and you can play with naps BUT you can’t do it indefinitely. Sundays are tough for my toddler. He misses his morning nap while being VERY stimulated by all the toys and people in the church nursery from 9-12. He naps in the afternoon but that isn’t enough to make up for what he missed. So, I counteract that by staying home on Mondays. I’ve had to say no to a lot of fun things, and occasionally do say yes. But, I have learned that a day spent out-and-about needs to be followed with a day of rest at home.

    Reply
    • Yes, Stephanie, it all comes down knowing our child(ren) and caring for their needs more than our wants. In every family there absolutely is balance, particularly with larger families. As you said, realizing that we need to make sure and not have busy times be the norm. Our family chose to forgo church on Wed nights. Being gone for 4 hours in the day on Sunday plus Sunday night made Monday a really stressful school day. School wasn’t something I was willing to sacrifice twice a week.

      Good thoughts.

      Reply
  4. I always LOVED nap time and we observed it faithfully until they were almost 5. They did well and still think fondly of that time of day where it was quiet and restful. I loved being at home so it wasn’t a stretch for me. I got so much done and even got a nap for myself 2-3 days a week 🙂 I think b/c I was a tired 40+ when they started coming that it helped with loving their naptime 😉
    Thanks for hosting, Kate.

    Reply
    • Oh I agree…those nap times became essential in our home, even if they were older and didn’t sleep, they still had Quiet Time so Momma could sleep! 😀 Thanks for coming by dear friend!

      Reply
  5. I think naps are good for mommy, too!

    I think that even as kids get older, not enough sleep is a real concern. One of the blessings of homeschooling my kids is that I can be sure they get enough sleep. I know that I am greatly affected when I don’t get my 8 hours.

    Thanks for the reminder and for the link-up, Kate!

    Reply
    • Oh I hear you, Heather! Naps are one of my favorite things. 😀 I’ve found that once my children hit puberty, their clocks shift and they just cannot fall asleep at night. So giving them wiggle room for getting up has been vital in our homeschooling, that’s for sure! Thanks for the visit and the chat, Heather!

      Reply
      • I have found that to be true for both of my boys. I’m very grateful that they don’t have to be at school bright and early.

        I also think that too many adults suffer from a lack of sleep. We are a work-driven society for sure.

        Reply

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