Sometimes naps are the best thing ever. One, two or maybe three glorious hours of peace, quiet and- most importantly- almost child free time. Bliss! Its no wonder we parents look forward to nap time so much, and why we're so fiercely protective of it too! But what happens when your baby decide nap time isn't quite so important after all? What if there are much more interesting things going on outside of the cot during the daytime, and they have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out)? Never fear. Here are three top tips for better day time naps. Hope they help!
Problem: doesn't nap for long enough.
Argh! The dreaded short nap! Twenty minutes is just not enough time for anything and if your baby isn't napping for much longer than this it's almost guaranteed that he isn't getting enough sleep at all. So what can do you? Quite a lot, actually.
First of all, make sure there is nothing obvious waking him. No loud noises, distractions or bright lights etc. Make sure room temperature is ok and the general sleeping area isn't too stimulating. Also at this point, it's worth saying that for babies under the age of four months short, frequent naps can be quite normal. It's not great but at least you know they will lengthen with age! That aside, if none of the above relates to you, read on...
If your baby's naps need lengthening out, try this trick to make it happen:
- Stay in the room with your baby as he falls asleep.
- As baby begins to stir (usually after around 20 minutes, as he begins to move out of his first sleep cycle), gently soothe him back to sleep.
- Repeat as necessary- hopefully you will only need to do this once before baby falls back into a deeper sleep.
- The next day, do the same, making a note of the time baby sleeps before he first wakes up.
- On the third day, there's no need to stay in the room, but watch the clock. Go in to your baby at the time he usually wakes, and soothe him back to sleep.
This method takes some commitment, but after a few days your baby should move into the next sleep cycle by himself. Give it a go and let us know what happens.
Problem: baby's first nap of the day often gets missed
No, no, no! The first nap of the day is THE most important nap of all, so it's the one you really don't want to skip if you can. The first nap baby up for the rest of the day and often you can predict how every other nap will go based on that sleep alone. The key here is to have a really good routine. That doesn't mean you need to stay home every day so that baby naps in his cot (unless you want to, of course!) because if you need to be somewhere you can take your SnoozeShade along for nap time and baby can sleep wherever you are. The key thing is that you regard naps as important enough to prioritise. Don't miss the first nap thinking your baby will catch up later. An over tired baby is a nightmare to get to sleep, and it can impact your whole day- and your sanity!
Problem: baby doesn't want to nap at all
Ah, the good old nap refusal. I hear so many parents exclaim that their baby just doesn't nap and I really do feel for them. The parents that is! Babies DO need to nap, and we parents need that time too. A baby who doesn't nap is exhausting and frustrating- so hopefully these tips will help:
- Make sure you have a good routine. We can't stress this enough. A good day time and bedtime routine is essential for helping baby to learn the order of events in each day, so that sleep times can be anticipated and become easier.
- Use sleep aids to promote naps. Your SnoozeShade is your friend! As are black out blinds, white noise apps, anything else that usually lulls your baby to sleep. Do it if it works.
- Be consistent. Don't spend ages getting baby to nap one day, then throw it all out the window the next. You need to stay consistent, calm and focused.
How are your baby's naps right now?