Embracing parenthood is one of the golden phases of a couple’s life. But, it too comes with its own set of challenges. One such challenge is to form a healthy baby napping. Baby naps can be a restful time for both you and your little one; but the process of it may be the complete opposite.
Therefore, to wade away all the confusion, we’ve rounded up some basic do’s and don’ts of healthy baby napping in order to help your toddler develop a decent baby nap schedule that would allow him to be playful and energized the next day. Dive in below to find out more.
Dos of Baby Napping
Let’s know some of the Do’s first.
1. Spotting sleepy cues
Yawning is the most usual sign to put your baby to bed. But there are other very usual signs which we tend to ignore. Some of them include – whining, crankiness, crying, rubbing the eyes. Some older babies may also act hyper and clumsy. So, when you notice any of these cues in your little one; it’s officially time for their sweet baby nap.
2. Know that your baby can sleep a lot
It may come as a surprise to many new parents but newborns generally have a tendency to sleep for upto 16 hours a day and only wake up to be fed and changed; which is completely normal. As babies get older they would require less sleep during the day and more at night.
3. Stretch out baby napping time
Does your baby take too many short naps throughout the day? The best way to solve this is to encourage them to take longer naps. Try keeping your baby up by involving them in other activities.
This would stretch the baby napping time 2 -3 hours. Doing this every day would not only be beneficial for the baby, but would also reward you with sound sleep at night.
4. Establish a baby nap schedule
This is the key rule to form a healthy baby napping routine for the baby. You and your baby are likely to have a quality sleep if you stick to a bedtime routine. You don’t need to plan an elaborate bedtime ritual.
It could be as simple as having a bath, a bedtime story and then off to sleep. Whatever routine you opt for, keep it consistent. Because in reality, it sends a subconscious message to your child’s brain that it’s bedtime; making it easier for him to fall asleep.
5. Ensure the comfort and safety of the baby
It is important to put your baby to sleep in a conducive environment. If your baby fell asleep on the couch, in the car or on the floor, then shift him. Always put your baby down to sleep on his back to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Ensure the baby’s comfort by removing all the unnecessary items like blankets, soft toys and bumpers from his sleep area. Make sure the sheets and pillows are clean and soft. When the infant is relaxed in bed, he would definitely have a good and sound sleep.
Don'ts of Baby Napping
Let’s come to the very important part now which is Don’ts.
1. Don’t rush in
Sneezing, hiccups, whimpers, sighs and even squeaks are typical sounds in a baby’s sleep. You don’t have to run the baby to the doctor every time you hear those noises. Both fussing and crying only indicates that the infant is trying to adapt to its new sleeping schedule. Wait a while until you observe some serious signs like when your baby is hungry or in pain.
2. Don’t put them to sleep in the car
Putting your baby to sleep in a car while you run some errands may seem very convenient because, in doing so, you can hit two birds with one stone. However this might disrupt your baby’s nap cycle. Napping in a car seat won’t provide your baby the desired sleep as car seats are no substitute for cribs and bassinets. Sleeping while in motion, will devoid the baby of a quiet and peaceful nap.
3. Avoid rocking, helding or nursing the baby to sleep
Many parents find it as a very loving gesture to put their babies to sleep when they are rocked, held in a parent’s arms, or being fed. But it is generally advised to avoid these practices as babies may become accustomed to them. When the baby wakes up at night, she’ll feel helpless and cry for assistance.
The point is to put her in her crib while she’s still awake, so that the last thing she sees is her mattress and not the parent. Then when she wakes in the middle of the night, she’ll become accustomed to this practice and would fall back to sleep.
4. Keeping the baby awake; hoping for a longer sleep in
Most of us go by the logic that late sleep would result in the baby waking up late. Unfortunately, this notion is completely wrong. It is because a baby’s internal clock is set in such a way that it would wake him up at the same time in the morning. All you would have is an overtired, grumpy and cranky baby in the morning.
5. Expecting quick results
Establishing a successful baby napping routine requires a lot of patience. Babies don’t even know the difference between day and night for about 3 months. For now, stay as firm as you can be with your baby’s napping time. Remember, consistency and scheduling is the key. Your baby would slowly become familiar with the bedtime routine and you would slowly get rid of all those sleepless nights.
Getting your little one to sleep can be a tedious job.
Hopefully, you now know the tips to develop a healthy napping routine for your baby. Always remember, what works for other babies may not work for your baby.
Don’t force anything on your little one. At the end of the day, it’s for you to decide what works best for you and your baby. If you’ve tried all these methods and your baby’s sleep problems still persist, then you should consult your pediatrician for better advice.
Also read; Common Baby Sleep Mistakes That New Parents Make