Baby naps allow you and your little one some time to rest. However, getting a baby to get some sleep more so during the day can be quite an uphill task. One needs to understand the basics of baby napping so as to avoid bedtime battles with your toddler.
How many naps does a baby need daily?
It may take awhile for your newborn baby to develop a sleeping routine; most babies will sleep round the clock during the first month. As your little one gets older, naptimes will be longer and easy for you to predict. For instance, when your baby is between 4 months and 1 year old, he will fall asleep once, twice or thrice or even more for some- One time in the morning, one time in the afternoon and one time in the evening. When your little one is 1 year old and above, he or she will stop napping in the morning and only take naps in the afternoon for two to three hours. These afternoon naps could continue up to when they are 5 years old.
Situations that sabotage the baby’s sleep schedule:
There are multiple reasons why your little one missed his afternoon nap. Probably you got tied up running various errands, or the nanny totally forgot to put the baby to sleep. Whatever the reason is, you can be sure that it will disrupt the sleep schedule. For example, if your baby does not have his or her afternoon nap, it is possible for him or her to sleep through dinner and wake up later while feeling super hungry and cranky.
This is when your little one falls asleep in the car for a few minutes then wakes up as soon as you get to your destination and not fall asleep again. This kind of sleep which is likened to catnapping is super short and not enough; this causes your baby to be irritable. To avoid these, you will need to wake your baby up right before he or she takes a carnap. You can do this by opening a window, singing or talking to the baby throughout the journey.
Your baby is probably used to his crib and laying him or her in a different one or in another place could greatly throw him or her off the sleep schedule. However, while you are away from home, you could carry that lovey he likes sleeping with and helps the baby sleep better.
Your baby will definitely want to stay up and play all the cool games with his or her siblings. If your little one refuses to take a nap so that he can play with the other kids, then the only solution is implementing a family resting time. For example, As the baby takes an afternoon nap, the other kids could either go take a nap as well or settle and read a book.
Tips to help you ease your little one into napping:
Look Out for ‘I’m sleepy’ Signs
Babies have unique clues that it’s time for a nap. Some of the signs to look out for include yawning, drooping eyelids, sucking fingers, fussiness, and rubbing their eyes. If you notice any of these signs, it is advisable that you start a pre-nap routine of dimming the lights or darkening the room, reading bedtime stories and massaging your little for better sleep.
Create a Conducive Sleeping Environment
Traditionally, naptime for a baby also meant time to go to the crib. However, nowadays moms let their babies take naps in baby bouncers, car seats or even strollers. Sleep experts are of the opinion that babies sleep better in an environment that is cool, quiet and dark. Therefore, your baby can as well sleep in a portable crib that you can carry around as you go about your daily routine provided that the environment is conducive for him to sleep in.
Develop Feeding Habits
Feed your infant close to nap time. Your little one is in a growth and development stage that burns loads of calories, so be sure to feed him or her before taking a nap to ensure that the nap is not interrupted by hunger. You can also develop habits that lead up to nap time including reading to your baby. There are some books published specifically as infant literature that may help your baby develop positive habits leading up to nap time.
Avoid the Fuss
Take your baby to sleep while drowsy and not asleep. As soon as your baby starts dropping hints that he is tired, take him to his bed. If you wait any longer, the baby will most likely get more tired and fussy making it harder for him or her to take a nap. You may also want to consider the use of a pacifier to help control restlessness and insecurities.
Consistency is Everything
Develop a consistent routine. If your baby sleeps at a certain time of the day, it is of prime importance that you make certain that he or she is put to bed at the same time daily. By doing this, your baby will get the most out of that afternoon nap making him or her less tired and a lot happier. However, an occasional exception cannot in any way harm your baby.
Thorpe, K., Staton, S., Sawyer, E., Pattinson, C., Haden, C., & Smith, S. (2015). Napping, development and health from 0 to 5 years: a systematic review. Archives of disease in childhood, 100(7), 615-622.