Have you ever tried to put your baby down for a nap just to check the monitor to see those bright eyes staring right at you? What do you do now? Every baby is different but you may find success by using these baby nap time tips and tricks.
Pay Attention to Sleep Cues
It is important to be on the lookout for your baby’s sleep cues. All babies are different so watch for signs such as rubbing of eyes, yawning, staring blankly into space, etc. These are all cues that it is time for a nap. At this point it is best to tune it down, dim the lights, turn on the sound machine and put the baby down for a nap. If your child is fussy, he is already overtired so work harder to notice the cues next time to get him down earlier.
We have all been there
Think you are alone? Nope, every baby will refuse a nap one time or another. It is okay to accept defeat, as trying to put baby down for a nap for a great length of time may not do you or him any good. It is perfectly acceptable to turn on the lights again and do a simple, calm activity with baby. Once they show those cues, turn the lights down, sound machine on and begin to rock them into bed.
Television and phones are a no-no
This could be your absolute worst enemy. Avoid using television as a tool to get baby to go to sleep. TV and phones are very stimulating and can be counterproductive, causing your child to skip naps all together. If you would like them to watch tv or your phone, be sure to do it well before or after nap time to prevent it from interfering with their sleep.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Babies that are put on a routine and stick to it are shown to thrive and sleep for longer periods of time. Research a schedule that works best for you and stick to it; there are so many out there. I personally have referenced, “Moms on Call” along with many of my friends. This book adjusts to their age category by moving nap times and bedtimes along with feedings. The baby and parents appreciate the sense of routine. I will have a separate post on this later!
Bedtime and naptime routines are the best and are completely necessary. It gives the baby a sense of comfort as they know what to expect and what is expected of them at a certain point in the day. Some parents read first, do bath time after that, and then bottle and bed. Whichever order of events works best for you, stick to it and be sure to perform those same steps nightly. If you have a baby that is sleeping beautifully through the night and all the sudden is fussy or won’t go back to sleep unless they are held, you may want to consider looking into sleep regressions. A great reference to look at for this is the Wonder Weeks App.
Babies are creatures of habit and routine just like the rest of us. They thrive on knowing what is expected of them at a specific time based on your routine. People may think that skipping naps is okay and that their baby will sleep longer at nighttime. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. A baby who skips naps becomes overtired/fussy/inconsolable. Simply put, skipping naps does not mean the baby will sleep better and longer throughout the night. Naps that are skipped leads to more naps skipped which leads to a more difficult bedtime routine for you and baby due to irritability and being overtired.
Hopefully you were able to pick up on a couple tips and tricks to help keep your baby on a napping schedule.
Share your naptime routine and experience in the comments below!