Tips for Napping
Babies (and their parents!) benefit from a lot of sleep during the first year of their life, and into their toddler years as well. Which is why knowing how to ensure that your baby is able to fall asleep and stay asleep during naptime can make a positive difference in everyone’s experience. Here are some tips for napping to ensure your baby gets all of the sleep that they need:
Watch for Signs of Sleepiness
As a parent, the best thing is to allow your baby to fall asleep at the time during the day when they are naturally tired and want to sleep. This means that paying close attention to signs of sleepiness is important. Some signs might include irritability, rubbing of the eyes, yawning, a glazed look or crying. If you notice your baby is looking sleepy, try to get them down for a nap as soon as possible – waiting too long may mean that your child becomes too agitated to fall asleep easily.
Make Napping a Routine Habit
Another way that you can reinforce naptime and help your child’s body know that it’s time to fall asleep is to create a naptime routine that becomes a daily habit. For example, perhaps a few minutes leading up to naptime you play a short game with your baby or read a story and cuddle. Then, it’s time to lie down for a nap. If you develop the same routine day after day, your baby’s body will naturally come to expect sleep around the same time each day, and following the same activities.
Don’t Rock Your Baby to Sleep
Caressing a child is no doubt a parent’s favorite thing, but when it comes to sleep, when your baby is around 3-4 months old and is able to self-soothe, holding or rocking your baby to sleep can actually make it harder for your baby to nap later on. This is because your child may become accustomed to falling asleep in your arms, and therefore will not fall asleep when they’re not in your arms.
Make Sure You Schedule the Right Amount of Sleep Time in a 24-Hour Period
Babies of different ages need different amounts of sleep, and age alone is not the only factor that contributes to how much sleep a baby needs – some infants simply do well with a little more sleep than others. That being said, make sure you schedule the right amount of time for sleeping in a 24-hour period. If your baby is taking two three-to-four hour naps, they may have trouble sleeping at night.
Meet with a Professional
If your baby is still having trouble napping after implementing the tips above, it may be time to meet with a professional. At Seven Oaks Sleep Science, Dr. Natalie Barnett is a specialist in pediatric sleep science, and can help your family explore solutions targeted to your baby today. Please contact Dr. Barnett by email, online, or by phone to schedule a consultation today.