This past weekend I was very fortunate to meet so many Moms, Dads and little ones in person at the Babies in Bloom Baby Fair. By far the most talked about topic was Naps! So here are my tips for successful daytime sleep!
These are definitely the hardest for a baby or toddler to learn…
- They know it is DAY! They would simply prefer to be with you and play
- Their sleep cycles are shorter than adults, so they have a hard time pushing through into the next one
- There is a less of a biological imperative (sleep drive) during the day compared to at night
My Top 10 Tips:
- DARK DARK DARK One of the biggest myths out there is to have your baby sleep in “light” environments so that they learn days vs nights. Invest in good black out drapes or blinds for your daytime sleeps.
- Guide your baby to sleep! All the books talk about bedtime routines, but you need a quick nap routine too. This is how your sweet little ones learn what the crib is for. My personal favourite is diaper, sleep sack, book and song. It only takes 3 to 5 minutes and you can do it anywhere.
- Resist the urge to feed your baby just before nap time. This will help prevent an eat-to-sleep association AND frustrating bowel movements from happening.
- Use a transitional object and integrate it as part of your nap routine as well as your nights. This is a small stuffed animal or blanket that your sweet little baby can use for love, comfort and a sleep strategy. You can learn more HERE and HERE.
- Don’t assume that the nap is over! If your baby wakes up within 60 minutes, either rush in and shh/pat them back to sleep or set the kitchen timer for a few minutes. With time and practice, your baby will learn to sleep longer and longer.
- Avoid the overtired baby or toddler. When a baby or toddler is over tired, they will have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Avoid the use of temporary tools such as nursing your baby to sleep, rocking your baby to sleep, or using a soother. If you have a newborn, put them down drowsy but awake. For three months and up, they need to be WIDE awake when they go into their cribs. If your baby is crying when you do this, please get in touch for personal guidance and support.
- Limit swing naps, car naps and stroller naps if your baby is three months and older. They are “junk” sleep and will only cause problems with the crib. This was one the biggest mistakes I made with my own son.
- Be patient – naps and especially nap length take the longest for a baby to learn
- Consistency, consistency, consistency! The more consistent you are with your child and their sleep, the more consistent your child will be with you and the better they will sleep. That does not mean that you have to be at home for every single nap though. A child with strong sleep skills will sleep anywhere and for anybody. One of the many joys I give my clients is the confidence that their child will go to sleep peacefully & happily for anyone, and that it can be in a playpen at Grandma’s house, a friend’s home while older children play, church and even the gym!
If you have a wee one, you may be wondering When Can I Put My Baby on a Sleep Schedule?
Or you may have questions about how and when to start Transitioning from Two Naps to One or even Is It Time to Drop the Nap?
Good luck and here’s to happy, well rested babies and toddlers!