How to Help Your Baby Take Longer Day Naps
Napping is incredibly important for babies and children. It benefits cognitive abilities that improve learning abilities, memory, and growth. Your baby may already be achieving short naps throughout the day, however, if you’re trying to encourage your baby to transition into longer, more restful naps, follow these 5 useful tips.
Know Naptime Signals
No-one knows your baby like you do. Keep in tune with moods and signals to figure out when they’re getting sleepy. Typical signs included looking generally drowsy, yawning, drooping eyelids, rubbing their eyes, and fussiness. As soon as you spot the signs that your baby is getting sleepy, you need to jump into action. The longer you wait to put your baby down in their drowsy stage, the fussier they will become, and the harder it will be to get them to sleep. Set your drowsy baby down in their typical sleeping spot and remove anything that might disturb them.
Prepare for the Nap
There are countless reasons why your baby might not be ready to take a nap. You can do your best to eliminate some of these reasons by preparing your baby for naptime. For example, it can be difficult for babies to drift off to sleep if they’re feeling hungry. A preparatory feed about half an hour before you want your baby to take a nap will leave your baby satisfied. Also, you can start to set up activities that your baby associates with nap time. These activities could include cuddling or reading a book. Once you initiate this low energy, relaxing activity, your baby will be getting into the mood for a nap.
Setting up a consistent nap time routine is the best way to encourage more regular, lengthier naps from your baby. Your nap time routine can be based around your baby’s existing habits so it’s not too much of an upheaval for them.
Training your baby to sleep at the same time each day, and slowly increasing the length of their naps, soon their naps will become more natural and they will drift off to lengthy naps without the need for too much encouragement.
Set the Scene
We all struggle to fall asleep in the wrong conditions. If you would find it difficult to drift odd in a light, noisy environment, you can’t expect your baby to either. You need to create the perfect environment for your baby’s naps. First of all, it should be consistent. Have a designated nap area that is comfortable and free from distraction.
Your baby’s nap area should be quiet but not necessarily silent. Although your baby may find it easy to drop off in a silent room, it will be impractical in the long run if they are trained to only fall asleep in silent conditions. Instead, a low level of background noise is ideal. This could be just the normal sounds of home life, some distant TV, or even some white noise.
Similarly, it’s important you find a balance in light levels. Shield your baby from sunlight and harsh lights when taking a nap but refrain from creating a total blackout. A completely dark room is fine throughout the night but can disrupt your baby’s circadian rhythms in the day time. The ideal light conditions for a nap are a dim room without excessive light sources.
Regulate the Sleep Cycle
Once your baby has been lulled to sleep, you can take steps to ensure longer and more beneficial naps. A baby tends to have a sleep cycle of around 60 minutes, and they are most likely to wake back up as they are moving from one sleep cycle to the next. Each baby is different so you need to learn when in their sleep cycle your baby is most likely to wake up so that you can help them to stay sleeping through transitions. If they start to seem restless or like they are going to wake up, you can provide some gentle stroking or shushing sounds until they can sleep through all by themselves.
Nap times are great for both you and your baby. As your baby is consolidating all they’ve learned and reaping the benefits of a longer nap, you can enjoy a couple of hours of downtime or even catch up on some sleep yourself!
Kristin Herman is a mom, an experienced tech enthusiast and a project manager at Bigassignments.com and Oxessays.com online writing services. She regularly writes articles for a wide variety of online magazines and blogs.