Sometimes naps are the best thing ever. One, two or maybe three glorious hours of peace, quiet and, most importantly, almost child-free time. Bliss! It’s no wonder parents look forward to baby nap time so much and why we're so fiercely protective of it too!
What happens if your baby decides that nap time isn't quite so important after all? What if there are more interesting things going on and they have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out)? Never fear. Here are three baby sleep problems solved and three top tips for better day time baby naps. Hope they help!
Problem one: my baby doesn't nap for long enough
The dreaded short nap! Twenty minutes is just not enough time for you to get anything done and it also means that your baby isn't getting enough sleep at all. So, what can do you? Quite a lot, actually.
First, make sure there is nothing obvious waking him. No loud noises, distractions or bright lights etc. Make sure room temperature is ok (you can get a baby room thermometer) and that your baby’s sleeping area isn't too stimulating. For babies under four months, shorter and more frequent naps can be quite normal and as they get older, their nap routines and the length of time they nap will become more settled.
If your baby's naps need lengthening, try this trick to make it happen:
- Stay in the room with your baby as he falls asleep.
- As baby begins to stir (usually after around 20 minutes, as he begins to move out of his first sleep cycle), gently soothe him back to sleep.
- Repeat as necessary- hopefully you will only need to do this once before baby falls back into a deeper sleep.
- The next day, do the same, making a note of the time baby sleeps before he first wakes up.
- On the third day, there's no need to stay in the room, but watch the clock. Go into your baby at the time he usually wakes and soothe him back to sleep.
This method takes some commitment, but after a few days your baby should move into the next sleep cycle by himself.
Problem two: I often miss my baby's first nap of the day
It can be tricky getting everything done in time for your baby’s first nap, especially if you have other children but the first nap of the day is the most important, so don't to skip it if you can. The first nap sets your baby up for the rest of the day and you can often predict how other naps will go, based on that first sleep alone. The key is to have a really good routine. This doesn't mean you need to stay home every day so that your baby naps in his cot (unless you want to, of course!) because if you need to be out and about, you can take your SnoozeShade along and your baby can sleep wherever you are. The key thing is that you prioritise naps. An over-tired baby is a nightmare to get to sleep, and it can impact on your whole day - and your sanity!
Problem three: my baby doesn't want to nap at all
Ah, nap refusal. Many parents have babies that just don't want to nap and I really do feel for them. However, babies do need to nap and parents need that time, too. Hopefully these tips will help:
- Make sure you have a good baby sleep routine. A good daytime and bedtime sleep routine is essential for helping your baby learn the order of events in each day, so that your baby starts to learn their routine and anticipate sleep times.
- Use sleep aids to promote naps. SnoozeShade is your friend, as are blackout blinds, white noise apps and anything else that usually lulls your baby to sleep. Try this great baby sleep aid.
- Be consistent. Don't spend ages getting baby to nap one day, then throw it all out the window the next. You need to stay consistent, calm and focused.