No More Catnaps
Improving naps is a common concern for any age. Naps are always the hardest. You wouldn’t think they would be, but they are. Nighttime comes first as baby’s circadian rhythm takes hold. Naps will follow great nighttime sleep, but only if you have all the other pieces in place to make a great sleeper. Here are a few tips to start making your day easier with baby.
1. Baby must be sleeping well at night first
Babies who are overtired don’t sleep as well. Once consistently great nighttime sleep is established, naps are soon to follow. It sounds counterintuitive, but this is how it works. Your baby will not nap well if they are not resting well at night.
2. Age appropriate schedule
A good daytime schedule is essential for good naps. Consistency is key! Same time, same place, same sleep associations.
3. Give baby time to go back to sleep
Babies cycle in and out of sleep cycles while they nap. In between these cycles, there is a brief awakening before drifting back off. Don’t assume the nap is over if you hear baby moving around or even crying. Allow them some time to shift positions and get back to sleep.
4. Healthy sleep associations and sleep environment
Make sure baby is always putting himself to sleep on his own. Healthy sleep associations are his crib and his white noise. If any other sleep crutches are needed to go to sleep, baby briefly wakes out of his first sleep cycle and feels as if something is missing once it is gone. If he was allowed to drift off to sleep on his own, nothing has changed after his first sleep cycle, and he can easily fall into his next sleep cycle.
5. Be realistic
Not all naps are going to be easy. Until babies are 4 months old, they will have good naps days and bad nap days. Keep track of naps that are harder in the crib for baby and attempt those in a carrier, stroller or car seat while you run an errand. Just make sure to keep an eye on them while sleeping in an environment not made for infant sleep.