If you have children, the most precious time of day would be nap time, right?
Because all parents need to do other things (or take naps themselves! Hello, self-care). But what happens when babies aren’t taking long enough naps? Here’s how to get your baby to take longer naps.
Short naps not only makes planning your schedules harder but also robs baby the time to rejuvenate for more learning and development. In this post, we’ll show you how to get babies to nap longer, as well as give you peace of mind and create time for self-care once you’ve successfully put them to sleep.
Our tips for getting babies to nap longer
Adjust night sleep
“When helping babies sleep better, always start with adjusting their night sleep,” says Logan Ward, a lifestyle blogger at State of writing and Elite Assignment Help. “Adjusting night sleep is easier than doing so with naps because this establishes a routine for your baby, and they’ll get used to knowing the difference between naps and nighttime.”
Now, if your baby is overtired and cranky, chances are they’re not getting sufficient sleep at night. On the other hand, a well-rested baby naps better than a sleep-deprived one because they’re getting adequate sleep at night.
Check-in when baby wakes up from a nap
First, check whether the baby is fully awake or still drowsy. If fully awake, don’t try to force them back to sleep. If they’re sleepy, you may be able to soothe them back to sleep by rocking them or holding them until they doze off again.
Though, if they’d peed through the diaper, then gently change them, and then check to see if they’re still drowsy or fully awake. Plus, you might need to darken the room, adjust the room temperature, or give them a pacifier.
Offer a pre-nap snack or meal
There will be plenty of times when babies and toddlers will get more hungry throughout the day due to their rapid growth. So, if they’re hungry, they won’t fall asleep until they eat something.
To help, try to provide a small snack for the baby before naptime, and give them time to digest and relax before laying them down.
Create a nap-friendly environment
Make your home naptime-friendly to help increase the odds of your baby taking a longer nap. Make sure to learn how your child sleeps, and what they like and don’t like when they’re sleeping, because all children differ when it comes to sleep. For example, while some babies like to be rocked to sleep, others would prefer the stillness of being in a crib.
Plus, try to minimize any distractions, including:
- Radios and TVs
- Barking dogs
- Ringing phones
- Noises (inside or outside the house)
While you can’t ensure total silence in your home, control what you can, and introduce a sound machine (like this one) to help encourage sleep for your little one.
Create consistent nap routines
Just like adults, babies must also get a break or two during the day, along with sufficient bedtime routines that cue our bodies for bed. So, why not start now to help train your child for good sleeping habits? Whether it’s gathering them up to read them a good bedtime story, having a cuddle session, or changing them into comfy loungewear, soon your infant will begin to associate these activities with sleep, thus making them more prepared for naptime.
Try to get baby to fall asleep on their own
“Baby sleep cycles tend to last for around 50 minutes,” says Megan Walton, a content writer at UK Writings and Revieweal. “If your baby has the habit of waking 45 minutes after falling asleep, that means they’ve finished one sleep cycle and need help starting a new one. That’s good news because they’re getting plenty of refreshment as they adapt to healthy sleeping habits.”
Teach your baby to sleep independently by showing them “sleep associations,” which are props or conditions needed for them to relax and fall asleep (e.g. being rocked or nursed to sleep). As they begin to learn sleep associations, they will be better prepared to welcome sleep.
Baby napping longer? More self-care time for you!
Finally, nap schedules don’t have to be complicated! Your ideal daily schedule should be flexible for you, mama, as long as you meet your baby’s sleep and nutrition needs.
Once you have a consistent schedule in place, you’ll finally have YOU time. During this time, you can get in a workout, catch up with an old friend, call your therapist, do a little sudoku, read a good book, or even nap yourself. It can be tempting to do chores or dive into social media but do your best to ensure that you spend at least 15 minutes of naptime on something that fills your cup.
Just be sure to check on your child every so often in case they wake up.
Final thoughts on getting your baby to nap longer
As you read through these great tips, keep in mind that every child is different and that these take practice and consistency. So, honestly, you’ve got this! And over time, your child will adapt to a good sleep schedule, which can give you fewer headaches in the long-run.
And as always, consult with your pediatrician if you have further concerns about your child’s sleep patterns.