Babies need sleep in order to function and develop well. So, putting them down for naps, especially when they’re only a couple of months old is extremely important. However, not all babies go down easily. As much as you’d like your little one to be a pro napster, this may not be the reality. Like everything else, when it comes to babies, things take time, patience and practice. Unfortunately with all the chores and new responsibilities parents have, they may not have the time to rock their baby to sleep for an hour just so they can stay asleep for half of that time. So, what do you do? There are 5 tips for how to get your baby to nap for longer.
1. Be Diligent About Routine
Establishing a solid night time routine is a must. Like adults, children have a body clock that indicates when they are tired and need to sleep. However, they don’t have the power to satisfy this need on their own, they rely on you to put them to sleep. This is why it’s important to keep to a consistent schedule.
As it turns out the old saying sleep begets sleep is especially true for babies and toddlers. In fact, if toddlers skip naps, they usually don’t make up for lost time by falling asleep earlier or sleeping more deeply. Instead, they tend to sleep poorly at night. So, it’s in your best interest to plan your day around your baby’s nap times.
2. Notice The Signs
One way to figure out when to schedule your baby’s naps is to simply pay attention to them. Are they yawning a lot? Are they rubbing their eyes? Do they look tired? Paying attention to the small details will help you put your baby down for a nap easily, instead of having to deal with the overtired tantrums your baby will have if you fail to notice the signs earlier. So, when in doubt, just look to your baby for sleep cues.
3. Utilize The Magical White Noise Machine
Parents, meet white noise, your new best friend. Your nursery just isn’t complete without this magical contraption. White noise can be extremely helpful while trying to put the baby to sleep. This is because it sounds very close to the sound of blood rushing in the mother’s veins which your baby would have been accustomed to hearing in your womb. Finding the right kind of noise to smooth your baby might be your answer to putting them to sleep.
Even something as simple as turning your fan on to medium speed or switching on a white noise audio on your phone can work its magic and help calm your fussy baby. If your baby sleeps to the sound of the vacuum or the washing machine, go ahead and play it on a loop. Anything to keep your baby down.
4. Keep Things Lively When They Are Awake
Even if your baby is too small to engage in any real games, make sure to keep them active, engaged and occupied while they are awake. Talk to them and hold eye contact with them. If you are doing chores, sing or speak to them. If you are on the phone, act as if you are directing the conversation at them. When you need to go out, take the baby with you. Let them explore the grocery shops and the park. Giving your child the opportunity to exhaust themselves is the best way to ensure that they take a nap.
5. Ease Them Into Rest Time
Eventually your baby is not going to need to take a nap during the day and you won’t be able to convince them otherwise. But what you can do in order to ensure that they don’t wear themselves out is to ease them into rest time. Encourage your little one to spend 30 to 40 minutes by themselves in their room, quietly flipping through books, playing or just resting in any way they’d like. Most children after the age of 2 and a half give up on naps and that’s perfectly normal. What matters most is how they act and feel without their down time. Are they sleeping through the night? Can they stay awake and alert during the day? Do they have enough energy to do tasks? If the answer is yes then there is no need for concern.
Putting your baby down for a nap doesn’t have to be such a task. With a few tricks up your sleeve, your baby will fall and stay asleep for a good while. It’s okay if it takes you a while to figure out the techniques that your baby responds to. Everything is a matter of trial and error when it comes to parenting. Sweet dreams!