Does your little one sleep well at night but struggle to go down for naps? Here are a few tips and tricks to make nap time a little easier!
Naps!! The struggle is real. I know there are lots of babes out there that are great night sleepers but struggle with naps. Let's take a closer look at why daytime naps are hard.
Did you know that your baby naturally produces melatonin? Melatonin levels are naturally higher during the night time period 7pm-7am (lighter sleep occurs between 4-6am as the melatonin levels start to decreases). Did you know that our if you baby is overtired during the day, they secret a hormone called cortisol that acts as a stimulant to them?
Set the mood for naps just as you do for nighttime sleep. Darker room (especially important when just learning how to cycle through and connect their sleep cycles), sound machine, and the same "routine" is key.
Keep your baby awake only for their ages wake window. We often wait until we notice those sleep cues, and that is often an overtired sign. A baby that is not overtired goes down a lot happier than a baby who is beyond tired and fighting it.
Make sure that your baby is getting a full feed prior to their nap time. When a baby just snacks...they will likely just cat nap as well. A full feed is so important in allowing our babes to get full naps.
FEED-WAKE-SLEEP routine is so important in establishing healthy napping habits.
If your baby is not rolling over from back to front...swaddling is key!! Swaddling, Magic Merlin, or Zipadee Zip are all great options. I truly recommend swaddling until 12 weeks or rolling from back to tummy. Then the Magic Merlin or ZZ are great options to help with the transition.
If your baby is constantly waking up 25-45 min into a nap...they're not learning to connect their sleep cycles. Always give them a chance to place themselves back to sleep vs automatically rushing to get them (if you know they are safe, fed, and well). Allowing them a chance to cycle back through is important. If we always pick them up or interrupt their transition their body/mind will never learn how to connect their sleep cycles. --> Allowing them to learn to place themselves to sleep initially will also help with them learning to connect their sleep cycles.
DAYTIME NAPS are important! They take a little more work and are definitely not as easy as nighttime sleep (for most).
As always, make sure you connect with your pediatrician with further concerns. I would love to chat more with you if you have individual questions based on your babe's specific napping habits. Make sure to fill out a contact me form or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenna Artis, RN and Owner of 4 The Love of Sleep