Each baby is unique, especially when it comes to their sleep schedules. Even though baby sleep patterns may have some similarities, how long they nap during the day can differ. It’s just one aspect of a baby’s individuality. If you can establish a daytime nap routine, it may help ease their crankiness, and mean that everyone gets better sleep at night as well. Here are some tips on how to create and manage a workable daytime nap routine for your baby.
How Long Babies Should Nap
During your baby’s first year, they will go through a lot of changes, and so will their naptime schedule. They sleep a lot during the daytime, especially during the first few weeks. It's not unusual for newborns to sleep between 14 and 17 hours every day. By the time they reach the 3-month mark, babies may start to sleep for shorter times. As they get closer to their first birthday, they’ll sleep less during the daytime. It’s likely that a baby’s nap routine will transition into a single nap in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Daytime naps are beneficial for babies. Getting enough sleep supports their overall health and development. It’s important to note that nap routines will vary between babies. In general, nap routines fit into two categories.
- Monster Nappers – these babies will nap for two or three hours at a time.
- Cat Nappers – babies who sleep for shorter stretches. They may nap just 30 minutes at a time but take more naps throughout the day.
How many naps your baby needs during the day will depend on their age. Newborns typically nap three to five times a day. 4- to 6-month-old babies usually need just two or three naps each day. Babies who are six to 12 months old usually need about two good naps each day.
Tips for Managing a Baby Nap Routine
How you as a parent manage your baby’s napping routine is unique. These tips can be helpful for helping your baby nap.
Use a Routine Similar to Bedtime
One way to establish a naptime routine that is dependable is to use similar bedtime and naptime routings. It’s also useful to put your baby to bed at about the same time each night, and put them down for naps at about the same time every day. Having a consistent schedule for playtimes and feedings can help establish workable sleep routines.
Make a Plan
Ensuring your baby sleeps better during naptime means providing a comfy, cozy, and consistent place for them to rest. Of course, he may snooze in his stroller occasionally while you’re out for a morning walk. But it’s ideal when babies can fall asleep in their own crib or bassinet. That will take a little bit of planning.
When you overschedule your day, it makes it more difficult to establish a sleep or nap routine. You will find yourself hurrying around rather than being able to ease your baby into a nap. Avoid packing too much into the day and give yourself and your baby a break.
Keep Baby Comfy and Cozy
Babies will sleep better in a smaller place like a crib or bassinet. A wide-open sleep space for babies that are not rolling over yet, can disrupt sleep. To ensure your baby is comfy and cozy, swaddle them in a soft bamboo blanket. Also, a baby sleep sac allows them to feel snug, while also having a little room to move.
Be Active Between Daytime Naps
The more active your baby is while they are awake, the easier it will be for them to rest during naptime. Try to keep them engaged by talking, cooing, or singing to them while they are awake. Let them enjoy plenty of tummy time, so they’ll be ready to be moved to their back for naptime. Use whatever activities your baby tends to favor to help them burn off energy while they are awake, so they’ll be ready to snooze at naptime.
Ease Into Naptime
Easing into naptime will provide your baby with time to unwind before falling asleep. You may end up with a frustrated baby if you interrupt them in the middle of playtime. The naptime routine may be very similar to bedtime sleep schedules. Closing the blinds can signal to your baby that it’s time to start winding down. Play soft muscle or cuddle with your little one to coax them to sleep.
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