If you’re lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps from sundown to sun-up, it’s rare that the slumber-gods will gift you a happy napper, too. And although nighttime shuteye may be the most restorative, daytime zzz’s are also important for little ones to reach their quota of daily rest. Check out these expert tips to help your baby nap.
Parenting expert Kathryn Mewes explains that for babies between the ages of 3 and 6 months, the ideal number of naps is three – totalling up to around five hours. The trick to accomplishing this is to respond to your bub’s sleepy signals on cue.
1. Catch the ‘window of tiredness’.
These are the prime times when baby is most likely to take to napping with minimal fuss – usually 90 minutes after morning wake-up, 30-60 minutes after midday feed, and around 4-5pm.
Signs you need to wind down for naptime:
- Babies will begin ‘cycling’ their legs when they first begin to get tired.
- Then they’ll clasp their hands and rub their faces or mouth their fists/fingers.
- “Moaning and groaning” comes next –
- The sign that you’ve waited too long is when the vocals progress to shouting; baby is overtired!
Sweep your babe off to his Moses basket or cot once he hits the moaning stage – pronto!
2. Try to keep naps in the same place – a dark room, preferably, free from distractions.*
Eventually, your baby will come to expect a nap when he’s taken to his special sleep spot.
3. “I truly believe that to swaddle a baby allows them to rest and relax without their hands attacking their faces”, says Kathryn. Being swaddled will provide a sense of security as it mimics the snug confines of the womb and inhibits the startle reflex – but whatever you choose; avoid loose bedding, and keep the room between 16 and 20C.
* The Lullaby Trust recommends that to help prevent the risks of SIDS, baby should sleep in the same room as you – even during the day, until at least 6 months of age.