For many parents, daytime naps are less of a pressure point because during the waking hours we have other distractions.
However, it’s important to let your baby sleep during the day in the first year or two because all that growing is exhausting.
Indeed, research suggests that babies who nap during the daytime are more likely to have a good night’s sleep because their bodies are better attuned to rest, so depriving your baby of daytime naps in the hope of a longer night sleep is not really a good idea.
Tips for daytime napping
- Observe the same safe sleeping rules that you would for nighttime sleeping.
- Your baby might fall off to sleep whilst feeding. If so, gently place your baby into a crib or pram in a room with you. Some babies may sleep lightly but you should not have to go about in absolute silence once your baby is sound asleep. Indeed, the roar of sound that a new baby would have been used to in the womb means that often babies find things like the washing machine or a vacuum cleaner’s noise quite reassuring.
- Get lots of fresh air and daylight. Your baby can’t play on the swings yet, but going for a walk in the park will do you and your child lots of good and help with sleeping.
- Use a baby carrier. If walking your baby around over your shoulder is tiring, try a baby carrier or sling around the house to keep your baby close.
- Try swaddling your baby. The enclosed cosiness is very comforting for many babies.
- Talking and singing. Your voice is one of the most comforting things your baby will enjoy. Singing little tunes will help to even out your voice more.
- Baby massage. In a warm room, lay your baby down on a clean towel and use some pure unflavoured olive oil to rub into your baby’s legs, arms and tummy (not too soon after a feed). Talk all the while, and when you’re done, gently get him dressed again. He should quickly fall off to sleep.
By about two months your baby will begin to tell the difference between daytime and nighttime and sleep patterns might get a little easier. As your baby grows the regular naps will probably evolve into one longer morning and afternoon sleep. By the time your baby is a toddler you might want to ensure your child has woken from a day nap by about 4.30pm so that come bedtime he is ready for more sleep.
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