How To Manage Day Naps On The Go
Level 2 is here and we are all planning how we might venture back out into the big wide world again. But with children, getting out and about is always something to be considered.
Day naps are an essential part of your baby’s routine, particularly when they are very young. But some parents don’t have the luxury of being at home for all naps.
Maybe you have older children to get to school or kindy, or other things to do that interfere with regular nap time.
Getting your baby accustomed to napping outside of their usual environment from time to time takes the pressure off, giving you a little more freedom and flexibility.
If you are not sure quite how to manage day naps on the go, read on for some valuable tips.
Start Practicing Before You Need To!
Practice makes perfect, right?
If possible, try and get your baby used to naps outside of the house before it becomes essential. Set up a portable cot at a friend or family member’s place for pressure-free trial runs. That way, by the time you need your little one to nap reliably outside of your home, it won’t be such a stressful experience!
Get The Timing Right
Most of the time, you wouldn’t try and go to bed outside of your normal routine. So, why would your baby? Instead of forcing unnatural sleep times, try and time your trips out of the house to coincide with already established nap times.
You will be able to follow a part of your nap time routine and greatly increase your chances of success at napping on the go.
Use Familiar Sleep Cues
Babies love routine, so if you can replicate as much of your usual schedule as possible, they will then be more likely to accept a few changes.
If you use white noise or a favourite blanket or comfort toy as part of your home sleep routine, don’t forget to take them with you. Babies need routine, and these familiar items can become cues that it’s time to have a snooze.
Spread Out The Day Trips
Although any nap is a good nap, the quality of sleep does vary in different environments. Think about how well-rested you feel after dozing off in the passenger seat of the car as opposed to having some quality shut-eye in your own bed.
To avoid over-tiring your baby, try avoiding back-to-back days of being out and about at nap time
Come Home For Nap Number Two
While one nap on the go can be managed easily, it can be a bit of a big ask for your baby to handle two and still get quality sleep. If you can wrangle it, try to be home in time for the second nap of the day. This is generally the longer sleep, and best done in the cot for a deeper, more restorative rest.
Don’t Wake The Baby!
If you are out and about and baby does fall asleep (hooray!) and has been sleeping for more than ten minutes, it's best to let them finish their nap in the car or buggy rather than disturbing them. You will find little ones don't transfer so well if you interrupt the nap early on, and you could be left with a grumpy, unsettled wee person!
Respect The Sleep Cycles
As humans, we all sleep in cycles. For babies, their sleep cycles last around 40 minutes. This consists of light sleep where they may move around, and deep sleep where they get restorative rest. At the end of each cycle, they wake briefly. Often, they can settle themselves back for a second cycle (or more at night).
However, your baby is unlikely to manage more than one sleep cycle on the go, unless, perhaps, if you are out after dark, when the melatonin effect may kick in.
Learn Your Baby’s Sleep Cues
Learning to recognise your baby’s sleep cues can help you time those naps right – both at home and on the move. Before the rubbing of the eyes and yawning, there are more subtle signs that they are ready for some shut-eye. If you neglect some of those cues and miss the window for nap-time, it will probably be more difficult to get them to settle.
Helping your baby form good sleep habits can be tricky business! If you are finding your baby is having trouble in the sleep department (and it is impacting your own rest) then get in touch with us here at Serene Sleep.
We have a range of sleep support options to suit any lifestyle or budget.