1. Make sure your baby's nap environment is sleep friendly. Like adults, children sleep better in a quiet, dark room that is at a comfortable temperature.
2. Have a sleep schedule. Babies tend to sleep better when they have a predictable nap schedule in place. Since babies usually get tired around the same time(s) every day it is helpful for them to nap around the same time(s) everyday.
3. Make sure your baby is not overtired. Babies that are overtired have a harder time settling into a restful sleep. Little ones tend to get tired quickly and can only stay up for so long between sleeps, so make sure you're watching your baby for sleepy cues (signs he/she is getting tired) so that you don't miss your little one's sleep window.
4. Create a simple wind-down routine. It can be hard for babies to transition for play/fun time to sleep time, so having a series of soothing actives that you do before each nap time can help your baby relax and understand that nap time is coming. The wind-down routine can be simple (cuddling and reading a book) but consistency is key.
5. Limit on-the-go naps. While newborns seem to be able to sleep anywhere, older babies tend to not nap as well on-the-go. While an occasional on-the-go nap is okay, the majority of your little one's naps should be at home.
6. Understand that nap needs change. Sometimes nap challenges are due to the fact that your baby's nap needs are changing. As babies get older they are able to stay up longer between sleeps, therefore decreasing the number of total naps they have per day. Knowing when these nap transitions typically happen can help you best prepare for when your baby is ready to drop a nap.
7. Rule out illness & teething. If your little one is not feeling well, then chances are it is more difficult for him/her to sleep well. Providing medical care (if needed) and comfort during these times can help.
8. Understanding developmental milestones and sleep regressions. Sometimes you're doing everything right only to discover that your little one has entered a sleep regression or a new developmental milestone (such as rolling, crawling, standing or walking). These disruptions can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Being patient and as consistent as possible is usually the best course of action.
If your child isn't napping well and your family needs individualized pediatric sleep support, please do not hesitate to contact Tracie at Rest Well Baby (www.restwellbaby.com) to schedule a FREE 15 minute initial phone call to learn more about her supportive sleep coaching services. Tracie is passionate about helping tired families get the sleep they need!
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Wishing you all a restful night's sleep! www.restwellbaby.com