How to encourage long naps for your babies?
Baby naps can be restful time for parents and the little one. It takes a while for newborns to develop a sleep schedule. During the first month, babies usually sleep and wake up with relatively equal periods of sleep between feedings.
As babies get older, baby nap times typically lengthen and become more predictable. There is a distinct line between a short nap and a long nap. Generally, shorter sessions are less than 60 minutes, and longer ones are more than an hour.
As every baby is different, there are a few general rules that can be used as a guide to figure out if you’re letting your baby sleep enough. It is normal for newborn babies to take short naps until about the age of three to four months old because they need to eat frequently and there are still trying to get used to the new environment so the newborn babies must be allowed to nap when they need it and attend to their needs when they are awake. However ones your little ones reach about five to six months of age it’s time to start thinking about a schedule.
At the age of 6 weeks to 3 months they just sleep when they need to as they don’t have longer naps at night and have short naps during the day. And at the age of 3 to 6 months, many babies begin to settle into a pattern of two naps a day- one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During 6 to 12 months most babies have moved to nap twice a day, for a total of two or three hours. There is plenty of variability around 18 months as many toddlers will drop down to one nap a day ideally the total nap time during 1 and 2 years should be less than three hours or it may disrupt the baby’s nighttime sleep. There is another transition stage at the age of 3 and 4 years as preschooler moves from one nap to zero.
When trying to lengthen short naps, it is important to look for clues that your baby is feeling sleepy. There are signs such as yawning, rubbing her eyes and crying. As soon as you spot any of these clues, it’s time to put your baby down for a nap. It is also important to look at your babies sleeping environment too. Make sure that the baby is resting in a cool, quiet and comfortable place. Avoid holding, rocking or feeding your baby to sleep as this might be the only way your baby is able to fall asleep.
To entice your baby to have a longer nap, recreate the crib into a cozier nest. Make the bed a familiar place as allow your baby has several play sessions in his crib during waking hours. It is important to stay with him, engage his interest and introduce a few new toys. Let him see you as a part of the crib so that he gets a happy feeling being there. So, when he is put in his crib for nap time and wakes up mid-nap it won’t be a lonely place.
It is also important to observe the child for signs of tiredness, such as losing interest in toys, becoming cranky, etc., so put your child for a nap the moment you see any of these signs. In addition to signs of tiredness also watch to see how long your child has been awake, as children can only stay happily awake for a certain period of time.
Sometimes babies suddenly resist napping even though they still need the rest. If this happens to try adjusting your babies’ bedtime. By making bedtime little earlier or later can sometimes help a baby nap better during the day. It’s common for babies to cry when put down for sleep, but most will quiet themselves if left alone for a few minutes.
If it lasts crying for more than a few minutes, check on your baby and offer comforting words. If the baby wakes up shortly after you put him or her down for a nap and isn’t well or hungry then try to be patient and encourage self-settling. You might gently pat your baby or offer a massage for a short time.
It is not necessary to limit the length of the babies’ naps as it depends on how well your baby is sleeping at night. Some babies confuse their days and nights as they start sleeping more during the day than at night. So it is necessary to limit daytime naps, especially in the late afternoon to no more than three or four hours each. If your baby is napping for too long at the end of the day, it can make it harder for him or her to fall asleep at bedtime.