Sleep training a baby for naps can be really challenging. If you’re having trouble, here are 6 tips that can help your child get enough daytime sleep.
For parents of young children, sleep training is a tricky subject.
One parent wrote: “We’ve been trying to teach our baby how to get more daytime Zzzs by sleep training her for naps. So far, nothing has worked. We’re thinking about giving up.”
If you find yourself in a similar situation and struggle with sleep training your baby for naps, you’re at the right place.
In this post, I’ll explain the basics of sleep training for naps and offer 6 tips for doing it successfully.
Let’s get started!
Why sleep training for naps is necessary
Sleep training for naps is necessary for the following reasons:
Naps are crucial to maintaining the highest quality of sleep for babies. They’re the most common and most easily manipulated part of a baby’s day, which is why so many parents worry about getting them on a good schedule, as naptime and bedtime should be decided together and kept the same each day.
If your baby is not taking the proper amount of naps, it can result in nighttime fussiness and sleepiness. Undertiredness is as detrimental to a baby’s health as overtiredness. An undertired baby might wake up early in the morning, protest bedtime and cry inconsolably. An overtired baby may wake up frequently, become overly active, and she may only take brief catnaps instead of full-blown naps.
Sleep training for naps can help with all these issues that may prevent your baby from getting a good night’s sleep and help you avoid a terrible case of sleep deprivation.
When to sleep train baby for naps
The question of when to sleep train for naps is a very personal one. Whether or not you want to sleep train depends on your child’s age, temperament, developmental stage, readiness as parents, and many other factors. At The SleepyCub, we offer personalized programs for children between 6 weeks and 7 years of age.
The best thing about sleep training for naps is that you can expect to see results in about a week.
However, keep in mind that one type of sleep training that works for one kid may not work for another. For instance, the Ferber method may do wonders for your friend’s kid, while your little one may respond well to the cry-it-out method.
Tip: Make sure you give your first method of choice at least a week before going with a different method.
How to sleep train a baby for naps
Here’s a fact:
It’s called sleep training for a reason.
In other words, sleep training a baby for naps requires a little time and effort and may not work right away.
Here are some tips that can help your little one learn how to take day naps:
Follow a shorter bedtime routine
I’ll go ahead and assume that you’re following a consistent bedtime routine at night that involves plenty of baths, massages, and lullabies.
The good news is that you modify this routine for nap training, as well.
Let’s say your nighttime routine consists of 5 activities and lasts for about 30 minutes. For your nap routine, choose only two or three activities to make it shorter.
For example, it may look something like this: fresh diaper, lullaby, and a cuddle.
Here’s something else you should be aware of:
Consistency is key!
For this reason, you want to keep naps at the same time, in the same place, and follow the same routine every day.
You may want to consider keeping a nap schedule. For instance, if your child sleeps at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, make sure she follows the same daily schedule. Your activities for the day should be organized around your little one’s schedule.
For example, don’t plan to have the neighbor kids over when it’s time for your child’s nap or head to the grocery store during that time.
Create a sleep-conducive environment
Babies sleep better when it seems like it’s nighttime.
So, if your child’s room gets plenty of daylight, make sure you create a better sleeping environment by investing in blackout curtains. If your house is too loud, try using a white noise machine to block outdoor sounds.
Another thing is to always place your baby where she sleeps at night. If she sleeps in the crib, let her sleep there during her naps. Avoid having her fall asleep in your arms or on the rocker. If your 4-month-old falls asleep every morning in your arms, you’re going to be stuck rocking her to sleep every time she has to nap.
Make sure she gets plenty of activity between naps
Did you know that the more active your child is between naps, the easier it will be to get her to sleep?
So, if she enjoys tummy time, walks outside, or peek-a-boos with a blanket, play with her. Her favorite activities will tire her out and get her down for naptime more quickly.
Keep her comfortable
Wet diapers equal bed sleep.
Yes, that’s right!
Even if your little one manages to sleep through a soaked diaper, wearing a diaper soaked in urine can cause serious skin irritation.
This brings me to my next tip: make your child comfortable.
Before putting her down for a nap, feed her, get her into a fresh diaper, and dress her in a cozy outfit.
Don’t jump to every cry
This is probably the most difficult tip on the list.
Because according to studies, the “mom brain” is real.
A 2017 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a crying baby activates the parts of the mother’s brain that prompt her to move and speak, process sounds, and be a caregiver.
However, jumping to every one of your baby’s cries can only destroy your sleep training efforts. If your little one often gurgles, fusses, or even cries in her sleep, know that she is capable of falling back asleep without your help.
Don’t give in to the maternal urge to soothe her every time she makes a sound. Instead, wait at least 10 minutes to see if she goes to sleep on her own before hurrying to comfort her.
To sum up:
- Naps are crucial to maintaining the highest quality of sleep for babies.
- The best thing about sleep training a baby for naps is that you can expect to see results in about a week.
- Sleep training a baby for naps requires a little time and effort and may not work right away.
- To sleep train your baby how to get more sleep during naps, try following a consistent bedtime routine, creating the right environment, keeping her active, and making sure she’s comfortable.
Sleep training a baby for naps can get challenging for some parents, and you may need help from an expert to get it done right. An experienced sleep trainer can make the process easier for both the parent and the child. Connect with us today and get a personalized plan for your baby. I’ll be there to guide you every step of the way.