Once your baby is born, it seems all they do is sleep. There will come a time, however, when they will fight tooth and nail to take a nap. A great way to establish a smooth nap routine is to do just that. Make it a routine. Some babies enjoy having a routine and look forward to certain parts of their routine.
Different babies have different schedules and biological rhythms, so it is important to know your child's. Some will have 2-3 naps a day and some may just take one long nap and go to bed early. For younger babies you should start a routine early.
Here are some tips for baby nap time success:
1. Have a designated nap area
Whether it is your baby's crib or your bed or any other space, it is important that it is always the same. This lets your little one know that it is time for their nap.
2. Have a set routine
When a baby has a routine in place early on, they feel more secure and taken care of. Even if they are very small, somehow they know. Maybe can have a naptime after playtime or whatever it may be, but after awhile your child will know that next they will be taking a nap. Many daycares have a specific schedule and this is good if you are a working mother, but if you are not, you should make your own.
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3. Naps after mealtime
Everyone knows a full belly is a sleepy belly. You may have more luck and less fight if you have nap time after a good meal. Always try to offer a bit of food when your baby is being a little grumpy, and you think they are tired. Many times we confuse hunger for tiredness, and vice versa. A baby will fight a nap if they are a little hungry.
4. Tell them what is happening
Whatever activity you decide to have before nap time, (lunch, play time, etc.) talk to them towards the end of that activity, tell them, "After this is naptime" with a smile on your face. Never talk about naptime in a negative tone, or this will give your baby a negative view of naptime. Over time, when you tell them it is naptime, it won't be as big of a deal.
5. Something to watch or listen to
Most babies love listening to some quiet music. Even if it from their mobile above their crib. There are some crib bumpers that have a couple of soft lights and moving parts, like a fish swimming. Most babies will fall asleep watching or listening to something soothing. And always make sure your baby's crib does not have too many blankets!