Our Children’s naps can really can test our sanity! Even when a baby sleeps well at night, naps can present with difficulties and are almost always the last thing to fall into place when I work with a family.
Here are my top tips to improve your childs naps:
Prevent any overtiredness. The more overtired your baby is the harder it will be for them to fall asleep at naptime and bedtime and they are much more likely to have a shorter nap. When babies and children become overtired they get an increase in adrenalin related to our ‘fight or flight’ reflex and their body will fight itself when it comes to going to sleep. A surge in adrenalin and cortisol will result in less melatonin (our sleepy hormone) and therefore the harder it will be to settle easily and stay a sleep for longer.
Prevent under tiredness. If you put your baby down for a sleep too early then you will most likely see a shorter nap. This will likely result in the wrong distribution of sleep during the day, upsetting that night time sleep. Here are my ideal Wake windows between sleeps for younger babies:
0-2 months = 45-75 minutes
3 months = 90 minutes
4 months = 1hr 45 minutes
5 months = 2hrs
6 months = 2hr 15 minutes
Set the best nap time environment! Put your baby somewhere dark and quiet to sleep. Constant white noise is great to remove any external noise that may wake your child. Try to encourage naps in the cot where able but if you find that you need to do some naps on the go then getting a good portable white noise and black out blind for the pram will support this. Snoozeshades (www.snoozseshade.com) can help with naps on the go and you can use the discount code SOPHIESLEEP for 10% off.
Try to keep to a regular napping schedule, babies love routine! Make sure you have a short nap time routine such as reading a short book and changing the nappy.
Though every baby and child is different with their sleep needs the below offers a good idea of what to expect at each age.
0-3 months: 4 or 5 naps per day
3-6 months: 3 naps per day
6-8 months: 2 naps per day
9-10 month : 2 naps per day
12 months + : 1-2 naps per day
15 months+: 1 nap per day