Today, on our blog, we are proud to present you Toronto-based Sugar Plum Sleep Co. Founder Rebecca Earl is a proud mom of two young sons, Henry and Clark. She has helped hundreds of families across North America to restore balance in their lives by addressing sleep issues for parents and children through training and coaching. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants. Rebecca combines her passion for community health and well being, and sleep expertise to provide her clients with professional, individual solutions and immeasurable results.
Rebecca provides custom strategies, information and ongoing support to families across the GTA and North America through private consultations, in-home sleep training support, group workshops, corporate seminars, and follow-up support.
While many families strive for long periods of sleep at night, it’s difficult to achieve that goal unless your baby has good quality naps during the day. Sleep pressure can build quickly in a baby, creating a need for frequent sleep during daytime hours.
Here’s how you can encourage good quality sleep during the day, even at an early age.
Timing is everything
Try not to focus on nap length or naps set at specific times of day; instead, watch your baby for signs of fatigue. Babies in this age range can typically only stay awake for 45-60 minutes. That’s not a lot of time. Most days you will feel like you have barely fed, burped and changed your baby before putting them back down for a nap! On an average day, your baby could sleep as much as 17 to 19 hours in a 24 hour period. How long your baby sleeps at each nap is more difficult to predict. The length of their nap depends largely on the size of their stomach, which can vary.
Don’t forget about the nap routine.
Creating a short naptime routine is just as important as a bedtime routine…and it’s never too early to introduce one. As your baby gets older, they will already be familiar with the sequence of events surrounding nap time. Nap routines should be approximately 3 to 5 minutes in length. Suggested nap routine for a newborn:
•Swaddle or sleep sack
•Cuddles and short song while walking around the room
Be flexible, but be safe
With so many naps during the day, it’s likely not practical to have your baby nap in their crib or bassinet at all times, but it's important to exercise some caution for naps on the go. Health Canada advises against allowing your child to sleep for long periods of time in strollers, car seats, swings, bouncers, slings or baby carriers that keep them in seated or serm-reclined position.
Keeping current health guidelines in mind, a short nap assisted by a swing or vibrating chair is ideal for a late day or early evening nap when your baby may be fussy. This gives you an opportunity to take some time for yourself and helps to ensure your baby is well rested going into bedtime.
Be prepared for transitions
As your baby nears 3 months of age, they may have enough stamina to stay awake for longer periods of time (1-1.5 hours of awake time). Along with increasing intervals of awake time, the last nap of the day is usually replaced by an earlier bedtime. Consider monitoring their sleep patterns more around this age to determine if they need some additional awake time to help encourage longer nap lengths and a more predictable daytime schedule.
What is your biggest challenge at nap time right now?