5 napping habits you might want to limit….

5 napping habits you might want to limit….

5 napping habits you might want to limit….

Nap's are super important for your babies growth and development, and your own sanity.

Whether they are decent 1-2 hour naps, or 30-45 minutes, they are still tiny little micro breaks for us parents right?

Naps are also really great for your babies mood and temperament too. Have you ever noticed how your baby starts to melt down when they skip naps? This is because napping helps your baby regulate their emotions, toddlers too!

When babies nap, they also grow and their immune system strengthens helping fight off those winter ills and chills.

Knowing how awesome naps are, there are a few habits you might want to reconsider in order to keep good quality naps in your house.

1. Napping infrequently

If your baby is napping far less than what is expected “average” and the naps are quite sporadic this is definitely a habit you want to get on top of.

Start by encouraging more frequent naps to increase your babies day time sleep, then try to establish a bit of a nap schedule to ensure those naps become more consistent.

This prevents the infrequent naps leading to over tiredness which we all know is the monster who ruins our babies lovely temperament and disrupts night sleep!

2. Napping too often

Most newborns come home from hospital with their days and nights mixed up.

They sleep for 2-3 hour stints frequently in the day, and hard to wake to feed. They then wake frequently at night and are perhaps quite wakeful from midnight until morning.

This is normal in those early weeks, the solution is time and slowly extending your newborns awake time during the day. But if your baby is over 6-12 weeks and still has this sleep pattern, you might want to work on less day sleep immediately.

Too much day sleep will eat into your night sleep, and frequent night wake ups are hard for any parent to maintain long term.

3. Napping in an electric swing or hammock

This can be the easiest way to get a newborn to sleep, I loved my electric swing for that late afternoon nap when my third was a baby.

He would nap for a good 45 minutes while I prepared dinner.

But I was weary of allowing this continual motion to become a habit my baby relied on to sleep, as I knew he would outgrow the swing!
I limited it to that late afternoon struggle time, and tried to ensure that by 4 months 1 or 2 naps a day happened in the cot.

If your older baby is what we call a "Motion junkie" - addicted to having that constant motion while they sleep, it is important to know that sleep expert Dr Marc Weissbluth's research shows that motion sleep is not as restorative as stationary sleep after 8 weeks of age, this is a good reason to limit these motion naps to once a day. 

4. Napping in the car seat and buggy all day

When you are a busy mother of 2 or more children, its totally understandably that you can find the first nap happens in the car on the way to school, the second nap in the car on the way to the super market and the third nap in the buggy after school.

This can quickly lead to an over tired baby who is probably not getting the most restorative sleep each day.
Think about planning your days to try to be home for one big nap each day, and the other two can be on the go.

Having a consistent nap routine can help you plan your day, knowing when your baby will need a quick on the go nap, and when you should be home for a longer more restorative nap.

5. Holding to sleep for all naps

We all know how delicious it is to hold a newborn while they nap!

They sleep brilliantly, they smell unbelievable, and their breathing as they sleep…..But if this is the only way you can your baby to sleep after the initial 12 weeks it can become more and more difficult to achieve naps.

Anyone who has had to work through a hold to sleep association with an older baby can confirm, this is not easy. Good news, the earlier you work on this, the easier it is! Newborns still respond to hands on settling, so we can settle them in the cot tears free.

When you are ready try to get your baby down for at least one nap a day in their bassinet or cot, start by only holding until your baby is 80% asleep, and gradually back it off over a few weeks.

Use your hands on strategies to help them get from 80% asleep to 100% asleep in the bassinet or cot.

If you are working on changing this with older babies, you will need to put your baby down 100% awake, and teach them to settle to sleep in their cot.

Looking for solutions for better naps?

Our online sleep program provides solutions and sleep plans for cat naps, short naps, self settling, nap routines and more! Plus all online sleep programs include private email support.


Emma Purdue

Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.


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