As a parent, you know how important it is for your baby to get enough sleep. Longer naps can not only help your baby feel more rested, but can also promote healthy development. If you're struggling to get your baby to take longer naps, there are some things that you can try.
1. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Make sure your baby's sleep environment is conducive to napping. This means keeping the room dark, quiet, and cool. Use blackout curtains to block out light, and consider using a white noise machine to drown out any background noise. You want to create a sleep environment that minimizes distractions and stimulates sleep.
2. Eat-Play-Sleep: Consider following this routine for the newborn stage. Eat-Play-Sleep is a routine that encourages feeding your baby after they wake up (instead of them falling asleep while feeing when its nap time), followed by playtime- which gets them active and tired, then its time for nap again.
3. Watch for Sleepy Cues: Every baby is different, and it's important to pay attention to your baby's sleep cues. Some babies may rub their eyes or become fussy when they're tired, while others may become quiet or stare off into space. By watching for these cues, you can put your baby down for a nap at the first sign of tiredness, which can help them sleep longer.
4. Stick to a Routine: Babies thrive on routine, so establishing a consistent naptime routine can be helpful. Try to put your baby down for a nap at the same time every day if they are on 1 or 2 naps daily. Or pay attention to wake windows if your baby is on 3 or more naps a day, You'll want to follow the same sequence of activities leading up to naptime (such as a diaper change, sleep sack or swaddle, and some rocking with cuddle time).
5. Encourage Self-Soothing: If your baby can learn to self-soothe, they'll be more likely to stay asleep for longer periods of time. You can help your baby learn this skill by putting them down for naps after naptime routine, when they're still awake. This will give them the opportunity to practice falling asleep on their own.
Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one baby may not work for another. Be patient and consistent. Helping your baby take longer naps may take some time and effort, but with a little patience and persistence, you can help your little one get the sleep they need for their growth and development. If you're not seeing improvement in naps, even with trying the above, that's what I'm here for! DM me on Instagram or book a free sleep assessment call so we can chat!