After about 2 and a half months of saying that Oliver doesn't take naps, I think we have finally figured out a consistent napping routine. In the beginning, he would nap from 4-5pm one day, not nap at all the whole next week, and then nap from 9-12 another day. There was no guarantee that he would take a nap and if he did, it was always at a different time.
After some work and planning, we are now napping from about 11-1 every day- happy mom dance! For a while after college, I worked at a preschool. The kids had to take a 2 hour nap everyday. I decided to use some of the steps that we took to make sure that the kids would sleep during nap time and implemented them at home!
Here are the steps that I took to set a napping schedule.
1. Try to be home every day during the time that you want baby to nap.
I notice that if I was out and about he just wasn't going to nap properly. He might doze here and there, but he wouldn't take a solid nap. Now I try and plan my errands and events so that I can be home from 11-1. This way he has a set time to lay in his bed and sleep.
2. If you have to be out during nap time, try to stop and give baby a chance to fall asleep.
For instance, I was out running errands one day, and I could tell that Oliver was getting tired. If I didn't stop, he wouldn't fall asleep in the car and while being carried around. I took a break from shopping to sit in a comfy chair at the store and let him fall asleep in my arms. I just took a breather to do some emails on my phone while he rested. He only ended up sleeping for about 30 minutes, but it is better than no nap at all.
3. When it is time for nap, turn off the lights, TV, computer, etc. to signal that it is sleeping time.
The more you do this, the more baby will associate quiet and dark with sleeping.
4. If baby doesn't sleep the entire extended nap time, don't let them get up and play.
This will help train baby on the length of nap time. If Oliver wakes up before 1, I keep the lights off, rock him, rub his back, and try to keep him quiet. Granted, sometimes he is just wired and ready to go, but I try my best to keep the nap atmosphere going until 1 o'clock.
5. Plan feedings so that baby eats right before nap.
This will keep them asleep longer and the nursing/bottle feeding should make them sleepy.
6. Don't let baby sleep for at least 2 hours before nap time.
Keep your baby active and playing for about 2 hours in order to tire them out! Oliver plays under his gym, we read, play with toys, go on walks, etc. from 9-11 so that he is tired by the time 11 rolls around.
Sure enough, after about 2 weeks of practice, Oliver is about 80% consistent with napping for 2 hours in the afternoon!
Does your baby have a scheduled nap time?
What was your best sleep strategy?
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I am 25 years old with a 2 year old son and a wicked handsome husband living in Birmingham, Alabama.