Some babies are cat-nappers who wake up in shock and are too afraid to put themselves back to sleep. This can be a problem when they need rest and when you need time for yourself. Fret not, though! Here are four tips for a no-cry nap that will make everyone happier.
Determine napping patterns
Start observing your child’s sleep patterns intently. Do they fall asleep while being fed, in someone’s arms, or while on a rocker? After being tucked into bed, do they sleep for 30 to 50 minutes — the average length of one sleep cycle? All these factors can be used to refine your baby’s nap pattern. Your baby may wake up at the end of the first sleep cycle, resulting in a nap that’s too short. This can be alarming for them if they are afraid of being alone in their crib.
Creating a conducive bedroom
In order to boost nap sessions, always keep the room dark and conducive for sleeping. Having too many lights or shadows around can keep the baby alert in between sleep cycles. Using white noise such as recordings of nature sounds or relaxing music throughout nap time can help soothe a baby for better rest. This forms a sleep cue that will facilitate a no-cry nap and help mask unnecessary noises that can wake a baby who is trying to shift through disrupted sleep cycles.
Cozier cots for no-cry naps
As adults, we always want the best beds or pillows just for a good sleep and your baby is no different. Cozier cots go a long way to make a no-cry nap possible. It’s not hard to make their beds cozy — think thick mattress pads, flannel, and soft sheets. You could even try placing a towel, fresh from the dryer, on the bed surface or run a medium-heat iron over the top of the sheet to create some warmth.
Making the bed a familiar place
If a baby only associates their bed with sleeping, they will feel unhappy whenever they are put in the crib to sleep. To them, it seems like some sort of punishment, as they don’t know yet how valuable sleep is to them. Naturally, babies equate sleeping to being alone and away from the rest of the world. The best way to change this mindset would be to let them have several play sessions in the crib.
Engaging interest in new toys, and playing with them will create happy and ‘safe’ memories for them in the crib. You being a part of their crib-play experience will keep them in high spirits and change their outlook on being in the crib. At naptime or when they wake up shortly after a sleep cycle, the crib will not feel like such a lonely place and it will be much easier for them to fall back asleep.
Always keep in mind that as children grow, their nap schedules grow with them too. What seems perfect today, might not be perfect the month after, so keep an eye both on your baby and on the clock.
Oh, and here are some tips for sleep-training your baby!