Today, I wanted to post briefly about the importance of daytime sleep and why it’s helpful to help facilitate, by “forcing a nap” when needed.
Daytime sleep for babies (and toddlers) is incredibly important. Without proper sleep many things happen:
- Short naps of 30-45 minutes
- Lack of REM sleep
- Baby doesn’t feed well because they are tired
- Baby doesn’t sleep well because the previous feed wasn’t “complete”
- Baby gets overtired, cranky and “colicky”
- Witching hours in the evening that resulted from a full day of short naps and Incomplete feeds
Forced Naps (or assisting to sleep) can be planned, or utilized when a parent recognizes that their baby is struggling. As an example, a very active family I worked with earlier this year, actually wanted to plan to do a carrier walk every day with their baby during the final nap of the day. It was a way for them to be active together and ensure that their baby was able to get the much needed sleep she needed before bed. Win, Win!
Ideally, several naps throughout the day are on a flat motionless surface so that baby can get used to sleeping in their sleep environment. One or two naps a day can be carrier naps if needed, or desired, to help facilitate sleep in The Early Weeks.
Just remember that the ultimate goal for most parents is to have a happy sleeper that falls asleep easily when they are tired and can return to sleep unassisted. In order for these two things to happen, your baby has to be exposed to the sleep surface AND given the opportunity to fall asleep on their own, on a daily basis. Otherwise, what generally happens is that forcing a nap or assisting to sleep becomes a REQUIREMENT for every sleep and the baby doesn’t actually know how to sleep without the help of a caregiver.
Our Favorite Carriers
Have questions about your baby’s sleep or could you use some guidance getting your child’s sleep back on track?