Our sleep expert shares her top tips and everything you need to know to encourage baby to nap on the goThursday, February 20 2020 11:16:00 PM
OUR SLEEP EXPERT SHARES HER TOP TIPS AND EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO ENCOURAGE BABY TO NAP ON THE GO
brought to you by Sleep Science Guru
For many parents, naps on the go can be extremely challenging, so we asked one of our sleep experts to share her top tips and everything you need to know to encourage baby to nap on the go!
Truth be told, naps on the go are hard.
Think about the last time you took a long bus, train or plane ride. How did you sleep? Was it the best sleep of your life? Or did you doze in and out of light sleep? Unless you're travelling business or first class, getting that deep, long restorative sleep is rare. This because that sleep typically happens in your bed and not on the go.
What if I asked you, where would you fall asleep easier? (1) in your own bed, or (2) in your next-door neighbour’s bed? It would probably be in your own bed (unless you have an exceptionally good-looking neighbour). The same principle applies for your little ones. It’s always going to be easier for little ones to nap in their own bed than somewhere less familiar to them like on the go.
If you are asking yourself if this means you have to trap yourself in a nap jail and make your baby do every single nap at home, the answer is absolutely not. We want you to get out. We want you to have a life. In fact, we know how important getting out the house is for your mental health and sanity. You have people to see, places to go and things to do... we get it! There are older kids who need to be picked up and dropped off from school, appointments to attend or maybe you just want to check out Kmart. This is OKAY. This is life. It’s all about being flexible. Naps on the go are totally possible once you know the secrets! Life is allowed to happen!
Here are our top 10 SECRETS AND TIPS for naps on the go:
1. Cut yourselves some slack!
Naps on the go are probably not going to be as long and restorative as naps at home and that’s okay! If the nap is on the short side, the awake window before the next nap might be a bit shorter, or it may be a day where your little one needs an extra cat nap or an earlier bedtime. Here's a great reminder on understanding awake windows and sleepy cues.
2. Your baby can read you like a book. If you are attempting a nap on the go and are extremely anxious about it, your baby will pick up on this, making them feel anxious and less likely to sleep. Try keep calm and take deep breaths.
3. If you are going to attempt a nap on the go, try bringing a portable sound machine. If you’re in the car, you can use the AM radio or aircon as white noise if you don’t have a portable machine.
4. When attempting a nap on the go try make it the first nap of the day. The first nap of the day is often the easiest to get your little one down for, so here is a good opportunity to try a nap on the go. If it doesn’t go so well, get the other nap(s) in at home that day. Remember, this is a new skill that requires practice.
5. If your little one is trying a nap on the go in a pram, try and make it as dark as possible. The CoziGo is the perfect solution as it blocks out 97% of light, is 100% breathable and is a universal fit. You can also use a muslin to cover the pram (but please ensure it is safe and breathable). Block dark colours with no pattern often work best to decrease light and stimulation (another reason why we recommend investing in the Cozigo).
6. Look at the age appropriate awake window and get your little one into the pram or car 15 minutes before they’re due for a sleep. That way they can get comfortable before drifting off. If you’re doing a nap in the pram, it is sometimes helpful to slowly zip the CoziGo cover (bit by bit) to transition them from awake time to nap time.
7. Don’t expect your little one to transfer perfectly from car seat to cot. If you’re going to attempt the transfer, try legs and bum first, then head (it’s less startling).
8. If you don’t want to attempt the transfer and your little one is asleep in the car, go through a drive thru (you deserve a treat). Enjoy a bit of “me time” in the car and catch up on our highlighted stories, your emails, messages, shopping lists, or some meditation. Never leave a baby unattended in a car seat. If your baby has fallen asleep in the pram and is above 4 months (and their sleep cycles have changed), we know how the way they go to sleep affects their ability to transition through sleep cycles. So, if your baby has fallen asleep through being pushed in the pram, and you are now sitting and enjoying brunch, but you know their cycle is 45 minutes, start gently pushing or rocking the pram from side to side from 40 minutes. This should help get your little ones into the next cycle.
9. If the naps on the go have been on the shorter side, you may need to put your little one down 15-30 minutes earlier than usual.
10. Keep practicing. Every baby is different. Some babies do better with naps on the go while others find it harder. The key is that when you are attempting it, start with a well-rested, happy baby and as many positive sleep associations as possible (like your white noise, sleeping bag or swaddle, comforter (if they are old enough and it is safe), and your CoziGo. It is also important to stay calm and keep practicing!
Make sure you take time to enjoy outings with your baby!
Keep persisting and "sleep time" can become "me time"
If your little one will ONLY nap on the go, please get in touch for a free 15-minute consultation. We would love to work with you in helping your little ones in getting those deep restorative naps and creating more time for you to practice self-care.
For more tips and tricks, come along to one of our workshops! We also offer a range of packages if you need more personalised support. Get in touch for a free 15 minute consultation! We can’t wait to hear from you and your little one!
Sleep Science Guru.