How do you rate your naptime routine?
Do you know most of my clients feel like they’ve got a pretty good naptime routine, but often it’s the smallest changes to this that makes the big difference.
A naptime routine communicates to your baby that a nap is drawing near, and like us, they need to wind down before going to sleep. A nap time routine that is clear consistent and repeated for all naps can help your baby or toddler understand that a nap is coming and find it easier to fall asleep.
Here is a sample of The Lullababy S.O.S Nap Routine.
- Offer a small top-up feed 15 minutes before the nap if needed
- Read some stories – this can be in the lounge room or their bedroom
- Change their nappy – a lot of mums I speak to are in the habit of doing this upon waking, but I prefer to do it as part of the nap time routine. Obviously, change nappy at any other time if necessary, and if they don’t need a nappy change at nap time I would just pretend to change it
- Put on their sleeping bag or swaddle as age-appropriate – Using their sleeping bag for both day and nighttime sleeps is more consistent and helps them understand that sleep is coming.
- Offer their comforter – Give them their comforter then pick them up for a cuddle while you get the room ready for sleep.
- Close the curtains – The room doesn’t need to be pitch dark, but if your room is too light, the sleep onset will be more difficult. A dim or dark room helps to produce all the lovely sleep hormones and minimises stimulation during the nap time
- Turn on white noise – Weather its white pink brown or any other shade of the rainbow using a sound that buffers external noises will help you baby go to sleep and stay asleep
- Note on this: White noise is not supposed to be so loud that it drowns out external noises; ultimately it’s just supposed to buffer them. White noise should be about the volume of the shower (about 50 dB) as a rule of thumb; if you walk in the room and think gosh that’s loud, then it’s too loud. I would also set you white noise lower at night than during the day, and you can stop using it overnight from 4 months (but also fine to keep it). Keep white noise playing devices away for your child’s bed preferably on a shelf on the other side of the room
- Give them a nice big cuddle -Once your baby and their room is ready for the nap, give them a nice big cuddle, you can shush sway sing a song and enjoy a cuddle usually around 2 minutes. Your aim here is to trigger tiredness and calm, not cuddle them to drowsy.
- Place your baby in the cot – Aim for calm, happy awake and ready for bed not drowsy. Why not drowsy? Well, there is a fine line between drowsy and stage 1 REM sleep cycle, and often if you’re cuddling your baby to drowsy, they may then resist being put down to sleep or they may not realise that they are being put in their bed so when it comes to linking their sleep cycle they may then wake and realise that the environment is different and struggle to link through sleep cycles.
Most of my clients report that within a few days of repeating this routine their babies show very clear tired cues once they start the bedtime routine and because the routine is consistent their little one finds it much easier to fall asleep and resettle back to sleep.