Dad holding baby

Naptime is My Favorite Time

February 7, 2024 General /FamilyInfant

Naptime is a special time for parents and caregivers, but sometimes babies and toddlers don’t want to take a nap. Finding a good nap routine can be hard when you have a busy life and other kids to take care of. Here are some tips to help if you’re struggling with naptime.

Safety first

Safety should always be the top priority when it comes to naptime or bedtime. Babies sleep safest in a cool room, on their back, in a bassinet or crib with a firm mattress. Avoid using pillows, soft bedding, stuffed toys, or any other padding. Overheating during sleep is not safe for babies. Pacifiers are okay, but it’s not recommended to have bottles in the crib. Sleep positioning devices like wedges should only be used if a healthcare provider prescribes them for medical reasons. And remember, it’s not safe for babies to nap in car seats, swings, couches, or on adult beds because it can restrict their breathing or increase the risk of suffocation and falling.

Age Matters

Babies and young children need different amounts of sleep depending on how old they are. Usually, babies start having a regular nap schedule when they’re around 4-6 months old. Newborns and younger babies take shorter naps more often because they need to eat every 2-3 hours. As they grow, they can go longer between feedings, so their naptimes become less frequent and longer.

Create a routine

Even if your baby doesn’t nap at the same time every day, there are things you can do to help them get into a routine. Rocking, singing, playing soft music, reading books, and putting them down when they’re tired can all encourage them to take a nap. Look for signs that your baby is tired, like rubbing their eyes, yawning, looking away, or getting fussy.

Once your baby starts having predictable nap times, it’s important to stick to a consistent daily routine. Try to schedule their naps at the same times every day, and plan other activities around those nap times. For example, if you need to pick up your other kids from school, make sure your baby has finished their nap and diaper change before it’s time to go.

It’s not always easy to stick to a schedule, so be flexible and have a stroller or carrier with you just in case. Missing naps can make for a long day. For toddlers, it’s important not to let them nap too late in the afternoon, or they might have trouble going to bed at their regular bedtime. They should have about 4-5 hours between the end of their nap and bedtime.

Remember that things like teething, illness, growth spurts, travel, holidays, and daylight savings time can affect nap schedules. But as soon as things go back to normal, try to get back into the regular routine.

Keep Active

Babies and children of all ages need opportunities for active playtime to help them sleep better. For babies, this can mean playing with toys, having tummy time, and going for walks in a stroller. Toddlers and young children can play on the playground and use their imagination with toys. Giving them time to play both inside and outside is important.

Naptime is important for both babies and parents, so finding a good routine can make everyone happy. Follow these tips to help your little one get the rest they need and make naptime a favorite time for both of you.

Side-Lying

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

cross-cradle

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

CRADLE hold

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

laid-back

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: