Daytime rest is important for babies, but it’s not necessary for all your baby’s naps to be taken in his cot. If you are a busy parent and cannot be at home all the time, there is no need to feel guilty. It’s good for your baby to learn to be flexible about where naps are taken.
It’s important to watch out for ‘sleepy signs’, telling you that your baby’s nap time is due:
- Looking away from you
- Rubbing his eyes
- Becoming fractious
The last two signs mean that your baby is getting overtired.
How to prepare for a nap
- Make sure that your baby is clean, comfortable and warm enough but not too hot.
- Put your baby into the cot or pram with minimum fuss and then leave to settle alone.
- Avoid picking up and putting down – over handling may irritate your baby if very tired.
- Rock the pram or cot if you can, but avoid rocking your baby in your arms.
- Try to schedule naps at reasonably consistent times during the day, but allow some flexibility.
- Forget the clock – look at your baby instead.
- If your baby is taking erratic, inconsistent naps during the day, concentrate your efforts on establishing good sleep habits at night.
Once your baby has learned good night-time sleep skills, these can be transferred to his daytime naps too.