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18 09, 2018

The 3-2 Nap Transition; When and How To Do It

September 18th, 2018|Categories: Nap Transitions|

3-2 Nap Transition

It should come as no surprise that infants and children sleep a lot more than adults. This is because sleep plays a vital role in growth, development and cognitive functions. Children are undergoing these things at a more intense rate than adults so it stands to reason that they require more sleep to be able to grow and develop properly. This is one of the reasons that children nap during the day. Naps are important for helping children form overall healthy sleep habits and patterns.

Sleep Debts

When naps are missed, something called a sleep debt, forms. This debt is the cumulative difference between sleep needed and sleep actually attained. Overtime, if this debt grows larger, or isn’t recovered, children become overtired. This leads to a whole host of problems that can include night wakings, early morning risings, short naps, plus more. You can read more about overtiredness and sleep debts here.

You can think of a sleep debt like a financial debt. If you have withdrawn one hundred dollars from your overdraft account, you are in debt. You owe your account one hundred dollars. If this isn’t repaid, interest is accrued, increasing the debt.

Repaying the sleep debt, or not having one to begin with, involves having an age-appropriate nap routine. Most children under three years of age will need a nap in some form while they’re still rapidly developing.  However, it’s not unusual for many kids to continue napping until they start full day school in Kindergarten or Grade One.

What is the 3-2 nap transition?

Before we get to that stage where naps are cut out all together though, we have to overcome the first “official” nap transition. The first nap transition that many parents encounter is the 3-2 nap transition. This is when the child no longer needs their third nap of the day. This third nap is often referred to as the catnap because it’s usually shorter than the other two naps. The third nap usually only lasts one sleep cycle (30-45 mins).

When does the 3-2 nap transition occur?

Knowing when to drop a nap can be confusing for parents. On average, a child will be ready to drop their third nap between 6-9 months of age. However, if the child has developed independent sleep skills and is taking long naps of about 1.5-2 hours, they may lose this nap earlier.

How do we know they are ready?

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for nap transitions. Usually by 6-9 months most children will be ready for the 3-2 nap transition. You’ll also be able to tell if your child is ready if their routine starts to shift slightly. If they have two longer naps that have become well established this shows that they are aligned with the child’s biological sleep circadian rhythms.

Another sign that your child is ready to drop their third nap is when no matter what you do, regardless of the tricks you pull out of your sleep bag, they just won’t sleep! I distinctly remember driving my daughter around in the car to get her to sleep for the third nap and eventually even this stopped working. She just stayed awake the whole time.

Other signs your child no longer needs the third nap:

  • Your child is 6-12 months old
  • Your child might appear tired but still refuses the nap no matter what you do
  • All of your usual go-to “tricks” stop working. Things like nursing, feeding, rocking, bouncing and driving rarely work or stop working all together
  • The other two naps become long and well established in their routine
  • Because of two prolonged naps, it seems too late into the afternoon to introduce a third nap. You might find yourself wondering “should I try another nap or just do an early bedtime?”
  • As your baby lengthens naps one and two, the third nap may push bedtime too late. 
  • The other two naps might stay short but become well established. This is common around 7-8 months of age

Signs that they still need the third nap

  • Throughout the week, there are more days than not that they are taking the catnap
  • Your child is going through a big development like trying to sit up, stand or crawl. A surge in brain development often coincides with another part of development regressing, like sleep
  • If you offer more awake time between nap two and the catnap, they start to take it again.

How to transition from 3-2 naps

In order to make this transition successful, naps one and two must be at least an hour and a half long. For babies younger than six months, short naps are common as their sleep/wake cycles fully mature which makes transitioning to a two nap routine at this point, rare. However, if your child is taking a morning and an afternoon nap that are closer to two hours in length, then they may be ready to drop nap three.

Once you decide to drop the third nap, you need to move bedtime earlier so your child isn’t awake for too long. Most babies napping twice per day settle into a bedtime of 5-7 pm. Yes, I said 5pm. No, that’s not a typo. 😉 

Early Bedtimes During the 3-2 Nap Transition

When moving your baby’s bedtime, it needs to reflect the dropped nap. We want to avoid creating a sleep debt, so we need to replace the missing day time sleep with night sleep until the child can handle longer wake periods. Depending on their age when they drop the catnap, they still may only be able to handle a two hour wake period.

This is how we end up getting to a 5pm bedtime.

For instance, if the child is 6 months old and nap two lasts from 1-3pm, even after that great nap, they can only sustain a two hour wake period, given their age. If you’ve tried for a catnap and it’s not happening, they need an early bedtime of around 5pm.

Once your child is ready to drop the third nap, or is refusing to take it, then stop offering it and move bedtime up earlier.  

The early bedtime won’t last forever, it’s just while they are adjusting to the two nap routine. Put your baby down for the night when they need it, and put up your feet and enjoy.

Nap Transitions Summary

Nap transitions can often be tricky and sometimes, they can be downright awful. Deciding when the right time is for your baby to drop a nap can be confusing for the best of us. Listen to the signs that your child is giving you. If they don’t want that third nap and their other two naps get longer, that could be a sign that they’re ready to transition.

Need more help with your baby’s sleep? Pick up your free copy of Baby Sleep Basic’s: Tips To Encourage Better Sleep.
28 08, 2018

Back-To-School Sleep Routines; How to Recover From Summer

August 28th, 2018|Categories: Preschooler Sleep|Tags: |

Have you ever heard of the “summer slide”? It’s the term given to the idea that students lose some of their academic skills over the summer.

But when it comes to sleep, children experience a different kind of summer slide. One that involves later nights, a more fluid routine and less sleep overall.

As we enter the new school year, it’s important that our children are refreshed, rested and ready to tackle the year ahead. Here are some tips to get your little scholar’s sleep back on track.

Wind Down Routine

The first step is to create a relaxing pre-sleep routine that is easily repeatable. This wind down routine helps your child’s body gear down, cue their brain to release the sleep hormones, and set the stage for sleep.

Depending on the age of your child, their wind down routine may include;

  • a warm bath,
  • bed time stretches or yoga,
  • reading books,
  • writing in a journal
  • cuddles with a parent

Whatever you and your child choose, you want to repeat a variation of it each night. This creates a cue for the brain and helps the body to relax quickly and settle down for a good night’s sleep.

The Right Time for Bedtime

Children under the age of 6 can require up 12 hours of sleep each night. However, if they are going to bed too late and waking up early for school, they will miss out on precious hours each night. This can leave kids overtired, and unable to fulfil their full learning potential. To conquer this, make sure your child is getting the right amount of sleep each night in the days and weeks leading up to the beginning of school.

To do this, you need to look at when they will need to be awake each morning and count backwards from there.

For instance, if your child must be awake by 7:00am in order to get to preschool or the bus stop in time, count backwards the amount of hours they need to get a full rest. That is when bedtime needs to be placed.

So if they on average sleep 11 hours at night, with a 7:00am wake up time, they need to be asleep by 8:00pm.

If bedtime has been later or, morning wake up will need to be earlier than it is now, you can start adjusting their routine ahead of time. This gives their internal body clock time to adjust gradually.

Add Sleep to the Shopping List

If you’re like me and excited to purchase the back-to-school supplies, be sure to add sleep supplies to that list. We want our young students to get the most restful sleep possible and that means being comfortable and cozy.

New pajamas, sheets, pillows, are always a special treat. But don’t forget to shop for their sleep environment too. Black out blinds to help with early bedtimes and morning wake ups are important, as well as white noise machines to mask the noises from the older siblings, family pets or street traffic.

If you’re creating a new wind down routine as mentioned previously, this is also the time to find a special journal to write in, or new books that can become old favourites.

Be Mindful of After School Activities

Now this tip isn’t necessarily for the time before school starts, but after. Starting school, for anyone, especially those in preschool, kindergarten or full-time days, is a huge adjustment. Not only emotionally, but physically. Children often need more sleep in the first few months as their body adjusts to these big changes.

Therefore when registering them for after school activities, be mindful of this. Consider when these start and end as well as the driving time involved.

If they mean your little one will be getting to bed later on a week night, you may want to consider doing a weekend activity instead or, doing it in the spring once they have adjusted.

As much as we want our children to be well-rounded and have a multitude of experiences, they won’t enjoy them if they’re exhausted. More importantly, not getting enough sleep will also hinder their focus, attention and behaviour at school.

We all enjoyed the lazy-hazy days of summer, but now it’s time to get back into a regular routine. Don’t worry if the summer slide hit your household. By following the tips above, your children be ready for the school year ahead-bright-eyed and well-rested.

 

 

 

27 06, 2018

3 Reasons Your Toddler Won’t Go To Sleep at Bedtime

June 27th, 2018|Categories: Toddler Sleep|

Toddler Won’t Go To Sleep At Bedtime?

“This is the the song bedtime that doesn’t end,

Yes it goes on and on, my friends”

If you have a toddler that seems to take forever to get into bed, or fall asleep, then this is your anthem. (My apologies to Lamb Chop Play Along for my version.)

When your child was a baby, you may have envisioned that a toddler would be easier to put to bed. No more rocking, feeding, changing, changing again and more rocking. For hours and hours.

After all, with independence and the ability to communicate with words, comes less work for Mom and Dad, right?

But it is sometimes for precisely those reasons that bedtime gets dragged on and on.

“I need another glass of water”

“I have to pee”

“Why are leaves green?”

After you explain in detail, chlorophyll and by extension, photosynthesis, you say a silent prayer that this is finally IT and you can close the door and relax for the night.

Um, no.

Ten minutes later, the process is repeated.

As frustrating as these extended bedtimes are, there are usually specific reasons why they occur.

Usually; the child is overtired, undertired and/or the expectations around bedtime haven’t been well-defined.

It can take a little bit of figuring out which one is the main reason, but once you do, bedtime can return to an easy, relaxing and quick process.

Let’s figure out what’s going on. And more importantly, how to end it.

Reason #1 Why Your Toddler Won’t Go To Sleep

The number one reason why your toddler won’t go to sleep quickly and easily at bedtime is because they are overtired.

When kids are either not getting enough sleep, or bedtime is too late, they form a sleep debt and become overtired. Both of these terms mean that the child is sleep deprived.

A sleep debt is the difference between how much sleep a child should be getting and how much they are actually getting (similar to an actual financial debt).

“Overtired” is a description of what happens to their body when the sleep debt and sleep deprivation takes over (similar to when you dip into your overdraft in your savings account). If you want to read more about how overtiredness affects children, check this article out.

Now you may be thinking that in order to use the term “sleep deprived”, a child would have to be trying to survive on only a few hours of sleep, however, even an hour less of the recommended amounts, can start a child’s body and brain into a downward spiral.

In response, the brain releases stimulating hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) to try and fight the fatigue, and parents are left with a hyper, defiant child, doing naked somersaults on their bed.

No?

Just my child?

Alright, let’s carry on then.

Having a sleep debt is extremely common, so common in fact that we almost don’t even seem to recognize it as a society. We say things like ” the terrible twos, or threenager threes” to describe the behaviour that comes with this age group, not taking into account how much of that unruly behaviour is due to sleep deprivation.

To counter this, it’s important to get your child on an age-appropriate routine. That usually means having a nap if the child is under three to four years of age and a bedtime that isn’t too late.

Reason #2 Why Your Toddler Won’t Go To Sleep

The second reason for a bedtime that drags on is because your child is undertired.

Say what?

I know, I know.

It may sound confusing, and it can be, when you’re a tired parent. But from this sleep consultant’s eyes, certain patterns emerge when a bedtime that is going on for-evah, that help me tell if the child is over or undertired.

This most frequently happens to kids who love to take long afternoon naps (of which, I was never blessed with). Understandably, the caregiver wants to enjoy this much deserved downtime.

But if the nap goes on for too long, it can not only shortchange the nighttime sleep, but it sets us parents up for failure come bedtime.

They child just hasn’t accumulated enough wake time from the end of the nap until bedtime. They aren’t tired yet, but rather, they are undertired.

Again, we may or may not see naked somersaults.

For example, if your three year old naps from 12pm-3:30pm and then bedtime is around 7pm, this is only about three and a half hours of wake time for that child.

And while a typical toddler’s day is usually lopsided, (meaning that there is a longer wake period in the morning before the nap than there is in the afternoon), three and a half hours is too short for a child this age. They won’t be tired and you may see a lot of protesting, stalling and negotiating.

Similarly, a toddler won’t go to sleep when the nap has gone too late into the afternoon.

We all have certain points in the day when our body’s internal clock makes it more receptive to sleeping. This clock, called the circadian sleep rhythm, promotes ideal times sleep times within your child’s body by lowering your child’s core temperature and releasing sleep hormones (melatonin) into the bloodstream. This occurs during the day to promote a nap, and then again in the evening to encourage the onset of night sleep.

 

Toddler Sleep Troubles Got You Down? Sign up for the FREE Toddler Sleep Solutions Guide. Easy tips for exhausted parents!

However, if the child is being put down for a nap too late into this ideal time, then it will affect the bedtime circadian rhythms.

Once again, without having accrued enough wake time in the late afternoon, and now sleeping against the body’s natural sleep clock, the child will have a very difficult time falling asleep.

Some parents choose to do a later afternoon nap so that their child can stay up late; usually in the summer months when schedules are more relaxed.

And while, this can be beneficial when we have an event or occasion that we would like our kids to attend in the evening, overtime, a bedtime that is too late will start to cause problems.

The reason for this is due to how the brain cycles through sleep at night.

Early evening sleep allows the brain to cycle through more deep sleep (called Non-Rem) which is cut off with a late bedtime and doesn’t reappear even if a child sleeps in the next morning. Deep sleep is needed for a child’s brain to fully refresh and restore itself each night.

You can see an example of this below as illustrated by the thick, colourful line.

Over time, with too many late bedtimes and a shortened supply of Non-Rem sleep, the body and brain become sleep deprived.

Night wakings start to occur and the child, not feeling well-rested will start to act out, have tantrums or meltdowns.

It can create a vicious cycle, so it’s best to move bedtime up a touch earlier if you start to see this happen.

Reason #3 Why Your Toddler Won’t Go To Sleep

Finally, the last reason that bedtime can be extended is when expectations aren’t crystal clear.

In this article about how to end toddler bedtime battles, I talked about how kids need parents to be a confident pilot to steer them through the storm (of their big emotions, reactions, limit testing, etc). And this applies in particular to the whole bedtime wind down process.

It needs to be well-defined and consistently implemented.

If there is a lot of inconsistency each night, your child will feel insecure without structure. And what do they do when they feel like this?

They test the limits in an effort to define the rules for themselves.Boundaries will be pushed further and further to see where they end.

At first it might seem funny or cute (*cough*, *cough* naked somersaults *cough*) when such antics emerge, but it can quickly spiral out of control.

Unfortunately, if we allow things to go too far, then we get annoyed and react out of anger and frustration. Not really what we want during bedtime, right?

It may not seem logical, but when toddlers start negotiating, pleading or stalling, it’s their way of asking for limits. If bedtime is taking too long, what they really need are fair, firm and consistent rules.

The other component to this is that there needs to be follow through with implementing those rules. If bedtime is 7:00 pm and it’s 6:59 pm, and they haven’t settled down yet for story time, then follow through.  It’s essential that you stick to the rules that you have implemented and forgo those stories.

Will your child joyfully accept your decision, and hop gleefully into bed?

Uh, no. Not a chance.

But! They will quickly learn that you mean what you say and in turn, you will see a dramatic reduction to the stalling.In fact, this age group can respond much quicker to sleep training, expectations and changes than a baby will. Even though they can protest louder and longer, if you implement things correctly, it will quickly dissipate.

So there you have it.

Three of the most common reasons why our little ones resist bedtime and how to solve each of them.

If you have other issues with your toddler’s or preschooler’s sleep, be sure to join the Baby Sleep 101 Facebook page for more resources as well as grabbing your copy of the Sleep Solutions Guide for Toddlers and Preschoolers; Easy Tips for the Exhausted Parent. 

Too tired to read anything else? Just want a plan of action that’s done for you? Book a mini consult under the A La Carte options and we can plan out a step-by-step method that’s right for your family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 06, 2018

Your Child’s Sleep and Summer; How to Enjoy Both

June 6th, 2018|Categories: Travel Tips, Uncategorized|

Sleep and summer; the two CAN co-exsist when you have kids!

Summer is approaching! Woohoo!

But wait, we have kids. 😉

And if your kids are like mine, they turn into hot (literally and figuratively) messes when their sleep routine is off.

So how do we mange to enjoy the summer, but still keep our little one’s sleep on track? Can our children’s sleep and summer both be enjoyed without sacrificing one for the other?

Why yes, yes they can.

Here are my top summertime sleep tips for families.

Create an Ideal Room Environment

Whether you’re traveling on the road or, enjoying a stay-cation, your child’s sleep environment can make or break a quality sleep session-especially naps. Since sleep is regulated by the brain, it is the brain that we need to pamper and work *with*, not against.

Therefore, you need to ensure three things are in place…

1) A dark room 
The master clock that regulates our sleep is called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus which is located behind the optic nerves in the brain as seen in this diagram…

 

When the brain perceives darkness, it sends signals to your child’s brain to release melatonin into the bloodstream. Since melatonin is the hormone that makes your child feel sleepy and helps them fall asleep easily, we want to encourage this as much as possible.

Make your child’s sleeping location as dark as you can, especially for nap time so that Mother Nature does the work for you. At home, this is relatively easy to do, but when travelling, you may need to be a tad creative. I always travel with several king sized sheets for exactly this reason. 😉

2) A cool environment 
17-21 degrees Celsius is the recommended room temperature for sleeping. This isn’t just for kids, but for moms and dads as well. The cool environment mimics what the body wants to do naturally during the sleep process- lower its core temperature. And again, this helps your child to go to sleep quicker.

3. White noise
The birds are loud first thing in the morning, usually before the sun is even up! Since this corresponds with your child’s lightest stages of sleep, using white noise will help to mask this unwanted interruption.

White noise is also wonderful for camping or hotel stays. We
I prefer white noise to music as white noise blends all the sound frequencies together, whereas music does not, leaving the potential for an early wake up.

Plan Travel around Naps

I often get asked the question; “if we have a long day of travel ahead of us, how do we factor naps in”?

First, we need to understand that naps en route are not the same quality as a nap that is in a flat and motionless bassinet, crib or bed.

The brain isn’t able to descend into the deep stages of sleep (think of yourself trying to nap during a car ride) and thus produces a more shallow, less restorative or refreshing nap.

However, any sleep is preferable over NO sleep. If your child naps easily while travelling, then you can take advantage of that.

I do recommend to parents to try and leave after the first nap of the day. That way your child can start the day off with a fully restorative nap in their own environment.

If they should take a short second nap (many older babies are too stimulated by all the sights and sounds to nap for long periods), at least they had a good foundation at the beginning.

If they day is exceptionally long, and the naps are exceptionally short, an extra nap may sneak in, or, better yet, plan for an early bedtime to help recoup the lost daytime sleep.

For older toddlers and preschoolers, naps should end by 3pm to ensure that they will easily go down for bedtime.

If the older ones skip their nap entirely, plan for a super early bedtime to avoid a large sleep debt forming.

Encourage Quality Sleep in Different Locations

Whether your child is going to be napping in a hotel, tent or another house during summer vacation; we want them to be able to fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply. How do we do this?

1) Maintain Routine
Regardless of your child’s age, the first rule is to maintain a similar daytime napping schedule (as best as you can)(see previous tip) and wind down routine. By doing this, not only does it help your child to fall asleep quicker in the new location, but it also puts the biochemical reactions in motion and cues your child’s body that it’s time to sleep.

2) Recreate Home 
This isn’t the time to be creative, unless you like gambling with sleep. 😉 Bring your child’s lovey, white noise, night light-whatever they use at home, you should take on the road. It’s also helpful to use the same sheets and pajamas without washing them, so they have the familiar scents of home.

3) Give Them Time
Don’t just plop your toddler in a new Pack and Play and expect them to go to sleep. Give your child time to get acclimatized in the new location *before* you put them down to sleep. They will want to explore it, so let them! This allows the novelty to wear off, gives them play time without the stress of hoping they will fall asleep and allows you to troubleshoot while they do so.

Manage Bedtime During Summer Events

There are a few different options if you have an event that runs later into the evening. You can choose whatever feels right for your family.

1) Hire A Babysitter

This option is best for children that are already sleep trained and familiar with the babysitter. If your child doesn’t know the babysitter, then to ensure success (and less stress for you!), have the new caregiver do a few trial runs with you present in the days or weeks leading up to the event.

 

Want your child to sleep through the night before you head out for vacation? Download the FREE sleep guide; Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night

2) Half and Half

In this situation, everyone attends the event and then one parent leaves and takes the child home at bedtime. You can also then hire a babysitter to watch your kiddo once they are asleep and return to the event, or, that parent stays home for the rest of the evening.

3) Move Nap

If your child can handle it, you can move their nap a touch later in the day. Most kids need a short morning wake period, and if we move the morning nap too late, it will backfire and result in a super short nap.

So if your little one is on a two nap schedule, I recommend leaving the morning nap where it is, but pushing nap two out a little later in the afternoon. If they are down to a one nap routine, then this is the one you would move later.

Don’t do anything too drastic because again, it can result in a shorter nap, so stick around the fifteen to thirty minute mark.

When we move this nap later, the hope is that your child will still nap for their regular amount, but it now ends later in the afternoon. This will give you more breathing room for a slightly later bedtime, without making them overtired.

4) Put Them To Sleep at the Event

This is a wonderful option if you are at someone’s house, but would like to stay later without compromising your child’s sleep.

In this scenario, you would bring your child’s Pack and Play, lovey, white noise, etc., and put them to sleep in a quiet room in the house at bedtime. Do a regular bedtime routine at this new location-don’t panic or feel you need to extend it-just get them down at their regular bedtime.

When it’s time to transfer them to the car, keep all the lights off so the daytime hormones don’t start to interfere with things.

Once home, do the same thing; keep the house dark and get them into their crib or bed. Should they happen to wake up during the transfer, treat it like it’s a night waking at two in the morning and do a brief soothing session to help them go back down quickly and easily.

5) Later Bedtime

I’ll admit it, this isn’t my favourite option, but it *is* an option. 😉 If your child is an independent sleeper, already on a great routine, doesn’t have a sleep debt, then moving bedtime later once in awhile can likely won’t create chaos. It allows everyone to enjoy the summer nights without having to sacrifice family time or anyone’s participation.

If your child has a sensitive sleep temperament though, expect a few night wakings for up to three nights after. To help counter this, do a slightly earlier bedtime the next night or two.

Sleep and summer can go hand-in-hand. While it may not always be perfect, it doesn’t have to be a disaster, either. With a little planning and following the tips above, you can help to ensure that everyone has fun, but stays well-rested too.

Need help getting your child on a better sleep routine? Join and like the Baby Sleep 101 Facebook page and download your free sleep guide here. 

 

4 12, 2017

Help Your Newborn Nap Without Being Held

December 4th, 2017|Categories: Newborn Sleep|

Help Your Newborn Nap Without Being Held; 7 Tricks To Try

Helping a newborn nap anywhere other than a parent’s arms, is one of the most asked questions I hear from new parents. They are always keeping their eyes peeled for anything that helps their little one sleep well. They know it’s what’s best for baby – and of course, much better for them, too. 

So what happens when they discover their newborn will only sleep in mommy or daddy’s arms? When they transfer her to the crib or another more permanent sleep location, she wakes right up, which results in the dreaded mini-naps. We know that with parenthood comes sacrifices, but showering and using the washroom shouldn’t be some of them.

If this is you, don’t worry! You’re not alone, and like so many new adventures (and misadventures) in your baby’s young life, it won’t last forever. Newborns move from periods of light and deep sleep very quickly. Thankfully, as your little one closes in on four months old or so, her nap periods will become longer.

But you don’t have to wait that long. You will be able to enjoy basic hygiene rituals once again.

Newborn Nap Tricks

For now? Don’t give up! You’ve still got options – it’s absolutely worth giving these a try:

1. Watch baby’s wake time. Keep it very short! Newborns can only handle 45 minutes to 1.5 hours of being awake before needing another nap or bedtime. For more specific wake times by month, see this info-graphic.

2. Offer a pacifier. When you notice him start to become drowsy, it can provide a soothing distraction.

3. Swaddle your little one. Moms, you can even tuck the swaddle into your shirt or sleep with it overnight first. Then when you swaddle your little one, it has your comforting scent on it, helping your newborn nap easier out of your arms. (When swaddling, leave room for your baby’s knees to bend and their legs to sprawl open a bit. A solid guideline is to leave room for two of your fingers between the baby’s chest and the cloth. And when you see your baby begin to try to roll , it is time to immediately ditch the swaddle. Do not wait for them to actually complete it. )

Struggling with your newborn’s naps? Get even more tips, routine suggestions, and solutions, in the Newborn Nap Guide ebook.

4. Hold the baby for about 15-20 minutes after he nods off.  Then slowly transfer him to his crib or other sleeping location, moving slowly as to not induce the moroz reflex. This all allows for deeper sleep.

5. Safe sleep is sound sleep. Follow the ABCs of safe sleep to help you rest easy. Baby should be Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib or bassinet. There should be no bumpers, toys, pillows, blankets, positioners  or baby nests, (yes, that includes products such as Dock-a-Tots). The crib should be empty other than a tightly fitting mattress sheet. This is the most safest sleep environment for your baby, which will help you have peace of mind.

6. Create a peaceful environment in your baby’s bedroom. White noise, a dark room to make the most of your child’s melatonin release can all prove helpful.  It’s a myth that it can be helpful to get your baby used to napping in a brightly lit room. At first your new baby *will* nap anywhere, but as she begins to produce her own melatonin, it will be important for her biological systems that she naps in a dark room. This will help to encourage long naps. Adding white noise at a moderate volume, keeps her in slumberland even when the dog barks or her older sibling comes home from school.

7. Create a warm and cozy sleep surface. If you feel that the sheets are too cool and possibly waking your newborn up, warm them up before placing her down. You might even decide to lay a hot water bottle on the crib mattress to warm it up, but make sure it’s just warm and not hot, and remove it before you lay your baby down. Remember, your baby’s skin is more sensitive than yours.

When to ask your doctor…

If your baby is waking and crying after being put down, is experiencing poor weight gain, is spitting up or arching, making clicking sounds when drinking, pulling off the breast or bottle and crying,  it might be time to ask your doctor if there could be anything wrong. Two common reasons are due to reflux and/or trouble transferring breast or formula milk due to a tongue or lip tie. If you’re feeling worried, the good news is that these two problems are easily remedied by experienced professionals. 

No matter which tips or tricks you decide to try, know that your little one is obviously feeling a close bond with you these days, and that’s something to celebrate. In the meantime though, make it a priority to make naps (and life) a little more comfortable for you both.

Need more newborn nap help?

There’s a mouthful! But if you’re needing more tips to try, join Baby Sleep 1o1’s Facebook page for weekly Q and A  sessions.