It seems like just when you finally figure out your baby’s napping, it’s time to eliminate them. Although some children can still take a nap at 4 years old, most children are ready to lose their naps between 2.5 the 3.5 years of age. Parents really need to monitor the child’s sleep habits so they can see if eliminating their one nap a day is something their child could benefit from.
Here are a few signs that could indicate your child is ready to stop napping in the day.
1. Does he resist nap time
2. If he misses nap time does he fall asleep better at bedtime and seem more settled overnight
3. If he has a good nap does he resist bedtime
4. If he has a good nap does he seem more restless overnight
If you have answered yes to any of these questions it may be time for your child to no longer nap in the daytime. Although this may make many moms out there upset as this is when many of our chores get done, it’s the inevitable that is going to come. It’s better
to skip the nap and have your child have a great overnight sleep then to force a nap and find that he struggles overnight. If you are concerned about taking the nap away all together, you may decide to just limit the length of the nap perhaps by reducing it by half an hour each week or two until it’s gone.
Keep in mind that every child is different. Even within the same family, one sibling may have lost their nap at 2 whereas the second sibling still needs it. Try to watch your child’s cues and let his body tell you when it’s time to start limiting or removing his daytime napping. Regardless, if daytime napping is a thing of the past, just
think about the extra 2 hours a day you will have making memories with your child!
Certified Sleep Consultant
A great question?
Many of our clients ask “how do I teach my baby to self soothe?” not many ask “why do I need to teach my baby to self soothe?” and sometimes as obvious as the answer may seem, some parents really don’t know the answer.
Let’s first define what is self soothing. Self soothing is the ability for a baby to fall asleep with little to no help from parents. For babies over 4-6 months, this would include falling back to sleep over night when they wake from their sleep cycles. Self soothing is not something that can be taught but parents can provide baby with the opportunity to teach himself. Given the right circumstances (such as age and size of baby) and the right sleep environment, babies can learn how to soothe themselves to sleep quite easily.
Self soothing is such an important skill for babies to have for both baby and parent. Bedtime and naptime routines are more enjoyable and relaxing. Baby learns how to transition from one sleep cycle to the next cycle with little disruption to their sleep. Baby will have positive experiences and associations to being in their room and in their bed. Babies actually have more solid stretches of sleep which foster so many important things like growth, behaviour and mood. Not to mention parents will have better sleeps which will allow them to be more rested and patient for quality wake times with their baby. As your baby gets older, having a toddler and young child with fantastic sleep skills will be reflected in his own mental and physical development. As well, this
allows parents to nurture independence which will prove extremely beneficial when parents have a new baby to care for as well.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to help foster self soothing in our children. A skill that will not only help them as babies, but will bring them right into adulthood!
Written By Debbie Fazio - Certified Sleepfrom Precious Moments Babeez
I have been invited to a friends house sat and am not sure what to do because as you explained I could bring my play pen and put him to sleep in there at bed time but I still have to take him out and put him in the car. My question is this, since I need to take him, dress him and put him in the car and then transfer to bed couldn't I not put him in the play pen but rather at 7:30 get ready to go in the car, let him fall asleep in the car on the way home and transfer him once to bed, assuming he stays awake. If not and he wakes up then I need to wait half hour or so for him to go to sleep from waking up from the car. Or do I just not go at all if they can't host earlier?
I always encourage families to go out with their babies. I wouldn't want any mother to feel isolated or tied to her baby's schedules and routines. If you are staying at your friends house past baby's' bed time, setup a playpen in a quiet room, use your white noise machine and follow the same routine or similar that you would at home. When its time to go home, have everything ready and packed to go. While you dress baby and put him in the car seat dad can quickly pack up your playpen. Once in the car baby will probably fall back asleep and you can just transfer him into his bed. If baby wakes up, follow your sessions until he goes back to sleep. Sometimes, offering him a few sips of water can also help. If you are leaving your friends how before or at bed time. Feed your baby and oput him in the car. Once you get hom you transfer him into his bed. If baby wakes up, follow your sessions until he goes back to sleep. Sometimes, offering him a few sips of water can also help. Do not keep him up or entertain him if he wakes, this is a wrong message. Bedtime is different then nap times. If you are coming home at a nap time and baby wakes up then I would keep him up for an hour before attempting a nap. Daytime is different.
Hope this helps!
At some point you will notice some changes in your babys sleep patterns. A few things may happen: They may stuggle to fall asleep at nap or bed time, they make wake up early from their nap or morning time or they just may sleep more restlessly. The transition from 3 naps to 2 naps usually happens somewhere between 8 and 12 months. The transition from 2 naps to 1 naps may happen between 12-18 months. If you start to notice that your baby consistantly struggles with falling asleep or making it through their nap or bedtime and they are within this age range, they probably need to be on the next schedule. This is not something that will just happen once. It is something that will happen every day or most days for a week.
If you feel that your baby does definatley need to reduce the amount of naps, the best way to do this is to start by reducing the length of the nap you are eliminating. Reduce it by half an hour each day so that it is completely gone by the 3rd or 4th day.
I have a question:
- How do you decide that your baby is ready to make a change from 3 naps to 2 naps or 2 naps to 1 nap? I know that skipping one of the naps once doesn’t seem like enough . . . Do most babies start to do this more and more often leading up to the time that they are ready?
- Once you have decided that they are ready, do you just move straight to the new schedule or is there some type on transition schedule to ease them into it?
Thanks for your time,
Its always best to try and stay as close to the routine as possible. However, sometimes that is not possible. If you know that baby won't have a proper opportunity to nap, you can always let him sleep a bit longer the previous sleep. For example, if you know he may miss his afternoon nap, offer his morning nap a bit later and let him sleep a bit longer. If regardless of what you have tried, he still missed some of his sleep for the day, offer him a small catnap or put him to bed a tiny bit earlier and as soon as you can get him back on track with his routine and schedule.
The nap and bedtime scheduling with our baby is going great. My main issue is that sometimes we'll have a bunch of social outings to go to at once, which really disrupt our baby's routine. Last week, for example, we had 3 family functions to attend all close together. Most weeks are "normal" and Luca's routine stays very consistent with no interruptions. But how should we deal when these types of interruptions happen, as they inevitably will? (Especially when they happen all at once!!) Our baby usually needs a good solid week to return to napping like normal, after these types of things happen, and I'm wondering if there is any way to lessen the pain! On the days that we do have events, we try to travel during his afternoon nap, but this doesn't help things as he never sleeps in the car during that time. He stays awake, and then by the time we reach our destination, he's still awake, and then we're at the event and he's getting stimulated by family members and new environment, and despite our best efforts, he doesn't sleep until we are in the car on the way home. This makes for one over-stimulated, exhausted, cranky baby. Would it make sense to let his morning nap go longer on those days? I always stick to the schedule as much as I can, but would it be ok to stray a bit more to make sure that he does get enough sleep? What's better to do- try to not mess too much with the schedule, even though that means way less sleep, OR alter the schedule even more on those days in order to get as much sleep as possible, when we have the opportunity! Let me know what would be the best thing to do! Thanks! Lisa
The Woombie Swaddler is the most innovative swaddler on the market. It is the no brainer swaddler that works every time for every baby. I love the concept and I have found that even the most clever little houdini is not able to unswaddle himself. Swaddling is known to help babies soothe better and not wake up as often. Swaddling is the most effective from newborn to age 4 months and usually should be stopped once baby shows signs of rolling over as it does pose a safety risk. Some parents think their babies don't like to be swaddled when in fact all babies not only like swaddling but it is actually what they have been used to for 9 months. Often just swaddling your baby in a great swaddler will help promote better sleep habits.
For more information on the woombie check out www.thewoombie.com.
SIDS is one of the biggest fears that every new parent has. Because of the uncertainty that surrounds SIDS parents feel helpless as to what its about, what they should do and what they shouldn't do. Almost every action that a parent does that revolves around baby's sleep is driven by the fears of SIDS.
I have discovered an amazing FREE online course on the American Academy of Pediatrics by Pedialink. This is a fantastic course for childcare providers, parents, doulas and any one that is responsible for the care of a newborn baby. Its a great course as it also includes several videos and test questions. You can even print a certificate for yourself at the end. It truly is an eye opener and will help you understand more about SIDS, the causes and how you can help decrease the chances of SIDS.
Did you know that a baby's sleep cycle is approximately 45-60 minutes long. Why is this important to understand? When you bring your little bundle home and they seem to stir around the 45 minute mark of their sleep, they may be simply coming out of their sleep cycle. If you spend a few minutes observing and intervene and help when your baby seems to need you by shushing and gently rocking him, you may be able to help him get back into the next sleep cycle and get another 45 minutes of sleep. Try and see if it works. You may be pleasantly surprised!
My dirty little secret....
After all my preaching and all my help with other moms, I CANNOT get my son to consistently sleep beyond 4:30am (sometimes 4am... 3:15am the other day). That is right. I am up at 4:30am most mornings. I have a routine. I have tried putting him to bed 1/2 hour earlier for 5 days. I have tried putting him to bed an hour earlier for 5 days. I have tried putting him to bed 1/2 hour later (when he falls asleep on his feet). I REFUSE to go and get him before 5am.
I struggle to feed him dinner and I struggle to feed him breakfast.
When ever you have a baby who was a great sleeper and now seems to do a 180 turn on you, I always look at a few things. First I make sure that their daytime schedule is appropriate for his age. I believe your son is now around 2. Anywhere between 2 years and 4 years is when babies tend to stop wanting to nap. If he is getting a big nap in the afternoon it may be the reason why he is not sleeping later in the morning. As children get older they require less day sleep but if they still get that day sleep it will effect how long they sleep overnight. If he is currently getting an afternoon nap, I would start by reducing the length of that nap by half an hour.
Secondly I would look at what time he is going to bed. If 7pm is your current bedtime, it may have been fine when he was younger but he may not longer need 12 hours of sleep per night, so possibly moving to an 8pm bedtime would be beneficial.
I would also take a look at his room atmosphere. Make sure there is no light peaking in from the curtains at the 5:30am mark. Also, make sure that the temperature is optimal and that he is not overheating or cold.
There is always something, be a detective and try and figure out when this started. Was there a situation that occurred? Was he sick? Is he teething? I had a previous client who lived in an apartment and she realized that her daughters bedroom was attached to the tenants next door. The neighbours had their alarm set every morning for 5am and this woke the baby but by the time she went into the babies room the neighbours alarm was turned off so she didn’t figure it out for the longest time. Could be a similar situation...a dog barking, a car starting outside etc. Try and pay attention to what’s happening at that time of the morning around your home.
I also know you have been using the white noise machine but now that he is 2 years old you may want to switch over to the gro clock, This is the glo clock that has the picture of a moon and sun so baby learns when is night and day. Now that he is no longer a baby, he may need to move to the next step. Have a look http://www.gro.co.uk/Gro-clock.html.
And lastly, normal overnight sleep for a child that is 2 years od age is 10-12 hours. And some babies do sleep the minimum of 10 hours. However, you do also get babies (like my daughters were) that they have a set wake up. No matter what time you put them to bed, 6am is their wake up. Some babies are like this and we have to just accept it. The goods news is it doesn't last forever...now I have to beg my kids to get out of bed!
Hope this info helps!
How dark should my baby's room be. He is 5 months old?
Your baby's eyes take a bit longer then our eyes do, to adjust to the dark. Therefore you do not want it to be pitch black. You DO want to use a blackout curtain and a small 4 watt or 7 watt night light. The reason for using the blackout curtain is to help keep the dim light in the room constant and consistent.
If you have a black room with a blackout curtain it takes a while for your babys eyes to adjust so sometimes they can be afraid and have a harder time settling to sleep. If you have a curtain that allows light to peel in from the sides, then the variation in light and dark is what will wake your baby. Its important that there is a very dim light in the room that stays the same throughout naps and overnight. The best way to do this is with a night light and blackout curtain.
A great place to pickup a black out curtain is www.preciouspeekaboo.com. They have a one-size-fits-all blackout curtain. Check it out.
This is a great place to ask your questions. Anything from prenatal to preschool. From feeding to sleeping...ask away!