How to Drop a Nap

Your baby’s needs for sleep change as he grows. You may think you have the nap schedule down pat. But, once you are confident with it, it is time to change it. Your baby will be ready to take a break.

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These are the 6 steps you need to take to get rid of that nauseous feeling.

1) Slowly get your baby to remain awake for a while longer.

Begin with 10-15 minutes more than his usual nap time. We don’t want to make him tired, but to gently increase his awake time (also known as his “wake window”)

2) If your baby is starting to show sleepy cues, you can change his or her behavior.

You’ll notice rubbing of the eyes and yawning as babies get older. This is the time to get involved.

Your baby may have been playing on the ground, having tummy time, and suddenly starts to show signs of fatigue. This is the time to be creative. Keep in mind our goal: To keep him awake a little longer. This is a great opportunity to take him outside to count the trees in your yard. Or, you can distract him by giving him a toy or letting him splash in the water at the sink. This is simply a way to tell your little brain “Let’s keep awake just a little longer.”

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Sometimes, pushing these wake windows requires creativity. It definitely requires that you are actively involved in the process.

3) Let your baby see the light when she is awake.

The light stimulates the brain of your baby and signals it to be awake. If possible, GET OUTSIDE. Babies who are exposed to sunlight during the day tend to sleep better. If you are stuck indoors, open the blinds to let in the sunlight.

4) When it’s time for bed, turn off the lights.

Your baby’s body signals that darkness is time for sleep by sending a signal. At naptime, make it really dark. Block out any light from the nursery. I don’t mean all light. It’s not dark enough if you can see your hand in front your face. * Some light can seep through the blinds and cause a premature end to your naps. This could also ruin your whole day.

I can understand your concern that your baby may need to sleep in “cave-like” conditions. If that is your concern, you can add more light to the room later. We are currently trying to help you set up a new sleep schedule. Darkness is great!

5) Be flexible about bedtime

A 7-8pm bedtime is the best for babies after their newborn stage. However, as you adjust nap times, it’s possible that your baby can’t sleep past 6:15pm. This is a good bedtime for a transition to nap time. We don’t want a baby who is tired.

You might also find your baby sleeping late at night and need to make bed earlier than usual. Both of these are acceptable! You will find bedtime more predictable as you adjust and stop taking naps.

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6) Keep a consistent bedtime/naptime routine.

Consistency signals to your baby that you are going to bed. This little ritual before bed is often the most important part in changing her day. She doesn’t know what time it is, but she does know what activities take place before she goes to sleep. It doesn’t need to be difficult. You can do the same activities at the same time in the exact same place.

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If you are struggling, I have classes and resources that will help you with naps and nights based on the developmental age of your baby. Give your baby and yourself some grace. Transitions can be difficult for everyone, and they can take a lot of time.