How many of you have a newborn? Any newborn nannies out there, trying to figure out how to get your baby down for a nap? Have you ever realized, too late, that you should’ve put the baby down for a nap long ago? If you put them down now, they won’t sleep through the night. Maybe they are overly tired now and can’t stay calm long enough to fall asleep. Babies needs a consistent sleep schedule to be pleasant.
Scheduling – How to get them down without a fight?
Kids thrive with routines and schedules. It may seem like it would be easier to let them decide when they are ready for a nap, but they would never sleep. Naps should be a regular and pleasant part of your kids’ day. Even when your kids get passed the age that they need naps, you can always keep that time for rests. Most of the time, they will still doze off if you follow these tips from the beginning:
- Make nap time the same everyday
- Follow the same routine that leads up to naps
- Leave time between their most recent feeding and nap time, so they can get rid of any gas or bursts of energy before going down for their nap
- Always change their diaper right before nap time (even if it’s not full)
- Swaddle them
- Take out all toys, stuffed animals, blankets no matter how old they are
- Play some form of white noise
- Put them down sleepy, but not asleep
You shouldn’t be silent when your baby is sleeping. Think about it. It wasn’t silent in the womb. They heard everything their mom was doing and what she was listening to during the day. Also, if you’re too quiet during their daytime naps, it will make it harder for them to differentiate between daytime and nighttime sleeping later.
Naps by Age
It may seem like your baby is sleeping a ton! Don’t worry. They need a ton of sleep when they’re little. Those long naps won’t continue forever and when they stop, you will wish for them back. As kids start growing, they will need less frequent, shorter naps. Below, you can see how much your kids should be sleeping. When they reach the end of their toddler years, naps will become a source of contention. Your toddler will do everything in their power and imagination to try and convince you they “aren’t even sleepy, see?”. At this point, introducing “rest” or “quiet” time will give them the opportunity to wind down and give you a deserved break.
Swaddling – Is it safe? How do you do it?
Swaddling is a method of wrapping your baby in a blanket snuggly to simulate being held closely. Swaddling keeps babies warm and comfortable while they are asleep. The tightness of the wrap also keeps their involuntary movements from startling them awake.
One of the risks of swaddling your newborn is, by making the swaddle too tight, their chest can be compressed. The added pressure of the swaddle can make it difficult for them to breathe. My rule of thumb for swaddling a baby is to leave enough space in the wrap for your thumb to fit in the top without feeling tight. There shouldn’t be enough room in the wrap for your baby to make any big movements. If you don’t feel comfortable or have the patience to wrap your newborns in a receiving blanket, try one of these swaddles. You just have to velcro the two pieces over their chest after tucking in their arms! It’s so easy and one of my favorites for getting them down for a nap in record time.
I also love to wrap my little ones in a swaddle blanket during the hotter times of the year because they are breathable, so it doesn’t overheat them. They can also be adjusted as they grow in those early months. You can also use the receiving blankets you get from the hospital for the first few days to see if they’ll work for you. If you guys would like to see how I wrap my little worm in one, comment below. I’d love to make a video for you’ll.
Once your little one starts moving in their sleep, you should NOT use a blanket to wrap them. The blanket could come undone and prove to be a hazard in their crib. To give them that comfort without the danger of a blanket, use a sleep sack like this.
There are always warnings about whether or not the baby’s arms should be wrapped in or left out. It depends on one thing. Can your baby roll from their front to their back by themselves? If they can’t, their arms can be wrapped in and they should be placed on their back. This will lower the risk of SIDS because they won’t have anything inhibiting their ability to breathe.
If your baby can effortlessly roll from their front to their back and prefers to sleep on their tummy, leave their arms UN-swaddled. Sleeping on their tummy doesn’t increase their risk of SIDS, as long as they can roll onto their back when they want. In order for them to do so, their arms MUST be UN-swaddled.
One of my favorite “arm-out” sleep sacks for the winter is this fleece one. This kind of sleep sack bundles your three month and up babies with one zip. I love how much wiggle room this one gives them. It’s like the perfect in between of a blanket and a swaddle. It keeps them warm through the night, while letting them roll around freely. In the Autumn, I do make it a point to only put them in a onesie and socks with this sleep sack. I find the fleece makes my little guy too hot during his naps when he has on sweatpants or footie pajamas.
Remember, babies don’t regulate their temperature on their own. So, keep an eye on them during their first few naps in a new swaddle or sleep sack. You may need to add more clothes under or take off a layer to make them more comfortable.
All in all, you can win this battle! With the tips and video above, you too can get your baby to sleep in under two minutes! I really hope this helps and gives you all that moment to breathe you need to make it through the day. I’d love to hear of any tips or tricks you use to get your baby down for a nap. Comment below and if you haven’t already, sign-up for my newsletter to receive updates and additions on my future posts. See you next Friday!