We personally love a nap on the go, and while it won't always go to plan here are our best tips to have successful naps while you're out and about.
Bring their sleep associations with them.
Having consistent cues that help signify to your baby it’s time for sleep means it’s easier for them to understand what's expected when you’re trying to get them to sleep when you're out and about.
At home your sleep cues might be, white noise, a dark room, a sleeping bag or swaddle, their cot, a song or sleep phrase. When you’re on the go you’re not always going to be able to replicate these conditions perfectly, but bringing a few of their associations (ie. white noise, sleeping bag, and sleep phrase) will help them understand that it’s time for sleep and can help them wind down and settle easier.
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Keeping it nice and dark can help extend the nap past one sleep cycle. Just like using the pram hood, still don't place them in direct sun and check they are never at risk of overheating.
Have a consistent daily routine.
From around 3-4 months a baby’s circadian rhythm (body clock) is becoming established. This internal clock regulates their alertness, hunger, hormone production, temperature rhythms, and their sleep and wake patterns. And by following a regular nap routine every day, your baby's body clock will sync with these timings and you'll find they'll be able to fall asleep easier at these times.
This is because their body is able to do half of the work for them, by releasing the right hormones to support quality sleep rather than fight it. And also means, that if they nap at the same times at home every day, that you’ll also know when they’ll be perfectly primed for sleep when you’re on the go.
Getting the timing right is half the battle! Have no idea what a suitable nap routine is for your baby’s age? Go grab an Age-Appropriate routine now.
Don't abandon the nap too early.
Just like they might at home, some babies will fuss as a wind down before falling asleep. So it’s normal that they’ll probably also do this when you’re aiming for a nap on the go.
Try to understand what they’re actually communicating with you before you completely abandon the nap and head home. If you’re pushing them in the pram and they start crying around the time it’s supposed to be sleep time, keep in mind that they’re likely crying because they’re tired and want to sleep. Don’t freak out yet, turn the white noise up, and keep moving. The movement is often enough to lull them to sleep.
Babies look to us to understand how they should feel about a situation. If you’re stressed and worked up, it’s going to be really hard for them to feel any differently. So try not to stress about a missed (or delayed) nap here and there, they really will be ok. If it all goes wrong, you can easily get them back on track at the next nap or bring bedtime a little earlier to compensate.
Practice, practice, practice!
The younger they are the easier it is to have them sleep on the go, this is because they have much higher sleep pressure when they’re little. Toddlers could easily go several hours without a nap if there was enough distraction and nothing lulling them to sleep. So while you can, get out and about and practice having those naps on the go. The more you do it, the more your baby will get accustomed to doing it.
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