Although babies are meant to sleep on average 16 hours a day, some don’t want to play by the rules. And I’m talking from experience.
As a second-time mum to 5-month-old Evie, I thought getting her to nap during the day would be the least of my problems (the now 5-year-old was a pro) but it seems that Miss Diva Pants had her own ideas. After weeks of walking her around in the pram and marathon drives (TOP TIP: never leave a little snoozer in a car seat for more than 2 hours!), I finally confessed to the mums at my baby group, to be told that I wasn’t alone. (Oh, the relief!)
So, for those of you nodding while you read this (both in agreement and with exhaustion) here are some tried and tested tips that will help you nail nap time for good.
Babies are cleverer than they sometimes look. So show them something that signals 'incoming nap!'
1. Change the venue
I might be happy to trot up to bed at any given time of the day (chance would be a fine thing!), but putting my youngest up in her cot with the light streaming in was met with cries of confusion. So we tried a different environment, swapped the cot for the bouncer chair, closed the blinds and - hey presto! - she drifted off. Get ready for The Safety Bit: bouncers shouldn’t ever be used for long sleeps. However, if you do want to let them snooze in one, read the manual first to make sure your piece of kit is suitable and never add a mattress, pillow, or extra padding.
2. Black it out
Want to stick to the cot? Then invest in a good blackout blind for their nursery. Koo-di makes one for a no-nails approach that you can just pop on the window when you need it. (It's brilliant for travel too.) Out and about? They also make a shade for their chair or the car. Yes, we know it sounds a bit obvs - but when you’re tearing your hair out trying to nail naps, the obvious isn’t always clear. Take it from this tired mum!
3. Give a special sign
Babies are cleverer than they sometimes look. (Ever seen how they switch from little devil to little angel as soon as your other half works through the door? Nuff said.) So show them something that signals 'incoming nap!' If you usually feed them before you put them down, take the advice of one mum and use a totally different brand of bottle for that particular feed. In time they’ll associate this with naps. Hint: the b. box Transitions Set is perfect for this.
Try reading them or looking at the same book at a certain time in the morning. That extra bit of ritual might be all they need to give in to the zeds.
4. Borrow from bedtime
Or, take some of the sleepy-time cues from bedtime and try reading them the same book at a certain time in the morning and then putting them down. (Or let them watch their fave programme. We won’t judge.) That extra bit of ritual might be all they need to give in to the zeds.
5. Overtiredness equals nightmares
...Yours rather than theirs. Catch them too late and it’ll turn into a battle of the wills - Evie almost always wins. So we’ve learnt to read the signs and as soon as that whining starts, we start prepping for nap time. Parents 1, Evie 0.
Below are some useful products that have helped us when nailing nap time. And remember, if you need any more guidance, our Live Chat Team is always here to help, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (but not bank holidays). Just hit that purple button, bottom right.
Sleeping baby on white sheets: Dakota Corbin on Unsplash