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Sleep is very important for your baby as it is during nap-time that he rests, rejuvenates and grows. However, putting babies to sleep – whether during the day or at night – can be a huge challenge for moms. While some of these sleep problems are natural and pass with age, there are a few mistakes that can add to your baby’s bed-time distress.
lEvery child is different when it comes to napping patterns. Babies need to have the required amount of sleep for their growth, and also, for parents to have some time for themselves or to finish the daily chores. However, there is no way to figure out how well and till when the little one will have his nap. The division of nap-times during the day depends largely on the baby’s age and developmental stage.
To try and ensure a peaceful nap-time for our little ones, we must understand their sleep habits. We must also avoid making nap-time mistakes that can rob babies of sleep.
Important Facts about Baby’s Naps
- Researchers have suggested that proper mental and physical growth of a baby takes place when he sleeps properly during the day as well as night.
- Kids who have longer nap times feel refreshed, tend to have longer attention span and are less fussy and irritable.
- It is beneficial if the baby plays actively in the day and has a long and peaceful sleep in the night to wake up fresh and jolly again the next morning.
Baby Napping Mistakes to Avoid
1. Ignoring Signs of Sleepiness in the Baby
The rule of thumb for keeping a check on the baby’s sign for napping is – yawning. Two yawns and the baby should be headed for bed. Other signs of sleepiness include decreased activity, shutting or drooping of eyes, fussy behavior and rubbing of eyes. If these signs are ignored, the baby can become overtired or too sleepy – situations that can promote crankiness in little ones. If your baby does get cranky, consider a pre-bed-time sponge bath or some light lullabies to relax them.
2. Counting Short Naps as Sleep Time
A short nap does not provide the baby with any benefits. Also, he may wake up with a fussy and cranky mood. A full nap means nothing less than a 45-minutes of deep sleep, anything less than that is considered inadequate for the baby and should not be counted toward his daily sleep requirement.
3. Putting the Baby to Bed With a Bottle
Many parents observe that putting their baby to bed with a bottle can help soothe them and put them to sleep. However, experts warn that this is a baby nap-time mistake! The baby may start relying on the bottle to fall asleep and it will become harder to wean them. The child could even be at risk of choking, ear infections or tooth decay. It is recommended to bottle-feed only at meal time and not use it at nap-time.
4. Waking Up the Baby in Day-Time To Ensure Night-Time Sleep
Many babies who sleep for long hours during the day tend to sleep peacefully at night too, without much trouble. So, if the parents find the baby sleeping for long during the day, there is no need to wake the baby up and cause more trouble to yourself and the baby. It is best to wake the baby up only when you perceive it is feeding time or their diaper needs to be changed.
5. Not Maintaining a Consistent Sleep Schedule
It is only natural for babies to take time to settle down into a schedule. However, babies’ nap timings are generally fixed according to their internal clock which takes its cues from the consistent routine set by the parents. Babies grow and refresh themselves during these naps. So, it is necessary to be consistent about nap routine for their better development, as far as possible. Try and keep any disturbance/changes to their schedule at a minimum, especially when travelling, or when there are guests at home.
6. Leaving the Baby’s Naps Incomplete
If the baby wakes up in his sleep midway, it may be because he needs a diaper change or is hungry or is just disturbed. If he shows the signs of sleepiness again after his needs are fulfilled, try to make him sleep by patting, singing, cuddling or swaddling him with a light, breathable wrap. It is important to understand that a baby’s nap time is as important as his play time and must not be left incomplete.
Babies need undisturbed sleep during the day as well as night. Try to set a routine to keep them active as well as relaxed, and you will find they sleep better. Happy nap-time!