Integrating Naptime into your Routine
Once you get your bedtime routine down, anything else will seem like a piece of cake. And there comes a time when Mommy realizes that she needs a little break during the day, and baby needs a nap!
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until Brayden was about 5 or 6 months old. Prior to that, he would take a few little 15 minute cat naps in his swing or while I held him. Based on my own experience, I’d recommend implementing naptimes prior to the age of 5 or 6 months, but if you wait, don’t fret! It can still be done!
So how do you do it? Brayden is a one-nap kind of baby. He always has been. Once I made up my mind that naptime was a necessity, I devised a plan of action. Everyday, after his lunch I would take him to his room, and in order to differentiate naptime from bedtime, I would give him a soft bear, and turn his mobile on (neither of which he gets at night). I would do the same routine if he cried as I do with bedtime – go in, comfort, lay back down. Within a couple of days he was falling asleep before his mobile cycled through and turned off.
Consistency is key when you are implementing a new schedule. Once you have a good foundation, and your baby knows what to expect, you’ll both feel a sense of security. It also will make for a much easier time if Grandma or Grandpa will be keeping baby – they can follow your same routine.
Of course, there will be times when you travel or your schedule is thrown off for whatever reason. Just do your best to make sure your baby still has a sense of familiarity. When we travel, I make sure to take Brayden’s stuffed bear that he naps with. When I lay him down, he associates the bear with naptime, and generally doesn’t have a problem going to sleep. Now that we give him a blanket at bedtime, I take that with us as well, and he knows that means it’s time to go to bed.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is that what works for one baby doesn’t always work for another. You have to find out what works for your child and adjust the schedule to fit their needs. All babies thrive on routine, so give them a routine that works for your family! The first few days or weeks might be difficult, but the payoff is worth it!