Life with a new baby is all about routines, trying to get a feeding routine, a bath routine and of course a nap routine. The nap/sleep routine is one of the most important things to get sorted not just for your baby's well-being but for your own.
So it kind of helps to think about naps as the time between ‘wake windows’ or the amount of time your little one can stay awake. Newborns (usually) stay awake for about an hour, after three months it is about an hour and a half, and over 12 months children can stay bright-eyed for a couple of hours at a time. This of course all good in theory but you have to then take into account… well, life. Things like other children needing to get to childcare, shopping, working, cleaning… having a shower yourself. It is not as easy as in the brochure. The best thing you can do to make the nap time put down go as quick as possible (therefore leaving time for the aforementioned life things) is to know when they are ready to sleep.
It is great when your child decides to sleep on schedule, but we all know that is not always the case and just because it is 11 am doesn’t mean they will just go down for their nap without a fight. The same goes for keeping your little one awake because it is only 10.30 am. Once they get overtired it can be extremely difficult to get things back on track. So, at the first sign of yawning or eye rubbing, they are probably ready for a nap pronto.
First things first
Ok, so they are tucked up in their cot and you now have one or two hours with both your arms free. Firstly, you are probably going to need to empty your bladder. This is an important tip… if you are thinking about running and putting a load of washing or washing some bottles. Wee first. If you miss your ‘wee window” and your baby starts to fuss you will be stuck in a no toilet situation possibly for some time. Not fun.
This glorious hour or so to yourself is of course where the ‘sleep while they sleep’ theory is usually tossed about and if you can, that is fantastic. Do it my friend, keeping yourself awake when your eyes are starting to cross is no good for anyone. However, if you are feeling quite wakeful and like most parents have a list of things you need to do in the house while your bubs a sleep, I advise this. Be kind to yourself. Don’t try and squeeze a day's worth of housework into an hour. Don’t start anything you won't have time to finish, like reorganising your pantry or tiling your bathroom. No one needs the extra stress or anxiety of an unfinished project hanging over their head.
Take these brief moments of opportunity to do something for yourself, it doesn’t have to be yoga or a long bath. Have a cuppa and scroll your socials. Watch part of one of those weird midday movies. Read a blog about naps. The minutes will fly by.
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