As all new parents learn, the amount of time you have to spend on your own interests and pursuits is seriously cut back once you have a child.
As it should be, of course.
And yet, some parents take this fact too much to heart, and it causes them to feel a lot of guilt just to long for a few moments alone throughout the day.
This guilt, in my opinion, is unwarranted. It’s only natural for us to want some time alone, and while your baby is now the most important thing in your life, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some space to relax, unwind, and spend some time on yourself.
And you might agree.
But then comes nap time.
You coddle your baby to sleep, put her in bed, and everything is quiet… until she wakes up in half an hour crying and refusing to go back to sleep.
It’s not such a terrible thing when it happens every once in a while, but when it becomes a constant problem, it can cause a serious drain on you.
But, all hope is not lost. This is an extremely common problem and, as it turns out, there are some specific steps you can take to handle to fix it.
How To Help Your Little One Sleep Longer
The basic issue with short nap times is that, unlike us adults, a baby’s sleep cycle is very short. While ours lasts an hour and a half, theirs only lasts about half an hour.
And, unlike us, babies don’t have much light sleep in their cycles, meaning they are used to very deep sleep. So, when their thirty-minute cycle of deep sleep is over and they begin to emerge from it, they can become confused and scared. Which, as you’re likely well familiar with, results in a lot of crying.
The primary reason this happens is that your baby doesn’t know how to put herself back to sleep.
Babies become used to the holding and rocking and coddling they receive before a nap and, when they wake up, feel they need that to fall asleep again.
Don’t put your baby to bed when she’s asleep – put her to bed before she has fallen asleep.
While this can be hard at first, since it’s unfamiliar for her, once she learns to fall asleep on her own she will be less likely to expect some loving to fall back asleep when she wakes up.
Make Sure Baby’s Sleep Environment Is Conducive To Sleep
While the issue of rocking a baby to sleep before putting her to bed is the most common issue I see, there are a few other steps you can take that relate to the environment your child sleeps in.
The first is to make sure it’s dark. Our brains are wired to fall asleep in the dark, naturally producing melatonin to slow our minds down, so light can be a hindrance. Blackout curtains or blinds are always a good option.
Also, if your baby’s room can get noisy – whether due to stuff happening outside, your own activities, or even sporadic interruptions – consider using a white noise machine to help drown out these disruptions. A fan works quite nicely, as well.
Feeling Out of Options? Get in Touch!
I’ve helped many, many parents with their children’s sleeping problems, including with nap time, and I’d love to be of assistance. Fill out my convenient online contact form to get in touch today, and I look forward to hearing from you!