Sweet snuggly naps are so important in the early days of your baby’s life. You are bonding with them, they are bonding with you, and they are getting good day sleep which supports night sleep. However, what do you do when you need your hands back and contact naps are no longer working for you? Fear not, mama! You can get your baby sleeping in their crib with a consistent plan and a patient mind.
Here is how to stop contact naps and move your baby into their own crib:
Establish a consistent sleep routine: Create a consistent sleep routine that follows age appropriate wake windows. Babies have a window of opportunity where falling asleep and staying asleep is much easier for them. Following these windows will be important during this transition.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment: Ensure that your baby's sleeping environment is comfortable, safe, and conducive to sleep. Make sure the temperature is 68-72 degrees, the lighting is blacked out, and the noise level is low. Be sure that the crib is free from dock-a-tots, toys, blankets, etc.
Use white noise: Babies find white noise calming and soothing. You can try playing white noise in the background while your baby is napping to help them stay asleep. It helps to blur out any distracting noises, as well as creates a healthy sleep association for your child.
Gradually reduce contact: If your baby is used to contact naps, try gradually reducing the amount of contact over time. Start by holding them until they fall asleep, and then gently placing them in their crib or bassinet. As they become more comfortable with this, gradually reduce the amount of time you hold them before placing them down. Eventually, your goal is to put them down while they are still awake. If they wake up and become upset, help them back to sleep, then set them down again.
Make sure they are still getting enough day sleep: An overtired baby will have a much harder time falling asleep than a well rested baby. Start each nap in the crib, but with 1 nap a day (the later one), hold them or finish with a stroller nap to prevent them from becoming too tired. Once you nail the first nap, work on the next.
Be patient: Changing a baby's sleep habits can take time, so be patient and consistent in your approach. It may take a few weeks or even longer for your baby to learn to nap without contact, but with patience and persistence, you can help them establish healthy sleep habits.
If you would like any support with naps, Peaceful Peanut is here! Schedule a call to discuss ways we can help get your family the peaceful sleep you deserve!