While contact napping can be a practical solution for calming a fussy or restless baby, it’s essential for parents to consider their own comfort and safety during these naps. Some parents choose to co-sleep with their infants
If your baby is experiencing contact naps and you are ready to prevent it, explore this blog and let your baby sleeps peacefully.
What is a Contact Nap?
A “Contact Nap” means to a situation where a your baby falls asleep while being held or in close physical contact with a mom, dad, caregiver or another family member.
During the contact nap, your baby finds comfort and security in your physical presence. Some parents practice contact napping intentionally, as it can promote a strong emotional bond with the baby. It is believed that the warmth, smell, and breathing of a yours help baby to in relaxation, which makes it easier for your baby to fall asleep. Also it can be a practical solution to calm your fussy or restless baby.
Contact napping is essential when your baby wants to nap if:
- They are in your arms or your lap
- They are being held or carried
- They are on your chest
This is an added bonding method for parents and children as most babies love contact napping, especially when trying to survive the newborn sleep phase. But for every new mom, contact naps are just not tenable anymore.
New moms need to be able to do adult things as well. So, even though a new baby is precious, and life is now changing, adult responsibilities are not changed significantly for new mothers. But the most annoying aspect of contact naps is that you nor your husband can nap yourself if you have toddlers running around. So, this turns into hours every day where you are just forced to sit and wait.
How to reduce daytime contact napping?
Contact naps can happen in multiple forms. For example, your little one could nap in a sling or a swaddle. But it would help if you reduced the daytime contact napping so your child can sleep through the night. Start by making your little one gets used to a stroller.
This can be a substitute for a contact nap. You could also lie down with them in a safe bed-sharing option. You can quickly move a little away once they go to sleep you can do your baby sleep schedule. But completely ensure and take care that your baby does not sleep for long.
In some cases, your baby may need independent sleep. As new mothers, do not fuss over them then. They know what they want.
Just to give you the full picture that if at some age/stage you are going to want independent naps, it is easier to transition towards this if you mix up the tricks used in the first months.
Read About: Age Appropriate Wake Windows Guide
Daytime Napping Facts
1. The first nap of the day is essential
This does not mean that other naps are not. But the first nap tends to be the most refreshing and sets the tone for your baby’s early days. It also produces the best sleep for your children.
2. Not many babies nap once a day before 12 months, while most transition to one nap between 15-18 months
There is an opinion that babies should be transitioning from two naps to one during the day at the one-year mark. And some will. But most will transition from 2 naps to 1until 15-18 months.
3. If your baby or toddler has a bad sleep at night, that does not mean they will nap well during the day
You need to understand that night sleep is different from nap sleeping. Naps happen during daylight hours, and it tends to be noisy. So, external factors can affect your baby’s nap.
Babies and toddlers don’t sleep the same way as adults. Daytime naps are important, throughout the first 2-3 years of life.
4. Moving naps are not as restorative as home naps
This may come as an astonishment, however, it is true; naps that happen while moving, like in a shopping cart or a stroller, are not as restorative as non-moving naps. While they are not long, a moving nap does not allow your baby to have a deep sleep. So, as young mothers, it may not be feasible to carry them with you all the time.
5. Your baby or toddler may be napping too much
Yes, this problem may not plague most of you. But yes, some babies nap too much, negatively affecting their sleep time at night.
Also read: How to Put a Baby to Sleep in 40 Seconds
Co-napping – What to think about?
Co-napping means when a parent sleeps while their child sleeps. This generally happens during the night, but if you plan to do co-napping during the day with your kid, then make sure that you have a baby monitor on or that your baby’s crib is nearby.
But make sure that you set the alarm so that you wake up within half an hour, or forty-five minutes, so that you will be awake when your baby wakes up. As parents, you need to get as much sleep as you can. Create sustainable sleep habits for your little lamb so the whole family and mother can sleep peacefully without stress.
So, when your baby naps, take a short nap yourself. Some babies may even sleep independently, so see what makes your little one happy.
Baby wearing: Does it help?
Carrying your baby in an explicit sling or a soft baby carrier made from a cloth is known as baby wearing. For afternoon contact naps, you can carry them in a baby sling to allow them to have their hands free. Most doctors advise new parents with their first baby to sleep in the same room as their baby until six months old.
This helps reduce the risk of SIDS. But staying in one room while your child naps are impossible during the day. So, carrying or rocking them in babywear or a sling is a great tool. That way, you can finish your work while your baby naps. Some moms worry that letting their baby nap in a sling may stop them from sleeping on their own. This is a trial-and-error method. Each baby is different. Some may want to cling to their parents, while some may want independent sleep from the start. So, see what your baby wants and then follow through.
Read more: 6 week old baby
It Feels Like I’m Stuck Under A Baby All The Time!
You are not the only one if you feel like you are a contact nap trapped. Contact nappers happen in multiple forms. You could always try a sling or a wrap. Baby-wearing naps allow for movement, and sometimes you can even take a walk around your neighborhood for some fresh air. You can also see if your baby will accept the stroller or crib as a contact napper substitute. Most babies do.
Also, try lying down with your kid in a safe bed-sharing space. It is easier to move away once they fall asleep. You will need to stay close but still get space to work or do household chores.
How to Stop Contact Naps?
1. Creating and keeping an age-appropriate routine
You must ensure your little one does not get too tired by tracking waking windows and tired cues. This makes it easier for them to sleep and settle in their sleeping spaces. Not all babies who settle down in their sleep space transition through sleep cycles without needing you. This means you relieve them of their job so they can sleep peacefully.
2. Choose a setting option
Choose a settling method. During nap time or bedtime, settle your baby, so they sleep in their own space. So many parents have concerns about contact naps. Sometimes they are worried about long-term independence sleep .
3. Be consistent but not militant
You do not have to do the same thing every time for the baby. But do not confuse the baby. For example, always attempt to put a baby in the crib for a nap but then do a contact nap. You may need to do this, but it depends on the baby complying.
4. Once you start, do not stop
Getting set on what you want to do before starting to wean contact naps. When you decide that you are ready to wean off your baby from contact napping, then only do it. If you are not entirely sure about it, then wait. Do not start weaning and stop because it becomes more confusing and traumatizing for your children.
Read more: Is your baby fighting sleep
FAQs on Contact Nap
1. Are contact naps good for babies?
Contact naps are a healthy and nurturing sleeping habit for all newborns babies. It is a biological norm that your baby wants to feel close to the known. So, when it comes to contact napping, your child may sleep better.
2. How do I get my baby to nap without contact?
- Let your baby sleep in a snug environment
- Stroke the baby’s face with a tissue
- Please keep your hands on your child’s body even after putting them down
- Keep a pacifier ready if the baby fusses
- Put on a white noise machine or some music
3. How long can I contact nap?
Contact nap as long as your baby needs to recharge. This is an excellent way for babies under six months old to sleep close to their parents while receiving physical stimulation from someone who loves them.
4. Why do babies prefer contact naps?
Babies prefer contact naps because they feel safe with you. You, as a parent, create the perfect sleeping environment for your baby. The closeness of your touch, smell, and heartbeat matters to the little one. So, it is biological that they want to stay close to you.
Consequently, contact naps are regular and healthy both for babies and their parents. If it is something your children want, then enjoy them yourself. Of course, you can always choose to do all naps as contact naps or have daytime contact napping.
But whatever you choose, make sure not to stress out your baby. This way, you can wear a sling or babywear and carry your napping child while finishing some chores. But remember that what you want and what happens are two different things altogether.
So, keep enjoying the snuggles as long as they last.