Updated: Mar 20
Want to put a routine in place for your little one?
Find out what my preferred routine is and all the benefits!
🌟Short morning nap
🌟A long middle of the day nap which I call the “lunch nap”
🌟Another short late afternoon nap for babies under 7/8 months.
This routine is based on research around the science of baby's sleep and works well for the majority of babies.
Depending on the age of your baby the actual length of these naps varies, and they will gradually reduce from 3 to 2 naps, 2 to 1 nap until no naps at all.
So, what are the benefits of this routine?
Helps to Prevent Early Morning Wake-ups
Reducing the morning nap as your baby gets older helps to prevent an early morning wake up as the body clock learns the first big restorative sleep is not going to occur until midday & therefore promotes a bigger drive to sleep for longer between 5am and 7am.
Naps & Bedtime Fall Within Biological Sleep Windows
These are periods of time during the day when the body naturally adjusts its internal temperature & hormone levels as it gets ready for sleep. They develop around 4 months old & putting your baby down to sleep within these times will help them to settle more easily to sleep & promote more restorative sleep.
Helps Promote a Longer Nap During the Middle of the Day
A short morning nap helps promote a long nap in the middle of the day. This nap is the most important nap of the day due to containing deeper, more restorative sleep and coincides with a baby’s natural dip in energy levels. For an older baby, this long nap will also help them make it through the day, so they are not over tired by bedtime. For babies under 7 months the short late afternoon nap is needed to be able to cope with their evening routine and feed sufficiently before bed.
Helps to Prevent Over and Under tiredness
When your baby is over or under tired, they are unlikely to settle to sleep well and potentially wake frequently overnight. By following this routine, you are avoiding your baby becoming over or under tired as they are getting the right amount of sleep balanced out throughout the day as well as building up enough sleep debt, so they are tired enough at bedtime to do the longer stretch we want overnight.
Easier Nap Transitions
As your baby grows, their sleep needs change and they require less sleep during the day and therefore the number of naps reduce over time.
The first nap to go is the late afternoon nap and this occurs sometime between 6&8 months old. The second is the morning nap which is dropped between 15 and 18 months old leaving the lunch nap which is dropped by 3 years old.
The beauty of this routine is the long lunch nap is in place right from the start of your baby’s nap journey so when it comes to dropping a nap you don’t need to change their entire day, just gradually reduce the length of the late afternoon nap and morning nap until they’re gone.
If you find your little one has fallen into a routine and that’s working for you, then that’s great keep going with it!
If you are however struggling with your baby waking early in the morning, they are refusing naps, not settling well at bedtime, they are staying awake for a long time in the night or they are waking frequently overnight, then you may want to consider trying this routine to see if you notice any improvements.
Want to give this routine a try?
Purchase and download my Baby Sleep & Routines E-Guide here
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