This probably isn’t the start that you were hoping for but you might be surprised to hear that we actually don’t know that much about naps and little ones! There is LOADS more research on night time sleep – particularly safe sleep. (Which is incredibly important of course.) What I know stems from reading authors that I respect, scouring research papers from across the globe but most importantly, talking to parents, working with parents and reflecting on my own experiences.
Let’s think about one of the biggest worries that parents come to me with….Catnaps. This came up in one of my sleep packages the other day and it got me thinking. We strive for these hour/two hour long naps and we want them regimented, every day, at the exact same time.
The thing is, I know that I’m not regimented when it comes to my sleep habits. Some days exhaust me, some days don’t and it’s on those days that I struggle to nod off at night.
When you are dropping naps, you will benefit from a fluid approach to what happens day to day. Forget following a prescription approach. There is NOTHING around (that is evidence based) that tells us how often or how long babies need to nap for, so if you’re following a routine, don’t put yourself or your baby(ies) under too much pressure if you are struggling to adhere to it.
When I am working with mums and dads surrounding sleep I find the absolute best way to get to grips with what’s going on is to watch for your baby or toddlers cues and behaviours. Don’t stress about what the books say should be happening – focus on what actually is happening.
It’s a process – and it can be a long one. Don’t assume once the naps are dropped that is it – job done. You may need to alternate nap days, then do 1 in 3, 1 in 4 and so on.
What should you do?
Don’t stress – and don’t get hung up on turning this into a nap mission. It can take months to properly drop a nap!
The days when a nap has disappeared, adjust your timings to compensate.
Don’t worry about whether you’re going about the whole nap drop thing right or wrong. Offer the nap routinely for 15 minutes and if there is no sign of sleep by the end of it – call it a day, or if you think they really need that sleep, have a break and then try again when you’re both less twined.
Remember, they are going to be a little bit grumpy about it. Don’t be afraid to be flexible.
If you would like some more support with dropping naps or sleep in general we have our free sleep resources here (including a free e-course) and details of our support package can be found by clicking here. Understanding Sleep is an incredibly popular package because it is completely bespoke, includes the vital three weeks of support and is priced at just £39. Click this link to take a peek!