Every child has different habits and temperaments, but most babies have one thing in common – the ability to nap on the go. I learned early on with my son that if I timed things right and was conscious of his napping patterns, I could use his sleep time to my advantage.
Within the first few weeks after Mason was born, like most moms, I was pretty exhausted. I knew I needed breaks–even if it was just an hour a day. I pumped and stored extra milk so my husband, mom, sister or a friend could take Mason for a walk around the block, and I could sleep without worrying.
When I could tell Mason was getting ready to take a nap, I would have a family member scoop him up, put him in the stroller and go for a walk. During that time, I would take a shower, read a book, take a nap, jump on Facebook, or call a friend to gush about my new baby.
Having some time to yourself will help keep you rested and going strong during those first few months of parenting. Here are a few pointers on teaching your newborn how to nap on the go:
Timing is Everything
Start keeping track of when your baby eats and sleeps throughout the day. Newborns need between 16-20 hours of sleep. They usually get 2-4 hours in before waking up for a feeding. If you become familiar enough with your little one’s patterns, you can plan your downtime accordingly.
Strolling is the Way to Go
Strollers are great for grandmothers or family friends who are likely just popping in to watch your baby for a few hours. Rather than having to lug around the carrier, they can easily take the stroller and go for a walk while you nap. Plus, the rocking of the stroller seems to lull babies into a deep sleep.
Sleep Preferences Vary
The best way to ensure your baby sleeps soundly on the go is to pay attention to his or her sleeping preferences. For example, most babies love the steady motion of strollers or rocking chairs. Many babies also enjoy cool, outdoor temperatures. Take a mental note of the conditions in which your little one sleeps the deepest, and try to replicate their ideal environment for naptime on the go.
Baby Steps are a Great Start
Start with small walks close to home throughout the day and watch how your baby reacts. Once you know your newborn happily naps during your strolls together, you’ll be more inclined to let a friend or relative take over.
Go slow and spend a little bit of time outside with your baby each day. After a while, your newborn will adapt to napping on the go, and you’ll get to squeeze in some free time once in awhile.