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Daytime Nap Tips!

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

Are you forever trying to plan your day and life around naps?


Constantly calculating time..”it will take 20 minutes to get there, 20 minutes to get home, we need to be home by 12 for nap time, so we can only spend 45 minutes there…”


This post will give you some tips to help you nail naps, both at home and on the go!


For many families, every day is a little bit different. It’s important that you don’t feel housebound by naps and bedtime.


There are different types of naps that your child can have and that you can actively offer:

  • Bridging Naps

  • Assisted Naps

  • Naps on the Go

  • Catnaps

  • Cot Naps

Bridging Naps

Bridging naps are most successful for babies under 6 months of age and are great for early risers (before 6:00am) or babies that haven’t napped well during the day and need a little nap to get through to bedtime.


If your baby is over 4 months of age, you don’t want to start and finish their first nap before 9:00am.


Bridging naps are a great way to reset the day and either get you back on track for the day ahead or keep you on track for bedtime. This nap is a very short 10-15 minutes and is best done assisted. More on assisted naps below.


Bridging naps are often successful in the pram, car, baby carrier or simply contact in your arms. Gently wake your baby after 10-15 minutes to get you back on track for your baby’s normal awake time and routine.


Assisted Naps

Assisted naps can take place the following ways:

  • Pram

  • Car

  • Baby carrier

  • Contact (in your arms)

As it suggests, you assisted your baby to sleep by providing motion, comfort and connection. Assisted naps are really great for babies that have become chronically overtired, to help reduce their sleep debt. A few days of assisted naps can help break the cycle for an overtired baby.

Be assured that assisted naps will not set you back and undo any of your previous work in developing healthy sleep foundations. They will provide you and your baby with a physical and mental break to focus purely on rest, without the pressure of it being independent sleep. Once your baby is no longer chronically overtired, it will be much easier to transition to independent sleep.

I suggest setting a time frame that you will have assisted naps. For example 1-2 days, just to reduce your little one’s sleep debt and break their overtired cycles, therefore it won’t become a long-term habit


Naps on the Go

It’s important to be able to get out and about, so naps on the go are going to be inevitable, especially if you have multiple children. When planning for a Nap on the Go, allow a short window time (10-15 minutes) for your little one to fall asleep. So, if you can, leave just that little bit earlier. Portable white noise can be really helpful for naps on the go, particularly in the car and pram. For babies over 7 months of age, ensure they also have their comforter.

Ideal Naps on the Go are:

  • In the car - Plan your trip - leave 10 minutes before your baby’s normal nap time so they can sleep in the car. Take the longer way home to allow your baby to finish their nap. Depending on your child’s temperament, transfers from car to cot can be really hit and miss and even just a sneak 5-10 minute power nap can be enough to remove all sleep pressure for some children.

  • Pram - Recline the seat on your pram, use a safe, breathable shade that can block harmful UV rays, eliminate some light and minimise external distractions. I love the Snooze Shade.

  • Baby Carrier - Baby carriers are great! They allow you to have both hands free, walk anywhere you need to go and keep your baby close.

Catnapping

Catnapping is developmentally appropriate until around 5-6 months of age when a full sleep cycle is around 40-50 minutes.


Top Tips to Crush Catnapping

  • Sleep Environment - Dark room (as dark as possible!) and white noise. This will help to minimise distractions and outside noise that can easily wake your bub between sleep cycles.

  • Age Appropriate Awake Window - Knowing and understanding age appropriate awake windows can make a HUGE difference not only to your little one’s sleep but their whole temperament. Learn more about age appropriate awake windows in my Sleep Guides (below) and @soundsleep_baby

  • Wind down - Don’t underestimate the power of a nap routine. Be consistent, follow the same steps every time your baby is getting ready for sleep. This helps provide your baby with predictability so they know what to expect. Try going into their sleep space 10-15 minutes before sleep time, read a book, sing a song, have a little cuddle then put them down to sleep.

  • Practise falling asleep in the cot - When babies wake where they fell asleep, they are more willing and likely to resettle back to sleep, either with your assistance or independently.

Resettling Choose 1 or 2 naps a day where you will try and focus on resettling. Try and give your baby the benefit of the doubt and give them a few minutes to try to independently resettle and go back to sleep. Then offer and provide hands on assistance. I recommend attempting to resettle for up to 20 minutes before getting bub up and starting their next awake window.

Cot Naps

To ensure you don’t feel housebound or stuck in an assisted nap cycle, I recommend attempting one cot nap a day. This does not need to be the same nap each day. To support your baby to sleep independently in their cot, ensure they have great sleep hygiene:

  • Follow age appropriate awake windows

  • Optimal sleep environment (dark, cool 18-22ºC, white noise)

  • Wind down routine (see catnapping above for tips)


Try supporting your bub to fall asleep in their cot. Babies that fall asleep in arms or feeding are often more difficult to resettle after a sleep cycle, as they have woken and are startled that they are not in the same place they fell asleep.



Babies need lots of sleep, especially in the first 2 years of life. This is often broken down into various naps across the day depending on their age. For guidelines on sleep routines from birth right through to 4 years download my Seep Guides.







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