Good naps are essential for all babies and young children. It ensures good growth and development during the time when children are rapidly changing physically and emotionally. This is also the hardest challenge for children to master and parents to teach.
Did you know that newborn babies can only stay awake for about 30 minutes at a time during the first week of life? That’s why they are always falling asleep at the breast or in your arms. The most important thing a new parent can do to help facilitate good naps is to be aware of baby’s wake and sleep windows. They can do this by watching the clock and their baby’s tired signs. It all sounds so easy but many parents overlook these subtle signs, perhaps due to their own tiredness. They are often recognized too late when the baby starts fussing or crying.
As a baby grows so does his wake cycles so he can stay awake for longer periods between naps. Babies wake window start at 30 minutes during the first week of life and slowly goes up to 90 minutes to 3 hours during the first 12 weeks. They usually can only comfortably stay awake for about 90 minutes at a time with an occasional 3-hour wake window at least once per day around 3 months of age. Daytime should be a rhythmic cycle of eat, activity, sleep and then repeat eat, activity, sleep. Tracy Hogg, author of “The Baby Whisperer” refers to this cycle in her book as the E.A. S. Y. plan. Eat, activity, sleep, and time for “You” when you have a new baby. https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Baby-Whisperer-Connect-Communicate/dp/0345479092/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477103556&sr=1-1&keywords=the+baby+whisperer
Timing is everything and once you know your baby’s tired signs and respond early, his needs will be met and he will welcome sleep instead of fighting it. When his signs are not recognized or are overlooked he may miss that window and become fussy or overly tired making it harder to go to sleep. If parents want their baby to nap well they need to make sacrifices by making it their #1 priority. As baby matures and his nap schedule is working, you will be able to count on good naps so it not only benefits your child but yourself too by allowing some “YOU” time in this E.A.S.Y. cycle.