For the first few years of your baby's life, naps are a very central part of your daily plans. For the first 3 months your baby will be sleeping most of the time - up to 20 hours a day! This gradually drops to about 12 to 16 hours by age one. Between the ages of one and three, children tend to have one nap per day!
Naps are an important way of establishing a routine. Try putting your baby down and waking them up to feed at about the same time each day to encourage this. Although the pram or buggy is ok for the odd nap while out and about, where possible you should try to ensure your baby sleeps in their cot or Moses basket. Planning your day around naps and not planning too much in one day will help regulate this routine.
Some factors to consider:
- Your baby will sleep much better if you change and feed him or her before naptime.
- Room temperature; if the room is too cold, your baby will wake seeking your heat, but sleeping in a too-hot room can increase risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Keep things relaxing to help unwind before nap time, but be nice and active in-between. the more active you baby is when awake, the better he or she will snooze come nap time.
- Don't be tempted to skip naps for a good night sleep - it won't work!