6 Tips for Working Around Baby's Nap Schedule

Disney BabyDisney BabyThe first year of Baby's life revolves around very few things other than eating, playing, and (hopefully) lots of sleeping. Of course the "sleeping through the night stage" is the end goal for all new parents, but napping during the day can be just as important in creating a calm and happy environment for Mom and Baby.

If your baby does take regular naps, it's easy to start feeling like you'll never be able to leave the house again. Here are a few tips to help preserve a nap routine and allow you to accomplish everything you need to do throughout the day.

1. One nap will be better than the other
If this is the case, schedule your activities around the one "good" nap, staying home so Baby can sleep in his own bed, and then venture out for the afternoon and possibly sacrifice the nap that usually isn't as good. This will ensure Baby gets at least one good solid stretch of sleep during the day.

Related: 15 things every first-time dad needs to know

2. Plan outings closer to home
If Baby starts getting fussy, you'll want to make it home rather quickly…and before Baby falls asleep in the car. Ask just about any veteran mom and she'll tell you that the car to crib transition doesn't always go smoothly, so keep an interesting toy or book with Baby to keep them awake on the short ride home.

3. Don't wake a sleeping baby
If the plan is to have Baby sleep in the car during nap time because of a road trip or timing issues, plan on playing soft music in the car and always keep a book or magazine with you in case you arrive at your destination and Baby is still sleeping. Sometimes an extra 15-20 minutes added on to a Baby's nap makes all the difference in their mood, so it can be worth it to sit back and relax a bit while you wait for Baby to wake.

4. If visiting a friend or family member for the day, plan ahead
Instead of rushing through your visit, bring a portable crib with you and set up a nursery away from home for Baby, complete with favorite blanket, pacifier and favorite book. Keep your nap routine consistent and try to settle Baby down for a nap on-the-go so that you don't have to cut your visit short. While this doesn't always work, it's at least worth a try. The added bonus is it gets your baby used to sleeping in other environments, which is especially great if you plan to travel with Baby.

Related: 9 mom-tested tips for getting your newborn to sleep

5. Consistency is key in any sleep routine...
But the occasional alteration will not veer you completely off course, especially during the first 3-4 months. Newborns usually haven't quite settled into a consistent routine during this time anyway, so this is the time to be a bit more flexible with your outings.Skipping the routine 2-3 times a week is perfectly okay, especially if it helps mom feel better.

6. A sleep routine only works if it works for the entire family
If Baby's routine is preserved at the expense of mom being able to occasionally visit with friends and get important errands done, then it's not working. But making a few minor adjustments and not being afraid to alter off course every once in a while will ensure a happy, well-rested baby, and a happy, well-rested mom.

- By Andrea Howe
Follow Andrea at Babble

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