Nap time for a baby is necessary for a multitude of reasons. When a baby is asleep, his or her brain relaxes and catalogs all of the information it took in when awake. This daily process is a building block for how your baby sees and interacts in the world as it grows. Nap time is also necessary for the baby's body to repair itself as simple little activities like tagging along in a car seat, having diapers changed, being carried by parents can wear out a young baby, just like playing a basketball game can tax an older child or adult.
Let's not forget mom and dad... Parents need rest, too. Its not unusual for a baby to have difficulty sleeping both at night and at nap time. This can be frustrating and can downright make parents mad because they aren't getting any downtime. A long, solid nap is healthy for both baby and parent.
So how long should your baby sleep each day?
Experts suggest that babies up to 7 months of age should sleep at least 4 hours a day, ideally in two to four napping sessions. As your baby gets older, he or she will likely consolidate that sleep time into 1 or 2 longer naps.
Sounds easy enough. When your baby appears to be tired, just lay them down and kick back and relax for a few hours, right?
If you are looking for something to throw at your computer screen, please know that we fully understand that many babies simply won't sleep when you want them to sleep. Given the importance of this napping activity, what is a parent to do?
Here are some ideas:
1. Stating the obvious-make sure your baby has a clean diaper, is fed and placed in a comfortable environment. If you are a little cold, your baby is very cold. He or she is going to be more sensitive to temperature than you are. Check the thermostat.
2. Keep a routine. Its unlikely that your baby will sleep easily in a bedroom at 10am, in the car at 1pm and then in the living room on a blanket at 5pm. Try to set nap times on a repeating schedule and maintain that schedule as best you can.
3. Moderate light. Its not necessary for your baby to nap in total darkness, but you don't want the afternoon sun beaming through the window of the room where your baby sleeps.
4. Quietly sing to your baby. Its okay if you're off key. Your baby knows your voice and hearing that voice speaking or singing quietly as he or she drifts off to sleep can be comforting and affective.
5. How about noise levels? This is the big one. Have you ever gone to visit a new parent and there are notes on the door and doorbell warning you with the penalty of banishment to knock quietly? Do you watch TV with the volume at a level so low that you become proficient at lip reading? Do you shackle your older kids to the kitchen table so they don't make any noise and wake the sleeping baby?
Believe it or not, babies need to hear the world around them, even when napping. But, loud noises wake them up, which defeats the purpose, right?
There is a perfect solution. Its called The HUSH Hat, by HUSH Baby, LLC. The HUSH Hat is a soft, comfortable baby hat that utilizes a medical grade foam sewn into the hat that filters out loud, startle noises. It is CPSIA certified and safe for babies during nap time and when awake and participating in a busy day.
The HUSH Hat allows low decibel sounds to come through so your baby is still getting used to sleeping with some sound. But if older brother drops and breaks a glass, or the doorbell rings, or the dog barks, your baby will sleep as if nothing happened. Owens Corning Labs tested the foam repeatedly to ensure that the hat blocked out these startle sounds only.
Visit www.shophushbaby.com to learn more. The HUSH Hat will allow your baby to sleep soundly and awaken happy without shutting down your home for those important 4 hours each day.