Baby naps are, by far, one of the most talked about and searched topics here at The Baby Sleep Site®. We all want our babies and toddlers to take longer, more restorative naps, don’t we? After all, “sleep begets sleep” and a baby who naps well is more likely to sleep well at night, too.
So what can we do to encourage our babies and toddlers to get the naptime sleep they need?
There are a few tools you need to encourage better napping in your baby or toddler. First and foremost, you need to make sure you don’t make the 7 Common Napping Mistakes, and an age-appropriate baby nap schedule is a must. Next, you need to consider nap sleep training (and we don’t mean cry it out, we mean helping your baby learn to fall asleep and stay asleep at nap time!).
But can you do more?
Yes! Once you’ve mastered the basics of how to establish a good naptime routine, if your baby is still struggling to take quality naps, you may want to consider setting him up for success by adding a few “napping tools” to your toolbox.
Here are a few of our top picks for must-have napping products:
White Noise Machine
Most babies and toddlers can’t sleep with lots of noise; they need a mostly-quiet environment to truly nap well. But let’s be honest — for most of us, complete and total silence during naptime is impossible! The dog barks, the phone rings, your other children decide to play dinosaurs and stomp all over the house…you know how it is
If this sounds familiar, then a white noise machine is just the thing you need. White noise machines mask the other noises in your home, making it easier for your baby or toddler to nap. Here are a few we love:
Dohm-DS Sound Conditioner — we recommended this one to our clients, and it’s the one Nicole actually uses at home!
DEX Sound Sleeper — this is a nice, less-expensive option. It’s a good one to consider if you have to buy several noise machines.
Cloud-B-Gentle Giraffe (or Sheep) — This one doubles as a lovey (see below) and a white noise machine. And did we mention it’s utterly adorable? Because it is!
Just as most babies and toddlers won’t nap well in a noisy room, many won’t nap well in a brighly-lit room, either. This is why room-darkening curtains come in handy; they offer a way to darken your baby’s or toddler’s room in broad daylight. (Note: Once your baby is no longer a newborn, you no longer need to worry about day/night confusion.)
Here are a few room-darkening products we like:
The Redmon Nighttime Nursery Blackout Liners are nice — they block out light and noise. And since they’re liners, then can be sewn to the backs of the curtains you already have, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice your decor!
Redi-Shade Black-Out Pleated Shades — these shades offer a great way to darken baby’s room; since they have no cords, they’re perfectly safe to use around your little one.
A lovey is any item that helps your baby feel cozy and secure. Loveys can go a long way towards encouraging better naptime and nighttime sleep.
Your baby or toddler may already have a lovey; if not, consider checking out Ambajam’s line of soft, snuggly Cuddle-Up blankets. They come in large sizes (for older babies and toddlers) and mini sizes (for younger babies). We will be partnering with Ambajam soon for a giveaway, so stay tuned!
We also love the Angel Dear Blankie — how adorable is this monkey version?! The Angel Dear Blankie comes in 35 animal varieties, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your baby or toddler.
Finally, we can’t fail to mention a lovely classic: the Taggies Blanket. Each of Nicole’s sons had one of these as his lovey. The blanket comes in three patterns, and each version is full of the soft, textured tags that we know our babies love.
Many parents find that crib mobiles offer a nice way for babies to wind down at naptime. It can even become part of your baby’s naptime routine. Of course, not all mobiles are good for sleep. Some are meant to stimulate and others are meant to soothe. Make sure you get the right type of baby mobile.
We like the Fisher Price 2-in-1 Projection Mobile because it grows with your child. Use it as a mobile for young babies; then, when your baby’s bigger, convert it to a music box that projects images onto the ceiling.
It probably goes without saying that your baby will nap best at home (or at daycare), in a dark, quiet room. But sometimes, naptime has to happen on the go — that’s life! And that’s okay.
To make on-the-go naps easier, consider investing in a Snoozeshade product. Snoozeshade offers a full line of carseat covers and stroller covers that block out light. These provide a great way for you to create a dark, cozy environment for your baby at naptime, even when you aren’t at home.
Now, this last product doesn’t exactly apply to toddlers, so if you’re a parent of a toddler, you can skip this one. But if you have a newborn at home who just won’t nap, consider swaddling your baby for naps (and at night!) Swaddling has been shown to improve sleep for newborns.
To make swaddling even easier, you might want to think about investing in a Miracle Blanket. No more complicated folding; the Miracle Blanket makes swaddling your newborn a cinch! And it’s recommended by medical professionals, so you can rest assured that it’s a safe blanket to use with your newborn.
What are your favorite, must-have napping products? Share them below!
To help your baby get on a solid daytime routine, make sure to check out our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (for babies) or The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (for toddlers). Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. Have a newborn at home? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a sleep plan; sometimes you’re just close to the situation or too tired to!
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