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.
6 Products That Lead To Better Baby and Toddler Naps
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, and 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:
Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine — this is a really nice, highly-rated white noise machine with 20 unique non-looping fan and white noise sounds. Plus, it has a timer.
Bubzi White Noise Stuffed Owl — 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 brightly 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 couple room-darkening products we like:
The Redmon Nighttime Nursery Blackout Liners are nice — they block out light and noise. And since they’re liners, they 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.
We 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.
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, babies have to nap 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 car seat 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.
Another swaddling product we love? The Swaddle Strap® Baby Swaddle! This ingenious little swaddler is a simple strap that fits securely over your baby’s arms but leaves baby’s legs free. Why do we love it? It’s the perfect swaddle to use in warm weather – dress baby in a light onesie, secure the swaddle strap over top, and you have a newborn who feels secure and snug enough to sleep, but who won’t overheat. Plus, since your baby’s legs are free, diaper changes are a snap!