2018 Sleep Sleep Tight

How to Nap on The Go

July 16, 2018

Summer time can be tricky with an increase in events, travel and an effort to get out and enjoy the great weather. With the busy summer months upon us, it can be hard to find a balance between having your little one sleep at home versus having them sleep anywhere. In addition, some babies may seem to sleep longer in the stroller, then they do in their crib at home. So surely napping on the go is the way to spend the summer, right? While it might be tough, and at times frustrating, to give up a longer length of sleep, there are good reasons to consider working towards the majority of naps taking place in a stationary crib, regardless of their length.

Three Things to Consider About Napping On The Go

Napping on the go is bound to happen and when out and about, and it really can be a life saver. And we get it, life happens and sometimes you need to go with the flow. But if napping on the go becomes a frequent occurrence and your little one starts to struggle to sleep independently at home in their crib, it’s worth considering if napping on the go is worth it.  The value of getting your baby confidently used to stationary crib sleep and helping them to learn to extend their sleep independently is an important skill that will support quality sleep habits for years to come.

  1. Crib Sleep is Safest Sleep

In a joint statement on Safe Sleep, the Canadian Paediatric Society, Health Canada and several other notable child/health safety organizations released the following statement as it relates to sleeping on the go. “Strollers, swings, bouncers, and car seats are not intended for infant sleep. When sleeping in the sitting position, an infant’s head can fall forward and their airway can be constricted. This risk reinforces the importance to move an infant to a crib, cradle, or bassinet to sleep, or when the destination is reached.”

A crib complete with a firm mattress and fitted sheet, void of any bumpers, stuffed animals or loose blankets, will give you the peace of mind that you are doing everything that you can to provide a safe sleep environment for your little one.

  1. Quantity Versus Quality

While napping on the go in the form of a lengthy car or stroller nap is certainly tempting, the restorative properties of a motionless nap outweigh those of a lengthier on-the-go (motion) sleep.  It’s fair to say that many babies or toddlers are lulled into transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next when taking it in a carrier, car or stroller and therefore extending the length of the nap.  However, the vibrations and motion of on the go sleep force their bodies to stay in a lighter phase of sleep.  Many of us can relate to this when we travel – sleep in the car or on a plane never feels as restorative as when we sleep at home.

  1. Creating A Habit

Parents also need to acknowledge that once a baby becomes accustomed to sleeping on the go, they may struggle or kick up a fuss when offered sleep that is stationary.  Almost everyone knows someone who has to drive around during nap time or else their child won’t sleep! With the motion and noise removed from their sleeping environment, some little ones will struggle to extend their sleep as they are no longer able to rely on outside influences.

It’s All About Balance

Listen, we know that you still need to live and no one expects your child to have every single nap at home. However, summer time can sometimes lead to throwing routines and schedules completely out the window. As with most things, it’s all about balance. Go out and enjoy your summer adventures, but be mindful of also supporting your baby to get the proper sleep they need, in the right environment. After all, when your child is well rested, you’ll have a much happier little one who can better adjust to those unpredictable days.

Alanna McGinn

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