As your baby moves on from being a tiny newborn bundle to a not so tiny bundle of curiosity and increased activity, their sleep needs will naturally change too. This can be hard work all round as you try to gauge their new requirements and read the signs to try to avoid having an overtired little one on your hands!
For the first few weeks, most parents opt to go with the flow, letting their little one feed and nap as and when they choose, which is fine – everybody is still finding their feet, so a relaxed and flexible approach works well! As time passes though, you may want to start taking your little one to baby groups, swimming lessons or another activity. You may be returning to work or juggling school runs and other activities for your older children as well as your baby’s naps. At this point, you might start wanting the schedule to be a little more reliable!
The good news, is that to an extent, naps schedule themselves naturally, usually in relation to feeding patterns, so you can have a go at controlling and adjusting them when you need to.
For example, if your baby usually wakes up at 7am and is ready for a nap at 9am, just as you’re trying to get their siblings to pre-school, you could try delaying their morning feed, and therefore the nap that follows. Build the delay up gradually though – a hungry baby is just as demanding as a tired one! If your little one is old enough, you could also try offering a small snack at around the time they’d usually nap – a banana or a baby rusk is often enough motivation to put off naptime just a little longer!
Small changes and additions to the routine, introduced and built up gradually can eventually manipulate the nap schedule to one that works for the whole family – at least some of the time! Good luck!