Ah, naptime. A chance to catch your breath, sit down, have a cup of tea and maybe even forty winks yourself. When you have a baby to look after, especially for the whole day it can be exhausting. So when they have a nap it’s a great way to recharge your batteries and have a bit of you time.
But where should your baby take their nap? The easy answer is just to put them to sleep in their room in a Moses basket, bassinet or crib wherever they normally sleep at night. However, this may not be practical, especially if you’re downstairs and want to keep them nearby, or you may co-sleep with your baby at night, so you need another option during the day. Moreover, you might not be at home when your baby needs a nap, so they need a safe place to sleep when you’re on the go. In this article, let’s look at all the options where your baby can take their daytime nap.
Where should your baby sleep when they take a nap?
While most parents put their baby down for a nap in the same place they sleep at night, it’s not always the best option for everyone. For one, you can’t keep an eye on your baby if you’re downstairs and your baby is upstairs taking a nap. You can always purchase a baby monitor for peace of mind, but you might just feel more comfortable if your baby naps in a quiet space close to you. However, the advantage of your baby sleeping in the same place for naps and at night is they will get used to the environment and form better sleeping habits quicker. You have to weigh up all the options yourself. Here are some places where your baby can nap during the day:
A bassinet is a great place for your newborn baby to take a nap. For one, it’s where your baby sleeps at night so they should already be comfortable with the mattress and sleeping area. However, one of the main advantages is that many bassinets are portable. This means you can place it somewhere more convenient during the day when your baby is having their nap, so they can sleep fairly close and you can keep an eye on them. Some bassinets have casters so you can just push them into another room, but some you will have to pick up.
We used the Snuzpod 2 for my son and it was handy on occasions to remove the top and move it into another room for his nap (although most of the time we just kept it in the same place – we live in a 2 bed flat so it was quite easy to be close by to him even when he napped in our bedroom).
If you have a pack n play, it may also have a detachable bassinet you can take to another room for daytime naps. You could either put it on the floor or attach it to a play yard.
For newborn babies, a Moses basket is a great option as it is very snug and has a traditional appearance. It’s also quite small and very light, so it is easy to move it to any room of your home for your baby’s daytime nap. The downside to Moses baskets is that they don’t last very long. You’ll probably only be able to use one until your little one reaches around 3-4 months.
Related Post: Bassinet vs Moses Basket
While many newborns use a bassinet or Moses basket to start with, some parents opt for a crib straight away. Although your baby will look very small in a spacious crib, they are perfectly safe to use for small infants. It’s also a cost effective option as you can use it for a long period of time, and avoid the need to purchase a bassinet or Moses basket. For daytime naps they are a good option as your baby is already comfortable in this environment as they will sleep in one at night. The only downside is that you can’t simply move the crib to another part of your home for your baby’s nap. They are too heavy and bulky to move, and it’s possible they may not even fit through your door frame once you’ve assembled it in your bedroom. So a regular crib is not something to consider if you want your baby sleeping near you during the day if you’re doing chores or some other activity when they’re having a nap.
If you like the idea of your baby sleeping in a crib, but you want something you can move to a different room during the day, then a portable or mini crib is the way to go. Some will have wheels so you can move them around the house fairly easily, although some may be tricky and awkward to carry downstairs, depending on their size and weight.
Playard or Pack n’play
Your baby can safely take a nap in a playard providing you create a safe space for sleeping. Just make sure you use the mattress that comes with the product; it should be firm and the sheets should fit tightly around the sides. Also, make sure you remove any toys, pillows or blankets from the playard as these pose a suffocation risk for your infant and increase the chance of SIDS (Sudden Death Infant Syndrome). One advantage of a playard or pack n’play is that you could set one up in your living room as your baby can play in it during the day as well as take naps, so they are always close to you. Then at night time, your baby can sleep in your bedroom in a bassinet, crib or co-sleep with you.
Yes, you did read that right, a cardboard box! In Finland, they have a tradition going back to the 1930s where the state gives a box with a few useful baby items to each family expecting a baby; diapers, body suits, a mattress, among other things. It’s also very safe as the infant mortality rate has dropped significantly in Finland since its inception. For napping, a cardboard box could be a great option as it is light to carry and move around. I guess one of the drawbacks is that boxes can be quite flimsy and rip fairly easily if you transport them around the home too much. Make sure the box is as light as possible when you move it from one room to another, with no items inside.
Here are a few options for napping when you’re on the go and not at home:
If you’re in the car, then it’s highly likely your baby will take naps in their car seat. There’s just something about the sound from the tyres on the road and the engine which make babies drowsy and want to fall asleep. That being said, you don’t want your baby taking extended naps in their car seat. The guidance from car seat manufacturers and healthcare professionals is that babies shouldn’t sleep for more than 2 hours one. This is because there is a risk your baby can develop breathing difficulties if they sleep for too long in an upright position. Therefore, for long journeys make sure you stop frequently so your infant can stretch out and be in a different position.
Just like the car seat, try not to let your baby sleep for too long if you are taking a walk in the park or going shopping and they fall asleep in the stroller. This is why many travel systems come with a carrycot as your newborn baby can safely lie flat on their back and have a nap. The advice is that infants should use a carrycot until they are around 6 months old, or until they start sitting up, whichever comes first. If your baby has outgrown their carrycot, and falls asleep when they’re in a more upright position in the stroller, you can always lower the seat to make it as flat as possible.
We used the Silver Cross Wayfarer for both my kids. The carrycot was great and easy to attach and the whole travel system had a sturdy frame and a lot of storage space underneath. The stroller is ok too and can you put it in a forward or rear facing position.
Although I never really used a baby carrier with either of my two kids, some parents love them, as it enables their baby to stay close to them, while their hands are free to do other things. It’s also a very snug position for babies so they can fall asleep very easily. However, as they are in a more upright position, don’t let them sleep in this position for too long. Only allow them to have a short nap in a baby carrier.
Related Post: Types Of Baby Carriers
Should your baby nap in the same room as you?
Your baby doesn’t have to nap in the same room as you. However, if they consistently sleep in the same place every day (usually where they sleep at night), they’ll establish better sleep habits and learn to self soothe faster. Remember, babies love routine and they need to learn how to fall asleep by themselves.
Can babies take naps in different rooms?
However, if you co-sleep with your baby, or if you are a little uncomfortable having your newborn baby in their own room for nap time, you may wish to put them somewhere closer to you during the day. Just make sure it is a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed, and don’t chop and change where you place them all the time. Consistency is key.
Where should newborns take a nap?
Newborns should really nap in the same place as much as possible so they can establish good sleeping habits early. However, as the risk of SIDS is highest for newborn babies from 1-4 months, you may wish to have them in their Moses basket or bassinet next to you, even for daytime naps. This way you can keep an eye on them. At least when your baby is so small, it’s fairly easy to move them around, and Moses baskets and bassinets are fairly light too.
Should newborn babies take a nap in the dark?
As you may know, it’s very important that newborn babies learn the difference between night and day as soon as possible to encourage a good sleep schedule. However, as long as you have a regular bedtime routine and you’re active with your baby during the day, it is not that much of an issue if your newborn baby takes a nap in a darkened room. In fact, it can help them settle to sleep easier.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.