Napping in a Different Place Than Sleeping?

by Taralea (Portland, OR)

We live in a studio apartment and our son doesn't have his own room. So, for me to get anything done during the day it is best if he sleeps upstairs in my parent's house in a playpen. Will this mess up his sleep cycle for sleeping in his own crib at night?

Answer:

Hi Taralea,

I don't think that it will. If he's used to the naptime routine involving sleeping in his playpen he'll just get used to that routine. He'll know that naptime is in the playpen, and bedtime is in the crib.

Just have a set routine for getting him ready for his nap and one for bed. He'll adapt and get used to both routines 🙂

Routines don't have to be complicated but they really make a difference for little ones. This is especially true when you want to help a child establish good habits. Just pick a few things that work well before each time. Naps could be:

  • Have a playtime with mama
  • Read a book
  • Get a fresh diaper (or sit on the potty if you use elimination communication)
  • Sing a specific song as you walk upstairs
  • Get a kiss

Bedtime could be:

  • Have supper
  • Play with Daddy
  • Nurse for a little while
  • Have a bath
  • Rock in the rocker and sing a couple of songs
  • Go to bed in crib

Separating nursing from bedtime by another activity or two lets you put baby down awake. Some parents like this because it helps your little one learn to drift off without breastfeeding. But if nursing to sleep works best for you, do what works. I like to start with putting my little one down for naps while drowsy but still awake 🙂

One final point: I would recommend that you don't put him in that playpen to play. It's really best to try and keep a sleeping space just for sleep – so if he's going to nap in the playpen you want to reserve that just for naps. This keeps him from wondering if it's time to sleep, or if it's time to play!

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About the author 

Kristen

Kristen is childbirth educator, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! She has spent years helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Find her on her website NaturalBirthandBabyCare.com and helping families through her online childbirth class MamaBabyBirthing.com

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