How do I stop contact naps?
You can stop contact napping by taking a few steps.
First, create a consistent sleep schedule for naps (and bedtime). Become familiar with and recognize signs of drowsiness in your baby (such as yawning, eye rubbing) and start naptime when you see these behaviors.
Second, at around 10 to 12 weeks of age, babies begin to develop the ability to self-soothe. You can help build this skill by placing your baby down to sleep drowsy but still awake. You might find that beginning to practice these skills first at bedtime may be most helpful. Making the following changes can help your baby start to fall asleep independently. Learning to fall asleep on her own can help her to sleep for longer stretches without needing to be held during sleep:
1. If you are nursing or bottle feeding to sleep, move the feeding to an earlier point in the routine (for instance, before a diaper change).
2. If you are rocking your baby, begin decreasing the duration of the rocking. The goal is to place your baby in the crib calm, but awake.
3. You may remain in the room until your child falls asleep if you wish to provide comfort (such as a brief rub of the head or soothing verbal reassurance), but the goal is to gradually decrease your involvement and fade yourself further away from the crib and eventually out of the room.
Third, once your baby is able to self-soothe to sleep at bedtime, you can use the same strategies at naptimes. You may want to start with just one nap, the one when your baby falls asleep most easily.
If you do not see any improvements after attempting these suggestions for about two weeks, consider whether your baby is showing signs of extreme fussiness or is persistently difficult to console. If this is the case, there may be some medical factors impacting your baby’s sleep such as colic, reflux, or formula-intolerance. Discuss these concerns with your health care provider to determine if these factors may be playing a role in your baby’s sleep difficulties and how best to manage.