One of the hardest elements to adjust to when introducing a new baby into the family can be the sense of cabin fever that tends to set in! Along with a new baby comes a new daily schedule, and one of the most crucial elements of this new lifestyle is an established, consistent sleep routine for your baby. But does this mean that you have to sacrifice your sense of freedom and free spirit? Does this mean putting your life on hold for nap times?
Unfortunately, the answer to this dilemma is not a simple yes or no; let’s take a closer look at ‘sleeping-on-the-go’. Generally speaking (and based on extensive research and professional experience) the key to a healthy, happy sleep routine is consistency. This will be a factor that appears in a lot of the information I will be sharing over time and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. A day-to-day sleep routine for your baby will help to ensure a fairly stable sleeping pattern at night, meaning more sleep for you and more time to yourself at night! During the day however, particularly with younger babies, napping is needed anywhere from once to five times – making sporadic travelling or an-the-go lifestyle a little harder. Napping is crucial for babies, it ensures adequate rest and recharging for the big day ahead and believe it or not: routine napping throughout the day actually leads to deeper more restful sleeps at night! Sleep begets sleep! So, what does this mean for the on-the-go family?
Well, it’s not entirely impossible to train your baby to sleep on-the-go, but it does pose considerable issues. Ultimately, your baby’s ability to adapt to an on-the-go sleep routine will be influenced by 2 main factors: Temperament and Napping. If your baby has a fairly relaxed, easy going temperament and he/she responds to high levels of stimulus without too much distress, it may be a viable option. Consider this however; younger babies will generally nap around 5 times daily and with good sleep training and a consistent routine this should easily narrow over the coming months to once or twice a day. Napping on the run, although possible, tends to be a lighter form of sleep. Think about when you fall asleep sitting up or moving in a car, how did the motion and changing stimuli affect your experience? With constantly changing stimuli, including light and noise, it’s harder to experience the deep, restorative sleep necessary for full refreshment! Add to this that babies tend to be far more sensitive to external stimuli and you can see how the sleep achieved on the go is considerably less valuable than the sleep achieved in the comfort of home.
Ultimately, the answer to this problem comes down to individual preferences and your baby’s particular temperament and sleeping patterns. Based on the necessity of consistency and routine however, I would recommend ensuring that interruptions to your baby’s sleep routine are minimized. This may mean you have to compromise a little if you’re an on-the-go parent, but the long term benefits for your baby can not be underestimated. With consistent training and dedication to your baby’s sleep routine, you’ll soon be back on the go and your baby will be all the healthier and happier for the small sacrifice!