I was asked by Eumom and Supervalu to write a piece about napping for 9 month olds. It is on the supervalu.ie website and thought I would share it here too
Enjoy and hope you find it helpful
It’s no secret how important sleep is to us (as adults). For an infant/child it’s equally, if not more, important.
If you have any experience at all with children, you’ll know that after a good nap/night sleep they are less likely to be cranky and are far happier. As a result, a parent will be happier too. But there are more fundamental reasons too:
Development in all areas – emotional, physical, intellectual. Good strong brain development occurs during sleep. It’s a time where they can dream and process all the things that have gone on during the day.
It’s said that the better they sleep, the better they sleep!!! This has long term effects on the child. Setting a good sleep pattern as an infant can decrease chances of poor general health and emotional issues as they grow up.
If you have no set routine, an infant can become anxious
Getting into a routine shows a child boundaries which they genuinely love. If a child knows what’s coming next, they will be feel safe and secure and even feel like they are in control of a situation. If you have no set routine and the bedtime is a bit of a moveable feast, an infant can become anxious, leading to sleep problems. Popping them into the cot and hearing your words “Night Night it’s sleeptime”, gives them a strong bedtime and naptime association and so they become less likely to have any problems when you want them to sleep.
Also it’s highly important for mum and dad to have their own time, be that in the daytime or evenings.
As your baby gets bigger, he or she will want to stay awake for longer periods during the day. Instead of perhaps three naps a day (including one long one), they may start to change this and stretch their mornings out to fill in more playtime.
From six months, parents are advised to have a 40 minute nap in the morning, a 40 minute nap in the afternoon and a two hour nap at lunchtime – although we know this may be wishful thinking for many!
It’s highly important for mum and dad to have their own time
From nine months, baby is probably beginning to terrorise the floor boards and they may be less willing to nap successfully in the mornings. Try and stretch them out till lunchtime. You may find that initially they just can’t make it and some even fall asleep in their lunch! Allow them a 15 minute catnap before 10am. Wake them and have a snack and a drink of water. They should be able to manage to make it to midday for a good nap.
Later in the afternoon, they may or may not sleep again. This normally depends on how well they sleep at lunchtime. If they do catch a nap later, don’t let them sleep for too long and try and have them awake again by 5pm, giving you a nice couple of hours before bedtime.
Suggested Daily Routine for Baby at 9 Months
7.00/7.30 Wake and Bottle
(maybe a short nap around 9.40 but wake at 10)
10.30 Snack and Water
11.45 Dinner/Lunch (this is main meal of day – what we would describe as dinner)
12./12.15 Sleep (Up to 2 hours).
2.30/3.00 Bottle (7oz)
4.00 Snack and water
(May have a nap at around 4.30 but awake by 5)
5.30 Tea (lighter meal than lunchtime)
7.30 Bottle (7oz)and bed
Don’t forget to check out Eumom’s Baby & Toddler sections for more information and useful tips.
Bringing a wealth of knowledge and years of experience to help you in your child’s first special years with the confidence you need to overcome any hurdle, Niamh O’Reilly at The Nursery combines the practicality of Mary Poppins, the humour of Mrs Doubtfire and the magic of Nanny McPhee. Niamh will bring you back from the brink of total sleep deprivation and the constant stress and worry from the daily toil of being a Mum or Dad. Sometimes, all a family needs is some structure and some practical advice at working together to get back on track. Niamh can give you the confidence to do just that.