For new parents, being close to their babies is a natural instinct. This innate desire fosters a deep bond and connection. One beautiful way to nurture this closeness is through contact napping. But what exactly is contact napping, and how does it impact your baby’s well-being?
Contact napping involves having your newborn sleep on your chest or in your arms, with skin-to-skin contact. This intimate experience creates a sense of security and warmth for your little one. It has been found that contact naps can contribute to better and more prolonged sleep for babies. However, it’s crucial to ensure that contact napping is practiced when parents are fully awake and attentive.
If you find that your baby is having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep for extended periods, incorporating a contact nap into your routine might be worth exploring. Our article has everything you need to know about this practice, including its benefits and safety precautions. Join us as we guide you through this heartwarming journey of enhanced sleep and nurturing connections with your precious bundle of joy.
The Benefits of Contact Napping
Contact napping means letting your baby sleep in your arms or with some part of their body in contact with yours, creating a baby nap experience. For new parents, contact naps may seem like a bad idea. Many first-time parents worry about the same thing: creating an overly-dependent baby or fussy sleeper.
If you’re worried about the same thing, you may be surprised to learn about a few key contact nap benefits.
Contact naps make your baby feel more secure. This feeling of security can also lead to deeper sleep and make your baby much easier to put down. In fact, your baby may fall asleep all independently when they are in your arms.
When your baby is sleeping close to you, they benefit from the warmth of your skin, the security of having you near, and your body’s familiar scent during a contact nap. These factors help make your baby feel more secure, and they will be more likely to fall asleep. Skin-to-skin contact also has a ton of benefits.
Similarly, the rhythmic sound of your heartbeat and your breathing will help to lull your baby to sleep. It will also help to keep your baby asleep for longer.
How To Stop Contact Napping
While it may seem like a romantic notion to allow your baby to sleep in your arms, most modern parents are overwhelmed with a fast-paced work and home environment. You may have chores to complete, or – if you work from home – you may have a work deadline to meet.
Many different reasons may stop you from being able to have contact naps with your newborn. Of course, if your baby only seems to nap well in your arms and fusses when you’re not around during nap time, you may want to look into how to stop contact naps altogether.
While there is no official guide on stopping contact naps, there are a few things that you can do (and practice) until your baby is comfortable enough to sleep on their own in their bassinet or crib.
The first thing you need to do is ease your baby into the transition from sleeping in your arms to sleeping in their crib. You can do this by rocking them in your arms until they are almost asleep. Your baby mustn’t fall asleep in your arms during this time, as this can cause unwanted disturbances in their sleep.
Once your little one is drifting off, you can place them into their crib and allow them to fall asleep by themselves. You should make sure that the bed is warm to create a more relaxing environment for them, and you can also use a white noise machine to mimic the sounds of your breathing and heartbeat.
At first, you can stay in the room with them until they fall asleep. You may need to reach your hand into the crib and place it gently on their skin to help settle them. After a bit of practice, you should be able to put your baby down in their crib when they are tired and let them drift off on their own.
How To Stay Productive During Contact Naps
Some babies don’t sleep well in a crib or bassinet. But when you have things to do, you may feel that nap times become restrictive and unproductive for you as a new parent. In that case, instead of weaning your baby from contact naps altogether, you may want to find an alternative solution.
One of the best ways to keep up with your busy schedule while also allowing your little one to nap soundly is to use a sling or carrier. These handy products will allow you to free up your arms while still keeping your little one close to your chest or body.
Alternatively, it may be helpful to try and be as productive as possible during your baby’s awake time and nap time. You can place your baby into a playpen or lounger while attending to your housework. It’s essential to remember that you should always keep your baby in your sight, and your baby should not be left unsupervised.
By being as productive as you can before nap time, you can take some time out to rest during your baby’s contact naps.
Are Contact Naps Safe?
Contact naps should never replace nightly sleeping routines, as your baby will need to be supervised during these naps.
Some parents often confuse contact napping with co-sleeping. Co-sleeping refers to when babies and parents sleep on the same surface. Whether it’s the bed or on your baby’s mattress, co-sleeping means sleeping next to one another.
This is an entirely different practice to contact napping, which refers to when your baby is asleep in your arms, on your body, or with some part of their skin touching yours.
While your baby is asleep, they can quickly suffocate themselves or be injured if they tumble off of you. For this reason, contact naps should only be done when the parent is awake.
Contact napping is an excellent bonding experience for both mom and baby. It can even be beneficial to your baby’s sleep patterns. However, suppose your child’s napping habits have become challenging to manage. In that case, there are ways to wean your baby from contact napping altogether.
Kelly is a mom of 3 and has a degree in Psychology. She has been a parenting content writer for years. When she’s not managing projects at Lullabybot, she loves to get outdoors with her kids and her dog Bandit, and baking desserts on weekends.