One of the things I remember most clearly about all of the sleep training books I read when Huck was brand new was, “Don’t let them get used to falling asleep to motion!” I let that advice stress me out for approximately two days before realizing… no but I want my baby to fall asleep while in motion. And while nursing. Possibly while I rock him, and definitely while I’m shopping…..
Huck and the stroller and I went on to have a very beneficial, very lovely, quite perfect little love affair. One that I am taking advantage of to this day! Because I am here to tell you, dear friends: as a city mom, the stroller nap is the meaning of life.
Tips on how you can find your own meaning of life with your young one, after the jump.
The genius of the stroller nap is in its sneakiness. Your child can let his drowsiness come on slowly while the rhythmic bumping over cracks in the sidewalk will lull him gently to sleep. The noises on the street provide the perfect white noise and will help him learn to sleep through the occasional loud noise, which can only help naps at home when the doorbell goes off unexpectedly.
We’ve found that the best position for falling asleep is just ever so slightly inclined, so that he can see out and about while nodding off, yet just reclined enough that his head can droop comfortably when sleep overtakes him. And though it flies in the face of all our motherly instincts, if he does fall asleep in an awkward position, experts say it’s best to just let him sleep. If he’s uncomfortable, he’ll wake–hopefully just long enough to adjust his position before drifting back to dreamland–whereas if you try to adjust for him, he might wake with a startle and a grumpy reentry into wakefulness.
Is it cold out? Gear up! We like a zip-up stroller muff (stays in place better than a stroller blanket) and a plastic rain guard comes in especially handy on days when the wind is brutal. There are plenty of holes for ventilation, but not enough that those little cheeks are exposed to any hostile breezes.
Don’t shy away from rough ground like cobblestones or (if you’re in the city) subway grates. Those fun textures can sometimes do the trick and put him right to sleep.
When in doubt, opt for on the side of just a little cool. Take off his socks, or remove his hat, or push his sleeves up to expose his wrists. In my experience, a warm baby is sleeps blissfully, and an overheated baby sleeps not so blissfully.
Make sure he has been recently fed, watered, and changed. Make those sweet babies as comfortable as possible.
Make a phone call while you walk. The constant, low murmur of his mother’s voice just off in the distance is so soothing to a little guy, and multitasking just feels so good, doesn’t it? :)
What are your best tips for ensuring a successful stroller nap?