Disney parks are filled with bright lights, loud sounds, and colorful characters, making it a challenging place for Baby to relax. But we all know that a sleepy baby is a cranky baby, so naptime is imperative!
If you have plans to make it from rope drop to closing at the Disney parks, you’ll need to squeeze in a nap (or two) for your little one. Here are ideas for getting that much-needed sleep in.
Stop for a Diaper Change and a Good Feeding – As soon as baby starts getting fussy, make the Baby Care Center your first stop. There is a Baby Care Center inside each of the Disney parks. Here, you’ll be able to use a highchair for feeding, change her diaper, and even purchase baby essentials if you need them. Though you are welcome to breastfeed anywhere in the Park that you want, there are private areas for nursing inside so you can rock Baby to sleep in a room that’s considerably quiet and less distracting than anywhere else in the Park. Once baby has a full tummy, she’ll be more apt to nap.
Roll with It – Settle Baby comfortably in their stroller for a ride. A stroller with a recline setting will allow him to lay back and be most comfy. Bring a lightweight receiving blanket to drape over the stroller opening and block out the sun. Clip a baby-safe battery operated fan inside to keep him cool while he rests. If baby uses a pacifier, attach it to a clip on their shirt so it doesn’t fall out of the stroller.
Be Cool – Is Baby hating the heat? My little one has the hardest time settling down to sleep when she’s overly warm. Seek out a location with just the right temperature to make Baby comfortable. Even if this just means strolling around the aisles of the gift shops to soak up the air conditioning, so be it!
Find Quiet Corners – Each Park has several relatively quiet areas you can park Baby’s stroller during nap time. If you don’t know of one, ask a Cast Member and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. This is the perfect time for everyone in your group to get off their feet and rest a bit. I like to give my older kids a special treat while we regroup and let Baby nap.
Hold Her Tight – My baby girl loves to be held while she sleeps but my poor arms and shoulders are aching after a few minutes of that! Bring along the baby carrier so your sleeping baby can rest and you can still have the use of both your hands. You’ll also be able to wear your baby in a carrier on many rides in the Parks.
Seek Out the Dark – Some of the Disney park “dark rides” are air-conditioned, slow-moving, and dark enough for a little one to fall asleep. Older babies may be too distracted by the noise and action though. I hear that Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is a sure-fire naptime hit (with young and old alike!)
Take a Ride – There’s a reason bouncy seats and swings are so popular – Babies like the feeling of motion! Choose a ride on a continuous loop to lull baby into dreamland, like a gentle ride on the Monorail, the Mark Twain, or Liberty Square Riverboat.
If attempting a nap inside the Park isn’t working, it might be time to head back to the hotel and try your luck there!
Make a Splash! – Swimming at the resort hotel pool is quite often the ticket to a long nap. All that splashing under the sun really tires babies out! Grab a chaise in the shade and let her nap poolside.
Know When to Retreat – Back in your hotel room, you can crank up the A/C, play some soft music and draw the blackout curtains so everyone can take a snooze.
Don’t worry too much if Baby’s naps during your trip aren’t on schedule or are considerably shorter than usual. Vacations tend to disrupt any set schedules but your normal routine can be picked back up when you’re home again. And don’t get too stressed out about any meltdowns that will (most likely) occur! Look around you and you’ll see plenty of other cranky, nap-deprived kids with parents who are making the same attempts at getting their babies to sleep as you are!