Naps on the go can be super effective…and also super necessary at times (am I right?!).
In this blog, I’m going to talk about:
Let’s jump right in!
How to Help Your Baby Get Good Naps on the Go
The truth is the majority of your naps on the go (unless you’re baby-wearing…click here to see why I love baby-wearing on Instagram!) will most likely be while your baby is in their car seat.
* A quick safety note!
In case you did not know, it’s safe for your baby to sleep in their car seat when it’s properly clipped in your vehicle, however, it is NOT safe if the car seat isn’t in the vehicle.This has to do with the angle that the car seat is in when it’s properly buckled into the vehicle vs when it is set on a flat surface like the floor.
So, if your baby falls asleep in the car, you can either keep driving, do your best to transfer them to a safe sleep space/contact nap, or just move on with the day and expect the next wake window to be a little shorter. Check out this Instagram reel where I talk about sleep and car seat safety.
Click here to watch the video on car seats and safe sleep on Instagram.
But more on this later! Here are my three favorite tips for car seat naps…
1. Invest in a portable white noise machine
Your everyday white noise machine is fine (as long as it doesn’t need to be plugged in to work while you’re “on the go”)…BUT, a portable one that can clip onto the car seat or stroller can be a game changer!
White noise machines can offer a range of calming sounds and volumes and can be the BEST for drowning out any distractions. (*FYI, if you’re still looking for a good sound machine for normal, everyday naps, the Hatch Rest Baby Sound Machine/Night Light is one of my favorites!)
2. Plan ahead for a transition
This depends on what kind of on-the-go nap this is. Are you using the car ride as a tool for getting in a full nap? Did your baby just happen to fall asleep on the way home? What about falling asleep NOT on the way home?
As I mentioned before, it is not safe for your baby to sleep in their car seat if it isn’t properly clipped into your vehicle. This means that once you arrive at your destination, you’ll need to have somewhere safe for your baby to sleep, whether that is in your arms, a bassinet, or a pack ‘n play.
3. Be prepared for waiting it out
This tip is for you, mama!
If the “on the go” part of the nap is over, but the nap isn’t over, make sure you have a plan set for if you choose to wait out the nap. Have some snacks, drinks, and entertainment ready and packed for yourself!
Transferring Your Napping Baby Into Their Normal Sleep Space
As I mentioned earlier, it’s not safe for your baby to sleep in the car seat when it’s NOT properly clipped into your car. So, if you don’t plan on waiting out the nap, you’ve got to transfer your baby to a safe sleep space.
This can be tricky…your baby was just lulled asleep by the drive, and now you have to pull them out of it. And car seats can be loud! Not to mention the noise our OWN bodies make when we bend down to unbuckle them. Thanks a ton…, popping mom knees.
My best piece of advice for pulling a sleeping baby out of their car seat is to keep them nice and snug to your body as you quickly move them to their safe sleep space. Stack on a few soothing strategies once you lay them down (shushing, booty pats, etc.) to see if you can save the nap.
Check out this reel where I try to stealthily pull a baby out of her car seat to save the nap!
Click here to watch the reel on Instagram.
Tips for Naps When Traveling
What if your “on-the-go” is a little longer than an errand for the day? Let’s talk vacation and baby sleep!
Family trips mean A LOT of prep work for mom and/or dad. There’s the planning, the executing, all the money that goes into it…and then there’s worrying that your baby’s naps are going to be garbage.
Here are some tips and tricks to make sure that everyone is getting the sleep they need:
1. Again…bring a (portable – if you can!) sound machine
I guess the moral of this blog is that white noise machines can be a lifesaver. Place your white noise machine between your baby and where ever the most disruptive noise could come from.
2. Pack window coverings
This way you can ensure that their sleep space is nice and dark. Something as simple as garbage backs and tape work great!
3. Mimic their usual sleep environment as closely as possible
This means making sure you bring along any lovies, their sleep sack, swaddle, nightlight, etc.
4. Bring an unwashed sheet from home
This can either be from your bed or their bed/crib. It’ll smell familiar, and bring them some comfort!
5. Try to give them their own sleep space
If your baby normally sleeps in their own room at home, try to give them their own sleep space while traveling. This can even mean a well-ventilated walk-in closet/bathroom, or sectioning off a room so they feel like they have their own sleep space. I go more in-depth into each of these tips and have even more in this “5 Tips for Ensure Your Baby Sleeps While Traveling” blog post!
Above all, remember that it IS likely that your baby’s sleep will be thrown off at least a little bit while traveling/on a family trip or vacation. That being said, do what you need to do to get the sleep you both need. You can get independent sleep back on track once you are home!
Recap on Naps on the Go
Whether it’s on purpose or not, naps on the go don’t need to be scary! You have plenty of options when it comes to waiting the nap out, transferring your sleeping baby, and even in what tools you use for those longer “on the goes” (family trips and traveling!).
If you haven’t already, and your baby is 4 months or older, the best thing you can do to secure great sleep is start sleep learning.
For even more individualized support, grab a consultation! We are here to help you troubleshoot your baby’s general sleep issues, get expert answers to your questions, and help get you and your baby the sleep you deserve.