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Sleep training for naps: letting baby cry it out, for how long?

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Just like every day, it's time for you to put your little one, William-Henry, in his crib for a nap. And as always, you know that sooner or later he’ll end up crying. And knowing that baby is crying to sleep tears your heart out. So, you tell yourself that'll eventually stop and that, after all, they must learn to sleep on their own. But this thought doesn't help you at all and you feel guilty all the same. So, you ask Google the question that's on your mind: "Should I let my baby cry when sleep training? If so, for how long?".

How long should you let your baby cry? Zero minutes!

Those who have used the "I let baby cry until he falls asleep" method will tell you that it’s effective: when they put baby to bed, he doesn't cry as time passes by! But is that good? The answer is no, and the reason is simple: not being able to talk yet, Baby expresses himself by crying to communicate with Mom and Dad. And like you as an adult, if William-Henry expresses himself, it’s not for nothing; he calls you from his bed during naptime. And if you don't go and see what's going on, as a good baby, your toddler will naturally fall asleep.

Baby napping on his side in a wooden crib

But parents who do this all the time should be worried rather than happy. That means their cherub has stopped communicating with them altogether. Still, the fear of napping is still there, but he keeps it to himself; if he cries, he knows that no one will come. This can sometimes have consequences when your child grows up, such as frustration! Also, they’ll use mega-tantrums to make themselves heard. Worse, according to an American study conducted by the University of Notre Dame, letting Baby cry without comforting him could make him seriously anxious as an adult. So, it's best to go see what William-Henry wants when he cries and deal with his requests; you'll avoid a lot of behavioural problems later on!

What should you do then? Keep baby company until he drifts to sleep!

First, put yourself in the place of your tiny blonde head: only a few months ago, he was in Mommy's belly. To him, that was like an all-inclusive stay in the South, with warmth and unlimited refills! And from one day to the next, he had to face a succession of states, each one more unpleasant than the other after his birth. Hunger, cold, or even excitement and tiredness: so many points of passage that are no fun for William-Henry!

And a nap includes many ingredients that can scare your little one. He finds himself in a dark room all alone, the silence to which he’s subjected is frightening, and he’ll be without Mom or Dad for the duration of the nap. All of these are sources of stress that need to be added to the daily stresses mentioned above! The best thing to do is to accompany him by first setting up a ritual, as you already do at bedtime. The nap ritual will have the same benefits as the bedtime ritual, starting by letting the child know that it's time to sleep. However, it should be shorter than the "real" bedtime ritual, but it can be accompanied by a little story or a song to tell the child that it’s time to sleep.

Mother looking after a sleeping baby

Learn more: Everything you need to know about baby's sleep!

While this ritual must be held at the same time each day, you don't have to start it down to the second. Instead, learn to watch for signs of fatigue in William-Henry! He rubs his eyes and yawns? It's time! Put him to bed right away. It's the ideal time for him to fall asleep quickly and calmly. Also, gradually introduce signals that your baby can associate with sleep. These can include a gentle, “It's time to sleep, little angel”! It's important to do this just as he's getting ready to sleep, not before or after. Finally, if your child expresses the need, try to create a gradual attachment to what may become their favourite cuddly toy. This will reassure your child when it's time to take a nap.

There you have your answer: letting William-Henry cry alone in his bed is a big no-no. Letting him fall asleep crying without consoling him can create major behavioral problems! It's better to look at crying as your baby's way of communicating with you, to see where the problem is and to address it. The best way to have an effective, hassle-free nap is to go through the sacrosanct ritual, which in the case of the nap will be much shorter, while calming your little one. If, however, it’s his bed that makes him shed all the tears in the world, make sure to replace it for the Polysleep Baby Mattress, which you’ll find directly on our website!

The Parent Tested Parent Approved Polysleep Baby Mattress


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