It sounds funny, but we are often approached for help by parents with opposite requests: “my baby only sleeps in the stroller” and “my baby doesn’t sleep in the stroller at all. How to be and what to do about sleep on the move and on a walk? Let’s figure it out!
Sleeping on the move – useful or not?
Most babies under 12 months of age easily fall asleep on the move, for example, in strollers, in the car, in a sling. And most parents, taking advantage of this feature of children, plan their affairs with the expectation that the baby will sleep in motion during the day. But it is important for all parents to understand that sleeping on the move is a poor quality of sleep and does not allow the child’s brain to go into a deep sleep. And therefore, to recover and properly rest.
It is important to understand that sleep in motion is poor quality sleep and does not allow the child’s brain to go into a deep sleep. And therefore, to recover and properly rest.
Two main reasons why sleep in motion can be described as poor quality:
- Peculiarities of the vestibular apparatus
While sleeping in motion, the vestibular apparatus constantly sends signals to the baby’s brain about changes in body position (shaking, bumps, climbs, descents, rocking, turns). This is why sleep cannot go into a deep phase. The child falls into a sleep-like state, which is not sleep and does not carry recovery and recuperation.
During sleep in motion, the vestibular apparatus constantly sends signals to the child’s brain about changes in body position. This is why sleep cannot go into a deep phase.
- Unsuitable sleeping conditions
Sleeping conditions on a walk are very far from ideal. Daylight, too low or high temperature, street sounds – all these conditions are not conducive to quality sleep. In order for your baby to have a good rest, it is important to monitor his or her sleep hygiene. This is why we recommend that from 6-8 weeks of age, you put your baby in a crib for all daytime naps. The exception is the last daytime nap, which can be arranged in all conditions without affecting the regime.
Why does my baby suddenly refuse to sleep in the stroller outside?
It also happens that your baby has been sleeping perfectly well in the stroller since birth, but then suddenly begins to resist such sleep. Most often such a change occurs in children at the age of 3 months or older. Why does this happen? Here are a few reasons why babies refuse to sleep on walks:
- changes in sleep patterns From birth, infant sleep does not resemble adult sleep at all. Up until the third month of life, children’s sleep is “undeveloped” – sleep is chaotic, phases of sleep replace each other without any particular system, and more than 50% is active, superficial sleep. From the third month on, children’s sleep patterns change, becoming closer to those of adults. From the 3rd or 4th month, predictable sleep cycles of 40 minutes can be observed, after which babies wake up and require parental assistance to fall asleep again.
- Sleep Conditions. As sleep patterns change, babies become more demanding of sleep conditions that cannot be achieved on a walk or in a car. The “3T” rule of darkness, silence, and temperature is important for quality sleep conditions. Darkness. In the third month, babies begin to produce melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” That is why darkness becomes important for quality sleep, both during the day and at night. After all, it is light that destroys the hormone melatonin. When sleep is organized on the go, complete darkness is not possible, and the light hitting the baby’s retina immediately sends a signal to the brain that it is time to wake up. Silence. When the baby sleeps at home in a static crib there is always some level of household noise, this is normal. The most unpleasant for sleep are sharp sounds, very different in volume from the general background noise by 10-15 dB, it is these sounds can make sleep superficial or even wake up the baby. But at home, these sounds may be “masked” with white noise devices, while during a walk, babies are surrounded by a variety of sounds with big volume differences. Temperature. In our climate zone, we rarely have weather with the right temperature for a comfortable and quality sleep. And too low or too high a temperature is one factor that interferes with sleep. The optimal temperature for sleep is no higher than 20-22 degrees.
- Sleep position Babies are getting older and getting better at owning their bodies. They can change their sleeping position, try to turn over on their side or find a more comfortable position for their arms, legs or head. While in the stroller, the baby cannot change the position of the body during sleep – the harness, envelope or a lot of clothes do not allow this possibility. This can be a wake-up call. Sometimes the habit of sleeping outside in the winter goes away with the reduction of clothing in the spring. A baby who is used to sleeping “swaddled” in a romper and envelope does not know how to sleep with his arms free.
- The baby is getting more and more interested in being awake Babies are increasingly interested in the world around them. They are interested in observing everything that is going on around them, especially on a walk where there are so many new things. The baby “monitors” the environment around them, curiosity can keep the baby awake. Often anxious babies refuse to sleep on walks since birth. Don’t let this scare you. Put your baby down for a daytime nap in a crib, sleeping in a static bed is better. How do you move your baby to a crib for daytime sleep?
Start habituation to the crib with a morning nap. Before this, air the room well, darken it, provide silence, or turn on white noise. Try to prolong the short nap by any method available to you. After 4-5 days, arrange for an afternoon nap in the crib as well.