From baby yoga, to postnatal fitness classes, there are plenty of options to choose from these days if you and your baby want to get out and connect with other families. But let’s face it - as fun as activities with our babies can be, they aren’t always easy if you’re trying to follow a nap schedule. So, do you really need to be a slave to the nap schedule, or can you have the best of both worlds by still going out while having a well-rested child? Luckily, here are a few simple tips to make it work.
1. Be mindful of your baby’s age
Babies can start to be put on a nap schedule as of about four months old when their biological rhythms kick in. So, if you’re about to register for a class that will occur for the next three months, then think about how old your baby will be during this period. If you have a newborn, no need to worry — just relax and enjoy this time when your baby is able to sleep anywhere, anytime! But if your baby will turn four months early in the session and the class falls right in the middle of nap time, then it might be best to look for something else that both you and your baby will enjoy.
2. Time your activities wisely
To put in place your baby’s nap schedule, you’ll want to avoid scheduling anything that will fall during your baby’s morning or early afternoon naps. The morning nap typically should start between 8:30-9:00am, whereas the afternoon one should begin between 12:00-1:00pm, and should eventually start as close to 1:00pm as possible. By planning around these times, you’ll allow your baby to benefit from restorative naps at home, while still being able to get your activities in. Personally, I’ve always found that the best time to head out was in between both naps around 10:30am. This always made for a fun outing in the morning, and my kids were still able to sleep at home for all naps. A great example of a well-timed activity like this is the mama-baby class offered by Studio Vie from 10:30-11:30am.
3. Plan ahead and make a quick getaway
An important part to making outings and the nap schedule work is to get your baby back home quickly. This is key to prevent him from getting overtired and falling asleep on the way home! This isn’t always easy, especially after a stimulating class, so it helps to plan ahead. Simple things, like having your baby’s food ready at home should he need to eat before his nap, or better yet, feeding him towards the end of class before leaving to save time when you get home can really help. Also, packing up and doing a quick diaper change before the end of class and keeping farewells with other parents brief, can all help to make your quick getaway a success.
Oh yes, one more thing…be sure to always pack your baby’s favourite toy or snack to keep him distracted on the ride home! Something as simple as this just might make all the difference.
Photo credit: Jana Sedivec, Studio Vie