Daycares and Sleep

Going back to work can be so stressful! Every mama feels the weight of this in the months and weeks leading up to their first day back after maternity leave. Not only do we stress about leaving our baby with someone new but we worry how they will sleep when they are there. Often there is so much stress around napping because they nap twice at home and now may be expected to only nap once at daycare.  How is that going to work?

What can I expect nap time to look like at daycare?

When you are checking out day cares it is great to ask to see where your baby will be sleeping and how do they get them to fall asleep. Most day cares are set up with separated rooms for children that are in the same age group. At nap time they usually sleep on a cot and they all lie down after lunch and “go to sleep”. It is quite incredible to watch a room full of little ones put their heads down and settle to sleep. Your child may even have nap time in a crib but it depends on the age that your child starts daycare.

Naps often take time to adjust at daycare and may be shorter than they normally are at home. The first few days of daycare, your little one might get a little help getting them to settle with a back rub but quickly they learn to settle themselves.   Things that can help with nap transition at daycare are: taking their lovie, sleep sack or blanket with them to sleep with. These familiar items will help your baby feel safe and secure during their nap.

Having open communication with your childcare provider will create a partnership where you can keep each other informed about day and night sleep, new milestones, unusual behaviours, sickness as well as nutrition.

My baby naps twice at home and is expected to do only one nap?

Sleep is a huge component of transitioning back to work. Around 14-16 months is usually when babies start to drop down to one nap. Often babies are still napping twice a day at home and at daycare they have one nap. It can be a struggle for some babies to get to that once a day nap time. You may find on the weekends that your baby still has 2 naps to catch up on some sleep and that is OK!

How do I adjust my baby’s sleep schedule on daycare days?

On the days your child is in daycare you may find they are more tired, so try putting them to bed at least 30 minutes earlier than you normally would. Putting them to bed early can be hard because you haven’t seen your baby all day and it feels so rushed when you get home. Some babies are so tired that they may not eat as much as they usually do at dinner or you may find they are hungrier depending on what they ate that day. Finding that balance of daycare, dinner and bedtime routine is tricky in the beginning but it does get easier.

Your baby will adjust, but it will take a few weeks. For some babies, it can take a full month to fully adjust to their new routine. Think of it like time change or dropping a nap – you are going to have to adjust their sleep schedule for a few weeks until they acclimatize to their new routine. Once they start to adjust you will likely find that you are able to move your bedtime back to its usual time.  

Hang in there, it will get better!  You got this mama!

The transition back to work can be a struggle as there is so much to juggle and balance!! Both you and your baby need sleep. If you have any questions, or need help adjusting your baby’s schedule please reach out to a Mama Coach in your area. We are happy to help!! To Book a free 15 min consultation click here.


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