I so often have parents reach out to me wondering how to “break the habit” of having a baby who habitually contact naps.
I want to start by saying that if you are struggling with these naps, and they are not working for you because you are finding them physically or emotionally taxing, we can absolutely work to make changes that support your needs and the attachment needs of your baby.
But – and this is important – 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐧𝐚𝐩𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚 𝐛𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠. You are not creating a bad habit. You are not “setting yourself up” for a baby who will never sleep independently. And, much to the sleep training industry’s chagrin, there is absolutely no truth to the idea that contact naps are somehow “less restorative”.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Everything we know about attachment teaches us that in order for a child to develop independence, we first must allow them to depend on us. For some babies, they crave that dependence when they are at their most vulnerable – when they are scared, hurt, or ready for sleep. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So if you have a contact napper, and you have the ability to embrace it – 𝘨𝘰 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘵. Let go of the “should dos”, because most of them are completely false anyway; enjoy the cuddles, because they won’t last forever; and grab yourself a snack and a remote and settle in for your contact nap whenever you feel like it’s best for your child.