How to get shit done while contact napping

I know you’ve heard it.. you get “you time” and time to get things done while the baby sleeps. This is why you’re supposed to be able to put them down, right? Drowsy but awake, of course that works for every baby… HA!

One of my favorite pieces of advice is, “don’t do anything while the baby is asleep that you could do while awake.” It’s true. Your baby doesn’t need to be asleep in order for you to take a shower, or cook, or clean. You may need your baby to be asleep to appropriately respond to a work email though…

So how do you get these things done AND soak up the cuddles of a baby (or toddler) that won’t let you put them down to sleep? First off, let’s take a big ole breath knowing that your child is NORMAL for wanting to be held.

Second, I want to let you know that these tips are for contact naps with ONE child. But don’t worry- I’ll have one up soon about contact naps with two children!!

Third, I’m providing a few sample schedules here but, as always, I recommend following more of a routine than a set schedule! Follow your baby’s cues and follow your instincts! See the original posts from Instagram below!

Let’s get to the routines…

Since newborn life is a bit hectic, I’m just going to give a few tips for those contact naps.

– Don’t do anything while baby is asleep that you can do while they’re awake! This is such great advice. You don’t need to shower or eat only when your child is sleeping, you can do that while they’re awake too. Will it be a quick few bites and/or a quick shower sometimes? Yes. But sometimes you’ll get longer! Bring baby into the bathroom and let him chill and play on the floor! This can also help you to develop a little bit of a routine for independent play, allowing your child to be curious about their surroundings and how to interact with various toys/things in different environments.

– Get things done immediately after they wake up and nurse/feed. This is when they will likely be happiest and most content, aka most willing to be on the floor for a few minutes without you!

– Figure out what you CAN get done while contact napping. In these early days, I always encourage rest and sleep if possible, but if not, what can you get done? Make a grocery list? Order food? Type up an email? Listen to a course? Make sure you have whatever you need BEFORE you sit down! And don’t forget to pee before then too 😉

3-5ish months: approximately 4 naps a day, some days more, some days less- depending on your baby! I’m just going to do 1.5 and 2 hour wake windows for purpose of ease. Adjust to your baby! And please, please, PLEASE feed on demand (not based on this schedule!!).

6:30: Wake, Feed
6:45: Get yourself ready for the day while baby plays on the ground next to you!
7:00: Breakfast/Coffee + 5 minutes of whatever you can get done — Usually the dishwasher takes only a few minutes to load/unload. Most likely after this (or even during), baby will start getting fussy and want you to hold them. Make sure you change positions a little while they’re on the ground. Having a blanket and play area set up in every room will help!
8:00: Nap (maybe feed here if nursing to sleep-totally okay!)
9:00: Wake, Feed
9:15: Spend 5-10 minutes getting something done – can you finish those dishes? Can you throw in or switch over some laundry (I always recommend doing laundry first thing in the day if you can since it takes just a few minutes and can run in the background). Do anything that is not in reach when you have baby, prep for the next nap! If baby wearing – set up snacks and your computer if needed nearby. If contact napping on a couch or bed, bring snacks, a book, etc. to your area!
10:30: Nap (+feed?) – During the nap, answer emails/texts on your phone, drink some water or eat a snack. Read a book, watch some Netflix (with headphones).
11:30: Wake, feed
11:45: Take 5-10 minutes again getting things done while baby plays independently. Then play with baby!
1:00: Nap (+feed?) — if you want to get outside for a walk, do it! Grab your baby carrier or stroller (if little one is okay sleeping in those) and grab the nap there! Get yourself some exercise, fresh air, and vitamin D! Want to stay inside and baby wear but still want some exercise? Many bodyweight exercises can be easily done while you have the baby in a supportive carrier.
2:00: Wake, Feed
2:15: Again, take 5-10 minutes to prep something. Need to throw in dinner? I always recommend baking and cooking multiple things at once, and as early in the day as possible! That way you have the whole day to clean up vs 10 mins before bed. Yes, I know it won’t be “fresh” for dinner, but you can have those fancy meals on another day when you have more help!
3:45: Nap, (+feed?). If you’re going to use the bathroom when baby wearing, be sure to do it after about 5-10 minutes of baby being asleep – and – don’t wear leggings, they’re too hard to pull down!
5:00: Wake, Feed
5:15: Get things done again for a few minutes! Make sure one of those things is eating dinner 🙂
6:00: Begin bedtime routine.
7:00: Bedtime + feed! Nurse to sleep if you want! When you want to change sleep associations, you can 😉

I’m posting some old posts below to give you an example of a day with 3 and 2 naps as well! As always, adjust these routines to YOUR baby and YOU. Rigid schedules are no fun for anyone but you CAN get things done even while contact napping with your baby. I just typed this blog while contact napping with mine 😉

Good luck, friends! This time will pass and I promise you will miss those snuggles 🙂

Published by Jennifer Palmer PT, DPT

Instagram: @thesleepdpt Twitter: @thesleepdpt Facebook: The Sleep DPT Facebook Group: The Sleep DPT & Friends

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