Do You Know Why Your Baby Loves Sleeping In A Stroller?
In order to comfortably sleep at night, babies need frequent naps throughout the day. This is even more essential when your baby is a troubled sleeper. You, therefore, need to schedule nap time during the day if the baby is to sleep better at night.
It turns out; one of the places where babies find it ideal to take a nap in is while in a stroller. The allure provided by the stroller is always too strong for some babies to resist. The soothing swaying movements, cocoon-like environment, fresh air, and canopy makes for a great sleeping environment.
More often than not, the reasons as to why your baby loves sleeping in a stroller vary from time to time and from baby to baby. During this age, especially below six months, babies can literally sleep anywhere. In today’s post, I’ll try to help you figure out why your little one has a liking for a stroller naptime.
Why Motion Sleep is Helpful to a Baby
Before I get you into the details of why some babies (yours in particular) love sleeping in a stroller, let's look at some of the reasons why you need to encourage it.
Don’t get me wrong here; it is only beneficial to some degree beyond which experts discourage motion to sleep. It could be either in a sling, swing, stroller, infant carrier or a car seat. But first things first, here are some of the benefits of motion sleep.
- Sleeping in a stroller conditions babies to be better sleepers. The fresh cold air in the outdoors makes for a soothing condition, hence longer sleeps during the night.
- Spending quality time outdoors reduces the chances of your baby catching a cold. It gives the baby a chance to escape the high concentration of germs in enclosed environments.
- Getting exposed to nature has a tendency of having a calming influence on babies. Your baby would become less fussy in the process.
- Babies who nap in strollers allow their parents to engage in active outdoor sports such as jogging. This contributes to an overall better mental health for parents.
- Rather than having to make the baby sleep inside the crib, motion sleep makes it possible for parents to run errands. I would rather walk my baby around while asleep instead of fighting to have her sleep in her crib.
- You can also use motion sleep to bridge the gap between naptime and bedtime in case you feel it’s too long apart. Just ensure it doesn’t push back on the bedtime too much. For instance, I wouldn’t recommend a stroller sleep after 5 pm.
Why Your Baby Loves Sleeping in a Stroller
Modern parents love it when their babies spend some time sleeping either in a stroller or in the infant car seat while you drive. The thing is, not all babies love these types of sleep due to the uniqueness of every one of them. But why do some find stroller rides enticing enough to sleep? Let’s find out.
- Soothing Rocking Motion
Since their time in the womb, babies get accustomed to your daily movements. This makes them develop an association between movements and sleep. You must have noticed that when your baby becomes fussy, rocking her in your arms calms her down, bringing her to a rest.
As you walk her around in her stroller, the rocking motion acts the same way as a soothing agent. When combined with the cocoon of sorts inside the stroller, then you have a womb type of scenario. These conditions lull your baby to sleep in the stroller.
- Presence of Fresh Air
Everybody knows that fresh air is good for us humans, whether adults or babies. Taking a walk in the refreshing afternoon air impacts a great deal to the sleeping behavior of babies (adults too). It is no coincidence that most parents concur with the notion that babies sleep better after taking a nap in the fresh outside air.
Perhaps the reason for this occurrence is the sleep-inducing cool breeze brushing off against their eyes which has an effect that makes them sleep. This phenomenon is true even for adults. One feels drowsy after spending some time in the cool fresh air.
- Hyper Activity During the Day
Babies might not get involved in much play due to their inactivity at this age, but at some point, even the little they have wears them out. By you taking them out for a walk, they get an opportunity to chill out from the tiresome rounds of singing from you.
After getting into a stroller, a baby finds a fitting and comfortable place to close their eyes and sleep. Such sleeping would have been otherwise harder to come by back at home. Additionally, a stroller seat plays a role as its snug fit makes for an excellent sleeping spot for an overtired little one.
- Dark Space Created by the Canopy
As you go for a walk with your baby, chances are that you have the canopy covering the baby. This cover is probably to offer protection from various external elements. It could be windy outside, too cold, too sunny or you just don’t want to draw too much attention to your baby.
The canopy over the baby forms a dark shade over the baby, which gives the illusion of nighttime. It also keeps out the bright light which makes it hard for babies to sleep. Actually, if your baby does not usually sleep in a stroller, it is recommended that you try pulling over the canopy over her. If you are lucky, the serene condition created might just work for you.
- Relaxing Atmosphere
One thing is for sure, you are most likely to fall asleep when your brain is relaxed than when you have a lot in your mind. The same applies to babies. It is only when they are relaxed that their brains remind them of the need to take a nap.
All the crawling, toy batting or uncoordinated talk tires them out. There is no moment a baby would be still for long enough for the brain to trigger sleep. So, when the baby finds the relaxing environment in a stroller during a walk, she starts to yawn out of nowhere and then falls asleep.
Is Motion Sleep Recommended for Babies?
Even though some parents rely on motion sleeps to pass through the day, the America Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions against the continuous or prolonged practice of this sleeping method. Apparently, it puts your baby at greater risk of succumbing to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
AAP recommends that when your baby falls asleep in the stroller, you need to move her to a firmer surface to sleep. But if the stroller is the pram style ones, then there is no apparent harm the baby is exposed to. These types are considered rolling bassinets, which are a feasible sleeping surface according to AAP.
There are several reasons why you should not let your baby sleep in the stroller, more so when it's for a short period. Here are some of these:
- They Get the Wrong Kind of Sleep
One of the concerns about sleeping in a stroller is the tendency of babies not to get restorative sleep. This type of sleep is reminiscent of the one you get while traveling or on a plane. For babies, restorative sleep is essential for their developing brains.
- Babies Become Cranky
When either car or stroller napping, babies do not get a full sleeping cycle. A full sleeping cycle for a baby is usually around 50 minutes. They wake up when the car or stroller stops, averaging about 20 to 30 minutes of sleep.
These short sleeping times make a baby crankier and fussy when she wakes up. It might be the reason for the occurrence of fragmented sleep in some of the stroller sleepers.
However, despite all the resistance towards stroller sleeping, there is still no evidence that your baby would be receiving a lesser quality sleep than in a crib. For a better sleeping time devoid of stops, try to time the naps such that they coincide with stops at the park or café.
Weekend trips in your car or a late afternoon walk with your baby are the only time most parents find to spend quality time with the baby. The busy work schedules mean that family time is restricted. So instead of letting the baby have her nap back at home in the crib, why not bring her along too?
The soothing rocking motion, fresh air, and canopy are some of the reasons why your baby loves sleeping in a stroller. Therefore, you do not experience any disruptions in your get together plans. Once she wakes up, you can proceed with the fun you were having.