Every parent has probably been nap trapped by a sleeping baby or toddler at least once. In fact, it might be something you experience regularly. If you love letting your child snuggle up for a contact nap but you still want to feel productive -- or have some time to yourself -- while they snooze, we can help. There are plenty of things you can do while nap trapped!
What Does It Mean to Be Nap Trapped?
You have a long list of things to do and it's nap time for your little one. You're hoping they'll nap soundly in their crib or bed, but it looks like another day of contacting napping. That's what it means to be nap trapped: allowing your child to have a comfortable contact nap while you're more or less "trapped" beneath a sleeping babe.
Contact naps -- any nap your child has while having skin to skin contact -- can happen well into the toddler years. No need to worry; consistent contact naps are not a bad habit for your or your little one. Some babies and toddlers are snugglier than others and you might find one child loves contact naps for longer than others. What matters most is that you choose the nap routine and arrangement that works best for both of you.
Some people also refer to being nap trapped by having to be at home even if their baby or toddler naps in their crib or bed. All the ideas below work regardless of which type of nap trap you're in, and might help you feel more positive about nap time instead of feeling stuck.
5 Productive Things to Do During a Contact Nap
If you need things to do while your little one enjoys a contact nap, these are some of the things I turned to when I needed to feel productive during nap time. These tasks helped me feel more in control of my day and like I actually did something besides sit and wait for my daughter to wake up.
1. Meal Plan
You probably have to do this at some point during the week anyway, so why not knock it out during naptime? Meal planning, making grocery lists, and even placing your grocery pick up order online can all be done on your phone. With all the extra time you get during a contact nap, you can browse through recipes on Pinterest and plan your most exciting week of meals yet.
Baby carrying is another way to let your child nap on your while you take care of tasks around your home, go for a walk, or get some work done.
2. Start a Side Hustle
Many blogs and businesses have started with babies sleeping on tired moms. While you're nap trapped, you can research business practices and build your business plan. This is also a great time to start that new social media account, build an email newsletter for your blog, or catch up on emails.
3. Plan Your Next Remodel
You're probably already scrolling through beautiful home decor websites or home building inspiration on Pinterest anyway. Why not turn your mindless scroll into an actual plan for your next home remodel? You can save photos you like, create a mood board on your phone, request quotes from subcontractors, and shop for finishes.
4. Make a List
There are two major perks to creating lists: you get to empty your brain of all the thoughts bouncing around in there and you get to kickstart your productivity. Here are some lists you can work on while nap trapped:
5. Clear Your Inbox
You know all those junk email notifications you get throughout the day? When you clear the notifications and never actually check your inbox, those tend to pile up. A contact nap is your opportunity to start deleting those emails and even unsubscribing from the ones you are no longer interested in.
While you're clearing unwanted emails, you can also declutter apps on your phone, fine-tune your social media following, and organize your digital photos.
5 Restful Things to Do While Nap Trapped
While productivity is wonderful, sometimes rest is what you truly need. Isn't that why we sometimes look forward to our child's nap -- so we can get some rest as well? These are the restful things I did during my daughter's contact naps.
1. Read a Book
When I was still deep in the contact nap days, I would read books through the Kindle app on my phone. I never remembered to grab an actual book or keep any nearby during those contact nap days, but I did always have my phone on hand. I would scroll through book titles, find ones I thought were interesting, and dig in to an afternoon of reading. If you love to read actual books, keep a stack near your contact nap area. If you're also an e-book reader, keep your phone charger close by.
2. Listen to an Audio Book
If your eyes are a bit too heavy for reading an actual book, you might opt for an audio book instead. There's nothing quite as relaxing as having someone else read a mystery novel or epic love story while you sit back and snuggle your little one.
3. Take a Nap Too
Many of my daughter's contact naps ended with both of us snuggled up and sleeping. If what you need most to feel rested and have a productive day later on is a little bit of shut eye, embrace the naptime for yourself. You can safely co sleep with your little one for a nap that helps you both have a better day.
4. Catch Up on a Show
If ever there were a time to binge your favorite show or watch your go-to crying movie, it's while you're nap trapped. As a parent, you probably don't get much screen time for yourself, so sneaking some in during a contact nap is one way to get some control back in those early baby days and enjoy something that's just yours.
5. Try Mindfulness Activities
This might be the most beneficial thing you can do while trapped under a sleeping baby. Just enjoy the opportunity to stop and be still for a while and practice some mindfulness activities. Pray or meditate or think through some things you're grateful for. You can also engage your senses and think of the things you can see, smell, hear, and touch. Mindfulness can happen however it feels most comfortable to you: the point is just that you take the time to be intentional and present.
Embracing the Nap Trap
When my daughter was in her strongest contact nap phase, I gave in to many a nap trapped afternoon. I truly could not put her down after she fell asleep without having to start the whole nap process over and I didn't have the energy for that most days. During those seemingly endless days of feeling trapped beneath a sleeping baby, I felt unproductive and as if my time were no longer my own.
I chose to embrace the contact nap and discover ways I could give my daughter the skin-to-skin contact that comforted her while still feeling productive, or even restful, myself. I found a few things I could do while nap trapped to either get something accomplished or have some time of quiet rest.
Don't Feel Trapped Anymore
The best thing I did when I was nap trapped was focus on getting to have those moments with my daughter because I knew those moments were fleeting. I discovered a balance between doing something I actually wanted to do and soaking in those temporary baby and toddler experiences. So, while you're trying to figure out what to do during a contact nap, you might also discover that you're not quite as trapped as you feel.