Every time you lay baby down you may breathe a sigh of relief for a moment of peace. The next minute WAAAAAH baby is awake. Do you have no time to get anything done and feel frustrated? Enhance Sleep is here to troubleshoot your short naps and help achieve long, restorative sleep. Get ready to put your feet up and finally enjoy a hot cuppa in peace!
WHAT ARE CATNAPS?
Catnaps are short naps, usually 20-50minutes long.
ARE CATNAPS NORMAL?
I hate to say it mammas but short naps are developmentally normal between 2-6 months of age. Beyond this age we see catnaps become a habit that can feel hard to break.
Please note, If your baby takes 3 or more naps per day know the later nap is often short as the pressure to sleep gets less. Don't waste energy fighting a resettle for that last nap of the day.
DEVELOPMENTALLY NORMAL - If catnaps are your norm and life with your 2-6 month old is feeling overwhelming try for 20 mins to resettle for only 1-2 naps a day. Taking the pressure of you will make your day more bearable. Just offer more naps each day to ensure baby is not left over tired.
SLEEP ASSOCIATIONS - A strong dependence on someone or something to get to sleep can mean baby needs this replicated to achieve longer sleeps. There is not an issue if you rock, hold, feed to sleep but you may see longer naps by removing these associations. It might be time to stop focussing on the resettle after a short nap and work on how baby is falling asleep.
OVER OR UNDER TIREDNESS - Ohh this is a big one. Both will cause short naps. If your wake window's aren't right for baby's age they could be going to bed too tired or not tired enough. How do you tell the difference - look at their behaviour. Kids waking cranky and upset suggest over tiredness caused your short naps. Children waking happy and content suggest under tiredness is the cause.
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS - If catnaps are your norm try to shift your focus away from the short nap and the long resettling driving you crazy. Think more about 24 hours sleep totals. Know your child's age appropriate sleep needs and achieve the daytime total across as many naps as possible.
HUNGER - Feeding to sleep and to resettle can be easy to do but it can mess with a good feeding pattern. Aim for full, well spaced feeds. Effective active feeds when baby wakes or in the first 30mins of baby waking should reassure you baby did not catnap due to hunger. If you are caught in the cycle of short, regular feeds and short, regular naps we can help ease you into more sustainable feeding and sleep habits.
DISCOMFORT - A baby who is sick, cold, hot or in a light environment could wake after a short nap.
WILL IT BE LIKE THIS FOREVER?
Newborn sleep can feel chaotic. Then just as you settle into a better routine the 4 month regression hits. Developmentally normal catnaps then stick around. It can feel like you are breaking from so little sleep and limited time off. I know this is frustrating, I am here to help.
1️⃣ Use our tips to troubleshoot why your little one is taking short naps. If you aren't seeing success it might be time to take your first steps to better sleep. I am here to help you achieve longer naps and sleep filled nights. ....... Book a FREE 15minute call with me here........
2️⃣ Don't accept a short nap is all you are going to get. Invest 20minutes in doing whatever you can to get baby back to sleep. It is unlikely baby will self settle so you may need to do more.
3️⃣ Don't get caught in nap jail - short naps can leave you feeingl like all you do is settle and resettle. Pick your battles - chose one or two naps/day to resettle after a short nap. Spend a maximum of 20minutes trying. Smile and do something positive if it wasn't successful. Tomorrow is a new day. 💖
4️⃣ Consistency is key. Once you have perfected their environment and wake windows your attempt at consistently resettling will pay off and longer naps may suddenly happen for you.
5️⃣ Babies can usually manage on a clock based schedule after the age of 6 months. It may be time to work on independent sleep and pushing baby to a more age appropriate sleep routine.
6️⃣ The best piece of advice I can offer you is to take that short nap to climb into bed, sit on the couch, do nothing. Trying to fit the cooking, cleaning and chores in can become frustrating. Instead take that short nap as 30-45 mins of peace and quiet.
What age is your cat-napping child? Has anything worked for you? Comment below
Sleep deprivation is torture. Tessa Gow is a midwife and certified sleep consultant working with families across the globe. She offers nurturing methods with lasting results. Let her be the support and guidance you need to get through this. On the other side of a consultation with Enhance Sleep is rested, functioning families. Take the first step towards healthy sleep by contacting me today.
Slow-wave sleep during a brief nap is related to reduced cognitive deficits during sleep deprivation. Stepan, M. Altmann, E. Fenn, K (2021) Sleep Journal. Journal link here
Infant sleep and it's relation with cognition and growth. Tham, E. Schneider, N. Broekman, B. (2017) National Science Sleep publication. Journal link here