Many babies catnap at some stage in their lives. The baby won’t sleep for more than 45 minutes and wakes looking refreshed, only to crash soon afterwards. Catnapping is stressful because it can mean there’s a lot of up and down throughout the day. It seems like you just put her down and now she’s up again.
Here’s what we can do to help your baby get past the baby catnapping stage and stay asleep for longer.
A phone or Skype session can usually be scheduled in 48 hours and techniques implemented straight away. “Within a single sleep, our baby was sleeping for two and a half hours at a time in the day. She became a changed baby and we were changed parents.” — BabyBliss client
Baby catnapping usually starts around the eight to ten week mark. At this age babies have worked out the difference between day and night and their sleep cycles during the day change. They are now no longer sleeping as deeply during the day as they do at night. Babies have shorter sleep cycles than their parents and catnapping happens when they wake after one cycle and can’t put themselves back to sleep.
A lot of parents, when this happens, fall into the trap of getting the baby up when a baby wakes at the end of their first sleep cycle as they can look like they are wide awake. But what happens is after you get your baby up they won’t actually last the full length of time they are supposed to be up for and will start displaying tired signs after 30 minutes or so. So you will have to put your baby back down again sooner than you would have normally. This goes on all day and any kind of routine or structure goes out the window. Unfortunately, the baby will continue to catnap if this is what you do. It gets so hard because there is absolutely no rhythm to the day as the baby is up, down, up, down and so on and everyone just gets confused, overtired and frantic! Every day will be a bit different too because some days your baby might crash out with tiredness and sleep for 2 hours and then the next day you are back to 30 minute sleeps. It is really important to have structure and teach your baby to sleep for more than one sleep cycle. That is all well and good I hear you say, but how do I do that? Good question! The best way I find to teach a baby to sleep longer at their daytime naps is to resettle them back to sleep until they are due for their next feed. A range of our products and services can help your baby get past this catnapping stage and stay asleep for longer – how long depends on their age. Because a more rested baby and a little time for you to take a breath while baby is asleep are better for the whole family.
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