You might have thought you were avoiding a catnapping baby when you were dealing with your expert baby napper newborn who had to be woken from sleeping only a week ago but if your baby is between 6-12 weeks of age chances are that their sleep cycle has just hit a progressional change. You can help the baby that catnaps stop catnapping!
Did you just google ‘How can I get my baby to sleep longer?’
I can guarantee you that you aren’t alone as many parents first time and even second time parents still forget the natural habit of cat napping begins just as your newborn baby begins to mature and you are going to have to help them through this.
Cat napping can be defined as a baby who won’t sleep longer than 45 minutes at one time. It may appear your baby had a short nap and that is all they needed but within 20 minutes of being awake they become fussy and unsettled making it clear they didn’t have a fulfilling sleep and you begin to question how to get baby to nap longer?
Yes it is important you teach your catnapping baby to sleep longer as it has many health benefits for a baby who has long restful sleep times.
- Your baby will be more rested
- Bub will wake refreshed and energised ready to learn and play
- An infant will have and continue to develop sharper vision
- Creates brain stimulation with memory to help them to retain and remember new behaviours
- A rested baby is easier to understand in their wants and needs by being able to rule out tiredness of the mix.
A newborns sleep cycle consists of 40-45 minutes before they stir around. If they do not know how to fall back to sleep without your assistance or that of a sleep association prop such as a dummy, bottle, rocking, feeding you will then likely hear them call out and this is where a lot of parents assume that the baby is ready to get up.
These are the solutions that can help your catnapping baby sleep longer than 45 minutes
The right conditions need to be in place to ensure baby has the urge to continue sleeping after waking from their sleep cycle.
- A blacked out room is the number one solution to encouraging the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). This stops them from engaging in objects in the room as they enter the light phases of their sleep cycle therefore avoiding stimulation.
- Give baby time to fall back into their next sleep cycle. If you avoid going to them as soon as they wake you may actually see within 5-10 minutes that they fall back asleep. Providing your bub isn’t upset then you may want to consider giving them time.
If your baby is older than four months old it may be time to consider starting a more solid routine that is both predictable for yourself and baby. Sleep training (we do not use or encourage a cry it out method) a cat napping baby who is older than four months is a great way to begin teaching them healthy habits and if you can’t seem to find the solution you were looking for we have a range of sleep programs that can help improve your babies sleep.
Our Sleep Program 1 is designed to cater for babies from 4 months to 12 months of age. It is perfect for the baby who needs to establish better sleep habits while teaching mum and bub a routine to take away dreading naps and bed times with your baby. You can read more about this program here.