Updated: Jan 6, 2022
After a solid night of sleep, you get your baby up in the morning. You feed her, play with her favorite toys and read books, then you take your morning stroll. Now it’s time for a nap! You rock her to sleep, thinking how great of a nap she’s about to take with all the mornings activities that she had!
You go into her room, sing her a song, rock her to sleep and gently lay her down. You go to clean up the kitchen, make a cup a coffee and sit down to relax for a minute... WAHH!!! Baby is awake!! You’re thinking “How?!?! No. No. No. It’s only been 30 minutes! She was so sleepy!” You rush in and try to get her back to sleep. Despite your desperate pleads and bargaining, she refuses to go back to sleep.
After half an hour of trying, you give up and call the nap. Then, you think she will definitely take a solid two hour afternoon nap. That time comes around and 30 minutes in, you hear it again! WAHH! At this point, you could cry! How is this tired baby who has been cranky all day and so obviously in need of a good nap awake again after only 30 minutes?!
Here’s what’s going on and how you can fix it.
As humans, we all sleep in cycles. First, we go through lighter states of sleep where we can easily be woken up. Then, we move into a deeper sleep in which is much more difficult to be woken up from. The deep stage of sleep is the good sleep! It’s highly rejuvenative and where our bodies and brains do the maintenance work. This leaves us refreshed and energized, as well as, replenishes our immune system to help ward off any illnesses!
After a deep sleep cycle, we start to come to light sleep again. Usually, we wake up for a few seconds but then drift off to sleep again. This repeats itself all night long.
A typical cycle for an adult is about an hour and a half long. For babies, tit can be as little as 30 minutes.
So, this explains why your baby seems to wake up at that 30 minute mark. The waking itself is completely natural. But the reason some babies can nap for hours while others are waking at the same short timeframe every day is because the babies that nap longer are able to string those sleep cycles together. Therefore, they aren’t sleeping without waking. They’re just moving through their sleep cycles easily.
This doesn’t mean they are magical babies (though, they’re all magical!).
It just means that they’ve learned how to fall back asleep on their own.
This is the main reason that babies take short naps or “crap naps”. Once your baby can fall asleep without help, they’ll start connecting their sleep cycles together and lengthening out the nap! Leaving you with a well- rested, happier baby and some time to yourself!
So, let’s go back to how we got baby down for the nap. You may have rocked her, nursed her, gave her a bottle, or stood on one leg while bouncing and patting her bottom.
Stop right there. That’s where we need to make some changes! If you are putting your baby completely to sleep each time, then she’s going to need you to come and get her back to sleep when she comes to the top of that deep sleep cycle. You become her ‘sleep prop’.
A sleep prop is anything that your baby uses in order to fall asleep. Pacifiers, feeding and rocking are among the most common. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t rock your baby! You can and you should!
Just make sure that she isn’t completely falling asleep while doing so.
For naps and bedtime, put your baby down in her crib or bassinet while she’s still fully awake. The goal is to let her fall asleep on her own.
There may be a little bit of protest at first, but for majority of my clients, the results start to materialize in about 2 to 3 days.
Imagine that! In just a few days, your family could be enjoying the amazing benefits of quality sleep! Everyone will be happier, healthier and more energetic!
Some other pointers to extend baby’s nap:
-Make sure the baby’s room is as dark as possible! Buy blackout shades or tape black poster board to the window. This is a crucial step in helping your little one sleep. Light is very stimulating and can cause them to wake fully in between sleep cycles.
-Use a white noise machine to help drown out any noises that could potentially wake baby up!
-If you’re running into trouble applying these suggestions, give me a call and set up a free 15 minute consultation. The solution may be simpler than it appears, and most of my clients see a dramatic improvement in just one or two sessions!