Cat Napping

Cat Napping

It can be very normal to see your little one transition from having nice, long naps to having 30-50 minute cat naps around 12 weeks old. This change occurs as their wake time during the day increases and their sleep cycles mature.

A baby's sleep cycle is about 45-50 minutes long, with the first 20-30 minutes consisting of light, active sleep, followed by approximately 10 minutes of deep sleep. Therefore, it makes total sense that your little one is waking after a sleep cycle. They may not have the ability to self-settle or haven't learned how to do so, especially if they are over 4 months old.

Now, if you are happy with these cat naps, your little one is content during the day, and they are getting enough sleep through the night, then that's great! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. However, cat naps often lead to sleep problems at some point. You might start experiencing an unsettled little one throughout the day, leading to built-up overtiredness, which can result in difficulty settling at bedtime, increased night waking, and early morning wake-ups.

If you are facing any of these issues and your little one is cat napping during the day, it might be time to work on extending some of these naps.

What can you do?

Make sure that your little one's wake windows are age-appropriate.

For babies under 4 months: Work on settling your little one to sleep either in their bed, using a hands-on settling method like shushing and patting, or opt for an assisted nap (such as rocking or cuddling). Stay nearby or set a timer, and when they begin to stir from the deep sleep part of their sleep cycle, use your hands-on settling method in their cot or continue with your chosen assisted nap method to settle them back to sleep and transition into their next sleep cycle.

For babies over 4 months: If your little one is over tired, you may want to offer assisted naps for a few days to get on top of this before working on teaching them to self-settle. Then, choose a settling method that you feel comfortable using and start working on teaching your little one to self-settle and resettle. You might choose to focus on nights first and then tackle naps, or you can work on nights and their main nap simultaneously, depending on your comfort level and what you feel up to doing.

As always, consistency and patience are key.

Cat napping can be a tricky one to get on top of. So, if you’re struggling, please reach out. You can contact me here with any questions, book a free 15min chat to talk more about the support I can offer you and your family, or you can book one of my packages here.
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