You put your baby down for a nap, just finished cleaning up the kitchen, about to sit down, kick your feet up and like clock work your baby is awake after only 30-45 minutes. Mama if this is you and you have a chronic catnapper on your hands, I just want to start by saying I feel your pain! Short naps can become a frustrating cycle for parents and also leave your baby feeling miserable and tired.
Before we get into why this is happening, let me explain why 45 minutes. Babies have a 4 phase sleep cycle that can last about 40-50 minutes. Some of that sleep might happen in your arms (let’s be honest, sometimes ALL) and these phases consist of Non REM sleep (Non Rapid Eye Movement) and REM ( Rapid Eye movement) sleep. Here’s what’s happening when you’re little one is cycling through sleep.
As your baby approaches lighter sleep at the end of their cycle, they may wake start another cycle immediately, wake briefly and go back to sleep or awaken fully resulting in the dreaded cat nap. Now that you are aware of this, let me explain some reasons your baby may not be connecting their sleep cycles.
These are the 4 main culprits when it comes to a cap napper.
If you’ve assessed these 4 points and your child is usually a great sleeper who was taking great naps but suddenly is not, then consider things like sleep regressions, developmental leaps or time to transition naps. We will leave that for another post. In the meantime mama, know that you are not alone in the journey and if you need help teaching your little one independent sleep skills. We are here to help!