5 Tips for Short NapsSep 06, 2022
SHORT FREAKIN’ NAPS. IF THEY AREN’T THE BANE OF YOUR LIFE I DUNNO WHAT IS.
First of all, it’s important to know that short naps are developmentally normal and expected up until 5-6 months of age. It’s likely they will be sporadic in length until that age. So don’t worry too much yet! If your baby is older than 5-6 months and still struggling with those pesky short naps (and you can just tell they are soooo tired)! No fear, here are a few things you can try:
Tip 1 - Prevent Overtiredness!
Consider shortening or lengthening awake windows to make sure they aren’t over or under-tired. Over-tired babies = wired babies. Wired babies take short naps..... and so do under-tired babies so it can take some time to work out sometimes. That’s ok!
Tip 2 - Have a quick feeding before a nap!
This is a quick and easy one. Have a nice full or too up feeding before your nap. This is especially helpful for babies on a 2-3 nap routine. It ensures that they aren’t waking up out of hunger & eases your mind as a parent too! You want to make sure they aren’t too drowsy during this feeding though, as this can totally wipe their sleep drive.
Tip 3 - Teach them to initiate sleep!
Make sure they are falling asleep independently. This one is so key and probably one of the most important things you’ll want to start with. After 4-5 months old, your baby will start developing adult-like sleep cycles, going in and out of light and deep sleep. Many babies struggle with transitioning through these sleep cycles if they are unable to initiate sleep at bedtime or the beginning of a nap, hence waking every 2 hours all night long (or waking up 37 minutes ON. THE. DOT after EVERY SINGLE NAP. (Sound familiar?) After 4 months, your baby’s sleep cycles will look like this:
But there is a way to help this! You can teach your baby to initiate sleep without needing rocking, nursing, bouncing, or whatever it is that needs your assistance.
THIS IS CALLED SLEEP TEACHING (OR COMMONLY SLEEP TRAINING).
You can teach your baby or toddler this skill in many different ways. There is no one size fits all as every baby is different!
If you’re struggling with sleep teaching, I have resources for you! Learn more here.
If you’re just needing a few tips, make sure to download my free guides!
Tip 4 - Make sure it’s DARK!
Make sure it’s dark. Like, really really pitch black cannot see your hand dark! I’m deadly serious here.
Simply put, light is really stimulating; especially for babies and toddlers finding their place in the world. Everything is so exciting, so even a flicker of light is going to get their little brains thinking and going. This is good; we want them to do this, just not when they need to sleep.
But why SO dark?
Well, some babies and toddlers are really chill & don’t actually need it to be totally pitch black & they’ll do absolutely fine just with the regular blackout curtains. But if you are here reading this, that probably isn’t the case!
Many babies and toddlers really get stimulated by every. little. thing. The world is too exciting to sleep. If they can see a night light, they’ll be excited by it and keep watching until they’re overtired. If they see the mobile over their head, it’ll make them stimulated and start playing.
The darkness provides them the opportunity to wind down, settle, and get ready for a nice sleep. When they wake up between sleep cycles (as we all do), they’ll have a much easier time doing this if it’s totally dark!
YOU CAN GET SOME GREAT BLACKOUT CURTAINS FROM SLEEP OUT! USE CODE: COZY10 TO SAVE 10% OFF YOUR ORDER!
Tip 5 - Take advantage of white noise!
Make sure you’re using a white noise machine. White noise is so helpful for sleeping babies! Why? They are used to loud noise in the womb. White noise helps babies to feel calm. Make sure it is a continuous sound and that it doesn't turn off on a timer as this can actually wake them up. With regards to how loud the white noise should be, the AAP recommends 50 decibels at least 3 feet away from where they are sleeping. You can check this with free phone apps such as the Decibel Meter Sound Detector.
A QUICK RECAP:
Have a quick feeding before a nap
Teach independent sleep initiation
Make sure it’s really dark
Use white noise
For all my BEST nap tips, get the baby nap guide here!
If you just feel like you're constantly struggling with sleep in general, I can help! ⬇️
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