Ahhhhhh, baby nap time, the couple of hours each day where you can relax, catch up on chores or Netflix episodes. – or is it??
If your baby won’t sleep during the day, at all or for long periods of time then it can feel like you have literally no time to yourself at all, without a baby attached to you or needing something from you. It can make for very loooooong days.
So, let’s take a look at a couple of reasons why your little one isn’t sleeping much during the day.
Cat napping is when your baby will only sleep for one sleep cycle or less, often only 20-30 minutes at a time. There’s not a lot you can get done in 30 minutes by time you have had a quick tidy and a bite to eat they’re awake again, needing you.
A few things can lead to cat napping.
Is your baby getting plenty of sleep at night time? If ‘yes’ (lucky you!!!) then they may simply not need much sleep during the day. Babies only need a total amount of sleep relevant to their age and stage (this does vary a bit between babies of course).
Is their room dark enough? If it is too bright then when they are coming in to their light sleep phase, rather than slipping back in to another sleep cycle they are stirring and being stimulated by looking at something in their room and fully wake.
Are they falling asleep on their own, or are you feeding/rocking or putting them to sleep in another way? If they aren’t able to fall asleep on their own then it is likely that they won’t be able to get themselves from one sleep cycle to the next. (if this is the case then try this gentle, fast and effective method to get your baby to fall asleep quickly and on their own www.fiveminutesleep.com )
Over tired or Under tired
Strangely enough, knowing if your baby is too tired, or not tired enough can be quite difficult to distinguish between.
If your baby is over tired, they can’t settle in to a deep sleep and will wake again soon after being put down. Some babies have very obvious tired signs, like rubbing their eyes. Others go from perfectly fine to to a ball of crying overtired mess within minutes and without warning.
If there are signs of tiredness, then act on them straight away and put your baby down for a nap.
If there are no obvious signs, then I suggest working out how long your baby can handle being awake for before needing a nap. Make a note of awake and asleep time for a few days and there will likely be a pattern. Once you have an idea of how long your baby can handle being awake for being they have an over tired breakdown, put them to bed around 10-15 minutes before this time period.
If your baby is under tired they may fall asleep easily enough but they won’t sleep for long as they simply don’t need to. As above, I suggest you make a note of awake and asleep time for a few days and there will likely be a pattern. Once you have an idea of how long your baby can handle being awake for be sure not to put them to bed too early.
As with anything to do with babies and sleep, these are general rules and they won’t apply to every day and every situation. For example, if you have had a rough night with illness or teething, then they might need more sleep during the day.
Night sleep and day sleep definitely work together. If you get one right the other usually falls in to place also.
There are a couple of things you need to be doing to ensure this happens though:
- Let your baby fall asleep on their own as often as possible to ensure they can also fall in to the next sleep cycle on their own
- Don’t put your baby down to sleep too early or too late.
For more help with all of this, the Five Minute Sleep Method Complete Programme will make it super simple. To find out more, go to www.fiveminutesleep.com.