When a family tells me that their baby is struggling with short naps I have a mental list that pops into my brain that could be causing the short nap dilemma. There are seven things that are on that list that could be contributing to a baby taking short naps, but before we go into the list let me define what a short nap is:
Short Nap: A baby falls asleep and only sleep 30-45 mins and then wakes up and can’t go back to sleep.
If this is your baby I want you to go through this checklist and troubleshoot which one or what multiple things on this list could be causing your baby to take short naps.
-Overtired baby: Baby is staying up too long between naps. Usually very cranky, fights sleep and then wakes up cranky. Please refer to my wake window chart here to double check and make sure that your baby is not staying up too long for their age. https://therestingnest.com/2021/03/the-overtired-baby/
-Under tired baby: Baby is not up long enough between naps. Usually the baby is found playing in the crib, generally happy, falls asleep, wakes shortly after happy. Please refer to my wake window chart here to double check and make sure that your baby is staying up long enough between naps for their age.https://therestingnest.com/2021/03/the-overtired-baby/
-Lack of self soothing skills: Baby doesn’t fall asleep on their own initially. Does your baby initially fall asleep on their own or are they placed in their crib already asleep? If they are placed in the crib asleep this is probably your biggest culprit for your baby taking short naps. If you do not know how to lay your baby down before they are asleep I CAN HELP! Message me and lets schedule an initial consult and chat about starting a plan! https://therestingnest.com/contact/
-Room is too bright for sleep: Did you know that light in your baby’s room can confuse their brain? If you can see your hand in front of your face in the room your baby is trying to sleep in try adjusting the light and making it pitch black in their sleep environment for naps during the day and night time sleep. Read more here on why light can play tricks on the brain when it comes to your baby sleeping: https://therestingnest.com/2021/07/sleeping-in-the-dark/
-Lack of a nap time routine: Baby is just placed in their crib with no nap time routine prior to prepare the baby’s body for sleep. If this is the case, try doing a mini version of the baby’s bedtime routine before your baby’s nap time. A 10-15 min nap time routine is preferred. I know it’s simple but it helps!
-Outside noises are waking baby: Is your baby hearing noises that are present outside of the sleep environment? Test your sound machine and make sure it’s loud enough to block out background noise in the house! Go to my blog post here to learn why white noise for sleep is important and how to test your sound machine to make sure itself loud enough and set at a safe volume: https://therestingnest.com/2021/06/white-noise/
-Cutting a tooth: If you are doing all the above then your baby may be cutting a tooth. OUCH! Most babies will cut their first tooth between 4-6 months of age. Please refer to your baby’s pediatrician for what they recommend for pain management.
-Regression: If you have checked all the above boxes and your baby is still struggling with short naps they may be encountering a regression which is NORMAL. Regressions occur around 4,6,9,12,18 and 24 months of age. Regressions are known for causing short naps due to your baby learning so many new things which keeps their brain VERY busy making it hard for them to rest. The best thing to do during these times is to stick to routine and lots of grace. Hang in there! Regressions usually pass after 2-3 weeks. In the mean time, help your baby practice their new skill! Sitting, babbling, crawling, walking, etc. What ever it is be sure to practice, practice, practice during awake time. If you practice during awake time they are less likely to want to practice in their crib when they need to sleep.
I hope this helps! I know naps can by tricky so if you need additional support I would LOVE to help! Schedule an initial consult today for FREE!