This blog is all about baby nap extensions. If you’re stuck with those 30 minute little cat naps, and you know it’s just not really working for your little one, then this is for you, I’m going to reveal how you can overcome that and extend those naps for quality sleep with your baby.
So many babies are overtired because they’re not getting enough nourishing nap time. Newborns will often nap for little segments at a time, and they will snatch little power naps, and that’s okay. And I would take a 30-minute nap over no nap any day. So if you are stuck with those, it’s not the end of the world, it is better than nothing. But this is really for somebody who is ready for the next step now, who perhaps is still struggling with these 30 minute naps beyond six months in. If you know that it’s actually time now to improve that. Because for some people it’s okay as it is.
So what do you do? The first thing I want to tell you is the usual reason for the 30 minute naps once we are somewhere between four and six months or above is the fact that they’re not settling for the nap. So the onset of the nap, we call it sleep onset. The onset of the nap is kind of happening to them rather than them doing it. So what do I mean, as an example if your baby or, or little one is in a pram or a push chair or in the car when they nod off, the motion has lulled them off. So there’s very little left on the little one’s part. And we all do it. How many of you have actually gone, “Let’s go in the car at this time because I know that they’ll have a nap now.”
We’ve all used motion to get naps to happen, and that’s okay. It’s a brilliant backup plan, actually. It’s a great backup. However, if that’s the only way or always the way, then they are not developing the skill of falling to sleep because they’re not practicing it. And when I say the skill, it’s really just a sensation. It’s the body going, “Okay, I’m going to lie down here. I’m going to close my eyes. I might look around for a bit. And then I’m going to go to sleep.” It’s the ability to do that comfortably without crying and freaking out. And the reason babies often cry and seek help is purely that. They need the help, because they don’t know how to do this instinctively from birth. It’s something they learn through practice.
Some learn it more easily than others. Some parents teach it accidentally and don’t know they’re even teaching them anything. But quite often, if your little one is having little 30 minute naps, it’s because they’re not responsible for the sleep onset. Now what happens when that happens? Another example could be, perhaps you’ve rocked, rocked, rocked, rocked, rocked, put them down to sleep. Done that kind of ninja move, okay, they’re asleep and sneak out. 30 minutes later, they’re awake and crying. It’s because they didn’t put themselves to sleep. So they’ve stirred. Now, at 30 minutes, 40 minutes, what’s often happening in a sleep cycle, which is more like an hour in full cycle at this stage Is that they’re shifting from deeper sleep into lighter sleep. Now what we want them to do is go into the lighter sleep and carry on and finish off the light sleep, and then tip into the next sleep cycle where they go back through and then into a deeper sleep again.
We want them to be able to knit those cycles together. But what often happens when we get those 30 minute wake ups is that as they’re transitioning, almost like coming up through from deep sleep into lighter sleep, instead of progressing through that and round, they actually almost kind of fall out of sleep. And they’re like, “Oh my God, I’m awake. Whoa, what, where am I? What’s happening? Where are you? I’m all alone.” And naturally, they cry because they are confused. They don’t really know where they are, and they either don’t want to be there, or they’re like, “I want to be asleep. I’m really tired. Why am I awake? This is annoying. Help me, somebody, I need to get back to sleep.” And that’s quite often what that cry is saying. And we all go in swoop up the little one and go, “Oh, that was just half an hour. Brilliant.” And then we go and do something really exciting with them when all they really wanted was to go back to sleep.
The reason for 30 minute naps is probably the sleep onset. So in order to fix that, we want to work on how a little one settles to sleep. And I have lots of videos all about that on my YouTube channel. So have a look around for those.
The other thing you can do is know what the ideal times are for the naps and how long your little one can be awake between naps. And I’ve mentioned this in recent blogs because we’ve been talking all about over tiredness and this knowledge is power because all the skill in the world won’t overcome a baby that can settle themselves to sleep constantly.
Not like lightning, if you put them down, and they zonk out, then that’s not really a self-settle, but more than five minutes up to about 15, you know that they’re doing it for themselves. They could have all the skill in the world, but if you try to get them to nap at a time that doesn’t work for them, it’s not going to work. It’s not going to happen. So knowing the ideal times and the ideal wake windows at their age is going to be really helpful for you.
And then the last two are about create the rhythmicity, which is a bit like a routine, but I prefer the concept of rhythm. But creating the rhythmicity in that lead up to the nap settling. So setting the scene, preparing them for a nap, creating the routine so that they recognize it. And it becomes ingrained in the body clock that they know that maybe after nursery, I go home, and then I have my sleep or however it may work for your routine. And then lastly, practice one a day, if you can, more, if you want to. But if you could try and make it a priority, that just one nap a day we’re going to do in the cot or the crib in their usual sleep environment so that it becomes familiar and recognizable.
And even if it doesn’t work out, even if it goes horribly wrong and you end up going, “Right, okay, that didn’t work. So off we go in the pushchair.” That’s okay. That’s fine. Because that practice did count. That practice did something. And even if it didn’t prevail on that occasion, I promise you that if you do this every day, there’ll come a point where it gets easier, easier, and then they nail it. But they’re never going to get to that stage if you don’t practice. If you go, “Yeah, I tried it once. It didn’t work.” And then you didn’t try it again. Well, then it’s not going to happen. So just practicing goes a very long way, I promise you that.
You can use the link below to help start improving your little one’s sleep today. You can get a custom sleep plan and just get started because there’s no time like the present and you need your sleep. Take care.
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