What is Cat napping?
Catnapping can surprise you! Your baby has been sleeping uninterruptedly, going down for their morning and lunchtime naps, and then all of a sudden they wake after 30/45 minutes and cannot resettle. (WHY? I don’t understand what is happening?)
It is all to do with your baby’s sleep cycle. An infant’s sleep cycle lasts around 30-45 minutes, before drifting into (REM) lighter sleep. An adult would simply turn over in bed or change position, but often as your baby is growing and their little minds are developing, this cycle of lighter sleep will wake them up.
How can I help my baby to sleep for longer?
It can be frustrating for parents or caregivers, as you pop baby down for their nap and within 35-40 minutes, they are awake and grizzling. This is normal and part of your baby’s development.
If your baby is under 4 months, I would begin by helping the baby to settle, a gentle hand on their back, a shush in their ear, a quick cuddle, or a gentle swing in your arms.
Difficulty can occur with settling a baby over 4 months of age. I have seen many clients with 4-5 month- olds, and older who describe they had the “perfect baby” and now they wake all the time and don’t sleep longer than 40 minutes! WHAT CAN I DO?
Self-settling is a tool to help your baby to learn to soothe and settle. Self-settling is in NO WAY leaving your baby to cry alone, to become distressed or upset but if you hear baby wake, you wait a few moments to see how the baby reacts.
Are they upset?
Are they distressed?
Are they babbling or cooing to themselves?
Getting to know your baby and responding to their cues and needs will help babies with the continuation of their sleep cycle and pattern.
Catnapping does pass, as baby grows and develops, so does their pattern of sleep.
If you are wanting some support advice and guidance then please call me or email me Kate@sleepingbaby.co.nz. Together we can reach some achievable goals and help you and your baby on their sleep journey.