How To Stop Your Baby From Catnapping
Written By Australian Parenting Expert and Director of BabyBliss, Jo Ryan
Catnapping is very common. Most babies will catnap, and it usually starts around 8 to 10 weeks.
When you consider why this might be and what might be going on, it’s useful to know that babies sleep cycles tend to increase around this age and they start to sleep differently during the day to the way they sleep at night.
There can also be a big developmental leap happening, which increases brain activity, and causes babies to be more wakeful. Some babies may also start to snack when being fed if they are on a strict schedule or if they are following the feed/play/sleep routine and this can lead to them going to bed with empty tummies meaning they just won’t have those nice long sleeps they used to have.
Here are some tips that can help:
Feed your baby when they are hungry
Make sure you are feeding your baby only when they are hungry, not just because they have woken from a sleep. A lot of new parents are advised to do a feed/play/sleep routine with their baby. That routine just won’t work as your baby grows. From about 8 weeks, babies don’t need to be fed every time they wake. In fact, waiting till they are hungry can help your baby feed better and be less distracted on the breast. They will also have a bigger feed and not just snack.
Don’t accept that 45 minutes’ sleep is all your baby needs
This is definitely one of the pitfalls you can fall into because often a baby will wake up after one sleep cycle and look like they have had a wonderful, refreshing sleep. If you do get them up at this stage, it will only be about 30 to 45 minutes before they start to get tired again and you will be on that awful cycle of up, down, up, down all day.
Resettle baby back to sleep
Instead of getting baby up when they wake, resettle them back to sleep or at least give it a try. Resettling can be difficult, particularly if you have to lean over a cot and pat endlessly for hours, so you can make it easier by:
1.Not leaning into the cot. Get yourself a chair or stool and position it so you are comfortable.
2.Not doing it for hours on end. Keep baby in the cot for the amount of time they are supposed to be asleep for, so about 90 minutes.
3.Picking your battles. If your baby is very upset, pick them up and if you have to rock them to calm them, then do that. But try and do the last bit of settling in their cot.
Don’t send yourself crazy
Resettling a catnapping baby can be tough. So, if you feel you are getting nowhere, then give yourself and your baby a break. Most catnapping babies eventually do grow out of it. So even if you do nothing, your baby’s day sleep will get longer as they grow, eat more food, and move more.
For more baby sleep and settling information and expert advice, visit babybliss.com.au
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