First of all, what is a short nap ? This is completely subjective! Some think of it as a 5-10 minute nap whereas I tend to think of these as cat naps and short naps as naps that last anywhere between 20-40 minutes.
These short naps can be perfectly normal and just because your little one doesn’t take long naps, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not getting enough sleep or that you need to do anything to ‘fix’ these naps.
Most babies will start to naturally lengthen their naps at around 6-8 months old without you doing anything. Long predictable naps can obviously be really handy for us as parents but it is important to know that not all infants need them.
If your little one is waking from their naps and they seem re-energised and happy, I wouldn’t waste any time or effort trying to get them to sleep for longer. However if they are regularly taking short naps and you feel they need more sleep, you may want to try the wake to sleep method.
The Wake to Sleep Method
This method can be used if your baby consistently wakes up from a one sleep cycle nap which lasted anytime between 20 and 40 minutes(around 20-40 minutes).
Aim to gently wake your baby 5-10 minutes before they are due to wake up. So if they usually . wake up after 30 minutes, at around 20 minutes try to gently rouse them by stroking their face or putting a hand on their chest.
Your baby may then get into another position, suck on their hand or comforter and go back to sleep. This should then mean that they go into the next sleep cycle and extend their nap. Sometimes your baby may need more support to get into the next sleep cycle, it might mean a feed, a rock or having more sleep on you.
If your baby’s naps are generally short but inconsistent in length, you can try the following:
Have a contact nap on you
Have a motion nap (e.g. pram/sling/car)
Try experimenting with awake windows because being overtired or undertired can cause short naps
If you try these methods and they don’t work, remember that it is quite possible that your baby doesn’t need longer naps.
Want more support with your little one’s sleep ?
If you would like one to one help creating a personalised routine which will support your baby’s specific sleep needs (without using cry it out method) and reduce night wakings, take a look at my sleep packages . If your not sure which package to book you can book a FREE discovery call.