Extending Your Baby’s Nap
It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about babies not sleeping at night. In fact, when around a mom with a new baby, it’s generally one of the FIRST things people mention. Unfortunately, people equate sleep with how “good” a baby is, but that’s a story for another day.
Now, if you were semi-mentally prepared for nights with little sleep, you weren’t surprised by being up several times a night. BUT, fast forward to the sun coming up and BAM!
Sun’s up, baby is up. ALL. DAY. LONG.
If we are being honest, there is probably some guilt associated with hoping that your baby will go to sleep. Maybe you just wish he or she would stay asleep longer than 30 minutes. I mean, you tried for an hour just to get her to sleep, right? Can’t you just have time to eat AND take a shower?
It just doesn’t make sense. Or does it? Why do some babies nap for only 30 or 45 minutes at a time? Why does my baby take such short naps?
Babies sleep in cycles just like adults. We start off in a light state and gradually ease into a deeper state where even the loudest noises don’t seem to bother us. This deep state is SO important and where all the maintenance of our body occurs. Enough deep sleep helps us be energetic (super important with kids!) and truly feel rested.
After the deep sleep, our bodies move back into the lighter state, then to the deeper state, and so on. So, why can’t babies just sleep like we do then? Well, that cycle for a baby is as little as 30 minutes.
I know what you’re thinking…Not all babies wake after 30 minutes. And you’re right! Babies who sleep longer than 30-45 minutes at a time can string the sleep cycles together. So, what’s the trick? What’s the cure for your baby’s short naps?
Well, how did your baby fall asleep initially? Did you rock them, bounce, drive around? If so, that’s what they now require getting back to sleep and connect to another sleep cycle.
Am I telling you not to rock your baby? ABSOLUTELY NOT! In fact, I’m a major advocate for that. Love on those sweet cheeks until your heart (and theirs) is content. But, if we want our babies to connect sleep cycles on their own, they must learn to go to sleep on their own initially.
So, how do we do that? Place your baby in the bed just before they go to sleep. I know what you’re thinking. You know he or she will cry. Truth is, you aren’t too comfortable with change, either, or trying something major for the first time. BUT, they can do it. Give it two to three days and you will be AMAZED.
The major factor that affects success is being sure that your baby has been awake for an appropriate amount of time for her age. If you are unsure what that is with a small baby, check out my Sleep Guide for 3-6 Months or Sleep Chart by Age.
Just think. In a few days, your baby could enjoy a long nap and reap the extraordinary benefits of deep sleep. They’ll wake refreshed and be healthier in the long run. The bonus? They’ll start sleeping better at night and so will you!
Here are some other points for extending nap time:
My favorite white noise machines
The recommended safety level for any sound machine is 50 dB. As a rule of thumb, if you walk out of the room and close the door, you should barely hear the machine. There is a fantastic all called Decibel X that can help you determine an appropriate level. Simply place your phone in the crib and adjust the noise or sound machine accordingly.
The Marpac Dohm is a white noise machine that generates the noise with a motor. There is only one sound choice, which is a soothing sound of rushing air, or “shhhhhh” sound. The two motor speeds along with the ability to rotate openings in two spots allow you to adjust the tone and volume. The Dohm is the simplest, most easily adjusted white noise machine on the market. If you are hoping to block out a very loud, barking dog right outside the window, it simply won’t, unless it is above a safe volume. It does a fantastic job of safely masking distracting noises and providing a comforting environment.
The MyBaby SoundSpa is an excellent choice for a budget sound machine. The sounds are definitely different from the Dohm, but most babies don’t care. The MyBaby has a white noise option along with summer night, ocean, heartbeat, brook, and cradle; however, I will always encourage using the traditional white noise. These sounds are prerecorded. There is an option of a 15, 30, or 60 minute timer, but I recommend using the machine during naps and all night. At $25, it is a great value and small enough for travel.
The LectroFan is slightly smaller that the Dohm. It boasts 10 white noise sounds and 10 fan sounds. Unlike The controls are very easy to operate, and the volume can be adjusted far higher than any nursery would ever want. Again, 50 dB is our limit. The LectroFan has an optional sleep timer, but for our purposes, that’s not necessary. This is another fantastic choice and has a range of noises in case you prefer sound options.
If you feel like you’ve tried it all and are still at a loss, let’s set up a free 15-minute consultation. No question is too big or small and there may be a simple solution!
Tired of doubting awake times, nap times, or bedtimes?
Sweet Home Sleep Solutions
If you are reading this in the wee hours of the morning and feeling like you are on your last leg, I know how you feel! We love our children, but so desperately need rest, too. I can truly say that I know what it’s like to have tried everything possible and still be up at night... Learn more about how I can help.