Baby catnapping refers to babies sleeping for only one sleep cycle at a time during the day. Here are a few good solutions for how to make your child’s catnaps last longer.
You have a long list of things to take care of in one day. First, you are due for a bath and then a video conference to attend. After that, you also have to meet an urgent work deadline.
You would do anything for your little one not to be such a “catnapper.”
As frustrated as you may feel, know that you are not alone in this—many parents around the world struggle with how to make short naps last longer.
I want to offer you a few practical suggestions that have been tested and proven effective for prolonging your baby’s day naps. Let’s dive in!
Understanding Baby Catnapping
Have you ever noticed how cats tend to fall asleep, wake up shortly after that, and then doze off again? Hence the word “catnap”.
Catnapping in babies is developmentally normal, as much frustrating and exhausting it can be for parents.
The reason why babies catnap is because they spend more time in a light stage of sleep. Consequently, they awaken more easily and have difficulties transitioning between sleep cycles.
It is also true that each child is different, and ‘normal’ amounts of sleep vary from child to child.
What Can You Do?
- Create the Right Room Temperature
Research states that if a baby is too hot, he has a greater chance of developing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). And, if he is too cold, he may become fussy and wake up.
For that reason, you need to ensure that your baby is not hot, nor cold. The ideal room temperature is somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
It has generally been accepted that a good guide to follow is how you are feeling at that moment. If you’re cold, then there is a high chance that your baby is too, and vice versa.
- Make the House Less Noisy
Imagine you put your baby down, and finally, he falls asleep. But then, your phone starts ringing, and the baby is up again.
To prevent the baby from waking up too often, try and create a quiet environment in your home. One way to do this is by keeping your phones on silent and turning off the TV.
Employing a bit of ‘white noise’ may also do the trick. This is because the sounds your baby heard while in the womb were covered over by amniotic fluid. Using sounds that mimic those in the womb may serve to calm and comfort your little one during sleep time.
Some parents have also found it useful to keep a fan in the room. This helps to block out the sounds from outside.
- Is There Too Much Light in the Room?
Some babies are more sensitive to light than others. If you think that your baby is sensitive to light, try pulling your curtains during the day. By doing so, you can make sure the broad daylight doesn’t bother your little one’s delicate sleep. You can also pick up some inexpensive light-blocking curtains to help your baby nap.
- A Better Bed
The magic ingredient that helps your baby get the best nap ever is a comfy baby crib.
And what makes a comfy baby crib? A nice, firm mattress! A mattress from a reputable company with all the correct safety certifications can do wonders for your little one’s sleep. Firm crib mattresses keep babies safe and support their delicate, growing bones.
You may also consider training your child how to sleep independently. Independent sleep training from an early age is going to develop a baby’s mind not to associate sleep with his parent.
If you’re in the midst of decorating your baby nursery, take a look at our baby nursery checklist that contains all the most adorable essentials.
- A Baby Swing
It’s true: babies love movement. Rocking, swaying, and bouncing—they adore it!
A swing can help your baby get drowsy, and it can be a safe spot for short naps. But for longer naps, make sure you transfer your child into his crib. Also, make sure you never leave your child unattended.
Another thing to remember is that you shouldn’t let sleeping in a swing become a habit. A swing is no replacement for a crib or bassinet. That’s where babies are the safest. Especially if you’re sleep training, you want to teach your child how to fall asleep on his own, in his bed.
What did we learn from this post? We learned that baby catnapping is perfectly normal and that you shouldn’t worry about your child’s development. We also learned that catnaps are the toughest on parents. Being a parent is a demanding responsibility, and there are only 24h in one day. But with little effort from your end, you can quickly make catnaps last longer and eventually teach your little one how to sleep independently.