The 30 minute cat napper!
Why is my baby only sleeping for 30 min?
Cat napping is very common, especially for babies aged between 8 weeks and 6 months.
The number one reason why babies only sleep for 30 min or less is because they are not linking their sleep cycles and the reason why they are unable to link their sleep cycles is they may not have had the opportunity to do so.
Babies have two sleep cycles: REM and NONREM.
The first cycle of a baby’s sleep is called REM sleep.
This is when your baby is starting to fall asleep and is in a light sleep for 20-30min.
In this time your baby will be grunting a lot, sucking on their hands, jerky movements of their arms and legs and eye movement is present.
This sleep is usually not a very restorative sleep and their little brains haven’t really had enough time to shut out stimulus and thoughts.
This is when babies often wake up for their startle reflex due to loud noises or movement.
As your baby is transitioning from this 20-30 min nap (REM sleep) most babies will wake before going into their next cycle (NON-REM sleep).
NON-REM sleep is their restorative sleep in which they rest and their little brain is taking time out to recharge and restore. They also do most of their growing and gaining weight in this second sleep cycle.
Babies often will wake up after their first sleep cycle. The reason why many babies are unable to go back to sleep is because they haven’t been given an opportunity too. Mum or dad have picked them up from their bed because they have woken up or maybe have been crying.
Helping your baby to resettle with confidence without being taken out of bed or staying close to their beds to be able to put them back is your best option.
Resettling will help your baby eventually learn how to link their sleep cycles.
So next time you hear your baby wake after their 30min nap, wait a little and see if they will go back to sleep.
(Check out my blog _ How to resettle a crying baby.)
Yes, even when they are crying a little.
Allow them time to resettle on their own or with a little guidance.
If they do cry and you think they are unlikely to go back to sleep then pick them up, stay in their room or near their bed. Give them a cuddle to allow them to settle and place them back into their cosy bed to finish their nap once drowsy or asleep.
They may need to be shushed, use white noise plus some reassurance with rocking or patting to help them go back to sleep.
Repeat as necessary up to 4-5 times because it sometimes takes that long to help them resettle. Remember if you do this at every nap you will soon have a longer napper who feels comfortable falling back to sleep once woken from their first cycle.
You can do this from 3-4 weeks of age once feeding has been established.