GOT A CATNAPPER IN THE HOUSE?
45-minutes after falling asleep and BOOM, "I'm awaaaaake Mum & Dad!" It's like clockwork right.. because it is!
So let's cover some basics first - what is catnapping?
Catnapping is when your little sleeps for no longer than one sleep cycle at a time for every nap... SOS! This is an extremely common (yet frustrating) in a lot of young babies.
Catnapping usually starts to appear around the 6 - 12 week mark when your baby’s internal clock is being formed.
Most babies are developmentally able to link sleep cycles more easily from 5-months-old. However, this can depend on a lot of other factors including your baby’s schedule during the day, timing, temperament and certain sleeping associations.
Now not all catnapping is a cause for concern if you are compensating the short sleeps with an extra nap during the day. If it's working for you, don't fix what ain't broke!
However.... there may be an issue if you're finding your baby is always cranky and/or clingy during the day, fussy with feeding and isn't tolerating age appropriate awake windows, or is waking frequently overnight in which case READ ON!
Tips for your little cat-napper:
Have an idea of how much awake window is ideal for their age and know it could vary during the day.
Watch for tired signs
Ensure your baby has fed well prior to a nap so they are less likely to wake due to hunger
If they wake, give your little one a few minutes before responding to see if they will re-settle themselves...You never know!
Support them to re-settle using an appropriate settling method for your baby’s temperament and age and aligns with your parenting!
If they nap longer in a carrier or pram take them out for some naps during the day. You could even just focus on one nap in the cot to begin with!
You could try to assist them by intervening and supporting them before they start to really stir from sleep - this is a great technique for the little littles!
If your baby is a cat-napper but seems happy when they are awake and it hasn’t impacted night sleep, you may just choose to roll with the shorter naps and see if it settles down over time.
Like with everything in life, it takes time and practice to learn a new skill like linking sleep cycles. If we do continue getting them up every time after a catnap we are going to reinforce it further so we need to be prepared to be patient! It won't be like this forever!
Got a cat-napper? Experiencing frequent overnight wakings? Ready for change?
Get in touch parents! Better sleep can be yours within 2 weeks!