STOP telling me my baby should be napping for at least an hour.
STOP telling me that "cat naps" are a problem that needs fixing.
STOP telling me my baby needs to learn to link sleep cycles.
My baby is nearly 6 months old and he naps for 30 minutes at a time during the day, even when he's safe and snug in my arms. He has had predictably short naps ever since he hit 3 months of age.
It is NORMAL for some babies to recharge after only a short nap (sometimes called a "cat nap").
Naps will often naturally lengthen with age, as babies start to link sleep cycles more efficiently.
If your baby wakes after a short period then you can try to help him back to sleep. However, you can't force it. Spending any longer than 5-10 minutes on resettling will often result in a frustrated mother and baby. If this happens, just move on with your day.
Is he waking grumpy, but you can't resettle him? Perhaps he's not "still tired". Perhaps he just wants to reconnect with you through play, rather than being placed on the floor while you get back to the dishes.
Maybe he wants a change of environment. Maybe a walk with him facing you in the pram or in the carrier, where you can chat to him and point out new things, will lift his mood.
A grumbly baby following a nap isn't necessarily a baby who needs more sleep.
Short naps are annoying. Believe me, I know. But you have a choice as to how you respond to them.
Choose acceptance over frustration and you will find that, just as they're often not a problem for your baby, they will stop being a problem for you too.
Georgina Dowden is a mother, midwife and lactation consultant (IBCLC).
In her day to day life, she looks after her two beautiful children and also supports other families on their parenting journey.
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