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Short or Inconsistent Naps (4-12 months old)


At around 4-5 months old, babies begin consolidating naps. At that point, we can start shifting away from following their wake windows (the amount of time they've been awake between sleep periods) and start implementing a flexible schedule. Please see below for some tips on how to improve those short and inconsistent naps! How many naps should my baby be taking? 4-5 Months: Four or three naps - inconsistent and short naps are normal 5-8 Months: Three naps - 8:30/9am, 12/1pm, 3/4:30pm 8-15 Months: Two naps - 9:30am, 1:30/2pm *These are simply averages and can vary between child What is considered a good nap? A good quality nap should be at least an hour in length. Anything under an hour is considered a short nap. (This applies to all naps except the third nap of the day for 5-8 month olds, which is usually under an hour in length.) How can we extend those short naps? You want to set your baby up for success when helping them learn a new skill. Focus on improving the external factors you can control to help make sleep easier. Some of my tips may sound extreme, but you wouldn't teach your toddler to walk on a cobblestone street, right? Same goes for sleep! Once your baby is sleeping better naps, you can begin pulling back on some of the suggestions below. 1. Optimal Sleep Space: Dark: Fully blackout the room during naps. Light suppresses melatonin so a dark room is crucial to help a baby take longer naps. Quiet: Use a white noise machine. Noise can interrupt sleep. Cool: Keep the room at a nice 69-72 Degrees Fahrenheit. Babies sleep best in cool temperatures, but make sure to dress your baby appropriately so they don't get cold. Extra tip - have your baby wear the same thing during naps and nighttime. 2. Drowsy But Awake: Place your baby in the crib when they are drowsy, but still awake. You want your baby to know how and where they fell asleep. Once your baby knows how to fall asleep independently, they will have an easier time merging sleep cycles during naps and improving nap length and quality. 3. Naptime Routine: Moving a baby from stimulation straight to the crib can feel rushed and unsettling. Doing a modified bedtime routine (approx. 5 mins long) will help your baby slow down and feel prepared for sleep. Take your baby into the room, dim the lights, sing a song, or read a book. This can help with the transition from play to sleep and make nap time easier. 4. Take A Pause: If your baby takes a short nap, try to 'Take A Pause' and leave your baby in the crib for 5-10 mins longer. This will help your baby lengthen short naps and increase the likelihood of merging naptime sleep cycles. 5. The 4 C's: Follow the 4 C's below to help during any sleep challenges. Calm - regulate yourself so your baby can too Confident - trust yourself and the process Connected - fill up your baby's connection and love cup during the day Consistent - predictability and repetition are key

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