Baby Whisperer: Sleep Transitions

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Baby Whisperer: Sleep Transitions. Sleep transitions as explained by the Baby Whisperer

When Brayden was a baby, I read a book that talked about sleep transitions a baby goes through. I cannot remember what book it was in, but Tracy Hogg talks about it on page 186 in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer.

A baby’s sleep cycle is 45 minutes long. Babies start with deep sleep then move into REM, then wake up. Your baby might make noises at transition time, but if left alone will sleep through the transition.

When Brayden was a baby, we learned that 45 minutes after he fell asleep, we needed to be quiet. We knew if he made it past that 45 minute hump, he would take a good nap. With Kaitlyn, we didn’t need to worry about it. She loved to sleep. Brayden, however, did not and was also so curious. Hearing new sounds (or familiar ones) would get him up and wanting in on the action.

This sleep cycle pattern is the reason I list so many of the things I do in nap problems or 45 minute intruder problems. As baby is shifting cycles, if he is too hot or cold, he will likely wake up. If a dog is barking, he will likely wake up. If he smells something of interest, he might wake up (I have a friend whose son was very sensitive to cooking smells). If he doesn’t know how to soothe himself and depends on your or some other device, he will likely wake up. If he is hungry, he will wake up. If he is practicing a new skill, he will likely remember that when he wakes up and want to continue work on it. See these posts for more on reasons for waking:

Naps: Troubleshooting

45 Minute Intruder

Nap Disruptions: Rolling, Standing, Crawling, etc

Chronic 45 Minute Naps

Poll Results: Did Baby Ever Experience 45 Minute Naps for a Consistent Length of Time?

Reader Comments:

  • Jaclyn said…
    Oh, wow. I’m glad to know my baby’s not the only one! She’s so sensitive at that 45 minute point. I have to be completely quiet, and make sure nothing else makes a sound in our house.(Sadly, can’t control what goes on outside of our house.) She’s always been this way! Thanks for your sharing your wisdom and experiences. For a first time mom, it’s a HUGE blessing! Jaci
    September 26, 2008 9:34 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    You are welcome Jaclyn! Something you might consider since she is so sensitive is some sort of white noise. There are machines or you could do a humidifier..just something to drown out other stuff a little.
    September 29, 2008 11:28 AM

Reader Questions:

  • Laura said…
    I am so glad I found your blog! It is exactly what I needed. My baby boy is 5 weeks old and seems to be waking up throughout his naps. I don’t know how much to let him cry and when I should be going in to help him…what if it’s a gas problem or he’s cold? He was a good napper but our life has been busier the last week or two so I’m wondering if that’s messing him up. Anyway, thank you for your blog. It is no doubt a huge time sacrifice for you but I really appreciate it.
    September 27, 2008 11:26 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Laura, At 5 weeks, I don’t know that I would let him cry in the middle of a nap yet (unless you find it works). See this post for ideas:Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps
    September 29, 2008 11:29 AM
  • Annie Haymans said…
    I just found your blog and I am so excited. Congrats on you new news, that is so exciting. I am a first time mom I have a 6 month old baby boy. I started babywise at about 2 weeks old and he has done perfect until about the past month. He started waking up to nurse in the middle of the night again….he would cry four more than an hour and I would finally go nurse him. So when that started, I decided to introduce solid foods thinking the reason he was waking was due to hunger. That helped for a while and now he has started waking up again. I have had a really hard time with him for the past month. Any advice…please help.
    September 29, 2008 4:35 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Annie, see this post:5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions 
    September 29, 2008 11:30 AM

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