The 45 minute intruder is when your baby starts waking up about 45 minutes into his/her nap. Baby is waking early from naps and you aren’t sure why.
When your baby is waking after only 45 minutes, you can really drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why.
There will always be naps baby wakes early here and there and there will always be naps that go well. A short nap every once in a while is very normal and nothing to stress out about.
But what about when the bad days become weeks? It is the 45 minute intruder!
When I was a first-timer, Brayden took 45 minute naps until he was 6 months old. I always just fed him right when he woke and moved on with my day. Then one day he suddenly started sleeping 2 hours and never looked back.
Kaitlyn did extremely well for her naps for the most part, but we had the 45 minute thing for 3-4 weeks. She would go to sleep without crying at all, then wake up 30-60 minutes into her nap.
If it was only 30 minutes in, I would have her CIO back to sleep. If it was 60, I would give her time–I think about 10 minutes–to get back to sleep. If she didn’t, I would just move her to the swing to finish her nap.
I wanted her to stay well-rested. If she didn’t fall asleep within 10 minutes in the swing, I would feed her because I figured she was hungry. This lasted for about 3 weeks.
I know it is so hard to believe it will get better. It would be easier, I think, if you knew exactly when it would end. If you knew it would be like this until 20 weeks then it would get better, you would just wait it out.
To face the short naps with no concrete end date ahead is difficult. But alas we must face the 45 minute nap intruder without knowing when it will end for sure.
In this post, we will discuss things that commonly cause baby to wake at the 45-minute mark and tips to stop the short naps and get baby taking a long nap again.
- Things that Cause 45 Minute Naps
- Tips for Stopping the 45 Minute Intruder (Short Naps)
- Treat It Like Hunger
- Don’t interfere too soon
- Watch your use of a monitor
- Check other common reasons for waking
- Consider the Wonder Weeks and Sleep Regressions
- Wait it out
- Free Short Naps Printable Checklist
- Related Sleep Posts
- Reader 45 Minute Nap Advice
- Reader 45 Minute Intruder Questions
Things that Cause 45 Minute Naps
In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg lists several factors that cause 45 minute naps. All of these factors have been discussed on this blog before, but short naps are such a common problem that I find it necessary to re-post about it from time to time.
The sleep cycle is 45 minutes. Some babies who wake at 45 minutes are doing so because it is a transition time.
They either are unable to put themselves to sleep alone, or an external factor rouses them to full alertness.
This can be temperature, noises, or even (and especially in the newborn months) hunger.
>>>Read: What is a Sleep Transition (and how does it impact naps)
Babies transition about every 45 minutes, going from REM to deep sleep, so you have a 45 minute sleep cycle. This is a light sleep and baby can wake very easily.
It seems a lot of babies will wake up at that transition while they are getting the sleeping thing down.
Even if they can get to sleep well initially, there seems to be a learning curve with the transition. That is why it should pass.
If it does not pass, it might require some sort of sleep training. Do whatever you are comfortable with.
See also: The Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Short Baby Naps, and Baby Whisperer: Sensible Sleep
If your baby was awake too long before her nap, she likely will not sleep longer than 45 minutes. An overtired baby simply will not take a long nap. Wake windows must be kept short enough.
Hogg states that baby might not even last 45 minutes if baby was up too long.
Do not assume baby will sleep better if baby is up longer. That is false.
See also: Optimal Waketime Lengths, Baby Sleep Cues and How to Get it Right for Your Baby, Sleep Begets Sleep, An Easy Short Nap Fix that Works
Your baby can also wake at 45 minutes if she was overstimulated during waketime.
With the newborn, you need to guard her waketime activities closely. This might mean that she spends her wake time in baby’s room where it is quiet rather than out among the lound noises of the family.
Stimulation affects all five senses. Noise, smells, sights, touch, and taste. Pay attention to it all.
The more stimulation your baby has, the shorter wake windows need to be.
As she gets older, she needs more stimulation. Older babies can handle more stimulation.
Hogg says that you need to have a bedtime/naptime routine. You can’t just pick baby up and put her in bed. Hogg says that the routine will help baby wind down and sleep better. See also: Sleep Routine Ideas to Get Your Baby Sleeping Well.
>>>Read: How to Calm Your Overstimulated Baby
Tips for Stopping the 45 Minute Intruder (Short Naps)
Something to try to do as you work on these 45 minute naps is strike a balance.
Keep working on trying to fix it and keep trying to figure out if there is anything you can do to help it, and then just relax.
You want to try to fix the short naps, but you don’t want to drive yourself crazy.
Here are some tips to help get baby sleeping better:
Treat It Like Hunger
On Becoming Babywise also talks about the 45-minute intruder.
The Babywise book says to first treat the 45 minute intruder as a hunger problem.
By feeding “problem” they mean baby is in need of food. It can be that baby is having a growth spurt or didn’t get enough food for the previous feeding.
Try feeding your baby once you know he is awake for good. If it is a feeding problem, it will fix quickly and easily. If you put it off, you will make things worse.
Feed baby first and rule out hunger.
Don’t interfere too soon
One day Kaitlyn woke early from a nap while I was out in the garden (I used a monitor so that is how I knew she was awake).
I ran inside to get her—she was asleep upstairs. By the time I got there, she was back asleep.
If I had been inside, I would have gotten to her before she fell back asleep. Give your baby some time–whatever you are comfortable with. I think ten minutes is reasonable.
When baby wakes early, wait 10 minutes before you get baby up to make sure baby is really fully awake and not just being noisy during a sleep transition.
Sometimes babies can be very loud while they transition between sleep cycles.
>>>Read: When Baby Wakes Early From Nap, Wait 10 Minutes
Watch your use of a monitor
Use a baby monitor when necessary, but not too much. With a monitor, you hear every little peep and can rush in when baby is actually just transitioning.
Check other common reasons for waking
There are many reasons your baby can be waking early from naps. Many.
If you try to solve a short nap by addressing the wrong cause, you will never fix it.
Check The Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Short Baby Naps post on this blog. Go through that list and check each possibility out.
Consider the Wonder Weeks and Sleep Regressions
The Wonder weeks are time periods when your baby is making a big leap mentally and/or physically.
Wonder weeks can and do cause sleep problems. This is especially true around 19 weeks old. You can find information on the four month sleep regression here.
The hard reality of Wonder Weeks and Sleep Regressions is they both require a lot of patience.
>>>Read: The Wonder Weeks and Sleep
There are also many sleep regressions during the first couple of years of life. Some of these are tied to Wonder Weeks and some are not.
There are different ways to respond to a sleep regression depending on which one it is. If you suspect a sleep regression, see this post for help: Sleep Regressions: Causes, Ages, and What to Do
Wait it out
If you are sure none of the things listed is the culprit to your baby’s early waking, try to just accept it and wait it out.
Some babies take short naps consistently despite the parents doing everything right.
>>>Read Chronic 45 Minute Naps.
I would also recommend, as you wait, that you analyze the situation and try to think of what it could be. Keep a log and watch for patterns (you can get a copy of the logs I use here).
But once you have given it your all, don’t stress yourself out too much!
The problem I see with this culprit (45 minute intruder) is that little is known about it. You just have to do your detective work and try to figure it out!
Free Short Naps Printable Checklist
The 45 minute intruder is absolutely no fun. Be sure to read How To Deal with the 45-Minute Intruder for even more on the topic.
If you still need nap help, Get a copy of my book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide. This eBook helps you establish successful naps from birth through the preschool years. It is a great resource!
Related Sleep Posts
Reader 45 Minute Nap Advice
Just to share in case it helps anyone else out there, my almost 4 month old son has been waking up from the 45 min. intruder for a couple weeks. I started to feed him since that is what Babywise suggests to do. After awhile I noticed that he wasn’t acting that hungry when I nursed him, he wanted the attention and comfort more I think. That is when I decided to let him cry it out since I didn’t want to condition him to always want me instead of self-soothing back to sleep. So I’m currently working through that and although its tough, its slowly working and he’s figuring out how to get back to sleep on his own. Sometimes he even wakes up happily talking instead of crying. I usually let him cry up to 30 minutes before I’ll go in and get him, but 99% of the time, he’s fallen asleep within 10-15 minutes of crying. So I guess my point is when you try feeding them after 45 min. pay attention to whether or not they’re really eating or using you as a pacifier. That may be the clue as to whether you should get them out of their crib or leave them in to cry it out.(although I realize everyone’s situation is different!)
Babywise Mom said…
Thanks Kim! That always helps to hear other’s success!
Reader 45 Minute Intruder Questions
My child is doing this now and today I picked him up and fed him and he took a full feeding. What do I do after this re: the schedule? For example, he eats at 7:00, then ate again at 9:00, but it is usually 10:00. He didn’t go back down after the nine feeding b/c it took him 30 minutes to eat and then he was a wake. What do I do at 10:00? feed him again and continue with the regular schedule? I don’t know if he will eat.If they won’t go back to sleep after a 45 minute intruder feeding, then do you just adjust the schedule until it can be ironed out again? What are your thoughts on this?
Babywise Mom said…
Good question. If I experience the 45 minute intruder and baby is hungry, I just continue on the day more on a “pattern” than a “schedule.” So baby ate at 9. I would then shoot for the next feeding to be 2.5-3 hours from 9, but perhaps sooner. If this is a growth spurt, then it will be sooner. Feeding baby as often as necessary for a few days will get him with the extra food he needs and he will then go back to normal schedule. So I would feed at 9, do the normal waketime, then put down for a nap. If it turns out he was just hungry for that one feeding, he might sleep a little longer for the next nap and get back on schedule at some point in the afternoon. If not, don’t worry. Tomorrow is a new day 🙂
Excellent blog! Thanks for your efforts with it. My son (20 weeks) has, for about the last 8 weeks, been taking 2 out of 3 daytime sleeps for only 45 minutes each (I can look at the clock and say within a couple of minutes when he’ll wake!). Sometimes his first sleep of the day is also 45 minutes. I have tried everything – putting to bed earlier and later, swaddling, closing curtains. He is a wonderful nighttime sleeper and is now sleeping about 10 hours a night. Any suggestions? I’ve tried the things you’ve suggested too but each day is the same. I leave him to cry for about 15-20 mins each time he wakes – sometimes he goes back to sleep but not often. He has just started solids this week. I may just have to wait it out. I’d love to hear any feedback you could provide. Many thanks.
Babywise Mom said…
Once you have tried everything, there isn’t much else to do but wait it out. My son just clicked one day. I hadn’t changed anything that day, though several things had changed in the couple of weeks before. Some babies might just sleep 45 minutes until one day they get it. Others might need the changes for a couple of weeks before you see any improvement. I would say to still try to problem solve, but in a casual way. In a way where you won’t stress out over it. You have worked hard enough, no need to stress! Good luck.
Thanks for your reply. As I mentioned, I do leave my son for about 15-20 mins once he’s woken, depending on how hard he’s crying, to see if he’ll go back to sleep. Do you think I should just leave him in his bed for longer, until his normal time for a feed? This would probably involve a lot of crying though.
Babywise Mom said…
I wouldn’t leave him in there just to cry if you know that is going to be the result. Before too long, he should wake up happy and be able to play after he wakes up. At that point, you could leave him, but for now, if it were me, I would get him up if he was going to just cry. Have you looked at the waking early post? There are ideas there for what to do when they wake early.
Thanks for all the work you do for this blog…its so helpful! I have a 3.5 month old son and I’m in the middle of this 45 min. intruder thing with his naps. I just have a few questions. 1. How long does it typically last? Its been weeks now and I’m afraid that he’s so used to waking up 45 minutes into his nap that its just going to be habit. I try to let him cry it out, but after 30 minutes, I usually end up getting him since its almost time to feed him again. 2. I’ve considered darkening the room because he sleeps so much better at night. But I don’t want to confuse his days and nights (he’s sleeping through the night great). Do you think it would be bad to make his room darker if I still limited his naps to 1.5 – 2 hours? Thanks again!
Babywise Mom said…
1. It is hard to say. I think the book gives numbers…I would remind you to treat it as a food need first, meaning, try feeding him every time he wakes early jut to see if that is the reason he is waking. 3 months is a growth spurt age. If he hasn’t already had that, he could be doing it right now. He will continue to wake early until he gets his good need fulfilled.2. I think darkening should be fine since you have waketime each day cycle and also you would wake him up.Good luck!
Thanks for your input! I have been (and still am) trying to treat it as a hunger need. He does usually take a full feeding after 45 minutes, but my problem is that by the end of the day, he’s so overtired from his shorter naps that he gets hysterical and misses even more sleep. Did you ever run into that? I tried putting him down 15 minutes early for his naps, but he still cries more than he sleeps. Is that normal?
Babywise Mom said…
Is he still working on self-soothing? If that is the case, that could have a lot to do with waking early–he wouldn’t be able to make it through the transitions yet.When we were in the beginning with Kaitlyn, I tried to keep her as well-rested as possible because I knew that meant the most success and the most growth. If she was too tired, I would just put her in the swing because she slept well there. I knew she could get caught up and be ready to start again for the next nap. You have to make sure you don’t let it become a habit if you do that, but it is an option.If he is hungry, continue to feed him when he wakes. If you are still working on CIO, keep it up. He will get it!
I’ve finally got a copy of the BWII book (1995 version). I’m keen to get your opinion on a comment (pg 109) when it’s talking about 45 minute sleeps – “It’s not uncommon for PDF pretoddlers between five and eight months of age to begin waking halfway through their naps and give all the appearances of being ready to get up. If this begins to happen with your baby, don’t get him out of bed. Instead train him to fall back to sleep on his own. Pretoddlers need to nap longer than forty-five minutes”.
1. What do you think about the advice to leave the baby in bed – I leave my son for about 20 minutes once he wakes from a short sleep to see if he’ll go back to sleep. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. I can’t leave him for much longer than that because his crying normally gets worse and I can’t see him putting himself back to sleep if he’s not settling at all.
2. Do you think me getting him out of bed rather than leaving him is teaching him a bad habit?
Babywise Mom said…
1. I have never left my kids in bed to cry it out after a nap (save 2 times when Kaitlyn was 4-6 weeks old and woke up after sleeping 20 minutes). I think it is a good idea to leave the baby for a certain amount of time (determined by you) and see if he will go back to sleep. After that, move on to something else.UNLESS you think it will work for your baby. A woman I know recently tried CIO for the second time to finish off a nap (first time didn’t work), and that time it worked.
2. Possible, but needs to be determined by you. My son woke up after 45 minutes of sleeping until he was just over 6 months. I always got him and fed him–kept the cycle going. We were still on a 3 hour schedule. Then he suddenly started sleeping through for 2 hours. Good luck!
My 5.5 week old is sleeping for about 30-45 minutes and then she screams for another hour or more. What do I do? I feel so helpless and on the verge of tears right now. She has been crying for about 50 minutes now….
Babywise Mom said…
Rachel, If it were me, I would only give her about 15-20 minutes to fall back asleep–whatever time period you know she won’t fall asleep afterward. Then I would move on to some other method (as described in waking early from naps/won’t fall asleep for naps post–Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps. Good luck! Some other things to be sure of, I would look into figuring out the reason she is waking up. Look through the troubleshooting naps post to figure out why she is waking up so you can remedy that.
So, I think we’re going through this now. For the past 1 1/2 weeks my daughter has been falling asleep really quickly but then waking up usually 50-60 minutes after. She used to either sleep almost 2 hours or I would have to wake her.I don’t get her right away and sometimes she’ll fall on and off back to sleep for a little while or she just won’t fall asleep and I go get her. My BW question is that it said in the book it could be an eating thing. Do I continually feed her at about every 2 hours while this is going on or should I see if she can hold out until 2.5 hours. I just don’t want to teach her to snack all day. Also, how do you know when they’re ready to extend wake time? Right now she falls asleep an hour after eating. She falls asleep almost right away, but she also doesn’t act cranky/sleepy before I lay her down.Thanks!
Babywise Mom said…
How old is she? For waketime, it depends on her. My son was to 2 hours by 6 months, my daughter was still at 1 at 6 months (see the Sample Schedules post for more on that).
She’s 14 weeks old. Since she’s waking after 40-60min every nap I wonder if she can be awake longer. I’ve tried putting her down less than 1 hr of wake time and that didn’t make a difference.My concern about snacking is b/c she’ll eat no matter what. So I can’t really tell if she’s hungry or just eating b/c I’m offering.
Babywise Mom said…
At that age, I am actually going to guess a food issue first. Babies have a general increase in the need of food–they need more–around four months. Also, many people find they have issues at four months with sleep (see the poll results on that topic–95% of responders had sleep issues). My hypothesis is currently that the issues at four months are actually food related.You can always try extending waketime. Also, if you have four naps, you might need to drop the fourth. You could try feeding every 2.5 hours and see if that helps. Good luck! There are a lot of factors at play.
Thanks. I’m going to try feeding every 2.5 for the next few days.I also think you’re right about dropping the 4th nap b/c just recently she’s been waking earlier and earlier in the mornings and isn’t necessarly hungry, just awake and won’t lay in her crib.I was going to try that today actually but it didn’t work. She took such short naps today that her 3rd was over by 3:30. She ended up falling back asleep around 4:15. Is it okay to add a 4th nap if she didn’t take good naps during the day, or should I try to keep her up and then put her to bed early? Thanks again!
Babywise Mom said…
Yes, think if the nap dropping as more of a weaning than a dropping process. You can have some days with it, some without, some days with shorter, some with longer…at some point, the nap will be totally gone.
My 4 week old son will lay awake for about 15 min. in his crib. Then he will cry for 10-15 min. and fall asleep. He wakes up 20-30 min. later. It is too early to eat and he hasn’t had enough sleep. I am not sure if I should try feeding him or letting him cry it out. Sometimes it has only been 1 hr.45min or 2 hours. He doesn’t usually have the same problem when I let him nap in his crib. I am not sure what I should do. I am hoping someone else has had this problem.
Babywise Mom said…
You likely need to find the best waketime length for him. At his age, it should be 45 min-1 hour. Also, be sure he doesn’t fall asleep while he is having his awake time (like while eating).
Mockabee News said…
Hi, my son is 10 weeks old. The 45 min-intruder hits us probably 2 or three out of his 4 naps. Sometimes I think it’s overtiredness, other times, it simply can’t be! I know it’s probably a “developmental glitch”… the question is, I use a sound machine when he wakes (if I let him CIO, he will never stop!). The sound machine literally puts him back to sleep immediately. Do you think it’s becoming a prop? He doesn’t need it for his first nap, rarely ever. He doesn’t need it at night (he sleeps great from 7pm-6am!)… just during the last three naps of his day. I read you used the swing, so I guess that was a temporary prop as well? I just want him to get his full nap. Funny thing is, once it’s on, he’ll sleep past the second 45 min-mark! (still on 2 hr naps here)
Babywise Mom said…
If it seems he won’t sleep without it, then I personally wouldn’t use it. But if he will sleep without it, then I think it is fine. Especially at this young age. I personally like to keep things as simple as possible for naps so we can be anywhere without me worrying about what we do or don’t have with us. I do know a lot of people who use sound machines regularly.
My daughter (just turned 5 months) has trouble with her 3rd nap. She wakes up after about 30-45 minutes. At first I thought maybe she just needed a catnap, but she’s too tired in the evening so it seems like she still needs that nap.I’ve tried letting her cry to see if she’ll fall back asleep but she never has.Here’s my problem. We give her a pacifier when she falls asleep, but we don’t put it back in if she wakes. THis works for us and we don’t ever have to put it back in during the night so she’s learned to soothe herself back to sleep.There were 2 days where she really needed that nap (had evening plans). When she woke up I went up and put the pacifier in and she went back to sleep for at least an hour.I really don’t want to start that habbit since we’ve worked hard not to do that, but I don’t know how else to get her to fall back asleep, since CIO doesn’t work.What do you think?
Babywise Mom said…
It is totally normal for that third nap to be short. She is approaching the age range when they drop the nap, and she might be starting with just shortening it.I don’t think I would start the pacifier thing since she doesn’t need it otherwise. You would hate for her to think she needs it reinserted at other times. She should adjust to sleeping a shorter amount of time after a week or two (perhaps sooner). You might need to put her to bed early sometimes.
In your original post you said that you would put your daughter in her swing if she woke after 60 min. How long did you do this and did you have to break her of this or did she just transition well? My son has been waking up almost every nap at about an hour. He is getting the right wake time. I put him in his swing some of the time but I dont want him to get used to this. Thanks.
Babywise Mom said…
I think we did the swing thing consistently for about a month. It wasn’t for every nap, but at least once a day. I never had to break her of it. She just started sleeping through. I honestly wonder if part of the reason she needed it was because of her reflux; she got a lot better once the meds were worked out to the right dosage.
I would just like to say I’ve spent the last 30 minutes reading everyone’s comments about the 45 minute intruder and am feeling rather refreshed. My 3month 3week old son is/was a great sleeper, he sleep two 1.5-2.5 naps per day and then a 45 minute one. Night sleeps, he’d wake once for a feed around 4am and sleep for a total of 10 hours. However in the past 3 days this has changed, now he naps for 45 minutes and at night he is waking up to 3 times for food but sleeping for 12-13 hours. I’m trying to put this down to a growth spurt and hoping it changes again soon. I just wish he would be happier going to sleep. He constantly cries for up to 5 or sometimes 10 minutes before he babbles to himself. I fear I am going to create a toddler that doesn’t like to go to bed! Is this an indication of what is to come? In saying this he has on a SMALL number of occasions gone off quite happily with no tears and big smiles! I want more of them!
Babywise Mom said…
Rach, no this isn’t an indication of toddler sleep. I would watch a couple of things. One is that if he is going down and having a hard time falling asleep all of a sudden, consider lengthening his waketime. Start with only 5 minutes, sometimes that does the trick. It also can be the four month problems see 4 month Sleep Problems. Also, if it is a growth spurt (and good chance it is), make sure you are feeding him as soon as he wakes from those naps. Hang in there!
I am going through the same thing as “rach.” My son wis 3 months 3 weeks and has been doing the exact same thing the last two days. He has always been a really good sleeper. He was taking 4 naps still up until yesterday. He would sleep at least 2 or more hours for 2 naps, 1 1/2 for one, and about 30-45 minutes for the last one. He is also sleeping about 11 hours at night (8-7) with a dream feed at 10:30. He would literally go down with no fussing whatsoever and would maybe stir at the 45 minute mark or cry for 1-2 min., but go back to sleep. Now he will only sleep 45 minutes and then wake up, roll over (his new favorite thing to do) and talk for like 15 minutes before he starts to cry. I try and roll him over to go back to sleep, but he just cries and cries. He is not hungry (I pump my milk and feed him bottles and have been increasing his intake the last couple of days–plus, he is fine if we pick him up hold him which he wouldn’t be if he was really hungry). He will really start screaming after awhile and WILL NOT go back to sleep. So, now he is getting much less sleep than before, but definitely tired. I always put him down when he shows signs of being tired and he would go right down. It’s just the staying down which is not going well. He is still eating on his schedule 3-3 1/2 hrs., but will get up and play until it’s time to eat. Could it be that his new skill (rolling over) is interrupting his ability to sleep? He slept through the night last night like normal. I don’t know what I should do because CIO is not really working. We spent an hour trying to get him to go back to sleep rhis morning and he worked up to a really good scream until it was eventually time to eat.
Babywise Mom said…
Krista, I would offer the same advice to you as Rach, but also add that yes, it might be the new skill. See this post: Nap Disruptions: Rolling, Standing, Crawling, etc: Also, for both of you, keep in mind teething possibilities. They might not be close to actually getting teeth, but Brayden’s pains started at 3 months old.
Love your Blog! So in regard to the 45 min waking, I have a question that I am sure has been answered. She is getting up about 30-45 min before her next feeding with this new trend. For “waketime” do I start from when she woke up or from her feeding? If I go by when she woke up then she is only up for like 30 min after eating and then a whole new schedule arrises! I do leave her in her crib after waking to see if she will go back down. Thanks!!
Babywise Mom said…
Thanks! See these posts: How to Calculate Waketime When Baby Wakes Early
Why are 45 minute naps considered a problem? My son is just shy of 3 months, and he does the EASY routine, but most of his naps are 45 minutes. There is usually one nap that is two 45 minute blocks.I’ve strived for longer naps, and I do bet he is overstimulated by wake time activities if we are doing errands or something, but I don’t see why I should worry on getting longer naps.Please enlighten me! I really want to know in case its some neuro-cognitive development thing I am missing!
Babywise Mom said…
Mrs. Haid, there would be two reasons. One is that to do an EASY routine at that age, you can’t stick to EASY and a three hour routine with a 45 minute nap. If you are, then baby is up for over two hours at a time, which is too much for a child that age.The second reason is that they say brain synapses form while sleeping, and that second 45 minute stretch is important for it.
Thank you for your post on naps! I’m writing because I need some help!! My baby was sleeping well for her naps, until about 3.5 weeks ago. She is now 5 months old. She is on a combo 3.5/3 hrs schedule and used to sleep like clockwork for her morning nap (always 2.5 hrs) and other naps (usually 1-1.5 hrs). But starting 3.5 weeks ago, the napping has gone haywire! A few things happened during this time: her first tooth cut through, she caught a cold, and I think she went through a growth spurt. Now, I’m figuring that these things have passed – but I can’t seem to get her back on track. She sleeps well at nights (12 hrs) but her daytime naps are stuck at 40 minutes. I feel like we’re in a vicious cycle because she wakes up early from her naps, so I wait to feed her. But that ends up extending her wake time or she ends up going down too soon after the feeding. I’ve read all your posts on naps and troubleshooting. I’ve scoured her sleep/feed log to see if we are keeping her up too long or if she is overstimulated. I have tried to keep her wake times like before when she used to nap well – but no help. I have tried slightly longer wake times. We have a set naptime/bedtime routine. I can’t figure out what has caused the short naps. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!SJ_HANSEN
YM & Jolene
How funny – I was having exactly the same problem. My little man is now 5 months old and was on combo 3 – 3.5hr schedule + 12 hours overnight. We have just had a very social 2 weeks over school holidays as well as the start of his first tooth and our nap cues and naps have gone haywire. At first I thought I needed to extend waketime and then I tried bringing waketime back. He started waking (even though only for a few minutes) an hour after going to bed at night (7.30pm) and again (even though he still went back to sleep) an hour before morning waketime (7.30am) Then he started losing his appetite as well. I have felt for a while that he is trying to go to the 4 hour schedule but with naps going shorter not longer I have been resisting. 3 days ago I finally decided to try it as a last resort. Hey presto – his hunger is back, his waketimes have returned to what they were two weeks ago and his sleeps are back to 2.5hours. It might not be your solution but is another thing to consider. Cheers, Sue
ym…I’d push to a 4 hour schedule. I had the same problem at that age and was losing my mind! Then I went ahead and forced a 4 hour schedule (keeping them awake longer in the morning was the key) and within a week, 3 naps a day (2 long, 1 short [approx 9am, 1pm, 4:30pm) and all was well again.
SJ and Val, Before you moved to a 4 hour schedule, did you have problems with night waking? My baby is almost 5 months old and has been on a combo 3/3.5 hour schedule. He is a big boy. His naps have been haywire for the past week or so and has been waking between 5-6 am every morning without going back to sleep. He used to go from 7-7. I work, so it isn’t that big of a deal to feed him at 6, but I am wondering if its a feeding or sleep organization problem. I want what’s best for him at this point and I know that continuous night sleep really helps. Can you help by explaining how you moved to a 4 hour schedule? Were your babies awake two hours and nap for two hours? Did it take a while to adjust, or did it happen naturally? Any advice would be great!Thanks,Heather
thanks for the advice, sj and Val! I echo Heather’s questions: how long were your wake times and nap times on the 4 hr schedule? And, how did you transition to the 4hr? thanks again!
Heather & YM, My LO also has started waking at 6am but I go in and tuck him back in and pop the pacifier in and he goes back to sleep until 7.30am. Sometimes I think he is wide awake and no way will he go back to sleep but if I leave him he always does. This is how I know he isn’t hungry or really ready to get up at that time. When I get him at 7.30am he is always happy. I think this might be because we have been mucked up for a few weeks and he is not getting the right amount of sleep during his naps. Hopefully this will right itself now we have our naps back again. This is our schedule now we are on 4 hours. I have only been introducing solids for 5 weeks so the amounts are still quite small.
7.30am Nurse, rice cereal and bananas8.45am nap – about 2 1/4 hours11am nurse, pumpkin and apples12.30pm nap – about 2 1/2 hours3pm nurse, sweet potato and bananas 4.30pm nap – about 1 hour 5.30pm wakes until bedtime – about 2 hours 7pm nurse & bottle 7.30pm bedtime He will sometimes make noises at transition time but I am confident he needs more sleep and if I leave him he will always go back to sleep. He sometimes wakes about 15 minutes early for his 3pm feed and I just leave him in his cot playing until its time to get up. It took a lot of trial and error and reading of this blog to work it all out but I am really happy I stuck with it. I go from being confident that I am doing the right thing to complete chaos and wondering why it no longer works but it always returns to ‘normal’ so hang in there. Cheers Sue
The ideas of sj_hansen and Val are in line with what Hogg would recommend
- DVORAK FAMILY
OCTOBER 19, 2009 / 3:50 PM
My son is 7 months old and he is having horrible nap problems. He’s never been a great napper, but there was a stretch where he would do 1.5 – 2 hour naps, but for at least the past 2 months, I’ve been lucky to even get 45 minute naps out of him. Some days, he naps just 20 minutes. Today, he decided just to scream and not even go down for the morning nap. He sleeps great at night and goes from 7 pm to 7am. I have his wake time at approx 2 hours. I’ve tried less wake time and more wake time and neither of those have helped. He has little to no sleepy cues. When he’s woken, I just let him cry until it has been an hour, but he just isn’t getting it. I don’t see any teeth coming in, but his sister was about this age when she got her teeth. I try so hard to have a positive attitude, but some days it is just so hard. I also have a short nap routine of cuddling him and singing him a song. I have a room darkening shade in his room so light isn’t the problem. I’ve tried music, but that actually seems to make it worse. If I go in his room to try and comfort him when he wakes, he just gets more awake. Any tips out there? I’ve come to accept that he’s a chronic 45 minute napper, but this 20 minute nap stuff just seems ridiculous. Please help!PLOWMANATORS
NOVEMBER 15, 2009 / 4:21 AM
Dvorak Family, is there something waking him up? If so, a humidifier or some other white noise might help. Are you sure he is actually asleep and waking at 20 minutes, or is he just quiet for 20 minutes then starts crying?
OCTOBER 22, 2009 / 4:42 PM
Seriously ym… you are me right now except our little one is only 4 months. Today I am trying to get him to go back to sleep and nap longer but even now I hear him in the background fussing. He woke up 45 min into his nap and he still hasn’t fallen back to sleep. I don’t know what to do because I feel like I have tried everything there is to try and he doesn’t want to sleep longer than 45 min. I even set aside the week to be super scheduled and specific and if anything I feel like it has gotten worse! Do some of us just have 45 min nappers? I just want to make sure he is growing okay. The thing about 45 min naps are that it usually means he is eating every 2 1/2 hours because when you combine it with his wake times that is how it has to work. An hour and 15 min awake and an hour to nap… Should I be on a 4 hour schedule and keep him awake longer… HELP!!!Oh yeah… at first I would let him CIO and he would fall back asleep after 10 min or so of more fussing than anything, but now he won’t at all. I have tried so hard since he was a newborn to impliment babywise but I feel like while the ideas are great and it all seems wonderful the hardest part is figuring your individual little guy out. Waketime lengths, appropriate nap lengths… I still don’t know and he is 4 months! What is wrong with me!? Should I stick with this 3 hours schedule or cut back or extend… any advice would be so great!! Thanks!
Catharine, my initial answer is to stick to the three hour schedule until he sleeps longer…however, the Baby Whisperer says to switch to a four hour schedule to fix problems. So you will have to go with your gut. For some babies, the four hour schedule is the answer.Four months is a normal sleep problem time, so I suggest waiting until that difficult time is over, but then moving on to find solutions if there is still a problem.
OCTOBER 22, 2009 / 7:30 PM
Yes, some of us have chronic 45 min nappers. But, I would say most babies are not. I would also say that many babies just go through a stage for a few weeks or a couple months of 45 min naps. It is just a phase. During this time period, it is important to troubleshoot and remain consistent with leaving them in the cribs for the duration of “naptime”. They will either learn to fall back asleep or play happily in their crib until naptime is over. My DD has been a 45 min napper for 7 months now. Over the past few months, she has improved with occasional 1.5-2 hour naps thrown in randomly a few times a week. I’ll take what I can get! She always stays happy no matter the nap length. When she was 3-4 months old, I had to do CIO at the 45 min mark until she learned to either go back to sleep or play until naptime was over. Now, she never falls back asleep, but I always leave her. Obviously, you want to make sure they are not hungry or sick or in pain. But once your rule these out, it’s time for sleep training!!!Amy
- HAMMOCKS AND HIGH TEA
OCTOBER 27, 2009 / 4:12 PM
My baby is now 6 months old. I tried several times when she was younger to move to a 4 hour schedule, but it really messed her up! She seemed ready because she wasn’t that hungry after 3 hours, but it just made her fussy and messed up her naps big time. So we have been on a 3 hour schedule pretty much since she was born and it has worked well for her up until just recently. Her naps have gotten chaotic again and she seems hungrier than normal. She LOVES solid food and I’m afraid she’s holding out on the milk to get to that! But that’s another issue. The bottom line is, I’m going to try to move her into a different schedule now…hopefully 4 hour…and see how it goes.PLOWMANATORS
NOVEMBER 23, 2009 / 6:42 PM
Hammocks, good luck. It might have been a 6 month growth spurt.
- DAVE AND ELAINE
DECEMBER 4, 2009 / 8:15 PM
My baby girl is 6 months old. I started letting her CIO around 3months when I noticed she was waking at the 45 min. mark of a nap.Now, at 6 months, she still goes through times when she will wake at the 45 min mark. I don’t rush in to get her. I let her settle herself back to sleep which normally takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Then she sleeps till waketime. She only wakes after 45 mins every so often though. Other times, I lay her down for naps with not a peep from her until wake-time!So my question is: Why does she SOMETIMES have this 45 min wake up during naps and other days she sleeps right through that 45 min mark? Just seems strange to me and I was wondering if you know why!!THANKS!
ym, that happened right around the 19 week wonder week (see wonder weeks blog label). It creates difficulties sleeping in babies. Then you had several other things on top of that. You might just need to help her fall back asleep at 40 minutes so her body can get used to sleeping through again.