Surviving 45 Minute Naps: Tips from Moms

Find out how to stop your baby from waking up after 45 minutes every single nap. Get baby taking a solid, long nap. These are real tips from real moms who have been through it.

Mom holding a baby over her shoulder who is awake

45 minute naps! Oh how those naps torment mothers. Every baby has short naps sometimes; every baby has growth spurts, sickness, or pain while teething…Some babies, however, have 45 minute naps for a LONG TIME. Brayden, my oldest, took 45 minute naps for 99% of his naps until he was 6 months old. I know the pain! Here is some advice on how to survive these short naps. 

Allow Yourself to Grieve and Accept It

Short naps can really make you question your abilities as a mother and can also make it hard to get things done around the house. 

Lindsey said: “Oh dear. I think you have to go through a whole process of grieving. “

Sheena said: “Just survived it and glad its over lol”

Erica said: “My son was a chronic 45 minute napper, to the minute. It was awful. Looking back I thought I was doing something wrong. But now I have a baby girl and she’s a great napper. I don’t do anything different. “

Emma said: “I think you just have to ride it out. My five month old is an erratic napper (45 minutes here, 30 minutes there, occasionally an hour and a half thrown in just to get my hopes up). Some days it drives me absolutely nuts but I try and remember that it won’t last forever and as long as she’s generally happy I figure she’s in some bizarre way getting what she needs.” 

Ashley said: “I tried CIO at first and realized it was getting me nowhere with a young baby. Being a person who loves to follow instructions, 45 minute naps where frustrating me to no end. Truthfully, I didn’t survive them well. I prayed, I scoured babywisemom’s blog, and I cried. Thankfully the answer to our issue was adjusting wake time. Whether at home or at the sitter’s, shortening Jake’s wake time was the answer. It took a little bit to adjust, but it was so worth it! So many people said “All you do is feed that baby and put him to sleep. Poor thing!” Well, let me say that those nay-sayers are struck dumb by how well Jake sleeps. We’re in the process of dropping his morning nap now (he is 19 months).”

Jessica said: “With my now 3.5 month old 45 mins I’m way more laid back [than with my first] so I either enjoy the rocking snuggles (like I’m doing now) or just get her up and readjust our day by having play time before and after a feeding.”

Kelly said: “My first was a chronic 45 minute napper from birth to about a year old. I tried everything to extend, and found out a lot about who she was and what she liked in order to sleep. But nothing really fixed it, including CIO. When she became more mobile, and finally able to run, she was able to burn more energy and finally take longer naps consistently. She is an excellent sleeper now (4 yo), but still has lots of energy and loves to socialize.”

Jana said: “Wait it out. That’s terrible advice when you’re in the middle of something frustrating, but I’ll just say I did “all the right things” short of letting my lo majorly cry it out (at nap time…because I was never confident which nap should be lengthened…) For almost 4 months, on average, she slept 45 x 4 times a day! I kept trying to provide the opportunities to lengthen naps and FINALLY she now skipped to 2 naps/day. 1 45 min nap in the morning, the regularly a 2.5-3 hour nap in the afternoon!! This feels miraculous to me! Just wait it out. Give them time. Give yourself time. Do the best you can with each nap each day in the meantime.”

Leave Baby in Crib if Happy

Dawn said: “If my daughter woke up happy and seemed content, I would let her just hang out/rest in her crib until her next feeding. I stopped stressing that she didn’t sleep the whole time and just let her be.”

Surviving 45 Minute Naps

Cry It Out (or Don’t)

Some people said CIO worked to get those longer naps. Others said it did not work at all. The trick here is that what works depends on why your child is waking at 45 minutes. 

Lindsey said: “One thing I can say with conviction is that CIO does not work to extend short naps. I let my poor baby cry and cry for months and it did not help change anything.”

Amy said: “CIO did not work for naps for my chronic 45 min nappers. Twin boys didn’t take a good nap until I finally dropped to 1 nap a day and then miraculously they would take 2-3 hour naps, maybe starting at 15 mo.”

AnneMarie said: “CIO worked for us and now if he wakes at 45 min, he will usually put himself back to sleep but sometimes it can take up to another 45 min of just hanging out in the crib until he finally gives in. If that happens, I know he either didn’t have enough wake time or enough stimulation and I extend the next day and that usually fixes it too. We’ve had a lot of 45 min naps, but naps isn’t over until I say it’s over so he will usually chill until I get him and it’s time to eat!”

Emily said: “Transferred to swing for almost every nap from 12 weeks until 6 months. Then we did mid nap CIO. It worked maybe 50% of the time at first and gradually got more successful until around 12 mo, when he grew out of it. He had a twin who slept great so I couldn’t “allow” short naps or I would have had two babies on two different schedules every day, and that was not an option for me!”

Angela said: “CIO was actually the solution for my son’s short naps. After a couple days of crying it out he started putting himself back to sleep at the 45 min mark. For a long time he did two 1.5 hr naps a day, now that he’s 2 he does one 2-3 nap every day.”

Rachael said: “CIO definitely worked. She has great naps now however it took longer to get the hang of going to sleep. I found I had to hold her as she fussed until she got past the fitful part 5-10 mins after I did that she can do a couple 2.5 hour naps. She’s almost 4 month now”

Help Baby Nap (or at least be soothed)

When your baby wakes up earlier than is ideal and you know the baby will not go back to sleep on his own, don’t be afraid to do some baby wearing or swing sleeping. Your baby might need a pacifier or some swaddling. An overly tired baby is not a good thing. 

Alicia said: “[When my baby took a longer nap] really helped me to realize that when they wake happy they are rested but if they wake crying they need more sleep.”

Erica said: “Waking up early in the afternoons was worse because of trying to make dinner etc with a grumpy baby. So I would wear him and sometimes he’d catnap in there just to make it through this time. “

Lacey said: “The ergo was our life saver for my YDS’s short naps. He would usually go back to sleep for at least another sleep cycle in there.”

Amy said: ” I coped by never expecting more than 45 min for each nap, and dropping to 1 nap earlier than I expected to. It helped! Sometimes I would move them to their swing after they woke up so they could have an extended rest time and I could get something done.”

RaVae said: “This is SO my son. He wakes up an hour after I get him down. He always hoes to sleep by himself, but only goes back to sleep when I snuggle him. When I do that and then put him back in his crib he sleeps another 1-2 hours. After about a week of doing it this way he started sleeping his whole nap. But if there is any interruptions to nap time I have to do it again for a few days.”

Misty said: “I go in and rock her back to sleep as soon as she wakes the. She goes back to sleep for rest of nap! If I wait till she is crying then she will not go back to sleep”

Caroline said: “…with my second I discovered white noise (downloaded a free track to an old phone and set it on repeat). I’d creep in just before 45 mins, put the noise on and a dummy back in and he’d sleep thru for a full 2 hrs. Didn’t work if I went in late so he was already awake or if he had the noise on from the start until 6 months. CIO didn’t work for mine.”

Keep More Naps

If your baby is taking a 45 minute nap each time he sleeps, then it stands to reason he will be taking more naps each day than a baby his same age who is sleeping for 2 hours each time. Don’t get stuck thinking, “My baby is 4 months old and should be taking 3 naps” if your baby is sleeping for 45 minutes. Yes, many 4 month olds take 3 naps, but those naps are 1.5-2.5 hours long. 

If you have an older child–older than one year, then it might be that one nap a day will go better than two, however. 

Have an Earlier Bedtime

You might also need an earlier bedtime while you are having 45 minute naps all day. An overly tired baby will not sleep well. Do not keep your short-napper up too late. 

Try to Relax About It

I know it is stressful–believe me I know! I also know it isn’t ideal. But it is what it is. 

Erica said: “And just give yourself grace and be more flexible. I was so rigid wih him, not accounting whatsoever for growth spurts etc. I was too driven by schedules.”

Wake to Sleep

Wake to Sleep is a method from the Baby Whisperer.

I haven’t tried it, but reader Amanda said: “My son was a chronic 35 min napper from 2 to 4 months old and literally every day was torture…. I did so much research I thought my head would explode. I finally researched the “wake to sleep” method and tried it out of desperation for a straight 2 weeks and it worked!! I did have to start using a pacifier too but he’s now 8 months old and he takes 2 two-hr naps (sometimes even longer)”

Kelly said: “Wake to sleep for a week at two different times was the only thing that helped. CIO did not help at all.”

Other Tips

Charlene said: “Music worked for me. I played a cd that went for at least an hr so hed get past that 45min curb. That and a lot of patience”

Natalie said: “My daughter slept for about 30-45 minutes every nap until she learned how to roll over onto her tummy at just before 3 months old. She now sleeps solid. Even at nighttime.”

Alyssa aid: “ Getting rid of the pacifier cold turkey! CIO naps with an extended nap at end of day 1! I did this with my son at 2 months.”

More Posts From Me

Like I said, I have lived in short nap land. I have some posts that might help you out:

Other Great “Surviving” Posts

Surviving 45 minute naps pinnable image

17 thoughts on “Surviving 45 Minute Naps: Tips from Moms”

  1. OK. This one is totally out of the box. My second baby has been a short napper all her life. She goes to sleep fine. Night is fine too, mostly. But naps?? I tried positively everything but she would NOT sleep for more than 30 to 45 mins. Finally, I just did something radical. I dropped her morning nap altogether (she is 9 months old). Just like that, she went to a 3-hour afternoon nap. So she gets up at 8 or 8:30, then naps from 12-3, then bedtime at 6:30 or 7. In my figuring she is getting plenty of sleep… more than with two short naps. Even though she is way young to have only one nap? Just a thought here 😉

  2. Hi I've a 20 day old baby. He's my second son and I need help figuring out why he's recently wakeful at night (10-3 or 11pm to 4am). I also need help settling him to sleep, is he too young for CIO? If so do you suggest another method?I read baby whisperer but a friend suggested I try babywise so I'm trying to get my hands on the book. I know about the eat-wake-sleep cycle but have difficulty keeping him awake while nursing. I tried the babywise settling technique (patting or 2min pick up/ put down) but was unsuccessful each time as he just wants his pacifier! I want to bin the pacifier because he keeps waking up when he drops it!His routine now is the SOS one. Feed times 7am,10am, 1pm, 4pm, 6:20pm. Night on demand max 6hrs (usually 3-6hrs from start of feeds) Bath 5:20. Sleep times 8:15am, 11:30am, 2:30pm. Bedtime 7pm. He is hard to keep awake in the evening 4-7pm. There is a lot of crying. Is it more important to limit daytime sleep to 5-6hrs or to ensure he stays awake at a certain time ie evening? Please help Valerie! My husband and I are surviving on very little sleep at the moment.

    • Hi Sherri, there are several things for you to be aware of. One is day/night confusion. Read my post on that so you can know what you can do about it. Next is "witching hour." I have a post on that, too. For newborns, I like "the 4 S's", which is from baby whisperer. I have a post on that, also. You can also do CIO, and I have a post titled "CIO bootcamp revised and updated" that can give you info. I do have posts on keeping baby awake whole feeding, also. You can find all of these posts on the newborn index.

  3. Hi Valerie :)We started implementing Babywise about a month ago when our daughter was six months, and the first glorious thing that she would sleep longer during the night AND that her naptimes went from lasting 30ish minutes (for THREE WHOLE months) to about an hour or 1 1/2 and even up to two hours on a rare occasion. Though, even after 1 1/2 or two hours she would always wake up crying, except for ONE wonderful time….Anyway, the "funny" thing is that when she, praise God, started sleeping through the night (10 H) last Wed, her naptimes got out of hand. The three last days, including today (afternoon in Sweden), she has not even been able to sleep passed 30 minutes. Ok, one time she slept for 45 min. I feel like I have read everything that can be related to this: waking up early, optimal wake time, teething, grow spurts, CIO etc…We decided to try out CIO, but I am wondering if we are doing the right thing. Would grow spurts make the baby hungry only after an hour? I have feed her several times after two hours to check, but she will most often eat less or almost the same. I nurse and give her solid food. She does have two teeths coming, though I find it weird that she always wake up between 20-30 min and seem fine otherwise…😒What are your, or anyone elses for that matter, thoughts on this?Thanks again for keeping this blog alive ☺️Blessings

    • Hi Malene, If you suspect teeth, I would give IB profen before nap and see if she then sleeps longer for that nap. She might need a longer waketime length since she is sleeping better at night. She definitely could be hungry that fast. If you are feeding her and she is eating as usual, I would guess that is the reason. Good luck!

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  5. Thanks Valerie :)I test the IB profen or what ever similar we have to that in Sweden.Not sure about extending her waketime, though. According to my one week log (I wish I had started earlier), she often yawns after an hour or earlier during her waketime. Even after 10h of sleep, which is why I am also thinking she needs more than 10. The fact that she wakes up with a cry indicates that too. Just one more question, since I still nurse I am not sure how much food she needs. Do you know?When I for example have had to nurse her after two hours she will drink for 6-7 min all together and est 1/4 cup if solids. The reason for this short cycle is because it takes about an hour to feed her and due to her short naps :/I'd love to hear from you again.Blessings

  6. Oh, sorry about the misspellings. It is suppose to be:* I' WILL test the IB profen…* EAT 1/4 OF solids.Ps: She been under the average weight curve, but our pedi said it was ok, because she was still following her own curve, if you know what I mean? 😉

  7. Hi. I have a 12 week old boy who has been waking out of naps around the 45 min mark since about 8 weeks. I have troubleshooted and figured its a sleep cyle transition issue and he can't self soothe. So we did a little crying it out but its always mid nap bc he goes down for his nap great without crying. I swaddle him and he has his paci and i lay him down and he is out wiht in a couple of minutes. More often than not when he wakes mid nap if I just give him his pacifer and he gets settled again he will sleep the additional 45 min or so. My question is am I not allowing him to self soothe? Will he always wake at 45 min? He has found his hands and sometime will just put himself back to sleep. I just hate to let him CIO mid nap when he typically just needs the pacifer. He is taking 4 naps. The last nap is very short. Then goes to bed around 7, dreamfeed at 10, and wakes anywhere from 2 -4:30 AM then sleeps till 7. Any suggestions or your think he will grow out of it and just eventually get the pacifer himself??

  8. Hi. I am on baby boy #2. He will be 4 months old very soon. He has been a 45 minute napper from the get go with one long nap, usually. He is still taking 4 naps a day due to the bad naps. He can usually pull one long nap in the afternoon after 2 bad naps in the morning. He goes to bed fairly early due to this also. We really have no night time problems but we do have feeding problems. I am doing my best to follow pdf and feeding him when he wakes but this typically means he eats every 2 hours STILL at 4 months because of the naps. He takes a full feeding so he is hungry but I am starting to lose my mind. Feeding him this often still after 16 weeks is really difficult especially with a toddler running around. He is also still waking twice in the night to feed, granted sometimes it seems to be more for comfort. I think there is a possibility he is getting his first tooth. My first son I did all of the same things with and he was a wonderful napper and started sleeping 8 hour stretches at 6 weeks consistently. My question is where to go from here? I have tried extending wake time, holding off on feeding for a little bit after a short nap, going in and trying to coax him back to sleep. Nothing seems to work. I don't know if I should throw pdf out the window and start feeding on a time schedule or what. I really don't want to do that and I know this works because it worked awesome with my eldest son. I am sure this is just in part how my child is but if that is the case is there a way I can at least change the feedings? Help.

  9. Hello! First off I have to thank you for such a informative-detailed blog for us Babywise parents! Any who, here is my issue. First off, I have read on the blog regarding my issue and have resorted back to the book but cant seen to find the details I need. Our son is 4 months old, a Babywise baby from coming home. We have worked HARD those first 5 weeks and followed everything to a 'T'. He has progressed beautifully. Okay, jumping to now, the last few weeks he has been experiencing a cold and getting over the last little bit. He has been sleeping through the night (9:30-8) since 2 months and officially from 8-8 since 4 weeks ago. He is still sleeping perfectly through the night, but his naps during the day have gone to the 45 minute intruder. The thing is, he seems alert and not overstimulated but I still let him stay in the crib (since he just talks to himself) till when it is time to get up and feed. Sometimes that can be over an hour…. He eats 6-7oz at 8, 11, 2, 5 and 8-9oz at 7:30 (bedtime feed.) Today I even did what the book said to do and try feeding cause it is around a big growth spurt time, but I need more guidance into "do you do that every time?"..any who hope this is clear. Looking forward to hearing from you!! 🙂 🙂

  10. Valerie — Thank you so much for an amazing resource! We welcomed our first baby girl in November (4 months / 17 weeks) and started babywise around 7 weeks. So far everything is going very well with the exception of day naps. Two things we have fought with are reflux and then also a pretty severe milk protein allergy that has only been recently confirmed. Because of these two things she spent the majority of her naps being rocked from crying to comfortable and then to drowsy or sleep. Putting her down awake in her crib was not an option we were comfortable with as she would spit up a great deal and we feared crying too long worsened the reflux. She also was just genuinely unhappy so we felt sleep training would not truly work. Until recently she was sleeping through GI discomfort. Because of this I can only assume she has day time sleep prop issues. Recently, now that she is on Zantac and I have eliminated practically everything from my diet, she is a much happier baby. This has allowed me to start addressing the sleep props and teach her to fall asleep. the trouble is that I feel like I have to learn her all over again. I know how to put down my uncomfortable baby. But not my happy baby. Currently, She takes 3 – 45 minute naps and now refuses the 4th. We end up keeping her up a while in the evenings until bedtime at 7. She does not seem to mind the long wake time and does quiet time in her crib or independent play. At night she sleeps 12-13 hours and I can see on the monitor she can put herself back to sleep (sucking fingers). During the day I try to look for sleep cues but she doesn't offer much until she starts frustrated jabbering when I know it's too late. Before the medication correction, I would start rocking her around the 70 minute mark and because of GI upset would get her down, eyes closed, around 80-90 minutes. Now that she is happy, I have used that as my guide and helped her to drowsy and helped her fall asleep IN the crib. Next we will work on full awake to asleep. Regardless of rocking to sleep or sleep training, or being put down earlier or later, she wakes up at the 45 minute mark. I have seen all your posts on troubleshooting. I think the biggest issue is self soothe and she is a very alert baby that just doesn't seek out sleep. We now do CIO mid nap and have not had any success. Because she needs 15 hours a day and sleeps so beautifully at night, 3-45 minute naps gets her to the 15 hour mark. Regardless, I would still like to teach her to get through a transition on her own and also have a schedule that doesn't keep threatening an earlier and earlier bedtime due to early wakings and shorter wake times as the day goes on. I would deal with short naps if I knew she could transition and take longer ones if she wanted. Some days you can really tell 45 minutes was enough. Some days you can tell she wants to sleep a little more but gets frustrated trying or doesn't know how. I would love your advice on how to handle the day with 45 minute naps – the goal being moving toward sleep training and staying somewhat on schedule. I would also love to know how many hours your kids slept a day at 4 months. Do you have an example day with Brayden as a 45 minute napper? Do you find its best to just leave them in the crib till the 2.5-3 hr mark? She will NOT do a swing. She hates it. I just feel like the end of the day is always a stress because I am teetering so close to the overtired point when we get her down due to short naps in the day.i have a feeling age related longer wake times will fix this but she HAS GOT to learn how to go to sleep and stay asleep on her own. Thank you for your time!!

  11. Ps. I forgot to add • Crib is elevated • She has spent maybe 10 hours total not asleep on a flat surface so very used to bassinet/crib • We recently feel like we have her wake time closer to correct (less time) but I still feel like I am coaxing her through upset tummy for sleep. • Might start looking into formula I guess I just can't be sure she's not having gas pains or digestive issues so it throws a monkey wrench into everything. How would you handle this??! Thank you!!!

  12. Hi,I'm currently in a terrible 45 minute nap situation. My son is 4 weeks old and was doing fantastically with naps until about 3 days ago. He started waking at 45 minutes (almost to the minute) during at least 2 of his naps daily. I first thought it might be a pacifier problem, but I've put him down without it several times since then and am still running into the the issue. It could very well be that (I'm not sure, and I've given it to him to suck before he fell asleep a couple times and taken it away before I put him down). I've adjusted his wake time based on his sleepy cues (for example, so far today his wake times have been 50 mins, 36 minutes, 56 minutes, 57 minutes, timed from the moment he got up until the moment he was actually asleep in bed) He had some issues over night after his 3:30 am feeding, so I'm guessing that's why he only went 36 minutes one cycle. His first 3 naps were great, but his fourth nap (and now literally at this moment, 5th nap) are not going well today. I'm not sure what to do! I can't stop stressing, crying, and arguing with my husband about what to do.

  13. Some more detail, sometimes we have the other issues, where I get a sleepy cue, go through the routine and put him down drowsy. I walk away and go downstairs, only to look at the monitor where he's got his eyes back wide open. Sometimes he makes minimal fuss and goes to sleep, others he gets more and more agitated until he's full on wailing. Any thoughts on what our problem(s) could be?


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