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.”
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.”
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:
- What To Do When Your Baby Is Taking 45 Minute Naps
- 45 Minute Intruder
- Naps: Troubleshooting–Revised and Updated
- Baby Whisperer: 45 Minute Naps
- Chronic 45 Minute Naps
- Chronic 45 Minute Naps: One Year Later
- Easy Nap Fix
- Reader 45 Minute Nap Questions
- Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps
- Baby Whisperer: Waking Early From Naps
Other Great “Surviving” Posts: