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When your baby is taking short naps, solving that can become all-consuming. You care about your baby’s sleep health and want naps to be long enough to be of the most benefit. You also, quite frankly, need some predictability to your day and could use some time to do little things like brush your teeth.
So when your baby is taking short naps, what should you check first? There seems to be an extremely long list of things to check. There seems to be one because there is. I have a whole long post on Troubleshooting Short Naps. There is both an art and a science to figuring naps out for your baby. Today I want to talk about the first five things you should check when your baby is taking short naps. These five things are the five most common reason a baby will be waking up early. I do have these in order of importance. Address the first one first and move down through the line.
1-Is It Hunger?
Is your baby hungry? Then the first thing you do when your baby wakes up is get her and feed her. Then you try to figure out why she was hungry sooner than you expected her to be.
Is your baby having a growth spurt? Growth spurts happen every 3-4 weeks. Babies grow a whole lot in that first year. I have some guidance for you to know how to tell when it is a growth spurt and what to expect from the growth spurt. See:
Hunger does not always come because of a growth spurt, however. You might have a supply issue. See my post on milk supply limit to help decide if that is what is going on.
2-Is Waketime Length Correct?
Waketime length is extremely important in your child having the correct length of nap. The tricky thing is that waketime length is basically ever-changing. This is such an important step that I have written about it in depth more than once on this blog, and one if not both of the posts are commonly in my current top five most visited posts at any given time.
- Optimal Waketime Lengths
- The Cornerstone for Good Naps (includes an infographic for you for fast and easy reference)
3- Is Your Baby in Pain or Discomfort?
Have you ever tried to sleep when you had a tummy ache? Bad gas? Heartburn? It isn’t easy, right? It isn’t easy for your baby, either. This post contains affiliate links. This does not increase your cost at all.
A very common cause for pain with babies is gas pain. If your child’s cry seems like he is in pain, there is a good chance it is gas. A baby who wriggles a lot is likely having gas pain. For gas pain, my go-to is gas drops AND gripe water. I give gas drops after every feeding and grip water before every nap. I do this until the baby gets to a point where there is no longer gas pain going on, then I slowly back off of dosages. Note that I give 1/4 the amount of gripe water as is recommended in the dosage chart, and that works well.
There can also be discomfort from room temperature or how your baby is dressed for sleep. Your child’s internal temperature absolutely impacts how well your child sleeps. See
Dressing Baby for Sleeping, Can it be too hot to sleep?, and Some Like it Hot (Sleep, that is) for help in this area.
cause sleep disruptions. Sometimes the discuption can be as little as a day’s worth, sometimes week’s worth. For as common as it is, I could justifiably put it up further on this list. However, the first three things are so important that I don’t want you immediately jumping to blaming a wonder week if the baby is hungry, needs waketime length fixed, or is in pain or discomfort. Be sure to read my
5-Does Something Need to Change in the Sleep Environment?
Does your child need a white noise machine to help block out the noise of the family or neighborhood? Does your child need some blackout curtains to help block out light? Maybe your child would sleep better swaddled, or maybe your child is done being swaddled and you need to drop it.
For more in-depth help, be sure to click through all of the linked posts in this blog post. They will take you to more information. Also, read through these:
- Naps: Troubleshooting–Revised and Updated
- How To Have a Good Sleeper
- Surviving 45 Minute Naps
- Pre-Toddler Waking Early from Morning Nap
- You Cannot Force Sleep
- 4 month Sleep Problems
- Baby Whisperer: 4 Month Old Changes
- 5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions
- Dealing with the 45 Minute Intruder
Posts From Other Babywise Mamas (BFBN):
- How To Avoid Short Naps
- Dealing With Short Naps With Twins
- Naps “By The Clock”
- Waketime Lengths: A Quick Fix for Short Naps
- Short Naps and Colic
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