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You know the moment. Your baby wakes up early from nap. You go check on her and try to feed her, but she isn’t hungry. You check for a dirty diaper. All clear. You check to see if she is sick or has some teeth growing in. Nope. She woke up for some reason, but it isn’t a reason you can identify and fix. She is awake, but not hungry…what do you do? How do you get her back on track so you can have her eating and sleeping at her regular times?
There is a simple hack for you to try in these moments. It goes like this.
Tips for Stopping Early Waking from Nap
1-Get her out of bed.
This is self-explanatory. Get baby out of bed. Take the swaddle off if she is still swadddled. Get her up as though it was time to get up.
2-Spend some time playing with her.
The length of time playing will vary based on her age, but go for about 10-20 minutes. Maybe 30 if your baby is older than 6 months old. Do watch for sleep cues and if you see a sleep cue your child typically displays, go straight to step three no matter how long it has been.
As you do this play time, keep it calm. The goal is that baby will go back down for a nap very soon, so you don’t want to be tickling or getting all wild. Keep it calm.
3-Do your sleep routine.
After your playtime is up, go back to baby’s room and do your sleep routine. Do the full thing.
4-Put baby back to bed.
Put her in her bed as though it is nap time.
This is a great hack to get baby past a short nap. This is not the first thing I would turn to when baby wakes early. The first thing I would try would be to get baby to fall back asleep as quickly as possible. That doesn’t always work, however, and this hack might work to help your baby get an extra 30-45 minute nap and stay on track for the day.
For more help with short naps, see:
- Chronic 45 Minute Naps
- Common Reasons for Poor Sleep
- 45 Minute Intruder
- Dealing with the 45 Minute Intruder
- How To Calculate Waketime Length
- How Pacifiers Might Be Ruining Your Baby’s Sleep
- Naps: Troubleshooting–Revised and Updated
- Playing in the Crib/Bed
- Problem Solving Tip: What Has Changed?
- Sleep Deficit
- Waking After Only 20 Minutes
- Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps
- What To Do When Your Baby Is Taking Short Naps
- What to Do When Your Toddler Refuses to Take a Nap