Eva's sleep story...
Little Eva had a bit of a catnapping habit. She used to be a good daytime sleeper as a newborn, however, once she hit 8 weeks old, she started sleeping in 35-45 minute chunks throughout the day. This meant she was having around 4 short naps and would get quite cranky come bedtime in the evening.
She usually went down for the night ok, however, would always wake 45 minutes after bedtime and take a while to be resettled again.
Eva's mum Hayley was worried about her getting overtired during the day and so, following some well-meaning advice from a friend, was putting Eva to bed an hour after she woke from her last nap. Hayley was rocking/cuddling Eva to sleep because if she was put in her bed awake, she would cry and be very unsettled.
Hayley introduced white noise at around 9 weeks after reading that it can help babies settle and sleep better. After a few weeks though, she hadn't really seen any improvement in Eva's nap lengths or waking after bedtime. Frustrated and unsure what to try next, Hayley bought our Baby Sleep Program.
Straight away, she could see our recommended awake times for a 12 week old baby were quite a bit longer than what she had been giving Eva, and the cumulative daily nap hours were greater than her daughter's short catnapping added up to as well.
Since Eva was now 12 weeks old, her sleep needs had matured since she was a newborn, but Hayley was still only giving her the awake time recommended for a very new baby. This meant she simply was not tired enough come nap time to sleep for more than one cycle.
Then, as a result of the constant catnapping during the day, Eva was becoming overtired by bedtime and this was causing the wake 45 minutes after going to bed. This is very, very common and easy enough to fix by simply getting the napping sorted first.
In addition to extending Eva's awake times, we encouraged Hayley to make her room a bit darker because it was pretty bright during the day. From around 8 weeks old, a dark room becomes really important as this helps to promote the release of the sleep hormone melatonin - a key ingredient for easy settling and great sleep.
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After implementing these changes and stretching out Eva's awake times during the day bit by bit, she started napping for more than one sleep cycle at a time and after 5 days the bedtime wake had totally vanished too!
Up until now, Hayley had been rocking Eva to sleep because when she had been putting her down after an hour of awake time, Eva wasn't too happy about it and had been crying and unsettled. This was because she wasn't quite ready for a nap yet. Since Hayley was rocking her though, Eva would eventually fall asleep (ready, or not!).
Once Eva was hitting the perfect nap/awake times, Hayley found that she was able to pop her in her crib, and she would settle to sleep quickly and easily. Since Eva was perfectly ready for sleep, she was far more relaxed and able to drift off to sleep with minimal settling and no crying.
In hardly any time at all, Eva was established on three consistent naps a day, was settling easily and the dreaded wake 45 minutes after bedtime was gone. Hayley couldn't believe the difference:
I actually didn't think it could be this easy and painless! All we did really was make some small gradual changes to Eva's daytime and napping and it's made all the difference. I'm kicking myself I didn't do this sooner!
Our tips for how to beat the 45-minute nap intruder:
- Make sure your little one's awake times are age-appropriate. Our Little Ones App can help to take the guesswork out of your baby's awake times with evolving, age-appropriate, daily sleep and feed schedules.
- Before settling your little one to sleep, create a positive sleep environment for them. We recommend a dark room, white noise and a swaddle or sleeping bag for both naps and overnight sleep.
- Respect your child's sleep development. This means working with your baby's changing sleep needs and giving them the chance to master new sleep skills when they're ready.
- You can find out more information about why your baby isn't napping well here.
If you want to improve your baby's napping, our Little Ones App has all the information and tools you need to make positive changes to your baby's sleep.