Got a catnapping baby? Same here
I've always wondered why other babies can nap for longer than 40 minutes, yet my babies can't since birth. It's wired in them. 40 minutes and they're up and ready for playtime.
Mamas with catnappers, I can relate how tiring your day can be.
When you're doing close to an hour settle and baby only sleeps for 40 minutes, it starts to feel pretty grim. When they're finally down for a nap, you only have time to eat your lunch, check your messages and they're up.
Only until recently, I finally have some luck in the nap department. And it's all thanks to staying home. Confused? Let me explain.
My first is 22 months old. Since birth, she only sleeps for 40 minutes at each nap session. Even after dropping to only 1 nap, it still only lasted for 40 minutes. Crazy, I know.
My second is 6 months old. She used to only sleep for 40 minutes, until about 3 weeks ago when her nap session stretched out to 1.5-2 hours.
I felt so helpless, especially when my #2 was much younger. The lack of rest in the day was mentally crushing me. By nighttime, I would end up in a sobbing mess hating life with 2 under 2.
So many times, I googled "How to get my baby to nap for longer". The answers: introduce white noise, gently pat baby when they start to rouse, read tired cues, put the baby down drowsy.
They did not work. Not for me anyway.
So I just accepted it. I told myself that every baby is different, and it's not something that I'm doing wrong. Some babies are just better sleepers.
And then a miracle happened.
You see, ever since I had #2 I've been staying home on most days. I stop attending a lot of the playdates and music sessions because I'm just too tired. This is very different from when I had my first. I was very social and mobile with my first, always having activities to do and places to go.
When we stay home, we have a routine. Wake up, playtime, and when she is tired, I bring her to her room, lower the blinds and feed her to sleep (oops!). She knows that she is going to sleep, and she expects it. And somehow, she starts sleeping for longer and longer.
My first is also starting to sleep for longer than 40 minutes. It's not always consistent with her, but when she sleeps for 90 minutes, I take that as a win.
So that's the secret to my success.
A nap time routine. Day after day.
What's bad about it? I try to plan my outings around their nap times. And I stay home on most days.
With this realisation, I then wonder if the reason why my first is so bad at napping is that she has never had a proper nap time routine. I used to bring her out all the time. When we were out, her naps would mostly occur in the stroller and her sleep would get disrupted by a barking dog, a bumpy road, or a noisy tram. She's never learnt how to nap for longer. Hmmn.. who knows? For now, I'm just hoping that this will last.