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Nap Consolidation

Why baby isn’t consolidating naps:

1. Baby is undertired

2. Baby is overtired

3. Baby hasn’t learnt how to link their sleep cycles

Between 16 and 20 weeks baby’s biorhythms are developing and longer naps become easier to achieve. This doesn’t mean that we can’t encourage longer naps before this time. Longer naps In babies under 16 weeks are really important for a myriad of reasons. Babies who are catnapping can be quite irritable and unsettled. Additionally, babies who are only napping for short periods throughout the day are often snack feeders. They require feeds when they wake, feeds to go to sleep and feeds in between to keep them happy. This can be exhausting for Mum and can also cause gas and wind in baby.

Cat-napping can effect night sleep, depending on the child and how overtired they are. It is possible to avoid overtiredness with a cat-napper by shortening their awake window. The choice is all yours, however by 5 months I recommend all my clients to consolidate naps. Why wouldn’t you? A happier child who has down time to grow, develop and stabilise their mood. Babies who nap well are content and eager to play and learn, not to mention the positive effect napping has on night sleep!


1. Ensure you are implementing an age appropriate routine: A baby who simply isn’t tired enough to sleep longer than one sleep cycle will be understandably upset if you are trying to get them to fall back asleep. A baby who has been kept awake far too long will not be happy about falling asleep and staying asleep either- they have gone into fight mode and you’re now telling them to relax.

2. Sleep Environment: You may not believe in darkness for sleep. In my opinion you’re not desperate enough for change! I have seen many babies improve quickly after the room was made dark. White noise is highly beneficial for babies under 6 months, especially newborns who are easily calmed by deep rumbly tones. White noise can be used for older babies and children who live in a noisy house or neighborhood.

3. Have a plan: How are you going to get baby to sleep longer? Are you going to pick them up and let them sleep in your arms for the rest of the nap, are you going to use patting and shushing in the cot, are you going to check in at intervals and encourage self settling, are you going to pick up put down?

4. Be ready for slow progress: Nap consolidation takes weeks. It is a skill you are teaching your baby. It can seem tedious at the time but once it has been mastered it makes life a lot easier. Just like baby led weaning or toilet training, be patient and consistent and you will see progress.

5. Be consistent. Stick to one schedule for at least 1 week before deciding to change nap times or your approach to re-settling. Chopping and changing is SO confusing for your little one and stalls progress.

6. Get out and about for one nap. For your own sanity, have the shortest nap out in the pram or carrier so you don’t feel like you’ve spent your whole day re-settling.

Need help? Check out my packages and let me help you get your baby napping.

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