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Baby Suddenly Taking Short Naps- Why It Happens and What To Do

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If you’re reading this, then the chances are you’ve noticed your baby taking shorter naps. Or maybe you have a newborn who is sleeping only 30 to 45 minutes at a time. Short naps can be frustrating, especially if it takes you a long time to get them to sleep in the first place.

What Is a Short Nap? 

A version of a short nap generally depends on parents. Some may consider anything less than an hour to be a short nap, while others may consider sleep that is less than thirty minutes a short nap. So a short nap, in this case, will depend on your baby.

Some babies take a 30-minute nap and wake up happy and refreshed. Others wake up cranky and fussy after taking a 30-minute nap.

If your baby falls in the fussy and cranky category, then it is time to figure out strategies to get them to take longer naps.

Reasons Why Babies Take Short Naps

There can be countless reasons as to why your baby might be taking short naps but here are a few that you can work with to see if they fit:

You and your baby haven’t fully adjusted to the new time zone

father puts blanket on asleep napping little kid child infant on bed in morning

If you’ve just flown into a different time zone, it might take a few days for both of you to adjust to the new environment. If your baby wakes up too early or sleeps late, this is a sign that he hasn’t fully adapted to the new time zone.

To make your baby adjust faster, follow a set schedule and keep him in his sleeping environment for long periods of time.

Your baby isn’t comfortable in between naps

Make sure your baby sleeps in a quiet, dark room because this makes it easier for him to fall back asleep.

If he’s sleeping in a place that is too noisy or bright for his liking, it makes falling asleep difficult. In this case, babies will take short naps because they aren’t comfortable in between sleep cycles.

Your baby isn’t getting enough oxygen during the nap cycle

Closeup portrait of crying newborn baby boy

Babies taking short naps could be a sign of breathing problems or sleep apnea. If your baby doesn’t get enough oxygen during the nap cycle, they’ll wake up abruptly and won’t be able to fall back asleep.

To make sure that your baby sleeps soundly, try laying him on his side instead of his back as this can help him breathe more easily and deeply. Also, make sure his nostrils are not blocked with mucus before putting him to sleep.

Your baby isn’t comfortable with his napping schedule

A sudden change in your baby’s napping schedule can make him take short naps. It also makes it difficult for him to fall asleep because he’s not used to the new schedule.

If you notice that your baby is taking short naps, try sticking to the same schedule all the time. You can also try gradually shifting his nap schedule into a new one to make it easier for him to adapt.

Your baby is overstimulated from his environment

If you notice that your baby is suddenly taking short naps, it could be a sign of overstimulation from his environment. While this doesn’t happen to all babies, sudden changes in the physical and social dimensions of your child’s environment can make him take short naps.

These changes can also inhibit him from falling back asleep afterward because he’s too excited.

Slowly change his environment by doing activities that he loves to do, like playing with him on the floor or taking him out for a walk in the stroller so he can get used to these changes.

Your baby is teething

baby girl teething and biting to calm the pain

For some babies, their gums are more sensitive when they are teething.

Babies may take short naps because they’re not used to this type of pain. When your baby is teething, you can try applying some teething gel.

You haven’t given your baby enough time to sleep in between schedules

When it comes to babies, there are two types of napping schedules: an irregular one and a regular one. An irregular schedule is when your baby takes short naps and wakes up at different times throughout the day and night.

This might be because he’s not used to sleeping in between sleep cycles, so it’s best to stick to a regular nap schedule for him.

A regular schedule is when your baby sleeps at the same time every day and wakes up at the same time, too. If your baby is used to his irregular schedule, he might take short naps and wake up abruptly because he isn’t familiar with a regular nap schedule yet.

Your baby has started eating solids

Mother feeding her little son

When your baby starts eating solid foods, he might need to eat solids before taking a long nap.

Solid foods help your child keep full for longer, while breastmilk or formula will get them feeling hungry faster. Thus, the baby may be taking short naps during the day because he wants to eat solid foods instead of milk.

Your baby wants to play with other children

While it’s true that babies may take short naps because they enjoy the company of their siblings, naps are a must until they reach an older age.

As long as you make sure that your baby’s environment is constantly changing by playing with him, your baby will get used to sleeping longer. 

You keep waking your child

A newborn baby yawns in his mother's arms, portrait.

If you want your baby to sleep through the night, it’s best not to wake him up. When he wakes up during his naps, he’ll start taking short naps as well because he’s still tired from waking up too many times earlier that day.

Always make sure that your little one sleeps for a good amount of time before waking him up so that he can get the rest he needs.

Final Thoughts

Babies need to sleep about 8 to 9 hours during the day and 8 hours at night. However, they may not sleep through the night without waking up until they are about three months old.

Every parent’s dream is for their young ones to rest well. If you try to create a conducive environment for your baby, he will take longer naps and will eventually catch up to the sleep routine that you want them to follow.