How is your baby's lunchtime nap? I know this sounds dramatic but, A LOT of the night time sleep problems of the babies that we work with through consultations can be directly linked back to how their second nap is! I can't stress enough just how important it is to get a long stretch of sleep happening in the middle of the day in order to get EVERYONE sleeping well at night.
Let me make my case...
1. If the long nap is happening too early
If your baby does their longest nap in the morning, often by the afternoon they aren't tired enough to do a long nap. This can then mean that they are overtired by bedtime, causing a more disturbed night.
2. They can only "catch up" for so long
If your baby is under 8 months they will generally be able to "catch up" on a short lunchtime nap with a third nap. After 7-8 months having a third nap is no longer an option without it pushing bedtime later & eating into their nighttime sleep.
3. A long restorative nap
This nap is usually the time when babies will have two or three sleep cycles, meaning a deep and restorative sleep. The benefits of that are huge including immune system repairs and recovery, memories going from short to long-term, appetite regulation and emotional regulation (hello: toddlers!)
4. It's not going anywhere!
The third nap is the first to go, followed by the morning nap but the lunchtime one stays for the longest, usually until 3-4 years old so it’s worth making the effort to get it right. Plus, this is the nap that almost all nurseries will stick to, so working on extending it will really set your little one up well for if and when they are going into childcare.
If you struggle with this nap, don't worry, you are not alone! It is often the last piece of the puzzle to crack when we work with families! But consistent re-settling when your baby wakes after a short period is key in order to get that nap ELONGATED! Need help with that? All of the sleep programmes will walk you through exactly how to settle, step-by-step, whether you'd like to stay in the room with your little one or give them a bit more space, as well as having routines to guide you on nap timings.