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Why will my baby only take short naps?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021


If your baby is looking like this most days 20-30 minutes after they’re put down for a nap, rather than snoozing away peacefully there are a number of possible reasons why:


  • Undertiredness. Could there have been too short a gap between the last wake and getting your baby to try and nap again? Or not enough play/stimulation?

  • Lack of routine. If bedtime, morning time and naps are at different times from one day to the next your baby’s nap lengths can be unpredictable.

  • Overtiredness. Too long a gap since the last sleep can mean an overtired and difficult-to-settle baby.

  • Developmental stage. Sometimes babies are so excited by a new skill they’ve learned, like rolling or standing, they want to practice it even in their cots.

  • Unable to self settle. Short naps can mean that babies have not been able to “connect” their sleep cycles so their naps are always very similar lengths of 30-45 minutes. Teaching babies how to fall independently is key for this.

Photo via: @_michaelakphotography_

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