September 08, 2023

Is your baby catnapping?

Is your baby catnapping?


Is your baby having 30-45min naps? These naps lengths are what are referred to as catnaps!

Catnapping is biologically normal and can start to emerge around 8 weeks when your baby starts to develop their circadian rhythm which their internal biological clock that regulates their awake / sleep cycles. 

Although frustrating as you feel you can’t get anything done, they are very normal until anywhere between 4-6 months of age and after the four-month regression when your baby’s sleep architecture changes and they are developmentally able to consolidate their sleep.

With that being said, you can most definitely start to work towards longer naps by looking at the below.


Things such as too much light, too much noise or nothing to mask external noise can all contribute to your baby sleeping 30-45min.

What may happen for example with too much light is that when your baby sleeps their full baby sleep cycle, there is nothing there to encourage them to sleep longer so you may find resettling in a brighter room is trickier.

You can read all about creating a sleep conducive environment here as this is where I recommend all my clients start when they are experiencing any sort of sleep disruptions. 


Awake windows can play a huge role in the length of your baby's sleep. Your baby needs to be awake a certain amount of time to create enough sleep pressure to sleep a consolidated nap.

However, it is also not uncommon to see baby's who have been stretched a wee bit too far to sleep less - this is due to the body's natural response to being overtired which is to release cortisol to keep them awake for longer. In turn, extra cortisol can make it hard for your baby to transition between the lighter to deeper stages of sleep which can be seen at the 20min mark.

In contrast, if you find that your baby is sleeping 30min, it may be an environmental factor we mentioned above or simply not sufficient sleep pressure.

My sleep guides have age appropriate short / long style routines which are a good place to start if you are unsure. 


One of the things we do suggest before a long stretch of sleep is a top up feed! This is half of what your "standard" feed would be. 

This ensures that their tummy is nice and full so in the case that they do wake after 30-45min you can comfortably rule out hunger as a cause.


As mentioned above, catnapping is very developmentally appropriate until closer to 6 months of age. You are not doing anything wrong!!

For some babies (mine included as she was 3 weeks premmie) it can take even a wee bit longer as don't forget sleep is neurological therefore based on corrected age.


Catnapping can also occur if your little one is experiencing some sort of pain or discomfort that is causing them to not be able to consolidate sleep.

For example:

  • Teething
  • Illness
  • Trapped gas / wind
  • Hip braces (bubs with hip dysplasia)


With any development you may experience sleep disruptions, and catnapping is a big one! 

You may see your little one wanting to practise their new found skills, in their cot! This may lead to longer awake windows, shorter sleep and even early morning rising.

Ensure lots of practise during their awake window to reduce how much practise you have during their sleep space.

This does pass, but do not be surprised if the catnapping is seen for a few weeks until they have mastered their new found skill.


With the right routine and sleep conducive environment, all babies do eventually sleep longer.

The question is, how long is a piece of string and when is this going to happen?

If one of the goals you are working towards is consolidated sleep, consider introducing a settling technique!

By introducing a settling technique we are encouraging our baby to sleep for longer periods and starting to work towards independent sleep - giving them an opportunity to sleep longer without your help.

Below is a list of settling techniques we work with based on age that you can consider. 


If you are struggling with catnaps and feel you need support, our two week sleep support package is the perfect option for you.

We will help you create a sleep conducive environment, personalise your baby’s routine that works for THEM and introduce a settling technique that works.

If you’re still freaking out about the transition, we can help!

  • For small tweaks to strategies have a look at our Quick Chat - 15min  option
  • For parents struggling with several things such as catnapping, frequent night waking, early morning rising or things that simply no longer work, have a look at our Phone + One Week Support option.
  • Not sure what is right for you? Get on the phone to one of our experienced consultants with our FREE 15min Discovery Call