Q&A: Is it bad for a 4-month-old to take short naps during the day?
My 4-month-old daugther will NOT take any naps longer than 30 minutes during the day. She takes about three or four of these "power naps." She passes out, after fussing for 10 minutes, then awakens 30 minutes later. Within an hour or an hour and a half she's fussy again ready for another nap. She sleeps about 12 hours a night without disturbances. Should she be taking longer naps during the day? Is there any way I can encourage her to take at least one longer nap? Or is this simply her way of sleeping? Is she not getting enough sleep?
Here’s some background info on infant sleep: The ‘average’ sleep pattern of a 3-month old is 9 1/2 hours at night and five hours during the day. A 6-month old usually sleeps a 10 1/2 hour night and another three to four in naps. Sleep patterns and amounts vary widely from one baby to the next, and what is normal for one baby may not be for another.
Your daughter seems to be getting 14 or so hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, which is well within the normal range for her age. The fact that she takes a big 12-hour chunk of that at night is fine, and makes your nights easier, too. Many babies show the “catnapping” pattern you describe and not the “typical” one- to three-hour pattern. If she isn’t being lulled to sleep too early, by being in a car, for example (which it doesn’t sound like), if she isn’t being awoken too early (by noisy sibs, for example), if she seems refreshed right after her nap and is growing and developing well, this is probably just the sleep pattern that is right for her.
You could try to create quiet times in the late morning and afternoon to see if she adopts a different pattern, but don’t need to worry if she doesn’t.