I never knew I could enjoy naps so much, especially if I’m not the one taking them. I get a break in the middle of the day? Uninterrupted time to do whatever I want? I’m so in! Naptime can be so delicate, though, and if that naptime is disturbed in some way, it just sort of ruins whatever I had planned for the day. Within the past 6 months, Allison’s finally on a pretty good nap schedule, but it totally didn’t used to be that way.
As a first-time mom, I really didn’t know what to do about naptime. How long did babies need to sleep? How many naps did they need to take every day? Why won’t this child sleep by herself??? For the first 4 months of Allison’s life, she napped on me because she wouldn’t nap anywhere else. I’d stand and bounce her until she fell asleep, and then I’d lay in bed and quietly watch TV or play on the computer. At this point, we did this between 2-3 times a day. I got absolutely nothing done those first 4 months, and I knew I couldn’t do this forever or else I’d go insane.
Right around 4 months old, I started rocking Allison to sleep in her room (She had been sleeping in our room with us until that point). I could then, sometimes, gently, ninja-like, lay her in her crib and sneak out. Sometimes that lasted 5 minutes, other times up to a half hour. But that was a half hour of no baby attached to me; I was my own person again! I ran to get any laundry done that I could, sweep the floor, or just lay in bed by myself until she inevitably woke up again. Everything that I had read told me I needed to lay her down awake and let her fall asleep on her own, but it didn’t work. It never worked, and it resulted in a screaming baby and frazzled mom, so I just kept rocking her to sleep because it worked for us.
When she was around 6 months old, she dropped to one nap, against my wishes. I knew she was supposed to take at least 2 naps, but I just couldn’t get her to sleep. I ended up just going with it and her only nap was right after lunch. On a good day, she’d nap for an hour; on a bad day, a half hour or less and I’d have a grumpy baby AND a grumpy mom. If she ever slept for 2 hours I thought the world was ending. This went on basically forever until she hit maybe a year old, and then I moved her naptime back an hour and things went a little smoother.
Now, she’s my little champ. Lunch is at noon, naptime is at 1:00. I still rock her to sleep for naps, and I don’t even care. I know she won’t take naps forever, and she lets me cuddle her, so I’m taking advantage of this for as long as I can. Her new naptime hours are between 1:00 and 3:00, occasionally waking up at 3:30. That’s when I know it’s a good day. It gives me time to write, watch TV, clean every so often… it’s wonderful. I wish children would nap forever.
My only advice is take what you can get when it comes to naptime. If all you get is a half hour, take advantage of it the best you can! If I know I only have a certain amount of time before Allison wakes up, I find myself more productive and can get more things done than if I just dawdle around because I “know” I have a lot of time. Enjoy those naps while you can, people! They don’t last forever.