Thursday, March 7, 2013

If You Can't Beat Them. . .

Shawn's method of putting Eliza down for a nap, join in!
I dread nap time.  Every day when it nears the two hour mark since Eliza's woken up, I start to think about nap time and how much I don't want to go through the nap time routine.  There's nothing about the routine specifically that I don't like.  And naps are good, I love naps.  And it's not that I want to keep my baby awake to play with me.  It's just that. . . I don't have a good napper.  I've read the books, I've followed the advice, and yet. . . Eliza has no nap time consistency. One day she'll take two good solid naps, the next day it's only a morning nap, and the following day it's only an afternoon nap, and the next day no naps at all.  Add to that the pressure of the experts telling me that my baby should be napping for 2-3 hours twice a day, and the fact that I feel lucky if I can just get her to take a 30 minute nap makes me feel a bit like a failing mom. We've got the lovie, the sound machine, the pre-nap time routine, the only thing missing is the nap.  And to make it even worse. . . now she will only fall asleep for naps while I'm nursing her.  Which any Mom will tell you is a no-no.  The baby is supposed to be put down "drowsy but awake." But Eliza doesn't have that stage.  It's either awake or asleep.  And then there's the dreaded part when I have to actually put her in her crib.  I think that's the part of nap time I fear the most.  It's a big gamble, will she stay asleep?  Will the act of putting her down wake her up? Because once she wakes up that's it, the nap is over.  There's no gently coaxing this one back to sleep!

So, after MONTHS of struggle, countless articles read, talking to friends and family about nap time, I've decided, if you can't beat them, join them.  If she closes her eyes and all she does is sleep for 20 minutes in my arms, well, at least she got 20 minutes.  I'll try again in another 2 hours and see if she will take a better nap.  And if I get more than 20 minutes, if I successfully put her down in her crib and she stays asleep for an hour, it's time to celebrate!  But if she wakes up just a few minutes after I put her down, we've instituted quiet time.  She gets to play in her crib, and I get to shower, or eat lunch, or whatever is at the top of my agenda.  It's only been an attitude adjustment on my part, and it's only been a week, but it's already made a difference.  Not on Eliza's napping, that is still as strange as ever.  But giving in, not struggling to get her to take two good naps every day, not worrying that she's not getting enough sleep has made it so much easier on me. I'll still try every day.  I'll still watch her after she's been awake for 2 hours, and try to catch those first signs of drowsiness.  But I'm no longer going to feel like a failure if she only sleeps for a 30 minutes instead of 3 hours.

1 comment:

  1. That is the most important thing to learn about being a parent. Hands down. You're only failing if you are totally neglecting or abusing your child. There is an incredibly wide range of success. And your baby is a person, too, with her own preferences. She will likely not fit into any "expected" program because she's not a robot. It can be really frustrating, but it really is better to go with the flow. Also, toss those parenting books. Burn them, even. Every book has a different "right way" to do things and its not worth the hassle. Trust your gut, pay attention to her needs and you'll be just fine. Promise!