So… let’s talk about baby naps…
They’re the best thing and the worst thing in the world! Some days you count down the minutes until their naps while other days you wish they didn’t need them so you could make plans without having to always factor them in!
But I feel so completely alone in my struggle! Let me give you a little background story…
So, I was the mum that was totally oblivious and pretty anti-schedules. I thought babies shouldn’t and couldn’t get into a schedule, so I didn’t even think about it trying to implement one.
And to some degree, I still feel pretty strongly about this… but only for the newborn stage. When babies are very young, they will let you know what they need and when you need it. I nursed on demand (and still do), let baby sleep how and when he wanted and just went about my day carrying him in the sling where he could sleep when he wanted. While that worked for us fine for us in the day…. his nighttime wakings were a nightmare, but I thought there was no real way around it except for cry it out methods which I would never attempt.
But that very hard journey was what slowly made me second think “routines” and “schedules”. I think “routine” is a more appropriate word. Most of us all have some sort of daily routine… at least some sort of morning and evening routine.
One day (actually several days!), I woke up after only a few hours of sleep between all of the night wakings completely sleep deprived determined to find a way to help us both sleep better. I refused to do CIO, but knew there must be another way. At least I hoped with every ounce of strength I had left.
[I will be writing a complete blog post on how we helped Harvey sleep through the night as that’s a whole other *long* ramble]
One of the most helpful tips in the books I read during my sleeping research is to implement a consistent routine specifically around sleep. Harvey had no wind down routine and no consistent bed time or nap times. I tried to get him to sleep when I thought he was tired, but wasn’t thinking or paying attention to it much in the day. And many times we’d miss the nap windows and would just do without them. Poor Harvey… looking back, I now feel so incredibly sad for him. He was utterly exhausted and overtired.
So at around four to five months old, we started implementing a nighttime routine and paying particular attention to his tired cues for naps… Fast forward to today, Harvey is now 8 months old and life looks completely different!
Harvey is now consistently sleeping through the night and has two very solid naps in the day. While I am ever so grateful for this miraculoys change and relief, I feel like I’m a bit strapped to the routine. The timing and consistency doesn’t bother me, but it seems impossible to fit in anything else in the day. T
he thing is, when we’re out, Harvey may fall asleep somewhere within the hour of his normal nap time, but it will only be about 30 minutes long.. compared to one and a half to two+ hours at home! That’s a big difference! And we notice it! Oh… how we notice it!
Let’s talk about meet-ups and mummy groups! They’re always during his nap times! How do mummies manage them? And some go to so many!
From sharing my problem with other mums, there seems to be only two options:
1. Never go out and have a very well-rested, happy baby!
2. Have as much social time as you want and need, but compromise by having an overtired, grumpy, whiny baby that may or may not keep you up all night
Thankfully, I’ve found some lovely mums who are happy to meet-up between Harvey’s nap times so I can have an adult face to talk to. And of course, for Harvey to have a friend to climb all over and “talk” to.
Occasionally I do “risk it” [intentionally or unintentionally] and stay out during his nap times. Sometimes the day seems to go well, while other (most of the times) I feel like I’m on a roller coaster blindfolded trying to calm down a very unhappy baby.
So now, mums.. over to you! How do you balance your life with your bab(ies)/child(ren)’s routines & schedules?