Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Naps, Oh Naps.

Recently I got an email from a reader about naps. I figured that if one person wrote a question in, that there were sure to be others out there who read my blog and wanted to know about naps, so I just decided I'd write to the masses.

Let me first say that despite my best Babywise techniques, two kids into this parenting rodeo I still fail terribly at naps. Thankfully with Connor I have learned to let go and be more flexible, but I can't say that it doesn't irk me when I hear of other parents who never have issues with naps. Here's a synopsis of what has happened with both of my boys:

birth-2.5 months: great napper. naps for all naps that they should, sleep soundly, nothing wakes them up, they'll even nap on the go.
2.5-3.5 months: naps are hit and miss. sometimes they take good naps, sometimes they don't. sleep less on the go and are awakened more easily.
3.5-6 months: pure nap hell. they wake at 30-45 minutes into EVERY nap.
6 months+: something magically clicks at 6 months where they just one day start napping regularly again. I have no idea what I do it just happens.

I think there are two ways to handle naps. I have done both, so I can speak from experience and tell you that while there may not be a right and a wrong way to handle naps, there is definitely a less stressful way. With Brayden, I was kind of stretching out during those early weeks thinking "man, I have nailed babywise to the tee, and I am GOOD TO GO." Um. not. Brayden screamed bloody murder through every single nap from month 3 to month 6. I am pretty sure I was on the verge of mental insanity. Going in to console him didn't help, in fact, it made it worse (this was my first tip off that Brayden was a strong willed child), so I let him CIO. For every nap. I was sure that if I got him up at 45 minutes he'd always been on a whacky schedule and that I needed to be hardcore. He did eventually go to taking great naps around 6 months. Like I said, something just clicked. I'm not sure if it was the combination of starting solids, going to a 4 hour eating schedule, more waketime, etc. Those all happened so close together that it was probably a bit of all of them in the mix.

I pretty much had the same issues with Connor. 45 minute naps are my nemesis I tell you. But this time, I decided I was not going to be able to handle the crying on top of the whining toddler. So I just threw the schedule to the wind, so to speak. I got him up after 45 minutes, and readjusted and we all lived. Yes, it's not ideal, and it's not exactly what the books say to do, but sometimes you have to throw out what the books say because you're the mommy and your sanity is better than adhering to some doctor's rigid guidelines. Don't get me wrong: I still love babywise. But I think I have learned to let the schedule work for me, and not against my sanity. Within the past two weeks I have noticed significant differences in Connor's nap behavior, and dare I say that we are turning a corner on naps (ofcourse, as I write this Connor is crying in his other room because he had the dreaded mid-nap poopie diaper plus being awakened mid-nap to be taken from car seat to crib... I try).

I think the biggest thing is to try your hardest for naps and to have some sort of schedule. But don't stress it if it doesn't fall into place exactly how the books say it will. I greatly regret stressing over naps and such so much when Brayden was a baby, for now that I am going through the same things with Connor I see that I missed out on enjoying Brayden as an infant. I always find it funny that in life we always want to speed forward to what's ahead, but then when we get there we realize we didn't enjoy much of the scenery of the race (much like the movie Click with Adam Sandler). Keep on pressing on, and eventually it will all fall into place.

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