Thoughts about our nap time.

A while back I wrote about mine and Navi's unusual little nap time ritual. Here we are almost 6 months later and things have changed quite a bit since the days of lap-napping (though in some ways, they haven't changed at all?) so I thought it was due time to record our new(ish) naptime adventures and hopefully in doing so, freeze a little stitch in time...

First off, its important to note that Navi's feeding habits are very much like those of an exclusively breastfed-self weaning-toddler. My "plan" when I was pregnant (plans are a joke, yeah?) was to breastfeed her and even though that turned into a year of pumping and then bottle feeding formula, I've always implemented the general idea of "nursing on demand" with regards to how/when I would feed her. She now takes her bottle at nap time and bed time, sometimes falling asleep while sucking, sometimes talking herself to sleep shortly after. With Chris she falls asleep about 75% of the time in his arms. With me, she has never been able to fall asleep unless I'm holding her. And so...

Around the time Navi was 15 months old we had about a six week long period where naptime was like torture, for both of us. I would settle into our rocker with a bottle prepared to do our usual feed-rock-sleep-hold routine and she just wasn't having it. She would take about two sips from her bottle, push it away and immediately sit up and try to get off my lap. She would cry and push away and refuse to snap out of her funk until I abandoned nap all together. I would kiss naptime goodbye, we would go about our day, playing, exploring, snacking etc. and then I would try again an hour or so later and have the same luck. Finally, she would get so cranky that I would resort to a stroller walk or bike ride around the lake and she would always fall asleep within 2 minutes of leaving the house. This was soooo frustrating because I knew how tired she was and I couldn't understand why she wouldn't just go to sleep like normal. What was even harder for me was the fact that I never got a break at all throughout the day to just rest my legs and unwind my mind- I was non-stop from early morning until late in the evening and at the end of the day I was so beat. One weekend day when Chris was home for nap he offered to give sleepy-time a shot. To my surprise, she fell asleep instantly with him AND to make it an extra big slap in the face he was even able to lay her down in her bed (I've only been able to make a successful arms-to-crib transfer a handful of times). Whoa. Craziness, I know.

I had always been her go-to person for naptime and I beat myself up (as we mamas tend to do) over not being able to get her to sleep. Also, I desperately missed my quiet time with her, watching her sleep and listening to her peacefully breathe. We reluctantly settled into an less-than-enjoyable naptime routine around here that either consisted of not napping at all (very uncool), me walking/biking her for miles while she slept for a max of 45 minutes and sometimes, when Chris was able to, he would come home for lunch and put her to sleep in her bed.

One day I reached my breaking point with our ridiculous nap-time-shenanigans and on a whim, I had Chris bring one of our old twin mattresses from the attic into her room. I set up a cozy little bed on her floor and decided that come hell or high water, I would have nap success. What do you know, that sweet little girl of mine curled right up next to me on that floor bed and slept like a rock. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled to have achieved a home-nap for the first time in over a month. Now here we are a few weeks into our new nap schedule and it is working beautifully. There are no tears, no stress and lots and lots of snuggles. Sure, on most days I could easily slip away and go downstairs to do whatever, but I've yet been able to convince myself to do so. She sleeps longer and better than if I'm not with her and she wakes up happy when I'm next to her.

I was so sure that my days of sleeping next to my girl were long gone (I'm totally the parent that wanted to co-sleep and was told "no thanks" by her baby...) and for all I know, tomorrow will bring with it demanded naptime independence, so I want to get my fill of sleepy-time with her while I can. So the laundry sits unfolded for another time and the weeds creep up and threaten to overgrow my tomato plants, so what. There are lots of people I know that think I'm totally crazy for not wanting to work towards independent crib napping. Maybe they're right.

And that's our story- it's not perfect, but it's real and it's honest. I know this arrangement of ours is not the norm and it certainly isn't for everyone, but it works for US...and in my book, that's all that matters. I consider myself fortunate that there's nothing else I have to be doing and the truth is, crazy or not, there is just no place I'd rather be. Its my happy place. Seventeen months in and I still have the most unbelievable wave of peace and calm that rushes over me when she curls into my chest. She's growing so fast, as I'm told children tend to do- I'm sure this little phase of our life will be a memory much sooner than I'd like.... this is me enjoying every last minute of it.

*A big mama-high-five for enjoying your babies, embracing your quirks, trusting your instincts and doing what works best for you and your family....whatever that may be :)
Also, a post about (not) sleeping through the night, here.  

6 comments

  1. Totally do what works for you! I think it's amazing how so many people have opinions on sleep training babies. Whatever works and makes the house happy is what matters most. Side note, the best irony is the books for sleep training are always 300 pages long...whhaaaa..sleep deprived mama's have no time for that!!!

    I have to say Masons been uber sick the last 4 days, and as much as I hate seeing him sick, we've been napping and snoozing together everyday. I totally freaking LOVE it, and miss it like crazy. Seriously how can anyone be cute snoring...oh ya, him!

    Sorry about this lengthy comment!

    .:Marta:.

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  2. So sweet! I so look forward to cuddling my own babies one day! :)

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  3. So glad you found something that works for you and her!! Sleep is so important for us and the babies. Declan has always been a really good sleeper on his own. We went through a small semi-cry-it-out phase, but it was really relatively small and I'm so glad it worked. He still has his two naps a day and I am SO thankful for that break (especially right now :)). But even so, there are times I wish I could take a little nap with him and he just won't do it. There is no falling asleep when anybody is in his vicinity. From nannying I knew I wanted my children to really know how to independently sleep, but it also made me give up the opportunity of the other way. I guess it's all a trade-off.

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  4. We are going through something similar! Everdeen has slept through the night since she was about six months old and now all of a sudden she's up 2-3 times at night! We've gone back to putting her in bed with us and she falls instantly asleep :) My family and a few friends have given me a hard time about co-sleeping, but at three in the morning I'm too tired to try to get her to sleep in her crib. I think it's a win win situation. She falls asleep and I get to snuggle her all night long :)

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  5. Love it! My thoughts exactly! We do whatever works for us, but my kiddos love us nearby. My 8.5 year old Eli still likes someone to lie down with him... And I'm okay with that! :) I'm so thankful for my three and I know I'll miss these days too soon. She's precious and blessed to have such a sweet Momma! :)

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  6. Thanks so much for all the nice comments ladies. I'm trying out responding to comments via email to see how that goes... So as long as you aren't listed as a "no-reply-blogger", you should've received an email from me. xoxo

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Thank you so much for your comment, I read and appreciate each one!

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