For some, napping may not be a big deal. But for most moms, it really is. When your child is a crappy sleeper from day one, naps become the focal point of your day. Whether they are over-stimulated, too hungry, or need to poop, skipped naps kind of suck.
As long as I can remember, my daughter’s naps were each about 45 minutes on average. I learned early on not to count on that time and typically only planned either a phone call, shower or work email during that small stretch of silence. Of course, never all three of those. Ladybug dropped her morning nap fairly early on. She was just around one year old. The one nap started out at about an hour and a half, and then dwindled down to about an hour on average by the time she was two. Now, four months shy of her 3rd birthday, we are down to just 2-3 naps per week. It is a game of roulette at this point with no way of knowing if, how or when a nap may happen. And as you can figure, it makes it difficult to schedule or plan anything.
Car rides seem to be our best bet for a small nap and are convenient when we have activities that involve travel. But there are so many factors involved. Temperature, socks on or off, the right “sleep” music…so many factors. It usually takes over 20 minutes for her to knock out. Oh, and the car has to be fast moving, preferably on a freeway with no stops. All that hassle for a 30-40 minute nap. And yet, when I can see that sleep at home isn’t happening, I occasionally turn to the car ride as a last ditch effort.
Skipped naps in our house are replaced with quiet time or books for 30 minutes or so. Some moms say that quiet time can result in the child falling asleep after a while, but not in my case. That never happens in our home. However, the quiet time is a nice little breather for me. I call my sister and vent, peruse social media and enjoy a cup of coffee. Just what I need to face the rest of the day with my soon-to-be overtired toddler.
Naps are more than just a break for mom (although we all can use them!) they are also a necessary for the child, especially infants. Our little ones need that rest with all of their rapid growth going on right now. And we can all agree that a rested baby is much easier to handle. Overtired kids can be a nightmare! You have to rush everything to get them down for an earlier bedtime to make up for it. Again, not easy when there are scheduled to-dos in the evening. I have learned throughout this nap saga that getting out of the house or keeping busy will definitely get us through a rocky rest of the day. That being said, I would so much rather her have that nap!
I have applied so many tips and tools to getting this kid to sleep: foods, sounds, stimuli, non-stimuli, reading, black out curtains, different beds, rocking, singing…and more that escape me at the moment. It took me 2.5 years to learn to accept the situation for what it is, sad as it is. Not to say I will not try to evoke a nap, I just plan to stop obsessing over it. Besides, it will be so freeing to stop revolving my world around Ladybug’s sleep. And as long as she is getting enough sleep at night, we should eventually get used to this new routine.
Good luck to any of you mommas in the same boat!