Nap wars are going to kill me

I’d like to be writing a beautiful post right now about the joys and struggles of motherhood. How I look at C’s face and fall more in love every time I look at her.  Or even one about how I struggle with weekends because I want to turn off work, but my to-do list is still looming and I just know that if I put in a few hours over the weekend, my week will be much better.  Or, talk about how we went for a walk this weekend with C in her Baby Bjorn strapped tightly to Craig’s chest and the vision of my husband with my giggling baby girl was the best thing ever. 

But I can’t write about those things because I am dead.  The nap wars have killed me. 

I fall into the category of parents who think that kids do better on a schedule.  I also tend to think that it’s OK for them to cry a little and I believe the books that say it’s important for babies to learn to fall asleep on their own.  Or maybe, I’m just scared to death that they’re right and I will be breaking bad sleeping habits when she is old enough to talk and walk and thus it will be a hell of a lot harder, so really I’m just lazy and taking the easy way out. 

A few weeks ago, I thought I was working my way into the Mom of the Year competition by sort of getting C to sleep on her own and take naps that lasted longer than 30 minutes.  Then it turned out that she was sick.  Can you say observation fail?  So, instead of sleeping because I was such a rockstar sleep trainer, she was sleeping because she had a virus.  Still, I fought on.  Made a few changes to her daily environment including loading my mother in law up with sleep sacks and lullabies.  The weather broke so now they go on walks and she sleeps in the stroller.  And I thought it was getting better. 

Until this weekend.  When she took two 30 minute naps Saturday morning and then I missed the window for her afternoon nap.  By the time she realized she was sleepy she was also pissed and didn’t want to sleep.  So while I rocked and walked her, she screamed.  She didn’t want to be held.  Didn’t want to lay down.  Finally after 30 minutes of screaming, I gave up.  Another 45 minutes later, my mom got her to sleep.  Sunday, she fell asleep in my arms for her 9:00 nap and again after our walk around noon.  When she got fussy, Craig took her on a walk and she fell asleep. 

So at the end of another weekend, I feel like a failure.  Like maybe someone else knows my kid better than me.  Has a better “way” with her than I do.  Spends more waking hours with her and knows more about her schedule and patterns than me, who has to ask for a recap.  (Just a way to add a little more working mom guilt to my blog.) Leaving me to wonder what I can do to help my kid sleep better, longer, consistently. 

And, I’m stumped.  Because I’m worried that the stroller is becoming her crutch for sleep.  I know that we don’t want to be pushing the stroller around the house because that’s the only way she’ll fall asleep.  But I’m out of ideas, and at this point, I just want the child to sleep.  I’m trying not to get all worked up and react to a bad day.  Generally, she’s a pretty happy baby.  What I’m really looking for is someone, anyone, to say that she’ll be OK.  That, maybe, as she gets older, she’ll start sleeping longer.  That there’s nothing I can do differently. 

Anyone?  Anyone?

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10 Responses

  1. I don’t have any advice, as I regularly get my ass handed to me by naptime too, but I do have to comment on the part where you said that you felt like someone else knew your baby better than you do.

    They don’t.

    That’s it.

  2. All of my babies (I have 3) took ALL of their naps in swings for their first 4-6 months. They transitioned into their cribs after that – that transition took a few days of crying – but they all are good sleepers now. Good luck – it’s very frustrating but gets better!!!

  3. Girl,

    I had the same problem with Ellie. For the first 5 months of her life she would only take 45 minute naps. (And I’m a scheduler/book reader like you!) It drove me crazy! I would hear other moms talking about what they do while their baby naps and I would think, Wow..by the time I take a shower she’s up already! I finally decided I would stay home for an entire week and get her naps going straight. Every time she would wake up 45 mins into it, I would go into her room and pat/jiggle her in her crib until she either fell back asleep or it was really obvious she was ready to get up. After a couple of days it started to work! She would still wake up 45 mins into it, but she would play until she went back to sleep on her own. Now at 7 months old she naps for about 1.5 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the afternoon. Do you have a video monitor? That has really helped me being able to see her.

    • We do have a monitor & I really didn’t know what to do when she woke up after only 30 minutes. Most times I’ll let her lay there & talk to herself until she starts to cry. Occassionally I’ve gone in right away & picked her up & tried to rock her back to sleep.
      Question: When you jiggled the mattress she didn’t see you and want to play or be picked up?

  4. Ok, Ryann was the worst sleeper for me up until about 4.5 months. She would only sleep with me, nursing, cuddled up next to me AND SHE STILL WOKE EVERY 1.5 HOURS AND DIDN’T NAP!

    So I started sleep training. You’re not a bad mommy. My advice, be consistent on her nap place. Do you want her to nap in her crib? How long can she stay up between naps, realistically? For Ryann it’s anywhere between 2-2.5 hours now. She rubs her eyes, yawns…and I put her in a sleep sack and put her down with her little precious animals sound thingy. She might fuss for a few minutes then she’s off in dream land. If she screams I go right in and soothe her. If she naps for ~20 mins and wakes up screaming she’s not ready to be awake and I start the nap over. If she’s napped at least an hour and wakes up happy then she’s up. Be consistent and get her down before she’s overtired. I’ve been where you are…and I’m so thankful I stuck with the sleep training because she’s a happier baby now and I’m a sort of rested momma.

  5. Krista,
    This comment is unrelated to your recent blog post – sorry – our daughter sleeps well and I think it’s only because I’M LUCKY!!!
    Anyway, I thought of you yesterday when I was at the park with 2 of my friends and their babies and Noel sneezed and … I had nothing … so I wiped her nose with my sleeve. A similar story is in your blog intro. I hope you actually have done this too, b/c thinking of you made me feel a little better while my friends were probably embarrased to be seen with me!!

    • Nicole,
      HAHA! That made me laugh out loud.

      I was definitely not making that up when I wrote it. I am nearly famous for forgetting to take a burp cloth or something to wipe her mouth or nose with, so… you gotta do what you gotta do and I use my sleeves!

  6. With my son, I quickly found out that every time I got him on some sort of a schedule and got used to what he was doing, he changed it up on us and started doing something else.

    My advice is to do whatever works so that your child gets her nap and so that you get your rest too! If that means putting her in the stroller, then don’t stress over it and just go with it.

    Once they get a little older and move into the preschooler stage, they get into much better habits! None of the “crutches” that we used to use for our son have stuck.

    Do what you gotta do mama!

  7. So I don’t know if we are even taking the right approach. But I also felt it was really important that Sophia learn to sleep on her own, put herself to sleep ect ect ect. And we do great at night. I worked my booty off to get her crib trained at a month and then worked to get her to fall asleep with out help. And she does pretty well at night. During the day, when it comes to naps….we are so on a different page of sleep training. And really, I’m ok with it.

    It’s not the most convenient thing, but if we’re at home, she wants to be held to take a nap. And I hold her. Because soon she’ll be 10 slamming doors and falling in love with boys. And at least I will be able to hold tight to the memories of her needing me to hold her to get her to nap.

  8. Krista, She will be okay and so will you. Just wait and see, a glass of wine helps too.

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