When I was a mom for the first time, I can clearly remember the day that I came back from my weekly mommy-group meeting, sat on the floor in the living room, and cried my mommy heart out. Elijah was about 4 months old, and up until that point I was somewhat oblivious to the fact that not all babies slept in 20 minute intervals like my son did. Sure, I knew that some babies might nap longer but I got used to it and thought there wasn’t much I could do. Then, I went to the mommy group.
In a discussion about nap time, several moms shared how thier little darlings were sleeping in 2-3 hour long stretches twice a day. Twice a day??? My 4 month old not only didn’t nap longer than 20 minutes at any time of the day, there were only a few times when he’d ever napped longer than that. It just wasn’t a regular occurance in our household. Self-doubt started to set in. I wondered if I was doing something wrong as a mommy, and of course being a new mom I was sure that obviously I’d missed something here and was screwing up my son for life.
And so, I cried.
And then, like most times when I’m puzzled about something, I turned to the internet and started scouring websites and message boards looking for the magic answer. I bought books, I watched The Baby Whisperer on tv (are reruns still on?) and I tried every tactic I could. Yet still, I had a 20 minute napper.
Elijah’s naps didn’t increase in length until he was in the second half of that first year, and he was never a 2-3 hour nap kind of kid. Neither was my second-born, Nevaeh.
So, when Everleigh started coming out of her baby-sleep-coma as I call it (that first month or two where they sleep more than they’re awake) and decided that there were surely more fun things to do than nap, here we were again.
I could lie and say that, as a mom 3x around, I don’t let this get to me and simply shrug it off. The truth is, I’ve cried this week in frustration over it. All 3 of my kids seem genetically wired to nap in these 20 minute blocks. Nothing we seem to do makes much of a difference – oh sure there are days when she will nap longer because we’re out and about or for whatever reason she decides to, but for the most part our day is consumed with holding a (almost!) 3 month old and getting our tasks done with her in tow.
Right now, our method of attack is this – she is learning to fall asleep in her crib (which we just put together last weekend) on her own (without crying it out which I am strongly against) and she’s getting used to a lovie (this Aden + Anais Security Blanket) I’m also using a sound machine in the room. As I type this now she is sleeping soundly but I’m getting close to that 20 minute mark which means it’s time to wrap this up!
So, any advice from other moms? What worked for you to increase nap time?
(seriously, as I was proof reading this post she woke up! I popped her soother back in, gave her her security blanket to nuzzle, and am watching her move around on the monitor now…sigh…)