Nap guilt

Some of the best selling sleep books would have you believe that naps must be at home. And they must be long. And they must be regular as clockwork.

Today the Imp wouldn’t go to sleep at 1.00 (like the books say). He wouldn’t go to sleep at 2.00. Oh drama! I’d fed him to the point where I thought he’d fall asleep but no. He cried everytime I left him in the cot. So I got him up and we played, and he was happy. At 3.00 I thought I would try again. This time perfectly happy to go to sleep.

So why do I feel pressured to get him to nap at a certain time? Why do I feel guilty when I have him nap in the pram for my own convenience?

I think it all stems from having a baby that didn’t sleep well at night. So many people and sources try to pin the bad nighttime sleep on bad daytime sleep. So for a long time I was obsessed with getting the naps sorted, into the perfect 9am and 1pm sequence. Did this ever improve nighttime sleep? There doesn’t seem to be a particularly strong relationship from my point of view.

I have spent a lot of time battling with naps, at one early point sitting in a darkened room for most of the day trying to find that ever elusive nap-in-the-cot-in-the-day phenomenon. Then we fought with the 30 minute nap. Apparently that is not a whole sleep cycle and therefore it’s restorative value is dubious. We did naps in motion, naps in prams, naps in slings. The feed-to-sleep naps, the co-sleeping naps. The skip-a-nap day. The ‘have-an-extra-nap-in-the-afternoon-because-the-others-weren’t-long-enough-and-the-Imp-is-still-tired’ kind of day.

Well, I’ve got a new goal. To relax about naps. To not be house bound because of my paranoia about bad napping. To not worry if the Imp decides to do 30 minutes occassionally.

I met a lady yesterday who has a 3 year old who has never napped in the house. Only in the pram. The mother is not fussed about it, she gets a lot more freedom and do things. And the child is fine. Happy, bubbly, does not appear sleep deprived. Sleeps well at night.

Naps … I won’t care anymore.

[update: after FINALLY going to sleep at 3pm, he only slept for 30 mins, so serves me right for writing this post!]

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7 Responses to Nap guilt

  1. finngarianmama says:

    Are Imp and Baby Boo related? She just wants to party all night and all day too! My son was pretty regular with his naps but she is very irregular and I can’t plan anything around them. I figure, she can learn to sleep on the go or not sleep at all, and I’m not making it my problem! It’s frustrating, no?

    I think parents with babies who don’t nap well and/or are up a lot at night should STOP READING SLEEP BOOKS. They don’t help! Really, I haven’t found a single one yet that has helped.

  2. amberjee says:

    I think the hardest thing is the planning. I’d like the day to have a little structure. Or at least now when I can have some lunch!
    The problem is that parents of non-sleeping babies are looking for answers. So we read books. And don’t find any answers. Parents of sleeping babies don’t need any answers, so don’t read the books. Hence the books are completely useless and should be banned. 😉

  3. swizzler says:

    I’m with you on the sleep books – also have found no correlation between daytime and nighttime sleep. We’ve also relaxed about naps – well, my husband refused to spent a couple of hours a day trying to get Loudboy to sleep when he could be reading the paper in the park and our childminder takes him out and about so no scheduled naps there either. He still sleeps for a good hour or two a day (less when teething) so I’ve given up worrying about it!

  4. My daughter didn’t sleep. Ever. Day or night. Just her way, I guess. My son, on the other hand, is a grand napper, and a champion sleeper at night. So maybe the correlation is that babies that nap might be babies that sleep? Only link I can see! And, shoot, sometimes all I need is a 30 minute nap to recharge my batteries, so who’s to say that’s not all the babe needs, too!

  5. We are in naptime struggles just now, although for us decent naps = sleeping all night. She does’t nap out and about , has’t since a few weeks old (maybe for a couple of minutes here and there) . It can be frustrating at times

  6. raylis says:

    I feel you!

    Oh man, DS doesn’t nap much some days, and some days he’s really good, and some days he doesn’t nap but for 30 minutes, max!

    I had also read that whole ‘if they nap consistently, sleeping in the night would be much better’ and tried so hard to schedule a nap time, but I JUST COULDN’T DO IT! (Excuse the caps, but really!)

    I had people asking me, so what times are his naptimes? I’m like, ‘Uh.. whenever he feels like it..’ Not because I didn’t have naptimes, but it just didn’t work..

    I think I’ve been more laxed about naptimes.. not that I tried like crazy to have a schedule, but he just wouldn’t sleep sometimes and I end up taking 2 hours to put him to sleep (I’m not for the cry-out method etc, hence involves lots of walking, rocking, la la la… now with a backache :P)

  7. charmaine says:

    My daughter is a cat napper. She has been her whole life and it dosnt look like shes growing out of it any time soon (shes 4 months). she will only nap 30-40 minutes at a time and then shes wide awake again. I have tried everything and nothing changes this. It dosnt matter if she goes to sleep on her own or if I rock her. It dosnt matter if she is worn or sleeps on her own. It dosnt even matter if Im driving for 2 hours straight she will still wake up after 30-40 minutes ready to party.
    About once a week she will have a longer nap then this and it usually results in her not sleeping as well at night. She is usually up 2 times a night but if she has a decent nap during the day then she is often up more. So in my case I actually prefer the cat naps. Sure it makes my life extremly hard with a baby that dosnt sleep long, a 2 year old who dosnt nap at all and a house to maintain but better this then a baby who sleeps good at day and partys all night.
    All babys are different and do not fit into the same mold. Sometimes we can just do the best we can and be happy things arent worse. Throw away the sleep books, they only make you feel bad when you fail to get your child sleeping the perfect set amount of hours. Mother by your instincts and work with what you are got.

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