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!]