Will we ever master naptime?!

Argh, some days I really hate naptime. Actually, make that many days. Take today, for instance. At half past nine, I start winding BabyGirl down for her morning nap. We sit and read a few books before heading upstairs to her room. I switch her ladybug nightlight on, which projects beautiful coloured stars onto the ceiling, we sit in the rocker and I cuddle her tight and sing her off to a peaceful sleep…

Sorry, that last part was just wishful thinking.

Will we ever master naptime

In the real world, I start singing my naptime repertoire while BabyGirl wiggles and squirms on my lap, waves at the picture of her Nana and Grandad, points at various objects around her room and practices her new skill, tapping my nose with her finger and giggling. It is very sweet and only marginally frustrating; she didn’t wake up this morning until 7.45am so I think to myself that perhaps I have mistimed the nap and I’m trying to get her off too early.

I stop singing and we look around her room together. I’m still keeping everything nice and low key of course. We read a couple more books and I try again. The squirming continues, along with some raspberries on my arm for good measure. OK, take a deep breath mummy, let’s read one more book. I pick a fairly long one and BabyGirl sits peacefully and (I am hopeful) sleepily as we turn the pages.

This time I turn on the soothing melody of Shaun the Sheep as I am fed up of singing (it’s actually Ewan the Dreamsheep, but we have rechristened him). We are rocking to the lovely harp music, the stars on the ceiling slowly cycling through orange, blue and green. It is calm, it is loving, it is the perfect environment for drifting off to sleep. I could almost nod off myself. But no, at this point, BabyGirl starts struggling and crying and I now have a naptime battle on my hands as she fights sleep every step of the way.

It is throw your head back and howl at the sky frustrating.

I am almost sure I know what went wrong. I tried to put her down too early. She was undertired and it threw the whole routine out of whack.

Hmm, but hang on, by the end I’m nearly positive she was overtired as she was crying with her eyes half closed and pushing me away. Er, that can’t be right. Does that mean that there was something like a two minute window between undertired and overtired which I should have pounced on but missed? Or is it something else altogether?

I had a few misconceptions about parenthood before BabyGirl was born but none of them beats my delusions about babies and sleep. I was expecting broken nights of course. But I fully believed that: a) babies sleep when they are tired and b) you can simply put them down to sleep in their cot and, hey presto, off they go!

That little fantasy is well and truly out the window now.

It may be true for some but it certainly ain’t the case for my baby.

In my quest to solve the naptime riddle, I have read a fair bit online about baby sleep habits. We have a nap routine; I try to time it roughly to the guideline awake times a ten month old should be following (although I’m beginning to strongly suspect that BabyGirl isn’t aware of these guidelines); I keep a watchful eye out for her sleepy cues. All to no avail. Some days, she goes off beautifully. Others, like today, not so much. Where is this going wrong? And don’t even get me started on the fact that the majority of her naps don’t last beyond forty-five minutes. Is there anything more galling than spending longer getting your baby to go to sleep than she actually stays asleep for?!

Anyway, deep breaths – another day, another nap. I have the afternoon nap to try to work it out. And if that doesn’t go well, there’s always tomorrow and the next day and the day after that… Oh, some days I really hate naptimes!


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