For the first year of your child’s life – nap time will be the thing that dictates your days. You will do crazy, crazy things to ensure that it happens. Aimlessly driving. Aimlessly walking. Bouncing up and down on your yoga ball while remembering how relaxing it was to use it for actual yoga. Hoovering. Tumble drying things. The buggy. The sling. Honestly, we’ve all been there. For some unknown reason we feel like making sure the baby naps is crucial to their very existence. Ok, it’s not unknown, we all know what happens around 5pm if the baby hasn’t napped all day, and it’s not pretty…
When Elle was tiny I spent a stupid amount of time stressing about her naps. If we’re lucky enough to have a second baby, then I will be much more relaxed about daytime naps because in all honesty, they just sort of happened, despite my endless worrying. Generally at around three months, most babies start to form a pattern of napping about three times a day. This gradually falls away to two, which then ends up being just one. I’m not going to tell you what time your baby will nap or how long they should be napping for, because THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT. I googled ‘average baby nap times’ waaaaay too many times, please don’t do it. It’s pointless. Your baby will still do what they want to do.
There have been days where Elle would just point blank refuse to nap. There still are days like that. Then somedays she’ll nap for three hours. Some people’s babies nap like clockwork. Other’s cat nap randomly throughout the day. It’s pot luck and both have advantages and disadvantages.
We’re currently at the stage where nap time is being point-blank refused. As in kicking, screaming, having to be held down. I’ve actually given up making Elle nap on days where she is at home because I hate seeing her get that worked up. But this inevitably leads to that horrendously tired time before bed. Did anyone else experience this around 20 months?
I love a good nap. Oh wait, we aren’t talking about me! The girls were not exactly the best sleepers in the early months. In fact that is a massive understatement. They were a nightmare. Naps were short and inconsistent. I was at my wits end. I never really wanted to push them in to a routine and after flicking through the Gina Ford book I threw it away as knew it wasn’t for me.
By around four to five months they had both fallen in to their own routines and became like clockwork. In fact they were almost spot on Gina without me doing anything. They would wake around 7am and be back for a morning nap by about 9.30. Sleep for a good hour and then lunchtime nap at 12/12.30 for a good few hours and an afternoon nap at around 4.30. When they were little they would be fed to sleep but as they got older they learnt to settle themselves. They learned to love their sleep and I sometimes felt they would be asleep all day.
I rarely woke them from their naps. As my mother said, never wake a sleeping baby! The afternoon nap was the first to go and then the morning nap. I just found they didn’t need it any more. The lunchtime nap carried on for a long time, until they were almost three. They both loved their lunchtime naps. Sleeping for between two and four hours. Alice would sometimes go to to bed at 12 30 and I’d have to wake her at 4 45 as I feared she’d sleep right through. Molly’s lunchtime naps ended when I took her dummy away and Alice went from snoozeathon to zero in a matter of days. I still don’t know why. I had been cutting down her naps (which you can read about here) but she obviously decided she didn’t need them. It’s hard as she does still get tired but I find a little cuddle and a film works wonders.
Like Lottie I never really enforced nap time on my children they just sort of happened. I think I casually read somewhere that they should have a morning nap, followed by a longer lunch time nap, and maybe an afternoon siesta before bed. But after a day or two of trying to follow the routine with Elliott, I soon discovered it caused more distress, so just referred back to reading his mood and popping him down when he was ready or had fallen asleep in my arms. Although his naps in his cot where always brief as he much preferred to be craddled.
Joseph and Anabelle seemed to be amazing sleepers from day one. Napping on cue. Having another child to run after, they were often popped down whilst I attended the other child. Both seemed so much more content to sleep on their own and were less reliant on cuddles to get them to sleep which was definitely a blessing in disguise as I had so much to be getting on with.
Elliott napped nearly right up to when he went to school. But Joseph and Anabelle both dropped afternoon nap time soon after their second birthdays. Maybe both feared they were missing out on something when they went to sleep as they saw their sibling(s) still awake. Every so often it catches up on Anabelle and she’ll need forty winks in the day. These are by far my favourite days as I can join her. Who doesn’t love a cheeky snooze too or the chance to have a hot cup of tea and five minutes to read a magazine before feeling guilty and putting a pile of washing on?