My daughter is both a keeper and a frustrating child to raise. I’m referring, of course, to her sleep habits.
She started sleeping through the night (by most parenting groups definition) when she was just 4 weeks old, sleeping 5-6 hours at a stretch, then getting up to eat and going back down for a few hours. At about 9 weeks she started truly sleeping through the night, a 10+ hour stretch, followed by a bottle and then a nap of 2.5 hours or so. I loved it.
However, I was reading that most people’s babies were also sleeping quite a bit during the day – 2-3 naps in excess of 2 hours. I wasn’t getting that from her. She was content to catnap – 1o minutes here, 20 minutes there, no rhyme or reason, and absolutely no putting her down.
I’ll admit we haven’t been on much of a schedule. Life has been a little weird the last few weeks, and we’ve just been flying by the seat of our pants around here.
For Thanksgiving week, I caught a ride from my brother and his family over to my dad’s. Hubby stayed behind to work and would be joining us on Wednesday night. It was nice to see family, but the lack of regular chores or obligations allowed for a lot of one on one time with baby girl, and revealed something to me: a nap schedule.
She’s good with being awake for about 2 or 2.5 hours, and then she needs a nap. Usually it’s a short nap, only 30 minutes or so, but it’s still a nap and it’s on a regular basis. I learned to predict when she would start getting sleepy, and then begin to facilitate naptime by providing a bottle and a quiet place to rest.
Also? I can lay her down now! In fact, as I type this she is laying on the bed beside me napping peacefully.
I cannot tell you how this changes my life.
So the trick is not what the parenting books say (“They should be napping at 10, 2, 5 and then to bed at 8” or whatever), but to find your baby’s natural rhythm and make it work for you. We’ve been home since Sunday and so far it’s working out well for us.