Dave and I had a rough time when Siddhartha was first born, but after about three or four weeks we finally started to feel the panic fade. By that time we had an idea of when he was hungry or tired, and he had started to spend some time awake and happy each day.
Weeks went by with minor ups and downs before I realized that I dreaded naptime. When Sidd was eating, I’d worry about when he’d get tired; when he was playing, I’d worry about when he’d get tired; when he was sleeping, I was worried about when he’d wake up and then eventually get tired.
It was fairly easy by then to play with him and by about eight weeks it was easier to feed him, but naptime was no fun. Even if I tried to get him to nap as soon as he was the tiniest bit sleepy, he’d fuss and cry unless I bounced, jiggled and shushed him like a sweaty dancing lunatic. I was briefly able to get him to sleep without a fight by giving him a pacifier, but then we decided to wean him off of it before he got too dependent.
Last week, during mid-bounce, I lost it. I could bounce no more! I had even been using the giant exercise ball our friends got for us at a garage sale and telling myself that bouncing him down was my workout, but my back was killing me and I was done. Luckily, Dave was home and able to shoo me away to a yoga class and get the kid down on his own. I decided something had to change.
Lots of experts give tips on how to make naptime easier and some say to just accept that it might not be easy. I realize that I wrote a post recently stating that I am working on accepting that naps may not happen as I want them to or may not happen at all, but I also am trying to work on them and I’m working on accepting that what I work on may not work. Got it? What I mean is, although desire leads to suffering, we can still work towards what we desire, but also accept that we may not get it.
Ask Moxie says to pick one thing about naptime that’s bugging you and work on it. What was bugging me was having to put so much physical effort into getting Siddhartha to sleep. Bouncing and shushing until I was sweating and ready to pass out. It was self-defeating, at times, because I would get so worked up I think I was making it harder for him to sleep.
Ever since he got night and day sorted out, it had been a lot easier to get him to sleep at night. Of course, I usually nurse him to sleep before bedtime. So I thought, “well gosh, I usually sleep better on a full stomach” and decided to try nursing closer to naptime.
For the past few days I have switched up Sidd’s routine a bit. He used to wake up, eat, play, and then sleep. Now, he’ll wake up, play, eat, and then sleep. If he’s had a long nap (we’re amongst the lucky parents who usually get a 2-3 hours nap during the day), I may need to nurse him soon after waking, play, and then nurse him again before the next nap. Not only does nursing fill up his tummy that empties so fast, but it’s also comforting and warm, cuddly time with Mommy that’s calming.
So far it has been a success! He will fall asleep at the breast, but usually wakes up as I transport him to his swing and then falls back to sleep either there or in my arms on the way. For that reason, I’m not terribly concerned about him nursing to sleep. He is still pretty good at getting himself back to sleep if he wakes up at the end of a sleep cycle. In fact, Saturday and Sunday night (not last night) we got at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep! I know that things may change (like they did last night!) when we hit the next milestone, growth spurt, or…just because, but for now this is working for me and it seems to be working for Sidd so we’re gonna flow with it.
Do you have any naptime tricks to share?