From the trenches: Naptime.

I have all sorts of things on my heart and mind that I want to blog about, but at the moment my brain is mush because this week was on the more difficult end of the baby spectrum. So today, a brief update from the trenches of parenthood.

Lesson learned: Never count your naps before they happen.

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Henrybadger don’t care, Henrybadger don’t want to nap.

On Monday I was on the phone with my mom gushing about how sweet and easy Henry is. Because he mostly is. He is pretty chill be nature, and he accepted the Baby Wise schedule concept pretty easily, so that at 12 weeks we have a baby who is fairly predictable, goes down easily and self soothes remarkably well, sleeping 11 hours at night with one quick snack at 4 am, and rarely just cries on end for no reason.

At least, that’s the baby we had on Monday.

Sometime during the night he morphed, and we all woke up on Tuesday to a baby who fights every nap and then only sleeps for 30-40 minutes, which means that we have a crabby baby and a desperate mama by early evening, frantically texting James “ARE YOU ON YOUR WAY HOME YET????”Β  On Friday I finally caved and just hit the sidewalks, pushing him in the stroller, as not even a mighty nap striker can resist the stroller. I grabbed an iced coffee from my favorite neighborhood coffee shop and walked, crying as I listened to this podcast that gave me the encouragement I needed.

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Nap strike essentials.

It’s tempting to count on naps before they happen, to game out how you will fill the time, what lofty things you will accomplish. But until a nap has happened- you do not have it. You can count on nothing, trust in nothing, believe in nothing. You will experience the full range of emotions during these non-naps. Smug contentment when the baby goes to sleep quickly, followed by calm and joy as you pour that cup of coffee and settle into the quiet house. This will change to anxiety and fear as the minutes pass, every slight sound a potential wail, and you tiptoe back to the room and peak through the crack in the door to assure yourself that the tiny tyrant sleeps. And then they come, the wails, and you jolt back and forth between anger and fear and sadness and panic and this is parenting from the trenches. Finally the resignation sets in, and the nap is over.

I’m not putting this up to ask for advice, or to be reminded that this too shall pass (unless you have a totally foolproof solution, then by all means DO SHARE). I know that. And the Internet has no lack of advice, all of which has been tried. I’m just giving you an update from the trenches, lest you too are there.

I started the week turning to Baby Wise, convinced that they would have a solution. Instead, I just found “By 12 weeks your baby will be taking 1.5 hour naps,” and elsewhere “Make sure that your baby naps for 1.5 hours.”Β Baby Wise – you are delusional and fired.

Sometimes, James and I try to control the narrative. Like if Henry woke up after 26 minutes, we would let him fuss a little, as last week, he would fuss for five minutes then sleep for another hour. This week he proved that he has ENDLESS stamina, and there would arrive a moment where we knew the nap needed to be over, but we didn’t want to “reward” him for crying. Our solution? Wait for the first pause and then burst in, all smiles, saying things like “Henry you had SUCH A GOOD NAP! Don’t you feel so rested???” That’s right, we try playing mind games on our baby.

One time, I got him up from a nap that lasted all of 32 minutes and as I pulled off his swaddle, that cheeky little baby stopped crying, looked me in the face, and then laughed at me for a solid 3 minutes. This was the same response he gave when he produced a spit up of epic proportions all over James the other evening, only to follow it with a deep belly laugh at his ability to soil clothing.

And it’s moments like that that I lived for this week. That resignation I mentioned above, the final emotion in a gauntlet of highs and lows? It is so often replaced by gushes of tenderness and joy at the little baby who is so happy to be done napping and back with his mama. When you’re in the trenches, sometimes success doesn’t look like lengthy naps. It looks like baby grins that light up all the registers of your brain that has slowly been shutting down from sleep exhaustion. It looks like frayed nerves instantly soothed, not by peace and quiet, but by baby giggles and coos.

Now then. Back to the trenches. Further updates as warranted. Send caffeine. I’ll just be over here rapidly rotating between laughter and tears, frustration and elation, exasperation and love.

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Naughtiest, sneakiest, cutest, most lovable baby there ever was.

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21 Responses to From the trenches: Naptime.

  1. Waving hi from one trench over. πŸ™‚ Parenting is so easy when the baby follows the nap schedule that was detailed in the contract we all signed, right? Ha.

    Have you heard of/downloaded the app for The Wonder Weeks? I’ve noticed Ava is mucho bad napper when she is in the midst of a leap. Maybe Henry is too? The app has some fine tips and explanations, but nothing earth shattering. It’s mainly just a reassuring reminder that there is a reason my baby – who napped so well last week – refuses to let me bask nap time productivity.

    • Hannah says:

      I have, and I downloaded it, but according to it (if I use his due date, as they instruct), we are in a “happy sunny patch.” INSERT ALL THE ANGRY FACES. But if I use his birthdate, we are under allllll those storm clouds, which feels about right. Thoughts?

      • I had the same experience. I actually set up two kids in the app (Ava BD and Ava DD). For the first few leaps, Ava BD seemed more accurate. At some point she must have synced with the DD and that one became the one I referred to more. I now only have that date in the app and it seems accurate.

      • Hannah says:

        Oh that’s a great idea!

  2. Glenda Demmie says:

    Your blog is the best on the “net”!! A breath of fresh air amid polluted smog!!! God bless you for your love, transparency, faith, sincerity and hope! Thank you for writing. Many Blessings to You and James and Henry😊 Glenda Demmie

    On Sun, Aug 21, 2016 at 2:38 PM, The Art in Life wrote:

    > Hannah posted: “I have all sorts of things on my heart and mind that I > want to blog about, but at the moment my brain is mush because this week > was on the more difficult end of the baby spectrum. So today, a brief > update from the trenches of parenthood. Lesson learned: ” >

  3. E.H says:

    Hey! There is a little tidbit on this in Babywise. (You should find it under the Q & A section…I wish I had it in front of me so I could give you the page #! 😦 I’m sorry!). My little charge went through this exact same thing. It has to do with the inquisitive part of their brain becoming more alert and more in tune to noises around them. Babies suddenly hear things like an airplane, a distant siren, a door, flushing toilet, a bird… you name it… and they’re suddenly awake. If they’re not screaming but just waking up, you can leave them alone. They typically fall back asleep within 20 minutes to a half hour. It is very normal and it will go away within about two weeks on average. The key is not to disturb them and let them fall back asleep on their own. This may not be what you’re looking for… I know you weren’t asking for advice. But this sounded exactly like what babies go through and I wanted to share it with you in case it would help you and little Hank! πŸ™‚

  4. E.H says:

    *The key is not to disturb them. Let them fall back asleep during their normal nap time.

  5. E.H says:

    One more thought, since you said he will start crying a lot… it might be time to try going without the swaddle during naptime. OK, I’m done now. πŸ˜‰ My nanny instincts just couldn’t resist sending a few ideas your way! Hang in there!

    • Hannah says:

      Ok, so I should have written “I’m not looking for advice unless you are Emily, the Baby WIse Expert, in which case, please just come be my nanny and give me all the advice from the trenches.” I have been wondering if it was time to ditch the swaddle at naptime, but it has been so great at night, and every once in a while we do have long naps. But he does seem to angrily stretch against it, so I will give it a try. Here are my other thoughts, and I would love your input:

      -I looked at the BabyWise section you recommended and it wasn’t super helpful, as it recommends letting them CIO. I am not at all opposed to that, but what do you do if baby has been put down awake and fallen asleep (because I am all about CIO to GET asleep), but has woken up after 45-50 minutes and then successfully cries until the time when it is genuinely time to feed again, on a regular basis?

      -It is almost TO THE MINUTE 46 minutes when he wakes up. I heard that when this is the case, it could help to jostle them slightly awake at 30 minutes and then let them slip into deeper sleep. Any thoughts/ have you tried this?

      -Lastly, could it be that I am expecting too long in naps? BabyWise said that at 3 months, they should get 8-9 hours at night, followed by 3 1.5-2 hour naps (or at least 2, and then 1 shorter). Henry pretty much always gets 11 hours at night (8-9 solid, quick feed, back down for another 2-3), so would it then be considered normal for him to have 2 45-hr naps an then one longer one? I guess in theory babies won’t sleep round the clock once they are older, and I am fine with shorter naps if that’s what comes with longer night sleep.

  6. E.H says:

    I’m so sorry… one more thought. I love problem solving when it comes to kids. πŸ˜‰ He might be experiencing a growth spurt. Those are crazy…baby will eat almost non stop for a day or two and then catches up on sleep for the following days.

    • Heidi says:

      I second this idea; my boys would nap strike for a bit during growth spurts and then find a new normal once it was done (though nothing was quite the same as before). We didn’t do BabyWise, but ended up doing different things with both of them and that pattern was pretty consistent.

      My own trenches are a toddler who won’t nap, I’ve been sick for two weeks, we took away TV because holy cow, the bad attitudes…and Sean wants to wake up before 6 AM every day. (That last one is the worst.)

  7. Jenn Lengsfeld says:

    Love reading your blog all the way from Calgary, Alberta! Especially since you are about 6 weeks ahead of me with this whole first time mom thing.
    Thanks for being honest and sharing your struggles here. You’ve been an encouragement to me πŸ™‚

    • Hannah says:

      I am all over the struggle bus on soooo many days! I hope you are enjoying these newborn days… but it is also totally fine if sometimes you aren’t. I AM SO THERE.

  8. jenstinwy says:

    Just wanted to say me too.

    All week. 40-50 minutes. It’s the worst.

    As an academic, I’ve been struggling with the fact the books don’t hold all the baby answers. It feels like books are failing me for the first time ever. There’s probably a life lesson in there somewhere but right now I’m just irritated.

    • Hannah says:

      THE WORST.

      Our current plan is that when he wakes after 45 minutes, I rock him back down, in a desperate attempt to establish a set schedule. And you know, it is actually working better than crying it out. He now often doesn’t wake because he is used to the longer naps.

  9. Pingback: Daily Rhythms. | The Art in Life

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