Nap Attempt Number: Who’s Still Counting…

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? I do… Even this sore shoulder of mine, I am convinced it happened for a higher purpose… 

I’ve been wanting to train my baby girl, or more precisely help her, nap on her own for a long while now, but even on the days I am most determined she would find a way to bend my heart right into my arms… That is until yesterday, simply because I didn’t have a choice: my left arm and shoulder were so sore it wasn’t possible for me to hold her even if I wanted to. Don’t go all dreamy on me, it didn’t work like magic, she did not just understand mummy is sick and went to sleep on her own, but my pain gave me the courage and determination to live through her 30 mins of cries in the morning and her unsupportable hour and 15 mins of cries in the afternoon, all for what? For two lousy half an hour nap… But it’s ok, let us say we are only at the beginning of an agonizing journey (laughs).

When it comes to baby sleep, I think I am entitled to say I’ve had my share… of problems… My husband, baby and I have litterally been through it all… The no sleep whatsoever, the long scary sleepy nights (judged abnormal by peds), the long napless days and very very rarely decent naps… In this post, I am not going to address night sleep, because thanks to some kind of devine intervention, I was more or less able to stumble my way through it and we have finally been able to establish a liveable bed time routine leading to long calm nights of sleep. On the other hand, naps are a whole different story… Naps are the one dragon I am failing to taim or even slaughter as both are acceptable options to me by now…

It is only fair to say that my little one was never big on sleep, especially day time sleep. Since she was born, her father and I have worked hard to help her accept to nap. During her first few months of life, she was a very gazy baby, so we thought that her gaz was keeping her from sleeping and learnt to embrace that as a fact (possibly not an undeniable fact after all…). At that age, the only way I could manage to put her to sleep was by allowing her to sleep on me, which might sound cute and sweet (it is…) but would also mean that I couldn’t get any rest myself… I sadly got drifted with the idea that “nothing else would work” until she became too big for mummy’s chest. At 3 months of age, I had to find a new way to put her to sleep. I was always against rocking babies to sleep because it’s hard, tiring, and makes babies very dependent on a parent’s presence, but I was so desperate then I was willing to give it a try. But what do you know… Being a breastfeeding mum only makes it harder to rock a little baby to sleep as he/she gets stimulated by the smell of milk and only gets more fussy and hard to control… I spent days sitting on the border of my bed crying, feeling like a terrible failure as I tried to rock my girl to sleep but she would only scream harder and kick me in the spleen… I think those days were the worst I had to go through till now…. I soon gave up on the rocking option, at least the holding and rocking one, since my husband had found an alternative, a terrible one I must say. 

Since the little one slept in an “Umbrella Bed”, we would put her in there and rock the bed till she falls asleep. She would cry, sometimes for over half an hour, and my husband would rock her so hard, some days I asked myself if she might fly out of her bed… But it worked, well for a month or so… And then, it was time for change again… After the bed rocking came the prawn pushing, forwards and backwards, until you no longer felt your arms. But that also did not mean achieving cryless naps, nor did it last for long… A month later we went back to holding and rocking, this time it worked more easily with less pushing and fighting, sometimes it didn’t work at all, but at least the possibility of a nap was there…

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that after those months of changes and effort, I was exhausted… Every now and then I would collapse and promise myself that tomorrow will be a new beginning, a beginning where I will be stronger and more determined, a beginning where my baby will start napping alone in her bed no matter how much screaming and crying it takes. Yet, every tomorrow I would fail and today my baby girl is over 8 months old and every day carrying her to sleep becomes a bit more complicated which led to my sore arm and shoulder and the new resolution of napping independently… I guess I will let you know how that works for us…

Did you have to go through a similar situation with your baby girl or boy? What worked for you? Please do share your insight with us! Cheers! 

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