Wednesday, April 8, 2015

fighting the battle of naps

Wow, is she really doing it? Is she really going to pen an entire post on her baby and his bad napping and post it to the world wide web?

Without shame.

Cue slow boring elevator music.

It's just that I am here again at this place where the baby naps for little 20 minute chunks throughout the day and, just like I did when I only had one nugget napping, I am all in a tizzy over it. I mean, I will give myself a little credit and say that the adult-sized tantrums I used to throw over my ONE child not napping during the day so that could, I don't know, sweep our kitchen and rid it of the 3 crumbs that Mike I and had dropped at dinner the night before have ceased.

I can cope with there not being a break during the day, mostly because we have a fixed bed time and Joseph hits the sac by 7:30 every single night and gives me at least a few hours before I need to hang out with him some more.

The problem is that he is not coping great. He is so tired! As he gets older I keep hoping and praying that maybe he will get into a better nap rhythm (i.e. ANYTHING longer than 25 minutes at a time), but yesterday 2 of his naps clocked in at TEN MINUTES a piece, which was a record and I had gone over my mental expletive limit because of it (what is my limit, you ask? A lot).

See the main problem, among may others, is this:

You see that swing he is sitting in back when he was 2 weeks old? Yes, he still sleeps in that thing as a 20 pound 8-month-old. He was our first colicky baby and it was a really helpful soothing technique that I just never forced out of his life.

Some people have drug addictions, some people need their coffee fix every day, some people can't stop shopping or need to watch afternoon soap operas every day, and Joseph has is swing. He just can't quit it.

I am trying really hard to begin the weaning process, but I have never had a swing sleeper before and it is totally throwing me. Trying to get him down for an afternoon nap sans swing has taken up an hour and fifteen minutes, but an afternoon nap IN the swing? 2 minutes flat and he is out like a light.

But then there is the issue- which I am pretty sure has no solution whatsoever- and that is his pretty consistent 20 minute sleep duration, regardless of where he is sleeping. I am totally ok with being a mean mom and letting him "fuss" himself to sleep, but the ratio of screaming to sleeping (something like 60 minutes to 20 minutes) is never worth it.

You know how I am a big "Rest Time" Nazi, and I will always enforce it because I be crazy like that and I need a tiny bit of sanity time to sit and stare at the wall. But everyday- without fail- "rest time" goes a little something like this:

- Take an eternity nursing Joseph to sleep or give up and get him to sleep in the swing.
-Run like a mad man to get Lucy down, rush through a quick book with her, rock and sing and lay her down (roughly a 6-7 minute process)
- Give Bernadette books on tape in her room (3 minute process)
- Yell downstairs to Naomi to have "have a good rest time" (1 minute)
- grab a cup of Keurig coffee (4 minutes)
- Sit for 4.5 minutes
- Hear Joseph screaming and go get him

And for pictoral proof, here are the many selfies I've snapped during what is supposed to be my short respite spent every day with the J- Man:

It's good quality time, and I actually enjoy it, until in his overly exhausted state he demands that I walk around the house holding his hefty dead weight else he will screech angry screeches sure to disturb the other napping one, which would be the very worst.

I know I've made my proverbial bed and now I need to sleep in it, or sit awake in it whilst holding him, but there must be something I can do to reverse all my bad habit making.

So what do I do? Give me advice that I will probably stink at taking because I am so, so weak. Please help me, after you're done helping the people in your life that have legitimate problems, because I am very aware that this is NOT one.


30 comments :

  1. Do you have/believe in Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Baby? I read it when numero UNO was a bebe and I have not really referenced it since but it was my gospel at the time because a Naptime Enforcer over here too except I let mine cry it out for a long time before I get them. But that's just me.

    Maybe you could keep an eye out for a MamaRoo swing-thing of Craigslist? Those look like a 2 yr old (not really) could ride in them and them you can keep on letting him nap in the swing : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second the Healthy Sleep Habits book. Does he sleep ok at night? And go down early enough? Dr. Weissbluth says nap and night sleep depend on each other. I remember my kids fighting it, but they would always end up back to two hour naps in the afternoon if I made sure they were getting to bed at an early hour. Although honestly it's been so long since I've had to deal with this and am only now gearing up after a almost 5 year baby space to re enter worrying about this stuff, but I plan on re-reading my sleep "bible."

      Delete
    2. Healthy Sleep Habits is our bible too, although Gus has fallen through the cracks when it comes to nighttime sleep. He still gets up once or twice to nurse and he's 9 months old now. But naps? It was a fight and it took consistency and persistence on my part, but he finally started napping well, morning and afternoon, about a month ago. I don't know if it was anything I did, but I am very consistent (read, we don't go anywhere during morning and afternoon naptime, we're home and glued to that schedule) and I do follow the books suggestion about putting them down to bed super early. Once he got caught up with sleep and wasn't so overtired, his sleep got better overall. It's getting over that initial hump though...

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  2. I don't have advice, but I don't think it's not a real problem. Certainly I have stressed over many a nap ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. How about switching up the nap order so that he who sleeps least gets your attention last? That way you get the full 20 minutes to yourself at least...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahaha, I just realized how common sense this is and that it is totally what I should do!

      My little "Schedule" of how things happen is a little over-simplified because so many days it Joseph is down a full hour before the girls because he is just so exhausted as a result of his 20 minute morning nap and there is no way I can hold him off until they have rest time.

      But yes! For the days that I can hold him off, this idea is the best one!

      Delete
  4. I've never had a swing sleeper so I speak from no experience at all....but I do remember reading something four babies ago on weaning from swing sleep on Troublesome Tots website. You might find a nugget of good info there. Best of luck--from a fellow Nap Enforcer!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ugh, I feel you so bad on this. I have a chronic 40-minute napper (10 months old). I don't have the noise problem since I've only got one so I do a lot of crying-it-out. Is there any way you can put him to nap on a different floor in your house so his crying doesn't wake the other girls? I've also heard adding a wedge underneath a crib mattress can help babies transition from a swing/incline to their crib to nap (not from personal experience, though).

    I also never nursed to sleep via advice from my mom (I follow the EASY pattern, or try to anyway), so we do pacifiers for nap time but not nighttime bed. Pacifier, sound machine on LOUD, blanket, bunny to hold, and then I leave.

    Sorry times a million. But hey, talking about baby sleep never gets old, right?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I hear you! My first baby was a TERRIBLE napper (and this rookie mom was clue.less) and when I was pregnant again when he was 6 months, I found a book called "sleeping through the night" that opened my eyes to what I SHOULD be doing, and we got them to nap together a bit. Then, my next kid was an independent, I will climb out of the crib at 18 months and scared me to death. I have 5 now, and I will put my youngest down to nap wherever possible. She sleeps with the noise, and all my kids have noise machines. You are Rock Star Mommy in my book that you are able to do quiet time with all of them. I don't homeschool, so we spend a lot of time in the car too.

    Do you do pacifiers? Or is he happy if you are just in the room? Can you shake the bed a bit to make it feel like a swing? (J/K). I wish I had some advice for you, but I think the eternal struggle of the naps is just dreadful. I will be watching your blog for the next update!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ugh, no advice here except the poor overtired baby thing is why I turned to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child with my firstborn. Our pediatrician's advice was just that "she has to fall asleep eventually, right?"

    ReplyDelete
  8. So Linus has been my worst sleeper. He currently naps on our bed. He was and sometimes is notorious for waking 40-45 minutes. To put him to bed our current routine consists of placing him between two pillows. He can't roll over then. He cries for a minute or five. Then I insert pacifier and he goes to sleep. I listen on the monitor for the first peep. If I can get in there right away, I put the pacifier back in his mouth and gently bounce on the edge of the bed, not looking at him. It has been a process (like months) but he is starting to sleep for 2 hour stretches. Sometimes if that fails I will crawl into bed and nurse him lying down. Which requires me to stay but hey, sleep is worth it! I know I have the benefit of older kids but can Naomi help put Lucy to bed? My older kids read books and put littles to bed when needed. And what about white noise or a fan? That really helped Ben (who was my swing sleeper.) I currently have a white noise machine, and two bathroom fans on during nap time. :) Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO glad to know it's not just hard over here!

      I don't think Naomi is there yet with Lucy, but some day!!

      Delete
  9. I was thinking what another commenter was, too: is there any way you can reverse the order of naps so that Joseph goes down last? I'm sure he'll still only sleep for a short time, but at least you'll get to take advantage of all of it, rather than spending it putting the other kids down. Also, I had a colicky swing sleeper too and I spent months worrying that I would never get him out of the swing he was so addicted to...until he just decided he was done with it. He mostly got too big for it and it was uncomfortable for him. He was around 8-9 months old. I stressed and stressed, and then he just let us know, basically, when he didn't need it anymore. Maybe it's not helpful, but that was a big lesson for me in parenting: they won't go off to college sleeping in a swing (or pooping in diapers, or sucking on pacifiers). Sometimes you just have to let them do their thing for as long as they need to, and they'll stop when they're ready. In the meantime, try to encourage the more ideal habits, but ultimately don't stress if it's not working! Do what you need to survive the day, that's my motto... :) Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ana, hang in there! Withy twin boys, I was so desperate to get them to sleep, I made some bad habits...they were bouncy seat nappers until 8 months old, then I napped them in their car seats, then finally at 12 months, they napped in their cribs. Also when they started crawling, they started napping longer. This too shall pass - you'll get through it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. We had a colicky baby too, our second. She was a terrible sleeper, naps and nights, despite all the things we tried. Sad as this is to say, I'm not sure amything we did really made a big difference. We kept being consistent with routine, white noise, and letting her cry as described by the various experts. Then one day when she was just shy of a year old, she started sleeping great. It was like a switch was flipped inside her that went from finicky, terrible sleeper to great. Very weird, but it was like she had to grow out of this phase on her own time table.

    ReplyDelete
  12. We had a colicky baby too, our second. She was a terrible sleeper, naps and nights, despite all the things we tried. Sad as this is to say, I'm not sure amything we did really made a big difference. We kept being consistent with routine, white noise, and letting her cry as described by the various experts. Then one day when she was just shy of a year old, she started sleeping great. It was like a switch was flipped inside her that went from finicky, terrible sleeper to great. Very weird, but it was like she had to grow out of this phase on her own time table.

    ReplyDelete
  13. We had a swing junkie, too. Her (our?) road to sobriety began the day the motor burnt out. It was a brutal 5-6 days and then she found her natural sleep stride.

    Also, maybe for the afternoon nap you could do a shot before he wakes? 4 minutes is good for something...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Aaah both mine have been/are swing addicts. My policy is keep 'em in til it breaks. Whatever works for my sanity. A good friend always likes to remind me that thw weight limits are way under their actual capacity for legal reasons. But what I did for swing junkie #1 was wean him off it. I'd put him in without turning the motor on. Give him a few pushes and that was it. I did try turning on one of the sound settings to get him to associate naptime with the music. Not sure how helpful that was. Eventually once he got used to not swinging, naps were moved to the bed. It worked. I'll be starting that process again soon with his brother.
    And, I hate to say it, some kids just aren't nappers. My oldest quit his naps by 2. He'd protest: "but we don't sleep when it's morning time!" Still won't nap even when he's exhausted. Stubborn.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the best- I am just not going to worry about the swing thing!

      At 6 a.m. this morning I got desperate and put him in it and guess what? I got 2 extra hours of sleep! I don't give a crap that it creeks when it swing because he is fat, I am letting him use it until it breaks.

      Thank you!

      Delete
    2. Yay for two glorious hours of sleep!! Yeah, don't worry about it. My friend's dad has professional experience with this kind of stuff. He says the actual weight limit is usually almost double what's posted. :) Sleep is good!

      Delete
  15. I don't have any good advice... just take it one day at a time. I'm terrible at rocking babies and "walking the floor," or so I've heard it called, so... hats off to you. When Anders was a baby-- can't remember how old, but somewhere around 1 I think, or 9 months, we put his swing in his bedroom. Yes he was still using it! The babysitter requested it, and it was a good idea. However, I won't tell you to do that if weaning him of it would be a weight off your shoulders. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. My daughter was a sleep/nap only in the swing and I was so worried about it. Until my pediatrician laughingly told me to quite worrying because soon enough she would be too big for it and would be uncomfortable in it and would not want to go near it again. She was right. My son, was a 20 minute twice a day napper and it used to drive me crazy. He also would only sleep at night after much crying and screaming. Finally we started putting him down at night wide awake and then my husband would just sit by his crib. After a week or so of that, my husband moved to my son's doorway. And after a week or so of that, he moved into the hallway where my son could still see him. He would always take a book to read and wait until my son had fallen asleep before he left. And it worked! In just a couple of short weeks we were able to lay him down wide away and leave the room and he would fall asleep on his own. Good luck! Sleep issues can be so frustrating!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. All of my kids were swing sleepers and weaning them off of it was craptastic. BUT, once we bit the bullet and started putting them in the crib and walking away, it got better, day after day. Bed time and nap time. Please don't ask me how to get a newborn to sleep without a swing, because I have no idea. It shocks me every time the hospital staff lets me drive a brand new baby home.

    ReplyDelete
  18. No no Ana, this is a legitimate problem. No-nappers have this way of grating your brain and sanity into a finely shredded pile of useless cheese. Weston's naps were stupid and pointless and I was so immature about it. After months (and months) of training and crying it out and gnashing of teeth and gums et al, my 15-20 mapper and up every hour on the hour of the night little boy child takes a 3 hour afternoon nap and goes about 11 hours at night. Just in time for the new one to arrive :)
    My only advice is both my kids have done better on their tummies (not kosher?) and you have to have a tolerance for a cry-out sesh (within reason of course).

    ReplyDelete
  19. The twins napped in their swings until they were... 18 months old? The motor didn't even WORK anymore for Elizabeth's!!! And she STILL fell asleep within minutes! Anyway, don't sweat the swing. Keep it as a last resort ;)

    What's his schedule like right now? 2 or 3 naps a day? At that age mine are usually 2-a-day nappers, and we generally go by a 2-3-4 schedule - 2 hours awake, nap #1, 3 hours awake, nap #2, 4 hours awake, bedtime. I'd save the swing for whatever nap coincides with the girls', and definitely put him down last so you get maximum quiet time!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think I know why he's "winning": he is just the very cutest baby!! Gah, that face!
    Hang in there!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Argh, the nap wars-- so real, so ugly. My oldest was a "never-napper" as we called her, in fond reference to Tobias Funke. ;) Anyway, she legit NEVER NAPPED, unless I was holding her/nursing her/sometimes not even then. It was an over-an-hour-long process every single day, and then after about 30-40 minutes, she'd wake up! Frustrating to the max. She was definitely chronically over-tired. Then, right around 11 months she started going longer stretches. We had her start putting herself to sleep for naps, and it took some adjusting, but no real screaming. Eventually, she started going down at night along (that took a lot longer) and we weaned her off of night nursing too (an uglier process). But basically by ONE year, she was a changed sleeper. We were kind of in shock. I think it might legitimately be something neurological about sleep and the brain that finally changes for some babies at one year...so, I feel your pain. Never-nappers are the worst.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Don't worry about the swing thing! We were healthy sleep habits, happy child people...until we met colicky Maria. She almost 21 mo and will only nap if she's in physical contact with me. So...colicky baby parent solidarity? Or something? Just do whatever works best. Can you put the other 3 down first?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Don't worry about the swing thing! We were healthy sleep habits, happy child people...until we met colicky Maria. She almost 21 mo and will only nap if she's in physical contact with me. So...colicky baby parent solidarity? Or something? Just do whatever works best. Can you put the other 3 down first?

    ReplyDelete