The Importance of Naps

This week, I learned the importance of naps to the general health and happiness of our family. Not my naps (although God knows I can nap with the best of them!), but LB’s naps.

LB has been sleeping from 8 or 9 at night to 3 in the morning (and lately, 4!!) for weeks. I started to take it for granted. Those mothers who complained about their babies’ terrible sleep habits baffled me. I mean, you just swaddle her, give her a bottle, put her down, turn on the Sleepy Giraffe noise machine – and voila! 8 hours of sleep! I didn’t realize that the success of this routine was highly dependent on LB getting adequate nap time during the day until The Day of No Naps….

The Day of No Naps (aka Tuesday), LB and I had lots of things to do. (Although honestly it was me who had lots to do. She’s 12 weeks old – what could she possibly have to do!?) In the course of trying to do all these things, we left the house around 9:30 (when she’s usually going down for her first quick nap of the day) and didn’t get home until after 2 (when she should be getting ready for her long nap of the day). While we were out, she’d fall asleep in the car but would wake up as soon as we got to our destination and had to go into a shop or a restaurant or a friend’s house. So she never got a nap longer than the 15 minute drive between places. And by the time we got home in the afternoon, she was so overtired and cranky that she did not want to take a nap then. It took until 4:45 to calm her down to the point where she fell asleep in her swing. And then she slept until her bottle at 7:30, which she barely woke up enough to drink, and then we put her to bed.

At this point, I foolishly thought to myself, “She’s so tired – I bet she sleeps through the night!”

By midnight, she was up and fussing. So I figured that she was hungry and gave her a bottle. But halfway through the bottle, she had a huge poop. So I had to change her diaper, which woke her up and irritated her because we’re dealing with a case of Huggies® induced diaper rash. Then moving her about made her spit up a bunch. Our nighttime bottle routine is usually 25 minutes, max – this time took at least 45 and she was still awake when I finally put her back in her crib. Within an hour, she was fussing again. This time it was because she had spit up more and soaked her swaddle. So I went in and changed her swaddle – she loved that (said in most sarcastic voice ever)… But I tried to calm her down and put her back in her crib with her paci and her white noise. And she fell back asleep.

For an hour.

At which point, I repeated the whole “reinsert paci, restart white noise, give her little pats to soothe her” process again. And she fell asleep again for another hour, before she started frotzing again. And we repeated this process all night.

The worst part was that I only had myself to blame. I was the one who dragged her around with me all day and paid no attention to whether she got the naps she needed. She wasn’t waking up every hour to spite me; she was doing it because she was still overtired and cranky and having a hard time settling down.

So yesterday, I made damn sure she got her naps. We had our 45 minute 9:00 nap, our 45 minute 12:45 nap, and our looong hour and a half nap from 3 to 4:30. And she slept from 8:00 last night to 4:15 this morning. And then fell back asleep until 7:00.

It’s amazing how true the “Sleep begets sleep” statement really is.

Here are some pics of LB getting her naps yesterday – she’s so cute when she sleeps with wild abandon. 🙂


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