Friday, 18 January 2013

Nap time: the final frontier

Before the 6 week mark, it didn't occur to me that nap time could become a battlefield. I don't feel as though I was adequately warned at any point by the myriad of health professionals and books I consulted (okay, it wasn't that many, but still) of what was to come. Here's a tip : that whole sleeping when they're tired deal wears off pretty quickly. Sleepy escalates to grumpy before you can say "I think you need a nap". So here's a few things that may help:

  1. Stand and rock or jiggle your tiny one. Don't even bother attempting this sitting down; it results in crying. If your core is still recovering from pregnancy and birth, get your hands on a baby wrap/carrier so you don't end up chewing neurofen just to get through each day.
  2. Have easy-to-eat food within reach. It gets mighty hard to soothe the savage beast when you're turning into one yourself. I recommend chocolate, mainly because I like it, but there's also stuff about serotonin release that's helpful.
  3. Remind yourself that at some point, the survival instinct will kick in and he'll go to sleep.
  4. Forget about the housework and think about what arse-sitting activity you will do when he finally is asleep.
  5. Pass him to someone else. Just make sure you know them; do not trade you baby for a parcel from Catch of the Day when the postie comes to the door. You will regret it later.
  6. Put crying baby into the pram and watch the miracle of a walk on a bumpy path unfold before your very eyes. Keep walking for at least 30 minutes to ensure he gets some sleep. Don't be fooled into thinking he will keep sleeping once you stop. This is a rare occurrence.
  7. Replace pram with baby wrap/carrier or car.
  8. Feed him (note: not always possible when he's tired, even if he's hungry).
  9. Walk around the house and point out objects and explain their uses in a soft voice. This at least stops the crying for a while as he stares slack-jawed at the wonder that is the fridge. Seize the opportunity to put a boob/bottle in his mouth and hope for the best.
  10. Stroke his ego and list all the people who love him whilst jiggling or patting him. You may need to make some up if it takes longer than anticipated.
  11. Utilise a favourite chair/toy/song. Don't stress if he doesn't sleep in his own bed; as long as he gets some sleep anywhere is fine. If he's still sleeping in a chair when he's an adult, don't worry: he's the one paying the chiro bills.
  12. Once he's asleep, stick around in case he wakes (unless he's sleeping on you. Then don't. Move. A muscle) and repeat whatever you did to get him to sleep if he stirs. See? There's no way you can do any housework, so quit worrying about it.
  13. Remember that this is normal, and ignore anyone who claims their baby never went down without a fight. They're lying, or have blocked it out.

    Oh. And never move a sleeping baby after working hard to get them to the land of nod. Those little devils are light sleepers.

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