Saturday, June 21, 2014

Frustrating Nap Cycle

Last weekend I had the chance to spend time at my brother’s home. He has a wife and 3 little boys and for the first time I met his youngest. Little L – born in the last 6 months. I live on the opposite side of the country from my family and when I was back at Christmas didn’t get to visit my brother. 

This trip made some great memories with the whole family. Ones that I will cherish for a life time. It also brought back memories on a time not so long ago: Bug’s 3-6 month mark. The months of the “Frustrating Nap Cycle” (FNC). If you have ever raised a baby you will most likely know what I am talking about, the months where it can often take more time to sooth and lay a baby to sleep then the actual length of their nap-time (slight exaggeration but in the moments it doesn’t feel like it). Bug and Little L are GREAT sleepers and overall good babies. But this Frustrating Nap Cycle leaves no baby (nor care-taker) un-turned in its wrath

Saturday morning Little L stayed with me as his Momma took the older 2 boys out. I rocked and sang him to sleep and after he hit his sleep spot (that spot when they can be laid down in the crib without waking up) I laid him down. It took about 20 minutes to soothe and rock him to bed ½ of that time he spent crying and fighting it. 

Later for his afternoon nap Little L decided that the FNC needed to be fully in-place. I rocked him, laid him down, he woke up, soothed him some more, laid him down, he was quiet for a while then woke up 20 minutes later screaming again.  I was now fully reminded of the struggles through Bug’s FNC months ago. Struggles that I can honestly say we are past and gladly don’t have to repeat.

There were days with Bug that I would just hold him for his whole nap time because I knew he needed the sleep so badly. That is the hardest part of the FNC – knowing how badly the baby needs their rest while they fight it with every ounce of strength that they have. Some days I wanted to hold Bug so close that he would just fall asleep, others I wanted to leave him in his crib until he passed out of exhaustion from crying so much.

My frustration back then was the lack of nap time consistency; it used to aggravate and drain me. I like schedules and plans. The ability to know when Bug will fall asleep and how long he will sleep for is something I love. Now days we are able to pretty much predict when he will fall asleep and for about how long he will sleep for. Back then NOT so much. I would plan an outing for after his nap time and he would end up sleeping for an extra hour. Then there would be days where he would fight his afternoon nap so much it never happened.

Thankfully I didn’t have to endure this alone. That is one of the many joys of Nanning for family members, we get to walk this journey together. I was able to share this struggle with Mom-Boss and Dad-Boss, they experienced similar things on the weekends so they got it. We could talk and process this together and set up a game plan on how to handle his naps.

Let me encourage you, whether your baby is 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years you will get through it. You will have days where you are not sure you can handle another hour of crying. You will have days that you desperately need to take a nap with baby falling asleep across you on the couch. You will have moments you feel like crying yourself because you feel so bad the baby can’t fall asleep. And you will have the victories of normal nap times. Nap times you celebrate and relish because for now, for this time they are far and few between. In all of it, know you are not alone! You have a support and community right here experiencing the same things with you!

The FNC will end soon my fellow Nanny.

Stay strong and compassionate to the wee little bundle that loves and needs you


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