I can remember the day that Lizzie refused to nap in her moses basket, she was exactly two weeks old, she went down for a nap in the morning and after that absolute refusal. For the next six months her preferred place to nap was on me with my nipple in her mouth. She would nap in the car, sometimes in the pram, when I discovered our beloved Ergo she would nap in that, but only when we were on the move, but her moses basket or cot was a no go. Between two weeks and six months she napped four times in her moses basket/ cot.
Here is her asleep in her plastic moses basket in hospital – maybe I should have purchased one of these.
I wished that I had relaxed and just enjoyed curling up with my baby on the sofa, but our house looked like a bomb had hit it, Michael and I were surviving off ready meals, he works incredibly long hours so was of little helpand honestly I needed a little me-time. Also Lizzie wasn’t getting the best quality of sleep, she would wake easily and her naps were so short, one time an amazon delivery man knocked on our door while she was sleeping, not only did this wake her up, but he had the wrong address, I nearly killed him. I knew I was never going to do cry it out so I decided to solve the problem by spending money. The first thing I bought was a course of baby reflexology classes, in the first class when the teacher asked us what we wanted to achieve from the classes I literally screamed “to get my baby to nap”. Reflexology didn’t work. Next I moved on to cranial osteopathy, I had read stories of babies falling asleep during these sessions, not Lizzie and it had no impact on her napping.
Then I purchased a book called the No Cry Nap Solution and it gave me some great ideas. I totally blacked out Lizzie’s room and started putting on white noise while she was sleeping. We also introduced a much briefer version of her bedtime routine for nap times, I would change her nappy, read one book and then sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to her. I would then breastfeed her to sleep in the pitch dark and then transfer her to her cot. Sometimes this transfer was successful, sometimes it wasn’t, if she woke up, she went straight back on the boob until she was asleep then the transfer process would be attempted again. Sometimes she just kept waking up and I couldn’t get her into the cot, but that happened less and less. I finally had time to get our house back to looking half decent and to cook some homemade meals and just to be by myself for a couple of hours a day so that I had the energy to keep up with Lizzie, sometimes I even had a nap myself. Lizzie at 31 months still takes an hour and a half to two hour nap every day.
In a future post I will write about how I eventually got Lizzie to go to sleep without being breastfed to sleep and without tears, possibly the greatest achievement of my life!
My top tips for gently getting your baby to nap:
- Create a really cosy environment for them to sleep in – their own little sanctuary.
- Darkness is your friend.
- White noise works.
- Introduce a mini bedtime routine for naps.
- If these don’t work keep trying, something will.
Good luck all you nap-deprived mamas, you will get there.