Better Late Than Never: Finally Cementing a Nap Schedule
On Monday, Elvie will turn one year old, and I’m happy to report that this week we have finally settled into a regular nap schedule. We had a routine before, in which she would get tired about two hours after waking for the day, and would have a morning nap then, but even though she needed an afternoon nap, we never were able to get her on a consistent schedule. Some days she would get it, some days she wouldn’t, and some days she would take the dreaded evening nap, leaving her unable to sleep at her usual bedtime. It was frustrating at best. I knew that she needed the sleep, and I am a big believer in routine, but our afternoons were constantly being interrupted. Finally, though, the change I’ve been waiting for has come.
The one thing that we really needed for Elvie to be able to sleep at the same time every day was simple: I needed her to transition from two naps to one. This week, feeling like we were getting more settled post hospital, I decided to try keeping her awake for most of the morning so that she would start her nap after 11am. To my surprise, it worked! She is now consistently sleeping two to three hours in the middle of the day, leaving the rest of the afternoon open for whatever else we need to do.
I love that we have transitioned into one nap and that it is at a fairly predictable time. It frees up our schedule in so many ways. We have a chunk of time both in the morning and the afternoon that we can do things, and I no longer feel like we are constantly going out of the house right when she really needs to sleep.
Planning life around one consistent nap as opposed to two unpredictable ones has already made life simpler. Elvie needs to go to appointments to follow up post surgery, and I can plan those either for first thing in the morning or mid-to-late afternoon. I’m also more free to make plans for Zinashi’s needs. In the evening, Elvie is in good spirits much of the time, and is sufficiently sleepy when it’s time for her bedtime routine at night.
As much as I am enjoying having a real nap schedule now, I wouldn’t change how we’ve done things these past seven months. For Elvie’s growth and healing, she needed food and rest more than anything. Allowing her to sleep when she wanted for as long as she needed to was the right thing to do, especially as we dealt with hospital stays, multiple medical appointments, and the other interruptions that life with medical needs can bring. As much as I longed for a nap schedule, I know that the way we handled things was the best we could have done given the circumstances. I am happy that she got the rest she needed to grow, and thrilled that she is doing so well now that she’s graduated to just one nap per day.
For me, the nap schedule has been another reminder that different babies develop at different paces, and there is no need to worry. Sometimes we just need to wait for when the time is right for our baby. If we look to her needs first, things always fall into place. Watching her sleep at midday only confirms that for me.