I know, you're thinking, another sleep post? Yes, I have posted about sleep in babies and kids before, as it seems to be an ongoing issue with them. When new parents say their baby now sleeps through the night, I have to laugh. Because it is going to be a bumpy ride.
Getting a full 8 or 9 hours of sleep at night is never going to be the same again once you have kids. Babies will wake up from time to time because they are still learning to self soothe, lost a paci, are teething, a dirty diaper, or because they feel like it. And older kids will wake up at night for various reasons: sickness, being potty trained, wetting the bed, scared by thunderstorms, bad dreams, etc. And then they become teenagers and they sleep all the time, but you as a parent are the one up all night worried where they are and what they are doing!
But what about nap time??
When it comes to daytime sleep, most kids still take naps at age 5 and under. My baby started out with 3 naps a day for a long time but went to 2 naps around age 8 months. Some friends of mine have babies who went to 1 nap a day at 9 months and some still take 2 naps at 24 months. All kids are different and where some may sleep 13 hours at night, they may only need 1 nap a day and others sleep less at night and make up for it during the day.
I have to say I am a big nap supporter. Naps are definitely under-rated and adults should take them more frequently for sure. It makes us less cranky and in a better mood- just like babies and children. Naps are so important for kids and their development. Some babies may take shorter naps than others, but no matter what, you can't let your baby go without one! They need them to grow for brain development, physical and motor skill development, social and emotional development.
And nothing spells sleep deprived child like the hyperactive, temper tantrum toddler :)
Remember those days of newbornness when they slept all the time: in the car, while shopping, at the restaurant? Now? My child has to be at home and in her crib for her to take a good nap.
Last week for instance, she went without her first morning nap ! We had a special play date at 10:30am with some friends, and I the genius parent, thought I should wake her up early, then put her down for an early nap at like 9am. No such luck. She fought that nap and fought it and just played in her crib until 10am. So, I just packed her up and took her to the play date thinking we would stay an hour, then she would nap, get up and play then nap again later in the day.
Well, she napped all right, in the car on the way home and then I just moved her car seat into her room and turned on the sound machines. She only slept about an hour- go figure, wouldn't you in a car seat?
When it was time for her go to back to sleep, it was already after 5pm. So I fed her and put her to bed early at 6pm.
And guess what? She was up at 6am, took 2 naps the next day, then back down at 6pm again. But luckily by the 3rd day she was back to normal. So what did I learn from that experience?
To NOT let my child miss a nap, no matter what is going on. They are cranky and fussy, I am cranky and it is just not a good situation. They need that sleep and their fussiness is them saying, "please, please put me to bed, I am tired!" It makes a world of difference when my child gets the sleep she deserves. I love the days when I am at home all day with nothing planned and I put her down right when she is tired and she sleeps so well. There is no rushing home for nap time and she falls asleep so easily.
Naps are bliss. I think they were invented for the child's sake AND for the parent to have a break :)