I was told that newborns sleep 20 hours a day. At the late stages of my pregnancy, unable to sleep comfortably, constantly getting kicked from the inside, anxious when the labour will finally start, I was really looking forward to this. I knew it will be hard. But I was so looking forward napping alongside my newborn! No matter that it will only be for 30 minutes, an hour, maybe 2, it will still be a nap.
Ha. My child NEVER slept unless hanging on my boob, lying in our arms or snuggling in the middle or our chest on top of our heart, bless.... There was no putting it down after a feed and nodding off - not for me at least. Exceptions to that sleeping arrangements were: in a car seat in a moving car and occasionally in the pram.
It didn't get better for a long time. There was no 'me' time and I could only nap when my husband took mercy of me and went for a walk or a drive with the child, or, when I was trembling and crying, spent 4 hours late in the evening downstairs watching tv with the baby comfortably in its favorite sleeping position... These rare moments of being left alone in bed were no naps, it was more like a coma. Gradually, the night sleep got slightly better. Then we started teething and our child decided it will not sleep in the cot any longer. Ever. I can not remember how many middays I spent two hours reclining on a sofa with my child sleeping on top of me, watching stupid day time tv, congratulating myself for the peace and quiet. Because the alternative of me putting my child away would be a grumpy tired needy awake child.
Sometimes this year I managed to slid my child on the bed after a midday feed. We had proper real naps! I had time for myself. It was so great. The new ritual of us going into the bedroom, getting a feed, child falling a sleep for something between 40 and 90 minutes was so great. I remember the sense of freedom, the pleasure combined with a pressure of what to do first? Exercise, read, have a cup of tea, do the laundry, clean, sort emails, write.... Sometimes I was very efficient. Some days I day dreamed. Some days were all about house work which left me grumpy. Some, very few days, I slept, too!
Am I saying goodbye to this? During the last 3 weeks I am keeping up the routine but my child falls a sleep only 2 or 3 times in a week. I am feeling very exhausted because somehow I don't know how to cope with my new day structure. Again, I am the last one to get any needs met so there is not much exercise, writing, reading or generally talking to people who have nothing to do with me being a mother, I believe they are called friends? Every milestone takes some getting used to but I will forever miss these precious few hours of the day when I could stretch and do whatever. Is 18 months too early for no naps? I don't have time or energy to consult clever books. The usual message is 'every child is different' anyway and our child seems very very happy. Maybe we will have free evenings thanks to earlier bedtime from now on? Fingers crossed.