“Have you asked all your questions?” – asked the sleep specialist as I was leaving the room. “I have” – I responded. But the truth is, I didn’t have any.
Sleep and naps are one of the central topics of motherhood; perhaps only breastfeeding gets the same level of attention. Even though I lucked out – Timothy is an awesome sleeper – I never took it for granted. I never assumed that we’ll sail into the sunset together, happily sleeping through all nights (well, at least until he gets to that teenage stage staying awake until 3 am). I kept reading about sleep and asking questions and experimenting.
That’s why I took today’s sleep specialist’s advice with a grain of salt. Some things she mentioned – I nodded along, but some…
For one, her advice was to get blackout curtains and keep them shut tight for nighttime sleep AND naps. Her explanation was that it helps babies know that it’s sleepy time (along with a white noise machine), so even if they wake up, they will know to go back to sleep again. Totally agree for the nighttime sleep – that’s what I’ve been doing. Works like a charm. And totally disagree on the naps. A) that means my baby won’t sleep unless he’s in total darkness. Do I want to plan my day around three naps? Do I want to be able to leave the house for only 2 hours at a time? I don’t think so. And B) I think it might cause some day-night confusion that happens with babies. I don’t want that to happen, either.
So thanks for the advice, but I respectfully disagree.
And then she was talking about how long naps should be. According to her, at 8 months of age, it’s 3 naps a day, 1.5-2 hours EACH. That is just plain ridiculous. At least when it’s phrased this way. 5-6 hours of naps AND 12 hours of sleep at night? That’s way too much, he’s not a newborn any longer. Of course, she should have added something like “if your baby sleeps 10 hours during the night” – which would have made sense – but she didn’t.
If my baby had that much naptime, he wouldn’t have slept through the night, and that’s a fact. See, I already got this advice before: work on the length of his naptimes, shush him back to sleep if he wakes up after 45 minutes of napping, blah-blah-blah. Which I did – and he did start having longer naps.
Yay? Not so fast. Yes, he started having long naps. He also started up at night. Do I want this? I don’t think so. I say let him figure out his naps on his own. His nights are 11.5-12 hours long and his naps come up to about 2.5-3 hours in total. Which, according to the information from babycenter, is exactly what he needs at this point!
And that is why I always look at a few sources – my “what to expect the first year” book, the babycenter website, specialists that I talk to, other moms. Only then I make my decisions.
But that came with experience. Like I said, in the beginning, I just followed the advice to lengthen his naps and almost ruined his restful night sleeps.
So I didn’t have any questions for the specialist. Do I sound too haughty if I say I know better?..