We started the two week break talking about keeping E’s routines going – food at regular times, naps at times that echoed nursery. She always has a regular bedtime and routine. But naps were elusive. It’s taken me most of the fortnight to work out why.
Essentially her bedtime routine consists of: bath at 6.30 for around half an hour (once it’s run, she’s played with things and been washed, dried, teeth cleaned and dressed in her sleepsuit it’s been half an hour or just more – didn’t want you to think we were leaving her to wrinkle in the water for that long) drink of milk and then put down for sleep. She’s normally asleep by 7.15-7.30. Over the Christmas break she’s been sleeping until 8.30, sometimes later.
So yeah, she hasn’t needed a nap. But as I said it took me ages to work it out. It was only when I went into her room this morning to wake her (there’s nothing cuter than a tiny person, tousled hair and screwed up eyes burying their head in your shoulder to carry on sleeping a bit longer. You know exactly how they feel) that I figured out why she hasn’t had a nap. You wouldn’t want one after at least 13 hours sleep would you? My mum had been telling me that she was quite young to give up her naps but there was no getting her down to sleep, even when we were in the car she stayed awake for three long journeys, playing with toys.
When I’m at work, I usually bypass bedtime. Sometimes, like tonight, I get in just in time to give her a quick cuddle before bed. I quite like doing it after work – for one thing, I only see her for 40 minutes in the morning otherwise and that consists of getting her dressed and ready to go, for another thing, after I’ve been staring at a computer screen for 9 1/2 hours I like having some time in the dark. My eyes thank me.
But she settles for sleep differently when I put her to bed than when S puts her to bed. He just puts her in the cot and then steps back, sits down and waits till she’s asleep. She won’t let me do that – she likes to feel my presence, either by holding my hand or just by having me touch her with a hand on her tummy or by her cheek. She gets upset if she doesn’t know I’m there until I can tell she’s asleep and only then can I go downstairs.
I was worrying about this for a while. The parenting info tells you that babies need to know how to settle themselves so that when they wake in the night, they can go back to sleep without you being there. But she does do that. I hardly ever get up in the night, and I know she wakes. And there have been a few nights when I have left her awake and she’s gone to sleep. I wondered if it did have something to do with me being away from her all day at work? S is at work too but he gets in to collect her from nursery at 4 so they spend time together each evening.
I don’t know. I don’t think I want to make it something to really worry about though. There are some schools of thought that would recommend controlled crying but I hate the idea of it and I don’t know that it makes sense for there to be one method like this for me and another for when S does bedtime. So I figure it’s just a phase and she’ll change later on. I like having a brief bit of sleepy cuddling and contact in the evening and if she finds it comforting too, I’ve decided it’s not a problem. In the meantime I think we need to make the most of having a baby that sleeps till 8.30 on days off work.