By Samantha Johnson
My second baby is 7 weeks old, and the transition from one child to two has been so much smoother than I could ever have anticipated.
I know there’s a few reasons for this: my first baby was HARD work, so my expectations of these newborn days were already incredibly low. My firstborn had also ensured I had learnt every trick in the book when it came to sleep and settling a baby – ultimately, this meant that I’d surrendered to my child’s needs, and I knew that most of the time, a boob and a warm body would be all that was needed to ensure he was getting the rest he needed.
But most importantly, by the time my second baby was born, my day was no longer structured around nap time.
And because my firstborn had given up his daily nap before his sister was born, I had learnt something very important – when we stop expecting the daily break time that a several-hours-long nap gives us, we realise we don’t rely on it quite as much as we thought we did.
When my son was an only child, I craved his nap time. His high energy demands took a lot out of me, and I craved those quiet hours of (almost) solitude, while he napped beside me. So precious was this time in my day, that I guarded it at all costs. All of our activities were based around an ability to be home, alone, in time for his nap. It became the absolute foundation to our days.
I melted into the idea of sharing sleep time with my son, as I knew there was a guaranteed rest period in my day. And I protected that time, fiercely.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, my son dropped his daytime sleep.
That precious time I had enjoyed for almost three years, was gone!
And I mourned its passing.
But it didn’t take long for us to find a new rhythm to our days, and I began to realise how much more enjoyable our life could be when it didn’t need to be dictated by the nap time schedule.
See, I had accepted that my son needed to be close to me for naps, and I had willingly met those needs.
But I had, in doing that, also accepted the belief that young children need long, uninterrupted stretches of daytime sleep in dark rooms.
As the arrival of our daughter loomed closer, I started to wonder just how accurate this assumption of infant sleep was, and began to think about the impact it had on our lives.
Sure, the downtime and rest was absolutely cherished; especially when my son was an incredibly frequent night waker for the first two years of his life.
But at what cost, was my addiction to nap time?
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