Why baby naps are the worst

Okay, they’re not always the worst. When they go right, they’re the best. You have 45 minutes – maybe even an entire hour and a half – to do whatever you want. You can use your computer without a small person smacking the keyboard. Pee alone. Eat a snack without having to share. You may even TAKE A NAP YOURSELF. But when they go wrong, naps a stressful will-she-or-won’t-she game, a battle between mum and baby where there is no real winner.

Katie putting the Popple into her cot
This looks like it’s going to end well. It’s not.

Here is how nap time goes in my house:

Breastfeed the baby. (Negative sleep association #1.)

Put the baby in her cot and give her a dummy. (Negative sleep association #2.)

Lay down in the bed next to the cot and stick my hair through the slats so they baby can tug on it. (Negative (and, quite frankly, weird) sleep association #3.)

Baby grabs my hair, then rolls over and grabs the slats on the other side of the cot.

Baby rolls back and pushes up onto her hands, yelling, “Yayadadada.”

Pat the baby on the head, saying, “Shh, shh” and singing a lullaby I made up where I repeat the word “sheep” over and over.

Baby rolls over again. And again. And again.

Get up to leave. Baby starts to cry.

Come back and lay down again. “Mummy’s here,” I say, “See? Here’s Mummy’s hair. Why don’t you grab it?”

Baby grabs my hair and tugs hard, then rolls over onto her stomach with my hair in her fist.

Attempt to extract my hair from her fist. Baby starts crying. Lay there, patting her head with one arm awkwardly stuck through the cot slats, until I’m sure she’s asleep.

Extract my hair from her fist again. Get up quietly and open the door.

Baby starts crying.

Get back in bed and let her grab my hair again. Baby rolls to the other side of the cot, taking a chunk of my hair in the process, then rolls back and grins at me through the slats.

“Sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep,” I sing quietly. Baby lays down, hair in fist, and moans a little.

Tug tug tug.

And then…no tugging.

Baby is asleep, I think. Best not to risk getting up, though.

Reach for my phone. Realise I left my phone in the other room.

FFS.

45 Replies to “Why baby naps are the worst”

  1. Yes I can relate to all of this – every day!! #coolmumclub

    1. Whyyyy do they hate to nap when you know they’re tired? Whyyyy?

  2. Well you know my pain over naps! This so resonates…and I love the way you’ve written it. All I can offer is sympathy, empathy and the promise that when they stop napping it will be SO fun!!
    #coolmumclub

    1. I’m honestly looking forward to this no-napping phase. Less free time for me, but less stress too. Bring it on!

  3. I can relate to this! And people tell you, ‘oh, you’ll miss it once the naps are gone’! I’m honestly not sure I will – sure it’s nice to have a few minutes to myself once I can finally creep out of the room, but it’ll be a whole heap of pressure off when that lunchtime nap goes out of the window! #coolmumclub

    1. Exactly! I know there are parents who say that they put their babies down in their cots and they just fall asleep, but it’s never been like that in my house!

  4. Ahah this made me laugh! TM only ever falls asleep when being cuddled or fed, very occasionally now he sucks his thumb he goes to sleep alone but it’s rare. During the day I don’t bother trying to put him in his cot unless I want to sleep as well because it just seems like a battle I won’t win! Does that make me a really bad mum?! #FamilyFun.

    1. No, not at all. I couldn’t put the Popple into her cot to nap until she was about 7 months old. I was SO proud when I finally managed it, even though it’s something that most parents seem to be able to do right from the beginning.

      1. Oh that makes me feel loads better!!

  5. Oh yes I remember those days! The joy of trying to get them off to sleep. My youngest still wants me to sit on the floor so she can hold my hand through the bars of the cot so we have a similar scenario to this at bedtime. Sadly she rarely naps in the day anymore though. #FamilyFun

    1. I’m glad it’s not just me that has a weird through-the-cot sleep ritual!

  6. Oh this made me laugh out loud at the end – just brilliant! One of mine had to have my hand to hold until she was sound – no creeping out the room at any point – madness – the things we do! Great read lovely #familyfun

    1. Thanks! It’s true – we’ll go to really drastic measures just to get our wee ones to sleep.

  7. You said it right. Naps as the worse, but sometimes also the best 🙂 haha! I am sorry that is sucks some times, I totally get it. The worst part is when your stuck in there without your phone 🙂 It does get better, then it gets worse, then it gets better again! Hang in there 🙂 #StayClassy

    1. I’m totally with you on the better-worse-better scenario – that’s exactly how it’s been here. She’ll sleep really well for a few days and I’ll think we’ve cracked it, then the next week she’ll hardly sleep at all.

  8. Ah bless you. Wait till they get older and you are doing ninja crawls out of the room. Or are you already doing that too??? You are so right though if you can get 45 mins of peace they are fab but i remember spending so much time trying to get them to sleep it hardly seemed worth it! 🌸 TY for linking up to #FamilyFun 🎉

    1. No, we’re not at the ninja crawl stage yet, thank God!

  9. Oh I’m right there with you – naps are the worst in our house too…a hilarious read, love the way you have written this! xx

    1. Thanks! It’s reassuring to hear that other people struggle with naps too!

  10. Oh god nap time and bedtime is the worst! Layla-Rose has to sleep on her tummy, listen to white noise, have a dummy and some sort of physical contact to go to sleep. The hair pulling makes me laugh are you not in constant pain?

    1. YES. It really hurts my scalp, but I’m so desperate for her to sleep that I put up with it. The cot is covered with my hair in the morning – I’m lucky that my hair is so thick you can’t notice how much I’m losing!

  11. Naps – such bitter sweet sorrow. Baby #1 never napped without a ten mile pushchair hike (but slept all night). baby #2 blissfully napped twice for 2 hours a day…but was as nocturnal as a hedgehog!
    Funny to think back to those days 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xx

    1. You never know what kind of sleeper you’re going to get, do you? I’ve talked to parents who say that they did the same sleep routines with their first and second children, yet one slept well and the other didn’t. Go figure.

  12. twotinyhands says: Reply

    Ha ha, this made me laugh. Seriously, the hair thing, that is a little weird. Don’t worry about the negative sleep thing, you do what you have to do. I boob to sleep still. Every now and then it doesn’t work and it throws me. I have the same spot by the bed with my hand awkwardly stuck through the bars (not my hair, again wierd!). Pinning him down so he doesn’t roll over and push himself up. I do none of this for a daytime nap though, if he doesn’t sleep I don’t try to make him. I think he’s in growth spurt mode this week, I’ve had a couple of 2.5hour naps in the day time! It’s awesome… One day I had 40 minutes though so it’s not all rosey! Thanks for linking to #familyfun

    1. Wow – 2.5 hours! I don’t think the Popple has ever napped that long! On a REALLY good day, she might do an hour and a half, but usually it’s 45 minutes – sometimes less.

  13. This made me laugh “sheep, sheep, sheep” like we try and hypnotise them into sleeping. And morph into a secret agent when trying to leave the room.
    I totally relate. I’d even hold my breath for fear my breathing would wake her 😂

    1. For a while, escaping was pretty much impossible because the door squeaked. Then we got some WD40 and it changed everything – now I can close it without making a noise and occasionally manage a successful escape. Win!

  14. I’m sorry I couldn’t help but laugh! I love the sheep lullaby and the ouch of the hair pulling! You are much more determined than I am. J only naps in his pushchair because I turn the extractor fan in the kitchen on and he closes his eyes and goes to sleep, or if being a little more difficult then I walk him around until he falls asleep in it. It works for us and I get time to do stuff. I don’t care what anyone else says or about stupid ‘negative sleep’ associations. You do what works for you and the Popple and that is called parenting survival 101 😉 #FamilyFun

  15. Ah yes the daily battle of nap time. Now mine just drop where they drop lol I gave up on a nap time routine, one would always wake the other. God bless the pram and leisurely walks I say! Xx #stayclassy

  16. Oh, yes! I remember that … They pull hair hard for such small people

  17. WOAH. Am I reading my own thoughts? I can’t tell because I’ve only had 3 hours of sleep and my life feels like a dream. ; )

    This is exactly my situation (except for the hair thing, a bit weird but understandably needed, whatever works!). I’m very happy you shared this as I don’t feel like I am the only one suffering. I also have 5,000 bad sleep associations…feeding to sleep, rocking, then dummy, and white noise next to his ear, and rocking of the moses basket. I haven’t even put him in the cot yet because like Popple he rolls over a thousand times and starts playing. So she does eventually go to sleep though? Maybe I should try the cot now? Help me. haha

    Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy

  18. Love this!

    I gave up on trying to do daytime naps at home. She only sleeps in the day if we’re out in the pram on a walk or driving in the car. More recently I was then able to negotiate the pram back into the house without waking her up and then I could do all those things we dream of doing – using the toilet, eating a sandwich, tidying up, replying to an email. All those simple things which become impossible once you have children! We’ve just moved house now though, and the new house is not so accessible with a pram. It’s impossible to get it back in without some serious clambering. Bye bye blissful half hour to myself at home 🙁 back to wandering the streets aimlessly until she’s been asleep for an appropriate amount of time! xx #fortheloveofBLOG

  19. Argh I feel your pain, nap time is the worst in our house, my little boy just fights it everytime, as soon as I put him down he screams most of the time as he knows I’m trying to make him sleep!x

  20. i feel your pain. All my kids needed their own special tricks (performed by me!) for going to sleep. The worst is when you’re in bed pretending to be asleep for 2h only to realise upon peeping that baby is standing in his cot watching. and when baby eventually falls asleep and your phone dies…….Agh! i feel your pain!

  21. Haha! something i can relate to! baby girl has 2 naps of about 40 mins a day! she doesn’t want any more than that! but she sleeps so well at night i can’t complain during the day. xx

    #fortheloveofblog

  22. I must admit I laughed a little bit reading, even though I’m completely aware that it is really not funny! I seem to remember doing strange things to get baby nr 1 to sleep but by the time I have nr 2 it all went out of the window. I didn’t have the time or energy to fight so I just did whatever else worked – pram or car.
    She will grow out of it though I promise 😉 #fortheloveofblog

  23. Oh man, I hated baby naps! No matter what I did, A would wake after 45 minutes, and that was after taking an hour to get him to sleep by any means necessary! >_< Toddler naps are so amazing compared, 2 hours of peace!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  24. Haha (sorry it’s not actually funny, I know, I’ve been there – most days I’m still there) but still great post #fortheloveofBLOG

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

  25. OMG this is like my life right now but with my 3 year old! I love the bit about missing your phone coz i do that all the time too! Damn it!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  26. I can completely relate to this, we have all of those negative sleep associations too except in place of hair pulling I’m guilty of rocking her to sleep! All for 30mins where I hurriedly do things panicking that she’ll wake up any moment. Being a mummy is a tough game to play sometimes! #fortheloveofBLOG

  27. Why is it always so difficult to get our babies to nap in the day!? This has been a struggle for us since Day 1, and your post pretty much sums up my life apart from the hair tugging. I used to breastfeed her to sleep, then do the shush shush pat pat routine, to get her to nap. I’ve stopped feeding her to sleep now but it will take at least 2 attempts with a story to get her to settle, once she’s had a little crying and rolling around in her cot. I don’t know why it’s so difficult, why do babies hate sleep so much! Why can’t they love sleep, as much as we do. Thanks so much for joining the party at #fortheloveofBLOG, I hope you come back to party next week. Claire x

  28. If you have to do that for every nap, that actually sounds like the worst thing ever! Have you tried just leaving her to cry, but soothing her in a different way like with a teddy or a Dolly that has human like hair? XxX
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  29. There is nothing worse than when you really need them to nap, just so you can clean the house and they won’t sleep. It can feel really horrendous in the moment, I remember crying over it at the baby stage. Great post, thanks for linking! #stayclassy

  30. Haha I always left my phone just out of reach! xx

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