It seems like the measure of a competent parent is one who manages to get their baby to nap independently, in their cot, for at least an hour or more...
Yikes. If that’s the case, I am seriously incompetent!
With an older sister who likes to be out and about when she isn’t at preschool, most of my 1 year old’s naps are on the go.
But THIS is what nap-time looks like for us on quiet days at home...
Yep, snuggled up with mama. Why?
A few reasons:
1. He sleeps for longer on me.
2. I enjoy it.
3. I get to rest while snuggling him.
Pretty good reasons, I believe.
Look, I know. There are 1000 other things I could do while the baby naps. There’s laundry (god, there’s always laundry!) There’s cleaning. Cooking. Work...
But you know what? This mothering gig is exhausting. And for me, these quiet moments are a chance for me to rest too. They’re also a chance for me to hold that busy toddler in my arms, because when he’s awake, he’s rarely still enough for me to get a good cuddle-fix from.
While we co-nap I will occasionally do some work on the computer if I need to... Send emails, whatever. But most of the time I’ll watch Netflix, or read a book, or close my eyes and nap too.
“But when are you going to get him to start napping on his own? It’s going to be hard for you to do that forever” someone said to me recently.
But I won’t be doing it forever, will I?
Naps are temporary. Many kids - like my daughter - happily drop them around the age of 2, with the exception of busy days (cue sleep consultants everywhere clutching their pearls!)
For those who do continue napping regularly until school begins, they will often become happy to nap on their own as they get older anyway. It’s a natural progression, like everything else.
So if co-napping is something you relish, and I know many mothers do, then enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty! See it as your child’s way of forcing you to slow down, to stop, to rest as well.
Because parenting is hard work. And you deserve it.
Georgina Dowden is a mother, midwife and lactation consultant (IBCLC).
In her day to day life, she looks after her two beautiful children and also supports other families on their parenting journey.
If you would like to get in touch sleep/settling support, click here:
Home visits for breastfeeding support available if you live in the Northern Rivers of NSW.