For about a month-and-a-half now, Jones has exclusively been taking 45-minute naps. (He is 4 months.) I go back and forth on how to deal with this issue (and also on whether it even is an issue), but there is no doubt about it that it bothers me to no end. It is the source of frequent crying spells and fits of anger. There are days when I hear him on the monitor, 45 minutes on-the-dot, and fall in a heap of tears, wondering what else I could possibly try to get him to sleep.
I’ve tried lengthening his awake time to make him more tired before his nap. I’ve tried shortening it, for fear that the lengthening made him overtired or overstimulated so he couldn’t settle into his nap longer. I’ve tried letting him cry for 10, 20, 30, and sometimes 40 minutes. I’ve tried patting him, holding him, rocking him, rubbing his eyebrows, and covering his eyes. I’ve put up curtains in hopes of making it darker. I’ve brought a little fan into the room for some white noise. I’ve swaddled, swaddled, and re-swaddled. I’ve given him a pacifier. I’ve tried everything.
One week ago, he seemed to be over the hump, and he slept three 1.5 hour naps each day for four days. I was ecstatic. Then he woke up once at 45 minutes. “It’s just one nap,” I told myself, nonchalantly. Then he did it again on the next nap. And the next. And the next — until I fell into a heap of tears yesterday. I felt betrayed, like he’d given me some hope that this phase was over, and then thrown it back into my face.
Today, that seems utterly ridiculous. He’s a baby. He’s not trying to torment me or purposely make my life harder (though he inadvertently does).
Today, I realized that though I do want him to sleep longer for his own benefit, its mostly selfish. I want more time to clean/nap/do laundry/read/see friends/etc. When he’s awake, he’s in need of my constant attention, particularly because he’s at the stage of life where he’s beginning to understand our relationship just a tiny bit more. “I need her” — whether that means for eating, cuddling, or laughing.
So, now that I’ve said all this, what do I do? This doesn’t mean that I stop caring about his napping, right? (I tend to be an extremist — either I care too much, or I don’t care at all.) Any suggestions?