When the Baby is Napping…

When I was pregnant I researched like a mad woman, reading everything I possibly could so that I would be well prepared and ease into this new life adjustment smoothly (ha, well we’re all laughing a bit at that thought now aren’t we?) One of the pieces of advice I received most often – from friends, family and internet forums alike, was:

“X when the baby is napping!”

So these little bundles of joy that come into our lives are supposed to sleep a lot. During all these frequent naps they have, we’re supposed to do the mysterious X. You can replace that with whatever you want really, but the ones I most frequently were told were.

“Nap when the baby naps!”

“Do the dishes when the baby naps!”

“5 minutes of housework whilst the baby is sleeping will keep things clean!”

“Take a shower whilst the baby sleeps!”

“Do your food prep whilst he’s sleeping!”

And so on. All these lovely little productive things that we need to do on a day to day basis like sleeping, cleaning, showering, preparing food, coating sore nipples in lanolin whilst sobbing quietly to ourselves on the sofa can be done quite easily whilst the baby is having a sweet little nap if you believe the internet. You too can be a productive and efficient mummy!

Sorry ladies, it’s all a load of bollocks. Why did other mums tell me this? Have they forgotten?

My son napped irregularly at best and not at all at his worst.

When he was napping as a baby almost anything would wake him up, so cleaning around him was pretty much a no-no.

His favourite spot to nap was pinning me down so that even going to the bathroom was out of the question.

Sleep whilst he’s sleeping? Am I alone in not being able to lay my head down and fall asleep instantly and then wake up 20 minutes later feeling refreshed? It takes me a long time to fall asleep – especially in the middle of the day and then I wake up feeling groggy and disorientated.

And I was too tired to care about the dishes or the cleaning or whether I had clean clothes for tomorrow. In fact, at one point I just ordered more clothes for the baby rather than do a load of laundry. Thanks, Amazon Prime. Food prep? That’s what I call Dominos.

Just Relax – That’s what the advice should say

So my advice, when the baby is sleeping just do whatever the hell you can – but just embrace those precious few moments. Here are the things I tend to do during nap-time:

  • Stare at their sleeping face.
  • Turn on the aromatherapy diffuser.
  • Play a game on your mobile phone.
  • Do some breathing exercises.
  • Text someone.
  • Watch cute cat videos on YouTube.
  • Order something on Amazon.
  • Browse Instagram.
  • Search Deliveroo for takeout.
  • Eat a packet of biscuits.
  • Hydrate.
  • Take at least 62 photos of your sleeping beauty and send them to everyone to prove that yes, you’re doing it, you’re mothering, and you got this little devil angel to sleep!

Let the dishes pile up and the laundry overflow. You can always recruit a friend, family member or hire a cleaner if things really go down the pan. Take care of yourself mentally and do what you can – but don’t set yourself all these expectations like I did. I fell into the trap of thinking I could do so many productive things whilst he was napping and then felt frustrated and disappointed in myself when I felt I’d failed. I had set myself up to fail when in fact, I was totally succeeding just by getting him to nap in the first place. They’re alive, warm, well fed and asleep?! You’ve nailed it!

If I was doing it again, I’d tell myself that nap time is not productive time. Nap time is a few minutes of peace, quiet and relaxation. Making a cup of tea and getting to drink it is the crowning nap-time achievement!

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21 thoughts on “When the Baby is Napping…

  1. Kara says:

    My babies always slept better with noise around them – they are used to noise in the womb, so when they were sleeping I would do all the noisy jobs LOL

  2. Caz says:

    I love your honesty with this, and the light-hearted view to it. I think I’ll have to keep all of this in mind if I am lucky enough to become a mum one day!! I do agree though that the pressures and expectations are stupid when they leaving you feeling as though you’ve failed, when you haven’t at all. x

  3. Yeah Lifestyle says:

    Well each baby is different, no one mantra can be followed by any moms, I believe you have to create your own according to your own baby. Motherhood is so hard and trying but we need to persevere x

  4. Lynne Harper says:

    I never napped when mine did, like you my friends all told me to. It just never happened ha. I much preferred a cuppa or to watch some tv and relax or even have a long soak in the bath with a baby monitor nearby x

  5. Laura Dove says:

    I never napped when mine napped, mainly because by the time I had my fifth I had a 12 month, 24 month and 10 year old and nobody ever napped at the same time – if ever!!

  6. Jenni says:

    We had hideously noisy neighbours when I was pregnant and still when he was born and I think that helped him sleep through anything. He has always known noise around him. When he napped I caught up on the soaps haha x

  7. Rhian Westbury says:

    I don’t have a kid myself but from what my friends have said this is so true. There’s very little you can actually do when your kids are napping so thanks for an honest post x

  8. Sarah Bailey says:

    I was just thinking I don’t have kids by my rational mind would say when a baby naps the Mum or Dad should take some time to themselves as well, relax and try and get some “them time*.

  9. Rebecca says:

    Love this, it’s so true! I often felt guilty that I hadn’t achieved anything during nap time. Although I do remember one particular day when my baby was a new born that we didn’t get out of bed, I was so tired I slept whenever he did! Precious times.

    • Christy - WelshMum says:

      I do get a lot of blogging and commenting done when he naps 🙂 If he’s asleep on me I’ve taken to browsing blogs and leaving comments instead of playing phone games. It’s at least a little productive!

  10. Helen says:

    I love this. My daughter napped very rarely too, or just had odd 30 mins here and there if she did. I don’t know who these babies are that nap long enough for mum to sleep…or shower….or even get dressed!
    I totally agree that nap time is time to drink a (hopefully) warm cup of tea and just relax for a little while.

  11. adriana says:

    I can only imagine how hard it is as a new mom! I always hear it’s important to sleep, or get things done when your baby naps!

  12. Baby Isabella says:

    Cleaning was a complete no-no for my mummy when I was little. Thankfully though my mummy can sleep almost anywhere at any time so the only piece of advice that rang true for us was “sleep when the baby sleeps” – if they hadn’t had done this both my folks would have been grumpy bums.

  13. Tanya Brannan says:

    Oh I remember these nuggets of advice so so well. Then I had twins who never napped at the same time and found it impossible to do anything at all! I think your advice is much more sensible xx

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