When Livi was born, people would constantly tell me to sleep when the baby sleeps. And I tried but it was not meant to be.
I mentioned before that in the beginning, Livi would not sleep for more than thirty minutes at night and often only while we held her. That also meant that we would not get much sleep ourselves and that it was often impossible to sleep at the same time.
Napping during the day was just as difficult for her. Up until recently, Livi would only nap when I held her. We tried everything, but during the day we could not put her down anywhere.
I think I managed to do it twice. But each time, the moment I would try to get some sleep myself, she would start to cry as if she sensed that I was no longer awake.
It would have been nice to get some rest since nights were difficult to say the least and left us exhausted and sleep deprived. And days were not easier as I spent all my time holding, nursing, soothing or entertaining her in some way.
In the beginning, I was also frustrated because others told me they would not only nap while their baby napped but also eat, relax or get some work done. I could not do any of it and somehow had to find a way to do it all while holding a baby.
Eventually, however, I was just happy when Livi would nap at all because it would at least give me somewhat of a break. She was not crying when she slept and I could sit down while holding her, something that was almost impossible when she was awake.
Most of the time, she would only nap for thirty minutes. Often, it would take me just as long to walk or rock her to sleep, sometimes even longer.
When Livi was older, we tried to establish some kind of routine for her. Unfortunately, she would have none of it. Her nap times were and still are unpredictable. I never know when she is ready to take a nap and how long she will actually sleep.
One day she may show signs of being tired yet will not fall asleep for another hour or two, despite my best efforts. The next day, she does not look or act tired at all, but falls asleep much faster.
It is hard to make any kind of plans this way. I keep trying, but mostly I have to cancel prior arrangements last minute or wait to run errands on days when she only naps for a short time. Of course that also means that she will be tired and not up for outings or much stimulation.
As Livi grew older, we kept trying different methods to get her to nap by herself. All of them ended in disaster. Just recently, we have been able to make some progress. I no longer have to hold her but one of us still needs to lie down with her.
Her naps still happen at random times and I still do not know how long she will sleep. All we can do is keep trying and hope that as she gets older, her sleep will improve.
More about sleep issues.