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Jane Yee: Playing nap truant

Jane Yee
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JANE AND VICTOR

My son is a pretty average baby. Hang on, that sounds wrong. Obviously I think he's amazing and there's nothing average about him at all, but I'm his mum, of course I think that. What I'm referring to is where he sits on the scale of "should". In terms of milestones and general baby behaviour, Victor is about as textbook as it gets.

He entered this world at the average weight of 7lb 1oz, with his head circumference and length also both sitting smack on the 50th percentile. Over the months his head grew at a faster rate than everything else, but it's all come back into line now.

He started smiling, rolling, sleeping through the night, sitting, and crawling right when the books said he would. That's not to say he doesn't deviate from dead-centre at all, of course he does, but everything that strays a little off course still falls within the realms of "normal". Basically, my son hasn't given me a lot of reason to worry.

However, there's one chapter that appears to be missing from little Vic's rulebook, and that's the one titled 'Napping'. Groan. I know! How boring! Feel free to go and have a nap of your own if you wish, I won't be offended.

Okay, so for those still with me, here's the situation. Victor's naps have always been patchy. When he was supposed to be on three naps a day he always seemed to resist that third nap, and I was relieved when I felt he was old enough for me to finally stop battling with him and let him drop down to two.

He's been on two naps since November and for the past month he's once again taken to resisting his last nap of the day. It's driving me bonkers! To start with he skipped his afternoon nap just once or twice a week, but for the last fortnight he's done as many days on one nap as he has on two.

According to everything I've read, now that he's nine months old, he really should be laying down his sleepy head twice a day for another six to nine months yet. Cripes, this kid is too young to be moving to just one nap a day! Besides, I'm not ready for him to drop his afternoon nap, even if he is. By that time of day I'm usually exhausted and could do with an uninterrupted cup of tea to centre myself before we head into the witching hour. Alas, my son doesn't seem too bothered about what I want.

Allow me to fill in the gaps so you get the full picture of how all this is playing out. He sleeps well overnight, most nights getting around eleven hours. He gets up for the day at about 6.30am and is back down for a nap at around 10am. If he has a short morning nap, we'll usually still be able to slot in an afternoon nap at 2.30pm. But mostly he'll have a long morning nap, anywhere up to two hours, and when this happens he will either have a catnap around 4pm or skip it altogether.

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Whichever way it plays out, over a 24-hour period, he usually gets around thirteen hours sleep (sometimes a little less) and he seems to operate okay on that.

When he's tired he goes down to sleep without a fuss. We only have a problem when I try to put him down in the afternoon and he's not actually tired - he'll just play in his cot for half an hour or more, occasionally getting a bit grizzly that he's been left on his own. Eventually I'll give up, retrieve him, and he'll seem quite happy.  

My biggest problem with all this is if he wakes from his morning nap at, say, 11.30am and then resists his afternoon nap it's an awfully long stretch without sleep till bedtime. I could try to move that one nap to the middle of the day but there's just no way he'll make it through the morning without losing the plot. Besides, nine months just seems too young to be on one nap a day.

So what do I do? Do I continue to try to get him down for that second nap, or do I admit defeat, wave goodbye to my afternoon cuppa, and let him get by just the one big nap in the morning?

I'm interested to hear how your baby's naps look from day to day and any advice you might have to help me get my boy back to having two naps a day. I'm especially keen to hear from anyone whose bub started skipping afternoon naps really early, and what you did (if anything) to deal with that situation.

- Essential Mums

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