26 answers

Car Travel and Visiting Folks: Interrupting Naps?

My son is 5 months old and there are friends and family who would like to see more of him. On one hand it's good to get out and about with him, but on the other hand it messes up his nap schedule and makes him grumpy, and for this I feel badly. My husband's family, for example, wants us to make a 6-hour drive (which will be an all-day affair given all the stops we'll need to make), each way, over the span of one weekend. Even when friends want to meet at a restaurant that's 45 minutes away, it messes him up because he's only awake for ~2 hours before needing to sleep again. And he won't just sleep in the restaurant. Am I being inflexible and overly protective of his nap schedule? I know he can sleep in the car, but that's never seems to give him the quality sleep he needs and he still ends up exhausted. I need some perspective from other moms, there seem to be expectations out there that I should take him wherever and make him deal with it. Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I told the in-laws that we weren't coming for the weekend getaway. They were disappointed and made it clear that they do things differently, and I know I'm not the most popular person with them right now. But, I feel like I did right by my son. If we were going for a whole week, that would be different, but it was too much travel for too short a visit. Hopefully, the in-laws will get over it, although I have definitely earned myself a reputation of being overly protective, in their minds. Oh well! My friends have been more understanding, and if I say I can't swing it they have generally been understanding, and sometimes come to me instead. In general, I'm getting better at not worrying so much about pleasing others. I may not always be popular for it, but it's the lesser of evils. Thank you all you moms for the support that gave me the "okay" to just go with my instincts!

Featured Answers

whatever works for you is what is best. If you don't mind missing out on things, then I would stick to the nap schedule with exceptions when you think it's ok. I was less flexible with my 1st childs naps, because i could be. my next 2 kids needed to be out and about a bit more and both stopped napping at age 2, my oldest was almost 4 when she stopped. I think it is so good for them to sleep as much as possible - it makes everyone happier :) Don't let anyone make you feel bad, mothers already spend enough time second guessing themselves.

More Answers

I would not hesitate to just say no. Getting your child on a schedule can take time and you don't want to ruin it. We were very strict about our first child's nap schedule for the first year if not longer. Now that we have a second, it is a bit more difficult, but we do our best to assure both boys get down for their naps. You need to do what is best for you. Have the people come to you. You are the one with the new baby!

I don't mean to sound like a witch, but you have a 5 month old - people should be catering to you! I'm all for socalizing and getting out and about, but 12 hours of driving for a weekend away (which in itself brings on it's own challenges with little ones) is asking *way* too much. Go with your gut. I disagree with those parents who cater their lives to nap routines (enjoy an occasional dinner out with friends!), but you know what's best for your little guy.
Good luck

how about having family and friends come to your house or your area? share the burden, so to speak.

I think you are absolutely right to putting your son first. Your in-laws should make the trip to see you if it is so important to them to see your son more often. And friends should understand and maybe bring lunch to your house one weekend so you can catch up but your son can nap when he needs to. The weather is also getting nicer so people can come over and bring BBQ fare and be outside while your son takes his nap in the comfort of his own bed. I think you just need to tell people that either you make plans around his nap time or they come to see you. It is important for your son to have his nap when he is used to it, for your sanity and his. Good luck.
L.

R.,
You are a smart mom! I am reading a book right now that talks about the importance of protecting sleep and how many cranky kids there are out there because their moms run around too much when they should be home sleeping =) Trust your instincts. This book is called, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and a lot of my friends swear by it. It's nice because it tells you the science behind why sleep is so important and it doesn't tout one method over another (ie Cry it out vs. attachment parenting vs. whatever), it tells you to do what works for you but make sure you protect the length and quality of your child's sleep.
M.

stick to your guns!! people will eventually get used to it. if you let them walk all over you now, they'll never quit trying to make you sacrifice your quality of life to meet their demands. don't go down that road!!! draw a firm line NOW, and they will grumble, but they will get used to it. good luck!

i agree with most of the other posters that you are the only one who can protect his sleep, and you are doing a great job! when we needed to make a long trip we scheduled it so he would nap in the car and it made it so he still got his naps, so when we got home he still napped, we also would leave at bed time or just before then he would play in the car maybe even eat i sometimes rode back there with him to keep him entertained and then he would fall asleep, i agreee that it isnt really the best sleep but it shold help you keep a routine going anyway. i also agree that why dont the people come visit you? it always amazes me how quickly people forget what it is like to have kids, when they want you to come visit, i had a great grandmother who couldnt figure out why it was so strssful having a baby in the car and then we reminded her that when her kids were little car seats werent required so they could fall asleep in your arms or nurse as needed, even roam around the backseat, to keep themselves entertained!

Hi - I think alot of people deal with this problem, I know I have. I brought this question to my doctor and he suggested that at this age I really should revolve around my son's schedule first. If people want to see him, have them come to you so he can keep his nap schedule.

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