When babies are in their extra young infant stage, nap times can be a bit sporadic. The unpredictable-ness becomes painfully evident when you move beyond the early maternity leave days of “napping with the baby and gazing lovingly at their sleeping faces while family members take care of everything else” to “sh*t has to get done and it’s just you and me kid.”
As a mom of a 2-month-old who has transitioned into the “getting sh*t done” phase for her own sanity,* I’ve spent some time researching and studying daytime baby sleeping habits. Here’s a handy guide for other moms, dads, caretakers... really anybody in close proximity with the ticking time-bomb also known as Sleeping Baby.
How To Tell If A Baby Is About To Fall Asleep
I’m told that as babies grow and mature, their sleep schedule becomes more “schedule-like.” Interesting. In the mean-time, here’s my research based guide to help you know when Baby is about to nod off:
1 - Their sleeping location is not ideal. Apparently it’s not safe to let Baby snooze in carseats, strollers, etc. when you aren’t using them for their prescribed purpose. Accordingly, if you have finally finished running errands (all of which Baby was awake for) Baby will promptly fall asleep a few minutes before you need to remove them from the carseat. Other examples include: couch of a room you need to leave, or in your arms the moment you need said arms to do something else.
2 - They have just taken a massive poop. Pooping is a lot of work. Enough to make Baby need a nap immediately following, diaper rash be damned. Unfortunately for all parties involved, this nap will need to be interrupted in short order.
3 - It’s almost time to leave. Everything is packed up, mom is in a puke-free outfit, so is Baby, just need to get baby into carseat in about 10 minutes... cue sleep, in location other than car seat (see point 1).
4 - FedEx is 5 minutes away. This one is too real during the holidays... Research shows that Baby is most likely to finally go down for their afternoon nap approximately 5 minutes before the delivery man rings the doorbell.
How To Tell If A Baby Is About To Wake Up
Congrats! You avoided all the pitfalls above and Baby is asleep in a safe, secure, quiet location. You can now get sh*t done! But how long do you have? Here are some signs to watch out for:
1 - You have just prepared yourself the perfect cup of coffee. I think parents invented the thermos coffee mugs. No hot coffee would ever be consumed otherwise.
2 - You have to take a massive poop. SOMEBODY SHOULD HAVE WARNED ME HOW MUCH OF LIFE REVOLVES AROUND SH*T ONCE YOU BECOME A MOM! Sorry for the vulgarity here, but seriously, the moment you step into the restroom is closely correlated with the moment you will hear Baby’s earth-shattering cries.
3 - Your important phone call is about to start. Noise canceling headset microphone. Pretty sure parents invented that too. Try spelling your insurance information while holding a noisy baby in your arms without it.
4 - Your food is ready to eat. Closely related to point number 1, but less salvageable. A thermos won’t keep cereal from getting soggy or french fries from turning into mini bricks of disgustingness.
What else belongs on this list? Research is ongoing...
*Yes, I know that chilling out and going with the flow could be good for my sanity as well, my husband has pointed this out. Thanks for that advice.