Posted in Baby sleep, Blog, Emotional wellness, Featured, House and home, Life as a mom, Mother, Rebecca

Nighttime parenting

I never heard much about nighttime parenting before I became a parent. I had heard a little about co-sleeping and decided early that wasn’t for me. I just figured that when your baby woke up, you fed him and put him back to bed. And you were done.

I did what felt natural to me. In those first days, baby would wake, I’d get up and get him, breastfeed, change diaper, re-swaddle, and put him back down. I did this every 3 hours throughout the night. Every time I woke up, I am sure I was fully awake and not in a drowsy state. I liked that. I felt like I needed to be fully awake to pay attention to my son and connect with him at each feeding.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I was at the First Weeks class, that I heard about people nursing while laying down and having a co-sleeper close by the bed. Moms were telling me they never got out of bed to breastfeed but just rolled over, grabbed their baby, pulled them into bed, nursed, then put the baby back in co-sleeper. It was cool to hear what other Mamas were doing. Again, I thought about my situation and didn’t mind at all that I was waking fully every time I got up.

After 5 weeks, we moved my son’s crib into his bedroom which was right next to our bedroom. He had been sleeping in his crib from day one. I felt confident he would be fine in his own room. The first night was hard because I was nervous I wouldn’t hear him, but I did.

This added another level of awakeness to my getting up. Now I had to find my way into another room. I started to question whether this was the best scenario for me. After all, those other Moms made it sound so easy what they were doing. I remember Ann Keppler saying that you just had to figure out what type of nighttime parent you wanted to be. What was your daytime parenting style? Well, just like you parent in the day, you also parent at night.

That was an interesting concept. Nighttime parenting style. Never thought of that before. Obviously I liked to get up and didn’t mind it. I liked to sing to my son and hum while he nursed.

I don’t remember exactly when this happened, but I did start to feel a bit lonely in the middle of the night. When he was a newborn, it was summer which meant short nights. I loved this. As soon as the sun was up, night was over. When it started to get darker earlier, the nights felt sooooo long.

I often wrote songs in my head while up nursing. Made plans for the next day, the next week. Planned our next vacation. Dreamed about the future. But honestly, sometimes I felt extremely lonely. Here I was again, getting up to nurse. No one else was up. The neighborhood is quiet. Lights are off. Activity has paused. It was just me and my son, nursing in the glider for the umpteenth time. (is that a word?)

One night, I had an epiphany. Ok, it’s not THAT big of a deal, but it really helped me to think about this. I WASN’T ALONE. A ton of other people were up at that exact time as me. (and I’m not referring to the people on the other side of the planet) Those other people were MAMAS….also up nursing their babies.

I don’t know why this helped me so much. I never felt alone after that thought. It was really neat to think of all the other Moms that were doing the same thing as me. People were sleeping and the nighttime warriors were at work, nursing the little babes. Daddies were sleeping and Mamas were nourishing, supporting and loving their babies. There was a whole network of powerful and caring women that were up working alongside me every single night. This was encouraging and uplifting.

So from now on, just know you are not alone. There are probably millions of us up at night taking care of our families.

Good work, Mamas. 🙂

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  1. Nikki Marquez says:

    What a simple, brillant, thought! Loved this entry! Did you see my comments on the other blogs?

  2. Hey girl. Yeah I saw your comments. I’ll call you soon. xoxo

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