Life With Isabelle

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Baby

Learning to love waking through the night

30 July 2017 | By

A soft whimper rises from the cradle nearby. Rustling sounds as blankets are kicked off.

You peer through sleepy eyes at the clock.

12:17am

Rolling out of bed in a half-woken daze, you shuffle over to get baby for a nighttime feed.

You do this again at 2:30am.

And 4:49am.

Ready to the start the day by 7:00am.

Possibly even more frequently than that.

#mumlife, right?

If you’re on the night shift with a newborn, you’ll be all too familiar with this kind of nighttime pattern.

Maybe you dread nights in anticipation of this.

I know I did, at first.

Days were fine because I was up and about anyway, and I often had my husband there for company. But nights were not a time I looked forward to. I’d be desperately hoping that baby would fall back asleep after a feed, and that he might sleep for at least 2 or please please please 3 hours straight before waking again… It was a challenge dragging myself up to get him once I heard his midnight cries. It wasn’t easy.

But eventually, I learnt to love this night shift. When you do things with love, it becomes a fulfilling and purposeful experience.

Don’t resent this nightly routine. Here are 4 things that can help you learn to love and embrace these moments instead.

1. Take advantage of your heightened senses

Fumbling around in the blackened room or maybe a night light dimly glows nearby. As you cuddle or nurse your little one, use your senses to get to know them better. Gently feel the soft fuzz of their hair, the curve of their body against yours, the smoothness of their delicate skin. Let their tiny fingers wrap around yours, stroke their little hands as they hold on to you. Listen to the soft gulping as they drink, or the sound of their tiny breath as they breathe. Match your breathing with theirs. In and out. And notice their individual scent. The smell of baby powder, a hint of baby shampoo and lotion, and the subtle fragrance of their skin.

2. No distractions

Appreciate that there are no other responsibilities or chores that you could be doing, whether it be the clothes washing, dishes, cooking, attending to the needs of older kids… Just you and your baby. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen the following day, or any list of todos that’s building up in your mind. Tackle those once morning comes. Instead, let it be just you and your little one, and let your focus rest on that.

It’s also alone time that you probably don’t get much of if you have other older kids. So in the peace and quiet of the night, pay particular attention to their gurgles and motions, and take the time to bond with your baby.

3. Your feelings will reflect onto your baby

If you’re stressed, anxious or grumpy every time you wake to attend to your baby’s needs throughout the night, they’ll pick up on it. Research has shown how in-tune babies are to their mother’s emotional state and that they can even end up showing signs of physical stress themselves. So if you’re calm, peaceful and loving through the night wakings, this can pass onto your little one and helps them be content as well. You want these moments to be positive experiences for both of you.

4. This won’t last forever

Even once you learn to love the nightly routines, yes you’ll still look forward to the night that you’ll be able to sleep through without interruptions. And believe me, that day will surely come. Right now, appreciate that it’s you who they need. Cherish the nighttime moments with your little one because before you know it, they’ll become more independent and won’t be calling for your comfort and care in the middle of the night any longer.

And you never know, you might even miss those little midnight cuddles.

Isabelle xx

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  1. So true that it won’t last forever, but some days (or nights, rather) are much harder than others. Especially with heightened senses and emotions.

  2. What a sweet and beautiful post. Those first few days/weeks/months were hard in many ways, but that is also the time I bonded with my daughter for the first time. I loved inhaling her smell in the dark and tickling her little feet to keep her awake just enough to feed. Such wonderful and special memories!

  3. Awwww, it’s so lovely to hear from people what being a parent is like. I can’t wait for when it’s my turn. And it’s wonderful that you love doing it too!

  4. Love this! My baby fever is at it’s peak and this kind of helps me think I could actually manage having two. I remember all too clearly getting up every couple of hours and being up for about an hour every time in the beginning. It wasn’t my favorite time but my husband slept in the guest room so on the rough nights I’d just watch netflix! haha!

  5. I can’t say I’d rather be feeding my baby than sleeping (I do love my sleep), but I agree that there is a sweet stillness in the nighttime feedings. I think with my second child I came to appreciate this more as it was when he was most likely to eat well, and I was able to just BE (no chores and such like you said). I came to appreciate the beauty in the necessity of those feedings. Thanks for reminding me.

  6. That nightlight/sound machine looks awesome! I’m going to have to see if I can find it on sale since it’s a bit pricey, but I can see why you love it so much!

  7. Beautiful reflection. I think it’s easier to put into practice with your 2nd rather than your first because you are so clueless and frazzled.

  8. Yes! Love this post. My daughter didn’t sleep through the night routinely until she was almost 2 years old. She would go through bouts of waking every hour for a few days at a time every couple of weeks. While it made it difficult to make it through the day sometimes, I always tried to remind myself to enjoy those really quiet moments. They grow up so fast! It is so important to let them force you to live in the moment.

  9. Such a beautiful post, you reminded on my similar days some 2.5years back.. Fumbling will not pay rather the positiveness and the love for infant is what helps a mom destress:)

  10. Such a sweet post. My Momma friends always rant on things about their kids, but at the end of each rant comes this longing feelings wishing that their kids will stay as kids. Haha i guess that’s part of motherhood.

  11. Ah, baby sleep. Is there anything more elusive in those first few months or more desired ? ‘Sleep Training’ is a hot button topic, sure ! The nighttime disruptions was something I was really worried about… Exhausting, but beautiful time

  12. Sweet post…I so remember the days not to long ago in fact. All Moms need encouragement that it won’t last always and this is great tips to help during this time.

  13. What a great reminder to look at the positive side of a very trying time! Newborns and infants can be so hard at night and I remember dreading the whole night from the time I put them to bed til the sun rose. This dread and exhaustion would flow into the next day into a stream of grouch that definitely was noticed by my kids. I wish I would have had this post five years ago! Oh well, I’ll just share it with my new baby mom friends instead and try to apply this principle to other struggles I have with my 3 and 6 year old. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Yes getting up in the middle of the night with a baby was hard for sure. But like you I learned to cherish the time as you said it will on last a little while.

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