Those 12:00 AM, 2:30 AM, and 5:00 AM cries from a hungry baby or a babe who wants to be held can get tiring night after night. I found myself huffing and puffing for months hoping it would cease.
My daughter just turned one and still follows this wake-up schedule. When my head finally hits the pillow after a long day, the cries from the baby monitor begin to escalate. It can be overwhelming to be a middle-of-the-night mama with no end in sight. While the rest of the house sleeps; you’re trying to keep your eyes open long enough to comfort the babe and get them back to sleep.
Being a middle-of-the-night mama means:
Counting and dreaming about how much sleep you can still squeeze in if you can finally get to sleep in just a few minutes.
Functioning with no coffee in sight for at least 4-6 more hours.
Bouts of loneliness. Sometimes after months and months of being up with the baby all alone it can be lonely. It can also feel lonely and frustrating to hear of other moms who talk about their 1 month old or 6 month old who sleep through the night. I mean I’m truly happy for you, but sleep through the night, say what? What are we doing wrong? My kids are 3 and 1 they have NEVER slept through the night and since my daughter is overcoming feeding issues, she’s been a big night milk drinker since the get-go.
I used to be so frustrated by the cards we’ve been dealt. Why does our son wake up a million times throughout the night? To talk. He wants his covers fixed. He wants to know if firefighter daddy is home yet. He wants his white noise machine restarted. Why is our daughter still waking to eat? We’ve read the books. Talked to our doctor. Have strict nighttime routines. Tried/trying different methods. She stares at daddy’s pillow and whimpers when he’s on shift.
But, last night I just paused and looked at her after she fell asleep in my arms again. I breathed in the aroma of her clean and slightly curly blonde hair. I watched her half smile in her sleep and make the cutest little snoring sound.
I WILL miss this. The cuddles. The warmth. The memories. The little giggles when I gently tickle her side to help the crying cease. Being needed by a little soul that is still learning and growing and seeking her safety net.
So, middle-of-the-night mamas: Tonight, I encourage you to pause and breathe in the snuggles. Breathe in the fact that you can help stop those elephant tears and bring a sense of calm and safety into their little world.
To those brand spankin’ new middle-of-the-night mamas … your body does adjust. It doesn’t always feel like a chore every time they wake up. You just realize that’s life right now. And you keep on going. You. Got. This.
One day … when we are sleeping through the night, we WILL miss holding those little babes who look up at us like we are their world. For now, we will soak in the memories from those middle-of-the-night back rubs, feedings, and cuddles.