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Do you ever feel like you are up all night, just embracing the night shift? ¬†I remember those moments, but don’t speed past them too quickly. ¬†These are the important ones.



A woman holding a baby on a couch.

To all of those Mom’s managing what I call “the night shift” with your little ones, I am right there with you‚ĶWe’re the ones stumbling towards our children’s room in the dark, kicking toys, trying to walk quietly, opening doors as quietly as possible to avoid any sound, in an effort¬†to keep everyone else asleep.

I remember when our daughter was brand new. ¬† When she was a baby and I was up all night with her… ¬†Those days are LONG gone, as she was born in 2012 (and our older boys were born in 2010, 08 & 06) ¬†I try to remember what it was like to be in that moment.

That moment where it is just you & your little one, where it is all that you can do to stay awake, but I promise that phase ends and you are left with memories…¬†

The nights when I would¬†slowly walk into her¬†bedroom, not turning on the lights, using my¬†hands in the dark to find her¬†in their¬†crib. ¬† Her room was so¬†dark because she slept¬†better this way, so I would¬†have to feel around for her because my eye’s hadn’t adjusted to the dark just yet.

I pick her up, check to make sure that her diaper is clean and give her a gentle¬†hug, pressing her cheek to mine, before moving on to the reason that I’m there, the reason that she needs me, whatever it may be (feeding, snuggling, teething).

This is the moment to remember:

 A baby girl sleeping on a white blanket.

I want every mom to know that no matter how you feed your babies (formula or breast milk) the most important thing is that your baby is being fed. ¬† When our second son was born, his blood sugar was low and breastmilk wasn’t going to be an option (it didn’t have enough sugar). ¬†The doctor told us that we should formula feed him for the first month, and we did. ¬†You do what you need to do for your baby.

We ended up doing a mix of both: expressed breast milk & formula.

It is at night that I really learn to “remember” my babies. ¬†¬†I really get to know them in the middle of the night.¬†¬†I use all of my senses when I hold them at night.

For our sweet girl, I feel the way that her hair is curling at the ends¬†because I can’t see her in the dark. ¬†I feel her grasp my one finger with her whole hand. ¬†I feel the way that she uses her other hand, the one wrapped around me as much that little arm will reach, to play with my shirt on my back, over and over again, in the same repeated motion. ¬†I feel her whole body move as her little feet kick while she is drinking.

I hear her making those sweet gulping sounds- the ones that you don’t get to hear in the day with others around. ¬† I hear her soft breathing. ¬†I can hear her every swallow. ¬†I hear her whine, just a bit, when she realizes that she has to go back to bed and her “Just Mommy & Me” time is all done, for a few hours.

I smell that sweet baby smell- you know the one! ¬† I love this. ¬†I smell her head so many times during the¬†night-time feedings. I just wanted to remember those moments, knowing that they wouldn’t last forever. ¬†Knowing that she would probably be the last baby that I would feed at night. ¬† Knowing that when she was done with her night-feedings, I was done with mine.

I just love this time. ¬†Yes, I am exhausted and I loved the day that when they finally sleep through the night, but oh how I miss those “baby & me” times, when I had nothing to do but focus on Just. My. Baby.

I just sat and prayed for them, sang lullabies in my head to them (because I didn’t want to risk waking them up more than they were by singing out loud!).I really was devoted to just this baby for that 20 minute feeding session. ¬†What better way to bond with your baby than to be just theirs for a moment in time. ¬†No other distractions. ¬† No one else needing you. ¬†Nothing to pull you away from just listening/smelling/hearing/touching your sweet baby.

I remember it, but the memories are fading, because she no longer needs me at night. ¬†She no longer cries out needing to be held or needing a drink. ¬†She sleeps soundly (for the most part) and thankfully, we had some good ‘night-shifts’ together, so I am happy to have moved on.

No matter what you feed your baby in these moments, remember the moments.  Remember that you baby is close to you, relying on you.   If you breastfeed, wonderful.  If you formula feed, wonderful.   Do whatever works for you.  I fully believe that as long as your baby is being fed, your baby is being cared for.

So- if you are still in that moment, try to enjoy it tonight. ¬†Soon it will be your last feeding with this baby. ¬†You won’t know the day or time when this last feeding happens- one day they just sleep through the night… and those moments of just mommy & me are one less. ¬† Cherish it tonight.
“So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little”

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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24 Comments

  1. Thank you! I am here and have been for 7 months with a few nights’ exceptions. This is gently encouraging. Thanks for writing it. Kelly

  2. Thank you! I found your post on Pinterest and read it right away. I’m feeding mine right now and needed this reminder to remember these special moments. Even though I’m surfing Pinterest (to stay awake) I’m listening to every sound she makes.

    1. I’m glad that my post found its way to you (& perfect timing- during one of the many night-time feedings) ūüôā

  3. Oh what timing for a pin to this post to come around again. Exactly what needed to read. My night time feedings with my new baby were starting to have too much resentment in them. Little recently stopped sleeping like she used to. Stopped napping like she used to. So mommy was getting less and less sleep. Lately when she woke up, instead of just embracing this precious time, I was too busy resenting the fact that there I was. Awake. Again. Totally exhausted. Again. And being just miserable and counting down until I could go back to bed. Instead of focusing on her needs. smelling her skin, hearing her breathe and gulp and burp and the hum of the only other sound in the house. The humidifier in the hallway. To count my blessing. To pray for everyone’s health and happiness. Then hear her breathing slow and relax as she fell back asleep. Thanks for this. I needed to be drawn back to what really counts and matters. This too shall pass and I know I’ll be sorry when these precious nights are over when they will be.

  4. This is beautiful, really.

    But for all those tired mamas who want a little more sleep, might I recommend co-sleeping? Baby can still have her own room to nap in and store all her cute little things, but it eliminates the need to stumble to baby’s room (dodging big brothers legos in the hallway) and no fumbling in the crib.

    This way, you can cuddle with your little sweetie all night! Sleep with a stretchy neck shirt or leave a couple buttons open at the top and your sweet baby can nurse with mama barely even waking up! And those nights when she is teething and fussy and just wants to cuddle, she won’t have to whine when you lay her back in her own bed.

    In most of history and in many other cultures today, co-sleeping is and has always been the norm! And how beautiful it is!

  5. Thank you for this. Just these past couple of months my almost 6 mos old went from waking up one time in the middle of the night to three times. I’m not sure what the change was but I was getting frustrated because I was losing sleep. Today, I said to myself that once she officially was 6 mos I was going to stop breast-feeding. Your post gives me hope and reminds me of the positive. Thank you sooo much for this. Everything you said about the sense rings true… I love listening to my baby swallow and I love the way she looks at me in those times of the night. You have given me a fresh outlook on my feedings!

      1. Thank you for this wonderful piece! I still have my night shift and you have reminded me of how special this period is, though it interrupts my sleep! Thank you!

  6. Co-sleeping or bedsharing is, for me, by far the best way to cope with the night shift. I have practiced it since my first baby and even now, at my fourth, who is 7 months old, I still find it the only natural and soothing way to sleep, for both of us.

  7. In my culture we are taught by our mothers to co-sleep with our babies. Baby usually sleeps with mummy for about 2 years or at least until she’s weaning. With every that we have to deal with daily mummy gets more rest this way.

  8. This was much needed. We are going on a year of 2+ night wakings. Lately it’s been 4-6 times and I’m dying of sleep deprivation. This is encouraging and I needed it to get through tonight.

  9. Just stumbled upon your site and wanted to say thank you. Brought me to tears. My baby boy just turned one and sometimes I’m so frustrated when he wakes at night because nursing is the only thing that gets him back to sleep. He shares a room with my daughter – who slept through the night @ 3mo and never looked back – so I don’t want him to cry it out and wake her. Basically I feel like a failure with him because I was so “successful” sleep trading my daughter.
    BUT he’s getting 4 new teeth and he wants me. And I’m ok with that in my heart. I just feel this societal pressure that we should be “past” this stage.
    Thank you for showing me the ability to embrace this season. Because one day it won’t be this way.
    Raising children can be such a bittersweet dance!

  10. Thanks for posting this! I was thinking about this this morning! Your blog is so great!

  11. Finally I reached the right place your article is to the point and awesome.My kid have skin dryness problem i am using humidifier is it good or not?