Skip to main content

Will He Be Night Feeding Forever?

No more moonlight, please.  Give me the dawn.  No more digitised lullabies.  Give me the chirping chorus of the breaking day.  No more glances at the neon clock, dividing the night into too-short chapters: 00:30, 02:00, 04:00, 6:50.

Twelve months ago, when I titled this blog "The Night Feed: words inspired by nighttime nursing", I was three months into the life of our second child, fully immersed in the milk-drenching moon-loving life-giving nocturnes of newborn survival.  I blogged enthusiastically through the night feeds, stretching my right thumb across my phone's key-pad, trying to capture the stillness of the night.  I romanticised the sleepless nights, delighted to be able to give our baby all the milk he needed, revelling in the confidence of a second-time mum, taking pleasure in night feeding and co-sleeping and loving every moment.

Fifteen and a half months in and the night feeding is starting to get on my tits.  There's no more self-indulging nocturnal prose.  No more staring at the mocking moon.  No more classic FM or podcasts, Kindle time or tweeting.  Little one demands his needs by calling out or waddling into our room, pulling at my top and poking my face.  He gets his fill, snuggles down and stretches his limbs across the entire width of the headboard, not minding our retreating skulls as he prefers the padded board against his back.

I could sleep train.  I could night wean.  I could escape to an all-night rave in a tropical land.

But I don't.  I continue to provide and to cuddle, to cradle his head and to rub his back.  I'm up when he needs me and I sleep when he doesn't.  He's almost over a bad cold and has probably been suffering with a sore throat and dry mouth.  He's likely to be getting his molars soon: a dull ache to be soothed by his mother's warmth.  He's growing every day, perfecting his walking and learning to run and jump: his lengthening limbs must really ache.  He's learning how to make his big brother giggle and when to give him space.  His brain is computing a complicated world with a million words and faces, sounds and rules; his head must be swimming with noise.  These are wonderful and frightening experiences and it's the night time when this din returns.  A call for mum with a reassuring scent is all that's needed. And this is our time together.  No phone calls to interrupt us.  No siblings to take priority.  No school runs to intrude upon his sleep.  Just me and my littlest one.

Within fifteen minutes, he's back to sleep and I'm back in bed.  I may not look at the moon any more, nor pick up my phone, but I'm confident that he won't be night feeding forever.  Surely?




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Last Feed?: Part 2- Night Weaning Begins

Dear Team Night Feed,
I'm writing this particular blog as I was very anxious about this transition and wanted to hear about other parents' experiences, especially mothers who'd chosen to feed their babies and toddlers to sleep, maybe for two years or so, but were interested in gentle night weaning. I can't believe we made it this far, especially after writing this last summer!  I hope our story helps anyone else in the same position, even though every child/parent/home is unique and different.

There's a background story to our first night of night weaning which you can read here, but in short, little one was 26 months with good communication skills, he'd stopped asking for "mummy milk" during the day and in the morning, and was only waking up once in the night.  He's got a big brother who's almost 4 years old and fully weaned (at 18 months).  I had routinely fed our youngest to sleep for every bedtime, back to sleep after every wake up and unti…

The Last Feed? Part 1

Four months ago, I published an article all about my rejection of the sleep training culture, extolling the virtues of following my baby’s lead, the second time around. The liberation from rules and schedules was the birth of my maternal instinct and true enjoyment of motherhood.

When my eldest was just six months, he slept through the night, 7pm-7am every night. To outsiders, we’d discovered the holy grail of parenthood. Yet there were major cracks under the perfect, unbroken surface of sleep.  To achieve this, I had to leave him to “self soothe”; I rarely witnessed that magical moment of watching him pass from wakefulness to sleep; I had to rouse him if he fell asleep at the breast for fear of “bad sleep associations”, but I didn't dare break out of this, too worried about giving our child "poor sleep habits".  But if you’ve read my other blogs, you know all about this.

When our second boy was born, all those rules went out of the window for both our children, choosin…

New Year's Day: More Fuzz Than Fizz

The first day of 2018- a happily fuzzy sociable sort of a day for us- has concluded with a bright full moon in clear cloudless skies.  Our littlest one and I read books by the light of the moon before settling for a dreamy sleep.  His big brown eyes finally closed as I stroked his head and whispered an echo of our final read: "I love you to the moon, and back" (Guess How Much I Love You, S. McBratney)*.  I then settled our older boy who just needed one more cuddle after the exhilaration of a busy few days.  We then collapsed in an exhausted pile on the sofa.

 I used to feel a particular blurry excitement on New Year's Day: a fresh start with new goals and dreams, after the fizz of the night before.  In 2011/12, my friend Jody and I partied on Mombasa Beach and watched the mighty African sun rise above the Eastern shoreline.  Somewhere amongst that five-thousand strong crowd was another traveller-teacher, on his own Kenyan adventure.  We didn't meet that night.  Inste…