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What to do During Those Late Nights

What to do During Those Late Nights

Baby number two will be here within a few short weeks, and while preparing for her arrival, I’ve discovered something: I took for granted the blissful unknowing of what to expect with my first baby! This time around, I’ve got an idea of what’s coming and I am slowly becoming terrified. My little boy was a tricky babe because he had pretty bad reflux that affected the way he slept at night after each of his feedings. This resulted in me needing to hold him upright for about a half-hour after each meal, and therefore, I became well acquainted with the world as it slept.

Any mom who has a newborn, whether breastfed or bottle-fed, has a pretty good idea of what the world looks like in the middle of the night. Every single hour of the night. Peaceful, quiet, and still as the world sleeps. The first couple nights of baby’s life may not be quite as serene, as there’s a lot to learn about each other. But once baby begins to learn that nighttime is for sleeping, and a nightly feeding routine is set, these nights tend to become a tad boring and plenty tiring while baby slowly eats! My husband and I decided early on that we weren’t going to co-sleep until baby was at least four months old. This was one “I will never” that we actually stuck to very well! Because of this sleeping arrangement, we decided that splurging on a nice rocking chair and ottoman was necessary for our nightly feeding rendezvous in the nursery. The act of getting out of bed and walking to the nursery was just enough of an energy boost to fully wake me up and get me in the right mindset to take care of a hungry infant. (I’m not a happy person when I get woken up, and it definitely takes me a second to become reoriented!) By the time I made it to the nursery, the waking up part didn’t seem so bad. So what are some other ways I wake myself up and keep myself awake while feeding baby? Social Media is always an option, but as we’ve all probably experienced by now, too much social media influence in our lives can lead to comparison or poor self-esteem. So it may not be the best option, especially in the wee hours of the night. However, it passes time and I found that editing and posting my own pictures in the middle of the night was a great time to get around to things I wanted to share with my Internet friends. Reading is a good one if a small light is available for use in the nursery or if a kindle, iPad, or phone is being used as a reading device. Or there’s always the option to stick in headphones and listen to books on tape. My biggest problem with reading in the middle of the night is I often get too into my books and have a hard time winding my brain back down and falling back asleep! So my advice when it comes to reading is to read moderately good books, and not incredibly action-packed, or exciting books! As ridiculous as it sounds, games are a good option because they’re mindless and entertaining. Or if I’m really struggling to stay awake, I’ll play more of a thinking game like Sudoku or a puzzle of some sort. Writing worked well enough for me in the middle of the night. Whether it was an email to my brother, who was then living in Mexico, or a quick journal-like write-up in the notes section of my phone, I found this time to be perfect for such an occasion. I often came up with to-do lists for the next day, or week, on my phone while nursing my babe. This helped prepare me a little bit more for the day to come, and helped me be more productive. When it really comes down to it, what I spent the vast majority of my time doing while in the silent hours of nightly feedings was almost like an informal meditation session. It’s dark, it’s quiet, and not much is being done on my part to keep my baby happy: and so, I think. I marvel at the miracle my baby is and the ability I have to sustain his life, I find peace in the stillness of my house and neighborhood, and most of the time, I thoroughly enjoy the time that is only ours to spend together. Shortly after my son’s first birthday, he was weaned down to two nursing sessions per day: one right before bed, and one around five in the morning, after which he’d sleep for a couple more hours. During one of the early morning feeding sessions (and yes, he still needed to be held upright for a time after he ate), the thought occurred to me that I had very well rocked my baby in our rocking chair one million times. Hours and hours in this chair I loved with a sweet baby I loved much more. Feeding, worrying, stressing, crying, struggling, sleeping, reading, burping, changing diapers, singing, praying, planning, celebrating, and lots and lots of rocking.

In the next few months you can expect to find me in my chair with a different babe, one whom I intend on loving just as much, rocking away my fears, as I become a mom all over again.

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What is Reflux? - November 26, 2020

[…] for a half hour after every feeding, he would still get really upset. Yes, this included multiple night feedings as well! So that was what got us through those long months of waiting for his digestive system to […]

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