Sleepless Newborn Days


Sleepless Newborn DaysI remember the days — more than a decade ago — of sleepless nights and long nighttime routines, wondering if things would ever get easier. Both the hard nights and the easy nights are still vivid in my mind. Maybe you’re reading this during a middle of the night feeding.

If so, I want you to know that you’re doing a great job.

I rocked my firstborn boy to sleep every night until he was five and suddenly said, “I’m good!” It wasn’t always a peaceful rocking, but rather more of a straight jacket hold with his scream cry muffled into my neck (his choice of position, not by force). If my arms weren’t tight enough, he would squeeze them tighter. The hardwood floor had dents from where the rocking chair was rocked so hard and for so long. This sounds traumatic and it kind of was at the time when I was sleepless, working a job, and going to college.

That kid is now 16-years-old and instead of tucking him in at night, I say, “Good night!” and he basically tucks me in. Instead of late nights rocking him, my son comes into my room to talk, just as my eyes are about to close. Or it’s me waiting on him to come home safely, tapping on my door to let me know he made it. If you aren’t here yet with your kids, know that teenage years are just as sleepless as the early years. You’re welcome for the heads-up!

Sometimes, it was an easy night in the rocking chair with songs, kisses, and snuggles with some head popping up from my shoulder questions before being laid down in his own bed for a good night’s rest. Both the easy and hard nights I hold close to my heart! I’m thankful that I was able to be there for him. I wouldn’t trade his cries that didn’t yet have words for the hours of long late night conversations we have now.

In every season, there are hard times, growth, and beauty, and again…you’re doing a great job where you are now!

I could explain all the things I did to help my son sleep, the routines that worked and supplements I used. Instead, I just want to focus on the shared experiences you might have and say, “I get it.” I see you being gentle and kind, enduring obstacles of emotions and endless questions. I see you tired and with a headache, still carrying your babies to bed and tucking them in safely. I see you looking around their room and your home, wishing you could give them more and thinking of the ways you didn’t measure up during the day.

Now, as a doula, I get to hear a lot of fears that newborn moms have when they welcome their baby into the world. You’re not alone in feeling inadequate. The best piece of advice I can give a mom is the reassurance that you are enough; you are the whole world to your baby!

Now, wash your face and wipe your tears. Tomorrow is a gift of a new day! I promise it does get easier.

PS: I hope you have the book Love You Forever. It’s probably going to make you cry. I don’t know why I would torture my frail emotions as a new mom reading it, but I still remember the message and sweet illustrations.

If you want some more teenage encouragement, here are some past posts of mine:

Village Idiot Advice for Raising Teens

Never Have I Ever Parents (of Teens) Edition

You Won’t Survive the Teen Years


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