Why I’m happy my baby doesn’t sleep through the night

Its 4am when I wake.

I’ve had five hours sleep.

I’ve heard the cry of my baby from the other room. I stumble out of bed. One shaky leg after the other. I stable myself with a hand on the cupboard and make my way into the other room.  Our tiny one bedroom apartment is lit with a faint blue light of a night light. I focus my just awake eyes into the cot and see my baby half awake, half asleep suckling for some food.

Suddenly I’m no longer tired.  Suddenly strength comes to my limbs, my eyesight is clearer and I bend down to collect my bundle.

It’s a night time feed.  Something that I once feared.  Something that parents warn you about.  Something that people without kids pity you for.  But I’m okay with that.

why i'm happy my baby doesn't sleep

I unwrap the blankets from around him.  He’s squirming like an insect.  Thank god for my curved change mat I think to myself.  A quick nappy change later we perch ourselves on a chair by the balcony window.  It’s a hot night and he is wearing only a singlet and nappy.  Me, I’m just in my knickers.  The freshness of the night breeze is a nice relief for our hot skin on skin.

I cradle him in my arms and he begins to suckle.  His little fingers grab the skin on my chest and under my arm.  His little legs kick. I look down and can just make out his beautiful features in the street light.  His little ears.  His perfect nose.  Those chubby little cheeks.

This is serenity.

This is what being a mother is all about.

This is what life is all about.

There’s no one else awake in the house.  There’s probably no one else awake in the street.  There’s no sound.  Can there ever be no sound though?  I listen hard.  There’s a clock ticking. The hum of the fridge. A distant car travelling.

I look out and see a mummy possum carrying her baby up the tree opposite our house.  A night feed for her too perhaps?

I think about all the other mothers around the country who are feeding now.  I wonder if they appreciate it as much as I do.  I wonder if they can see the beauty and feel the closeness with their baby that I feel right now?   My mind wonders to all the mums who are sleeping.  Who’s babies sleep all through the night… how unlucky they are.

A quick burp from bub and a change of sides.  I know my time with him tonight is limited.

I hear some stragglers walking home from the pub.  How our lives differ.  Mummy possum makes threatening noises to them as they pass.  They make fun of her.  But what I wouldn’t do to protect my bub… just like her.  What I wouldn’t do to fend off threats towards my family.  There are no limits.

I watch a bug, moth or insect, not sure, crawl up the wire on the window.  I’m looking forward to the days when my babe can talk to me about the world around him, what he has discovered new that day.  I know though that when that time comes, there will be no more night feeds, no more serenity and no more closeness by the window in the dead of the night.

It’s 4:20am.  Bub is finished.  He sits in my lap and we both look out into the night.  The possum has gone.  The people have gone.  The bug has gone.  There isn’t a sound.  There isn’t a noise.  We feel the breeze on our faces, our arms, our legs.  This is serenity.  This is what defines a mother.  This is why it is all worth it.

My babe’s eyes begin to blink longer.  And suddenly the moment is over.  I know I must get him back to bed.  I wrap him up.  Kiss his brow. Lay him in his cot.  I can just see him in the dim light – he looks up at me with his big dark eyes just one last time.  I wonder what he’s thinking?  “Thanks mum” or “You’re the best mum”.  And then he’s asleep.  I stand there for a moment and admire this being I have created.  He is beautiful. He is perfect.  He is mine.

I sneak back into bed.   It’s 4:30am.  My husband rolls over and flings an arm over me.  “Good feed?” he asks.

“Yeah”, I say, “Same as usual”.

Then I go back to sleep.

What are your night time routines like? Do you find time to enjoy them?

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About Lauren Jackman (161 Articles)
Lauren Jackman is the author of Canberra Mummy. A self-confessed perfectionist, Lauren writes about the truth about pregnancy and parenting for perfectionist mummies. Lauren is a mum, wife, author, runner and a not a bad cook

18 Comments on Why I’m happy my baby doesn’t sleep through the night

  1. I really love this Lauren. I find the blogging/media world is saturated with negative sentiments about things like broken sleep. I am with you…I don’t mind the night feeds. In fact they are very special – an intimate quiet time with your baby, that only you share. And yes, imagining other women around the world doing the same thing at the same time is very warming. When you have a second child, this night feed will be even more precious, as the days get so busy, it’s hard to find time to truly connect with baby. The nights are perfect for that. Zanni x

    • Night feeds are something to really value, not get frustrated over. Although at times it is hard to see this at 4am. I never thought of the extra layer night feeds have when you throw a second or third child into the mix but I suspect you’re absolutely right. Looking forward to that too in the future x

  2. I so miss those moments, my baby 24 this year!

  3. Beautiful. As someone who has been married over 14 years, spent more money than I care to reflect on, shed more tears and experienced more heartache than I like to think about trying to have a family, I thank you for this post. I see negative comments fly around on social media (“children for sale” etc etc) and want to shake the life out of whoever is currently disrespecting the gift they’ve been given. Don’t think I don’t understand the frustration that kids can bring – I have 14 nieces and nephews who are a very big part of my life. But what I wouldn’t give to experience what you’ve shared here. Again, thank you.

    • You’re welcome, I am pleased that my writing has given you some joy. Yet I’m sorry that you have to see all those negative comments when conceiving has been a difficult journey for you. Life hardly seems fair sometimes. I hope one day your gift will come x

  4. This is beautiful!!! I try to remember these thoughts myself, as I do truly value night feeds. My kiddo wakes up every hour at night and has for six months, and I find myself frustrated at the frequency at times…maybe through my sleep deprived haze I need to reevaluate my mindset and find a bit more value in these moments, frequent as they are now…because they sure won’t always be! <3

  5. Beautiful. Thanks for writing this post. It inspired me and clarified for me too what I love about nighttime feeds. Lovely to know that other mamas across the world are in the same world as me. 🙂 (

  6. You said it beautifully but I thought you might appreciate this poem by a very well known Irish poet Eavan Boland:

    I. Night Feed

    This is dawn.
    Believe me
    This is your season, little daughter.
    The moment daisies open,
    The hour mercurial rainwater
    Makes a mirror for sparrows.
    It’s time we drowned our sorrows.

    I tiptoe in.
    I lift you up
    In your rosy, zipped sleeper.
    Yes, this is the hour
    For the early bird and me
    When finder is keeper.

    I crook the bottle.
    How you suckle!
    This is the best I can be,
    To this nursery
    Where you hold on,
    Dear Life.

    A silt of milk.
    The last suck.
    And now your eyes are open,
    Birth-colored and offended.
    Earth wakes.
    You go back to sleep.
    The feed is ended.

    Worms turn.
    Stars go in.
    Even the moon is losing face.
    Poplars stilt for dawn
    And we begin
    The long fall from grace.
    I tuck you in.

    — Eavan BOLAND born Dublin, Ireland, 1944. She has taught at Trinity College, University College, and Bowdoin College, and was a member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She has published several volumes of poetry, and her poems and essays have appeared in magazines such as ‘The New Yorker,’ the ‘Atlantic,’ ‘Ploughshares,’ the ‘Paris Review,’ and the ‘American Poetry Review.’ She reviews for the ‘Irish Times,’ lives in Dublin with her family.

  7. Thankyou so much for inspiring me to give breastfeeding another go if I have another one. This just sounds magical and takes a very different perspective to what I have experienced with my first. I look forward to reading through more of your blogs. I am so moved by this piece so thankyou so much. I wrote my experience a wee while ago on my blog but almost feel guilty for being so unappreciative.

    • Thank you for your feedback Tumara. I am pleased you feel inspired. Although I am certain you will be able to experience the same closeness whilst bottle feeding. I look forward to reading your blog 🙂

  8. You have a beautiful way of writing. And I couldn’t agree with you more. Night feeds are a beautiful, and quiet time that you spend with your baby. I really do cherish them, because I know any day now they will end.

  9. I’m a new mum…my baby is a month old. I love your post, it brought me to tears. I read it while my baby lays here on my chest after a feed. It reminded me to cherish every moment. Thank you 🙂

    • Hi M, congrats on becoming a new mum. It is so amazing and overwhelming isn’t it.. I am glad you liked my article and that it reminded you to cherish every moment. How special.

  10. This is such a beautiful post. I love how beautifully written it is. You seem to be at peace at night times, good for you.

  11. This is the entire reason why I can’t wait for my little bundle of joy to get here. This post is genuinely beautiful 🙂 A shame I won’t have a balcony or the weather to enjoy at 4:00am! x

  12. This is such a perfect description of the early morning feeds that it made me teary!

    Sure, I miss an unbroken sleep, and some nights *are* harder to cope with than others. But at 4am when she wakes, and we sat with the hum of the fan through summer, or snuggled together under a blanket now the weather is cooling, I marvel at how life has changed. In the peace and quiet of the early hours, it’s like her and I are the only two people in the world, and I’m feeling as close and connected to her as I will probably ever be.

    It’s hard to explain to my husband that while I would love an unbroken sleep once in a while, the 4am feed is one of my favourite times of the day xx

  13. My current reality. Great read! My first slept through til daylight but my new bundle is a 2-3 hours at a time night sleeper so far. I’m ok with that.

4 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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