Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Who is up in the middle of the night?

It was 2:33 am.

I know the time, because I bothered to look as I made my way into my son's room to nurse him. I was a different kind of tired that I had never felt before - mommy exhausted. But when I changed my son and started feeding him, and we were cuddled up on our special rocking chair, I was deliriously happy. Or maybe that was another side effect from being tired.

I loved the night feedings with my son, but when it was time to ween our little guy off his nighttime snack, my Mother gave me some great advice: Send in my husband.

I talked it over with hubby and our son got the message pretty quickly: Dad will change me if I need it, but he isn't bringing me any milk; guess I'll just go back to sleep and wait until breakfast. There were a few nights of tears (his and mine) but we stuck to our guns and my son was still happy and health. My mommy exhaustion even got better with more rest.

I know what worked for me, won't work for every family. That isn't really the point of the story. The point is where my husband and I talked it over. Penn State's recent study found that different opinions on night wakings can have a profound impact on co-parenting. Yes, that might seem obvious, but since most of your earliest months of parenting is done in a sleep-deprived fog, you may not remember that you should chat about things with your partner and be on the same page. This way baby gets a clear message from both parents.

Now that my son is a little older, we only have to get up for the occasional nightmare. And although I don't wish any bad dreams for my son, a small part of me enjoys the chance to cuddle him again until he feels better enough to go back to sleep.

Which parent in your household generally has the night shift for your child? Share with me in the comments.

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