Nine Hundred and Twenty Nine Nights

He did not sleep through the night for nine hundred and twenty-nine nights at the beginning of his life. He slept snuggled up to me, sleeping in short bursts of time, nursing in-between, and needing me close for comfort.

And then he no longer needed that.

It sounds endless. Nine hundred and twenty-nine nights.

Between the day he was born and the day of his eighteenth birthday he will sleep six thousand five hundred and seventy five nights. And only nine hundred and twenty of those will have been in my arms.

It felt endless because I was under so much pressure to push him off into his own bed. I think this was part of why he needed so much to be held close.

I wish that instead of being so sad about the sleep that seemed to never come.. I had known to pull him near. To savor the moments.

I can never go back to sniff that baby head of his again as he snuggles up against me in chubby toddler sleep. That stage of our lives is past. I knew, though, to pull his brother near and relish the time as we passed through only six hundred and seventy one nights.

And my nose gets tickled every night now by the fuzzy flyaway hair of my daughter. We’ve snuggled our way through 317 nights. I do not know how many more nights there will be until she crawls away into her own space to fall asleep. The time does not seem endless this third time around. It seems slow and quiet, even as it speeds on past.

I do not push her away because I’ve learned that there is no need to push, and I’ve learned that pushing them away just makes them need more not less. She will want her own space soon enough, and when she does I will smile and be proud of the independence that she has found.

There is nothing more driven than a child that is encouraged to grow at their own pace. Life is huge and exciting and fascinating and full of many good things. I will not push them away faster than they are ready because I know that soon enough I’ll have to run just to keep up.  

15 thoughts on “Nine Hundred and Twenty Nine Nights

  1. I love reading your blog. It speaks so much to me at the moment. You inspired me the other day to write about my own sleep journey, and my emotions are similar to the ones you write about here. I wish I would have known when my daughter was little to not be so negative about her sleep habits. At 16 months, we are still struggling with sleep, but things have gotten much better, and my perspective and attitude has gotten much better. I’d love for you to read my post. http://thenovicehome.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-evolution-of-parent.html

    Thank you for all you do!

    1. Magen,

      I love it. :) Would you mind if I shared this on my Nurshable facebook page and the “Wait it Out” sleep support group?

      -Sarah

  2. This is beautiful! I have the same feeling with my third son, now eight months old, with regards to sleep, and needing to be held when I’d like to have my body to myself, or when he bites when teething or wants to nurse every ten minutes – I know it will all pass, much too soon. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I have read Nurshable since shortly after my son was born, just a day or two off from your daughter’s birthday. I love it and it brings me a lot of peace. I had slept with my son swaddled in our bed for his first 8 months because he seemed to love it and slept better swaddled. We moved and had to be away from him for a week at 8 months, at which time my mother transferred him to a crib. He does very well and does sleep through the night, but I miss him terribly. He is a very active boy and when I’ve tried to nap with him, he doesn’t know how to settle next to me. I know it’s different from your experience, but do you have any advice on cosleeping again?

    1. Alison,

      My only advice is that if you want to try co-sleeping again, give it a try. My middle child wanted nothing to do with co-sleeping and the time I had with him was nursing him at night and rocking with him rather than snuggling down with him in bed. I found my closeness with him through reading books with him, babywearing, and lots of daytime snuggling. He’s a very independent sleeper and always has been.

      You might find that you can nap with him if you get him to sleep first and then lay down next to him. My middle child is snuggly during his naps (but not at night) and will snuggle up against me. He likes to lay with his back towards me and have me stroke his hair.

      Cosleeping is nice while it lasts, but if the child isn’t into it, look for other ways to find closeness. :)

      -Sarah

  4. I love this entry..I love the whole site! I have a 5 mth old who i nurse to sleep/naps and she doesn’t sttn. I always get lectured for not letting her CIO. I’ve finally decided to ignore them send their warnings about how I’m spoiling and making it more difficult for myself. This entry made me realize that every moment is precious and every second is flying by. Im definitely going to try to complain less and enjoy more!

  5. I have loved reading your site. I am feeling so alone having a son that doesn’t sleep more than a couple hours at a time – and he’s 17 months! we co-sleep now, but that doesn’t help him sleep peacefully – it just ensures I am able to quickly comfort him back to sleep. I am so tired, but he is so special – i start reading everything because I feel this is not normal. . . I want to understand what is normal and what will happen. I want to believe he’ll learn or I want to understand what he feels. I want to know that I am not hurting him by not letting him “figure it out” . . . thanks for your posts!

  6. “Between the day he was born and the day of his eighteenth birthday he will sleep six thousand five hundred and seventy five nights. And only nine hundred and twenty of those will have been in my arms.”
    Oh, I love this. Thank you for the perspective on it: it’s just the way I sometimes need help to think, when I have times of feeling an urge to push him to things he’s not ready for. 719 nights and counting, oh my baby…

  7. Thank you so much for writing this. My daughter is 19 months and sleeps either next to our bed or in it. Everyone is pushing me to get her into her own room. Some nights I am exhausted, as she wakes so often and wakes me up to nurse and snuggle. But I also do not want this special time with my last baby to end. Two weeks ago I started getting into her crib (in her sister’s room) with her to snuggle and nurse in the evenings when her sister was getting bedtime stories (with my husband). This week my toddler asked for her crib when it was nap time. Instead of falling asleep in my arms in our glider, she wanted to lie with me in the crib and fall asleep. Just like that, she’s napping in her own room. I’ve been so anxious about how we were ever going to transition from co-sleeping to separate rooms without tears. I just couldn’t imagine it. Now I feel that one day it will just come. And then there will be no turning back. So I’m going to savor the wondrous smell of her curls as we snuggle in bed and try no to worry about my tiredness.

  8. On 24 February 2013 my baby was 10 months old exactly and it was still very “acceptable” for him to wake up. Last week he was 1 year and 3 months old. Getting more and more comments about him waking up at night, and feeling more and more “intitled” to complain about “bad” nights. This blog just made me cry at the thought of even my unborn children growing up so quickly.
    We never co-slept the whole night, but had his cot in our room until 8 weeks. He has already had a few nights of sleeping through and it’s not even 450 nigths yet.

    I moved him to a single bed a few weeks ago and he did sleep better for a while, but now he wakes up sometimes 6 times a night. We had a rule that he can get into bed with us after third time waking up, think we should just go back to that or maybe to “after he wakes up 2 times”.

    The smelling of the baby hair made me cry even more as I recently switched from “baby shampoo” to “toddler apple shampoo”, not quite the same, but I will DEFINITELY be smelling apple hair tonight for as long as I can before laying him down….

  9. Wow! Thank you for sharing this blog/sleep journal with us. My DD is 20 months and we co-sleep and she wakes sometimes EVERY HOUR! (Grrrrrrr!) and it it SO frustrating! But–even though some nights(mornings) I feel I am at wits end and cannot take another night, I calm myself by saying “it will pass and you will miss this”. I thoroughly believe this even a my spouse and family have been telling me I should wean her from the breast and get her into her own bed. I resist. I RESIST! I love my girl and even though she is so high needs, emotional and hands on, I will miss her terribly an one day I WILL get my precious sleep back. (Hopefully I haven’t aged myself irreparably by that time.
    This blog keeps me focused on what is important: letting her grow and giving her what she needs most–Me.

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