First Night Away

Written by: Janel Duffy
Posted: October 21, 2020
Roughly three months after having my daughter people started offering to watch my baby overnight. They’d say to me: “You should get out for a night, the baby will be fine” or “You need a night to yourself” or “She’s got to learn to be independent of you”. I don’t know if it was a little postpartum anxiety, mother’s intuition, or a combination
but there was no way in hell I’d be giving up my daughter for a night, not even to my closest friend. 

For one, she was basically attached to my boobs at all times. I didn’t want to put anyone through the slight torture of waking up every two and a half hours to feed her, and I didn’t want to put my daughter through the torture of waking up every two and a half hours to not be comforted by a boob in her face. My mindset at that point was-- “I don’t care if I never sleep a night away again”. I was ready to mentally commit to the fact that I’d co-sleep with my daughter until she was three.
At about eight months postpartum, my partner and I separated, and I moved out of our home with our daughter. Of course at that point, I was feeling angry and anxious, but I figured she’d be sleeping with me forever as we adjusted to our new living situation, and without help. But that plan quickly turned into a whole new level of exhaustion. No help, no breaks, and my sanity level was quickly dwindling. After she turned one I began to“sleep train” her so that she could give me a break at night. And because I knew the inevitable would soon happen, there would be a night in the near future that she would be sleeping at her dad’s house, away from me and away from her beloved boobs. 
I wanted her to be able to have a good night’s sleep while she slept out of her normal arrangement.
Last night was the first night that she slept at her dad’s. Through all of this, he and I have maintained a good relationship, and I know they love each other very much, even still, there was a mix of emotions saying goodbye to her for the evening. She’s now 13 months old, but it honestly felt like I was giving up my newborn infant. I was equally sad and excited to have the night to myself. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll take full advantage of the alone time, but last night I went for a run on the beach, and cleaned our cottage, two things that are pretty hard to do with a 13 month old running all around. And, the report back from her dad was that she made it entirely through the night without a peep, which was such a relief. 
The first night away from baby, no matter the circumstance-- whether it’s because of a separation, or because of a work trip, or because it’s time for a night to yourself-- is a big milestone at any age! I woke up this morning because my breasts were leaking all over the place, but feeling really proud of myself, and extremely excited to pick up my baby girl.


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Category: Stories & Advice For Parents
Tags: self care , support system , real talk , baby sleep


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