Well that’s it. Last night was my first night alone with the baby as my wife had her first night shift. It was something that I was seriously apprehensive about, but in the end it wasn’t actually too bad. Here she is sound asleep in her next to me cot.
My First Night Alone With the Baby
I knew the evening would go fine. Kind of. Truth be told, I knew the start of the evening would all go fine. My wife went back to work in January and since then I’ve been left with our baby quite a lot. My wife is an A&E nurse. So when she’s in work she’s literally in work for the full day. After doing this for a few months myself and Isabelle are more than happy being in each others company for the full day. But the night is very different.
Isabelle’s used to having me until around 8pm before my wife is home from work. By that time she’s usually sound asleep and my wife doesn’t really have anything to do. Maybe she might stir and my wife will simply breastfeed her back to sleep, but that’s it.
My main worry was how Isabelle would react when she woke in the night and realised that her boobs weren’t there. This is where the real fun was going to start.
It Was Like Having the Newborn Back
I mean this one in a good way. When we first had Isabelle she would only really settle in the night on my chest. Even if it’s not something you should do, we still did it as safely as we could.
And after a bit of crying, eventually she fell asleep on my chest just like in the old days. She did slowly move herself down and tucked her head nicely into my armpit where she stayed asleep. Not sure if that’s the nicest place to fall asleep, but I’ll take it!
I Still Love Co-Sleeping
I know people say that by co-sleeping you’re making a rod for your own back. That you end up with a ‘needier’ baby. And maybe they’re right. Had we used the cot, I could just put Isabelle down like every other night and it would be no different. No needing to be led on someone, no need to be touched.
But if having my daughter fall asleep with her head on my chest is what’s considered making my life harder, then I’ll take it. Every. Single. Time.
It was actually really nice having her fall asleep like that, even if I was led there thinking “how am I going to sleep like this?”
I still think people are in far too much of a rush for babies to grow up. There’s nothing wrong with letting them need you. Before long she’ll be a moody teenager, she’ll be moving out and I’ll be a frail old man who she won’t really want to come and see. So yes, I’m going to create and enjoy as many moments like this as I can.
When She Did Settle
When she did eventually settle, I felt a lot like I did back in the day when she was a newborn. It’s that stupid feeling you get when the baby falls asleep, you’re really tired, but you’re also led there anxiously thinking about when they might wake up next. You know you have to go to sleep right now, but almost can’t. There’s too much pressure to sleep. I guess by the time I finished overthinking how I was going to sleep, I ended up just falling asleep.
The Many, Many Wake Ups
Isabelle slept straight through from 9:30 or so to roughly 11:45. Then she had her meltdown that I was worried would come. The one she usually has when Rachel’s in the toilet and she wants to feed. But after a few minutes of intense crying, she stopped and just conked back to sleep.
She did this quite a lot throughout the night. It was pretty much every hour until somewhere between 3 and 4. She was a little bit more of a mess with her crying so I changed her nappy, held her and let her have some milk from the straw cup, and again let her sleep on my chest. She actually stayed in between my arm and torso with her head on my chest this time. A place Elsie, one of our dachshunds actually really likes too. We basically slept like this until I woke up a few hours later and found her like this:
Excuse the poor quality photos. But I’m obviously not going to get the curtains open to let the light in. I’ll take a shitty photo and some sleep instead!
So Yeah, My First Night Alone With the Baby Went as Fine as it Could
She basically slept until 7:30, which is the latest she’s slept till since… I can’t actually remember. She’s usually up around 5:30 so I guess it shows how much of a disrupted sleep she had.
In essence, we both survived. It wasn’t the best sleep we’ve both ever had, but it was ok.
All in all, this was just a night where a Dad looked after his daughter over night. It’s hardly a momentous thing to have a first night alone with the baby. I was basically just being a parent. But it was still the first time I had ever done it. And when you have a breastfed baby it’s a lot more daunting.
To anyone reading this because you’re also about to have your first night alone with the baby, then just go with it. It might be a stressful night and it might be harder. But these things just help you to grow in confidence. I’m not really that involved in the night due to the breastfeeding, but at least I know I can handle a night if needed, and that’s a good thing.