Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why I Like Waking up at 4am -- a Post by Paul

I know I'm not supposed to, but I really like walking around my apartment with my baby at 4am, pacing and singing her to sleep.

Of course, I don't like having my sleep interrupted.  I don't like to hear my baby crying, and I don't like it when M wakes up in the middle of the night--not exactly.  And I don't like it when my singing and pacing doesn't work.  But usually it does.  And when it does, it makes me feel like a good father, which is a really great feeling.  When M is crying, and I pick her up and she stops, I love that feeling.  And when I rock her and sing to her, and put her back to sleep, and she stays asleep, I'm a happy man.

I really like getting up with her while Jan stays in bed.  Mothers have a built-in mechanism for bonding with their children.  Especially while she is breastfeeding, Jan has a virtually foolproof way of calming M.  But we're trying to convince M to sleep through the night again and a big part of that is breaking the expectation of milk at 4am. Like her big sister, M was an amazing sleeper for her first 6 months or so.  But just around the 6 month mark--just before in M's case, just after in G's--she started to wake up in the middle of the night.  With G we just assumed it was a fluke and Jan fed her, until before we noticed it had become a habit for G to eat 3 or 4 times a night.  With M we're determined not to make that mistake.  She's not hungry.  She just wants comfort.  But M won't calm down in Jan's arms unless Jan feeds her--not in the middle of the night anyway, not when she wants milk.  But she'll calm down in my arms.  So for fifteen minutes, or half an hour, I hold my baby all alone, in a quiet apartment.  Everyone else is sleeping and it's just her and me.  And I rock her and sing to her, and she nuzzles in and falls back asleep, because my voice is as soothing as mother's milk.

So yes, I like getting up with my baby and walking around the apartment with her at 4am, singing her to sleep.

Just as long as it doesn't last for too long.


  1. You are lucky. I used to enjoy the same thing with you (along with the feeding part). It's for such a short time and it's so intimate. I'm glad you won't miss this time.