Middle of the night feedings are by far my favorite. They make apparent a level of connectivity and synergy between my daughter and I that I feel in few other moments. Middle of the night feeding are unique in large part because they begin in the realm of sleep. One moment, I’m laying down, breathing heavily watching my dreams, the next minute open my eyes and I know my girl’s hungry. A quick check-in with my breasts and indeed at least one if not both are leaking.
I check in with my little one and she has indeed begun what I call her middle-of -the –night- feed -me-jig. I call it a jig because lately she doesn’t cry for milkat night; she does a little jig: her arms and legs flail about often, by the way, making contact with some part of my body (I choose not to say “hit” because of course my dear daughter would not “hit” me). Her head twists from side to side and if she isn’t already next to my full breasts she finds her way there. She makes little grunting sounds. Then in darkness, her eyes closed, mine open watching her, we use our instincts to connect. Her mouth opens and latches on. One of her arms wraps around my breast. Her breathing slows and becomes rhythmic. I hear the gentle sound of her swallows. After a while we fall asleep, her lips still clinging to my nipple until eventually it slips out. I awaken as the cool air hits my newly exposed nipple and see she has turned her head away, satisfied and asleep.
I’m able to enjoy these middle of the night feedings because I allow my daughter to sleep in bed with me. A choice I know many mothers are afraid to make for fear of rolling over onto their child. But for me the choice just makes sense…really it just FEELS right. She spent the better part of a year inside of my body. So, now being close to me is a comfort for her, and for me. If she slept outside of my bed these middle of the night feedings might loose some of their magic in the shuffle:
hear her cry for me...get up out of bed...walk over to her...pick her up...put her on my breast...burp her...get her to go back to sleep...put her back down where she came from...pray she doesn't wake up…walk back to bed.. .get myself back to sleep…repeat when she wakes up again. This for me is too much work, especially in the middle of the night.
Plus, deep connections and relaxation occur when sharing the bed with someone you love. The heat of their body, the sound of their breathing, the synchronicity of night time movements so much like dance. It is restorative. It is nurturing. It is the epitome of trust. So I choose to sleep with my daughter and share magical middle of the night moments with her.
How do you handle nightime feeding? Do you feel the magic?