I have both fond and not-so-fond memories of the 3am club. Most mum’s know the 3am club well. The 3am club is another name for the mums, who get up in the night with their babies. It might not always be 3am, it could be 1am or 5am or all three, but the point is, when your baby is little and you get up to do the night feed, you are not alone!
Bonding with baby
The fond memories, are of the nights, where I managed to fully wake myself for the night feeds. I would hold my baby (or babies if I was feeding the twins) and cuddle them close. Whilst they fed, I would see them gazing up at me with their beautiful big eyes and we’d bond. As they dropped off to sleep whilst feeding, I would stroke their baby-soft hair, breathe in their scent and just enjoy the cuddles, the quiet and the sheer amount of love that filled the room.
Tougher night feeds
The more difficult nights, were the ones when it was particularly hard to stay awake during the twilight feeds. I have always had an immense fear of falling asleep during a night-feed. Fear of dropping the baby, fear of the baby overheating on me, sliding down under the covers, rolling off, me rolling on the baby etc. I also feared SIDS, and The Lullaby Trust safer sleeping advice was always not to share a bed with your baby, for the above reasons. Thankfully, none of these things ever happened to me, but I still found the idea terrifying and had nightmares about falling asleep whilst feeding; so I used to take steps to keep myself awake.
How to keep yourself awake during a night feed
- Get out of bed. As tempting as it was, to feed one (or two) of my babies in bed, I knew the risk of falling asleep was much higher in bed. So I invested in a nursing chair. I chose one which rocks, so it doubles up as a soothing way to help the babies get back to sleep.
- Instead of sitting in the dark, I also added a dimmable lamp to the nursery set-up. This meant if I felt drowsy, I could make it a bit brighter.
- Drinks and snacks would also help keep me awake, and as I breastfed each of my children at some stage, drinking is also essential to keeping you hydrated whilst nursing.
- The 3am Club
The 3am Club
So the last one, doubled as a sanity saver. For those nights when all the above didn’t help, I would go on Twitter. The majority of people my age, on Twitter at 3am, are other mums, up feeding their babies and trying to stay awake. And as most of the people I follow on Twitter are parents, it was easy to find them. We would chat to each other, in the small hours, keeping each other awake. We would talk about babies, bonding, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, how incredibly blessed we were and how incredibly tired we were. Those that were bloggers, we’d often read each others blog posts in those small hours. We had formed our own secret support network, where someone was always awake.
When I had Baby Bear, I was sure I’d be revisiting the 3am club on a regular basis. In truth, I got lucky. I was incredibly blessed, to give birth to a baby boy who loved his sleep so much, that he never had a night feed. From the day he was born, he slept through the night. Admittedly, this did mean that he fed a lot MORE during the day. In fact, for the first six months of his life, he was pretty much attached to my boob constantly. I’m very proud to say, that I actually managed to breastfeed him until he was 14months old (I didn’t manage anywhere near that long with the others).
Revisiting the 3am club with a toddler
Last weekend, however, I joined the 3am club again, for the first time in years. Baby Bear woke up with a fever and would not settle back to sleep for love, nor money, nor Little Baby Bum on YouTube. He kept me awake from 3am to 5:30am and we tried everything. Medicine, a drink, milk, cuddles, talking, silence, nursery rhymes, you name it, we tried it. Eventually, he fell back to sleep, quite randomly, at 5:30am. At that point, Mike and I got ourselves a cup of tea and some biscuits, before heading back to bed ourselves and thankfully, all four children slept in, allowing us a much-needed lay-in!
Baby Bear was much better in the morning, and back to his usual cheeky happy self.