To Hold You While You Sleep

Babies don’t ask for much. Oh sure, when we’re tired or can’t figure out what’s wrong or just plain don’t have enough hands it feels as though they want the world. As though their needs are the only thing that matters. As though we’re never again going to be able to do what we want (or need) to do without worrying whether a small person needs something first.

That’s the reality of being a parent. We have these small people and they have needs, and those needs that feel at times like so much to ask are really pretty basic.

They need to be fed. They need to be clothed and kept warm. They need some stimulation and for someone to promise to teach them the ways of the world.

I look at the smallest person in my life and I know that he doesn’t even really know what he needs. He just looks to me to give it to him. I can fix what’s uncomfortable and most of the time whatever that is is all he really needs fixed.

sleeping-on-dadHe was fussy the other day and I knew he needed to sleep. But sleep is so hard when you’re a mere 10 weeks old. Sleep, which we cherish as parents, is not something that comes easily when we’re this new. So we look to our mamas to fix it.

I picked him up and nestled him in close to my body and held him tight. All the tension in his small frame released, suddenly, like a drain had been pulled so that all the angst could just swirl away. Within seconds he was snoring.

He was like that again today; for him, mornings are hard. And today it was dad who was there to pick him up and give him the place and the space to sleep. Because sometimes it’s really that simple.

Sometimes all we need is for someone to hold us while we sleep.


I wrote this last week (and then didn’t publish it) before the tragic events in Newtown,¬†Connecticut. I wasn’t going to post it this week but then I decided I would and, in doing so, count my blessings.




  1. I love snuggling my boys to sleep. Yes, even the big one, when he’s not kicking me in the face :)

  2. I still love to be tucked in at night.

  3. I loved reading this today. Especially since Jonah’s been battling sleep and hasn’t wanted to be put down in a solid 48 hours. I needed that little reminder that sleep isn’t always as easy for these little people as it is for their exhausted parents. :)

  4. Beautiful.

    Counting our blessings, indeed.

  5. I am so in love with holding my boys, even the toddlers, when they fall asleep. This was the perfect piece to read right now. Thank you for that.

  6. So beautiful, Robin!

  7. So lovely. I remember so well my children’s infant days and nights. And even now– it turns out — they love falling asleep with me. With us. And we don’t hate it either.

  8. What a sweet moment, and you captured it so well with your story.

  9. Love this! It totally takes me back to when my now almost-12-year-old was a baby. She couldn’t fall asleep for naps when it was so evident that she needed it. It drove us both bananas. Then one day I figured out that if I held her tight as we both lay on the sofa, she’d be asleep in under 7 minutes. Not long ago, when the emotional see-sawing of tweenie hormonal emotions started to rear its ugly head, she was having a similar tantrum and I lay down with her and held her tight. She was sobbing for some reason she didn’t know (darn hormones!) and sure enough, within 7 minutes, she was asleep.

  10. So beautiful. I miss those baby days when I could cradle my girl all day for hours. Lately, we’ve been having moments where she just wants to snuggle and nothing else. Take advantage while we can because they will be gone before we know it.

    Stopping in from Kludgy Mom.

    • You’re so right. My first is four years older and I can barely remember this stage with him. Appreciating it now with the baby!

  11. So true! I those snuggles during nap time are so precious when they’re little.

  12. You captured a moment just perfectly. My son never slept well, and the problem was made worse by the fact that only my husband could calm him…I could not meet his need ( probably because I had I diagnosed ppd). It was miraculous to have my daughter and be able to have that experience of a baby literally melting in my arms as sleep overtook her.

    This is beautiful.

    • Thanks Gigi! I was okay with my first when he was this age, but it was later that my husband was the only one with the knack with him, so I know what you mean. But still, he was fussy, so this experience is just so lovely.

  13. That was such a nice post and it brought me back to when my little guy was that little. In my memory there were few idyllic days like that (mine was a screamer who fought sleep at every turn) but I know deep down there were more than a few. Thanks for the reminder.

    Must have been hard to delay that post but in the wake of Sandy Hook it must have also been hard to look at those words as well. My heart still breaks for those directly involved and I’m committed to my #26acts of kindness in 2013.

    Thanks again!

    • Thanks Melissa. My first was like that – he barely slept and he fussed ALL the time. I do remember a few moments like this (I actually have one on video where he’s snoring on my shoulder) but they fade pretty fast.

  14. I need these reminders. Neither of my kids have ever been good sleepers, and during the nightly battles, I too often have a short fuse. I’ve been trying to provide extra snuggle time, all 3 of us in bed – Not just for them, but for me, too. It really is the best feeling when I just let it “be.”

    • I’ve always had a short fuse during the bedtime battle too. It’s so tough when you’re pulled towards time for yourself and your own bed. But you’re right about just letting it be.

  15. Love. This.

    Sometimes that’s all we need.

    And even as they grow up, sometimes we know what they need even when they can’t articulate it. The temporary cure for tons of teen angst? Hot chocolate and a big, genuine hug from mom helps!

  16. Lovely. Just lovely. I remember discovering the Ergo and having the luxury of both holding my baby so she could sleep AND moving around and not being anchored to the couch. As much as I wanted to be the mom who could sit still and enjoy every single nap, with 3 to care for, it was hard to do. Being able to wear my little one and still enjoy her sleepy, warm face was wonderful. I miss baby sleep!

    • I loved my Ergo with my first for that same reason. This one isn’t so inclined to go to sleep in it, but for now I’ll happily anchor myself to the couch.

  17. He’s beautiful. My boys are older and I miss those moments.

  18. That was the best way my mom helped me when my daughter was born. She held her constantly while I slept. She just wanted to be held!

  19. That is one of things that I miss most about my kids… they’re way to big to do that now. Once in a while my toddler wil let me hold him but those times are becoming more rare unless he’s sick.

  20. Even as my youngest is now 3, I honestly still adore the way I have the power to soothe, settle, and snuggle him into sleep.

  21. This is so beautiful. Although I love seeing my daughter grow and grow, there are times when I remember those baby years and miss holding her while she slept. And now you have me all teary.

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