There are a lot of opinions out there about what is necessary for baby. I fall on the more minimal side of things but there’s one thing I use every single day (and so does my husband) that is totally random and wasn’t on any of the “best of” baby registry lists I read. The only reason I even purchased it was due to the fabulous new parent cocktail known as … sleep deprivation + 3 a.m. + the Amazon iPhone app.
Drumroll … it is the “Nighty Night Nursing Light.“
It’s designed to help moms nurse in the middle of the night without having to turn on a bunch of lights. The clip worked fine for that purpose but I found the light to be a little too bright and the clip design wasn’t the easiest to position (to shed light where I actually needed it.)
However, my husband and I have used this light every day for five months thanks to it’s other nifty trick: the timer. The light has the option to go off after 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. We typically set it to go off after five minutes.
My love for this silly gadget is both poetic and practical.
Time has bent and swayed in unimaginable ways since my daughter was born. Five minutes can feel like an hour when she’s screaming and we can’t sooth her or she’s “fighting” a nap, and an hour can go by in a blink when she’s sleeping peacefully in our arms or staring up at us with her gorgeous blue eyes.
When I’m rocking my daughter to sleep, I click the light on and know that even if it’s felt like 45 minutes, it’s been less than five if the light is still on. Alternatively, if I know my to-do list is calling, this light is a subtle, unobtrusive way to let me know that while I may want to stick around to watch her sleep, I should probably slip out of the room. …Of course sometimes I ignore the reminder and stick around to breathe in and enjoy my sleepy baby.
I feel like this post could have been titled: “Strange little life rafts we cling to as new parents.”
Like any new parents, my husband and I have come up with ways that work for us to cope with stress-inducing situations. On particularly trying days and nights (okay, mostly nights), this little timer helps us mentally put clean little boxes around messy tasks where we may not know exactly what to do. We trust our instincts and follow her lead as often as possible, but on difficult days, it’s weirdly calming to leave it up to the timer.
We might say things like: “I’ll rock her for a few ‘clicky lights’ and if she doesn’t go to sleep, I’ll bring her back out.”
My daughter is only five months old and adhering to a perfect schedule each day isn’t realistic for our family. We attempt a good routine for her but in the throws of difficult days, this little beacon of light guides us to a comforting place. When moments in life seem out of control and unnerving, it’s nice to have something to reach for in the dark that feels routine and safe.
As our baby grows, we may find ourselves reaching for this light less and less often, but it will always be a fond part of our memories of her first months with us. Strange, but true.