No, He Can’t Spend the Night: Why I Waited One Year to Let My Son Spend the Night at Grandma’s 12


No, He Can’t Spend the Night - Why I waited One Year to Let My Son Spend the Night at Grandma's

 

“No, he can’t spend the night”

Let me tell you, this isn’t easy to say to your own parents about their (first and only) grandchild. Despite my assurances that it was nothing personal, they still took offense, and I can’t blame them. I probably would too in their situation. But, I have my reasons. So, here is my explanation for why I waited one year to allow my son to spend the night at grandma’s.

 

Momma Bear

From the moment my son was born, I felt that “momma bear” feeling everyone tells you about, and I felt it hard. When we brought him home from the hospital we had a pretty tough time with breastfeeding. The first few doctor visits included discussions about his drop in weight and terms like “failure to thrive”. I desperately wanted to breastfeed him, so we worked hard to make it happen but he was still barely gaining weight. We eventually discovered that he had a tongue tie and it took about 5 seconds for them to correct it. Breastfeeding finally took off and weight gain got on track. Maybe it was this struggle that made me so protective about having him spend the night away from me, or maybe I would have been that way regardless, but I was absolutely transformed into a momma bear.

I wasn’t afraid to tell people to give back my baby when they were holding him (as nicely as possible, of course). I determined his precise schedule, and no one could change my mind. (Read more about Why I chose a Parent-Led Schedule) There was certainly no way I could even fathom the idea of allowing him to spend the night somewhere other than my bedside. Something also really rubbed me the wrong way about everyone’s “gimme, gimme” attitude. I still think it’s weird that people are like that with someone else’s baby – even close family. Don’t get me wrong, I want everyone to get a chance to hold him and play with him, but I feel like people should be respectful and wait for mom or dad to decide to hand them off to you. But maybe that’s just me.

 

 

 

Pressure

We moved in with my parents when my son was about three months old. They got to see him every day and they loved it. The goal was always to move into our own place as soon as possible but when that time came, I felt a lot of pressure to bring him over for a sleepover soon after. When my husband and I finally scheduled a date night and asked them to watch our son, I could tell that was what they were expecting.

As the date got closer, I could feel the anxiety building about him spending a night away from home. In no way did I feel that my parents aren’t capable of taking good care of him. I just felt like he needed to be at home when he went to sleep and when he woke up the next morning. At this point, he was about 9 months old. All I could think was that I wouldn’t be breastfeeding him before bed or in the morning, the two most important sessions each day for him and I. Not to mention he would be sleeping somewhere else, in a new crib, and all without mommy and daddy. What if he cried for me in the middle of the night or was upset that someone else got him up in the morning? I just couldn’t bear the thought.

 

Momma Knows Best

Ultimately, my husband and I decided that he just seemed too young to cope with that confusion. While he would have absolutely been safe and loved at my parents home, we just weren’t ready for him to be away for so long, and we didn’t think he was ready either. 

Though my parents were initially offended, they understood that it was our decision and (hopefully) that it was nothing personal. We promised that after he reached one year, and was no longer breastfeeding, we would plan a sleepover.

 

 

 

The World Didn’t End

Well, here we are now. My son is nearly a year old and we are gearing up to wean him in the next few weeks. I’m sure my parents will be anxious to have him over as soon as we allow, and you know what? I feel okay about it. At this point, he is well rooted in his bedtime and nap routines (thanks to the Babywise method) and adjusts well to minor changes. He has become more independent of my husband and I, sometimes wandering off to play by himself even (while we secretly supervise).

I am so grateful to have a husband who agrees with me on matters such as these (and would support me regardless). There’s something so wonderful about having married a traditional man. He values our little family more than the opinions of others. We are always the priority. 

So, mommas everywhere, always know that you and your child’s father are the only ones who make the decisions when it comes to their well-being. People might be offended or disagree with your methods, but stand your ground. No one knows better than you. 

 

16 Month Update:

The first sleepover went wonderfully and we have had a few more since then as well. My anxiety about letting him stay with my parents overnight was minimal by the first sleepover and is at this point non-existent. While I know he would have been safe and happy earlier, I felt so strongly about the decision to wait that I just couldn’t ignore it. As a new mom, it was a lesson in trusting my instincts as a mother and I’m glad I followed through. Momma knows best! 

 

Struggling with the pressure to be whatever kind of parent everyone else thinks you should be? See Why I Chose a Parent-Led Schedule

 

Let me know what you think in the comments. When did you first allow your little one to spend the night away from home?

 

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About Sane Momma

Jessica is a happily married stay at home mom of a little boy with a big personality. After having her son, she realized how important it is for moms to take care of themselves physically and mentally. Sane Momma is her contribution to help mommas everywhere find some sanity and focus on self-care.

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12 thoughts on “No, He Can’t Spend the Night: Why I Waited One Year to Let My Son Spend the Night at Grandma’s

  • kidtalk11

    Great article! I have a tight sleep schedule as well. I totally understand. I will leave functions when it’s bed time to have him go to sleep. I did it with my older son, now 6, and do it now with my 1 year old.

    • Sane Momma Post author

      Thank you! It’s good to hear that I’m not the only crazy one 🙂 I think my friends and family just chalked it up to me being a new mom but I really think I’ll be the same way with baby #2.

  • D Lynn

    haha we’re 4 years in and still haven’t had him stay the night at grandparents houses – so you’re well within your reason if you ask me!! 😀

  • Jade

    I support parents making any decision that they feel is best for their child and them! With that being said I hope you are so so so grateful that your child has grandparents that want to have an infant for a sleepover! Trust me a lot of grandparents aren’t up for that task as it is a lot of work. I am pregnant with our 5th and the special bond both our parents have with our children is one of the greatest blessings in their lives. I hope you appreciate them because as you have more children and as they grow that is such a special relationship. I have so many friends that don’t have parents that want to have their kids for sleepovers or even want to have them over very often or help out. I hope you realize what a blessing it is to have such hands on grandparents for your child 🙂

    • Sane Momma Post author

      Oh I most certainly do! We have him sleepover often now 🙂 and it’s so wonderful to not only know that they are loving every minute of it but that they take care of him just the way I would.

  • Hannah

    I love the part about the “gimme gimme” I feel the same way, this is my baby I just grew for 9 months let me have my time with him. Also the germs you never know I made everyone wash as soon as they walked in the house. Second time around I would like to take the first week to just enjoy our new family together with minimal visitors the time just passes to quickly 🙂 great post!

    • Sane Momma Post author

      I totally agree, Hannah! I was so concerned with making sure everyone got to see our son right after we brought him home when we really just needed our own time to get situated. I definitely plan to be a little more focused on our family needs the second time around!

  • francescawho

    My sister felt the same – I have had him overnight a couple of times but we’ve recently realised it actually works better for someone to stay at their house with the baby as he has all his comforts nearby and it’s not a big change for him. They came home later in the evening and I got a taxi home – no upheavals, no changes to routine, parents were there when he went to bed and there when he woke up. Maybe that’s another alternative if somebody really needs a babysitter but doesn’t want their little one to leave the home and routine.

    • Sane Momma Post author

      That’s a great point Francesca! I completely agree. When we were considering leaving my son for a night out before he was one year old, I said I would feel much more comfortable if someone just came over.

  • Sharon

    I loved spending the night with my grandparents. I felt so special and loved the activities they always had planned for me. I am so glad I got the chance to do it when I was little because they both passed away fairly young. Those memories are so precious to me.

    • Sane Momma Post author

      Hi Sharon! I also have wonderful memories of spending the night at my grandma’s! Our son frequently spends the night with his now 🙂 we just felt it was best to wait until we were ready to take that step.