It's just not something you think about as a new first-time Mum. You're too busy stressing about making sure you have the right pram and the best car-seat, enough clothes in the right sizes for the right season. You read every book and every blog, research every product and question everybody you know. But you'll never be completely prepared. You can try to be, but your child is going to be different to every other child and you're going to be a different parent to the next- so you learn what works for you.
This is when I learnt that my newborn and I needed a nightlight in our life.
I gave birth almost seven years ago to a beautiful baby boy. He was perfect. Before this moment I'd never experienced a love as fierce as the love I felt for this little life. It was this intense love that made it so hard to hear his heartbreaking cries from 8pm till 12pm every night like clockwork. Nothing I did made him stop. I'd exhausted every attempt at soothing him back to sleep, resulting in nothing but that feeling of complete helplessness.
The problem wouldn't stop at midnight though. I'd finally get him back to sleep and quickly race back to bed for a brief powernap before he'd wake again for his next feed. And just like clockwork the cries would begin a few hours later, a helpless sounding alarm alerting me that it was time for a feed and a change. He was only next door, but trying to navigate my way down the hallway and into his room in the dark was a mission magnified with difficulty caused by sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Navigating the hallway was the easy bit though in comparison to trying to navigate the location of my baby, feed him and change him….all by the light of the moon.
So I'd turn the light on.
Which in his eyes apparently meant it was time to wake-up and play. The light was too bright. But of course it is! Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night in your not-quite-awake state to a bright light. It's disturbing and unsettling to say the least.
My saving gracecame along in the form of a Horse Mobile. Something that was gifted to me from a beautiful friend. But this mobile wasn't ordinary, it lit up with a gentle glow. Changing colours soothingly and rhythmically. I put it on that night and watched as my son fell under the spell of it's mesmerising colours.
That night he fell asleep without me even trying.
I couldn't believe it! And the night continued to improve as I woke up for his midnight feed and change. I didn't have to turn on any extra lights! The mobile gave off enough light for me to see what I was doing without causing a scene but not so bright that it disturbed him. So I'd finish his feed and change his nappy and watch as he'd drift straight back to sleep without any dramas. The light saved my sleep and my sanity. I was invested- I needed to know more.
The research I dove into passionately. It helped having a husband with a trade in the electrical industry, he helped assure me of the safety of LED lights. It was amongst this research (and probably all the sleep I was getting) that My Night Light was created. I had to help other parents! They needed to know the secret!
As my children grew the need for a night light changed. But it was still so helpful for our night time routine! I found that at around the age of two my kids started to develop a sense of fear as they became more aware. Children, with their wild imaginations often find it difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality. So I did my research and discovered a dimmable night light that incorporated a timer. My kids found solace in the soft glow of the night light to ward away the monsters.
Well, then the toilet training started (and we all know the horror of night time toilet training!) Racing as fast as you can to get them to the toilet in the dark without running into something or finding them in a ball crying because they couldn’t find the toilet and had wet their pants or the bed! Thankfully the night light stopped the bed wetting for us. It meant that the kids could get up and go to the toilet confidently on their own. In fact it encouraged their night time independence completely. This meant that we didn't end up with little people creeping into our bed in the middle of the night!
So, nobody told me that a night light was a necessity. And maybe they aren't for everybody! But if there's one thing I've learnt, it's the importance of creating a safe and comforting space during a time when children feel most vulnerable. So if you're dealing with a baby or child who is struggling to be comforted to sleep then maybe it's worth giving a night light a try! I know that it changed my world!
Good luck and happy sleeping!
Love, Philippa xx
[DID YOU KNOWthat a red, orange or pink light is the most effective light colour to help a child sleep? This is because the colours are comforting to them as it reminds them of the womb. They're also the colours that interfere the least with their melatonin levels (the hormone associated with sleep).]