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When did you first leave your baby overnight?

Last night, at about 9:00 pm, as my husband and I lay feverishly tossing and turning in our bed – both miserably ill with some kind of stomach virus – we got a call from his mom. She was caring for both 3 year old C and 4 month old G over at her house because Jon and I were simply too sick to care for them ourselves.

She had had the girls all day, and the plan was that at bedtime, she would bring them back over  to our house. I was SO grateful for her help (as I always am) because I was so miserably sick, and I was worried that the more the baby was around her father and me during the acute phase of this virus, the more likely she would be to catch what we had. Since she is not getting any breastmilk, the idea of her catching a bad stomach virus at her age is pretty scary.

But anyway, my mother in law called at about 9 to offer to have both of the girls spend the night at her house so that Jon and I could get a full night’s sleep, and so G would be less likely to catch the illness.

Of course, her incredibly generous offer made perfect sense in terms of logic, and since G is bottle-fed, feeding her overnight at her grandmother’s house wouldn’t be an issue, but I still hesitated. I had already been away from G for more than 12 hours that day, while I suffered through the nausea, fever and aches that came with the virus. I didn’t know if I could stand not seeing her until the next day. Plus, it felt just…well… weird to think of a 4 month old baby spending the night anywhere but with one of her parents. But Jon gently convinced me that this was the most prudent course of action, so we allowed his mother Janice to keep both girls overnight (thanks Janice!).

I went to sleep feeling physically terrible, but relieved that G was in good hands with her grandmother. I also felt a bit like I had forgotten something really important, and all night long I dreamed that I’d misplaced my baby, and that I needed to find her right away. It was just a really strange feeling to be in our house, in our bed, with my 4 month old baby in another house a few miles away.

Apparently, G did fine overnight, while 3 year old C was a bit fussier (she’s spent the night at her grandparents’ house numerous times by now, so this should have been old hat to her). And I got a full night’s sleep, even if my dreams were bizarre. I am sure the uninterrupted sleep will help me get well faster, but I feel more than a little guilty at having let someone other than Jon or me care for my tiny infant overnight just because I was sick.

How about you? When is the first time you left your baby with a grandparent or other non-parent caregiver overnight? Before 12 months? After? Was it because you were ill or had to travel for work? Or because you just needed a break? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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