The Sleepover

If I thought going on a first date post-Baby Lighty was hard, I didn’t realise just how hard that first sleepover would be. By ‘sleepover’, I mean that first time that Baby Lighty would stay overnight at someone else’s house. Alone. Without Mr Lighty and I. Ok, so he wasn’t alone, alone; of course he wasn’t. He was with his Nanny and Grandad Lighty. But that didn’t stop Mrs Lighty from feeling like we’d completely abandoned him.

Baby Lighty is almost 22 months now, and this last weekend was the first time we’d left him overnight with someone else. I know to many people this probably seems like madness, to have waited this long to be away from him, but I also suspect that many other parents will have felt the same way that Mr and Mrs Lighty did.

The Sleepover

Night, night…

I worried about leaving him. I worried about him waking up in the middle of the night and wondering where he was. I worried about whether he’d wake up and wonder where his Mummy was. I worried that he’d ask for his ‘light’ (his Ewan the Sheep) on at 1am and his babysitters wouldn’t know what he was asking for. And it’s fairly natural for a mum to worry about these things, right?

We were going out for drinks for Baby Lighty’s Godmother’s birthday, only in our local, but it felt more convenient for Baby Lighty’s grandparents if he stayed over with them, rather than have the come to us and sit and wait. We wouldn’t be far away from home, nor was he a tiny baby, but for the last 21 months, I had had him with me, under the same roof as me. Every single night, for the past 21 months, I would go into his room as the last thing I did before going to bed, check that he was ok and say to him “Night night Little Boy, sweet dreams, I love you, sleep safe”. It was my own little ritual, and for this one night I wouldn’t be doing that.

When we waved him off with his overnight bag, stuffed full of his four (yes, four!) favourite teddies and his Ewan the Sheep, I half jokingly said to him “call me if you need me!”, to which it strangely sounded like he replied with “will do!”. He seemed so little and yet so grown up at the same time. Had I done the right thing in waiting until he had a bit more awareness of what was going on to let him have his first sleepover? Or would it have been better to have had his first sleepover much earlier, when he was less aware but in some ways more adaptable?

To gauge what others thought, I asked some fellow parenting bloggers when they had let their little ones have their first sleepover with someone other than a parent, and how it made them feel. I wanted to see if I was alone in worrying like this. These were the very varied responses I got:

My son was about the same 22 months ish, he stayed overnight with his grandparents while we hired a van and moved house. I hated the idea but needs must and all that! – Just Average Jen

Alfie was as 8 months the first time I left him overnight with someone other than Daddy as I was attending a wedding that I was bridesmaid for so was staying at her house the night before. I wasn’t worried before I left him as I knew he’d have lots of fun with his cousins, and they were so excited for him to be staying over! I was more worried for my sister as he didn’t sleep through the night and she wasn’t used to babies that didn’t sleep! I missed him like crazy, but I think because I was so caught up in the excitement of the wedding, I wasn’t worried about him at all. I just enjoyed having a full nights sleep!!Something About Baby

My son was 13 months and we had tickets to watch Cats in London. I was so excited to have some quality time with my husband and see a show that I had always wanted to watch but by the evening I kept checking my phone and texting my sister (who was staying at mine with him) and I couldn’t wait to get back to him the next day. I did have a great time but that maternal pull kicks in every time. Even now he’s three I miss him after one night. – Emma Reed

My son was five months when he first stayed out overnight. His grandparents were very excited to have him to stay over! Hubby and I had a lovely date night and lie in. Nine months later his little brother made an appearance!! – ThriftyMum

I left my 8.5 month old son with my mother and father in law in the UK for 2 nights and 3 days, because we were moving to Paris and needed to go house hunting there. Initially I had planned to take him with us but it just didn’t make sense the more we thought about it and with the itinerary we had mapped out. We would be far more efficient without him and also I was pregnant again, exhausted and vomiting rather a lot. It was absolutely fine: we got some much needed couple time, found a perfect home just outside Paris and the grandparents had some really special time with their grandson. I made a little video of me singing our little song so the grandparents could show him it over the break and also we FaceTimed a couple of times (but this was more for me than him!). A win all round! – Five Little Stars

3 days old… I was readmitted to hospital and he wasn’t allowed to come with me… the same night my milk came in and I turned into a wailing woman. Not my choice at all but it made the official first time easier when he was about six months old. – Pass the Prosecco…Please

4 weeks!! He stayed with my parents. We had to photograph a wedding when he was 5 weeks which meant an overnight stay for us, so we trialled a first night at 4 weeks to make sure he was OK, when I was close enough to get him if needed. He was awesome, only down side was needing to pump all the time as he’s breastfed. – Two Hearts One Roof

My boy is 25 months and I’m yet to leave him. This is mainly as he feeds in the night still so it’s trickier. Though I have a feeling he might actually be okay if I wasn’t there as he wouldn’t smell the milk. He would probably still wake a couple of times but I would be intrigued to see how it would go. Scandi Mummy

My eldest was 12 weeks old, we left him for 2 nights to go on our honeymoon, only an hour away, but far enough!! I was so worried, even though I knew he was fine with my parents, and rang every hour without fail and by the Sunday we were missing him that much that we went home early! Five Little Doves

My 13 month old was left last night with my mum at her house as I’m on a long day shift today, 6:30am – 7:15pm, so I’ll miss his get up and bedtime so won’t see him til I pick him up tomorrow. I’m so nervous but I don’t really have much of a choice and he loves my mum so I know he’s comfortable there. – Dear Mummy Bear

The Sleepover

Sweet dreams…

As you can see, there’s a huge range of ages of when parents left their little ones for the first time. I don’t think there’s ever a ‘right’ time, it’s just what feels right to you as a family. Of course, sometimes it’s out of necessity rather than choice, such as for a hospital stay or for work. But as I’ve said before, we all need to do whatever it is that we need to do to get through the day, and that means doing what’s right for our own family.

And as for Mrs Lighty? Well I think our good friend, one of Baby Lighty’s Godparents, Mr Melrosey summed it up best with the statement, “I’m not a parent, but I bet it’s bloody horrendous. I bet it feels a bit like ‘I’d really like to enjoy this pint but at the same time I’m really worried about my baby'”. Yep…pretty much sums it up! As much as I enjoyed our evening with our friends, it didn’t stop me from waking up at 3:30am (having got in at 2am!) and worrying about Baby Lighty. I couldn’t wait to see him the next morning, and it was lovely when he came running up to me for a cuddle once he was home.

Was I ready to let him go for his first sleepover? Honestly? Maybe not. But at least I now know that we can both have fun when we’re apart overnight and enjoy those cuddles once we’re reunited.

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82 thoughts on “The Sleepover”

  1. Oh I know how you feel hon. In fact I have a confession… Miss Tot is now 4 1/2 and has never had a sleepover away yet except with us. ? We’ve had a total of 3 nights away from the kids in all that time and for each of them we had the grand parents come and stay at our house with the kids while we were away at weddings and the like. I keep plucking up courage. Any day now I’m sure haha x

    1. Haha I’m really glad it’s not just me!! I also don’t feel like it’d be easier if I left him again?! xxx

      1. I’m sure it must get easier. I know I’m less worried about it now that mine are older and can understand what’s going on now. Just popping back through #Dreamteam. Thanks so much for hosting with us. It’s always lovely to have you xx

  2. My parents have taken my nieces on weekends starting around 6 months old. They just like to give my sister-in-law a break and she said after the first weekend she didn’t even worry. She figures my brother and his siblings all lived with those two in charge πŸ˜‰ #DreamTeam

    1. Well there is that I suppose! A much more measured way of looking at it than I did!! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  3. My daughter is 22 months old too and I have yet to leave her overnight – but that’s mostly because we don’t have any family nearby (or even in the same country). I think I’d be okay leaving her with her grandparents at this stage if that was an option – it would be nice for my husband and I to be able to get away for a night or two. #DreamTeam

    1. We have said that our next stop should be an overnight away for us…we’ll see if I get brave enough!! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  4. Hi, the comments that you shared just prove how different the timing is for each parent when they spend the first night apart from their child. I like the positive summary st the end that at least you can both have fun when you are apart and enjoy those cuddles once reunited #dreamteam

  5. I think the varying times definitely lead to saying there’s no right or wrong answer. You just have to do what you are comfortable with. It sounds like you had a nice time though.

    1. Yes this was exactly how I felt!! I gave in in the end but it wasn’t an easy decision. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  6. Feel for you our 5 year old twins have never spent a night away from us it would feel very strange if they did now thanks for hosting #dreamteam

    1. Oh wow you’ve done amazingly, getting to five years old and not being apart! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  7. I wonder often how this might work. My folks live two and a half hour drive away so it’s not exactly a quick overnighter. Hoping that we will find a support network to assist us when Bean arrives.

    1. Yes that’s true, it’s not just a pop round the corner like us. I’m sure you will find your own support system when the time comes.

  8. I knew after having Amelia that I’d be back to full time work when she was 6 months old, running a busy business and potentially out at some crazy hours sometimes. With that in mind, and knowing that I wanted her to be ok with that, she stayed at her Nan’s house for the first time at 2 weeks old. She had regular sleepovers and day visits where I would leave her with trusted family during her first 6 months, and I truly believe that it has helped her to build a kind of self-assured self confidence when she’s away from me. She has learned from a vey young age that mummy always comes back, and these days she regularly asks for sleepovers! Wills in the other hand has only had 1 night away from me when he was 7 months old, apart from nursery during 3 days of the week which he just started last week! This is purely because there hasn’t been a direct need for it, and people seem a little more reluctant to babysit when there are 2 of them! I say whatever works for each of us! #DreamTeam

    1. Yes exactly, whatever works for you as a family, and it sounds like you had a very sensible approach to both the sleepover aspect and your return to work. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  9. I was like you, my daughter was nearly 1.5 when I first left her. It so depends on the parent, the child, who is available to leave them with etc #dreamteam

  10. It’s so hard – ours had her first sleepover last weekend with her Grandma! She slept really well but I did worry a lot, so not sure I slept any better than usual! #DreamTeam

  11. I’m a bit of an old hand now at leaving Alfie with my sister! He’s stayed over with her 3 times now, and is due to stay over at least twice this year as we have a number of no-children weddings to attend. I have found it does get easier the more you do it – but also that I was never that worried about it in the first place anyway. I’m not sure if this is because I’m heartless (ha!) or just because I trust my sister so much, and have looked after her monkeys so much that it feels nature for her to return the favour. I remember having lots of sleepovers with my nan and cousins when I was younger so I guess I feels ok for me. Also getting as many in as possible while we still have just the one as I know it will be a lot harder when we have two kids to find someone to babysit! #DreamTeam

  12. Our 8 month old bottle refuser hasn’t been left yet, although hubby is keen for him to have a sleepover at Nana’s in a few weeks whilst we’re at a wedding…I’ma wreck just thinking about it! ?

    Although I would love a solid four hours sleep…


    1. I don’t blame you, it is a worry, especially if you’re breastfeeding. But just think…four hours’ sleep…! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  13. I can’t remember how old my daughter was exactly but I think it was about 9 months and I bloody hated it. I have a bit of post natal OCD and have my routines of what I do at night and what I say to her as I lay her down. The thought of not being able to do this routine made me feel a bit sweaty palmed, like something awful would definitely happen because I hadn’t completed my script to her! It was, of course, fine and I think it’s healthy for them and especially you. #Dreamteam

    1. It’s whatever you’re comfortable with though. Good for you for sticking to your guns and making it work for you. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  14. We rarely leave our kids anywhere without us, and only once ever with someone other than my mom. It was fine though. I know they had a ball and in fact they ask to have sleep-overs away from us all the time.

    1. Yes exactly, Baby Lighty also had a ball I think. Although I’m not in a hurry to do it again, that’s for sure!! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  15. I still find it hard if the girls stay over their nanny and grandad’s. With my eldest Mabel, the first time she stayed away from hubby and I was when she was 16 months old, and that was only because I was giving birth to her sister Martha. :-)x


    1. Aww yes that is a very good reason to leave them with the grandparents! I love your girls’ names, so pretty! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  16. Oh my boy was about 9 months when I wanted to go out for my best friends birthday and my Mom texted to me after 2 hours that I need to go back because my baby boy is crying and looking for his Mommy. I know how you feel because I always look n my watch or phone when we are going out without our baby

    1. Oh bless you having to come home early to see to him! I hope it’s got better since then? Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

    1. It’s hard not to though, isn’t it? You don’t ever completely switch off I think. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  17. It was so hard when my first two were little – now they are six and ten and Im like BYEEEEEE.

    Im ok with leaving the twins (almost three) ONLY if it is here and ONLY if Grandma is watching them.\


    1. Aww thanks Baby Isabella. I bet you had a whale of a time though! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  18. Oh how I hope you are sitting down for this one. The Mrs. and Me, we didn’t leave our girls overnight until (please, sit, you’ll fall on the floor otherwise) 6 and 4 years old — and they stayed with their Nona. And it was probably another 2 years until Big, now 9, started sleepovers. Now that is madness! πŸ™‚ <3 #dreamteam

  19. #dreamteam im not sure I’ve actually done this? He is four haha, we have left him with family for evenings – i guess an occasion just hasn’t warranted it, plus some of our family live a few doors away from us…oh god….one day he is going to go to a sleepover at someones house that isn’t family! QUICK grab the bubble wrap :0

    1. Oh blimey! I hadn’t even thought about that scenario! He’s not going ANYWHERE!! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

    1. Ah bless her. I think it does depend on the child and the family though. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  20. My little boy is 3 next month and he’s not had a sleepover yet! I’m worried he’ll get too upset away from us. Although my grown up nieces babysat the other night and he shouted for them the next morning so the time may have come for a night away!

    1. Yes maybe. I was worried that Baby Lighty would be upset away from us, but I don’t think he really cared!! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  21. My little one was about 3 before she went for a sleep over with her granny. And now it happens only about 3 times a year. I just miss her too much. I rather get granny to come and sleep over by us, then M can sleep in her own bed and I can see her when I get back.

    1. Yes that’s a good way of doing it if you’ve got the space. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

    1. Ah yes that’s a good situation in that case. Yes breastfeeding must make things harder in this instance. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  22. My eldest is the same age and the first time we left him was 3 weeks ago when i was in hospital having my youngest little boy, even in labor i was worrying about him and how he was sleeping! I’m hoping it gets easier πŸ™‚ #Dreamteam

    1. Yes I bet I would be the same! But that it is a good reason for a sleepover πŸ™‚ Congratulations on your new arrival! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  23. I totally get this. My little one is 8 months and i’m not ready to leave him overnight anywhere! We have a wedding when he is 14 months old and the grandparents suggested they have him, but I just couldn’t say yes right now! #DreamTeam

    1. If you can, leave your arrangements until nearer the time. You’ll know how you feel then. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  24. I know what you mean. Little Man is 4 and I can count on one hand how many sleepovers he’s had. Whilst it’s nice to go out and not worry about having to rush home, I still hate not having him there. I find it easier if I’m not home either (like staying in a hotel after a night out) Then at least his room isn’t empty whilst I’m at home. I’ve a funny feeling this is how it’s always going to be….! #DreamTeam

  25. I think my son was around a year old when we left him with my Mum to go to a wedding for the weekend. I remember feeling free as a bird all day until night time when I started to worry that she would struggle when he woke up for his milk (which I know he didn’t need but just couldn’t get out of the habit). Of course I got home and Mum said ‘Oh he was fine…he didn’t have any milk in the night. I told him to go back to sleep and he did!’. Of course he did!

  26. We lived away from family for a long time so for us it was around 3 years old for each of my kids. Very hard to deal with forsure. Even now with my younger kids I walk by their rooms and get freaked out when not there.

  27. I keep trying to offer my 4 month old to grandma, but no takings yet! Haha only joking, I’m not yet sure when I’ll be ready, but great to read the variety on here. Good to know everyone has different approaches suitable for their family #dreamteam

  28. With my mum 5 mins away, we’ve been enjoying sleepover’s at Nanas reguarly for both kids since they were very young. I’ve not felt your feelings of anxiety, but I can totally empathise. The pain for me is always waking up automatically at early o’clock when we could enjoy a lie in! Yvadney x #DreamTeam

    1. Haha!! Well we all have our own cross to bear!! I’m glad you’re not anxious about it though, I think that’s a great way to be as a mum πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  29. I don’t think its weird at all! I think its quite normal. I think H was about 18 or 19 months before I left her with my mum for the first time.
    Lovely blog πŸ™‚

  30. We just sent Oliver on his first sleepover at 13 months and it felt so weird, but was nice when we didn’t have a wake up call in the morning!! #dreamteam

  31. It’s natural for any mum to be worried about their little one while they are away from them. The first time I left my eldest in my parents hands I returned to find her sucking a dummy and was horrified! #DreamTeam

    1. Ah thank you. I felt a bit abnormal in comparison to many of our friends, I must admit! Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  32. Mr Melrosey definitely summed it up perfectly. Everytime we go out without Ben, I love it and then i get a thought of him and i feel so guilty for trying to have fun without him.
    Ben stayed overnight with his grandparents at 6 months old as it was my 30th and we had theatre tickets in London and didnt know if we were to have drinks after or not so wasnt sure on the time getting back. we got home and my first thought was “why cant i hear his monitor?” hahaha! it was weird waking up not hearing his babbling or crying! #dreamteam

  33. Mr T has only just started having sleepovers at 23 months and it was so hard at first. He loves staying over at his nans now, but I think it helps that he has his big sister with him, she’s basically his second mummy #dreamteam

  34. My little ones dont have sleep overs very often and were nearly a year before we left them overnight. That said there are two of them (twins), and we feel like that is so much more to ask of anyone x #dreamteam

    1. Yes I can imagine, I think I would feel like that too. I hope you do manage some grown up time though. Thank you so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

  35. I can totally imagine how difficult doing this for the first time can be. The longer you leave it perhaps the more difficult it becomes. Good thing is you’ve done it now and you can cherish the moments when you see him again #dreamteam

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