“He’s never going to learn to sleep on his own.”

“You’ll never get your bed back.”

“How do you plan to get anything done with such a clingy baby?”

“If you keep rocking him to sleep, you’ll have to do it when he’s five.”

I’ve heard them all. And mama, I’m sure you have to. And they play over and over in your head as you sit and snuggle that sweet baby boy while he sleeps. He’s snuggled up so securely and blissfully asleep in the way he only does while safely in your arms.

You study his face. It’s so much bigger and more boy-like than that of the seven-pound baby you brought home from the hospital just months ago. His little body that once fit in just one arm is now almost too big to lay across your lap. The fingers that could barely wrap around yours now wrap halfway around your arm. And that single tooth peaks from behind his lip.

He’s growing so fast, almost before your eyes. But it seems like so many well-meaning friends and strangers want him to grow even faster. Their advice seems to never leave your mind, yet feels so at odds with every natural instinct you have.

So you keep snuggling and keep rocking, wondering if you’re doing it right.

Will he ever sleep without me?

Will he grow up too attached?

Will he always need me this much?

Mama, it’s OK to hold him a little longer.

Tomorrow he’ll be bigger. And after that, he’ll be walking. And talking. And probably too busy to need you quite so much. There’s no need to rush it. It all flies by so fast without needing any help from us anyway.

One day way too soon that baby boy in your arms will be a grown man. He’ll have a life and a family all of his own. Maybe even in a new city many hours away.

So soak it up. Every little ounce. And know that I’ll be right there with you in spirit, snuggling my not-so-little guy every day that he still lets me.

And to those who say he’ll need me to rock him to sleep at five . . . I really hope you’re right.

Amy Byrne

Amy Byrne is a new mom to a 6-month-old baby boy learning to balance her new role with her job as a work from home social media manager and content creator. She lives in Nashville with her musician husband and energetic rescue dog.