Your challenge: You did it! You had a baby! Nine whole months have been leading up to this moment and you (both!) are finally here. So why do you feel so woefully unprepared despite all those classes, conversations and pep-talks? Nothing can truly prepare you for the real sense of responsibility that sinks in during that first night home alone with baby.
The solution: Now is time to break out all those baby gifts you've been stockpiling the past few months. Fully loaded and prepared, you and baby will be prepared to take on the night ahead-midnight feedings, diaper changes and all.
Make space for your new roommate: Experts recommend keeping baby in the same room, but not the same bed, for the first months of life to reduce the risk of SIDS. With multiple wake-ups during the night, limit the disruption by keeping baby's bassinet, rocking sleeper or playard by your bedside-but don't yet worry too much about baby's "bedtime". It will be a while before their biological clock develops, so feel free to snuggle on the couch until you're ready for bed.
Have your best breastfeeding tools handy: The first few days of breastfeeding present a learning curve for both you and baby. Add to that the obstacles of navigating in the darkness and on little sleep, and it can be exhausting all on its own. This also makes it the riskiest time to get a bad latch, which can cause more pain. Keep the nursing pillow, night light and nipple cream by your bedside for quick access during those regular feedings. Most pediatricians will recommend waking your baby to nurse at regular intervals, so keep track (and set the alarm) for the next feeding through one of dozens of feeding schedule apps.
Set up the midnight station: Speaking of keeping all your feeding supplies handy, apply that same mentality to all the other things that can (and will) come up during the night. No need to race into baby's fully stocked nursery just to change their diaper or change the nightie, is there? If there's space, consider adding a changing table and glider to your room for the time being.
Put your partner in charge of diapers: If you're breastfeeding, there's really no way around it: For the first few weeks, that is mama's job. But that doesn't mean your partner has to be totally sidelined—or off the hook. It may not be a prime bonding time, but putting your partner in charge of midnight diaper changes is one step toward empowering them in their role as a parent. So, when you really think about it, you're doing them a favor.
Pro tip: Crying is baby's way to communicate with you and soon enough you should be able to decipher the message. (Promise!) For tonight, keep your cool by working through the usual culprits: hunger or discomfort.
You've got this.
Motherly + Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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