My daughter Jovi was born around noon on a Friday. It was a perfect delivery and being that it was my second child, I was practiced in the art of breastfeeding. So, as soon as she was born she was placed directly on my chest and like magic, attached to my breast and began to suckle. She was such a little angel and slept soundly the rest of that evening; waking like clockwork every three hours to nurse for about 20 minutes or so and then fall back into a peaceful sleep. I, of course, was in such awe of Josh's and my amazing creation that I could not sleep, wanting to just watch my beautiful baby girl. Boy was that a mistake, because I really could have used that sleep come Saturday night! We had so many visitors Saturday all throughout the day that poor Jovi was getting passed around like a hot cake. She didn’t seem to mind though, that is until around 8pm when all of our visitors went home and we were left alone with our sweet little girl. We settled into our beds and dimmed the lights with Jovi swaddled in her bassinette, and in no more time than it too me to fluff my pillow and finally close my eyes did I hear the sweet cry of my darling girl. Sitting back up I took her from her bassinette and put her to the breast where she would take a few sucks before falling sound asleep on my chest. Slowly and gently I swaddled her back up and placed her in the bed where seconds later she would awaken and we would perform the same routine over and over again. My husband and I taking turns holding her, but the end result and only thing that would settle her down being snacking at the breast until she would fall asleep. And I, delirious, but afraid to close my eyes with a sleeping baby on my chest, tear up as I wonder how many days a person can survive without sleep and if this is going to be a nightly ritual for days or even weeks to come.
As a Labor and Delivery nurse, I have seen the phenomenon known as “second night syndrome” played out many times with my patients and the effects it can have on the morale of the parents. Countless mothers have cried out with deep concern that they just aren’t making enough milk for their baby. It is a feeling of helplessness feeling like you aren’t able to adequately meet the demands of your child. But keep in mind that your baby craves the comfort of being close to her mother and to feel her skin and hear her heartbeat. Try not to get discouraged. Know that in just a few days you will miraculously wake up with a swelling supply of milk. And just take this time now to memorize all of your baby’s features, breathe in their sweet baby scent, and cherish bonding with this beautiful miracle. Because those first few days, although stressful and exhausting, go by in the blink of an eye and you will never get them back.
For more information on second night syndrome, click here for a great read from lactation expert Jan Barger.