Second night syndrome is a term that's popping up more and more in discussions about newborns, and generally describes the chaos of a baby's second day of life, categorized by inconsolable crying and constant feedings. It is, in my non-medical but very much experienced opinion, hell on Earth. But, if you're lucky, you don't have to face it alone. There are ways a grown-ass man can support his partner through second night syndrome and while none of them are easy all of them are appreciated.
I have two children — 6 and 4 years old — and I have a confession: until today, I had no idea what second night syndrome was. In fact I'd never even heard of it until someone mentioned it a few months ago. As soon as I learned what it was, I thought: "OMG YES! THERE'S A WORD FOR IT!" While this didn't happen with my second child, it perfectly explains my experience with my first. My husband vividly remembers that night as well, mainly, he says, because of the look on my face. "You were just so completely broken, and I felt broken because I knew I couldn't help you."
But he could help me and, thankfully, he did. Because he's a grown-ass man, and if yours is too, he can try any and all of the following to help you survive second night syndrome.
He Reads Up Beforehand
I didn't know anything about second night syndrome when I had either of my children, in spite of reading lots of materials on birth and newborns. Neither did my partner, and he did the same. And yet having the knowledge that both of us had done our homework was incredibly reassuring. It didn't feel like I was the only one with the tools to solve these problems.
He Holds Your Crying Baby
I mean... duh. But, sadly, you'd be surprised how many not grown-ass men can't handle a crying baby and almost immediately foist it back to mom. And moms, too tired to argue and not wanting to hear their baby scream, wind up being the only ones holding the little one and trying to learn how to comfort them.
This sends me into a rage spiral, but it happens.
A grown-ass man wouldn't do this to you.
He Stays With You
He pulls up a blanket and a chair, or he asks for a cot (or you're in one of those cool hospitals with a built-in cot) and he stays as long as you need him. A grown-ass man is prepared to hunker down for the night, even if it's not the comfiest spot he's ever slept in. You two are in this together.
He Talks To The Staff For You
If you're too tired, frustrated, emotional, or sensitive to deal with staff (which is completely reasonable, considering your hormones go positively nuts during in this period), your grown-ass man is willing to do that for you. He will go out of his way to make sure your needs are met and your questions are answered. It's useful to have an intermediary sometimes, and your dude knows that.
He Backs You Up If You Choose To Supplement
You know what he won't do? He won't say things like:
"But we agreed you were going to exclusively breastfeed."
"Formula is so unnatural."
"Why are you giving up this early?"
"Are you really sure?"
Because not only does he know that fed is best, but he knows that you know what's best for your body and he would never, ever try to make you feel bad about either changing your mind or adjusting your plan based on your current situation.
He Keeps Your Spirits Up
Having someone there to act as a personal cheerleader and be able to generally liven the very heavy, soul-crushing mood is big. Even if your grown-ass man doesn't succeed 100 percent of the time (because he's running on steam himself), he will always try to buoy your spirits, make you laugh (when appropriate, of course, and he will generally have the wisdom to know when not to make a joke).
He Reassures You
In addition to being a cheerleader, your grown-ass dude will be there to let you know that, yes, this is exactly as hard as you think it is. That's huge. Because the nurses, who see this every single day, are immune to it. Your hell is their normal. Your guy is there to assure you it's not, and that kind of validation is very important to a fragile, postpartum woman who is (very often in this time) hanging on by a thread.
He Gets You Non-Hospital Food
Because this hospital stupidly does not serve shwarma... and you need shwarma. You've wanted it throughout your entire pregnancy, but it gave you heartburn so you couldn't indulge your craving. Now you can... because your man is on the case.
He Offers Up Ideas
To be honest, you're both going to be at a complete loss, because there isn't too much to be done when it comes to second night syndrome (except feed and snuggle your baby) but he will try as hard as you do to make all this bearable. He won't haplessly sit there while you spitball. He will be an active participant in all of this.
He Doesn't Panic
Because in addition to being a grown-ass man, he's also a man who never loses his cool.