Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

8 Rules For Surviving The Hell That Is Second Night Syndrome

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Before I had my first baby I had never heard of "second night syndrome." After she was born, though, I received a crash course. My darling angel turned into a raging demon. She was hungry, you guys, and I didn't sleep at all as a result of her insatiable hunger. Looking back, I'm still not sure how I survived. The next time around I knew what to expect, and probably because I learned the rules for surviving the hell that is second night syndrome. Not surprisingly, it was so much easier, you guys. Even though I was still tired, and even though my baby was ridiculously hungry, I was way more confident as a mom. I knew what to do, and what not to do, so that I could get some sleep. It was magical, and further proof that, as a parent, I could overcome anything. Yes, even second night syndrome.

I've since learned that so many new moms, like me, get the wrong idea about how to approach the second night of their babies' lives. Honestly, it's not all that surprising. When "baby-friendly" hospital policies require us postpartum women to breastfeed, and room-in with our babies when we are freaking tired and our babies are freaking hungry, we don't really get a chance to rest after the countless hours of labor and delivery and learning how to take care of a helpless newborn. All of this feels like too much to handle on no sleep less than 48 hours after having a baby, and for good reason.

I recently had my youngest baby and, thankfully, minus a few feedings he slept like a champ the second night of his life. There were no tears, no constant breastfeeding, and no second night syndrome. The difference? I knew what I was doing, and now I am going to share that insight with you. You, too, can survive second night syndrome, and here's how:

Ad failed to load

Rule Number 1: Feed Your Baby

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

Whether you plan to breastfeed, formula-feed, or do a little bit of both, the first rule is feed the baby in whatever way works for the two of you. Unlike the second night with my first two babies, when my youngest baby was clearly not getting enough breast milk. The answer to my problem? I supplemented with formula. I learned that it's OK, and sometimes necessary, to call in reinforcements. Not only will it not hurt breastfeeding, it would actually help us breastfeed.

Rule Number 2: Trust Your Instincts

Giphy

No matter what your nurses, lactation consultant, friends, or family say about it, "cluster feeding" — feeding continuously for hours — is not normal. If your baby is attached to your breast for an entire night, they are uncommonly fussy, or they can't stay awake long enough to eat, the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) says they're probably aren't getting enough to eat because either your milk hasn't come in or they can't latch. The first time I gave birth I knew something was wrong, but I let people tell me my daughter was OK and eating well, even when she wasn't. I should have trusted my instincts.

Rule Number 3: Tag Out

Motherhood doesn't have to mean martyrdom. It's not just OK, it's imperative that you take a break once in a while. On your baby's second night of life, ask your partner, a nurse, a friend, or visiting family member to hold the baby while you take a break to get some sleep, take a shower, eat something, or even just take a breath. Trust me.

Ad failed to load

Rule Number 4: Don't Ignore Warning Signs

Giphy

According to the Fed is Best Foundation, there are clear warning signs that your baby needs help in their early days of life, including but not limited to: excessive crying, nursing continuously, sleepiness, weight loss, not enough wet and dirty diapers, and jaundice. If you learn the signs and know when to get help, you can not only prevent a hungry baby and a frantic night of lost sleep, you can save their life.

Rule Number 5: Get Help

Whether you are home or at the hospital on your baby's second night, it's your job to keep your baby healthy and safe. That means asking for and accepting help if something seems wrong. Don't be afraid to ask for formula and/or a breast pump so you can supplement, letting your partner take a shift with a fussy baby, or telling your nurse or doctor that something is not right. Asking for help can feel so hard in the early days of motherhood, but it's not a sign of failure or that you're bound to have a difficult time being someone else's mom. In fact, it's totally a sign of success.

Rule 6: Keep Breathing

Giphy

When I ran my last marathon, and things got unbearably hard, I kept breathing. I told myself that if I kept breathing, I would survive. One breathe, then another, for a minute, then 10 minutes, then five hours more. Breathing through the pain, and trusting the fact that there was a finish line in my future, helped me finish the race.

Your second night with your baby can definitely feel like a marathon. Keep breathing, new mom. Trust me when I say it'll help you make it through and calm your frayed nerves.

Ad failed to load

Rule Number 7: Use All The Tools In Your Toolbox

Breastfeeding is hard, navigating baby sleep issues is damn-near impossible, and trying to figure out how to soothe your baby's cries? Yeah, it's not always second nature, especially on your baby's second night of life. I learned to try just about anything — from baby carriers and pacifiers to swaddling blankets and white noise machines — to see what works for my baby.

Rule Number 8: Find A Mantra

Giphy

When things get hard on your baby's second night, and they very well might, remember: you can only do what you can do. Nobody's perfect and you are doing a good job. You can do this.

Repeat these things to yourself, the whole night if you have to. Believe it or not, once you survive the second night, things will get easier and with every day that passes. You live and learn, and pick up more than a few hacks, tips, and rules to help you make it as a mom.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}