Personally, I find very few things as cute as new babies. Their skin is softer than silk and satin combined, and their tiny fingers and toes are just begging to be held in the palm of your hand. They're also, well, terrifying. When a human being is so tiny and so dependent on you to survive, it's only normal to spend every waking hour of every single day freaked the you-know-what out. But rest assured, new moms: there are a few things you don't have to worry about on your baby's first night of sleep. Will you be overwhelmed? Sure. Will you be exhausted? Definitely. But will a little peace of mind go a long way in helping you adjust to new-mom life? Absolutely.
My son's first night of sleep outside the womb wasn't necessarily "normal." He was rushed to the NICU right after he was born, so I found myself worrying about every single movement he made and every single sound that came out of his tiny mouth. Then again, it's pretty normal for all new parents to worry about the sites and sounds coming from their tiny humans. So while postpartum life wasn't exactly what I had planned and/or prepared for when I was pregnant, that constant, terrified feeling is, I think, a pretty universal experience for most parents.
Which is why you, new mom, deserve to cut yourself some slack. It'll be pretty impossible not to worry altogether because, well, worrying goes with the parenting territory, but here are a few things you absolutely don't need to spend your time obsessing over:
When It Looks Like Your Baby Is Breathing Too Slow
I know, you guys. Trust me, I know. It’s terrifying to see your child seemingly stop breathing for a moment. But as long as it isn’t too long (which could mean sleep apnea), and they start up again, they're fine and you’re fine. A newborn's breathing patterns are just different than an adults, that's all.
When It Looks Like Your Baby Is Breathing Too Fast
It's worth remembering that your newborn hasn't spent a significant amount of time (read: hardly any) breathing outside the womb. So they’re not used to this whole oxygen thing yet. So, at times, a newborn will do what can only be defined as a little hyperventilating motion (or at least that’s how it seems). It won’t last. Chill, mom.
When Your Baby Sleeps For "Too Long"
Newborns want to sleep all the time. It’s hard work being born, you guys! You might be tempted to wake them up, especially to feed them, but I would advise against it. Your baby will wake up when they're hungry. Trust me.
When Your Baby Wakes Up Frequently
Just when you think you’re finally getting used to all that sleep your newborn is having, they suddenly wake up. Like, a lot. Basically any time you’re finally nodding off, they’ll wake up. Welcome to newborn life, mom.
When You Feel Super Emotional
During the first night of your baby's life, it's pretty normal to cry because, let's say, their fingernails are so small or their face looks so much like your own or whatever other tiny detail you just can't seem to handle. Your hormones are raging, mama. Don’t stress that you can’t seem to get a grip on how you feel. And if you feel a bit too glum, make sure to let your partner, loved ones, or medical staff know so they can help you get through it. There's a difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression, so make sure you're honest with others about your feelings so you can get the help you need (and deserve).
When Your Baby Is Sweaty
Newborns often sweat when they hit super deep sleep, and some sweat more than others. While you do need to be concerned about over-heating, it is normal for your baby to sweat. Just keep an eye on the temperature of the room, don't bundle them up too much, and keep in mind that if you're too hot, your baby is probably too hot, too.
When You're Sweaty
It’s like you and your baby just want to do everything together, right? Well, new moms sweat a bunch, too, especially at night. You can blame your hormones but, again, if you're feeling too hot you should let your doctor know so they can assess any possible risk of postpartum infection.
When Your Baby Twitches
It took me a bit to get used to how much some sleeping babies move and twitch. Maybe they’re still getting used to all that space outside the womb, right? Their jerky movements can be surprising, but rest assured, they’re probably normal.
When Your Baby Sleeps With Their Eyes Open
I hate when people fall asleep but you can still see part of their eyeball. So I wasn’t a fan of seeing how my baby did this occasionally, too. Almost all babies do, though, so don’t stress it. And maybe, um, look away?
When Your Baby Makes Faces In Their Sleep
I didn’t mind when my son would smile or even giggle in his sleep. I would, however, get so sad when I’d see him make a sad face. I’m not sure if he was having a bad dream or what, but usually the faces would go away on their own and within seconds, so it was probably more of an involuntary movement.
As always, if you do have any pressing concerns (or even just lingering fears) talk to your doctor or call your baby's pediatrician. It's always better to be safe than sorry, and that's what those experts are there for.