The first night I brought home my beautiful baby girl, she was like an angel — calm, content, and mostly sleeping. I spat at the idea that motherhood was hard, because I had it all under control — until the second night, when my angelic baby turned into a demon spawn who wouldn't let go of me or my boobs. I didn't know what it was back then, but there's a name for it. So what is second night syndrome?
I wish I had been prepared, because I had no idea what was coming. That second night, both my daughter and I were restless and in tears. Every time I pulled her away from my breast to lay her down to sleep, she would wake up crying. I thought I wasn't making enough milk, so I sent my husband out at 4 a.m. to buy formula. Luckily, with the expert advice of my sister-in-law, I kept breastfeeding her, and got through the night as a human pacifier. I'll never forget that second night, when the limits of my sanity were put to the test.
According to the University of Utah Health Care, babies fall into a deep sleep during their first 24 hours of life, but become fussier by the second day due to adjustments in their neurological functions that help them cope with their new environment — they will want to be fed, held, and cuddled more frequently. Kelly Mom explained that because babies are no longer in the comfort of your womb, where they spent the last nine months, the closest thing to home they will find is being snuggled close to you.
Frequent needs to feed, or cluster feeding, is normal for the second night, explained La Leche League Canada, where your body is getting cues from your baby to produce milk. Starting on the second day of life, newborns can have anywhere from eight to 12 nursing sessions in a 24 hour period.
University of Utah Health Care recommended that to cope with second night syndrome, you should limit visitors on the second day. You should also try to get as much rest as you can to prepare for the long night and you and your partner should take turns resting and caring for the baby. Feeding, cuddling, and loving your baby on the second night, whenever they need it, should help calm them, and make them feel safe. Remember, second night syndrome is just temporary, and with preparation and love, it will be easier to get through.