The 1st night home with baby… What no one tells you
One thing no one is really brutally frank with you about when you are pregnant, is what will happen on your first night home from hospital. But let’s be honest – that’s probably a good thing. If there were a list of things not to do to in pregnancy you could add not being told what you are letting yourself in for, along with watching “One Born Every Minute”, going bikini shopping, and listening to other women discussing their 1st and 2nd degree tears. However, I am writing this in the hope that if you’ve gone through it – or are in the middle of it, it gives you some comfort to know that it’s absolutely NORMAL.
Other parents speak of this great event with omonious undertones “Ohhh you wait! You wont know what’s hit you” the only other time its spoken about is by the midwives after you’ve just had the baby; “Get some rest mum – this’ll be the last semblance you’ll have of sleep for the next 18 years” Yeah, yeah whatever – you think – how bad can it be?
I was completely convinced when I was pregnant that anyone with a newborn that was finding the sleep depravation difficult was a massive wuss. Being someone who spent the best part of my 20’s partying – often from Friday – Monday, very often missing sleep for 1 night of the weekend. I thought “how bloody hard could it be?” I was convinced I’d be OK and would soon wonder what all the fuss was about. I also told myself “it’ll all be worth it I’m sure” and other such whimsical fantasy statements.
Our first night home was mental and I don’t mean mental as in good mental, I mean MENTAL – padded cell, loony bin, rocking backwards and forwards and crying for your mummy MENTAL. When my daughter was born, she was still in the amniotic sac which meant she swallowed a small amount of fluid. We both had to stay in for observation for 24 hours and in this time she was the most well behaved newborn you have ever come across – quiet as a mouse, really chilled, slept A LOT… Me and my partner were well chuffed – proud at what an incredibly easy baby we had produced – this was going to be a synch!! The last nurse that came round said to me “I think she is sleeping as her stomach is full of fluid, her body thinks she has eaten – wait until you get home and its gone!” I thought “Whatever.” but the fear had started to creep in now. When the nurses told me “Sleep now dear – its the last proper sleep you’ll have for months!” I didn’t listen and sat up looking at our baby for hours.
We got home ‘Little Miss Sleepy Baby’ was in her moses basket – so sweet, no trouble… Then bedtime, we all go upstairs, put her down in her basket (where she had happily slept for the whole afternoon/evening), get into bed “ahh this is sooo easy – what IS everyone on about?!” and…. “Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” now this isn’t a normal “cry” crying – this is what we came to name “her Cher cry” she sounded like Cher’s vibrato – like a baby lamb caught in a meat mincer “Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” we pick her up.. she cries and cries and cries “What are we doing wrong?!” we panic… “What are we supposed to do?” rock, shush, rock, put back in the basket, get back out the basket, change her nappy “Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” then the best it yet to come – you realise… She needs a proper feed!
Now I’m a breast feeding advocate and I don’t want to put anyone off (I can just hear the feet of the La Leche league coming down my path and bashing on my door holding burning torches and an effigy of my face as I type this) but anyone that tells you that breastfeeding is easy peasy and doesn’t hurt initially, is telling the biggest lie since Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” speech. Imagine you have just run the London marathon 10 times and are more tired physically, emotionally and mentally than you have ever been in your entire life – then double it. Then grab a cheese grater, grate your nipples and dip then in vinegar… While doing this ensure you add a hysterically non-stop crying baby who doesn’t know what they are doing as much as you don’t. That’s kind of what it’s like – but less bad.
I tried so hard to feed – she had latched on really well at the birthing unit – but due to her stomach being full she didn’t feed for very long, now doing it was just so, so painful – the kind of pain that makes you want to stamp the floor with your foot. I also didn’t know if she was getting any milk. The breastfeeding counsellor had come round in the birthing unit and said she had a perfect latch on, so there was no problems there. I was crying hysterically, she was crying hysterically. A mix of emotions then occurred in the next few hours: Anger, fear, self pity… First I turned full loony tunes on every single male on the planet – I am post natal woman! Feel my WRATH!” “*beeping* beep all of you beeping men! – if I had a beeping ice pick I’d stick it into the end of your beeping beeps, drag you along into a field of horses and let them trample all over it!”. Then comes the “whyyyy meeeeeee!” “I can’t do this!!” “I can’t do this anymorrrrrrrre”.
After feeding painfully on and off for hours, she was still crying. In the end I found a dummy in with my breast pump which I gave to her – then panicked and Googled to see if this was allowed – that calmed her down right away. I then ended up (I still can’t believe this) sleeping downstairs on the armchair – safety rule number one broken, with her hat on – safety rule number two broken, with her wrapped in a blanket, then wrapped in my duvet – safety rule number three broken. I didn’t have A CLUE – no one tells you this stuff!
Now it was 6am and we’d finally got some sleep. The home visit midwife arrived the next day and I really thought I would be crying hysterically, begging her not to go – fingers nails dragging along the laminate floorboards as I clutched onto her trouser leg begging her not to leave us… Asking what I should do.. Help us… Please.. Help us! But d’you know what it all felt a bit a silly in the light of day after a few hours kip. Baby was of COURSE asleep again in the moses basket (it was daytime after all!!) it couldn’t have been THAT bad right? She gave me some sage advice about nipple cream, nipple airing cups – watched her latch on again, said she was doing it beautifully, not to worry it will get easier over the next few says – was down to it being collustrum which is thicker and harder to get it out. Don’t worry re dummy – we are not bad parents, use it if we feel we need to… Laughed at my account of the man bashing I gave every man on earth, told me I was doing very well – keep at it.. Everything gets easier.. She was so nice I could’ve cried!!
The fact is, she’s right, it DOES get easier… In about 3 months… OK I lied.. about 5/6 months 😉 If it’s any comfort to you – the 1st night with my 2nd baby was nothing like this, so it really is all about how much you know.
So how was your 1st night home with your newborn? Are you sat there in the middle of the chaos reading this RIGHT now? Feel free to drop me a message in the comments and I’ll answer any questions/give advice as quick as I can!
22 thoughts on “The 1st night home with baby… What no one tells you”
Wow, this sounds so familiar! First night home with Reuben we tried everything to get him to settle and it drove us mental for months….First night home with Eva we just cwtched up in bed and had a decent night’s sleep.OK, so she’s still there at 9 months but never mind… 😉
Ha ha! yes next time round I’ll be ready and armed for the little bugger or buggerette!! 😀
It’s 6am of my first night at home with her, trying to cry myself to sleep. This has helped a bit. Thanks
So glad to hear this has helped. Really hope you are doing better today, it does get easier I promise! ❤️
This is my second baby’s first night and I am reading this. Thanks for sharing the true reality of having a baby and the struggles that come with it.
Thanks for the lovely comment Elizabeth. Hopefully you will find it easier the second time round (I know I found it a slightly easier when I had a bit more of a clue what I was doing… And I emphasize ‘a bit more’ there!
Thank you! It’s 5:30 am and I’ve been trying to get this little girl to latch for longer than 5-10 minutes at a time since 12:45. Our girl was the same way you described while we were in the hospital, a great eater and sleeper. If it wasn’t for the crazy head of hair I’d think they sent us home with a different baby! She won’t stop crying and I won’t stop crying and my husband is trying to help but can’t do much. I’m thinking I can’t do this with each minute and my nipples feel like they are going to fall off with all this latching and unlatchung. Not to mention the fact that I’m still healing from pushing a human out my lady bits! So naturally I turn to google. I needed to find this article. Thank you! I sure hope it really does get easier!
Oh Ashley – I remember it as if it was yesterday – keep going girl you can do this! xx
U saved me! I thought something was terribly wrong. She was an angel at the hospital. Thank u! Ur a life saver!!!
They are crarfty little buggers right?!!!!
I’m so happy I found this page, it’s our first night home with our daughter and my wife is next to me with baby in feeding position, with raging nipples and all. Your story completely describes our night so far, we’re both relieved that this is normal. Living off of like 4 hours sleep in almost 72 hours. Thanks again, can’t wait for baby to feel happy.
So pleased to read this has been helpful for you! I think partly the issue is a lot of the time we’re not honest with others parents about how bad it can be! It does get easier I promise 😀 hope you and your wife (raging nipples and all ) are getting into the swing of things! Do let me know how you are getting on!
Our first night home she slept fine in the bassinets at the hospital but here now nope won’t have a bar of it im her personal bassinet . Which means I can’t sleep expected I know but there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel right .
Does a dummy really help? never thought I would even consider the option
Ahh Sam – I honestly found just giving in and co-sleeping is the only way to get any sort of sleep for those 1st 3 months. It sounds cliche but you look back in a year and realise it was such a short space of time that they are this dependent on you (I know that is of no help to know at the point!) a dummy really helped for us – we were dead against the idea of one at first, but we also made sure we were quick to wean off it (which also has it’s downsides!) as quickly as poss otherwise you are waking all night at an older age to but the bloody thing back in again when they lose it in the night! Please do let me know how you are getting on this week xxxx
We ended up back in hospital little bubs was jaundice so we may have a routine from that we had to do three hourly feeds change her and into the tanning tube so hopefully tonight we can keep that up now that we are home so far so good I’ll let u know
Co sleeping just with her on you ??
Oh no the poor thing! Hope she is doing much better!
I co-slept with her next to me or most of the time sitting up half asleep LOL. You can also get the baby cots which attach to the side of your bed – it’s whatever you feel comfortable with. My other half slept in the other room though!
It’s good to know it’s normal if I fall asleep with her 🙂 I was dozing off in hospital with her on me
She is doing well sucks like a champ so that’s a win
We bought a Swaddle for night times and it’s worked a treat put her down at 8 and I have managed to get some sleep it’s now almost 5am and I’m hoping she goes streight back to sleep after this feed 🙂 for our 2nd night at home I think it’s a win 😉
Sounds like you are doing great Sam!
Thank u 🙂 we just had a 4 1/2 hour block of sleep
she has settled a bit since that daunting first night . I try to stay in the dark with little lights and she seems to respond well to the routine nappy change feed back to the bassinet ( which she sleeps in now ) we also purchased a monitor so I can see her little face and know when she needs to get up or she sometimes just chills out . But I know she could snap out of this routine at any time lol so just taking it night by night .
Your words seem to help so many of us as so thank u .
You are a god send Sebastian has been screaming all night. So happy I found this! All he wants is to sleep on his mama!! He just want to be held.
So so pleased to hear this has helped you guys! Hope the next few nights were a bit easier 😀