Friday, October 2, 2009

Baby's Second Night

My 3rd. baby was very fussy after birth. She wanted to be latched on to me non-stop and would root and cry when she wasn't nursing. I found it VERY helpful when a lactation consultant came in and talked with me. She gave me an article that I will share with you today.

The words in this article gave me the confidence to let my baby nurse whenever she wanted to, even if it was only for comfort. This helped me greatly when my baby later became extremely colicky. Letting her latch on and sleep with me in the evenings was the only way I could make it through 5pm-11pm without her screaming 6 hours straight! By the way, my doctor said the colic would end around 4 months old, and it did, praise God! It was a very tough time.

Reading "Baby's Second Night" also helped me not to worry about all the little scratches her fingernails had made all over her face. It was better to let her put her hand up to her mouth and comfort herself rather than keeping her hands wrapped up to avoid scratches.

If you find this article helpful, or know someone else that it may help, pass it on! The author, Jan Barger has allowed it to be copied and distrubuted freely.

Baby's Second Night
by Jan Barger, RN, MA, IBCLC, FILCA
Used with permission from the author

You've made it through your first 24 hours as a new mom. Maybe you have other children, but you are a new mom all over again...and now it is your baby's second night.

All of a sudden, your little one discovers that he's no longer back in the warm and comfortable – albeit a bit crowded – womb where he has spent the last 8 ½ or 9 months – and it is SCARY out here! He isn't hearing your familiar heartbeat, the swooshing of the placental arteries, the soothing sound of your lungs or the comforting gurgling of your intestines. Instead, he's in a crib, swaddled in a diaper, a tee-shirt, a hat and a blanket. All sorts of people have been handling him, and he's not yet become accustomed to the new noises, lights, sounds and smells. He has found one thing though, and that's his voice....and you find that each time you take him off the breast where he comfortably drifted off to sleep, and put him in the bassinet – he protests, loudly!

In fact, each time you put him back on the breast he nurses for a little bit and then goes to sleep. As you take him off and put him back to bed – he cries again... and starts rooting around, looking for you. This goes on – seemingly for hours. A lot of moms are convinced it is because their milk isn't “in” yet, and the baby is starving. However, it isn't that, but the baby's sudden awakening to the fact that the most comforting and comfortable place for him to be is at the breast. It's the closest to “home” he can get. It seems that this is pretty universal among babies – lactation consultants all over the world have noticed the same thing.

So, what do you do? When he drifts off to sleep at the breast after a good feed, break the suction and slide your nipple gently out of his mouth. Don't move him except to pillow his head more comfortably on your breast. Don't try and burp him – just snuggle with him until he falls into a deep sleep where he won't be disturbed by being moved. Babies go into a light sleep state (REM) first, and then cycle in and out of REM and deep sleep about every ½ hour or so. If he starts to root and act as though he wants to go back to breast, that's fine...this is his way of settling and comforting.

Another helpful hint...his hands were his best friends in utero...he could suck on his thumb or his fingers anytime he was the slightest bit disturbed or uncomfortable. And all of a sudden he's had them taken away from him and someone has put mittens on him! He has no way of soothing himself with those mittens on. Babies need to touch – to feel – and even his touch on your breast will increase your oxytocin levels which will help boost your milk supply! So take the mittens off and loosen his blanket so he can get to his hands. He might scratch himself, but it will heal very rapidly – after all, he had fingernails when he was inside you, and no one put mittens on him then!

By the way – this might happen every once in a while at home too, particularly if you’ve changed his environment such as going to the doctor, to church, to the mall, or to the grandparents! Don't let it throw you – sometimes babies just need some extra snuggling at the breast, because for the baby, the breast is “home.”


  1. Morgan, I LOVED your post today!!!

    I want a 3rd baby so badly...we lost a pregnancy last December. :(

    Anyway, I just think breastfeeding is the most wonderful time in the world and I never minded when my newborns needed to latch on for comfort! I enjoyed it as much as they did!!!

    NEVER EVER THOUGHT about the little hand mitten issue before! Of course they had nails in the womb...LOL! But actually, I hardly ever used those things anyway, seems both of my kiddos hated those immensely and would find a way to rub them off!!!

    Again, LOVED her article! So glad she allowed you to share with all of us.

  2. That article is a fantastic description of how the baby is responding to these new changes in his/her environment. Excellent! Thanks for posting.

  3. That is such a sweet picture and lovely story.

  4. have you heard about the "happiest baby on the block"?
    they have an interesting theory about colicky babies.

    Thanks for sharing this article. I can't wait to have a baby :)

  5. Aww, I've had baby fever for the past 2 weeks! My biological clock has been ticking loud enough to keep the neighbors awake, ha! My husband had a vasectomy before we were married so I am definitely not having anymore. I breastfed my first son until he was 23 months...I loved breastfeeding!!

  6. So insightful - makes me want to go back to the baby days so badly! Too bad we can't turn back time. Hopefully soon I'll be pregnant with another little one - you know I'll be blogging all about it if it happens :-)!

  7. Very good advice, especially when I have 6 weeks left, SIX WEEKS!

  8. Thank you for the reminder! I got this exact article at our breastfeeding class when I was pregnant with my first. But by the time I had had her I completely forgot about the article. I believe if I had remembered it, nursing might have gone a lot better for us.

    Never used the mittens (such a waste of money!!!) and agree wholeheartedly with the article. I don't plan to forget this time and will let baby snuggle and nurse however long they want this time.

  9. Ohhh, honey! Am I so hearing you!
    My younger one was very attached, shall we say? ;o) He's 10 now and very healthy and self-confident, but Man! I thought those nursing days were never gonna end!
    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  10. Nursing on demand is wonderful for babies!

    I love this quote from Natural Family Living:

    "I nursed my first child every forty-five minutes. Luckily for my son's sake, I trusted those darn instincts I didn't think I had, and I let him just nurse and nap in my arms whenever he wanted to by day, and nurse and sleep beside me whenever he wanted to at night. My instincts told me that if he was happy in my arms, then that is where he needed to be.

    Demand nursing, as I saw it, was no different from caring for a family member who has been rendered powerless. Would we refuse an incapacitated father a meal because it was "not time"? Or leave a paralyzed spouse alone in a room to "cry it out" - checking in every ten minutes to say, "Its' OK" - without trying to find out what is wrong and doing something about it? If he or she only wanted to be held, would we refuse, for fear of spoiling someone we love?"

  11. A great post! It's definitely easy to see how nursing is the "closest to home" the baby can get. It just makes so much sense that baby wants to be near you at all times.

  12. This is a great article! I wish I would have read it years ago!

  13. I nurse my daughter on demand for food and comfort. It may not work for a persona who is out and about a lot but for me it is perfect!

  14. I'll be a first time momma at the end of March, and I'll remember this article! I really look forward to breastfeeding, and will keep an open mind if baby just want to snuggle in there to rest easy ;-)

  15. Just found your blog doing some c-section research (I've had 3). What great posts and articles! I've always had baby sleep with me in the hospital, it's been such a lovely transition for us! I'm going to email you with a few questions/comments. Thanks!

  16. This is such an amazing post....a lot of the things the author mentioned, I had never even thought of. Makes me feel kinda bad that I wasn't able to breastfeed successfully. But I did hold my babies in the Baby Bjorn almost all the time so perhaps that helped a bit!

  17. Aw, what a sweet article. Very comforting for a new mom.

    What a beautiful picture of the 2 of you.

  18. Beautiful, I'm hoping that next time around with I'll be able to breastfeed exlusively (I have breast hypoplasia) and will remember this article.


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