Second Night Syndrome: What new parents need to know

Getting through their baby's first 24 hours despite sleeplessness and exhaustion isn't the only thing new parents need to mentally prepare for

As new parents, you’ve most likely read up on what to expect once you welcome your child into the world. Tiredness and sleeplessness will be expected, but what might come as a surprise is that things don’t necessarily get a whole lot easier once you get past the first 24 hours.

It turns out that parents need to prepare for the second night just as much as the first.

Though Second Night Syndrome isn’t a medical condition, it’s being recognized by parents and medical practitioners alike as a concern worthy of attention. Here’s what you need to know.

The 3 Symptoms of Second Night Syndrome

Your newborn wants to feed all night long

On the second night, your child may want to feed, practically all night long. Cluster feeding usually happens on a baby’s second night. They may sleep for a few minutes after feeding then wake up when you try to set them down in their crib.

Your newborn is fussier than the first night

Though your baby’s first night was pretty uneventful, you may be surprised when they start to cry constantly on the second night. This change in mood and temperament does not necessarily mean that there’s something wrong; it can just mean that they’re still adjusting to their new unfamiliar environment.

Your newborn refuses to be away from you

Think about it: your baby was warm and secure in your womb for nine whole months and then, all of a sudden, they are thrust into the world with new urges and sensations. It’s natural for them to crave closeness and to be near their mother’s warmth. This is why babies who are going through a difficult second night may cry or get fussy when you try to lay them down on their cribs.

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Tips to get through Second Night Syndrome

1. Feed or nurse your baby

Let them feed when they get fussy. Don’t restrict their hands because allowing them to experience touch boosts skin-to-skin contact and can even stimulate milk production.

2. Ask for help

You don’t have to go it alone. Seek the help of your partner, relative, trusted friend, or medical practitioner to get through the second night, even if it’s just having someone to keep you company as you share your doubts and fears.

3. Trust your gut

Though cluster feeding is normal, you should trust your instincts when you feel that something is wrong. For instance, a baby latched on to your breast for a prolonged period of time may not be getting enough milk; it could be a latching or a supply problem.

4. Don’t ignore the warning signs

With trusting one’s instincts, comes having the proper knowledge to be able to spot warning signs. Examples of these are excessive crying, sleepiness, weight loss, constant need to feed, few dirty diapers, and jaundice.

5. Relax

Breathe and remind yourself that you have got this. There is no point in losing your cool or adding to the already frustrating situation. It also helps to find a go-to phrase or mantra to calm yourself down. Don’t discount the value of being your own motivator.

6. Be resourceful

The skill of soothing a crying baby may not come instantly to new parents, but maximizing your resources can make the transition from pregnancy to parenthood a whole lot easier. You can try baby carriers, white noise machines, singing to your baby, or pacifiers–whatever it takes to keep your baby safe and calm.

Has your experienced Second Night Syndrome? Let us know how you handled it in the comments below!

sources: GoodtoKnow.co.uk, Romper, Motherlove, Mom.me, Kelly Mom, La Leche League