I just spent the last several hours talking to four different groups of expectant parents about how important it was after the birth of their baby that they crash out when their baby does following birth. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s really, really vital to getting your new parenting off to the best start possible.
There’s an energy surge that occurs right after a baby is born that kind of buoys new parents up. But it’s really only happening so you can all gaze in wide-eyed wonder at each other for awhile. Then after that first feeding and any newborn procedures that they might receive, your baby (who is completely brilliant, I might add) will fall into a very solid sleep following their incredible journey into this world. I suggest you try and do the same.
Because your baby has been inside of you for months and while you are up and about, it’s like they’ve been hanging out in a little hammock all day long. They’re in a perpetual state of drowsiness until you stop – or lie down to go to sleep. You already know what I’m talking about. When you’re busy throughout the day you might not notice too much movement from your baby, but when you’ve settled down for a good night’s sleep? That’s when they start dancing, or playing soccer, or whatever it is they’re doing inside of you that keeps you awake for hours on end.
This doesn’t change just because they’ve been born – your baby’s idea of day and night will be mixed up for awhile, and you’ll do so much better if you try and match them and sleep more during the day. Because you know you’ll be sleeping less during the night. And no amount of whining, or wishing it to be different will change this fact. It’s just how things are with your baby at the beginning. But especially in the first 48 hours.
I’m not sure if this is true just because it’s all so new, or because you’re away from home, or if it’s because your baby is experiencing hunger for the first time and needs your body to start producing the good stuff, but it’s hard. So I implore you to follow your baby’s lead and crash out when they do.
Try very hard to resist the temptation to stay awake watching them dream, counting each individual eyelash, marveling at their impossibly small – but fully formed – nails. And, please, please, please – don’t invite your family and friends to come and visit for those first few days. (Weeks, perhaps?) Everyone “forgets” that babies sleep during the day and are awake at night. They will be all too ready to hold your darling angel fast asleep in their arms during the day, but watch how quickly they will turn over your crying baby as evening comes on and they begin to awaken. The learning curve for new parenting is incredibly steep, but it can be unnecessarily steep when you’re trying to learn without any sleep.
I know I’m not the first person to say it, and I’m sure I won’t be the last but: When your baby crashes out so should you!
Did you sleep at all in those first couple of days? Do you remember what it felt like if you tried to sleep more during the day initially? Was this helpful for you?