Becoming a parent is a huge milestone, and whether you are in hospital for just a couple of hours after the birth, or a couple of days, the moment they discharge you and send you home with your new bundle is very surreal.
You will likely have many thoughts running through your head:
‘Should they be trusting us?’
‘Are we up to this task?’
‘What if we can’t do it?’
Just take a deep breath and know that you will be fine. It won’t always be a walk in the park with a new baby, but you will make it work. Here are some tips for getting through that first night and starting off your parenting journey.
Tip 1: Realistic Expectations
First thing is first, after being snuggled up inside you for the past nine months, you need to have realistic sleep expectations for your new addition. Some parents choose to co sleep, others prefer to have the baby in their own room – the choice is yours and you do what works for your own family. But you may find your baby only wants to sleep on you: you’re cosy and you smell great! Try heating up their bed with a hot water bottle and laying one of your breastfeeding singlets in it before putting them down after a feed. This warm, cosy environment that smells like mum may just do the trick.
Tip 2: Rock To Sleep
There is nothing wrong with rocking your newborn to sleep - bad habits aren’t formed this early on and they need you. Don’t put them down the minute they fall asleep, as they are more likely to wake on the transfer. Wait a little bit until they get into a deeper sleep and lower them gently, patting as you go to keep them settled.
Tip 2: Share the Load
Sometimes, when the baby can smell your milk, it can make them even more difficult to settle. Don’t be afraid to give your partner a nudge and ask for help. While you may have promised he can sleep since he is the one who has to work, go easy on yourself the first night. It will be an adjustment for both of you, and it is easier to take turns than to have both of you up at the same time losing sleep.
Tip 3: Keep Guests Away
Let’s face it, your first night home is a big milestone, and it’s best to prepare for little sleep (and hope for lots)! Keep the next day nice and free, so you have plenty of time to recharge with some day sleeps, ready to settle back into it on your second night.
No matter how the night goes, whether you have a perfect sleeping angel or a screaming little one who wouldn’t settle, you need to celebrate the little wins – you made it through the night. The first night is a big hurdle to make it through and you survived, so well done!