When I was pregnant, I was so lasered in on the uncertainty of labor and delivery that I was completely blindsided by what life would be like once my son had entered this world. More specifically, I had no idea just how exhausting getting through nights would be. This little bundle of joy also doubles as a tube of pent up bodily functions, and it is more evident than ever in the wee hours of the morning. Don’t get me wrong, every diaper change and feeding is worth it, but I have a deeper respect for parents than ever. I do realize that every baby has their own personality and quirks, but for anyone who is wondering what I am doing at any given hour of the night, here is my personal experience. I won’t say my personal “routine”, because we are far from a standard evening and night in this household. This is really Ember’s ebb and flow of a schedule at this point, and I’ll be interested to see how it all develops in the months to come.
- Around 8:30pm- Shower /Bath Time- If Ember is particularly covered in spit-up, breast milk spray, or poo, we’ll give him a bath first. We put the separate baby support (Angelcare Baby Bath Support) in the tub of our shower and pour the water over him. Our hot water has a tendency to get extremely hot almost instantly so I’m glad that we were given a rubber duck (Munchkin White Hot Safety Bath Ducky) that indicates when the water temperature is too high for a baby. Overall, his tolerance of a bath is truly hit or miss, but he does love being wrapped up in a cozy hooded towel afterwards.
Given everything that comes with postpartum recovery (especially given my stitches), I have been taking my own hygiene seriously. I shifted to taking showers at night so that Noah can watch Ember and that I don’t have to rush. Warm showers all to myself have become a treat.
- Around 9:30pm- Ember’s Bedtime Meal- I breastfeed exclusively by Ember’s hunger cues, so this timing is definitely not exact; however, I try to get a feeding in right before I go to bed so that I can get as long of a stretch of sleep as possible. For the first few hours of the night, Noah holds Ember in his arms so that I can get some quality rest. Our little boy sleeps infinitely better and longer when being held than when he is on his own in the bassinet, so I’m incredibly thankful for these few hours to kickstart the night. This “shift’ that Noah takes really is the fuel I need to take care of Ember until the morning.
- Around 12:00am (hopefully but potentially way sooner)- The Switch Off- Once Ember has woken up to be fed again, I assume most of the “baby duty” responsibility for the rest of the night. It’s super important to me that Noah gets a solid amount of sleep, because he is already back in the office for his stressful full-time job. I don’t want him running on empty, and I can relax on the couch as needed throughout the day.
- Around every 1.5-2.5 hours until about 7:00am- Diaper Change, Breastfeed, Burp, Sleep and Repeat- What I really didn’t expect about newborn babies (at least mine) is how noisy they are when they sleep. This boy grunts and squirms as if there is nothing more horrid in life than his bassinet. “Relaxed” is not a word I would use to describe his sleep when he is on his back, and this is in contrast to the deep sleep that he gets into when in our arms. I’ve come to accept it now that we are about 4 weeks in, and I’ll admit that we are slowly getting better. Apparently my husband was also like this, so I guess he gets it from his papa. (Yes, we’ve done different swaddles, a pacifier, and different temperatures). If I feel overwhelmed or overly exhausted, I’ll wake up Noah and have him help me burp or change Ember. The length of these feeding times are so variable. I could be up for over an hour or back to sleep within 20 minutes depending on Ember’s hunger, diaper, and level of cooperation.
- Around 7:00am- Sweet Relief- I am proud of myself every morning just for making it to the other side of the night with sanity and energy. I help Noah get ready for work as much as I can while also taking advantage of the extra set of hands to get my own breakfast made and day started. Then, it’s off to the races to conquer the day until we encounter night once again.
Some nights are definitely better than others, and I feel like a true queen if I get anywhere close to 5-6 hours of sleep. This is a season of life that I know will pass, and I will definitely miss rocking my boy in my arms and seeing all the smiles and faces that he makes in his dreams. He is more precious than any amount of sleep or routine. He has already changed so much in the past 4 weeks, and I can’t wait to discover more about him and see him develop.
Not that I am an expert by any means, but here are the products that have been helpful to us particularly at night thus far:
- Boppy Pillow: I don’t know how people nurse without one.
- Infinite amounts of burp cloths: These are my favorite.
- Waterproof liners: Pee happens, and the liners are easier to replace than sheets overnight.
- Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine and Night Light: We keep it on the red light setting, and we find it relaxing and helpful to see without having to turn on a bigger light. We also swapped out a regular light bulb in one of our lamps for a red light bulb.
- Baby Tracker App: It keeps me posted on his eating habits which is especially nice for an anxious mother.
- Any sleeper outfits that have a zipper from the bottom up are great for quick diaper changes.
- Angelcare Baby Bath Support
- Munchkin White Hot Safety Bath Ducky
- The Owlet Sock: I get that this is expensive and not a necessity, but I enjoy some extra peace of mind knowing that his heart rate and oxygen levels are healthy (especially because of how much he grunts).
To all of my fellow mamas, let me know if you have a difficult sleeper too and what helped you! Who knows how this all will change soon, but I’m happy to soak these moments in and share them with you. Until next time!