Updated July 2018
Hopefully at this point, you can catch some zzzz’s, although just know that it is really difficult to sleep in the hospital. At all. People are coming into your room around the freakin clock.
A few hours after Lucie was born, I finally fell asleep when there was a loud knock at the door. “Cookies?” he said. Seriously? Yes, the cookie man was making the rounds (what?). “No, I don’t want no damn cookies — trying to SLEEP IN HERE! Been up for about 32 hours. Just had a BAY-BEE, hellllooooo… oh wait, cookies?? Yah yah yah, I’ll take three. Don’t mind if I do. HOM-Nom-Nom…” I may be tired, but I’m not crazy.
You will have the option of keeping your baby in your room (called rooming-in) or sending her to the nursery. They encourage rooming-in because they hate you and don’t want you to sleep. Haha, just kidding (sort of). Rooming-in is encouraged so you can bond and nurse and get to know each other during those first two days.
You should do whatever feels right for you. If you want to keep your baby with you at all times, great. There is no shame in sending her to the nursery so you can get some shut-eye. Don’t agonize too much about this decision. At the end of the day, it’s really not a big deal.
Keeping your babe with you the first day/night is great. They are incredibly sleepy anyway and usually only wake up to nurse. Hopefully your partner can get a rollaway cot and you can all be together as a family. Do yourself a favor and don’t be up and down changing diapers and whatnot — let daddy or the nursing staff take care of this.
The second day is when you will be hurting the most. Keep taking your painkillers, but do get up and walk around if you’re up for it. Your OB will come visit you again to check on things down below decks.
Day 2 is when you really want to focus on nursing (if you’re nursing). Lookie here, you might think you’re doing it right – you may even be resistant to getting help or advice from others, but don’t be a defiant jackass like me. PLEASE – let the nurse or lactation specialist observe your baby’s latch and your general technique. It’s okay if you feel like a fool: you’ve never done this before. It’s going to take some trial and error before you get it right. Getting a good start at breastfeeding starts here. It’s all about the latch! Take advantage of the free help you can get in the hospital. It will pay dividends.
The second night after birth is when things get a little hairy… your precious little baby has now realized that she is out of the womb and isn’t really happy about this situation. I clearly remember a text a friend sent me on the second day:
“2nd night = crazy night”
You won’t read about this in any books, but most moms report this phenomenon. You will be exhausted and in pain, but sleep as much as you can because you are going home tomorrow (shit!).
Next: Going Home!