Night feedings, as we all know, are a regular part of the first few months of babies’ lives. They become more managable as time goes on, but not necessarily less irritating. However, during those first several weeks there’s a real learning curve to how the baby works. Even though this is our second baby, we have found ourselves rediscovering this process with a completely new personality. I’m lucky enough that my husband usually helps out at night (as much as he can) so I don’t have to be awake for the whole time, but because I suffer from postpartum insomnia, I usually end up being awake anyway. Even so, the goal is always to get everyone back to sleep as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the bleary hours, it can be difficult to determine the order of events. Here’s what happens when the baby stirs:We pry one eye open, yank our heads off a pillow and have a quick huddle to run down the strategy. It’s either:
1. Diaper, feed, burp, swaddle
2. Feed, burp, diaper, swaddle
#1 is a good way because Fuzz gets sleepy during feeding so the ‘awake’ part (diapering) is over in the beginning and we can move back towards going to sleep.
#2 is good too because then we don’t have to pass the baby back and forth so much and we can each sleep while the other is doing his or her ‘job.’ It should be mentioned that Fuzzball has a bit of reflux so a good burping and solid upright position for him is key.
Despite our best intentions, the plan changes every time, even mid-plan. Often, it ends up being:
3. Diaper, feed, burp, (poop,) diaper, swaddle
4. Diaper, feed, burp, (poop,) diaper, swaddle, (poop,) diaper & outfit change, swaddle, bounce/rock
5. Diaper, feed, burp, (poop,) diaper, swaddle, (poop,) diaper & outfit change, swaddle, bounce/rock, feed, repeat step 1, etc…
But that’s a really bad night.
Regardless, when jerked out of a REM cycle with the painful cry of your baby, the first thought is usually: “What’s wrong?” with a very close second place: “What is the fastest way I can get back to sleep?” As you can see from above, it gets complicated. All too often, I end up looking down at two soundly sleeping people after the marathon of the night waking is over. Me? Yeah, I’m wide awake.