Your due date is just around the corner and you’re over-the-moon-excited about bringing your new baby into the world.
Usually, mothers are so concerned about giving birth and raising a baby, that they forget about one tiny experience in between- the overnight stay in the hospital.
While the day you bring your baby into the world is undoubtedly filled with a lot of joy, that first night in the hospital is no walk in the park.
This is why it’s important to be as prepared as possible for what’s ahead.
Check out this guide to discover what to expect the first night with your newborn in the hospital.
1. Be Prepared for Exhaustion and Little Sleep
Don’t expect to deliver your baby and then get a full night’s rest after.
Pushing a human being out of you is, for lack of a better word, exhausting. But, it’s also incredibly exhilarating.
So, even if you are exhausted after the delivery and looking for some shut-eye, chances are the endorphins rushing through your body will keep you awake.
Plus, newsflash: hospitals aren’t the most comfortable places in the world to get some sleep.
However, women are encouraged to get some shut-eye while the nurses step in to help, so if you can, you should definitely take advantage of this period to rest. After all, once you take the baby home, there won’t be any nurses stepping in to allow you to nap!
2. Baby’s Sleep Will Vary
How much your baby will sleep after the birth is really anyone’s guess.
As you probably already know, a newborn’s sleep schedule is very short, and they’ll often sleep in two-hour increments during the first night. However, the increments can vary to as little as one hour to as much as three hours.
Typically, if a baby hits the three-hour sleeping mark, nurses are going to wake them up so they can be fed. If you plan to breastfeed, this means that you’ll also need to be up at this three-hour mark, or really whenever the baby is hungry.
Also, if you plan to do an unmedicated birth, there’s a good chance that your baby will be very alert at the beginning due to all of the endorphins.
However, whether your baby is very sleepy or very alert during those first few hours can really vary, so be prepared for either to happen.
3. Rooming In
When most of us picture the maternity ward of a hospital, we picture the moms in the hospital rooms and all the babies lined up in their beds in another room with the nurses.
However, while setups like this still exist, it’s become more and more common for the babies to ‘room in’ with their mothers.
Basically, this means that instead of moving the baby to the nursery, the baby will stay in a bassinet with you next to your bed.
The idea of rooming-in is to help the parents immediately bond with the baby.
While rooming-in can help you and your baby establish a connection, keep in mind that there are drawbacks to this. With rooming-in, there will be extra checks from the nurses and likely less sleep overall.
Also, don’t feel that because you’re rooming-in with your baby, you need to put in extra work during the night.
If you need help or support at any time, don’t be afraid to call in the nurses. Also, if you’ve had a C-section, you shouldn’t lift the baby from the bassinet without help.
And, even hospitals that have rooming-in still have nurseries, so if you need some rest, it’s ok to send your baby to the nursery for a short period of time to be looked after by nurses.
The main concern of many women is in regards to how breastfeeding works on the first night.
If you’re new to the world of motherhood, it’s very important to know that breastfeeding is no walk in the park.
In fact, only 13 percent of moms in the US manage to breastfeed for the entire 6 months that are recommended for a baby’s health. And, 92 percent of mothers say that just days after giving birth, they were having issues breastfeeding.
The truth is, most moms are even going to struggle during the first night in the hospital with breastfeeding, even if they’re on their third or fourth baby.
Luckily, the day you give birth, you’ll have the chance to meet with a lactation consultant. And, if you’re struggling to get the baby to latch on, you can always call in a nurse to help you.
5. Checks and More Checks
A big reason moms need to stay in the hospital for a night after giving birth is to make sure that their health is in good condition.
One way doctors and nurses assess your health after giving birth is by checking your blood pressure frequently. If you have a hint of high blood pressure during the delivery or after, you’ll likely receive blood pressure checks throughout the night.
To be aware of any other postpartum complications, other checks will be performed too.
The type of checks you receive will vary depending on your health, however, one other very common check is a blood draw. This is especially the case if you had gestational diabetes.
Also, if you plan to circumcise your baby, it’s important to note that this likely won’t happen during your first night of staying in the hospital. Typically, it’s best to wait anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks to perform circumcision.
You can check out this guide to learn more about infant circumcision.
Newborn Hospital: Are You Ready for the Big Day?
Now that you know what to expect during the first night with a newborn in the hospital, you’ll be better prepared for what lies ahead.
And after the first night comes the really exciting part-motherhood!
If you enjoyed this guide, be sure to check back in with our blog for more parenting tips and tricks.