When babies are born, they first breastfeed a little and get to know their mother skin-to-skin, and then they fall into a deep, restful sleep, which in medical terms is called a state of lethargy.
This is the ideal time to get some rest as well, so try to sleep for a few hours. It’s important that you recover from the effort of giving birth and save your energy for the following days. Because when you start out breastfeeding, it’s trial and error, which is exhausting. In addition, the second night of your baby’s life is usually very intense, and you will need to be as rested as possible to cope with it.
What happens on the second night?
During that night, babies will be very active and work hard to fulfill their needs. They will be demanding to breastfeed all the time, and they will be very restless.
It’s more than likely that they have been resting during the day, that you’ve had to wake your baby up to breastfeed, or that they have shown relatively little interest in breastfeeding. But then, at this point comes what some call the “second-night syndrome.”
The “second-night syndrome”?
Admittedly, we don’t like the term second-night “syndrome” very much because this newborn behavior is not an illness, nothing to worry about, and absolutely normal.
Leaving aside controversies, we could say that the second night of a baby’s life is crazy, so we’d better call it the second-night phenomenon; at least, there is no “syndrome” involved. We could also call it the second-night breastfeeding crisis, as it involves an increase in breastfeeding demand by the baby to call in more milk.
Between 30-40 hours after birth, estrogen hormones in the mother plummet, and prolactin marks its highest peak, so babies have to get active and feed a lot at the breast.
Nursing at night is essential in the first few months because this is the baby’s way of ensuring a good milk supply. It’s like shopping online at night, so you can get it delivered to your home the following day.
So this night is going to be very busy; babies are going to feed a lot at the breast, they will not stop asking, and will go from breast to breast and not even sleep 5 minutes at a time. It’s going to be non-stop feeding all night.
And, as so often, if you don’t know what’s going on, you’re exhausted, confused, and worrying about how much milk you’re producing, then even the calmest mother can get nervous and might ask for a formula top-up (supplementing).
Does your baby need formula supplementing?
To find out if you need supplementing (and remember that the first choice for supplementing is expressed breastmilk), you need to check on your baby:
– What is the percentage of weight the baby has lost?
– Does the baby poop and pee ok?
If everything is correct, the baby does not need formula but needs to do a lot of suckling to stimulate the mother’s mammary gland and get it working at its best.
Will the nights always be like this?
No, babies will not always be so demanding. But we can’t deny that babies breastfeed at night for many months and that these night feeds are vital to maintaining milk supply, but it’s not always going to be so intense.
But keep in mind that it is entirely normal for babies to wake up again up to 10 times during the night, and they will fall back asleep while breastfeeding.
Finally, make the most of your baby’s naps to rest as much as possible and fill yourself with the strength and energy to enjoy all the stages of your breastfeeding journey.