Soon after bringing baby home, most likely on night 2 or 3, you’ll realize that sleep for new parents is the most precious commodity. I say night 2 or 3, because you’ll probably try to stay awake through night 1 just to make sure your new responsibility is still breathing. In our case, our sleep plan had gone out the window while we were still in the hospital. We quickly learned that our little guy was having trouble staying latched during his feedings with Mommy. So, Plan B was rolled out for Mommy to start pumping and GT would be bottle fed. This actually made me feel more useful than originally anticipated during feedings. Even though Mommy would still have to wake up every two hours or so to replenish the food supply, I’d be able to help out a little bit by at least being able to feed him.
I was able to take two weeks of “Paternity Leave” right after GT’s arrival. So, I was able to help get him used to a bottle and get him on the initial “every 2 hour” schedule. Initially, we tried to sleep in between the feedings and alternate the designated feeder. I should also mention here that GT slept in our room at this point, not in bed with us but in a bassinet. This just left us both exhausted the next day. So, we decided to take shifts and move the bassinet downstairs for the time being. I would go to bed between 6pm – 8pm and then wake up between 10pm – 12am, while Mommy then went to bed. Yes, she still woke up every 2 hours to pump, but at least she didn’t have to actually feed him. Then I’d stay awake until 4am – 6am and take then nap until 8am – 10am. It sounds crazy, but we made it work and believe it or not we actually felt more rested than trying to sleep in between feedings. This worked right up until I had to go back to work and then the plan changed again.
Back to Work
When the time came for me to head back to work we modified the shifts a bit. Mommy would go to bed around 6pm – 8pm and I would stay up until around midnight. Then I’d go to bed and Mommy would take over the feedings while pumping through the early hours of the morning. By the time Mommy had to go back to work, she was able to space the pumping sessions to a 10-2-6 schedule (every 4 hours). Also, GT was slowly spacing out his nightly feedings and eventually he got it down to just one bottle through the night.
So, if you take anything away from this post, it should be that there IS light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll have to figure out what works for you, Mommy, and the baby, but you’ll survive. Sure, you’ll be tired, grouchy, exhausted, spent, zombie-like, but you also adjust and things will get easier!
UPDATE: By the time he was four months, he was sleeping through the night without waking up. YES, WE KNOW WE ARE LUCKY.