Newborn at Home Now

Updated on January 03, 2012
M.W. asks from Elkridge, MD
21 answers

Just got back from hospital with my second child! Last night was pretty rough-- I don't know if I blocked out the first few weeks sleeping with my first, but I felt like I was up every hour just offering my breasts -- which were being used for meal and partly for pacifying I think! Didn't like being in bassinet as he has LOTS of gas and would squiggle and fuss each time we layed him in...
Just SO happy that my 2 year old didn't wake up during the night when he would fuss and cry! Did you all have these problems with your second children getting used to bassinet first few nights or weeks?

Also already feeling anxiety of handling the 2 of them on my own when husband goes back to work in 2 weeks-- how did anyone else cope with these hormones and these thoughts??? Crying when it gets dark and dreading thought of going to bed bc I know sleep wont happen and crying bc I worry I will not be able to tend to them both while husband is at work!

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answers from Denver on

Congratulations! All these feeling are very normal and remember that you are VERY hormonal right now. My husband had to go back to work after 2 days and I was highly stressed! I too dreaded bed time because I know sleep just would not happen! Don't worry, you will find your groove! Are there any activities that your 2 year old enjoys doing and can do by himself sometimes for a bit? That would help while you tend to the baby.
And you know what? Sometimes I had to let baby cry for a few minutes while I was helping my toddler and that okay! She is 17 months now and one the happiest little ones I know, so she clearly wasnt damaged! Good luck, and I totally know how you feel, mostly I wanted to let you know that, it will get easier!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Oh girl. It'll take a bit to get into the new groove of things. But don't be so hard on yourself. I'm sure we all remember crying a lot at the beginning - with hormones awry and lack of sleep and all. Hang in there. You'll figure things out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

M., I'm in the same boat and feel your pain! I've got a 2 year old and a 3 week old and my husband went back to work last week (he works 24 hr shifts). Take lots of deep breaths and let go of all of the chores that you can bear to. If you've got friends or family who can come over for a few hours here and there, ask them! I've been doing that while my 2 year old is taking a nap, so they only have to watch one kid and I can get 1-2 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Do you have friends/family/church members who could bring your family dinner 1-2 nights a week for the first two weeks after your husband goes back to work? That's one less thing for you to worry about. At night, I've been getting between 1-2.5 hours of sleep at a stretch - 1 is horrible, 2+ makes me feel human the next day! See if your husband can take the first "shift" at night - he gets up and changes the baby while you use the restroom, get a drink, and get ready to feed him. Then he handles burping the baby and holding him/putting him back down to sleep. My husband does this until 12-1 in the morning and, believe it or not, is a huge help. Those extra minutes here and there add up to more sleep for you! I've also tried to get breakfast ready the night before so when I have to get both boys up in the morning, I just have to pull breakfast out of the fridge for the 2 year old and me, no prep required.

I've been talking a lot to my 2 year old about the fact that his little brother cries a lot because he doesn't have any words to use yet to tell us what he needs. That seems to make him a little more patient (although he still does occasionally tell his little brother to stop "whining"!). Also, don't be afraid to let him watch a little extra tv so you can at least lay down while he's awake.

Good luck - we'll all get through it! I keep thinking about all the moms I know with two kids who are older, and they're still standing!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

I just had #3 and don't remember the sleepless nights. Mine didn't sleep til about 8 weeks. I nursed around the clock every 2 hours - I thought was going to go crazy. At 6 weeks I tried a pacifier and it helped - I think she needs to suck a lot. Now at 10 weeks, she's sleeping 6 hours at night. She doens't like to sleep flat in a bassinet, I have a thing from Target, $50, it's inclined and really light and easy to take anywhere. It's downstairs during the day, and in my room at night. She's sleeps good in it might be worth a shot. Also, she wouldn't sleep in the bassinet in the hospital and we figured out she didn't like the sleep sack they had her in (arms are tight but legs aren't) so we didn't use it and burrito wrapped her and she did much better. My husband works out of the state for 10 days at a time (10 there 10 here) so I feel your pain. I just did what I could and didn't stress about it. You can only do what you can do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, M.:

Have you talked with your husband about your concerns?
Maybe y'all could have a discussion about your concerns.
Just a thought.
Good luck.
Happy New Year.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Cut yourself a little slack. Your hormones are raging right now. Never had the crying issue until my fourth one. I remember thinking "what have I done." As the weeks passed things improved. My favorite saying has
always been "necessity necessitates." You will do fine when your husband
goes back to work. Actually it might be easier because you can get into a
daily routine. It will get better, I promise.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

congrats on your new baby!

i was so nervous with my first that i didn't eat anything for the first 4 days after i got home from the hospital. literally, i finally felt so wretched from not eating that i called the dr. and she called in an anti-nausea med for me. i was SO nervous that just the thought of food made me nauseated. freaked me out because eating has always been ONE thing that has never failed me lol. i am a comfort eater - this was way beyond normal stress. anyway, i know the stress.

i am sure that in 2 weeks you'll feel a little more settled. yes, it's nerve-wracking. we've all been there! and you'll be okay. hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

If he has gas, instead of laying him in the bassinet, try putting him in his carseat and that might help until he gets the burpies out!

I would really get him to take a pacifier so that your nipples get a rest. It's better than his thumb, because you can take a paci away at some point when he no longer has that sucking instinct.

My first son did great laying on back and side. My second son could simply not settle down on his side or back. I talked to my ped about it, and he told me that babies all through the generations have slept on their tummies, and that though SIDS is a worry for babies on their bellies, I should just put him on his belly and see if he does better. No using toys or pillows or a thick blanket, and not have too warm a room. I did this, and it was magic - my son could sleep. He still sleeps on his stomach now as a teen.

You might try him on his tummy. Perhaps that is the answer to your problem. If you hold him all the time, he will not let you put him down, and your life will get SO hard!




answers from Appleton on

Everything will be fine :-)). If you haven't started the 'we will have to take care of baby' talks with your 2 yr old yet, do it now. Get him into the program now and let him help. He can run get diapers or wipes or talk to the baby while you go wash hands or answer the phone. The more he feels a part of the process the more he will be willing to help. He (she) will love being the big brother (sister) and start feeling very protective of his baby. When you get the new baby down for a nap spend part of that time reading to or playing with the 2 yr old. Sleep when they sleep and let yourself recover.
Hopefully you have some close family members or friends who can come over to help out with the kids so you can shower or prepare meals. Keep meals simple crock pot meals will help a lot.
You can do this. As modern Mom we have so much more going for us than Moms did 100+ years ago. Imagine being a Mom with 2 kids and living out on the prarie and your closest neighbor lives a mile away. But frontier Moms did it and so can you. Relax and enjoy your children.

Congrats on the new baby.



answers from Washington DC on

My second child hated the bassinet. He ended up sleeping in his carseat for 4 months. We got the Fisher Price Newborn Napper for #3, as it slightly elevates the head and has more space, and my baby has loved it since night 1. The other thing I figured out for #3 was the benefits of swaddling. I got some swaddleme blankets and figured out how to do it correctly, and even though she still fights going into it, as soon as she is swaddled she falls asleep. I started this around night #2 after I wanted to pull my hair out the first night. I used a binky from day 3, because like you, I was a 24 hour buffet. I also supplemented with formula which I am sure everyone will say is a big no no, but it was either that, or no breastfeeding because with 2 other kids, it was incredibly difficult for me. My doctor said to do what I could, and some was better than nothing. My daughter was almost 3 when my son was born. I remember on the days when she didn't have preschool, I would put the baby down for his nap in his swing and she and I would snuggle on the couch and watch TV. I would sleep but she didn't care. She just wanted the snuggle time. This would not have worked for my son, who at age 3 was a very busy kid, but maybe it will help with your girl. Try to go easy on yourself. You just had a baby and your hormones are up and down. You can do this (and there are times when at 3 months I still want to cry sometimes). It will get easier with time.


answers from San Diego on

Congratulations on your new family member!!!

My first was almost 3 when my second was born.
I had to get very creative to get sleep for myself, keep my oldest safe and tend to my youngest. I set up my little "nest" on the couch.I put pillows behind my head so I could just put my head back, I would have my son get a pillow and put it on the couch next to my leg so he could lie down and I'd hold my son and nurse him and let him nap there, which in the beginning was his favorite place to sleep. My oldest use to love driving his hot wheel cars up and down my legs while I would lie down on the couch to rest or take a cat nap once my youngest would let me put him down after the first couple days.
In those first few weeks while I was recovering we watched a lot of special movies together. My husband would come home from work and find all 3 of us asleep on the couch. Baby in my arms, oldest on a pillow resting alongside my leg and me sitting in the corner of the couch with my head resting on all the pillows I had on the top of the couch along the wall.
It wasn't long before I was up and running and was able to go about the day like nothing was new..because it wasn't. anymore ;)
It was only in the first few weeks while I physically healed and he sorted himself out that it was a little challenging. But that was when my husband was home and from the looks of it when yours is too. By week 3 I felt like I could handle it far more than I could the first 2 weeks.
Those first few days are overwhelming. My second was born days before Christmas and everyone still expected to do all the family about Insanely Overwhelming! The good thing is we laid down ground rules as best we could that for the most part were followed. He was due Christmas Day.
My oldest would sleep through pretty well all of his brother's fussing. It was rare he was woken up and then my husband would go take care of him while I took care of baby.
Make sure your husband does not get out of any night duty just because he goes back to work! He needs to help with oldest while you take care of baby in the event they need help. Your husband can change a diaper or two while you take time to go to the bathroom or just lie in bed a few more minutes. My husband would go get our oldest when he woke up, change him and bring him to me to feed. After he was fed either I'd go and change him again if needed and put him down or my husband would do that part for me. He didn't do it every night after going back to work but I always knew I could nudge him and he'd do it if I needed him too.
Try 3 kids :) Talk about getting creative LOL
You can do it! Right now you are physically beaten up from just having given birth, your milk is settling in, your hormones are changing at a fast rate. Just allow yourself a good cry when you need it (great natural release of stress hormones!), make a cup of tea and don't try to do too much. Do lots of special things with your oldest that don't mean you have to move around and change around. Do lots of coloring in color books, watch special movies or TV shows, read books together. Give your 2 year old a bunch of pots and a couple wooden spoons and put them on the coffee table to make music while you sit and watch while holding baby (of course when awake not dead asleep).
You can do it!!



answers from Washington DC on

I just had my second in September and he would fall asleep, I'd put him in the Pack N Play only to be woken up 15 minutes later. This went on for the first few days he was home and the only way I could get him to sleep was if he was laying on my chest in the bed with me--UGH! He is nursing and used to use me as a pacifier at night, but now he saves that for during the day. We gradually separated him from me, first sleeping in the bed not on me, then in the pack n play in our room then in his own room. He's 3 months old now and sleeping in his room, but still waking up at least once during the night. I didn't have this problem with my first AT ALL, I'm pretty tired. I'm just hoping that this is a phase, that this too will pass because he won't be waking in middle of the night forever, right?

I felt overwhelmed with the thought of my hubbie going to work because my 3 year old just wanted to have playtime all the time, but I've gotten to the point where juggling both is a bit easier. It does get easier, you just have to find your groove. I found that if I worked towards getting back to my 3 year old's routine, the baby followed suit. Now I'm not sure how often yours is nursing, but mine is about every 3-4 hours which is totally different than it was with my first who was every 2 hours but it took him 45 minutes to eat so I couldn't go anywhere without knowing I would be feeding him in the car. Just keep going day by day with the knowledge that it will get better, I know this was my "hot topic" during my post partum issues because I felt like a failure, but you can do it and you'll get through it!!



answers from Washington DC on

I have a 6 year old, 3 year old and 2 year old. The short difference between my last two was hard. It does get better. Do you have a grandmother or someone else who is willing to stay with you? My mom took a couple of days off and then my grandmother (kids - greatgrandmother) came up to help. She stayed with us for about 3 weeks. It was a big help. If you can't do that, then do you have any friends who could come by during the day. It's a big help just having someone there even if there not doing much other than keeping company. If no one can come by, get out of the house for 20 minutes for a walk with the kids.

With newborns, during the day I would try to keep them awake for longer and longer periods of time. At first, it was 5-10 minutes of playing with her or him so that they would be more likely to sleep at night. They do have gas drops to help with gas. I also inclined the bassinet slightly to help with any reflux.

Make sure you get some time alone at least for 30 minutes to 1 hour each day to sleep, take long bath, etc... It helped me with those feelings of anxiety and dread to know that each day I had some time to completely decompress on my own. When my husband came home or someone stopped by to help out, I could go up to my room and do what I needed to for 1 hour...most of the time just catching up on sleep.



answers from Washington DC on

I'm sorry I didn't read the other responses. I don't know that I have advice as much as I just want to encourage you. I remember when I brought my second one home. I had the same exact concerns as you. . . especially about how I would take care of both of them when I was alone after my hubby went back to work. And with being tired, it's overwhelming.

But YOU WILL BE JUST FINE. Go easy on yourself and don't expect too much. Do the very basics, take care of the kids and let as much go as you can (I know some stuff has to get done). What's most important will get done and the rest doesn't matter. Give yourself (and your kids) some time because everyone has to adjust to this new situation. You're gonna make it and before you know it, you'll be looking back (like I am now--my kids are 6 and 3.5) and thinking about how quickly it went! :)

Congrats on your new little one!!



answers from Seattle on

Sleep dep + hormones = tears.

At least, for people like me!

Two weeks is a loooooooong time. Not in other areas of life, but in newborn life! You have help now. Use it! By sleeping when he sleeps. Around the clock, when he goes down for a nap, you go down for one, too!

PLEASE don't worry about your daughter. I'm the oldest, and I'll tell you, every 2 years... my mum needed to sleep around the clock. It teaches EMPATHY when the other adults promote that.

As in they explain in kid terms that mommy needs sleep, because she's only getting an hour here, two there, instead of all night like WE big kids. She's really really tired, but it's something mom's do, because they love their kids... so WE need to HELP her. What can we do to HELP, mommy? Let's bring her some water! Let's make mommy's favorite dinner! Lets be super super whisper quiet! Lets, this and that and this and that!

It helps to teach empathy and thinking of others. Someone you love needs help, how can you help them? It also, in my experience, cut down on the jealousy. I never got why my friends were so upset with their parents with newborns. No one in my family was! Mom loves all of us! We need to HELP her! Mom needs HELP! It may be just because it gives toddlers and older kids some control / something to do. Getting to be a big kid and help. Or it may be a fluke. But every family *I* know (hence my bias) where mum DIDN'T try to do it all, but the other adults made it a "big kid adventure" / something fun for them to DO... didn't have jealousy issues. It's not "go play by yourself" or "don't bother mom" or "trying to keep things normal"... it's "Something is new, lets do something about it!"

Oh... and your newborn is not using you as a pacifier, They're doing 2 things:

1) Getting your milk to come in / telling your body to be producing enough colostrum and milk (cluster feeding)

2) Strengthening her mouth, tongue, and throat muscles... when have NEVER been used before!



answers from Washington DC on

You'll be fine. You can also call around and see who can spend a day with you or with your older child (maybe Grandma can take kid #1 for an afternoon) while you do things, shower, sleep. Remember, these sleepless nights will pass, and that newborns pretty much just eat and sleep and poop and cry. If you weren't nursing you'd be making bottles all night, too. It's not just your kid. ;)


answers from New York on

Big congrats on your new baby! I just wanted to offer my support ... just reading your post brought me back to those dark days after giving birth - SO NOT what I thought it would be like!! (Have one and probably done.) I was furious that no one told me. People all said that you don't get to sleep and you are tired but nothing anyone said prepared me for those first few weeks, which were real rough. Regardless of how much I loved my infant son and was proud of myself for giving life, I really did not enjoy this phase!

As for hormones, I was a wreck. The time passed pretty quickly though. Even though it took a few more months to really get into a groove and start sleeping at least a little, after the first few weeks little breaks and moments of respite would come that would save me. Like, one of my parents delivering a coffee, or coming over and washing my dishes. Or a friend coming by to chat and hold the baby. Or the times that my son would sleep for 4 - 6 hours.

I don't know if coping is the aim so much as you need to survive, sustain, and get through these weeks. Every day is a new day that you can and will get through, but you need to give yourself a break and a big hug each morning, sleep or no sleep, because you are not yourself and you are doing the best you can. You are "hormonally compromised" and sleep deprivation creates insanity, so the best you can do is stay calm and don't allow your thoughts to go in circles of anxiety too much, especially at night.

Right now, you can not let yourself worry about tomorrow when you husband goes back to work ... put one fire out at a time. Use your time as wisely as possible when your husband is still home - make him take the baby and your toddler so you can nap, relax, go for a walk, whatever you need to do. I started bawling when I read online after researching that after almost 2weeks, it was ok for me to take a hot bath! I was still in so much pain not only from the stitches but also my back and shoulders from the stress of learning how to nurse my son. My husband and i had an argument and he refused to clean the tub, so i did it myself, slowly. then I had the most relaxing soothing 15 minutes I'd had in weeks.

I am not trying to advocate co-sleeping if that does not suit you (it's not for everyone) but I do highly recommend that you let your infant sleep with you for these first few weeks, just so the both of you can get some sleep! Even if it means your husband needs to sleep elsewhere for a little while. I was in the same boat as you and I couldn't take it - finally one night was so exhausted I lay down in the bed to nurse my son, we both crashed and slept peacefully for the first time for several hours. He never went back into the bassinet, but I've heard that this transition can be made from bed back into the bassinet within the first month by waiting until baby starts to sleep at least 3 hrs and putting them in a swing. You may try a swing now if you are uncomfortable sleeping with your newborn.

I wanted to ask is there anyone who can come over for those first few weeks and help for a few hours a day when your husband goes to work? Or even hire to do so? That might be a project your husband could work on now. You need and deserve the help. I wish you the best of luck and I'm proud of you, and all of us mamas know that you'll be much better in a few weeks or a month! Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi M.,
Congratulations on your 2nd! We have a 2 yr old and are due with our 2nd in just a few weeks. Our first also didn't sleep well at night for at least a month, try to feed him as much as possible in the daytime so he doesn't feel the need to eat as much at night. Also, for sleeping at night at this age anything goes! I would honestly sleep partially sitting up on the chaise lounge part of the couch with the baby on my chest. I was so afraid of SIDS I wouldn't lay down with him until he was a few weeks older, then I learned how to nurse him lying down on my side on a camping mat (seriously) in his room. I would keep my bottom arm bent under my head so I wouldn't roll over because I was so exhausted I would fall asleep.
As for the 2 yr old, can you do daycare or a sitter during the day? Have your husband drop the older child off and pick him/her up. If that isn't an option, any relatives or friends that can watch the older child for at least a few weeks until you get a routine with the newborn?
Best of luck! In a few years we'll all be laughing at what we did to survive when our babies were newborns!



answers from Washington DC on

Didn't read the other responses, so don't know if this is a repeat.
Your child was inside of you for nine months. When they are first born it makes sense that they would want to be near you.
This is what I do with my children and it works pretty well.
When I first bring them home, I lay them down to sleep - attached - when I go to sleep. That way we both get some rest. Even though it's a little restless for me, it's still SLEEP.
After a week or two (or three - whatever) if they fall asleep earlier in the evening I'll lay them in their bassinet. Never lay them in a cold bassinet - if they are wrapped up in a blanket it's much easier to lay them down still wrapped in that warm blanket. When they wake up to eat at night I attach them and go back to sleep. Again, restless sleep, but still better than sitting up exhausted with a baby that won't go back to it's bed. So they are next to me half the night.
After another few weeks, when I think they're ready, I sit up to feed them at night and then lay them back down in the bassinet. I want them to be used to sleeping in their own bed, and I sleep better when my subconscious isn't on high alert that my child is next to me and I better not roll over :)
So, it's a gradual 'weaning' to their bed. I have three and did this with my last two. I don't know how I would have managed if I didn't get the sleep that is possible when you breastfeed.
Good luck! The transition to two is hard. Harder, I think, than the transition to three. You'll figure it out, though, and everything will be fine. I think it took me a month to work out how to get everything else done with my two little ones, and they are little. My oldest was not yet 4 when I had my third. You can do it!



answers from Philadelphia on

Congratulations on yur new baby.
Congratulations on your new (probably mild) postpartum depression. Join the club of many mothers who end up at the mercy of sleep deprivation (against the Geneva Conventions for a reason), hormones, unrealistic expectations and anxiety.
Ask for help, take all of the help you can get especially with those who will help with your toddler so you can get some sleep.
You don't have to do this for long. You just have to get through today or tonight. Keep yourself alive. You know how they always tell you to put on your air mask first? Keep thinking that way. A sick and sleep crazed Mommy is not a help to her babies. Keep reaching out. This is a very hard phase but IT DOES GET BETTER! And not as far off in the future as it feels right now. BTW tell hubby how you're feeling, K?



answers from Washington DC on

You're getting a lot of great responses here. I remember those days all too well - I also was in a panic at the thought of being alone with the 2. And it was hard - but it got easier as time went along. It's amazing what you can do when you have no choice :o) And as time goes your confidence will just increase. I was so impressed with myself any time we managed to leave the house!

I think the lack of sleep is the big driver of your emotions right now. I also had that fear of night. You just have to push through these rough couple of weeks and it should get better.

I let my third baby sleep on her stomach, as was advised by our pediatrician. It was crazy and nerveracking at first, but she slept SO much better that way. You can discuss it with your Dr if you think it might help your little one.

A few thoughts that might help:
* TV is perfectly ok! For those first few months when you are feeling like a zombie - don't feel guilty if your toddler watches more Barney than usual. It will not permanently damage and allows you some peace.

*Everytime you seem stuck in a horrible phase just remember that it WILL end. Your baby is continuing to grow and will become more settled. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

*Your older child will be just fine. Yes - you will have to be less attentive for a period of time, but you have built 2 solid years of love and support that cannot be ruined by a couple crazy months. Things will get easier and you will be eventually get back to yourself. In the meantime, this provides opportunity for the father to have some special bonding. Even if your older child acts out for a period of time, don't stress. You have years and years together to show your love and attention.

*Ask for help if you have any family around. And ask your husband to take over toddler duty on nights and weekends until you are starting to feel more rested.

Good luck and know that you are not alone in these feelings!

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