The first few days with a new infant are no exception to the rule that parenthood is a trial by fire. Because I was a new parent and worried about the newborn resting in the bassinet next me, I didn’t get much sleep my first night in the hospital. On the second day, I was able to sneak in a few little naps as my baby slept peacefully on my chest for the majority of the time.

But on the second night, everything went to bad.

She sobbed. She screamed angrily. She was often inconsolable unless she was lying on my naked chest under a blanket, and even then, she had moments of utter sadness when nursing. At around three a.m., I finally broke down while my husband tried in vain to stroll her around our room. My night nurse walked into the room at that same moment, and we told her that the baby had been fussing all night and that I was concerned that she wasn’t getting enough of my colostrum. She smiled as she moved away from her computer and exclaimed, “Oh yes!” For the second night, this is quite normal. “Did you read the welcome packet insert?”

So, what are you saying now? Why isn’t anyone alerting you to your baby’s second night? Aside from that sheet of paper in a folder on your bedside table after you’ve expelled a human being from you, that is. No one has the time to read that.

Here’s what I discovered: On the day after delivery, newborns are generally calm and behave well during the first night. Your kid, on the other hand, has abruptly understood they are no longer in the womb on the second night. She’s starting to miss being inside you, feeling your heartbeat, and floating in the darkness after being handled by various people all day and wearing those gorgeous outfits you purchased her. The sound of your voice is the closest she can get to being back in the womb, and sleeping on your chest is the closest she can get to being back in the womb.

As a result, my daughter’s intensive cluster feeding and wails when I tried to put her back in the bassinet so I could sleep might be explained. It would explain why she was so agitated, despite my husband’s efforts to calm her down by walking her around. Would she have been less finicky if she had known about the second night’s difficulties in advance? Most likely not. Would it have prevented me from feeling like a total failure or from believing something was wrong? Maybe.

So, what’s the solution? What are your options for getting through the night?

First and foremost, understand that fussiness is entirely natural. That your newborn is behaving precisely as they should after birth. Second, hold your baby as much as possible, skin-to-skin, because that’s where they feel safest. As much as possible, keep your baby’s hands free. It’s comforting for them to be able to use them to explore your breast, and it also helps with milk production. You don’t have to be concerned about their scratching their skin. Finally, allow your baby to breastfeed as much as they want, and remember that their fussing has nothing to do with your lack of milk production.

Most hospitals don’t allow you to share a bed with your baby, so if you have to, wait until they’re asleep and gently unlatch them, letting them slumber on your chest until you’re sure they’re in a deep enough sleep to take them to the bassinet. Alternatively, wait until the nurses chastise you for allowing the baby to sleep on your chest, as I did. After all, you aren’t getting much sleep in the hospital, are you?

Above all, remember, mama, that this, too, shall pass.


  1. Which night is the hardest with a newborn?

    On night three, Lucy Dubrovsky’s newborn boy proved to be more difficult than on night two. Even so, many parents report that the second night of their baby’s existence was one of the most difficult nights of their lives, so make the best of it.

  2. How do I survive my baby’s second night?

    It may seem impossible, but there are things you can do to assist you get through the second night!
    – Prepare for it. The second night syndrome affects people of all ages, and many parents have no idea what’s going on or why.
    – Rebuild the womb.
    – Curl up with your child.
    – Visitors should be turned away.
    – Your baby isn’t going hungry!

  3. How long does second night syndrome last?

    Knowing that Second Night Syndrome is a regular occurrence can help you unwind a little. This happens to almost every infant, but it only lasts a night or two.

  4. What is 2nd night syndrome?

    What is second-night syndrome, and how does it affect you? The strain and stress of birth is said to cause babies to slip into a deep sleep throughout the first 24 hours of their lives. When they wake up the second night, they realise that their existence as they know it is over.