Tips on getting sleep on postnatal ward (mum and baby)(15 Posts)
I am having a planned section and prepping my bags has made me recall my experience on the postnatal ward after my emergency section.
Whilst the circumstances will be different in that I will not be labouring all night the night before, my toddler hasn't been sleeping great, I'm up going to the loo - nothing earth-shattering but suffice to say, I am not fresh as a daisy.
I remember finding it impossible to sleep on the post natal ward - DD would only settle on me, I couldn't move without great pain to get her in and out of that plastic cot, and I was terrified of falling asleep on her I was that tired. In the end I buzzed the midwife who took her off me for an hour in the early hours, but I remember the whole experience as just being exhausting and pretty lonely. So much so that I pushed to go home after one night.
This time I am thinking it may be sensible to stay in for the recommended two nights to ensure breast feeding established, leave DH to cope with wakeful toddler etc....(although I am also hating the idea of my first time away from her at night).
BUT I am worrying about how on earth I get the baby to settle in the cot on the ward - with DD at home we used a bedside crib with a sleepyhead which really helped. I am assuming the sleepyhead won't fit the plastic cot.
Any tips / suggestions? I am going to try to get more daytime sleep this time and minimise visitors.
I remember just gazing at my son all night but gave birth in the early hours, then he was put under a light box so that took up all the first night..I do remember sitting there and he cried everytime I put him down and wondered how I would ever get to the toilet.. In the end I had to put him down to go for a wee. We did co sleep once he was out from light box.
Starlight, yes, there is a chance I might be like that - I had a long long induction and labour before my morning section so was the most tired I had ever been (and not quite sure I was ever that tired once home) so perhaps I am just worrying unnecessarily. Do you mean you coslept in the hospital bed?
I was wondering if the midwives might do that towel roll up thing in the cot that they do in special care to make the babies feel more snug.
Hi Lilipot I had an EMCS followed by an ELCS.
DS2 was exactly the same as DS1 for me on his first night - wouldn't move off me and screamed when there wasn't a boob in his mouth BUT two things helped. Two years of an all night feeding non-sleeper meant I was an expert at positioning a baby up against me in bed while I was fairly horizontal and latching him on, so I could at least get a little rest; the midwives also got me a co-sleeper cot to hook onto the bed so all I had to do was slide him sideways from where I was lying, rather than having to get up to put him in the normal cot (although I eventually gave up trying). I didn't get any sleep the first night - I think I might have got about 45 minutes the following morning when he finally settled enough to go in the cot. Swaddling is helpful but the maternity ward I was on was so. Damn. HOT. I really wasn't keen on doing it. You're as hardened to sleep deprivation as I am. Honestly, it's doable. Those early breastfeeding hormones also have that magical affect of making 40 minutes of sleep feel like two hours and, no, you won't be as shattered after the ELCS as you were after the EMCS.
Also, they only kept me in overnight. I was expecting another two night stay as with DS1, but they discharged me the following day. Maybe they'll do that with you? I'm sure you can ask as well. You're an experienced BFer - you shouldn't need the extra time in hospital with midwives spotting you the way you did the first time to get in established.
Earplugs, eye mask (ask someone who's flown recently), water bottle that clips to bed. Hospitals are so hot and noisy!
That is quite reassuring. My health visitor (unwittingly I'm sure) made me all anxious about feeding post-section, pain etc....to the point where I had some nights when I was not getting to sleep for ages even if DD was having a good one!!
I have a pre-op assessment the day before so should be clearer about practicalities. Will ask about co-sleeper cots - I think I was so blooming tired I didn't think to ask for help for ages.
And yes, I am probably far more used to sleep deprivation than I was then ;-)
The reminder about the breast feeding hormones helping you feel more rested has cheered me up too - amazing what you forget in only a few months!
Haha, yes the heat in hospital - I was absolutely boiling in February, I think my anaesthetic made me shivery so in the postnatal ward I found myself all layered up with blankets and pillows around me and drenched in sweat. What a pretty sight when they came for the baby check!
The pre-op will probably be with an anaesthetist and maybe an outpatient midwife who will neither know nor care about any on-ward practicalities but should be able to tell you if you can go home the day after.
As soon as you go on the maternity ward, before the op, ask them to order and set up the co-sleeper cot for you. I didn't find out about it until afterwards but they were still able to get it for me pretty quickly. Not that I used it much in the end, but it was handy to rest my iPhone in
Ugh, those plastic boxes. I'm quite short and really struggled to lift DD in and out, especially in the early hours (and especially when some midwife thought she was being helpful by shoving it right up next to the bed).
I stayed in two nights as I struggled to establish feeding and I just co slept with her. Took her out the box, made a sort of nest with a pillow and my arm for her to lay in. Second night a midwife did move her back but it didn't wake either of us up so I didn't mind too much (though I was really confused when I woke up and she wasn't there).
I had very little sleep but I think that did help a bit. It may not be an option if you're recovering from a c-section though
A lot of hospitals have single rooms you can pay for. They are not cheap - £200 a night in my hospital - but if you are very worried about it then could be worth it.
This time round, after having an ELCS, I made a point of telling straight away any new midwife who'd come on shift that I'd had a CS and explaining 'I can't lift her very easily, please can you help?' - which saved me from having the blank incomprehension I had with DD1 'why aren't you up yet? You should be taking care of your own baby by now!'
Eye mask & ear plugs helped me get sleep in daytime - really made a difference.
If you want to get home quickly, try not to get discharged on a weekend- the staff numbers are so low compared to weekdays it takes hours. We were told we were free to go at 11am but it took until 9pm to get the paperwork signed! So if you can choose a date for a section go for first half of the week not a thurs or fri.
Thanks ladies. Eye mask and ear plugs packed. I shall make a point of asking for help lifting - when I thought about it after last time I was surprised it wasn't something the staff would routinely offer to help with. I also have memories of being repeatedly asked on the first day why I hadn't showered yet - er, because my husband is at home having a short rest and I don't want to faint when struggling into the shower on my own!!
Will endeavour to get a private room but there aren't many so they rightly get prioritised.
Lilipot yes I had the same about showers the first time, they wanted me up & showered before 7am and when I said I wanted to wait till my DH arrived (he was aiming to be there at 7am) the nurse said 'we'll have to put it on your notes 'refused to get up' - gah!
marshmallow - that is ridiculous! "Refused to get up" after a major operation, with no help to shower, it seems like such a risk to me to attempt to shower on your own in that situation....I can only assume it was something about needing to get women up and sorted before the staff handover, but honestly!
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