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Newborn Night Duty

One thing you realize very quickly after becoming a mom is that life with a baby is predictably unpredictable. So many things can work out differently than you envisioned, from the birth to how and when you feed your baby.

A schedule is almost impossible to pull together in those first few weeks, when the lines between night and day are blurred. And while you may be one of those parents with the magical unicorn baby who naturally sleeps through the night early on, most of you will start cringing at the question “Is he sleeping through the night yet?”

The good news: Nighttime doesn’t have to be so hard when you’re prepared with the right tools. Sure, that prep is going to look different depending on whether you’re breastfeeding, formula-feeding, or doing a combination of both. But if there’s a bottle in the mix, the BabyNes Smart Nutrition System should be one of those tools. It ensures your baby’s bottle is the perfect consistency and temperature each time, which is pretty much a lifesaver when you’re simply trying to get through the day.

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You’ll get through it. We all do. So find your cool and be proud of these moments. The happy ones, the hard ones, the gross ones. They’re all beautiful. Want proof? Here’s a glimpse into newborn night duty with NYC mom Melanie Cohen, her husband Evan, and their newborn son Hunter Leo.

7 p.m. Every other night or so we give him a bath at the start of the bedtime routine. We change his diaper and put on pajamas. After that, we give him a bottle on the glider in his room with dim light.

“Our bedtime routine came together pretty organically. I don't remember what initiated it, but every night has been the same since then,” says Melanie Cohen.

7:15 p.m. Swaddle him. Read two books. Sometimes give him a little more to eat if he does not seem satiated (either by breast or bottle).

"The BabyNes' simple design had us under its spell from the moment we hit that button. I mean, a perfectly mixed bottle, at the right temperature, in 60 seconds? How great is that?” says Melanie.

7:30 p.m. Turn on white noise machine and turn off light. Hold him just for a few more moments until he is relaxed and closing his eyes. Place him in crib. Bolt across the apartment and cross our fingers!

“Multi-tasking has been the most challenging! It seems like we are always trying to accomplish our to-do list items while juggling the baby,” says Melanie.

8 p.m. Clean up. Wash the bottles, clean up dinner plates, tidy up the living room, put stroller away, etc.

“The BabyNes pods are user-friendly and less messy than scooping formula into a bottle (especially with a baby in your arms),” says Melanie.

Middle of the night Every now and then he will wake up in the middle of the night. If he seems super unhappy, by process of elimination we usually figure out that he is hungry and give him a bottle. This usually settles him back to sleep pretty quickly.

"I feel fortunate that I can breastfeed my baby and have my husband bottle-feed the baby as well. Even when I can't provide him with breastmilk, it's a relief to know this formula addresses my baby's nutritional needs by stage,” says Melanie.

8 a.m. Get him out of the crib. Sometimes he has already woken up by then on his own and we leave him hanging out in his crib until 8 (we recently started finding him communicating with the stuffed animal heads above his crib). Other days he is still sleeping by 8, and we open the shades and his swaddle, which leads him to open his eyes and stretch his arms up above his head.

“The experience of having a newborn is so much better than we thought it would be! We are overwhelmed at both the feelings of responsibility and also intense unconditional love that we feel for him,” says Melanie.

8:15 a.m. Once he is relatively awake, we change his diaper and then he breastfeeds on the living room sofa while we watch the news (or sometimes DVR'd episodes of The Kardashians or Real Housewives -- a truly guilty pleasure!).

“The best moments are when our little family of three can spend time together free of any distractions. The best is usually when we take him out of the crib in the morning and he opens his eyes, connects with us, and smiles. There is nothing more delicious,” says Melanie.

Enter to win your own BabyNes Smart Nutrition System & Pods below! This giveaway is open until Jan 3 at 11:59pm EST.

Photography by Jonica Moore

This post was sponsored by Gerber. Gerber recommends breastfeeding as the best start in life.

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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