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AIBU or is DH - we seem to have totally different approaches to parenting and I didn't see this coming

(136 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Sun 13-Jan-13 08:24:06

Am a bit scared of posting in here but I really need other opinions / perspective and can't exactly moan about this at the NCT group. Our DS1 is 6 months old and lately DH and I seem to disagree all the time on how to handle him, mainly his sleep rather than anything else. He's not a good sleeper - settles fairly well in his cot in his room at 7pm then needs a feed between 10 and 11, then one at about 1am, then he wakes every 1.5 to 2 hours needing resettling (9 times out of 10 this is with a feed) until he's up for the day at around 5.30 or 6am. Although this is tough I gather its fairly typical for his age? On week nights I do all the night time duty as DH works full time - I guess this is reasonable. However in practice I get up on weekend nights as well and DH only helps if DS won't settle - I think this just evolved because he always seemed to need feeding above anything else and he is ebf. We did try to introduce bottles of expressed milk early but he never really took to them and I struggled to find time to express every day so that DH could try bottles regularly, with the result that he now doesn't 'get' them at all. I'm working on introducing cups but that wouldn't be practical for night feeds yet so I have to do them. I am happy with this as bf-ing has always worked well for me and I enjoy it.
The problem I suppose is that DH seems unhappy with how we/ I have managed things - he thinks ds is too reliant on me, that I feed him too often in the night, shouldn't let him fall asleep on the boob at 7pm as he isn't learning to self settle, and that we should be giving at least a bottle of formula a day, ideally late at night so ds will sleep longer. I don't have a problem with that last one at all but it just isn't working out as he doesn't do bottles. Dh also thinks I should be starting to wean him off the boob in general but I don't think either of us are ready. What we are rowing over is how to soothe ds when he is really fractious - I generally start with a cuddle but inevitably he will ask for a comfort feed and I always give it - I have always fed on demand, it's just what feels right to me. DH thinks I indulge him. I think that comfort is just as good a reason to feed as hunger. Last night this came to a head with DH physically barring me from approaching the cot and picking ds up as he cried. He said he knew I would feed him and that he was 'putting his foot down' and that I couldn't feed him til his 'average' time of 10.30pm (it was about an hour to wait). Admittedly I don't think ds was hungry from his cry but I wanted to comfort him as I thin he was teething - after giving the usual remedies he likes to suck to relax. DH insisted on just picking up and putting down until he cracked at about 10.20 and 'allowed' me to feed ds. By then he was completely worked up and wouldn't settle even after the feed - we were up til 1am which is v unusual. All exhausted today. I know his wakefulness might not be entirely down to DH's intervention as he is teething too but it certainly didn't help. DH thinks I am being controlling in not letting him try to comfort ds himself. I am outraged that he prevented me from feeding ds when I felt he needed it resulting in a very upset baby. This is sad in a way as we are not trying to do our best but I saw a very controlling, domineering side to him last night that I have literally never seen before - he is usually a very easy going, gentle person. So Was I being unreasonable not to give him a chance to help last night without interfering? Or should he not have made me go against my instincts to feed? I just find it so hard to listen to ds cry when I know I can make it better, but DH interprets this as a criticism of him. Good grief sorry this is long. Just so confused this morning and knackered.

ThereGoesTheYear Sun 13-Jan-13 08:30:51

I can't get over the fact that he physically barred you from approaching the cot to comfort your son. This is outrageous. Has he apologised this morning for bullying you?

Grapesoda Sun 13-Jan-13 08:33:55

I was all ready to say that you just have different opinions.
But in this case he is BU?
It may pass but you need to have a word.

Bananapickle Sun 13-Jan-13 08:36:59

Hmmm...yes he barred you one time from getting to your DS but you have said in our own words that you don't let your DH comfort your DS, so you're both trying to push your own views on each other.
Obviously things aren't working as they are for you as a couple so you need to have a conversation when emotions arent running so high and your DS isnt screaming.
You say your DH is usually a easy going person, the fact that he snapped should speak volumes as to how unhappy he is with the situation. I'm not saying he's necessarily right but it definitely means you need to be listening to him more.
YANBU to be upset that he barred you but YABU to let it get to the point where DH feels he needed to in order to make you listen.

I'm so sorry, it sounds really hard. I know it's frustrating with the sleep, my DD is the same age, some nights she wakes just like you describe and let's face it, boob is the easiest and quickest way to settle them isnt it? I am also starting to look into other ways of doing things but I wonder if you can make this an opportunity for you and your DH to research things together to agree on a strategy going forward? Then you can both be involved. But I think you need to say very strongly that you are deeply unhappy that he stopped you from going to your DS and you want him to promise he won't do it again. 6 months is still so, so young and and I believe these babies still just need comfort and are too young to be introduced to any kind of being left/prolonged crying type solutions. Can you two sit down and talk and try to find a way forward together?

AlbertaCampion Sun 13-Jan-13 08:37:47

I think it's difficult because I can see both points of view - and both of you truly believe you're in the right!

BUT

I think all bets are off when your DS is teething. That's go with the flow time, and do whatever it takes to make him comfortable, so I think your DH was in the wrong here.

Down the line though, I'd put some time and energy into getting him to self-settle. I wouldn't like to have a 6mo who would still only fall asleep on the boob. It's a pain! That's personal preference though: there's not really any "right" or "wrong", but I do agree with your DH on this count.

If it's any consolation, my DH and I had many similar arguments about our DC! Par for the course, I reckon, but my advice is to find a happy medium. smile

strumpetpumpkin Sun 13-Jan-13 08:38:10

i think he's within his rights to say that something needs to be done about his waking all hours. that Will affect all of you and its not necessary for him to feed every hour and a half at 6 months +
i think he was fairly clumsy about it but you need to have a good talk about some proper tactics. I think its completely normal to not sleep through the night at that age, but that amount of wakenings must just be exhausting for you all and it just looks like he's cracked first.

nilbyname Sun 13-Jan-13 08:41:26

He barred you from the cot?? Your 6m baby was screaming and no one was cuddling him??

shock He sounds like a complete fucking shit, I would be livid and I would be at my mums. Is he sorry/shamed?

You have very parenting approaches, you need to work out what to do for the best for your baby.

SavoyCabbage Sun 13-Jan-13 08:41:38

I think he's just trying to get in in the act so to speak. There he is, the new father, and he can't give his son any comfort (or so he feels). I think he just wanted to be the one to comfort him. Although I would be cross with him if I was you, I would also e understanding.

I failed miserably as breast feeding and it was horrible as it felt like I was failing my precious tiny baby. She was crying and crying and I could do nothing.

Soon there will be plenty for your dh to get involved with. Breast feeding is just one tiny, tiny part of bringing up a child. Perhaps you could talk with him about all the things he can do. Can e be in total charge of bath time for example.

PebblePots Sun 13-Jan-13 08:42:39

That sounds so hard, & I would feel upset too if my dh took that approach. Suggest you & dh need to talk & decide your strategy so it's not all coming to a head in the heat of the moment when you're trying to deal with a wakeful baby.

My dh has in the past tried to 'fix' things & insisting I leave him to it. Sometimes I do & have realised he's right, sometimes I have disagreed.

Not sure why your dh is so bothered since you do all the nights & are happy with that. I'd say go with your mother's instincts on this one, I think you are right. Hopefully your baby will naturally need fewer feeds in the night as he gets older & will learn to settle himself.

Finallygotaroundtoit Sun 13-Jan-13 08:43:26

Your baby needs you at night.

Throughout most of the world babies of this age are co sleeping and getting the comfort they need. It may work for you with the frequent 'wakings'

This is normal human behaviour, not your baby 'trying it on' (ask any anthropologist).

Would your DH read any books to help change his rather odd view of how to treat babies?

SavoyCabbage Sun 13-Jan-13 08:43:44

Penelope's dh picked the baby up when he was crying.

JellyMould Sun 13-Jan-13 08:43:44

Wow. He certainly seems to be worked up about it. Can he articulate what harm he thinks it will do if you feed the baby?

Fwiw, your DS probably would sleep a bit better if you worked on self settling, but its early days and things will a change a lot in the next few months. since you deal with nights it's surely not your husbands problem? My DS was very similar to yours and I fed on demand till just over a year, when I sleep trained with not much fuss. My dd is nearly 6 months now and is a better sleeper, even though I have still fed in the same way.

Bottleoffish Sun 13-Jan-13 08:44:34

YANBU. You're right, this waking is normal and to deny comfort to a baby, especially a teething one, is very cruel.

You obviously need to talk. Can you both have a read of the following website for reassurance?

www.isisonline.org.uk/how_babies_sleep/

Sirzy Sun 13-Jan-13 08:44:52

I agree with banana.

Although it wasn't the right way he is trying to help and trying to be involved. You need to work together not against each other.

LoopsInHoops Sun 13-Jan-13 08:45:04

We've all been there. I certainly have with DH, both times round. I think it's totally normal.

I think you're both exhausted and at the end of your tether, therefore you are both being unreasonable.

With older DD we tried every day for months with the 10pm formula feed thing. She slept through before she started accepting bottles (9 months).

With younger DD I worked full time and had an evening job and other voluntary commitments - job from 5 motnhs, rest from birth, so H had to be able to settle her. I had to trust him to do it his way (against my instincts with regard to feeding, crying etc.) and it made for a far easier babyhood.

McPhee Sun 13-Jan-13 08:46:45

Although your DH has been a bit of an arse, I can kind of see where he is coming from. But his approach was all wrong, probably out of frustration. It sounds like you've all got yourselves in to a bit of a pattern, that is getting harder to manage/break. My Dd is 6 months, and only feeds on average once/twice a night. Could you work on him learning how to self settle? I think the trick is to try and put them down whilst their still awake, which sometimes isn't easy. Especially when they fall asleep on the breast.

Like others have said, your DH shouldn't have barred you from approaching the cot. That was a bit strong, but I think now is the time to be proactive before it makes things difficult between you all.

Ineedacoffee Sun 13-Jan-13 08:50:38

His behaviour last night was totally unreasonable and he should be apologising ALOT, however some of his ideas are worth thinking about. Although what you describe is not that unusual in some 6 month olds, a lot of them do sleep alot better than this and you would all feel better with more sleep.

A few points that struck me:
You need to talk and agree a plan in the daytime, Not at night while the baby is crying
If DH wants him to take a bottle HE needs to take ownership of this and try one every day. Much more difficult for you to give it.
Some will advocate CC at this age but you both have to be on board and it is hard.
PUPD is hard for different reasons - you need the patience of a saint and to be very consistent.
NOTHING will work overnight, it takes time.
Teething is not the time to be trying anysort of sleep training - you need a well, happy baby to start with.
Things change - you are at weaning age which may make a difference?
He is right that the baby doesn't need milk every 1-2 hrs but it is hard to break the habit. How are his naps? do you feedto sleep then too? They may be the place to start.

None of this is condoning what he did last night, just some toughts about what might help to think about. Sorry if disjointed - I'm also feeding while typing!

pixi2 Sun 13-Jan-13 08:51:31

Grab a takeaway coffee, go for a walk without ds if poss and talk. At this age dh would get ds, change his nappy and pass him to me to bf and settle. Same with dd. dh is much stricter than I Amanda it's hard to stand by when he is disciplining a tired 3 yr old but we have to support each other. Ds is 3 and dh now adores teaching him football and rugby skills. You need to remind dh that this tired baby stage isn't forever.

pixi2 Sun 13-Jan-13 08:52:34

Sorry, stupid phone. Not Amanda but 'and'

PenelopeChipShop Sun 13-Jan-13 08:54:16

Theregoes - no he hasn't but we haven't really had the energy to talk yet. I hope he will. We clearly need to talk but its so hard to find an opportunity and I don't want to argue in front of ds.

Banana - thank you, your post has really made me think. I am really angry with him but its a good point that he must have been feeling desperate to crack like that.

This is just so hard. I may be over reacting but when we disagree like this I just don't know how to go forwArd. I don't think DH would suggest controlled crying (he doesn't read baby books at all so probably hasn't heard of it) but he isn't averse to letting him cry a bit in the cot without talking to him, whereas it physically hurts me to see him do that. That's why I come and interrupt and say 'pick him up'... I just can't stop myself. But DH ten thinks I am not trusting him to take care of ds.

NotMostPeople Sun 13-Jan-13 08:55:57

I think your DH has a point, ok he probably didn't deal with it in the best way but it sounds like he has tried to talk to you about it and got frustrated. If you know your baby is sucking for comfort rather than because he's hungry then at what point are you going to teach him to self settle? The longer you leave it the harder it's going to be.

If you don't want him to keep waking in the night then you are going to have to go through a period of adjustment while he learns to settle and this can be done. It's is hard and he will cry. Honestly it's a choice go through the transition of teaching him to sleep which will be hard for a while or continue as you are.

CaptainNancy Sun 13-Jan-13 08:57:10

Your poor son- he may be having a growth spurt!
Your dh was being unreasonable to prevent you from comforting your son, however you need to be very wary of feeding your baby for comfort rather than hunger- his patterns of eating for life are being laid down now, and I'm sure you want him to eat healthily, but find comfort from other sources as appropriate.
It's different with newborns obviously, and they usually do need boob all the time grin however, by this age they really can go longer and it's important that he gets comfort in other ways, i'd also suggest that it's important he finds comfort with other people too, simply to help you over the next few years...v difficult if he only seeks it from 1 parent.
Now he's old enough to start food, it would be a good idea to get his father heavily involved I that (even if it's just weekend for now).
I do think you need to discuss this with your husband- he took a unilateral step last night, he hadn't mentioned he was going to do that and he should have discussed approaches with you first, and you don't want that to happen again.

Tailtwister Sun 13-Jan-13 08:58:56

You have and continue to respond to your baby's needs. You have done nothing wrong. Your DH is completely out of order to physically stop you from comforting your baby. He needs to take a good look at himself and grow up imo. He also owes you a huge apology.

He needs to understand that your baby's current behaviour is totally normal. His on the other hand is not.

FergusSingsTheBlues Sun 13-Jan-13 09:00:19

My dh and i have different aporoaches. He was the indulgent one, i am the firm one. To be fair things are better recently, but our differences in discipline and sleeping have led to totally inconsistent parenting and our son is a dreadful sleeper even though hes almost three, because he knows hell be comforted by daddy at any time in the night. We both regret being so soft on our son re sleeping tbh and will be cc for next child. (being sick is a different matter)

You need to meet in the middle, and stick to it. The strain and frustration when you each feel that the other is wrong is unreal and it has definately strained our relationship.

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