How can an exclusively breastfeeding mum get a break?

(30 Posts)
mamushka Wed 30-Jul-14 12:26:46

Sorry this is a long post.

I wouldn't say I've got a very high-needs baby, 8 week old DS does sleep in his own crib most of the night, normally does 3-5 hours in the first stretch and maybe another 2 after that, sometimes I'll top our sleep up by letting him co-sleep for a couple more hours in the morning.

However, he does have the odd "bad night" where I am left resenting DH and fantasising about a really good night's sleep (hotel room, lovely soft clean sheets, silence, a lie-in, etc...)

The trouble is how can I have a break or a night off when I'm exclusively breastfeeding? DH hasn't lifted a finger at night since DS was born, we both agreed it makes sense for me to handle all the night-wakings as I'd have to wake up to feed baby anyway - no point in having two sleep-deprived people especially as DH works full time and I can theoretically have naps in the day (ha - as if!).

I do find myself occasionally feeling that it's unfair that I can't have even one good night's sleep while DH sleeps well every night. I know I signed up to this when having a baby though.

So is there any way I could get a break? I am not really sure it would be practical to express a whole night's worth of milk!

I'm not at the point of desperation, just thought it can't hurt to put the question out there!

TarkaTheOtter Wed 30-Jul-14 21:13:08

This stage will go quickly. I second having one night at the weekend where dh brings baby to you so the only thing you have to do is feed. Your dh does all the resettling/nappies etc.
With dc2, DH would take them both downstairs after 5am so I knew I would get an extra 1-2hrs sleep in the morning before he went to work which helped. He was still sleeping 10-5am undisturbed so it didn't impact on his work at all.

Squtternutbaush Wed 30-Jul-14 21:14:09

Like you I felt that there was no point in both of us being up as DP works full time so on Friday/Saturday nights we'd switch sides in bed and he'd get up, bring her to me for a feed, change and put her back in bed. It was great as I didn't have to sit up smile

Charingcrossbun Wed 30-Jul-14 21:22:45

Hi OP really feel for you!! I know what it's like! I invested in a mini fridge - the tiny ones that fit 2 beer cans in (£15 Argos) and put it in the baby's room. I kept one feed of expressed milk in it. That way if there was A bad night I knew I always had the option o f kicking DP out for one feed. I think it was mainly psychological but made me feel better! You do also get used to the lack of sleep! If I get 4hrs in a row now it's like winning the lottery!

blushingmare Thu 31-Jul-14 19:14:49

It depends how important exclusively bf is to you. If it's really important, then no, you don't get a break as such. It's really important to me - I feed baby lying down at night and often fall asleep whilst doing it, wake up with a sleeping baby next to me and move him back to his cot! I actually get a fair bit of sleep doing it like this.

You'll find it much easier to deal with if you just accept this is how it is and not feel resentful or keep searching for solutions on how to change it. In the general scheme of things this is a really short time and before you know it you'll be on to the next lovely challenge of parenting smile

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Thu 31-Jul-14 22:15:56

I see what you mean about you needing to do the feeds, but there are ways of helping you.

He can take charge of nappy changes, resettling, etc. Either at the weekend or more generally. He can also take charge of any early wakings. If he has had a good night's sleep and the baby is up at 5, there is really no reason he shouldn't be the one to get up.

He can take the baby in the mornings at weekends too. For example, if he is up for the day at 7am, there is really no reason you couldn't do that feed at the weekends, then hand him over to your DH for another 2-3 hours (depending how long before he will need feeding again, and whether you want to express).

Also, try not to wake up massively for each feed. I honestly think arranging yourself so it is safe to fall asleep just in case (assuming you don't have medical issues that make this impossible) and feeding in a dozy state is far less disruptive to your overall night and you will go back to sleep more easily once DS is back in his cot if you haven't woken fully.

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