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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.

Inertia Sun 13-Jan-13 09:29:25

Sent too soon - you also need to decide on a night time strategy. At about that age, we tried feeding in the evening, one more bf if needed later at night, and then if dc woke again in the night DH tried a cup of expressed milk ( my dc wouldn't take bottles) . It can work as long as DH is prepared to stick it out and fully settle DS for those middle of the night wakings, even during the week - it needs to be consistent , and if you go to DS he will expect a breastfeed.

It also helped to gently discourage dc from falling asleep on the breast at bedtime - you might find it helps to gently wake DS to ensure he is full up.

WinkyWinkola Sun 13-Jan-13 09:29:40

Part of breastfeeding is about comfort. It's not just about milk.

Op, your ds sounds pretty normal to me. Growth spurt, teething etc can contribute to more wakefulness.

Fwiw, all my bf babies were different. My eldest and youngest appear to be the most wakeful and the middle two slept through pretty early on - 12 months and 13 months.

Self soothing does happen eventually and it can happen without distress to either baby or parents.

I think you need to respond to your baby.

All this talk of "indulging" and "giving in" is a load of guff. You can't indulge a 6 month old baby. It's operating on instinct and it's instinct is to seek out comfort, warmth and food. And by responding you're building up trust and helping to contribute to a confident, assured child who knows he doesn't have to scream his head off to get some comfort.

I think you are in the right here, op, especially since it is you who is managing all the nights.

If he wants to be involved more, I'm sure there's lots of nappies and purées to be given to your ds.

KellyElly Sun 13-Jan-13 09:30:04

Your DH is BU but I do think you need to try some techniques as your baby is waking as much as a much younger baby and it must be really hard for you both with the lack of sleep. Have you tried the Baby Whisperer? I got my DD into a good sleep and feeding routine through the routine and techniques used in there. I also used to put on a CD (the same lullaby one) every night when she went to sleep and would put that on again if she woke in the night and after a feed and she soon associated this with going back to sleep. I also used one of those bears that play the sound of a heartbeat or white noise when she woke up or cried and that also soothed her. Good luck OP and I hope you both get the sleep you need soon smile

ErikNorseman Sun 13-Jan-13 09:30:10

Why is he standing next to the cot if the baby is crying? Is he trying to get the baby off to sleep on his own? Because that absolutely won't work if the baby can see one of his parents there. He will just cry to be picked up. Controlled crying can work but it has to be done properly. Putting a crying baby in their cot then just standing there will achieve nothing. It certainly won't help him self settle. If your H wants to try a new sleep method that doesn't involve boob then he has to research it properly and discuss it with you.

DontmindifIdo Sun 13-Jan-13 09:30:22

BTW - when I say "settle your ds" I mean pick him up, cuddle him and make little 'shuhh' noises. If your DS is fed to sleep then he probably is used to being cuddled, he's used to falling asleep in your arms, when he wakes up in the night (as all people do briefly) it's more of a shock because he's woken up in a different place to where he fell asleep, so comforting with cuddles is going to be more effective, with or without milk.

Longer term, there's a lot to be said for teaching your DS to fall asleep in the first place in bed rather than in your arms while feeding. Can you start feeding earlier and not feeding to sleep?

I suggest you pick up a copy of the no cry sleep solution, it made a lot of sense to me. There are other options than "put up with no sleep for 3 years" or "leave your baby to cry it out"

iusedtobefun2 Sun 13-Jan-13 09:30:27

DD was like this. Would only fall asleep on boobie and would wake up several times in the night and need fed back to sleep.
By the time she was 9 months old she was waking up 10 - 12 times in an evening and would need fed back to sleep each time.

It was exhausting.
In the end I had to involve the HV and she helped us through a CC program to wean DD off boob and learn to self settle.

Maybe your DH has a point, you need to find alternative ways to settle your baby or you may end up with bigger problems.

His view points are valid too. You need to find a way to work at this together

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sun 13-Jan-13 09:31:37

Firstly I'd like to say "wow" you both have amazing strength and will power if you have been doing this for six months and only cracked now. I'd never have made it this long!!

Your husband should never have gone about things the way he did BUT he is his kid too and your undermining him as much as he's undermining u. You both need to talk and come up with a plan you both agree on and stick to it as confusion will not help situation at all.

If your hovering about and questioning everything he does then how is your dh meant to learn to soothe his baby.

If he is teething then can u try calpol/ teething gels etc see if that helps him soothe a bit?

If you are happy to continue to breast feed every hour and a half then maybe co sleeping would be an idea so baby can just suckle as he wants/needs to?

If you want to go with what your husband suggested and start weaning a little then there is going to be crying it is going to be hard and u do need to let your husband help.

LaCiccolina Sun 13-Jan-13 09:32:29

My view? Ur in the wrong thread. Poss should be in bf and bottle feeding. Ur getting alot of behaviour comments and not alot of advice re feeding in the style uve adopted.

Ur baby is 6mths. This is extremely young still. He seems to feeding about what I recognise as bf/ebf patterns. Sure others will agree too. Bf milk is easy to digest hence more often feeding. Ff is more bulky and filling. My dh and the dhs at our NCT group all felt they could halve the baby care. In practice that didn't work for anyone not totally ff. Even then those dhs complAined of grumpiness they couldn't alleviate. Unfortunately u can't override evolution where mum is prime carer. He wants his mum he wants his mum not much else will do and it's daft to persevere. Men seem to turn this into a battle of wills. Where its not like that, it just .... is.

Dh is probs best to bathe or help at other points. Maybe u agree to do nights. It's what works and gives the best road to family happiness. Nobody knows that but u 3 so u 3 figure it out. Avoid mil/mums advice!!!

It gets better nearer 1 and better again til 2. Growth at the end is the only thing that definately changes everything.

Put something in the feeding thread. See what else is suggested.

LimeLeafLizard Sun 13-Jan-13 09:32:36

OP I totally understand your last post written at 9:14 - could have written it myself in the past! What you are going through is so normal, please reassure your DH this is not easy but you will get through it working together, once you have agreed a plan and stick to it.

Please don't listen to anyone telling you to 'leave the bastard'! Your DH has been a bit controlling because he is stressed too, and you need to forgive him, for him to forgive you, and to love and support each other.

FWIW, I found it very difficult to comfort my breastfed babies without breastfeeding. For my DH, although it was harder, he was able to comfort them in the night (without feeding), and after a week or two (about this sort of age) we found that they responded better to him. This way we managed to get them to go from, say 11 - 5 without the breast.

The key to making this work was to get DH to promise to get up and go to the baby - i.e. get out of bed, soothe either by picking up or just patting / stroking, putting the dummy back in, etc. I had to be 100% confident that he would actually get up and comfort the baby (not ignore) and he had to be 100% confident that I would not interrupt and disrupt him by bf. This trust is crucial to team parenting at this age, and actually at any age.

AmberLeaf Sun 13-Jan-13 09:37:09

No one has said leave the bastard.

As I said before, this seems more about how the husband feels than what his baby needs

OPs baby is behaving normally.

AThingInYourLife Sun 13-Jan-13 09:38:01

I can't believe he's still in the house.

What he did last night was cruel and abusive to both you and your baby.

And being jealous doesn't justify it.

What a total prick to physically prevent a baby being picked up by his mother.

BinksToEnlightenment Sun 13-Jan-13 09:40:05

I don't think it's debate worthy because all babies and parents are different so all we have are anecdotes.

But mine is - six months old, I was up and down like a jack in the box. Same as you, OP. I couldn't not ignore that cry. It was like trying to sleep while the house burnt down. Fed on demand, co slept if it was needed (so nearly every night between 3 and 7). Comforted, rocked to sleep - whatever it took for a little short term peace.

Skip to now - two years old. I put him in his cot and he rolls over and says bye bye mummy. In the morning, I know he's up when I hear him talking to his bears and laughing to himself.

He has no memory of what happened when he was six months old. It doesn't matter. I know it feels like the most important thing in the world. To both you and your DH. But everything will be just fine.

thegreylady Sun 13-Jan-13 09:43:37

Have you tried a dummy? Not all the time but occasionally with your dh stroking or patting the baby. It may be no use at all but if baby isn't hungry and needs to suck it would help your dh feel he could do something. It wouldn't interfere with bf at all.

schroedingersdodo Sun 13-Jan-13 09:44:25

he is jealous because only you can comfrt ds. It may be frustrating to him, but what he has to hear is: 'it's not about you anymore! Ds feelings are more important, you're an adult so get over it!'

(unfortunately many parents take years to get that)

dreamingbohemian Sun 13-Jan-13 09:44:52

I think your DH was unreasonable last night, but I agree with everyone saying it would be good to change up how you are doing things and find other ways of settling/comforting your DS.

It's important that you feed and comfort your DS -- but sleep is also an important need, babies need lots of it, and what you're doing at the moment is not really encouraging in that regard. Some babies do need to learn how to self-settle, it's not automatic. I'm not saying leave him to cry or anything like that, but introducing other kinds of comfort would be a start.

You said your husband is not familiar with specific sleep techniques -- why not ask him to read up on some of them and choose the one that is closest to his approach, and then consider trying it at some point in future if you still need to, when DS is a bit older and not teething. That way you have some time to adjust but DH would have a sense that this will not go on forever either.

Sirzy Sun 13-Jan-13 09:51:15

Is wanting to be able to help your child (and wife) really labelled being jealous now? Is it really a bad thing for a father to want to be involved with helping his child?

As I have said before he went around it the wrong way but some of the posters here seem to be over reacting. I have seen many a thread complaining that partners do nothing to help and they get berated for wanting to do so, now someone is wanting to help and getting the same response. With some people the father really can't do right can he.

CheungFun Sun 13-Jan-13 09:51:25

I think your husband was completely wrong to stop you from comforting your baby, I think had DH have ever done this I would have lost my temper angry Although I know DH is completely capable of settling DS, there are certain cries that I want to deal with and don't want his help.

I thin you need to think about what you want, and how you want to deal with your baby's night time wakings and feedngs, then when you have some time, sit down with your husband and make a plan. You should be working as a team to solve this.

There are lots of different methods of helping to soothe your baby to sleep apart from controlled crying.

MummytoMog Sun 13-Jan-13 09:52:50

I think that BFing can cause a fair bit of tension - certainly when my DS was still breastfed, I felt that DH didn't even try to comfort him, he would just pass him to me to BF. DH felt pushed out and that he didn't know how to comfort DS so he just spent his time playing with our older DC. It improved a lot when DS started taking bottles, but that was only after I went back to work and only because he had absolutely no choice - wasn't fun for anyone, so if you don't absolutely need to introduce bottles, I wouldn't push it, although bottles do make things easier. I don't think your DH was being very fair, but I do understand how he was feeling at the time.

I don't think that is a normal sleeping pattern, and I think you could improve it, which would help everyone! I also loved the baby whisperer and found shh pat quite effective when resettling. There's nothing wrong with feeding to sleep, but I would be trying to feed before sleep and put him down drowsy but awake by now. Or if you are going to have to feed all night long, have him next to your bed? Teething is a mare, amber teething necklaces really helped both of mine (and are cute as the dickens) and totally screws up sleeping patterns, so things may improve suddenly once teeth are cut.

PenelopeChipShop Sun 13-Jan-13 09:55:10

I will be back later to answer questions, got to get ready for ILs coming round. Thanksvforcall replies. We have only just stopped co sleeping btw

AThingInYourLife Sun 13-Jan-13 09:59:00

Just because some fathers are lazy shites who do nothing doesn't make it OK for other fathers to use their physical strength to separate a baby from its mother.

I have a lot of sympathy with some of his views, and I think using the father to give non-milk comfort can be very useful at night.

But standing between a crying baby and his mother?

No fucking way.

That is barbaric and inexcusable.

You discuss approaches during the day and implement them at night.

You don't start throwing your weight around at night.

How horrible and frightening that must have been.

That he is capable of doing that raises big questions about his abilities as a parent and partner.

WinkyWinkola Sun 13-Jan-13 10:00:08

I'd keep trying with bottles of expressed milk at times when you're not at all stressed and it doesn't matter if your ds takes them or not. He may well get it with regular exposure. Leave empty bottles for him to grab and play with too.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sun 13-Jan-13 10:02:04

I also think you do need to find out why he is crying. Feeding may deal with the initial comfort issue and he will be all snug and warm
And full and drowsy to care about what else was bothering him. But if his original need had been met he wouldn't be up an hour later.

We have all done it, we have all just fed our babies as that was always the sure fire way to comfort them. But sometimes it's not enough and it's just delaying the inevitable.

You said he is teething, so what are u doing for that?

Is there anythin new you have introduced weaning wise that might not be agreeing with him?

Could he just be thirsty would some water in the day help?

Is he over tired? Have you established nap routine?

I'm not saying you should just let him cry but sometimes they just stop themselves they just need a couple of minutes to work out if they need something or r just whinging.

If he wants to suck how about a dummy? If he's hungry fair enough but there's obviously something else that is upsetting him and u need to work out what it is.

AmberLeaf Sun 13-Jan-13 10:06:00

Id imagine the fact that you have only just stopped co sleeping has a lot to do with your baby waking several times a night.

Was it a sudden stop from co sleeping?

I'm guessing it was your husbands idea?

TepidCoffee Sun 13-Jan-13 10:08:14

You don't have to teach a baby to self-sooth at 6mo if you don't want to. It doesn't mean he'll never learn.

There's nothing wrong with offering the breast for comfort as well as nutritition. Biologically speaking, it's what we're programmed to do.

These are both reasonable and legitimate parenting approaches. It's how we did it, although we also co-slept. I think we would also have cracked had we been getting up that many times!

Flobbadobs Sun 13-Jan-13 10:08:18

Your DH didn't deal with it Very well at all but see it from his side for a minute. He's not only seeing the baby not sleeping, possibly teething and being awake in the night again, he's also seeing his wife losing precious relaxation time. His possible worry for you may be clouding his judgement a little.
Having said all that, doing anything about self settling a teething baby is just pissing into the wind IME, if you're going to work on sleep patterns, when baby is teething is the worst possible time.
So he is being U. I hope you get a chance to sort this out.

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