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AIBU to think he should be able to hear the baby cry at night?

(114 Posts)
TheDetective Fri 17-May-13 17:24:21

I suspect a lot of people have this 'problem'. A DP/DH who 'doesn't hear' the baby cry at night.... hmm

DP is currently on additional paternity leave. I should be back in work, but am currently off sick. Baby is 5 months old. DP has never woke at night to his cries.

I am thoroughly pissed off now, and the fact he is on paternity leave makes it worse IMO, as this time off is to care for the baby! Had I been back in work, this week I'd have been doing nights. And he doesn't wake?!

Our baby wakes anything from 3-20 times a night don't ask. DP does get up for him - but I have to kick/push him til he is awake. So I'm well and truly awake by the end of this. It can take 10 minutes to get him out of bed. I can feel myself getting more angry when I think of it!

He said he is a heavy sleeper - just doesn't hear him. Are you fucking kidding? I'm a heavy sleeper, but I still hear my baby cry!!

A couple of nights ago, the baby was on his chest screaming, while he was asleep. WTAF?? I had to wake him even though there was a screaming writhing 5 month old on top of him.

So I've not slept properly in over 7 months now thanks pregnancy insomnia! and I'm at the end of my tether. We've had rows over this. He said he doesn't know what he can do. Neither do I. But it has to stop! When I am back in work I will be on 2 weeks of night shifts a month, and I am petrified that my poor baby will be screaming all night. I want to walk away and book in to a hotel for a night and leave him to it. But how can I leave a baby with a man that does not wake up?!

AIBU to think that being a 'heavy sleeper' is not an excuse to not wake up when your baby cries?

DP reads MN, so I hope he finds this...

It's a good fucking job he has good points I swear.

overprotection Fri 17-May-13 17:27:52

YABU, if this is biologically how his body is wired up what do you expect him to do? It's like him complaining your boobs are the wrong size, it's not your fault it's how you were made.

You either have to work round it or find some elaborate system that will force him awake if there's a certain amount of noise (no idea if this exists or not).

GoodbyePorkPie Fri 17-May-13 17:30:24

I don't know about the biology but my DH is the same. Sometimes I hit nudge him gently to alert him to the fact his daughter needs him. He will willingly get up in that case but he sleeps like the dead.

StuntGirl Fri 17-May-13 17:32:53

Well obviously he can't help being a heavy sleeper but ffs, does this mean you must do every single night waking forever? I would be concerned about the days you say you have to be away OP. What are you supposed to do, cancel every night away? Impractical if not impossible when those nights are related to work.

Does he sleep through everything else? Alarms etc?

lottiegarbanzo Fri 17-May-13 17:35:29

Well if the baby is waking 20 times a night, he might as well not bother going to sleep at all!

Is there any time of day when the baby sleeps for a predictable length of time? Napping for an hour in the day for example? So, could he sleep when the baby sleeps, setting an alarm to wake him in time? Is there any way of operating a similar system at night? Is the waking at all predictable?

Does DP wake with an alarm? If not, how does he usually wake up? Is he very set in his sleep pattern? Perhaps he needs to disrupt it seriously and deliberately so he doesn't sleep so deeply and can grab naps when possible. Not a great long-term option but tolerable while he is on leave.

Suzieismyname Fri 17-May-13 17:38:29

Pretty much as soon as I stopped breastfeeding I went back into deeper sleeping mode. My DH wakes up well before me most of the time.

20 times a night is a lot! When baby gets to 6 months, try a bit of controlled crying...

cinnamonsugar Fri 17-May-13 17:38:30

YANBU for wanting him to wake up, but YABU to expect it to work the same for him as it does for you. For very good reasons, mothers are physiologically programmed to wake for their babies. Babies crying aren't even in the top 10 things most likely to wake a man, whereas they're number 1 of that list for women.

I don't know what to suggest unfortunately. He doesn't smoke, does he? I know that makes it harder to wake.

Cloverer Fri 17-May-13 17:40:42

DP is the same (he doesn't wake for alarms either!) and DS is 2.10 now.

I use it to my advantage though, as we're supposed to share wake-ups but now I almost always kick him out of bed and pretend I have been getting up loads too grin

It doesn't take DP 10 minutes to get out of bed though, he's up and into DS's room as soon as I kick him.

TheDetective Fri 17-May-13 17:40:48

Baby doesn't nap predictably. He often cries out in his naps and needs re-settling. He has reflux and CMPI, and is in the middle of a sleep regression we have more regression than not hmm.

Last night he slept a solid 7 hours, while I was up from 2.50 with a baby waking every 30 minutes, and then trying to get up for the day at 5am. At 6.45 I kicked him awake, and thankfully he did get up with the baby, and took him downstairs. So he does have good points. But still...!

He does wake for his alarm, but probably oversleeps more than your average person 'I didn't hear the alarm' or 'the alarm mustn't have gone off' being his favourite excuses. He wakes to other things. Just not the baby hmm.

TheDetective Fri 17-May-13 17:42:25

Takes an average of 3-4 'DP the baby is crying, get up' for DP to actually make it out of bed.

He's not a smoker, no.

Seekingsense Fri 17-May-13 17:47:47


I have this exact same issue with DH. It is infuriating.

I've eventually come round to the fact that I will always be the one with broken nights, but I now kick DH out of bed early on the weekend so I have a few hours to catch up on sleep.

It's not a problem if I'm not there because DH puts the baby monitor right next to his head which wakes him up. He can't do this if I'm there because I'd then wake at every tiny whimper, but it works if I'm not there.

Good luck.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 17-May-13 17:50:05

What are the other things he wakes for? Work with those?

It sounds to me as though he's very set in a sleep pattern and needs to shake it up in a big way, which he'll hate.

But I don't really know anything. Can you consult a sleep expert? If he's solely responsible while you're at work, it's a serious issue.

Though, if you're doing night shifts, is there any way you can both organise your lives in shifts so that he is always awake when you are not there and lseeps while you are there and awake?

TheDetective Fri 17-May-13 17:56:45

Dog barking/next doors alarm going off/loud noises outside. All those wake him up.

He doesn't have a set pattern of sleep, no. He doesn't actually need more than 5 hours a night really.

Once back at work, no option for him to stay up, as he will be in work some days, and we have childcare for only the days he is in work. Someone has to look after the baby!

PeazlyPops Fri 17-May-13 18:01:33

YABVU. I don't hear the baby crying in the night, but my husband does., I'm glad he doesn't give me grief over something I just can't help.

LastTangoInDevonshire Fri 17-May-13 18:03:23

There was a great article in a newspaper the other week about men not hearing babies cry at night. They just don't - they are not wired for it. Whereas us ladies are.

dufflefluffle Fri 17-May-13 18:04:01

My DH suffers from paternal deafness too. I've come to the conclusion that it is not exclusive to men but rather when a person knows that someone else will deal with the crisis they stay in the land of nod. A good friend (female) never ever woke at night, her dh (who had a very high pressure job - while she was a sahm) got up for all of their children. One child had asthma and often needed medication at night - friends dh had to climb over her to get up - she never woke. One night he was exhausted and nudged her awake (but obviously didn't trust her as he stayed awake listening) to go and tend to the child that was sick, she stumbled around getting medicine and spoons and then started to give the wrong child the medicine hmm He never bothered her slumber again!! I think it's the same with my dh, I am a light sleeper and get up with the children always. DH says isn't it great they slept all night!! (when they were smaller)

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 17-May-13 18:04:08

Do you think that he is pretending to be asleep?

parakeet Fri 17-May-13 18:10:34

Technology must be the solution here. If he wakes for next door's alarm going off then surely he would wake for a loud phone alarm. So what the MN hive mind needs to do is come up with a way of jerry-rigging some kind of sensor to a smart phone.

SteepApproach Fri 17-May-13 18:13:13

Only needs 5 hours? The vagaries of male biology aside, that makes me wonder if he sleeps so deeply because he's chronically overtired without realising it. Longer sleep duration might be something worth experimenting with.

goodygumdrops Fri 17-May-13 18:13:17

Is the baby on your side of the bed or his? If yours, could you swop sides?

babyhammock Fri 17-May-13 18:19:47

I'd bet my bottom arse that he stays asleep because he knows you will deal with the baby..
I don't get this 'ah poor bloke, he can't help it' at all....

TheDetective Fri 17-May-13 18:20:06

Jerry rigging grin.

No, what I mean is, he can manage on 5 hours and function normally. He likes 8-10! He doesn't always get that though! He had 7 last night before I got him up!

I don't think he is pretending. He is often snoring or heavy breathing.

The baby has been on both sides of the bed. Baby is now right next door in his own cot. Baby monitor next to DP's ear, full blast doesn't even work.

MrsMangoBiscuit Fri 17-May-13 18:21:23

DH never used to hear DD when she was first here, whereas I would snap awake straight away. Even when I nudged him awake, it would take ages for him to get going, so by the time he was up, I was fully awake too. I think as dufflefluffle says, if you know that someone else will deal with it, it just doesn't wake you up the same. It just doesn't seem to register, it's not that you don't hear it, but it doesn't seem to filter into your consciousness enough to wake you.

With DH, when it was "his turn" I would refuse to open my eyes, and nudge him until he woke up. Over a few months it got better. Now he quite often hears DD before I do, so will get up for her and I'm the one left thinking she's not woken.

No point getting cross with him about it, I really doubt it's intentional. I would certainly try "training" him to react when he's asleep though.

TheDetective Fri 17-May-13 18:21:57

I'm chronically overtired too!!!

I've not slept longer than 3 hours in one go in 7 months. Last night, by the time I relaxed enough to fall asleep, I'd had about 2hrs 20 before he woke, and then I was up pretty much all night as it takes me time to fall back asleep once I've been woken up.

HollyBerryBush Fri 17-May-13 18:23:54

Mothers are programmed to the sound of their baby crying. Men are not. Simple as that. All the equal rights legislation in the world will not reprogramme natural instinct.

I used to be able to sleep as an Olympic even. Until I had children, I could sleep on a washing line ; I even slept through a Hawkwind concert at Hammersmith. Now, if a sparrow farts, my eyes are open.

I really do believe motherhood heightens your hearing.

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