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To want a little more help, and be able to eat a meal occasionally?!

(75 Posts)
cookiemonster5678 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:15:16

I have a 3 week old baby who is my first born, I absolutely adore him and am enjoying my new life as a mum... He does cry a fair bit, and wants to be cuddled upto me rather than in a bouncer chair or moses basket, which leaves me with very little time to get jobs done during the day,

Am I being totally unreasonable to want my partner who works full time to help me a little more during the night, and also want time to eat a proper meal?

I couldn't have asked more from my partner during his time at home after the birth, I had a traumatic labour and was unable to do as much as I would have liked at first. He did all the night feeds, most of the day feeds, all nappy changes, bottle sterilising etc etc etc and left me to enjoy cuddles with the baby and recover from the labour. I am not moaning about him, he is brilliant with the baby and we have just sort of slipped into a way of doing things that I am not entirely happy with.

Since he has gone back to work (full time) we have fallen into a routine where as well as looking after the baby all day I do every night feed Sunday - Thursday, and he takes over Friday and Saturday. During the weekends I still end up waking up when he does the night feeds as I am a light sleeper and struggle to fall back to sleep. During the week he sleeps right through the night and gets up at 7am for work, I have usually been up for at least an hour if not more by this point. I am utterly exhausted.

During the day I don't have time to make a decent meal to eat, and end up picking at food when I get a minute. This is leaving me more drained and with little energy.

I just cried and cried when he left for work this morning, mainly because I miss him so much when he leaves us, but also because I still hadn't eaten breakfast, knew I wouldn't get chance too, and was knackered from being awake the best part of 4 hours in the night.

I have just taken the baby into the kitchen, and he finally fell asleep in his chair to the sound of the tumble dryer. I feel rotten doing this, but I made myself a lovely nutritious meal, and left the baby in the kitchen to go to the sitting room and eat. I did keep nipping back in to check he was ok. Was this mean of me? I was just so desperate for some food that I had the shakes!

When my partner gets in from work he takes a while to get himself organised, he has a bath, then makes himself some food, prepares for work the next day etc so while he is doing that I still cant hand baby over and usually end up doing a further nappy change and feed. It can be anything around 7-8pm before we are all settled down to spend time together and I can get a rest.

What I am mainly asking for advice on, is would I be unreasonable to suggest to my partner that he helps a little during the week when he arrives home, and with night feeds?

I completely get that he works full time and needs his sleep, but I also feel that I need to be more awake and alert to look after our baby during the day. I am thinking maybe he could get up once out of the 3 times the baby wakes? Or we could each do night feeds on alternate nights throughout the whole week? Any other suggestions welcome too...

I also understand he has been at work all day, but he has had a lunch hour and a full nights sleep, I have not.

Or as a stay at home mother should I be doing it all, and leave him to sleep during the week nights?

Sorry for rambling, I am a very tired new mum trying to get used to it all!!

littlebluedog12 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:19:52

You poor thing, it's tough. My DH used to make me lunch for the next day when he made his own packed lunch for work, it was a simple thing that really helped. He didn't do any of the night feeds as I was BF, but he did do all the cooking in the evening when he got home.

Have you told your partner how you are feeling?

minibmw2010 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:23:27

Firstly, congratulations on your little one. I think you need to consider several things here. You need to speak with your DH. There's no reason he can't help when he gets home in the evening but he may feel that you're happy with how it is, you want to be the one to do the main care, etc. My DH has always come home and had to launch straight into bathtime as that's when he gets home, but I have always expected him to pitch in as soon as he walks in and he does.

But, I don't understand why you're saying you 'don't have a chance' to make a decent meal. Why on earth not? What are you doing? Put the baby down, make a sandwich, drink a drink. The baby lie perfectly well in their chair or carrycot, or whatever for half an hour. They may not like it (or they may, who knows) but I'm assuming you mean you can't make a meal as you're holding the baby all the time? Put him down. Eat some food. You'll feel a whole load better for it.

Re the night feeds I have to admit I did all the night feeds during the week mainly because DH gets up at 5am, but he'd take over at weekends, I taught myself to sleep heavier. That's not a criticism, just the way we did it.

It's very early days, you are finding your feet with your lovely new son, but you need to speak with your DH if you need help, communication is key. Good luck. x

ForgettableTampon Mon 10-Feb-14 14:24:19

oh it's just HORRIBLE isn't it

absolutely yes to sticking baby in front of the tumble dryer or washing machine or dishwasher, a bit of white noise, yes PLEASE

when my babies were really little I would rugby ball the smallest at DH as soon as he came in from work, here YOU hold him for a bit, it evolved into DH doing the witching hour with the colicy-crankyness/bath/bed and in between I would do supper and we'd eat in relays

I still did the nights though because DH had to be pretty sharp for work (engineer, can't afford to make stupid mistakes because of tiredness)

As an aside, do look up safe co sleeping, and sleep when baby does smile

Batchcooking/freezing when you can do two handed tag-teaming on the weekend to make your week easier?

Jolleigh Mon 10-Feb-14 14:25:50

Your first point of call should be to talk to your partner Cookie. You don't need to outline to him how he gets sleep, lunch hours etc...just tell him you're struggling and maybe give him a play by play of how your day goes. I'll bet he'll immediately suggest a couple of ways he can take the pressure off.

TheScience Mon 10-Feb-14 14:27:47

He needs to start taking over as soon as he gets in from work, not mooching about til 7 or 8pm!

I do think the split of nights sounds fair though.

When he makes his own food for the next day, why isn't he making yours too?

HarderToKidnap Mon 10-Feb-14 14:28:36

Clearly you need to catch up in some sleep at the moment, so yes, maybe he could do tonight whilst you sleep downstairs or something.

However on an ongoing basis, I do think it's up to the SAHP to do the night feeds. Your baby will nap and you can catch up then, or have a zombie day in front of the tv if it's been a particularly rough night.

When he comes in, maybe he can have ten minutes to catch his breath then he has the baby for a couple of hours. He can bath with baby in a bouncy chair whilst you do dinner for both of you, perhaps? Or whatever works.

In the morning, he can get up at six, take baby for an hour and prep you some lunch and leave it in the fridge. Then bring baby back to you at seven whilst he gets ready for work, or better still, gets ready for work whilst having baby and then bring him back to you just as he leaves. If he's sleeping a full night there's no reason for him not to do this.

Also, you need a sling. Lets you have both hands free and keeps baby happy.

Good luck. This too shall pass, and all that jazz....

CrohnicallyFarting Mon 10-Feb-14 14:29:26

Sounds perfectly normal to me- I had a Velcro baby who wouldn't sleep on her own too.

Firstly, forget trying to get 'jobs' done at this stage. Concentrate on looking after yourself first and foremost- that means sleeping when baby does and eating when you get chance. I made sure I had lots of portable snacks that could be eaten one handed and DH would make me a sandwich before he went to work that way I wasn't going hungry and could eat while cuddling baby.

Of course you weren't BU for making and eating a meal while baby was asleep! You don't need to be watching all the time, assuming you could hear if he woke.

You might like to consider getting a baby sling, the best ones for newborns are made out of soft stretchy material and support baby in a naturally curled up position against your chest. That way you can do simple things like preparing and eating breakfast with both hands free.

When your husband gets home from work, he ought to be taking over baby straightaway, or cooking both of you a meal (and holding baby so you can eat for a change). His bath and work prep can wait until you and baby are both settled in bed (me and DD were in bed for 9 at that age, so that gives plenty of time).

By the way, you need to be vigilant about the possibility of developing PND- I felt the same as you at this point (dissolving into tears whenever I was alone with baby for example) but denied there was a problem, over a year later I have been diagnosed with depression and regretting not seeking help sooner.

cookiemonster5678 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:29:54

Thanks for replies.

I haven't spoken to my partner yet, I wanted to get others opinions on whether it is reasonable to suggest or not before bringing it up. I will talk to him either way, I just wasn't sure if it is common to share night feeds when one works full time. I feel mean wanting him to help when he has to go to work, but I don't think I can function or look after our baby well if I am this tired all the time!

Regarding eating, I suppose I am struggling trying to get into a routine. The endless washing, sterilising, making up feeds, nappies, feeding baby is taking over! It always seems like as soon as I want to eat, so does baby, and he obviously takes priority. He has taken a sudden dislike to being in the bouncer chair when he is awake, and screams really loud, then settles once picked up. I have to rock him to sleep then put him down, but he isn't sleeping much during the day at the moment...

TheScience Mon 10-Feb-14 14:32:43

Definitely get a sling (something like a Close Caboo is perfect for this age and really easy to use) - I used to eat breakfast standing up and swaying with DS in the sling grin

Also, can you take the baby to bed with you for a nap? DS always slept much better in my arms rather than put down alone.

And use a dummy if you need to!

beginnings Mon 10-Feb-14 14:32:46

Cookiemonster5678 please a big unmumsnetty hug. And congratulations on your lovely baby.

You've had a traumatic birth and your world has been turned upside down but do you know what, if your baby screams blue murder for five minutes, or even ten minutes, while you back yourself something to eat, it won't do any harm I promise. I would have found it massively hard to do with me first. My second had a pair of lungs on her that would seriously wake the dead but sometimes just has to wait as her 21 month big sister occasionally needs to be fed/ have a nappy change / have a cuddle or I need to go to the loo or put my clothes on after a shower! 4.5 months in she's still smiling and giving me lovely cuddles.

As to your husband, I know the nights are really tough (I'm celebrating that I got four hours sleep last night) but having had DD1 teethe after I went back to work, I can attest to the fact that it is really hard to work if you've had a very disturbed night.

That said, I would ask him to leave his sorting out until AFTER he's given you a hand for a bit when he gets home.

I used to think this was incredibly patronising when I heard it from others but I promise, this will get easier, you will eat again, and baby will calm down a bit.

WilsonFrickett Mon 10-Feb-14 14:32:58

It is still such early days - I'm guessing he's only been back to work for a week or so? You need to tell him what he needs.

So wrt night feeds: honestly I did most of them because my DH needed his wits about him at work and I was bf. If your DP does drive or whatever then I don't necessarily feel he is being U to only do weekend nights. Is there anywhere else you can sleep, to stop you being disturbed?

At night, unless he works down a coal mine then no, I've never really heard of anyone coming and having a bath and getting organised for the next day first. What normally happens is what a pp so eloquently described as 'rugbyballing the baby at DP' Quite right and absolutely how I remember it. He has to take baby off your hands first. Then after you've had a little bit of space, you can sort out who is doing tea, who is looking after the baby.

Some batch cooking at the weekend is a good idea, so you can just pull stuff out of the freezer, equally ready meals are not actually the food of the devil, it's OK to just eat what is quick and easy for the first few months years

The tiredness is completely normal. Nap when the baby does. Read up on safe co-sleeping. Prioritise sleep over every other single thing.

It is still such early days OP, honestly, you will be fine. But you need to communicate clearly to your DP as well - don't expect him to guess.

petalsandstars Mon 10-Feb-14 14:33:50


Borrow a sling to try

WilsonFrickett Mon 10-Feb-14 14:34:17

Is there anywhere else you can sleep, to stop you being disturbed? - when he is doing the weekend feeds I meant, that was really unclear!

minibmw2010 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:35:45

3 weeks is really young, they are very hard work, there's no getting away from that, but it will get better, of course it will !! I do understand that it's not nice if they don't like being put in a bouncer while you run to make a sandwich, but realistically they have to be put down sometimes. Babies cry, it can be a horrible sound but if you're quick he'll be upset for maybe 2 or 3 minutes max and then you can eat your sandwich one handed? He's so young you haven't had a chance to learn any of the cheat tricks yet that help to keep people sane while looking after a small child.

Your DH making you a sandwich before he goes to work is a good idea. There's no desperate need for a routine for either of you at this stage. But it'll flow in time. Just concentrate on yourself and him, the house can wait, your and DH can wait until the weekend (assuming you have enough clothes to last), cleaning can wait until the weekend when you're both there. Also, as another poster mentioned, slings can be good too.

gobbynorthernbird Mon 10-Feb-14 14:35:58

Baby doesn't take priority over a mum who is exhausted and will end up having a breakdown if she carries on in this fashion.

bonzo77 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:38:03

Talk to him. What would work for you?

I do all the night wakings. My "shift" is midnight till 6am. DH deals with all the early get ups and when the baby had an 11pm feed he did that too. I get up 15 minutes before he leaves for work so I can shower and dress while he's around to watch the baby. He gets home after the baby's asleep, but before the toddlers bed time. DH sorts him out while I make dinner. If your DH is home before the baby goes down, he should do bed time while you get a break from baby and do the dinner. Did you really write that he baths himself and makes himself some food while you sort out the baby? That's not on at all. At the very least he should do some food for you too. Actually, sod that! He should put the baby in the bath with him, then put her to bed, then do dinner for you both!

As for eating.... I'm not a great example as I tend not to bother or just eat cake and crisps. But in an ideal world I'd make sure there were left overs from the previous days dinner and eat that at lunch time. The bouncy chair is a godsend. Mine vibrated, both of mine spent a LOT of time in theirs!

minibmw2010 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:38:04

I missed out the word 'laundry' in my last post. Your and your DH's laundry can wait until the weekend. Also, re-reading your OP, your DH needs to cut out the bath thing and 'getting himself ready' for the next day. That can wait too !!

nevermindthecat Mon 10-Feb-14 14:39:46

Wilson I see your point. But doesn't the DP have a chance for a cup of tea, a wee, get changed quickly into something comfortable?

I completely get that the OP is struggling and sympathise but the DP seems to be doing at least his fair share.

Latara Mon 10-Feb-14 14:40:18

You need to put the baby in it's cot and get food regularly - even if the baby is crying nothing bad will happen to it for a few minutes.

Keep cereal bars to snack on and drink water regularly, plan for lunchtime and teatime by arranging the babies' nap period for then.

You owe it to your baby to keep healthy and I'm sure that the baby will appreciate that. You can't look after a baby properly if you are not well.

TheScience Mon 10-Feb-14 14:40:50

A wee and get changed = 10/15 minutes at most. Not faffing around until 7 or 8pm!

5madthings Mon 10-Feb-14 14:44:52

you need a sling!

and you say he gets food for himsekf when he gets in? does he not make enough for you to have some as well?"!

5madthings Mon 10-Feb-14 14:46:38

i ate lots of porridgr quick to make in microwave and tortellini also quick to make and easy to eat when ds1 was tiny.

maybe stock up on ready made sandwuches you can just grab and eat? and cereal bars?

it eill get easier i promise!

Pigsmummy Mon 10-Feb-14 14:50:05

You need to buy some healthy snack foods or freeze some home cooked food that you can grab when baby is settled, just a few minutes needed to eat something healthy, try to get baby to settle somewhere so you can put him down? If not a sling?

re the night feeds I think that your DH is pulling his weight tbh. I wouldn't ask him to do night feeds if he is working next day and you are not. It does get easier, try to nap when baby naps.

Pigsmummy Mon 10-Feb-14 14:51:26

Actually just remembered, my DH always made me a cup of tea before he left for work. That was lovely and helped my energy levels, get yours to do same? Maybe with a bit of toast too?

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