Please give it to me straight - am I a bad parent?

(211 Posts)
NCJuly2021 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:44:02

Posting on AIBU for traffic and also because there is a question of whether I’m reasonable or not.

I’m a FTM, to a nearly 4 month old. I do the majority of childcare. I exclusively breastfeed so since birth I have done all night feeds and wake ups. DS wakes between 3 and 5 times every night (plan to sleep train when he’s a little older). When DS was a newborn, DH helped for a couple of weeks with the night time nappy changes but then we slept in a different room because I realised I needed the TV on to get me through the night feeds (ie to stop me falling asleep whilst DS is on the breast). After a couple of weeks we came back to the bedroom and since then it’s just me who does all the night work.

It’s also just me who looks after baby Mondays to Fridays. DH will watch for 10 minutes every now and then in the mornings so I can shower, but that’s maybe once every couple of weeks. He also will watch him for 10 minutes in the evening so I can eat my dinner and then DS is back to me. DH has a very demanding job and he’s wfh but works very long hours.

On weekends, DH is very hands on with DS. I lie in on both days (DH is a natural early riser), he takes DS for walks so I can have some me time and we share looking after DS.

Re housework, we have a cleaner for cleaning, I do 80% of the laundry, and cooking is generally 60 / 40 to me.

When DS was small, he would usually go down for the night at 1am. We’ve now brought that forward to around 9.30 to 10pm and that’s where I’m happy with. Means we don’t wake up too early the next day, and DS isn’t alone for too long in the bedroom before I come to bed.

DH, however, is of the opinion that DS should be going to bed at 7-8pm, simply because that’s what babies do. My issue with that is purely selfish - I don’t want to wake up at 6am in the mornings and I don’t want to go to bed at 9pm either.

The issue is there have been 3 times I’ve been out late with DS and I end up like feeling the worst parent ever.

Once, I was at a friend’s house and left at 10.30pm.

The second I was at my parent’s house and left late, which meant I travelled on the train at 9pm.

The third was tonight, when I met a friend for dinner at 7pm and got home at 10pm.

Apart from those 3 times, I’m home with DS late evenings and the other very few times I have met friends, they come round to our home or we’ve met for lunch in the day.

So each time, DH has complained about DS being out late and I feel like an absolutely terrible parent. Honestly, I feel like shit. I need that time with friends to feel like myself but after DH comments about the time, I end up feeling like I’m neglecting my child. The way I see it, DS is still small and will fall sleep anywhere, but when he’s a few months older, he will need more of a routine and rigidity in his bed time but for now, it’s not the end of the world if his bedtime is 9.30 or he’s out and not in bed until 10.30pm.

Is that a normal way of approaching things or am I actually just a really bad and selfish parent? What is normal for a 4 month old?

Thank you for reading if you got this far.

OP’s posts: |
NCJuly2021 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:46:30

I don’t know why I set out our division of responsibilities. Maybe to show from my perspective that I do most of the work so those few evenings out help me not to get frustrated at how non stop looking after a baby is.

OP’s posts: |
SleepingStandingUp Mon 19-Jul-21 23:49:14

You're absolutely fine and right op. At 4 months old the sheer joy of them is that they sleep anywhere. And all of ours (singleton then twins) slept downstairs til we went to bed (11ish) until 6 months when they went in their own beds.

Given you're not bf'ing there isnt much you can do atm about your routine, but of you're going back to work, work it out now so you dont end up being doing it all and working ft

Swifey40 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:51:08

I think it's quite bizarre. Do you still do a nighttime routine with ds when you get home at 10pm? Bath, quiet time/story, then bottle/breast feed? Also, how does the poor child know when he is meant to be going to sleep of hes been over stimulated whilst being out, and then to bed really late? Children need routine and to sleep and eat at regular times, their development depends on this.

pitterpatterrain Mon 19-Jul-21 23:51:10

YANBU

Babies don’t have an instruction manual built in and frankly as the person doing the night shift it is your opinion when they go to sleep

The whole 7-8pm thing is shaped by expectations often (ask him why 7-8pm? Where does it comes from? How does the baby know..?) - and talk to people with more than 1 DC, life gets more flexible

TheBatPig Mon 19-Jul-21 23:51:25

Surely babies sleep anywhere at that age? I know mine slept at side of me in restaurants etc if they were tired. Or else can't your husband/partner stay in and put them to bed? You could feed, then go out for a few hours, be back in time for next feed. That's what most people I know have done. It's not selfish to have time to yourself, in fact I think it is necessary

Ohshitiveturnedintomymother Mon 19-Jul-21 23:51:38

Oh god make the most of having a tiny, portable baby who doesn’t need concrete naps/bedtimes! I miss those days with my toddler and feel I’m not taking advantage of them as much with my second as I can’t as easily go out. DC1 went everywhere and slept in the pram/car seat/arms then was put to bed when we got in. Now they have to have bedtime at 7.30 or they turn into a monster!

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alexdgr8 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:52:48

could you visit friends at weekends, when your husband can look after the baby, so you are not keeping him out late.
sounds a bit risky getting on trains at 9pm alone with a baby.
i wouldn't like to do it.

breakingthebank Mon 19-Jul-21 23:54:05

Nothing wrong with baby going to bed at that time if it suits you. Does your dh just want baby free evenings? I know that's why a lot of people like 7pm bedtimes

plodalong12 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:54:11

DH, however, is of the opinion that DS should be going to bed at 7-8pm, simply because that’s what babies do.

He should settle DS down by himself whilst you go out for the night and tell DS that it’s bedtime, “because it’s 8pm, and that’s what time boys your age should go to sleep, so goodnight four month old son, love you, see you in the morning”.

You should also set up a camera (with audio) and record what actually happens that night and post it here smile

HmmmmmmInteresting Mon 19-Jul-21 23:54:18

At 4 months old the sheer joy of them is that they sleep anywhere

This is what I came on to say!

NCJuly2021 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:54:39

Thank you for the comments so far.

Re feeding, DS has no routine. I feed on demand and he’s very unpredictable, always has been. His feeds are very short and regular, so he can easily go for 2.5 hours with no feed, but then the next day want a feed twice one hour. I don’t express yet, but I plan to start soon.

OP’s posts: |
StillMedusa Mon 19-Jul-21 23:54:42

You are NOT being unreasonable and your Dh is being a dick.
Young babies rarely settle for the night by 8pm (I had four and none of them did!)
Young babies are also portable..especially breast fed and going out, seeing people, having a LIFE is perfectly possible, reasonable and essential!
When your DS is a toddler it might be different, more routine may be helpful, but for now..no. If your ds settles for the night at 11.. fine!!!!

If comparison helps, my grandson is 3 months old, wide awake all evening til around 11..breastfeeds then conks. Some nights he goes through til 5am, others he wants feeding every hour through the night. My daughter accompanies me on my late evening dog walks most days as it keeps baby happy.. her dh loves it when he comes infrom a late shift and his baby is still awake for a cuddle and play.

Keep doing what suits YOU...as the primary carer and feeder you call the shots!

NCJuly2021 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:55:52

breakingthebank

Nothing wrong with baby going to bed at that time if it suits you. Does your dh just want baby free evenings? I know that's why a lot of people like 7pm bedtimes

No, he’s usually working in the evenings after dinner too. Will often work until 10 or 11pm.

OP’s posts: |
fedupandfiredup Mon 19-Jul-21 23:56:50

You are absolutely reasonable. I'll never understand this British obsession with hiding children away at 7-8pm. The beauty of newborns is they are so portable. All they need is the safety and security of you and they'd much rather be out and about with the security of mum nearby than at home with a babysitter. Yes, children need a stable routine but at 4 months old, that basically boils down to a consistent primary caregiver, baby isn't keeping an eye on the clock and feeling unstable if it goes past 8pm. You're absolutely right that the social interaction will do you good. Enjoy the freedom and enjoy being a new mum xx

NCJuly2021 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:57:29

alexdgr8

could you visit friends at weekends, when your husband can look after the baby, so you are not keeping him out late.
sounds a bit risky getting on trains at 9pm alone with a baby.
i wouldn't like to do it.

The two times with friends, I travelled in a taxi. Leaving my parents late was a cock up on my part - I missed the train and the next one was an hour later.

OP’s posts: |
StepAwayFromGoogling Mon 19-Jul-21 23:57:50

Eh? A four month old really shouldn't be 'going down for the night' at 10pm. Is he sleeping in the car seat when he's out with you? Or wide awake? I genuinely believe babies need some sort of routine and the right type of environment to sleep in but then mine were a nightmare without that.

GrandTheftWalrus Mon 19-Jul-21 23:58:32

Me and dh used to go to the pub when dd1 was a baby. She'd get changed into a clean nappy, have a bottle there. When we came home it was straight into her bed and she'd sleep happily till 8/9am. Dd2 however is 9 weeks old and she goes to bed when we do .

NCJuly2021 Mon 19-Jul-21 23:59:57

SleepingStandingUp

You're absolutely fine and right op. At 4 months old the sheer joy of them is that they sleep anywhere. And all of ours (singleton then twins) slept downstairs til we went to bed (11ish) until 6 months when they went in their own beds.

Given you're not bf'ing there isnt much you can do atm about your routine, but of you're going back to work, work it out now so you dont end up being doing it all and working ft

That’s been my view - he’s small, portable and all he needs is my breast and his pram, and he’s fine. But DH obviously feels differently, hence why I’ve started to feel like I’m being selfish and letting DS down.

OP’s posts: |
2bazookas Tue 20-Jul-21 00:00:08

Nobody needs to "watch" baby so you can take a shower or eat your meal. Put him in his cot, or on a blanket/playmat on the floor, and let him kick and entertain himself.
Babies do not need 24/7 stimulation, they thrive best when they learn to be comfortable and relaxed in their own company for a little while. Once they can do that , settling him down to sleep at night will be so much easier.

Disneyblue Tue 20-Jul-21 00:01:29

Oh dear. If you're a bad parent I'm terrible. My DD is 22 months and she goes to sleep anytime between 8 and 9 pm. Occasionally later.

She's a perfectly happy, healthy little girl mind.

Just10moreminutesplease Tue 20-Jul-21 00:01:48

You are not a bad parent! Make the most of him sleeping anywhere and do the bedtime that works for you and your baby.

If your DH doesn’t like your son being out late he can always stay home with him.

properg Tue 20-Jul-21 00:01:53

Why do you need to go to bed at 9pm if baby goes down at 7-8?

I agree that they are portable when young so take them wherever although I think I started a routine around about 4 months as mine started to be awful in the afternoon.

EL8888 Tue 20-Jul-21 00:02:36

@plodalong12 all this!

Not sure why he is interfering as you’re doing the hard graft at night. Maybe suggest he takes over night times as he clearly knows best. For the record 1030pm isn’t late, you were hardly dancing on tables until 3am. He sounds uptight and controlling

mamaland Tue 20-Jul-21 00:02:43

exactly the same here. baby is also nearly 4 months and pretty much everything else matches up too! imo you’re the main carer - you make the choices.

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