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DD (15m) has never been away from Mum overnight. Now Mum's away for a week...

(14 Posts)
DaddyOfOneSoFar Fri 24-May-13 16:25:30

Hi everyone,

Just wondering whether anyone has any advice. My wife's going away on a one-week business trip soon, and I'm starting to panic slightly about how our DD (15 months old) is going to handle the evenings and night-time, and the separation in general. We co-sleep and (although we originally planned not to!) DD always falls asleep at the breast in the evenings -- she associates it with night-time sleep. She'll wake up a few times every night and if she's not breasfted she'll get more and more irate until nipple is provided!

I'm not worried about looking after her during the day, but I'm worried about the nights. The nightmare scenario is her waking up, demanding to be breastfed, and then working herself into a complete screaming/tantrum state, with the only thing that would calm her down (Mum) in another country.

I'm just wondering whether anyone else has gone through this. Any tips or strategies I might try?

Thanks!

BlueberryHill Fri 24-May-13 16:29:39

You need to start to try to get to sleep yourself, does she take a bottle at all? She is relying on the sucking and closeness to get to sleep at bedtime and when she stirs in the night. The nightmare scenario will happen until she or you can soothe her to sleep. How long have you got before your wife is away?

I'm sorry, no tips other than that, hopefully someone else will have.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 24-May-13 16:30:42

Is there any way you and DDs Mum can begin giving DD a different drink before bedtime in the run up to the trip?

I agree it's going to be tough...

Ragwort Fri 24-May-13 16:37:45

You need to be the one putting your DD to bed NOW - how on earth have you got to this position, presumably you have known about the business trip for sometime. hmm Send your wife off for a night out with her friends/cinema whatever and get your DD used to YOU putting her to bed with a bottle/cup whatever. What does she drink in the daytime when your DW is not around?

Sorry to sound harsh but this sounds totally avoidable if you have thought about it before.

MrsFrisbyMouse Fri 24-May-13 16:58:11

She'll be just fine. Start a routine now. Bath, book, song, settle.
Yes she will cry, but you will be able to comfort her, and she will settle without mum. Just try to remain calm, acknowledge her frustration/feelings and enjoy!

She will more than likely give Mum hell on her return! But this too will pass. Good luck

pascoa Fri 24-May-13 17:05:13

My little boy does the same as your dd and is 16 months. Although, I have not been away overnight yet, my dh had to put him to sleep a few times when I am out. He has been fine and accepts that dad has no boobs smile. He cuddles him to sleep and offers warm cows milk in a bottle. Have you ever tried to put your dd to sleep? One tip I would give you is not to follow exactly the same nighttime routine your wife does as dd will associate this with milk. You could try to make her sleep in the living room instead of bedroom or even try buggy if she naps in there. There is no need for mum to change anything as in my experience our little ones are very adaptable. When I am out, my ds cosleeps with daddy and only demands boob when I join them. I guess what I am trying to say is don't worry, you will find a way to comfort your dd at night. I am sure dd will miss mum but not because she is fed to sleep.

PoppyWearer Fri 24-May-13 17:16:15

I had to have surgery with a hospital stay when my DS was 15mo and we were in much the same situation, didn't have much notice (I appreciate how that can be the case with business trips).

In the run up, my DH tool control of bedtimes to get him used to it.

They were fine. My DCs definitely play me up more than they do their dad.

But you need to start taking over bedtimes in preparation.

rrreow Fri 24-May-13 17:53:00

As above posters have said, get more involved in the routine now so she's more used to it.

But also know that IF what you describe as 'the nightmare scenario' happens, you are enough. She might be really upset, she might cry and tantrum, but you are her dad and your presence and comfort will do a lot to reassure her (although it will be hard on you of course). Have confidence in your abilities and your importance to her smile

FaddyPeony Fri 24-May-13 22:40:49

Start a new routine now. Bath/PJs, and you reading her a story while she drinks a cup of warm milk. Then off to bed. It really won't take long, DD will get the idea after about 3 nights. babies are smart like that wink

Don't worry about it too much - she'll be fine, she'll have her Dad, and she knows that Dad doesn't have boobs.

DaddyOfOneSoFar Fri 24-May-13 22:57:25

Thanks for much for all the replies. My wife and I already do the bedtime routine together, and although it's not long until the trip I'll be taking on much more of the bedtime routine in preparation.

It was nice to read the suggestion to use a different routine from the one we normally use, because that validates the approach my wife and I have discussed, which is for me and DD to move to my parents for a few days. We've noticed that DD will often start to fall asleep while I'm trying to get her to sleep on the bed, but will then keep herself awake and call for Mum. So, hopefully if she's at my parents (where she's been known to fall asleep happily) she'll be less inclined to stay awake and wait for Mum.

I have, indeed, been trying to get her to sleep on my own recently, but her Mummy radar is extremely acute: she knows when Mum's in the flat, basically. But generally when she's at her grandparents (she goes there a few days a week) Mum's not around.

I'll definitely try some warm milk in a bottle before bed. It's not boob but perhaps DD will consider it better than nothing!

Thanks again!

cloudhands Sat 25-May-13 12:04:35

Hi daddy of one, its great that you've come on here to get some support and strategies in place before your wife goes away. What a lovely caring daddy your dd has! I used to feed my daughter to sleep but changed at around 9 months to simply holding her as she falls asleep. The best advice I can give is to understand that crying is healing process. we release tension and stress hormones through crying. If you think your daughter is not really hungry and has her other needs met then you can simply hold her giving her lots of eye contact warmth and affection. Saying reassuring things like 'mummy's coming back. Listening to the crying without trying to stop it with toys entertainment etc. it helped me so much to learn that crying is not just about expressing needs its also about expressing feelings. If your daughter can cry in your arms and tell you that this is a bit strange and different not having her mum around then she will feel safe and loved. I know my daughter would probably have understood the phrase 'mummy's coming back' at this age so it might be a good one to use or anything else reassuring.
The other unexpected bonus you may find is that if your daughter does get to cry, she can release some of the stress and tension that all babies have and that can cause night wakings. Good luck I'm sure you will both be fine smile

teacher123 Sat 25-May-13 12:59:36

We changed the order of the routine around so that bf wasn't the last thing anymore in preparation for me stopping that last feed. So routine goes postman pat downstairs with a cup of milk and a cuddle, then upstairs for bath and bed lickety split! Once he got used to it, he was fine smile

FadBook Sat 25-May-13 13:07:18

Google dr jay Gordon - night weaning.

Gentle method that may help.

Lots of reassurance, talking and explains "mummy not here" or similar.

Offer water or cows milk.

FredFredGeorge Sat 25-May-13 18:02:57

DD was older at 22mo but still breastfed, but had still never had a night away from mum when we first did it. However she had often gone to sleep when DP was out so no breast - no bottle either, just normal food before bed.

We explained to her that mummy was going to be away in advance, and she was old enough to respond so that we were pretty sure she understood. She went to sleep fine, woke up more often than usual, but returned to sleep with just some talk and a song - when she'd normally be breast fed.

We have no fixed routine at all, but didn't change anything - other than the absence of a breastfeed. And as Fadbook said, lots of talk about where mummy was - also talked to her on Skype, which DD was already used to talking to other people who are away like that, which possibly helped.

I personally wouldn't bother with the trying to make the effort to change things when her mum is in the flat, knowing that she's being ignored by her mum is very different to her mum being out...

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