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Managing newborn nights with one parent at work - what do you do?

(65 Posts)
GraceSpeaker Mon 04-Feb-13 20:03:37

As it says on the tin, really. DH is back at work tomorrow and I'm dreading dealing with all night feeds/changes/settling on my own. I'm expecting to be a complete wreck during the week (at the moment DD is feeding every hour and a half and takes an hour to settle back down at least). I understand this is part and parcel of having a newborn (nearly 3 weeks old), but would appreciate it if you could describe how you manage things during the week. Do you still manage to share to some extent? Or does the non-worker do everything?


Pascha Mon 04-Feb-13 20:08:21

DH does 9-1am downstairs with a few oz milk on standby while I have a bath and get some off-duty sleep. I'm on duty for the rest of the night. Sometimes I manage to stay in bed and feed every couple of hours, sometimes I have to go downstairs with him to settle. He seems to be wakey and fidgety between 2-3am(ish).

Duritzfan Mon 04-Feb-13 20:15:18

We did similar to Pascha - me upto bed 8-12, then me on duty after that - I napped in the day when baby did and tried to catch up on tv (sky plus lots of good stuff ) - somehow it feels easier being up if you are enjoying a programme ..
It worked well for us - we both stayed sane - oh and weekends were one lie in each
Time flies - enjoy your little one - x

Duritzfan Mon 04-Feb-13 20:16:12

We did similar to Pascha - me upto bed 8-12, then me on duty after that - I napped in the day when baby did and tried to catch up on tv (sky plus lots of good stuff ) - somehow it feels easier being up if you are enjoying a programme ..
It worked well for us - we both stayed sane - oh and weekends were one lie in each
Time flies - enjoy your little one - x

Chesterado Mon 04-Feb-13 20:17:25

Depends how you are feeding? Dd was ebf and a bottle refuser so I did all of it. Went to bed at 8 and handed dd over to dh circa 5am (he went to bed at 10.

It was bloody hard, plan for this time and what has worked well for friends is to get baby to take a bottle from dh for a dream feed at ten. He then sleeps until five or six and I go to bed early and deal with the middle of the nights. If we crack the bottle for dreamfeeds at least I will know I can get some respite at weekends! Good luck!

MrsRogerSterling Mon 04-Feb-13 20:19:00

I did all the nights during the week as dh worked away or had 14 hours days. Fri or Sat I slept in the spare room and dh did the whole night, was bliss to be able to go to bed amd know I would not have to get up until the morning.

AbbyCat Mon 04-Feb-13 20:19:58

Are you breastfeeding? If so then co sleep and feed lying down. If you feed at the first signs of hunger then they wont even wake and will feed in their sleep, and you dont have a crying baby to settle. You can even wind them while youre lying down! It's the only way I stayed sane. I minimized night time nappy changes to poo nappies only. My DH did hardly any night time care for both DS and DD, and we coped!

Yama Mon 04-Feb-13 20:20:08

Well, I have a bad back so the deal was that dh would take out of moses basket (later cot), I would feed and dh would put back.

Dh managed and he never moaned.

ReallyTired Mon 04-Feb-13 20:22:29

I found it helped to share a room with the baby and have the cot as close to the bed as possible. Only change the nappy if the baby has actually pooed. I choose to breastfeed. I imagine that if you choose to formula feed then it helps to have the powder and the milk you need to make up the feed in your room at arms reach.

It gets more interesting managing sleepless nights when you have a second child and no option of taking an afternoon nap.

EverybodysSnowyEyed Mon 04-Feb-13 20:23:19

i did all nights and slept when baby slept - day and night. This is what made the most difference - don't feel you have to be awake and doing stuff when baby sleeps!

once you get into it you can get it done much faster. I also kept changes down to a minimum

baby in bed next to mine, up and feed with lights dimmed, no interaction just cuddles, straight back to bed. Didn't always work!

On weekends DH would let me have a lie in and would stay up a bit later and do the last feeds

This was wonderful with our first. When you have a toddler during the day it throws everything up in the air!

tuttavia Mon 04-Feb-13 20:23:27


Are you breastfeeding or bottle-feeding?

I BF, and found that I was doing all the nights on my own, really. There didn't seem to be any point in DH being awake, too, when there was little he could do. OK, he could help with resettling, but DS would settle much more quickly with me. Seemed pointless to have two of us sleep-deprived and ratty when only one of us needed to be (although it also felt horribly unfair at the time and we had lots of arguments about it).

At first I would wake DH and he would do nappy-changes, but, as I said, that way of doing things felt a bit pointless, since I wouldn't sleep during the change, and I would end up having to resettle DS anyway.

Don't worry - this time flies by, although it doesn't feel like that when you're in it! I dealt with it by trying to see the night feeds as quiet and lovely times for me and my baby to hang out together whilst everyone else slept. (I also watched lots of box-sets, for when the loveliness felt distant . . . )

GraceSpeaker Mon 04-Feb-13 20:24:29

Thanks for the ideas so far. We're combination feeding, so DH can help!

tuttavia Mon 04-Feb-13 20:25:19

Oh, and if you are breastfeeding then I second the idea of co-sleeping and lying down.

We co-slept from the beginning, but it took me about ten weeks to get the knack of/confidence for feeding lying down. Made a lot of difference when we did it, though, as I could sort of doze whilst feeding.

EverybodysSnowyEyed Mon 04-Feb-13 20:26:42

The mums I know who suffered the most in the first couple of months were the ones who tried to be supermum during the day and thought sleeping during the day made them look like bad mothers!

pixi2 Mon 04-Feb-13 20:27:48

Sorry, no great advice. But you will get through it. I ebf. Instant hot chocolate helped with night feeds. I think I got addicted to chocolate ovaltine.

ReallyTired Mon 04-Feb-13 20:30:29

Co sleeping carries the risk of cot death. i think its best for the baby to have their own sleep space, but within arms reach.

Babies do get more civilised and wake less in the night.

Don't make the mistake of allowing your baby to sleep on the breast or the bottle or a dummy. Otherwise you set up difficult sleep association. I found it better to cuddle the baby until she/he was dozy and let them fall asleep in the moses basket. That way the baby is semi asleep and will settle itself without screaming the house down.

AliceWChild Mon 04-Feb-13 20:30:43

I do it all but we bed share so it only consists of popping a boob in and going back to sleep. Partner has him whilst getting ready for work so I stretch out in the bed luxuriating in the space for a hour.

AliceWChild Mon 04-Feb-13 20:32:21

Not cosleeping also carries a risk of cot death. The Isis website (sorry can't link, but google will find it) gives evidence based information on that.

GraceSpeaker Mon 04-Feb-13 20:32:26

I struggle to nap productively during the day - too tuned in to baby sounds! Really need to get better at that. DD sleeps in her cot up against the bed, because I'm not really happy with co-sleeping. Might get more confident as she gets bigger...

ThreeWheelsGood Mon 04-Feb-13 23:58:22

It does get easier, we're at 3.5 months and the stretches of sleep are much longer. It depends how you both manage on little sleep, and how good you both are at drifting back off. I've always been a bad sleeper sadly, but DP can sleep at drop of a hat, so he does dirty nappies overnight (only fair as breastfeeding means sitting up for an hour at a time!).

lagoonhaze Tue 05-Feb-13 00:02:15

Co sleeping was my saviour. Fashioned a side car arrangement too.

Lawabidingmama Tue 05-Feb-13 03:53:21

Another one here with a bottle refuser so I did it all and u have an energetic 2 year old! DD eventually took a bottle at 7 mo but still won't let dad settle her at night ( hence why I'm on here at this hour!) she's nearly 11 month now and I'm not breastfeeding but still up twice a night (on a good night) and I started back to work last week....... My saviour was getting an afternoon nap thankfully my older DD still has one!

Tolly81 Tue 05-Feb-13 04:21:59

My baby wouldn't co-sleep - she was in a bedside crib and whenever I had her actually in bed with me she found it really stimulating and wouldnt settle, and now she just giggles and pulls our hair if we ever try (she's now 9m). I don't have anything against it, just that not all babies will do it!
I breastfed dd and she would cluster feed 9-1am so there was never any point dh taking her then. She'd usually then sleep for a few hrs till about 5, and dh was happy to take her from 5 (after I had given her another feed) until he went to work at 8 (he obviously didn't stay up while I was feeding her, he went to bed about 10 then could get a good stretch). This worked really well most of the time, and her cluster feeding period gradually moved earlier as she got older. I was always crap at sleeping during the day but this way I could get 6-7 hrs in 2 batches which was ok for me (on a good night, obviously occassionally she didn't oblige by sleeping all of my shift!). If she clusters in the evening it might be better to do it that way round but just take cues from her as to when she's more in need of you iykwim. Good luck!

FernandoIsFaster Tue 05-Feb-13 04:36:58

I did everything at night, to the point of dp sleeping in a separate room! He has a long motorway commute so I wanted him to be rested and to be honest I'm lucky in that I don't need much sleep to function so it wasn't too bad.

I also used to nap with dd in the afternoon on the bed. I didn't co-sleep at night because I was worried about getting into a deep sleep but found it great for daytime naps.

Congratulations btw!

Polyethyl Tue 05-Feb-13 04:54:02

My 6 day old has not yet slept tonight.
I'm in a quiet dark room. I'm not offering her stimulation. Just feeding changing and winding..... and loosing my sanity.
She's perfectly reasonable during the day, sleeping in her Moses basket after feeds..... but at night she screams the moment I try to put her down, totally rejecting the basket. I'm not keen to co-sleep, having been to a friend's cot death funeral. And she is demanding feed after feed after feed.... even though she cannot be hungry after such a short gap from the last feed.
I'm going spare from sleep deprivation.
Any suggestions?

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