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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?


AndFanjoWasHisNameO Tue 05-Feb-13 04:59:34

hmm BF'd the last two and did it all. DH has a job that requires him to not be too tired as it can be dangerous for others if he's not on the ball. Pregnant again and getting ready to seethe with resentment accept this, although he will help at weekends with expressed milk.
Have bought a co sleeper cot and taken all the good advice about winding lying down etc.

AndFanjoWasHisNameO Tue 05-Feb-13 05:07:42

Oh Poly hmm firstly congratulations! The first bit is bloody hideous-even your hair hurts. Have you tried co sleeper cot? Mine both settled fine on me but hated being put down in the basket. As log as I had hold of their hands or they could feel my breath they were ok. When I had to put them down, I warmed the mattress with a hot water bottle first and stretched a tshirt I'd worn over the mattress so they would think it was me. Also got a sleep positioner thingy with a heartbeat pulser in for the last o e which helped. Ultimately it doesn't last long-promise!
Rope everyone in to come round and help out. Nap like you've never napped before wink really, get it out your head that you need a set number of hours in one go, instead focus on the 'feeding AGAIN so will surely make it tired for an hour or so' take care x

RunningOutOfIdeas Tue 05-Feb-13 05:14:49

I bf for the first 3 months so did it all. Still usually do all.

Polyethyl sorry you're having a tough night. Hopefully it is only one night like this. I started giving DD2 a dummy at about 6 days because she was using me as the dummy. Have you tried warming the cot with a hot water bottle or microwave thingy, then taking it out just before putting your baby in?

Polyethyl Tue 05-Feb-13 05:18:48

I shall try the hot water bottle idea. Thank you. My husband can calm her, either because he's naturally good at calming, or perhaps because he isn't dripping milk! And so setting her off with the smell... but it's important he sleeps tonight, so we're in separate rooms tonight.

Fairylea Tue 05-Feb-13 06:04:20

I did everything at night during the week as dh works 60 hours a week at the moment.

At the weekend's when ds was very little dh would get up with him so I could sleep.

issimma Tue 05-Feb-13 06:08:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Polyethyl Tue 05-Feb-13 06:26:48

Should I encourage wakefulness during the daytime, in the hope she might sleep at night?

GTbaby Tue 05-Feb-13 06:47:59

My tips. Take ignore as you need. And sry if it's repetitive. I haven't read all the thread.

DH doesn't work 24/7. So neither should you. It's ok for you to ask him to help!

You mentioned LO sleeps in cot. Personally I would stick with this. DH and I were discouraged from many mummy friends who are currently struggling to get their LO in to their cot.

Get a slow cooker. Lol. I don't have one. But everyone on here raves about it.

Get DH to give last feed of evening. I.e. you give 9pm feed. And go to bed. Ask DH to give midnight feed. And then you do the rest of the night feeds. Obviously adjust timings according to your LO and DH bed time. Prob with this was I felt I was spending any time with DH. However I think it's worth it until your used to your routine.

LO has a nap at 12 every day at noon. I use this time to do chores. However at first use this time to catch up on sleep/rest/eat/watch trashy tv. I did this for 6 weeks!

(If you feel you must do house work) For those 6weeks I used LO short naps, 10min here n there , to do chores. You will be surprised how much You can do 10 min.

Take up offers of help. Take a shower when you have visitors. Get them to so washing. Although I wasn't comfortable asking all guests to do chores so often have them LO to hold while I went off and did a 10min Blitz on kitchen.

Most of all. Enjoy your LO. At 14weeks old I can't believe how quickly time flies! Congrats

GTbaby Tue 05-Feb-13 06:53:59

Poly. I found LO slept 4hours during day then wanted feeding. But at night would last 2-3 hours.
I changed this by waking LO and feeding more frequently during day.
I found instantly he woke less at night. Obviously every child and mother are different.
Also my LO won't stay awake for anything if he is tiered. So hard to keep awake. But keep night time dark. Quite. Calm. And during day bright. Lots of sun light.

Also another tip. Go for walks. Even 5min around block. You will feel better for it. I should really try and follow his one myself!

GTbaby Tue 05-Feb-13 07:01:17

Just reading back. Hope you got some sleep.

LO may just be feeding for comfort. I know not all agree with it. But consider using a dummy. My philosophy is "if it makes your life easier do it".

Also another tip I give on MN. Is join your post natal group. That way you have mums with same age babies to talk to. My post natal group has been an enormous help to me.

BeaWheesht Tue 05-Feb-13 07:28:19

Dd was 11 weeks when dh started nights (and ds was just 4) - tbh dh used to come home about 6am and give ds his brekkie and stay with kids til 9ish when I got up. He'd then get up for the 'day' at about 230pm and sometimes I'd have a kip then.

Polyethyl Tue 05-Feb-13 08:44:37

Thank you. She is now asleep.... Now that the sun's risen! So asleep that the postman's ringing the doorbell didn't disturb her.
Whereas I'm wrecked.

MaMaPo Tue 05-Feb-13 08:51:34

Poly, the best advice I can give you is - roll with it. I had a few nights like yours when my now 9-week old was younger, an they are exhausting! I did as you, asked around for advice, and then managed to tie myself up in knots trying to follow it and being frustrated (and feeling a bit guilty) when it just didn't work! The mantras 'yes, she can be hungry again - she is growing!' And 'just roll with it - fighting doesn't help' really gets me through the tough nights (of which there are many fewer). Your baby is tiny and you pretty much have to follow her lead. You're doing brilliantly. Go and put a sign on your doorbell saying 'baby asleep! Do not ring this doorbell on pain of death!' and then nap with your little one.

OP, my husband gives a bottle of ebm around midnight and I do the wakings after that - usually 2 at the moment. The few times i do all 3 it feels significantly harder.

honeytea Tue 05-Feb-13 09:30:20

My dp went back to work when ds was 4 weeks. I actually found it easier doing it all by myself, I think with me and dp both being awake and talking and turning the light on ds woke up more fully when he woke in the night.

I leave the bedroom door open with the landing light on so I don't need to turn any lights on to feed ds, we have a sidecar cot so I just have to lift ds out not actually get up.

Ds slept in a swaddle blanket when he was tiny, at 5 weeks we put him in a baby sleepingbag, I feed him in the sleepingbag/swaddle blanket so I don't have to put him under cold blankets.

He is 7 weeks now and he wakes 1-2 times a night for a quick feed, the other night he slept 10-2 and then was up I felt broken even though in the early days a 4 hour stretch would have been a good night's sleep, yiu do forget those early days fast.

My dp sleeps in the bed with us but with earplugs in so we still get some sleepy cosy couple time.

Weekends dp gets up with ds in the morning so I get a lie in and just beings ds in for feeds.

And coffee lots of coffee!

sparklekitty Tue 05-Feb-13 10:26:04

My DH works weird shifts and I ebf so I always do nights. As a newborn I kind of just accepted that it would be horrendous. Spent a lot of time on the sofa watching late night TV.

We also co-sleep/have a bedside crib so although at 4 mo my DD still feeds every 2 hours I don't get out of bed 8-8, feed laying down and snooze through. I am slightly dreading her going into her own room.

Its a tough time but gets better quickly

GraceSpeaker Tue 05-Feb-13 11:48:10

Thanks for all your tips. Last night was actually DD's best night ever. She slept through pretty much from 11.20-4.30, then had a feed for half an hour and went back to sleep (on and off) until 7 or so. We didn't actually get up until nearly 8. We didn't do anything differently and I was poised at half three to take her downstairs, long past when she's normally up, but she settled back down. DH got about 7 hours solid sleep. smile

Naturally, she's been sick all over her moses basket and weed all over her changing mat since she's been up! Typical!

DD sleeps in blankets at the moment (cellular + a woolly one). We tried her in a sleeping bag once (she's theoretically big enough for one), but didn't have a great night. honeytea, you said you put your LO in a sleeping bag at 5 weeks - when did everyone else do it (if at all)?

Desperately seeking the ideal sleep solution... it must exist, even though no one's discovered it yet!

honeytea Tue 05-Feb-13 11:51:46

My ds is a chunk he was about 13 pounds at 5 weeks for a smaller normal sized baby 5 weeks might be too early. The swaddle blankets worked great we only stoped because ds was ill with a temperate and they ate not supposed to be used when the baby has a high temperature.

honeytea Tue 05-Feb-13 11:53:14

Oh and hooray for a good sleep last night! I hope it is the first of many for you smile

ChampyandtheWonderHorse Tue 05-Feb-13 11:56:53

Lowering expectations works for me. I'm on my own and I co sleep, but however zen about it you are, you'll still be wrecked in the morning.

However, it is gradually getting a bit better at 4-5 weeks. I manage in the days by trying to walk rather than drive, (safer) and by keeping visitors/social activities to a minimum. Get older children to help with little things as well, if you have any.

This stage passes so soon and I am relishing having this little chap with me - it is a very precious time. Don't wish it away smile

Lafaminute Tue 05-Feb-13 12:00:08

I always did it all myself - and resented dh a lot of the time but he did have to get up for work and give 100% all day whereas I could slob around (not that I think I did all that much) at home. SIL made my brother do half of everything (and he started a new job a few days after one of the babies was born) which I (very quietly!) didn't think was fair but each to their own. I was bf'ing so I could have handed the baby over for winding but dh is so lazy he'd have chucked the baby back in the cot w/out winding and I'd have known and been terrified of them choking!! Hmmmm, maybe I'm too controlling!! Tbh I had 2 babies and bf them both, if I had a third I don't think I would bf as I found those nights too long and lonely and I'd've loved to have been able to hand some responsibility over to dh even if it was just weekend nights.

Lafaminute Tue 05-Feb-13 12:01:44

...and a sleeping bag once they were out of the moses basket and in a cot (3 or 6 months - can't remember....3 months??)

honeytea Tue 05-Feb-13 12:08:22

Oh and winding, my mum told me I didn't need to wind a breastfed baby (not sure how much truth there is in that) so I don't wind ds I just put him back down to sleep. He's a very calm happy baby so I don't think he suffers from the lack of winding.

debbie1412 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:35:05

In the early wks my dp would give her a formula feed in the evening, I would go to bed. Then bf the rest of the night. It's only really manic for the 1st 12 wks. Just go with it each day and sleep whenever you can x

AliceWChild Tue 05-Feb-13 16:50:32

I don't wind and he's always fine

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 05-Feb-13 17:26:28

6 day olds don't know night and day yet. It takes time. Yes they can feed and feed. Remember their stomach is only the size of a walnut. It can take time for them to establish a routine, plus they have growth spurts so suddenly feed and feed again.

My LO wouldn't sleep in his crib for 3 weeks, until we bought a slumber bear. Have you tried something like that? Or putting something that smells of you in her bed? Someone told me that all a newborn wants is it's Mum. They've spent 9 months with you so why wouldn't they? You're doing the right thing by keeping things dark and quiet at night. Keep things normal during the day.

It's exhausting but it will change. She's only six days old, give her a chance! I mean that nicely.

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