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Feeding on the Night Shift

(28 Posts)
MoonlightPicnic Wed 19-Feb-14 13:43:41

My DW and I have the most gorgeous DS of two months old. Currently DW is on maternity leave and I'm working full time, so getting up at 5.45am and getting back (after picking DW and son up from her parents each day) at about 7pm. Recently DW proposed a rota where I do the 1am feed several days a week. Little one also seems to awaken at about 3-4 am at which time DW swings into action. Recently conversation has turned to me helping out more with the 1am and 3-4am feeds. I'm absolutly shattered due to my early work start and often have to drive, but she says she doesn't get a moment to herself so she's also very tired. What do other people do-Any advice would be great! This is our first DC.

mummyxtwo Wed 19-Feb-14 14:04:19

I have 2 dc, 16mo and 5yo, and I do and have always done all the getting up at night for both of them. Dh is a surgeon and can't really operate the next day if he has been up at night, so no other option really. I work 2 nights a week till midnight too, so pretty knackered most of the time. But then so is dh, from the early starts and long days. Our solution to knackeredness with small children was to buy a coffee machine! While I sympathise with your dw and know it's tough, I think it isn't really fair to expect you to do that much getting up at night when you are having to go out to work. If she is at her parents during the day, aren't they giving her some help with the baby? Perhaps she needs to utilise her day a bit better, make sure she naps when the baby naps for example. I'm sure her parents won't mind her napping in their spare room or somewhere, and if they aren't being helpful then she would be better off at home where she can do that more easily. Take it in turns at the weekend, so you both have more of a night off and a lie in. And encourage her to get out of the house without the baby occasionally. Things are tiring at 2 months but they improve fairly quickly as the feeding intensity drops off. I think it is only fair that during the week the partner who isn't going out to work does the lion share of the getting up though.

Madratlady Wed 19-Feb-14 14:07:48

Me and dh have a ds the same age nd he also wakes at around 1 then around 4. Dh has been out of work since just after ds was born but the plan for when he is back at work (starting next week) is that I will do the nights although if he's not too tired he will deal with ds for a couple of hours then go to bed around 12 as he's always stayed up late. But he'll do the full 'night shift' one weekend night and I'll have a few hours lie in or nap on the other weekend day while he looks after ds. He'll also want to play with ds after work which will give me time to make tea and do anything I couldn't get done during the day and I do a hobby one evening a week. Whilst we've both been at home it's been pretty much a 50/50 split who does feeds, nappies etc.

mummyxtwo Wed 19-Feb-14 14:13:59

Btw, when you say you pick your dw up from her parents every evening, I presume she hasn't been there the entire day? I don't know your situation at all but that would sound rather unhealthy to me, as it is important to find your own routine at home with a baby, and build up your own confidence by doing things for yourself.

Thurlow Wed 19-Feb-14 14:14:10

I agree that it isn't entirely fair that you should be helping with all the feeds throughout the night when you are working full-time. Equally it's not entirely fair that she should deal with all the feeds just because you're at work.

If I were you I'd look at the timing of the feeds and your working hours and try and figure out what gives you both the most sleep. DP generally did the latest feed at night then went to bed; I'd have gone to bed early and dealt with the other night feeds. That way both of us got some solid sleep whenever possible. Also it might be useful for you to have a night where you do all the feeds and she can have a good sleep.

At 8w in it is still a massive adjustment re not seeming to have any time to yourself, and the sleeplessness is really starting to take its toll. It's very normal at this stage to start getting very competitive about time off and sleep. I hated my DP for the time he spent sitting on a train on the way to work, to me that would have been 'me' time!

It is easier to try and compare the breaks and the 'me' time you each get rather than comparing how much you do for the baby. Don't forget that you might get a lunchbreak and she doesn't - it all counts in the bigger picture.

There is one thing that jumps out at me from your post and that is that your DW is at her parents every day. Is this true? If so, I'm obviously making a massive assumption here from one sentence but if she is getting support during the day from her parents, and during the night from you, but still feels she doesn't get any time to herself, is there a chance that she is feeling down in general at the moment?

MummyLuce Wed 19-Feb-14 15:23:00

If you're at work all day and shes on maternity leave (the point of maternity leave to do all this night waking stuff and not have to go to work next day) then you should not do any 1am wakings!

I did all night wakings with my DD and I defo didn't have any support from parents!

is she feeling a bit down do you think?

HotCrossPun Wed 19-Feb-14 15:30:15

I think your DW should do all the nighttime feeds. She should try and nap during the day when the baby is. As long as you don't come home and whinge about the state of the house then that would probably work out best for you all.

Could you do one day each at the weekend so you both get a nice long lie?

crazykat Wed 19-Feb-14 16:08:46

Apart from non-sleeping dd1 who had terrible reflux I've always done the night feeds. With dd1, DH worked away mon-fri so I had no choice but to do sun-thurs nights. DH would do fri night and I'd take dd1 down sat morning and do sat night, DH would take her downstairs sun morning while I slept in. Once she was four months, I did all night feeds.

With the other three DCs, DH was home every night but had early starts (5am) and was driving 2 hours or more then working 8 hours before driving home. I did and still do all night feeds but DH would take them downstairs whatever time they woke after 6am and I'd get a lie in on Saturday and Sunday.

Its not a popular opinion here sometimes, but I think that if one of you works full time and the other is a SAHP then the one who is at home should do all the night feeds, especially hen there's only one dc so its possible to sleep during the day when baby sleeps.

In your situation it would be unfair, and possibly dangerous, to have to do the 1am and 4am feeds then go to work all day. It would be fair though for you to take the baby downstairs early on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

lockie1983 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:25:12

You go to work for 5.45 so get up at say 5? Would it work out better if you did the 4 am feed, change settle etc and then get ready for work? Presumably the baby would sleep for a few hours then so dw would have a chunk of sleep from 2 (after the 1 am feed) till get up time.

I am not of the opinion that maternity leave is for doing all of the night wakings, though I have certainly done most of them with my son and only called on my dh when I literally couldn't lift my head off the pillow.

There are other factors at play here ... Is the baby difficult in the day - mine didn't sleep during the day so "sleeping when baby sleeps" makes me laugh as that didn't happen in this house.

Don't see much of a problem with her being at her parents in the day, maybe she doesn't have any friends near by, maybe she doesn't feel ready for baby groups yet.

Have a talk to her about how she is feeling. I don't think you will find the answer to that here, 8 weeks is such a tough time.

Good luck.

Doodle1983 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:26:34

Our DS is now three weeks old almost and I agree with the others - DW should do the night feeds if she's on maternity. My poor DH ends up with a broken nights sleep anyway even though baby feeds well at night and generally goes back to sleep ok.

I'm hoping to go start to bed early and get DH to do theist feed around 10 and then come to bed. I can do the rest. X

OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 19-Feb-14 16:40:16

I breastfed so no choice but to do the night feeds! We worked it so I would go to bed early evenings and get some sleep then. Dh would go to bed around 11/12 (normal for him anyway) and I'd handle the nighttime. We were both very tired - that's par for the course with a small baby! But I wouldn't have been happy for him to drive to work and do a full day on a very broken night regularly - we have both had to do it now and again, but whilst I was on maternity leave, it wouldn't have been fair for him to be up all night.

waterrat Wed 19-Feb-14 17:22:10

My partner helped me a lot at night with settling etc even through I was bf - but looking back I think it would have been more sensible to split it more clearly

Could you do the 11pm or closest feed - so that she can get into bed by 830/9 and sleep uninterrupted until 3? If there isn't an 11pm feed I woul suggest trying one - it might stop the 1am feed

Then u could get up and take baby before work - getting up for 5 must b v tiring

Remember feeds do drop off so this is not a long term arrangement

Personally I found looking after a baby all day exhausting so I don't see why work is seen as more tiring - but I don't think you can do too much if working

I agree its worth seeing if your wife has pnd or similar if she has a lot of daytime support but still not coping - do her parents help a lot?

Melonbreath Wed 19-Feb-14 17:57:49

I've had 14 months of sole responsibility on night feeds (breastfed) and it IS hard.

Can you offer to do Friday nights and give her some time on a Saturday?

MyNameIsKenAdams Wed 19-Feb-14 18:01:18

Helping with night feeds Fri and Sat would be acceptable. Helping weeknights is going above and beyond.

Another one here wndering if she spends all da every day at her parents!?

purplemurple1 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:09:34

When he was working FT, OH did one weekend night and the next morning so I got one real full night sleep in a seperate room. Also made sure I was able to have a few hours over the wekend without the baby to look after, and vice versa I would make sure he got some baby free down time.

Also if it had been a hard day for me he took over the baby when he got in and did the dinner and evening bottles and putting the baby to bed (prob about 3 times a week) I'd either have an early night or just get away from them both for a bit.

The biggest improvement for us was OH having the baby for a few days without me at 3 months as he then understood the things I needed help with and why it was hard to get even some quick jobs done during the day when you are alone.

I'll pass on the best advice I was given pre baby.
Whatever you do don't get sucked in to an - I'm tired than you arguement - it can never end well, just make a plan that gets you both the most rest.

purplemurple1 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:14:40

Should say OH gets up at 4am and normally gets in at 6pm (but 11pm once a week as its long long day).

Bridezilla3521 Wed 19-Feb-14 21:48:30

Personally, I think its a bit unfair for some people (including OP) to judge her reasons for going to her parents. She may be really struggling and asking you to help with feeds is her way of asking for more support. Think about it from her point of view, you leave the house at 5.45 and are out for 12 hours each day, its bloody tiring on your own. So what if she goes to her parents' for a couple of hours? If it annoys you that much, think of it as her lunch break. You get a lunch break at work right?!

If she does all the night feeds then when does she get a break? Helping out on the weekend should be the least you do. You're BOTH responsible for DS.

Please do not judge her. Becoming a mother is totally life changing.

Eletheomel Wed 19-Feb-14 22:04:48

I bfeed both of mine so did all the feeds, but both were windy boys and it was never a case of just feed, wind and sleep. It was a case of feed, walk the floor with them for 2 hours trying to get wind out of them and stop them crying, then feed again then sleep. Then 2 hours later the same schedule.

Because of the legwork involved, DH used to share in the night settling and winding for every feed (but he has shorter days than you, up at 7am and home at 4:30pm).

On occassions when it was just feed and sleep, I did (and still do) all of them and DH sleeps through.

So, for me, it would depend on how 'easy' the night feeds are. If its just a case of doing a bottle and them falling asleep, I don't think it's much of an issue if your DW does them all (at least during the week), however if there is a lot of night settling required then I think you should share some of the feeds (or at least the nightsettling part).

However, maybe the key thing is that your DW has told you she's struggling and needs help - maybe that should be the focus here and not whether tasks are being shared equally...

Thurlow Wed 19-Feb-14 22:07:52

I dont think anyone is judging at all about her seeing her parents. People, like me, were just asking because it seemed a little hint of something. Often posts about one issue turn out to be about something else, and people were just asking in case it was more than the night feeds she's struggling with

Excited85 Thu 20-Feb-14 07:30:24

She is asking too much in my opinion. I have a 16 week old that wakes for three feeds in the night and I've always done them all myself as dh has to work. As a pp mentioned though my little one rarely naps in the day so hard to catch up on sleep.
I'm now back at work 8-6 3 days a week with work being over an hours drive away. So I am shattered and an going to need dh to step up and contribute (his working hours are less than mine plus he works locally) though at the minute I just carry on as I'm used to the lack of sleep - I'd be over the moon if he did as much as you are.
If she has parents close by that can help out in the days too then she needs to make the most of that, it can be quite soul destroying doing everything on your own especially when tired but it sounds to me like you're doing plenty to help. Maybe take over fully on a fri or sat night to give her a proper break once a week?

2beornot Thu 20-Feb-14 07:34:50

After a while of DH being back at work and me on my knees with tiredness we settled into a routine whereby is go to bed early and he'd do the last feed of the night meaning I got at least 4 hours straight. Could you do that or the first one of the morning?

When you have interrupted sleep it's not the same as adding up the hours, we'll not for me anyway.

2beornot Thu 20-Feb-14 07:36:48

By last one of the night, I don't mean the 1 am one. She needs to be in bed for 9, to give her 4 hours before he wakes again.

lastnightopenedmyeyes Thu 20-Feb-14 07:53:54

I think your DW should be doing all nightfeeds unless she's at absolute breaking point.

I've a 3 week old who wakes every 90 mins for a feed. I've moved into her nursery with her so dh isnt disturbed. He's keeping our business going while I enjoy maternity leave, and he's also on night duty for if our 3 year old cries out as I can't leave the baby for long as she's breastfed and demanding.

It sounds like some adjustments need to be made to your DW's day so that she can get more rest. Time to yourself isn't really in great supply with a young baby but soon enough she will get more of it.

lastnightopenedmyeyes Thu 20-Feb-14 07:58:55

Reading that back I sound quite harsh and I don't mean to!! Having a baby is life changing. First time round I got pnd and it was awful. The sleep deprivation was hell.

This time I'm in bed by 8 every night and asleep as quickly as I can do I know I'll get at least 7 (albeit broken) hours. I'm sacrificing time with DH, and my 3 year olds bedtime for this because I know if I get too exhausted I'm at risk of depression. Can't nap in the day because 3 year old doesn't.

So this works best for me, and maybe your DW can look at her day and make some changes to incorporate more sleep?

Only1scoop Thu 20-Feb-14 07:59:09

A bit dangerous for you to be up half the night even drive to work a full day and then pick them up....can she sleep a little in the day if at her parents everyday maybe?

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