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Sharing the night shift

(16 Posts)
newmachar Wed 18-Oct-17 08:27:27

DS is three weeks old so DH is back at work now but just so difficult to wake up at night. I’m Breast feeding and DS was premature, so awake every 2-3 hours to feed, and he is also gassy so it takes a long time to get him changed and settled after the feed.

AIBU to expect DH to chip in more at the night shift? How did you manage at night time, did you let DH sleep?

We’ve spoken about it, I get so tired and ratty as a result of no sleep and we are arguing more. When we talk about it he usually says something along the lines of:
‘I’ve got work, I could make mistakes’ (he works with numbers)
‘You need to try harder to wake me up, I can’t help it that I fall back to sleep’
‘You should nap when the baby naps during the day’ (I find this impossible, it feels like I’ve been hit by a train after an hours nap!)

NameChange30 Wed 18-Oct-17 08:33:09

I've come across different opinions on this. Personally I don't think fathers should get a free pass to sleep all night just because they're doing paid work. I reckon my office job would be easier than looking after a baby when sleep deprived. I do more than DH because I'm breastfeeding and because I'm on maternity leave while he's working, but he has still done his share at night - not 50/50 but he has done nappy changes, rocking and sometimes night feeds (when I'd managed to express some milk, and DS was taking a bottle).

"‘You need to try harder to wake me up, I can’t help it that I fall back to sleep’ "
This is bollocks by the way and would give me the rage!

tinypop4 Wed 18-Oct-17 08:38:16

I used to feed baby at around 7 or whenever she was hungry close to that time. Then I would head to bed, and DH would bring her to me for a sleepy feed - he would then deal with carrying around/settling/staying awake/nappy whatever that wasn't feeding. This would carry on till 12.30/1am - she was so little he would just hold her or pop her in her bouncy chair while he faffed around on his computer which he liked doing!
At 12.30/1 he would come to bed and sleep until 7 - I would do everything from that point forwards so that he got 6 hours sleep before work where he needs to concentrate.
Worked for us - she would normally only want 1 short feed between 7 and 1am so I got a lot of rest and then could face the second shift.
Repeated with baby 2

Xennialish Wed 18-Oct-17 08:44:08

My sister and bil did what tinypop did, we did sort of the opposite. I would go to bed with baby from 8pm and hand them (and subsequently early waking toddler too) over to dh about 6am and carry on sleeping until 8-9am when he left for work. He cleaned down the kitchen in the evening and I did laundry in the day. Cooking shared equally.

Eminado Wed 18-Oct-17 08:48:09

I agree with going to bed early and gettimg a block of sleep in - then doing all the wakings (after an agreed point) as he does have to go to work the next day.

It sucks. Some nights are worse than others and you will argue and snap at each other like never before.

But it will pass. It will get better.

Notreallyarsed Wed 18-Oct-17 08:48:25

With DD we shared night feeds equally because he was working from home, although I did have to wake him as he’s deaf in one ear and sleeps on his good ear, but he always got up.

With DS2 I did them all on nights before he worked because he was driving long hours (12+ per day) and the safety aspect worried me, however on any days off he then did all night feeds the night before to give me a break.

cozzietoes Wed 18-Oct-17 08:48:32

I don't agree that the working parent out of a couple should get 'all' the sleep and leave the SAHP worn out.

I think my DH and I have a good balance with our 6 week old.

I go to bed at 9
DH stays up till 10:30 and does a feed and change, then settles baby to sleep.
I do everything during the night up until 5:30am.
DH takes over from 5:30
I get 2 hours or so to sleep and shower
I take over while DH gets ready for work

We both get around 6-7 hours sleep but he gets one undisturbed stretch and I get broken sleep but still more than enough to manage.

At weekends we do 50:50

Different working patterns and routines will mean this isn't doable for everyone but perhaps try something like this so it's fair on you both.

lavenderlily Wed 18-Oct-17 08:50:16

Is he express breastfed?

I personally think it's pointless having 'systems'; I do think the lions share should fall to the SAHP but if he or she is fumbling around in exhaustion it's just about being considerate.

Caterina99 Wed 18-Oct-17 08:57:19

My new DD is just a week old so still finding our feet with her, but my DS is 2. I bf him at night so I did all the night feeds. However DH would do the dream feed by bottle when we did that, and he would also take him straight after the morning feed for an hour or 2 before work. We were lucky in that DS usually only fed once or twice overnight, but there was no point for us in DH also being up in the night when I was up anyway. If we’d been bottle feeding at night then things would’ve been different

Bluebellwoods123 Wed 18-Oct-17 09:00:03

Yes when someone says, especially DP, sleep when the baby sleeps the urge to thump them is immense.
No you're not being unreasonable to expect to share the night wakings but from a practical point of view could DH do the Friday and Saturday nights when he's not going to work the next day and it would give you two full nights sleep if you can express milk ( not easy I know) throughout the week. Or could you go to bed earlier, 9.30ish, to get a block of sleep whilst DH looks after the baby until about 1am. That way you are getting undisturbed sleep.
I know it's very difficult to present a rational argument when you're exhausted I had to write down why I was struggling before my DP finally got the message. If he won't help can you get help from your mother or MIL for a few nights every week or so.
I always change the nappy before the feed, then feed to sleep. At the beginning I was so exhausted I just fell asleep and DP had to look after the screaming baby. Now my DS is 14 weeks and due to my house renovations I've had to move back in with my parents so my mother helps in the night if I can't get him to settle, she'll also take him away in the morning so I can go back to sleep for a couple of hours and because DP isn't here with us I co sleep a bit as well.

clarabellski Wed 18-Oct-17 09:13:08

We did similar to tinypop save we ended up formula feeding a couple of weeks after DS born. DH would be on shift from getting home from work at 6pm until 12pm midnight and I'd go to bed circa 8/9pm in order to get a few solid hours in before the middle of night feeds.

It doesn't last forever (although it felt like it at some points!)

cozzietoes Wed 18-Oct-17 09:17:23

*I personally think it's pointless having 'systems*'

Not really, a system both parents agree on can work wonders.

If both parents have a rough idea of what each will take responsibility for, and they agree on it, it can stop resentment building up, middle of the night rows and getting annoyed with one another due to lack of sleep. Obviously though there needs to be room for compromise if things don't go to plan.

NameChange30 Wed 18-Oct-17 09:27:36

I agree with cozzie.

newmachar Wed 18-Oct-17 10:14:07

Yeah and DH is super helpful around the house, cooking and housework, but I’d sooner leave all that and get an extra few hours sleep lol

tinypop4 Wed 18-Oct-17 10:26:23

Why are systems pointless if it works for a family? Our system saved our sleep and possibly our marriage!

amys14 Fri 20-Oct-17 19:15:53

My husband had five weeks off. Our son was born 6 weeks ago - so he was just back at work this week.

Since baby was born we have taken it in "shifts." One of us (usually him) stays up with baby until 1.30am while the other (me) goes to bed at the same time as our toddler at 8pm.

Then we swap at 1.30am so both are getting around 4 or 5 solid hours of sleep a night. (Luckily our toddler is a great sleeper).

Even when he went back to work on Monday he still did this, though I got up at 1am so he got a little extra sleep before work.

I realise I'm very lucky. I don't know how I'd cope with my newborn and a toddler without this block of sleep, although I know others manage!

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