Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
struggling to cope on mat leave, DH very critical(60 Posts)
I admit I keep speaking angrily to baby in night and begging him to sleep and I know this is wrong, I'm just at the end of my tether. I can't cope on 3hours sleep a night. Baby wakes to feed every couple of hours, last night it was almost every hour as he's teething. He grizzles and cries all day. I'm mentally and physically shattered and just want DH to give me a hug and some empathy.
He says he is putting up with a lot, insists he hasn't complained about the state of the house, or lack of sex or lack of cooking (he has moaned!) he genuinely thinks I play on my phone all day doing nothing (!) He has no idea what's it's like trying to do anything. Baby cries after 5mins in bouncer or jumparoo. He cries unless he has almost constant interaction.
Baby goes to bed before DH gets home in evening then I go to bed a couple of hours later to try and sleep while I can. I'm too tired for sex or cleaning.
How do I make him realise how exhausting this is?
at the weekend you go out and leave him to it.
If your baby is upset so often have you considered reflux? Look it up
You are both exhausted at the minute and adjusting to new routines.
I bet you are truly exhausted can soMe one look after baby while you get a solid five hours? During the day would be more beneficial
A supportive husband doesn't speak about sex when you have a small baby that doesn't sleep. He does whatever cleaning he can and pitches in as and when he is at home. My husband was out 6am-6pm at work then would come home and help with chores or looking after the baby. He would get up in the night to support me as I bf. There were times I told him not to get up but my goodness, knowing that he was willing to get up was enough. When I felt like I was breaking, he'd get up and sit in the dark with me. Having a baby is the hardest thing we have ever done and we coped because we did it together. Your post sounds like the baby is your problem and he expects you to do it all. How does he contribute? How old is your baby?
Yes he has reflux, on meds. He's 5months. I don't think the crying is reflux just teething/boredom/clingy.
I'm trying to get a cleaner but contacted 4 companies and none have got back to me and can't keep phoning as baby constantly grizzling!
No family nearby.
He is just so critical, makes out I'm doing everything wrong, need to reduce caffeine, nap in day etc (can't nap in day as he only naps on me!)
I'm so jealous that he gets 8hours sleep while I'm up every hour or 2. Then he tells me off for crying and saying I can't cope!
he is willing to get up and hold baby but baby only wants milk so just cries if DH holds him in night
Have you spoken to your HV? Does home start operate locally or is there a Surestart centre. You may find he would like some of the groups Surestart offer and you could benefit from a change of scene.
He sounds horrible.
I agree with peppapig.
Go away for the weekend and leave him with the baby. It shouldn't be a problem if he thinks it's so easy.
What was he like before the baby arrived? Is this a complete character change or has he always been overly critical?
Honestly I he needs to step up. I would leave the house early on Saturday morning with no dinner prepared and see how he gets on
My ds was very similar. Luckily dp was supportive but here are some ideas!
- cosleeping saved my sanity, could relax while feeding in the night
- get a sling and strap baby to you. My ds would not be put down and it meant I could make lunch without hearing screaming
- do you use a dummy? Ds refused for ages then at 5 mths took one. Was great
But, dh needs to help and give you credit. You're doing brilliantly!
It sounds like he is trying to come up with solutions (nap in day etc) but the best solution would be for him to pitch in. Maybe go back to newborn days for weekday nights and you go to bed at 8, he goes to bed at 12 or 1, and he does the whole of Friday night and sat morning? But I agree with an earlier poster that you need to feel like a team on this, not a manager and employee being told off.
I used to be in the 'use it or lose it' camp with sex and there's no doubt it can do a lot for a relationship but doing I when you are boiling with resentment to keep him quiet is a recipe for disaster.
Re sleep, can you feed the baby lying down in bed next to you? You can get more sleep this way, even if the baby is feeding a lot in the night (obviously following advice for safer co-sleeping).
Re your husband, his attitude is appalling. I feel furious on your behalf, reading your posts. How dare he criticise you when you are doing your best in an intensely stressful situation. How dare he make out he is doing you a favour by not complaining about the lack of sex? If he keeps acting like this, I very much doubt you'll ever want to sleep with him again!
Has he always been unsupportive, or is it just since the baby was born?
Seriously, go out for the day at the weekend and leave him to it. I don't think men realise that maternity leave isn't all coffee mornings and playing on your phone, it's hard to get time to even go to the toilet some days. I have literally eaten a sandwich whilst changing a nappy in the early days (the mumsnet hygiene freaks will probably get me thrown out for that!) because it was the only chance I had to eat anything at all. Sleep deprivation only makes it harder. My DS is 7 months and things are settling down but it is still hard to keep on top of cleaning and laundry etc.
Sometimes the only answer is to let them see what it's like. I went into town shopping for a day and left DH to it, came back and neither he nor the baby were dressed and the house was a tip. He hadn't even opened the blinds or fed the cats. Funnily enough he hasn't complained about my housework since!
CosleepING might really help you even if you only do it for naps. Lay down on your bed with your baby, get rid of pillows etc and don't go under the covers. Snuggle up and go to sleep. You aren't getting enough at the moment and it's having a knock on effect. Your dh is being an arse as well he needs to step up.
I second co-sleeping - at night and for naps. Read up on guidelines.
Sling always worked for DS, I intend to put DS2 in one permanently when he arrives!
Agree with pps - leave baby with him for a day at the weekend. Express milk beforehand.
Try eliminating caffeine from your diet when breastfeeding. It made a huge difference with ds1. Hard to give up but it made a difference when I did - ds reacted to my diet when I was breastfeeding, just a few peas in my food and he'd suffer. No caffeine in my diet calmed him down.
Sleep deprivation is horrendous - especially when combined with non-supportive dh.
The former will pass but the latter needs addressing!
If you're breastfeeding, you probably won't be able to go out for a day (unless your baby will have a bottle of expressed milk), so don't think you need to jump in all guns blazing to do that. But what about suggesting he takes the baby for a couple of hours one day when he's not at work so you can have a sleep, then the next day so you can do some cleaning without a distraction. Or, you take the baby out for a couple of hours and he catches up on the cleaning. Hope receptive would he be too either of those suggestions? In the meantime, some more ideas for you that I found helped me out:
- Cuddle up in bed for daytime naps. Use pillows as a fortress wall, stick a boob out and sleep together. If you stick one arm or with the baby's head on it, you can't physically roll onto them, and he / she can't really move. I had lots and lots of naps like that...
- Sling. I wish I'd known this the first time round. Connecta sling, whack the baby in there and jiggle them around while you do the basics of house stuff that HAVE to be done. I.e. General tidying and food. Anything else, your dh should be helping out with.
-I actually made us a rota - more for me than for him - but actually seeing it all written down did male us both realise that it's a lot, and we both needed to pull our fingers out if we didn't want to wallow in our own filth!
- Presumably, you've got a routine of sorts. If nothing else, get yourself up and dressed at a reasonable time in the morning and get yourself to some kind of baby group. If you're not in the house, you can't make a mess and the baby might just kip in the pram/car on the way. Someone else will make you a brew and you'll feel loads better.
- Don't beat yourself up about getting cross. We've all done it
most days and giving yourself a hard time about it won't make you feel better or change the situation.
- Talk to your husband about it when you're both in a relatively good frame of mind. Approaching him when you're exhausted and he is too, isn't going to be productive. Again, wish we'd figured this one out earlier on.
Hope some of that helps! You're doing a great job - it's flipping hard work!
DH's 'needs' are not your priority. They shouldn't even be his own priority!
You are a family and the load needs to be shared. If he's not satisfied with the housework, let him pitch in, or he should be looking for a cleaner. Not to help you, but to help the family
If he's critical now, he'll be worse when you go back to work
Fwiw - I found my son at 4/5 months very difficult, my darkest hour really. The sleep deprivation had really taken a toll and there seemed to be no hope, no relief but honestly it gets so much better, it gets easier and your baby will sleep. I went to HV at 4 months for support. (And as I said in my earlier post, my DH was hugely loving and supportive but it was still overwhelming)
Seriously see if you can persuade him to take a week annual leave and look after your DS alone. My DH was SAHD for 9 months for DC1. Had plans for putting up shelves, decorating etc. Ha! He realised how all consuming a small child is. So no expectations at all when I became a SAHM for DC2.
Sling, oh yes a sling. It could be argued that a sling saved my sanity. Both my boys (I have four- two of each) were terrible sleepers, my eldest just used to scream unless he was being fed, when he would sleep for 20 mins and then start yelling all over again. I carried them both pretty much everywhere until they were about nine months old. I co-slept and I unapologetically didn't iron. Ever.
I don't think leaving your baby with your DH is a good idea, it will just stress all of you out and I don't think it will be productive.
Do try and get out of the house - even if it's just for a walk every day.
I used to get up half hour before everyone else to shower in peace and I would go to bed when the baby did. If you don't have other children, leave your husband to fend for himself when he gets home and get yourself some rest.
I'd also second the comment about seeing your HV although some are better than others in my experience. This won't last forever, you just need to find a strategy to get through the next couple of months.
What was your DH like before your baby arrived? I know that my DH felt very excluded in the early days of each child - breastfeeding and being 'better' (his words) at settling them meant I would often just take over so that we could all get some rest, I had to learn to step back and make us both a cup of tea or something whilst he spent time settling them... It's hard, I know but if your baby isn't hungry and its waking a short time after feeding - try suggesting he does the settling in the early part of the night. He could also go to bed earlier so he can get up before you to snuggle with baby whilst you have a quiet shower. Just some thoughts...
I'll try daytime naps on bed with baby, will try fortress idea as worry about him rolling off bed.
DH rarely did any housework before baby, I was ok with this and would still be ok with it if I had time... but baby takes up all my time and in eve when he's asleep I want to relax/sleep not do chores! I do dishwasher, laundry, quick clean of surfaces etc every day and make an eve meal on days when he's not too fretful. DH doesn't know I'm getting a cleaner, he was scornful when I suggested it in past as only a small house. I'd just love to have sparkling clean bathrooms and dust-free steamed carpets again, not see patches of baby sick and fluff everywhere! We can afford a cleaner once a fortnight but will be a secret.
I go out every day, have a baby group or class every day.
I'm so angry that he thinks he knows best about everything! He tells me I complain all the time about how hard my 'job' is (looking after baby). I just want him to recognise how exhausting and relentless it is. He moans about his job and commute and thinks he should be looked after at home but I have my hands full! It's not that I don't care or don't want to look after him or pamper him, I'm just so tired and drained and resentful. I'm envious that he gets coffee breaks and an hours break for lunch and time to go to gym, then has 5 hours to himself every eve to watch movies/chat on phone/play games then still gets 7hours sleep before getting up for work (interrupted by baby but he can turn over and go back to sleep while I have to get up for feeds!!) Meanwhile I get 30mins in morning to shower and dress while he holds baby, and a couple of hours in eve when baby's asleep before I go to bed. Yet he thinks mat-leave is a sort of holiday because I do 'fun' things like meeting friends and having coffee/lunch out and going to baby groups.
Sorry for ranting, I'm a sleep-deprived wreck
Baby is breastfed and won't take bottle so can't leave him for day. DH helps as much as he can at weekends but I'm so tired my 'breaks' are just catching up on sleep and trying to tidy house!
I use sling a lot but have a hip problem so can't wear it for long as too painful.
DD would only breast feed, but would take expressed milk from a spoon / sippy cup from DP so try that so you are not the only one able to feed. Going out so that the baby can't smell you, may help getting the baby to take expressed milk from spoon / sippy cup/ bottle.
Someone needs to read your man the riot act - your Mum, his Mum, family friend - do you have anyone who fits that bill ? If not bring in the HV. Cleaners should not be secret - if he doesn't like it then he has to step up and fill the gap.
And for God's sake don't apologise - you are doing the most important job you will ever do - caring for a tiny baby. If he's so bloody wonderful, he can do it. He should be doing the most important job he will ever do, caring and supporting the mother of his tiny child.
Your dh is being massively unreasonable. What a fucking tool.
Join the discussion
Please login first.