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How much does your OH do at night with baby?

(31 Posts)
Whenisittimeforwine Sat 14-Jan-17 14:00:04

DS is 12 weeks old and EBF. I am on maternity leave but can't nap during day as baby will only nap upright on my chest (and I'm too scared to fall asleep on sofa due to SIDS risk), DH works full time. Baby feeds approx every 3-4 hours but feeds take a long time (up to 1.5-2 hours!). Have tried feeding lying down and co-sleeping but we've not yet had much success.

I do nappies as figure there's no point in DH waking up just to do that and often I will just feed and get baby back down without DH waking up, but my patience is really crap at night so if DS won't settle after a feed DH will frequently settle him. This is usually because I've already been up 2 hours and I'm desperate to get a bit of sleep before the next marathon feeding session starts, it also takes me ages to get back to sleep once woken whereas DH can nod off easily. DH sleeps solidly during every 2 hour feeding session. I'm also a very light sleeper and after weeks of literally no sleep at all as every noise that DS made would keep me awake, I will often sleep with ear plugs and DH will prod me when baby wakes up for feed.

AIBU? Lots of other mums say I am massively lucky and I now thus feel massively guilty that I'm not doing enough for baby/expecting DH to do too much. It's literally eating me up and every night I think I'll just "do it all" as I "should" but when it comes to it and it's 3am I feel like I can't cope with being up and just get so desperate for a few hours of sleep, I rely on DH to pitch in.

Should I feel guilty? Am I being a crap mother for sometimes just letting DH take over?

AngelaKardashian Sat 14-Jan-17 14:05:28

No you should not feel guilty at all! Just because you are on maternity leave it doesn't make night feeds your responsibility and yours only. Of course you are EBF so have to do the actual feeds, but your DH can do the nappies, winding, settling.

I'm FF so it's easier to share night duties more evenly, although I still tend to do the actual feeds because I like to. DP changes DS's nappy while I sort the bottle out and then takes over the winding if it's taking a long time.

FATEdestiny Sat 14-Jan-17 14:26:24

You sound really anxious, if that's how you are feeling it's no wonder you are struggling to sleep. I believe that not sleeping when given the opportunity to when exhausted with a new baby can be a sign of Post Natal Depression.

I realise this is side-stepping your actual question, but I wonder to what degree this might be resolved if you were able to get adequate mental health support for new parents? It might be that if you felt less anxious about things you could sleep more easily so the issue resolves itself.

Another aside issue is baby's sleep. There are things you could try so that baby sleeps better. For example:
- limit daytime awake time to 40-60 minutes between waking from one nap and going to sleep for the next nap.
- use a dummy
- use movement - bouncy chair is great. It pushchair, car drive.
- try a swaddle if not using movement
- feed feed feed. Feed as often and as much as possible.
- If all else fails, don't beat yourself up about using formula.

Finding ways to help baby sleep better which will in turn help you sleep better.

To answer your question, it's fine for your DH to help out at night. He is a parent after all. It would be unfair for him to work full time and then do all or large chunks of the frequent night wake ups. But he's not expected to do all of them here, just to support you - which it sounds like he is doing.

Honeybee79 Sat 14-Jan-17 16:33:59

No, yanbu!

My DD of 7 weeks will only sleep on me during the day (if at all) so I feel similarly knackered right now. She is ff. I am on mat leave so do all the nights during the week while DH sleeps in the spare room. The trade off is that he does Fri and Sat night for me so I can at least catch up at the wkend.

It's much harder to share the nights if you're EBF, but in all honesty you have no reason to feel guilty. Yes, you're on mat leave but your sanity matters too!

FATEdestiny Sat 14-Jan-17 16:43:41

Oh Yes, agree about weekends. While I do the nights, I also get all of the lie INS. DH doesn't get to stay in bed at all in the mornings (aside maybe his birthday and fathers day - these are his only confessions)

FATEdestiny Sat 14-Jan-17 16:44:26


Honeybee79 Sat 14-Jan-17 18:22:14

I v much agree with this approach Fate!

Whenisittimeforwine Sun 15-Jan-17 18:53:23

Thanks ladies. I don't know why I feel so crap about needing to share the nights, I read all these stories of mums being up for hours rocking/settling etc on their own and as much as I try, I just don't have the patience. I feed which can take ages, often feed to sleep and that's all hunky dory, but if DS won't settle I just snap and need to go and get DH to take over. Hence why if we had an arrangement where I did all the weeknights and DH did weekends, I don't think I'd cope! What is wrong with me?? Feeling so rubbish about my failings at the moment :-(

WorkingBling Sun 15-Jan-17 19:05:03

Oh you poor thing. Sounds so hard. First, whatbyou and dh are doing sounds brilliant to me. I am always amazed at how many men absolutely need their 8 hours sleep if they are going to be expected to go out to work ... funny how pre-baby staying up late to watch tv, go out etc were just fine. So your dh is clearly pulling his weight.

Having said that, the struggle to sleep yourself is classic anxiety signs. And it may be that you need to get some extra help. Are you able to express at all? One thing that was absolutely life saving for me when ds was tiny is that I would go to bed around 9, leaving dh awake with ds. He would have ds, feed him and get him down again before going to bed himself at around his usual midnight, allowing me to sleep solidly until about 1 or 2 when ds woke up for next feed. Perhaps an expressed bottle in the late evening would help you to get some of the sleep you need to start feeling better?

AllChangeNat Sun 15-Jan-17 19:07:42

Please don't feel rubbish. You physically can not be awake most the night and all day, you'll break. You're doing exactly the right thing in recognising that you need support in the night and asking for it. Your husband is looking after his own child, please don't see it as a favour to yourself.

My lo is 5 months and I ask for similar help, my DH does the middle of the night nappy change, any settling when I'm just too tired to do it and any wake ups from our elder child (which aren't to often). I do feel guilty when I see him tired but figure that he may be tired at work and make the odd mistake but he won't want me being crazy tired making mistakes when looking after the children (such as falling asleep driving with the children in the car, falling asleep when the children are in the bath or just plain losing it with them due to exhaustion.)

I also second what someone upthread said re keeping an eye on your sleep. I experienced difficulty sleeping as one of the signs of post natal depression.

Kariana Mon 16-Jan-17 09:01:40

1.5-2 hours for a feed sounds like a long time for a 12 week old if it's every feed. Is he feeding all that time or is he dozing off? Is he definitely swallowing all the way through or is it just comfort sucking after a while? Have you had him checked for things like tongue tie? Could you express and try him with a bottle to see how long that takes? It would also mean your dh could do one of the feeds which would allow you one long stretch of unbroken sleep. If you're constantly up for hours at night it's no wonder you lose patience and snap, you're not getting enough unbroken sleep to repair yourself physically, mentally or emotionally. It's also possible that the long feeds are due to low milk supply due to lack of sleep (I had a huge problem with this early on and my milk supply nearly went completely) so you urgently need to try and get more sleep, even though I know that seems impossible right now!

Farfromtheusual Mon 16-Jan-17 10:19:59

I don't have much helpful advice but just wanted to say you're not alone flowers

I could of written this exact post about 2 months ago. Feeds taking forever, getting frustrated and losing patience if DS wouldn't settle and having to get DP to take over. Even down to DP being able to sleep through the whole feed. He was good though and would go and make the bottle in the night and change DSs nappy but I felt bad because he had to get up early for work and I had to wake him because I couldn't cope.

But it does a get better so hang in there. I know that's probably not much comfort to you but honestly it will. DS has stopped night feeds now but he does unsettle in the night due to teething etc but it's much easier than being up for 2 hours feeding! I still get frustrated if he's having a bad night but no where near as bad as before.

Also, when you say it takes DS 1.5-2 hours to feed, why is that? Slow drinker? Fussy? Screaming and writhing about as if he's in pain? If it's the latter have a google of reflux in babies and if any of it sounds familiar you may want to get him checked out by the dr, DS has it and it was awful trying to feed him for the first 3 months, I felt like I was physically fighting to feed him! He's on meds now and can down a bottle in about 20 mins now no problem (unless he's teething).

GashleyCrumbTiny Mon 16-Jan-17 13:39:20

Let yourself off the hook. It's tiring and the early weeks are hard. You do what you need to to get through. Babies vary, adults vary, and between you both you need to manage your baby's sleeping and feeding habits in the way that's best for the two of you, and your baby. That will be different for different people. It sounds like you've found a good way of sharing the load, you're just beating yourself up about it!

Relax. Take whatever help your partner can give, and remember that doing the best for your baby has to include looking after yourself. flowers

Honeybee79 Mon 16-Jan-17 17:44:21

Don't feel rubbish! Accept all the help your other half can give.

I hate the settling thing. Feeding is one thing, but settling drives me up the wall.

acquiescence Tue 17-Jan-17 12:12:13

It sounds like your DS is using you as a dummy rather than feeding for 1.5/2 hours. Does he take a dummy?

Is he pooing in the night? If not I wouldn't bother doing nappies in the night, as long as you are using a good nappy then he will be fine without a change. Getting up properly to do the nappy will be likely to wake you up more.

Do you have a co sleeper cot ? This might help with establishing co sleeping. I would suggest persevering with lying down feeding as this may help you stay sleepy.

I really sympathise as I had bad insomnia/sleep issues when my LO was this age. It took me an hour or so to get to sleep after every wake up and then he was up again so soon, it was so hard.

Have you been expressing? My OH would give some expressed milk in the night and I would sleep in another room with ear plugs.

I guess in terms of if you should be managing on your own it is up to you as a couple. I think the only thing with him getting up in the night too is he may get too tired for work. Depends on both of your sleep needs really. My OH would do odd nights (still does some) but generally he gets up with him early on his days off and I catch up in the morning. When he was small I would stay in bed until 10 or so and DS would have a bottle of expressed milk and later on formula.

Good luck x

Whenisittimeforwine Tue 17-Jan-17 19:16:13

Thanks ladies for your replies and help. We are seeing a Lactation consultant soon to check for tongue tie, I can usually tell when he is comfort sucking and he does seem to be actively feeding most of the time. I will definitely start pumping and get DH to give a bottle to give me a break.

I think the reason I'm upset is it feels like because DH is so hands on and involved, it's easy to just hand over to him when I'm struggling and so sometimes I probably do that too soon - and thus I then feel that I've failed my baby by "taking the easy way out". I know these early months are so hard and any help offered should be taken, but I honestly sometimes just feel like I'm doing a rubbish job because I can't cope with much at night and this makes me so upset :-(

FATEdestiny Tue 17-Jan-17 20:15:54

I think it's only natural that if your DH seeing you struggling, that he steps up. Anyone half decent would do that.

But it takes a better level of understanding of the bigger picture to step back and rather than take over, instead help and support you in parenting.

It's great he will take over. You are not failing because he does. The concern is that in some new parents, this kind of situation can delay bonding with the baby.

Do you think you may have postnatal depression?

Could you chat to your GP about the things you mentioned on this thread?

Kariana Wed 18-Jan-17 13:46:15

Please please don't feel like that, there is no such thing as handing the baby over too soon ever. I hand mine over all the time and I feel no guilt about it. I think sometimes mums feel like they see other mums doing everything and think they should be like that, when actually babies have two parents. If your dh is wonderful enough to see that and step in whenever he is needed then you should embrace that, thank your lucky stars that you have a supportive partner who is absolutely willing to be a hands on parent and take the break you are offered. No baby benefits from an overtired, overstressed mummy who tries to do everything and they absolutely benefit from having both parents take a large part in their care. You have nothing to worry about and are doing a brilliant job!

Whenisittimeforwine Thu 19-Jan-17 13:34:23

Thanks @FATEdestiny, yes I have seen my GP and then a counsellor to talk about PND, she doesn't think I have it but rather have some postnatal anxiety and also some difficulty in making the adjustment to motherhood, which she says is very normal. It's a really interesting point you make about rather than taking over, if DH could support me to do it myself - I've never really been "shown" or had any tips from anyone (not that close to my mum) so I feel a bit like we're muddling along on our own, without DH I don't know what I'd do.

@Kariana thank you so much for your kind words. You are right, I compare myself to other mums both in RL and who I read about on here who manage the nights on their own and I just think I couldn't do it - how do they do it?!? I know everyone is different and I should stop comparing. But it's so hard when it's all around you and you just want to do your best. Maybe it's about accepting that you can't do everything and more than that, you're only human sometimes to not even want to do it especially when you know you have help on standby?

I just can't get over wishing/wanting to have coped better at night up until this point - need to shake off this suilt.

Even now my patience is terrible with settling baby at night - wish I could improve!

Whenisittimeforwine Thu 19-Jan-17 13:38:31

suilt - should read guilt!

Also having really done some soul searching I think the crux of it is I feel like I have passed ownership of the difficulties onto DH - e.g. noisy baby where DH can sleep through it at night whereas I can't, or baby not settling well - he's coped with it and I haven't and have just had to run away from it all, feels like I've let my DS down...

FATEdestiny Thu 19-Jan-17 13:53:55

It seems like this is a thread about the symptoms, not the cause.

Is your ds taking 1-2h plus to complete a breastfeed often? Does he sleep during this time?

1 hour is about on the limit of awake time a 12 week old can manage. If it's getting to 2 hours awake then the baby must be exhausted.

The problems you are having may be entirely solvable with more frequent daytime sleeps and feeds.

If you and DH are both happy to pass responsibility over to DH, how do you feel about formula so that your DH can do some of the feeds?

You do sound quite anxious. I am glad you've spoken to your doctor about this. I hope he was able to offer you some help.

LatteDa Thu 19-Jan-17 14:01:40

You should 100% not feel guilty or feel like you are failing. I know lots of dad's who help out with night feeds & lots of dad's who don't! I'm sure most mums would accept help with night feeds if it was there.

Sammythecrab Fri 20-Jan-17 06:45:56

De-lurked and joined specifically to comment.
My DH does a lot, but he as also our son's parent.
He can settle him better than I can, does all the nappies when he's home and I truly feel we are 50:50 in this crazy parenthood game!

At night I bf and generally hand DS over for nappy/settle/burps and go back to sleep. I felt so guilty about this, and still struggle if we're having a tough night, but it's what WE need to do to keep me mentally healthy,

I have been depressed and anxious in the past, and worried about pnd, but for me it's sleep deprivation that's the problem.

I've told a few people the above and they act like Dh is some kind of god for stepping up and parenting his child....

Take it easy on yourself, and use the support of DH and anyone else who offers. I hope you can get some rest

Kariana Fri 20-Jan-17 08:43:16

Maybe it's about accepting that you can't do everything and more than that, you're only human sometimes to not even want to do it especially when you know you have help on standby?

This is very true and there is nothing wrong with this. There is no point running yourself into the ground and making yourself ill and stressed when help is on hand. You're absolutely not failing, spending 2hrs with a baby attached to your boob in the middle of the night is not easy and I would certainly not have the energy to settle my fussy baby back down to sleep after two hours awake feeding in the night. You need to use that time in between feeds to rest and get ready for the next!

Once feeds start taking less time you will find you have more energy left at the end of the night feeds to settle him as you won't be so tired, but even then it is still best to share the load!

Whenisittimeforwine Sat 21-Jan-17 14:22:22

Again ladies, thank you so much for your support. Sammythecrab thank you for joining specifically to post. I had to laugh at your comment regarding people thinking your DH is some kind of God....I've had similar reactions!!!

I really cannot emphasise how much better I feel reading similar stories to mine, those of us who are fortunate to have OHs who share the load - why I've been feeling like I'm a failure for this I don't know but this thread really has helped me. Any other MNers out there who share nights with their DH please do comment on this thread to share your experiences - it really helps me to normalise my situation and try to banish some of the (uncalled for) guilt and feelings of inadequacy.... this motherhood lark is hard enough!!

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