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Sharing newborn shifts around work

(19 Posts)
Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 09:41:12

Our DS is almost four weeks old. I've been very lucky to have my DH home until the end of next week (5 weeks). We've been splitting the nights.

I'm naturally a night owl, and he's more of an early morning person. So DH goes to sleep around 11pm and I baby wrangle. Around 4am, we switch shifts so I can have a few hours uninterrupted sleep until 8/9am. I would really struggle to go to sleep early and get up at 4am.

DS is breasted and gets around 2 expressed bottles when required during DH's shift.

This set up is currently working well enough with one exception. DS is very difficult to resettle at the 4am shift change. I change him then feed him before I go and do my best to resettle him down, but usually DS doesn't want to go back to sleep. It can take up to two hours to resettled him. Then after about 6am, DS then sleeps well until about 10am, waking only for feeds. I always feel bad handing over to DH knowing it's DS's trickiest time.

We keep the room quiet and dark. DS is sometimes swaddled when he wants it. He has a dummy and a white noise machine.

The issue here is, we're not sure how to work it when DH goes back to work. The current system isn't sustainable, especially is DS won't settle between 4-6am. DH would be too tired for work. However he wants to keep helping with some of the nights, and I'd like him too as well.

My questions are

1. I know DS is a newborn and has no routine, but is the two hour walks in the middle of the night normal? Anything we can do to help him drift off again quicker?

2. Any idea how best to find a system where I can get a bit of sleep but also allows DH to help out and also get enough sleep to function for work?

FATEdestiny Thu 02-Nov-17 12:24:22

Do you go to bed at 4am? I assume you will bring this to a more 'normal-ish' time as you settle into your role as a parent?

Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 19:12:18

We're currently sleeping in different rooms (mainly so the person 'off shift' gets a period of undisturbed sleep, and also because DH's snoring is driving me nuts during night feeds!). So the on shift parent sleeps in one room with DS in a side sleeper crib, the off shift parent is in the spare room.

I tend to chill out with DS in the bedroom from about 8pm so I can supervise him while he's sleeping, then I try and go to sleep around 10/11pm. I feed DS when he wakes at around 10pm, midnight, 3/4am. Usually I manage to get some sleep in between feeds (only takes around 30mins to feed and resettle - aside from the 4am wake). Around 4am, DH switches to this bedroom and I go and sleep in the spare room.

So I'm going to bed earlier than 4am, it's just that 4-8am is my uninterrupted sleep period.

DS is only three (nearly four) weeks. This isn't intended to be a long term thing, just need to see what sort of sleep/feed pattern he settles into as he gets older. Not sure if I should just be sucking it up and doing all the night feeds, but those few hours of uninterrupted sleep are really helping me right now.

angelopal Thu 02-Nov-17 19:21:07

DS is 7 weeks. We do shifts. I go to bed at 8 and DH has him. Swap over at 1 until 6 when DH gets up for work. DS has decided to only sleep for about 45 mins at a time so it's the only way we are getting some sleep.

If I did all night feeds would be a zombie. Also have a 3 year old so can't sleep during the day.

RubertRoo Thu 02-Nov-17 19:33:53

My DD1 is 7 weeks old and is EBF - I have found that by feeding her lying down it keeps her settled during night feeds.
I now tend to wake up before she starts properly crying and put her down next to me, feed her and she stays in a sort of dream state, she feeds for 10-15 mins I then put her back in her crib and she goes back off to sleep.

If she is having an unsettled night for any reason, it will be around 4am and she can be up for 2 hours but i find putting her back down rather than keep holding her and rocking the crib works.

Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 19:46:04

Yes, most people I've come across who do shifts, do it the other way around. Mum goes to bed early then gets up in the early hours of the morning. It makes more sense, it just really doesn't suit my natural sleep clock - although maybe I'll just have to adjust

Is 4am a special extra newborn witching hour?! Lol

Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 19:47:15

I'm still struggling with various positions. I'll have to try feeding lying down. Problem is, DS gets very windy. Winding him wakes him up but if I don't wind him then he doesn't sleep properly

NetflixandBill Thu 02-Nov-17 19:59:13

My son is 4mo and still loves a 4am wake up! Thankfully he just has a very sleepy feed now and goes back down within about 15 minutes. In our case, the night ‘wide awakeness’ did improve by about 6-8 weeks. He would still wake but would stay snoozy and when he didn’t want put down even in the Next To Me we did a bit of co- sleeping. I didn’t really enjoy it but it was a short term fix and he’s much easier to put down now.

We also used to split the night but we’d swap at 3 and i’d get up. If it got really bad tbh i’d come downstairs and get him in his rocker for a little bit so i could doze without worrying about falling asleep holding him.

NapQueen Thu 02-Nov-17 20:03:51

I would do this:
You feed ds at all night feeds through the week inc the 4am one. Your solid sleep aligns with baby's 6am to 10am. Dh does all the night feeds fri and sat eve with him then getting the 6am to 10am lie in.

Cornishmumofone Thu 02-Nov-17 20:06:37

You probably don’t need to change his nappy overnight. That probably wakes him more than just feeding him.

Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 20:16:45

Unfortunately we do have to change him. He poos. ALL the time. I lose count of how many dirty nappies we deal with. Plus he currently has nappy rash. I usually change him (when required) before I feed him and he usually settles quickly back to sleep aside from the 4am party.

Thanks for the suggestion Nap. Appreciated but I don't think it'll work for us. I can't really hand over all night feeds to DH on Fri/Sat as my boobs would explode!! Even just missing two feeds (6 and 8am) means I wake up very full. Also me sleeping 6-10am wouldn't be undisturbed as I'd need to come back into the baby's room by 8am so DH can get ready for work, so that would only really be 2 hrs and I might as well do the whole lot then.

NapQueen Thu 02-Nov-17 20:22:20

Can dh get up at 6am and get ready for work in and around the babys room and you go at 6am back into the master bedroom?

FATEdestiny Thu 02-Nov-17 20:41:42

Quite frankly, it's unrealistic to expect to split the nights while baby is having night feeds.

I would wait until baby can be settled without a feed (with a dummy for example). That's when Dads are most useful to the breastfeeding mother - for resettles not needing a night feed.

Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 22:19:12

Yes, Nap. That might work. If I push my shift a few hours longer and then DH gets up at 6. The only problem is dealing with the 4am party because I'm very tired by that point, at least when DH takes over now, he's dealing with it after a good sleep. But that might be how it has to be. Or I might have to try and switch so DH covers late evening and I get up at 2/3am and take over.

Fate, why do you think that? Splitting the feeding isn't the problem. I can skip up to two feeds (4 hours) without issue, and baby is hapoyvto take an expressed bottle. The problem I'm having is how to juggle things so DH gets adequate sleep to function at work, but also is able to pitch in with the nights like he wants to and allow me a few hours sleep. Work seems more the issue than the fact I'm breastfeeding?

Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 22:20:49

We both struggle to resettle DS at 4am. I do that feed and try to settle him down as DH takes over, DS still decides it's party time. Where as he resettles just fine at the moment with DH and his 6/7am bottle

Lemondrop99 Thu 02-Nov-17 22:28:30

Just to add, I spent most of the last week in hospital with DS. DH had to go home, so I did all the night feeds. By the third night, I was so tired I was almost hallucinating! I'm sure it wasn't helped by other babies crying on the paediatric ward, beeping machines and the hard trolley I was sleeping on, but I came away realising how much I would struggle to cope long term without my DH's support at night.

I think if I could resolve the two hour wake around 4am, just me dealing with whole nights would be manageable, but while that's still going on, I'd really struggle.

Ginger100 Sun 05-Nov-17 08:46:24

Could your husband go to sleep earlier? You say he goes to sleep at 11ish but if he went to bed at 8ish and slept until 4 he would get 8 hours good sleep. He then takes thebaby until he goes to work when you take back over but hopefully baby sleeps until 10 so you get a decent sleep. It's rubbish that he won't get the evenings with you to relax but it's not forever and hopefully by 12 weeks things will get easier. Lots of sympathy here- I'm currently sat on sofa with a7 week old and a toddler.

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 05-Nov-17 08:56:29

I’d kept going with trying to keep lying down and at 4am, feed in bed and cosleep with the baby.

I’m a big fan of cosleeping though and have found coping with 2 so much easier as I did it from the start rather than battling with a cot like I did with DD for months. I’m also much less tired because you don’t have to wake up properly like you do if you’re getting out of bed to feed and resettle.

Hope your DS is ok now flowers

CottonSock Sun 05-Nov-17 08:59:21

Can dh help with other house jobs so you can sleep earlier.

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