DH so frustrated with night wakings, I'm struggling to hold it together

(18 Posts)
YoBeaches Mon 09-Nov-20 13:21:04

Hi folks.
So we have a 15.5 month old. She's awesome. She just took her first steps at the weekend and is developing into a really lovely little girl.

The problem really, is my DH. He suffers at times with his 'emotions' which is usually a good thing, he won't bottle things up and we talk openly. We've been together 14 years. But, in trying to get our dd to sleep better, he just can't hold his frustrations in.

We agreed to try a little sleep training this weekend. She goes down really well in the cot, awake and self settles. She'll wake once or twice times in the night, usually for her dummy if she can't see it, but around 4:30/5am she wakes and she's really upset, lots of crying, and the only cure has been to bring her into bed.

I want to stop this for everyone's sake. Its a pattern by DH developed when I was in hospital, had surgery, and he had to manage the nights himself for a couple of weeks. So I get how we ended up here and it was all with good intentions, but she really needs better quality sleep herself and coming into our bed, I don't think is the best answer.

Thurs/fri/sat I did the night duty, going through the motions to get her back to sleep in her cot, which meant I didnt' really sleep after 4:30am. It was starting to work though in my opinion, one morning she went back to sleep in the cot and didnt stir till 7am, Perfect. Last night DH said he would to do it. She woke at 3:20 and was pretty much screaming for an hour. I couldn't hear him trying to sooth her or making sure she was settled before he put her back down, she just kept crying, and I could hear the odd 'huff' from dh. So at 4:20 I went in, shes really screaming at this stage, the lights are on, he's 'stuffing' her back in her sleeping bag, being a little rough, and she's bright red in the face with tears teaming down her little face. He was angry, really angry, so I said its ok, let me take over. He shouted at me that 'he had it' and I said - I don't think you're in the right frame of mind for this, I'll do it. He passed the baby to me ( quite sharply, I barely had hold of her before he stormed off) slamming the bedroom door behind him.

DD was so upset, I just took her into bed with me in the spare room, and after about an hour of soothing, she fell asleep.

Its not the first time its happened and when we last spoke he said he felt bad for getting so frustrated with her but in the moment he's just so tired/fed up/wants her to sleep etc.

My problem is that I'm getting tired of it too. Shes a baby. this is all part of her development, its normal. Its tiring yes, but its normal. I'm pissed off that if I can do it for 3/4 nights in a row, why can't he fucking handle it for one night. In the nix of my emotions last night all I could think about is telling him to sort himself out or leave. That's not what I want. Not in the slightest. But I'm starting to lack the energy to keeping getting through each stage and supporting him as much as I'm supporting her.

This isn't a LTB thread so please don't start that, I just need some support and suggestions.

Do you think sleep training is appropriate for her at 15 months? A mum at nursery said as soon as she's mastered walking she'll start sleeping better. And I agree with that too. everything they go through effects their sleep.

What can I do to help him be less angry. other than do the night shift every night. I work 5 days a week. I'm exhausted. I don't have any family nearby.

OP’s posts: |
blackcat86 Mon 09-Nov-20 13:47:51

Well the mum at nursery is talking shit. My 2 year old still wakes at night to come into the spare bed and that's totally normal. If you have a spare room could you do what I ended up organising with DH and take it turns to get up and take her to the spare bed with you to spend the rest of the night. Everyone gets more sleep. Dh tried to say we should settle her back in her cot which in reality meant him getting up once and then expecting me to be up setting her for hours. It was a no from me because my work and sleep are important to. As for the anger you cannot make him be less angry but you can tell him it utterly unacceptable and toxic and you will not have it. I'm surprised you left it an hour to intervene if you could hear her screaming and him huffing. Dh has done the same and I have told him that I will not have him be aggressive towards our toddler in anyway and will intervene everytime. If I get sick of it then he'll be out. This may be the discussion you need to have. Your DH needs to address his own anger and you need to be clear what you will do if he doesn't

GrumpyHoonMain Mon 09-Nov-20 13:54:47

Honestly I wouldn’t accept this at all. If you can manage the night wakings so can he - 4:30-5am isn’t even that bad. My DS is up almost constantly between midnight at 4am and neither DH nor I lose it like that.

You need to set clear boundaries with him. If this means he needs to go to bed earlier then so be it. But honestly I do think LTB will need to be an option if he doesn’t improve.

YoBeaches Mon 09-Nov-20 14:08:23

@blackcat86 we had talked about sleeping in separate rooms so we get a night off, that's what we did last night except its not a big house so I can hear everything anyway. She wasn't screaming for the whole hour, it was progressive/on and off and I got up when I could tell she was quite upset. You're right though, I don't know what the consequences are if it doesn't change, but there needs to be something.

@GrumpyHoonMain yeah its almost also like his pride is in the way too, when i've said before, just come and get me I'll take over. He won't ask for help. which is stupid. I've gone to him several times in the past when she was really young and said I can't do it tonight and he would take over. Its just the continuous night after night of it now seems to be too challenging for him.

I'm going to talk to him this evening when she's gone to bed. I just need to work out the right words. I'm a calm person, but he does need to know how this makes me feel in that it could break us. Most relationships don't break up over night do they, things creep and creep until one of you has had enough. There is nothing else wrong in our relationship, we're a great team, except for this.

OP’s posts: |
mynameiscalypso Mon 09-Nov-20 14:26:21

Yeah, I wouldn't accept that. I will say that DS is 15 months (and just started walking) and regularly wakes between 4-5. I used to try and get him back to sleep but it turned out he was just hungry so I now give him his morning bottle then and he generally will go back to sleep immediately for a few hours. This morning I had to wake him so we weren't late for nursery! It doesn't always work and sometimes our day just starts earlier but I think his appetite hasn't caught up with what he needs yet so is struggling to make it through the night. I have definitely gone for the path of least resistance though!

AmICrazyorWhat2 Mon 09-Nov-20 14:37:41

Sleep deprivation is horrendous and I have huge sympathy for you both.

But, your DH needs to learn how to control his emotions and I personally don’t think that offloading to you as his emotional “rock” is necessarily the best way to approach it.

I’m an emotional person and used to offload to DH, get upset, etc. but ultimately he couldn’t help me. Unfortunately I got worse and sought professional help. That’s when I was diagnosed with GAD, had counseling and medication, and life has been so much better in the years since. I don’t get as worried/upset and I don’t lean on my DH in the same way, i take more ownership and sort out my emotions myself ( or talk to a professional). Our relationship is so much happier.

Sorry to waffle on, I’m not suggesting your DH is exactly the same as me, but it sounds like similar traits. HE needs to work on them, not you.

I won’t try to advise on the sleep training, mine are teens and quite frankly, I’ve deliberately forgotten about the sleep deprivation.🤣

Coronawireless Mon 09-Nov-20 14:40:55

Your DH thinks the baby should sleep in your bed (I assume, since that’s what he did before).
You think she shouldn’t.
The household is going by your rules. I’m sure this doesn’t help your DH’s frustration!
I may be biased here though because I don’t see why you the baby can’t just sleep with you? If there’s no room, one of you can move to the spare room.
Sleep training is overrated.

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WhatKatyDidNxt Mon 09-Nov-20 14:45:00

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture for good reason! I think he needs to do more of his fair share and not get so irritable (tricky when you’re tired l know). I vote for sleep training, she’s not tiny and needs to get better at self soothing

YoBeaches Mon 09-Nov-20 15:17:35

@mynameiscalypso dd ditched her bottles at 12 months, just stopped taking them but she was always good with food since weaning, she eats anything and everything. So once I worked out to give her an extra 'supper' before bed, she was sleeping better again. But this last month or two has been hellish. There's no particular reason - constant teething obviously plays a part.

Thanks @AmICrazyorWhat2 I appreciate the empathy. It is his problem to solve I guess I just want to help him do that, so that my life is easier! He has had some anxiety in the past, started when his dad passed away suddenly whilst abroad, but he feels this is under control now and doesn't have symptoms regularly ( unless he's not being truthful about this with me).

@Coronawireless I don't think DH thinks that. He prefers her in her cot, but the constant night wakings are taking its toll and I'm better at handling it than he is. We both want to sleep in our own bed together, its an important part of our relationship. Funny you mention the house living by my rules, one of the reasons I didn't go in earlier last night was intentionally to not undermine his ability to parent her. But as I mentioned we did this weekend discuss taking it in turns during the week in seperate rooms.

Its also really important to me (actually both of us) that we are as equal as we can be in our parenting and that his relationship with her is as strong as mine. Which I think it is, or was, but he lets himself down a bit with these outbursts.

Very mixed views on sleep training smile I don't even know what I'm doing other than trying to get her back to sleep in her own room!

OP’s posts: |
Coronawireless Mon 09-Nov-20 15:23:25

Ah ok apologies, you’re both in agreement.
I understand you wanting to have the bed to yourselves but it is sooo lovely to sleep with a child snuggled into you and they love it too! They grow up so fast....
I’ll leave it there 🙂
Best of luck!

YoBeaches Mon 09-Nov-20 15:29:29

@Coronawireless actually though you've tapped into one of my fears. I have a sister with two kids age 5 and 7 and neither of them will sleep on their own. The eldest definitely has some sort of sleep anxiety. Both mum and dad have to sleep with each child each night. They won't do sleepovers at grandparents etc etc.

That sort of co-sleeping scares the shit out of me. My sister is gone demented with it but just says they'll grow out of it eventually. I guess I'm trying to ensure we don't end up like that, but maybe I'm being too harsh to soon?

It is lovely to snuggle with her, totally. It feels like a fine balancing act between coping, enjoying it, and not creating bad habits that can't be undone.

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Karatema Mon 09-Nov-20 16:02:58

I'm a grandparent so like PPs have blocked the sleep deprivation from my memory! grin However, what I do remember, and I've double checked with DH, is that one of mine ditched night feeds (about 12 months) but then we had to return to them because they suddenly needed them again; just a small top up to get through the night.
It might be worth trying to see if it makes a difference.

YoBeaches Mon 09-Nov-20 16:08:43

@Karatemayo hmm could be worth a try. Her portions did increase during the last couple of weeks, growth spurt maybe and she needs more. We give her water when she wakes as shes usually thirsty, and she's had the ongoing cold etc

I might try some warm milk as a 'dream' feed tonight.

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Merrow Mon 09-Nov-20 16:24:35

We're just past this stage and into the relative joy of 5.30 wake ups. The 4am wake ups were so incredibly hard as everyone in the family is so tired and it's definitely too early to get up. I'm rubbish without sleep and my patience takes a nose dive and the solution was that I went to bed incredibly early when it was my turn to do the morning. He probably also has to think about what method of soothing works for him - my partner was fine sitting and making gentle soothing noises but I found that quite difficult and it probably ended up more like frustrated hissing, while reading a book repeatedly (Peepo, which I think I will be able to recite from memory forever) achieved the same soothing background noise but was something I could sustain. Is there space for a mattress in the room with the cot? Lying somewhere comfy yourself does make things easier!

FudgeSundae Mon 09-Nov-20 16:27:50

We sleep trained our baby very young and it was the best thing we ever did and I will repeat it with Dd2 when born. I’m afraid in your shoes I would just get on with it - there’s some evidence sleep training works better with one parent for consistency and hopefully then it’ll only be a couple of weeks. I would just do what you’re doing consistently for a fortnight and then review.

I know what you mean about wanting to be equal, but a big lesson for me is that equal parenting doesn’t have to mean each parent does exactly 50% of every chore. For us, DH is a really sound sleeper and genuinely didn’t hear her wake. I’m also a control freak. By the time I’d elbowed him awake and started worrying about what he was doing and why it was taking so long I wasn’t getting any extra sleep. He does other things - e.g. he has her all day on his days off which are different to mine, but we haven’t had any night wakings since 4 months anyway (she’s now 15 months).

Personally, I wouldn’t offer milk unless you want to be offering it every night. The idea is they learn nothing fun happens if they wake up and cry (nothing bad either!).

adagio Mon 09-Nov-20 16:50:05

Sympathies flowers
I would persevere with the sleep ‘training’, my DH is similar - if he gets up in the night claims he can’t get back to sleep and is wrecked the next day; never goes to bed early to allow for an expected early wake to be honest I just did them all in the end. Now my kids are bigger it’s less often, but dd age 4 still wakes up every couple of weeks (ish) and if I go in I can eventually settle her usually.

YoBeaches Mon 09-Nov-20 20:50:31

Well we've had a chat. He says he gets frustrated as he feels he's not capable, or can't do it, when she won't settle for him. That the routine is relentless at the moment from one day to the next and never feeling fresh in the morning just makes him feel tired and frustrated. He doesn't want to ask for help as I'm supposed to be sleeping. He didn't know how I manage to do it. 🙄

I explained it's not on, like I'm going to sleep through that racket anyway. It's not her fault she's awake, upset etc. Neither she or I deserve that behaviour and it will push us apart. I repeated what I've said before, if he doesn't want to do this, then don't. But she needs both of us.

We're doing separate rooms tonight and I'll do the night shift with her. She was knackered coming back from nursery so I popped her to bed early with some warm milk she's been flat out since.

Here's hoping we all get some sleep.

I agree about it not being exactly 50/50, but he could still do better than he does with this.

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Ohalrightthen Tue 10-Nov-20 14:21:20

I would stick with one parent doing the training. When we did CC with DD, i did the nights and DH got up with her each morning so i got some rest. It's just easier if it's consistent.

The anger and frustration is another issue. He needs to get that under control and if he can't you need to seriously think about the impact growing up with a parent who has outbursts like that can have on a child.

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