Desperate for tips on splitting baby care with partner
Drawingablank · 22/04/2021 09:54
I have a 5 month old son and am hitting a point of deep exhaustion and physical strain. I feel utterly desperate in the morning when faced with a full day of baby care on no sleep. I know this isn’t unusual in the slightest (!) but I’m sure there are parents who’ve found better ways to manage.
I’m exclusively breastfeeding and our baby is up between every 1 to 3 hours in the night. My partner is working from home in a 9-5 job. He typically takes the baby for half an hour in the morning so I can shower, and then for brief breaks so I can go to the loo etc.
Any tips on how you’ve split baby care with your partner so that you can have a proper break? Looking for practical advice on things that have worked for you, not comments on our current set up - I’m looking for guidance as I know it could be improved upon, but just too tired to come up with the solution myself!
user1493413286 · 22/04/2021 10:01
What time does your baby go to bed? When I’ve been very sleep deprived I’ve gone to bed straight after my baby and DH has then done any wake ups until 11ish, we started giving a bottle to formual as the 10.30 dream feed so he could do it without waking me but I could have expressed for it. On days DH was working from home he’d get up with baby at 6am and I’d do a quick feed and sleep until 8/8.30 and at weekend longer to catch up on sleep.
I also found it quite helpful when DH would take our baby out on walks for half an hour after he’d finished work to give me a bit of time to myself.
I also found ways to get out the house for a couple of hours on the weekend every so often like going for a coffee either by myself or with a friend or a look round the shops.
Snowpaw · 22/04/2021 10:11
He takes baby out for a long walk in pram as soon as he’s finished work so you can cook dinner in peace or just have a break.
THATbasicSNOWFLAKE · 22/04/2021 10:17
You say he takes baby so you can go to the loo, you do know you can just put baby down somewhere safe and go to the loo right?
BertieBotts · 22/04/2021 10:22
What time does the baby wake up? He could surely be in charge for the entire morning until his work start time. That would give you chance to get a bit ahead of the day, relax with a coffee, have a shower, wake up slowly etc.
Then I'd (as a thought experiement) add up all the waking hours he's not at work and all the night time hours (divide these by two as you do sleep some of the time). Then divide this total figure by two. What would life look like if he was taking that amount of sole baby care? How could you arrange it? Could he do a night shift, either with formula or bringing the baby to you for feeds? (night shifts still count as half hours).
That would probably be impractical in real life but doing it as an experiement show you how little he is probably doing sole baby care right now in comparison to how much you are doing, it can be totally eye opening.
Pandemicpregnancy · 22/04/2021 10:29
I think a proper break involves being completely away from baby so you can fully relax. I know I can't properly relax if I can hear my baby whinging or upset. I live for when my partner takes the baby out for a nice long walk and those couple of hours with my feet up and a nice coffee rejuvenate me to be able to do it all again.
Could he take the baby out somewhere at the weekend and leave you to relax? Or go for a nice morning or evening walk with baby now the weather is getting better?
Fallowfields · 22/04/2021 10:30
put the baby in bouncer/chair and bring into the bathroom with you while you shower (or, indeed, take a long bath). That way you can just stay in bed for a bit longer in the morning after your partner has got up with the baby and shower afterwards.
Partner takes baby out for a couple of hours on the weekend so you can catch up on some sleep.
If baby takes a bottle, express so that partners can do some of the night feeds (eg the 11pm/midnight types one on a school night, or any time at the weekends).
you get some time for yourself at the end of his working day.
Good luck. Hope it improves. xx
Lassy1945 · 22/04/2021 10:32
I know this isn’t what you want to hear OP but if he wasn’t working from home - it simply wouldn’t be an option.
I was in a similar position a few years ago.
But my husband HAD to go in to the office fife days a week 8-6.30.
I don’t think you can expect much help during the day if he really is working from home (perhaps his lunch break?)
But as soon as he finishes for the day - then he takes over
OverTheRainbow88 · 22/04/2021 10:33
My partner sometimes did work calls out walking baby in the pram. Will baby be put down for a nap? If so; nap when they do or cosleep for a nap? Could OH work flexi hours so take
An hour off in the day and then work an hour I’m evening?
whatswithtodaytoday · 22/04/2021 10:40
Do you get out of the house much? I know with lockdown it's been hard, but now things are opening up I would highly recommend getting out as much as possible - my worst days on mat leave were when I was at home all day. It will give you more energy, even when you're exhausted.
Otherwise - go to bed when the baby does and perhaps pump so your partner can do the late night feed before he goes to bed.
And have time off at the weekend - properly off, so your partner takes over the baby and you go out. Again, you'll need to pump to actually get a proper lengthy time off, but at five months you should have a fair idea of when he'll need to feed again and can go out for a couple of hours.
It is relentless and exhausting.
Phiphi123 · 22/04/2021 11:14
Looking after a baby is so much more hard work than any full time job. What about your husband taking the baby out for a walk over his lunch break everyday and handing baby over at 5pm for an hour of daddy time? My husband has been WFH since our 6month old was born and yes it’s true that if there was no pandemic I’d be at home alone with the baby- but that isn’t the case so I expect (demand) help with the baby during the day when his work allows. Every weekend dad has a full afternoon of sole baby care in or out of the house so I can wash my hair in peace, watch something on TV and have an actual hot drink. I know it’s the last thing you feel like when sleep deprived but getting out of the house with the baby since things have opened up more and weather has improved has really helped a long day feel slightly more bearable for me. At least if I go out for a walk and to mosey round the shops at 1pm, i know by the time I’m home at say 3ish there’s just 2hrs until dad takes baby for the hour or so after work.
Skyla01 · 22/04/2021 11:24
Can your partner take baby for a while during his lunch break and then for an hour or so after work? My partner is also WFH. He takes an hour for lunch and for 30min he takes baby so I can do whatever. He also sees the evening as "his shift" and takes baby for most of the evening apart from feeds. He has baby a lot more at weekends.
During the day I try and get stuff done (chores, shower, dinner etc) whilst baby is in sling or rocker so that DP and I can enjoy time together or take some real time out for me (rather than running about to do chores as soon as I am baby free).
Drawingablank · 22/04/2021 15:28
Thanks so much everyone, some really good suggestions. I’m definitely guilty of trying to get chores done when I have a spare moment which I always regret afterwards!
FurryGiraffe · 22/04/2021 16:14
This depends a bit on your baby's routine, but DH used to take both of ours after the first feed for an hour or two so I could get some sleep in. Or, if they woke late in the night (4am say), I'd feed, put the baby back down to sleep and then bugger off to the spare room afterwards!
If the baby has been fed, then there's really no reason DH can't get himself ready for work while looking after the baby while you sleep.
LunaNova · 23/04/2021 09:30
Hi @Drawingablank, when DD was that age (she's now 13 months old), my DH would get up at 6am with her and take her downstairs so I could sleep in. On weekdays, he would then bring her up to me (with a cup of tea) around 8:15am when he set himself up for work (wfh). I wouldn't see him then until a brief time at lunch and then when he finished at 5pm. At 5pm he would cook dinner and then we'd walk the dog together (finishing about 6pm) - at that age DD didn't have a set bedtime (she used to stay downstairs with us until we went up) but he would take over completely in the evenings and I would just step in to feed (breastfed). Once she got a bit older and had a bedtime (8pm) we have "nights off" so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays he takes over straight from work until bedtime and Tuesdays and Thursdays he gets time to himself, we still eat together, walk the dog and do bath time/bedtime together.
I try to do chores when DD is awake, so that I can sit down with a nice cuppa when she's napping!
crazychemist · 23/04/2021 16:09
In all honesty, I never got this cracked with my DH - he’s always been very hands off with tiny’s.
BUT I agree with those that suggest pram walk. The weather is lovely at the moment, so when he finishes work he takes baby out for a while so you can have some quiet. Will baby sleep in the pram? If they’ve had a feed first you might get a good 2 hours before next feed. So either a sleep in the pram, or if that doesn’t work a trip to the playground - my DH used to take a cushion so he could make sure DD couldn’t slip sideways on the swings and he’d spend half an hour singing to her on the swing.
LikeTheOceansWeRise · 24/04/2021 03:09
Some great advice on here. My DP took our little one in the mornings so I could get a lie in, have a shower at my own pace etc. Then he'd do dinner in the evenings or take the baby til bedtime.
Much like your night times, the night waking fell to me as I was breastfeeding and we never really cracked that tbh. It's only now that I'm back at work that we have started splitting the nights between us, and it's not really necessary now as LO only wakes once unless ill or teething.
My partner worked from home too and I ALWAYS felt guilty for leaning on him as much as I did, because in 'normal times' he would have been out of the house 7am-7pm. I felt bad because I was struggling even with the luxury of having him at home with me. This school of thought is really unhelpful and I wish I spent less time beating myself up about it. Having a baby in a pandemic is bloody hard so please ask for help where you can!
Good luck, it gets easier to share the load as the baby gets older. Once you are weaning you could ask your partner to be in charge of planning baby's meals, looking up recipes etc. It was massively helpful for DP to take ownership of that. Good luck!
Megan2018 · 24/04/2021 03:48
My DH wasn’t at home when DD was really little-he left at 5am and was back 3-4pm
We were EBF but DH did all the shopping and all the cooking, and all chores apart from laundry. So all I did was baby and laundry. I slept whenever baby slept as we co-slept for naps and night time sleep.
DH couldn’t help at night due to his job at the time (driving huge distances as he was field based nationally) but his contribution was to take over the house. He also took DD for 2hrs or so every eve and weekend mornings so I could see my horse. The combination of getting out the house on my own for a couple of hours between feeds and sleeping whenever baby slept meant I coped well. DD was a terrible sleeper (brilliant now at 19 months) so I’d have cracked otherwise. DD was 6 months when Covid hit so I understand how hard it is to have a baby right now.
Things will be easier in a few months though @Drawingablank they do change a lot at weaning (DD still BF at 19 months but the BF does start to change once they start food).
CoalCraft · 24/04/2021 05:06
DH takes baby for 3-4 hours on Tuesday and Friday evenings, for 1 hour on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and for as long as I need on weekends (typically 4-5 hours total per day, split into chunks).
I do all night time care plus obviously all care while he's at work (not WFH), and do most weekend care cause honestly I think he needs more of a break than I do.
OverTheRainbow88 · 24/04/2021 06:29
You have about 20 hours away from your baby a week?
When do you and OH spend time together?
CoalCraft · 24/04/2021 06:35
I'm the weekends mostly. Just because one or the other of us is in charge of baby if she needs something doesn't mean we're in different rooms or anything.
As for time with each other, without baby? Virtually never, unfortunately. MIL has come down twice to take her out and that's it. Such is lockdown life.
bmachine · 24/04/2021 08:29
I could hand over baby at 5:30 and he looked after them before he went to work and did all of bathtime when he got in. I agree with him doing one bottle if you can get baby to accept a bottle of expressed.
DarcyLewis · 24/04/2021 08:34
I used to feed at 7pm then go to bed. DP would look after the baby til 10pm and give them a bottle feed. Then I’d usually feed at 2am and from 5am baby would come into bed with me and feed/doze til 7am.
Weekends I’d hand baby over to DP at 7am and sleep til next feed at 9.30/10am.
Mc3209 · 24/04/2021 11:03
Op, I have no advice, but I am reading about all the wonderful ways other DHs look after their children and I am envious.
I have a 6 months old, breastfed, now weaning baby who wakes up every 2-3 hours on a good night. DH is out of the house 8am-5pm, but doesn't do any meaningful one on one time with the baby when he comes home ('oh he is asking for mum', 'OK brush teeth but come back quickly'). He doesn't help out with nights ('you are breastfeeding, he needs mum'). He goes shopping and cooks about 3 nights a week, but the rest of the housework is on me including garden.
I can't remember the last time I showered without baby in the bathroom with me. I am a little apprehensive about how things will work once I go back to work full time in 6 months. I'm contemplating a cleaner for then.
So yes, very envious. I wanted a baby more than him, so I am just getting on with it. I am a bit sad that things are as they are. I would love another baby but as things stand, I would crack with two.
RachelRavenR0th · 24/04/2021 11:27
When i had my first dh was working long days where he needed to be 100% focused. He was out of the house from 5.15am and got home at 6.45pm, so all of baby’s day.
When he got home he went to the toilet, put our dinner on and brought me a drink as id be in feeding mode at that point. He has always made our evening meals. And still does by far the most. When i went to bed he kept baby with him until she wanted her next feed. Then he would bring her to me, I fed her and then he burped and resettled. Same through the night. Baby woke for feed, i woke and fed, then i went back to sleep as dh bumped and resettled. Ebf does not mean you have to do everything.
When she got older he would come home and do bath time and i just melted into the sofa. Still did the resettling in the night. We share housework. Well, to be fair he probably does more. He has already cleaned the kitchen and bathroom this morning and i am drinking tea on mumsnet... If the children are sick he either takes the day off or works from home. I dont have that as an option.
Ive previously, up until this year, done all house and life admin, doctors and dentists, hospital stays... and organising though.
I was firm in my beliefs that im an educated professional working full-time and our children are not my sole responsibility from the start. What massively helped i believe was unofficially sharing maternity leave. When dd was about a year old dh lost his job as the last recession’s effects were filtering down. So he was at home. He spent a few months at home with dd while i worked until he found a decent job. He went to the classes Id been attending, got to know the dads too.
I really think him having to be 100% responsibly for a stretch of time, not just a day when he could put a film on, was what made the difference. I wouldnt think twice about going away for a weekend with friends, but i know so many wormen who say their husbands wont cope .
Drawingablank · 26/04/2021 10:19
Really useful to hear the range of ways in which partners are sharing baby care and other household tasks. And also to hear that others haven’t really cracked it either! Mine was incredible during his paternity leave but going back to work has brought a big change and I need to work out how to get support in a way that works for us both.
I wonder if some is also a confidence thing - @Mc3209 i also get a lot of “he’s calling for you” as he things every unhappy sound means hunger or needing mummy comfort, but actually if usually just because he wants a new game or change of position...
Unfortunately our baby hasn’t really taken to the pram much but we could persevere so he gets more used to it. And good points made by a few posters that the weaning stage is a good opportunity to share out some new responsibilities!
Thank you all. Just hearing what others have experienced is reassuring in itself... maybe something I’m missing as new parents in lockdown!
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