October 22, 2009,
S.G. asks from Barrington, IL on October 15, 2009
Newborn + Breastfeeding + Middle of the Night Cosleeping = Po'd Husband - HELP
We have a two week old - yay! He's nursing great, however he's had his days and nights mixed up. We have been successful at keeping his up more and more during the daytime in order to get him sleeping better at night. HOWEVER, he is still having a problem sleeping alone in the dark. I have no problem putting him in the bedside crib, however HE freaks out. He startles awake and just starts screaming and screaming. Waking me, my husband and out two other children.
Our pediatrician said "pick your battles". She said, straighten out the days and nights first, so that everyone sleeps better. So that's what I'm doing. Then we'll work on the sleeping alone in the quiet & dark issue.
NOTE: our son was in the NICU for a week after birth. The NICU doctor said he's going to eat A LOT due to being 'behind' for a week's worth of feedings and then the usual two week growth spurt. I am happy to say that our son is thriving. Eating a lot, and doing great.
My husband is getting cranky because the baby is keeping him awake at night. Both because of me pulling the baby into bed to nurse, the baby not sleeping well in the bassinet, and so me pulling the baby back into bed (to settle him down and ME to try to get some sleep too). And the baby ends up sleeping next to me, in bed, (pushing my husband further over on his side of the bed, to give "us" room). Plus, even when the baby does sleep ok at night in his crib, he makes newborn noises grunts, groans, moans, cries, etc. The noises keep my husband from sleeping well too.
So what do I do? I am NOT a big "co-sleeper" fan. I know the risks of the soft bedding, smothering him, etc. I am TRYING to bridge a gap of teaching him to sleep in his crib AND let me get some sleep too. Some nights are better than others. But for the past week he's eating almost every 2 hours. He is learning to sleep in the crib, alone. However, I feel I need my husband's support.
I am tired. I am "training" and caring for a newborn. I have two other kids to take care of too. My husband is a great help with all of that. But how do I get his support on this issue too?
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So What Happened?™
First off, thank you all for your kind words and support.
Secondly, I was "melting down" a bit yesterday and the DH could tell. He took care of the other children more than usual. And then surprised me, when I "passed out" for the night at 9pm, he came running upstairs when the baby woke at 10:30pm offering to take him downstairs after he ate. He came back (unprompted) after about 15-20 minutes to take the baby and let me sleep!
I sincerely think that letting me rest and keeping the baby awake for awhile was the best thing he could have done!
Last night, the baby only woke once at 1:30am to eat, get changed, and do his grunting routine, until about 2:15am. Although my DH did get up to leave because of the noise, he didn't complain, he just grabbed his pillow and went for the couch. After the ONE waking, my son slept until 6am!! Even then, he ate and went right back to sleep.
Hopefully this new schedule will keep up and we can all get more sleep.
Update: You are right. There is no "schedule" right now. The next day the baby slept so much and there was NO waking him. He then was up and cranky from 8pm-1am. After I gave up trying to calm him - nursing, swaddling (which he HATED), binky, no binky, bassinet, crib, rocking chair, you get the point. My DH finally got up to get him, realized there was no "winning", and just put him in bed with us where he promptly nursed and fell asleep.
K.F. answers from Chicago on October 16, 2009
I had a lot of luck using a white noise machine with my girls. It would probably help you all sleep a little better. Also I swear by the Swaddle Me blankets. Good luck, and congrats!
T.L. answers from Chicago on October 16, 2009
yea my husband was the sme way until i said we could move her to the crib but hed have to go get her the million times a night she woke up. that about ended that battle...you sacrificed a ton for nine and a half months he can too if this arrangement means more sleep for you and baby. Tell hime the couch is always an option
K. answers from Chicago on October 15, 2009
all I can tell you is what worked for us....
1. newborns - esp. one so little- need their mom. You are the only thing he knows and he's only been in the world for 2 weeks! Try and put that into perspective for your husband.
2. Along these lines, scent can make a difference. One thing that will help your baby sleep better apart from you is to take a shirt that you've worn and lay it in his crib
3. What worked best for me was to have an Arms Reach Co-Sleeper on my side of the bed. This was great b/c I could put my baby in the co-sleeper at night. Then in the middle of the night when she needed to nurse I could keep her on my side of the bed (as opposed to between my husband and myself) and i didn't worry about her rolling out of the bed b/c the co-sleeper was attached. Then I could just leave her in the bed, but on the edge next to me. (she slept a LOT better in my bed than in the co-sleeper, so usually she'd start out the night in the co-sleeper and "move in" around 3 AM or so for the rest of the night). Anyway, having her on my side was much less impactful to my husband's sleep.
Oh - and definitely take some time to learn how to nurse lying down!! This makes SUCH a huge difference for you!
2 moms found this helpful
J.C. answers from Chicago on October 15, 2009
Your husband needs to pull his head out of his - well, you know what I mean. Congratulations on your new little one! Two weeks is too young to expect the baby to be very trainable. And middle-of-the-night feedings are VERY important to keeping up breastmilk supply in the early weeks. Whatever you do, don't let your husband talk you into formula at night (unless you aren't planning to keep breastfeeding).
Can you husband sleep somewhere else for a while? Or if you have room, you could sleep on an extra bed in the baby's room. You just can't, in my experience, do the newborn thing without sleeping in the same room (if not the same bed) with the baby. And it seems like any feeding is waking up your husband.
1 mom found this helpful
M.L. answers from Dallas on October 15, 2009
Congratulations on your new baby! My solution for co-sleeping fears was to put a changing table pad in the bed. Yes, it's large, but it is a firm surface and the slightly curved sides meant that I would not roll on the baby. I covered it with a microfiber cover. I would also put him in a Maya Wrap sling and sleep in a recliner with him in the sling. Then I could relax and not have to hold him.
It seems as though your husband may need to consider another sleeping area for a while, or use ear plugs.
Another solution is to create a mommy nest for you and the newborn.YOu mentioned 2 other kids, can you take over someone's room for a couple of weeks, and have them double up or sleep with dad?
I want to mention that it is not really the baby having a problem sleeping alone- he's not meant to sleep alone at this age and keeping him cuddled will help everyone sleep more. Good luck!
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G.H. answers from Chicago on October 16, 2009
Your ped. is right. Pick your battles and get him trained. He's NOT afraid of the dark. He's been "in the oven" for 9 months with no lights. He wants to be near you. Don't spoil your relationship with hubby by falling for babies need for attention. Check on him when needed and play a musical mobile or radio on a timer quietly in his room so he doesn't feel alone. Enjoy the peaceful times with hubby. They may be few and far between but anything worth having is worth waiting for.
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A.R. answers from Peoria on October 16, 2009
I know you already posted your "what happened", but I wanted to give a few comments. I know this time is hard having a baby with days and nights mixed and trying to get sleep to take care of your other kids, etc.. But I don't think its really fair to kick your huband out of your bed, even for baby. I used to get up with my kids and take them in the other room so they wouldn't wake anyone else. It isn't easy, but I always looked at it as daddy (hubby) has to get up go to work in the morning. I don't. I do need sleep to, but I think mommys are programmed to deal with less sleep better. Luckily for me my other 2 kids were still taking a good nap, so I would just tell myself "I only have to make it through the morning and then I can get a nap in". Also, I have a very comfortable rocking chair/recliner. I can't tell you how many times I fell asleep feeding baby. It's hard, but it won't last forever and it will get better. Don't make hubby sleep on the couch, it can only lead to more problems later on! Good Luck, and hope you can work it out for you and him and baby!
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D.K. answers from Chicago on October 15, 2009
Hi SG! Congrats on the new baby.
If it was me I'd tell the hubby that if he thinks HE is cranky, he ought to try being postpartum & getting even less sleep with someone sucking the nourishment right out of his body! I'd tell him I'm doing all I can so please be patient or sleep on the couch!! Obviously can't hit him between the eyes but you might share that notion as kindly as you can when you've just had a baby & haven't slept more than 4 hours in a row for weeks :) Be gentle & tell him you love him & want everyone to be able to rest & are doing everything in your power to make this work. It's so hard when you have to have a schedule with a new baby - I know, I had one in HS & one in grammar school when my little guy joined us. I think it's part of the reason why he's so easy going, he HAD to be! He was lugged everywhere -- swim meets, band concerts, girl scouts, basketball games, lunch room duty, you name it he went. :) Thank heaven for pack & plays!
Have you seen those co-sleeping things that attach to the side of your bed?? That might be an option to get you through the interim. They're only little once, you know that, you've got older kidlets. This is a precious short time that will be over before you know it. Your hubby is just voicing his own need for rest & peace. I didn't get a full night's sleep for over a year with my little guy! It felt like it'd never end, but it did. Hang in there & maybe remind your dh to go to bed a little earlier to accommodate your little rooster.
Smooch that sweet baby's head for me!
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A.L. answers from Chicago on October 16, 2009
I don't know what to tell you about the sounds a newborn makes, my LO stayed in a bassinet next to me for 5-6weeks and she made all sorts of noises. I'm afraid your husband is just going to have to learn to sleep over the baby's noises. As for your LO waking in the middle of the night, try tightly swaddling the baby when he goes to bed, that should help with him startling himself awake. Good luck, it will get better.
J.J. answers from Chicago on October 16, 2009
I am glad that you got some good sleep yesterday.
Just so you know, at two weeks there's no such thing as a pattern. Changes and patterns come and go so rapidly at that age that you can't depend on any of them to stay around for very long--whether they are patterns that you like or patterns that you don't like.
Your baby had constant physical connection with you 24/7 for about 9 months, so he knows nothing else, and nothing else is normal to him and the amount of life experience that he's had so far. Ashley Montagu, an anthropologist, wrote a book about the human experience of skin, several years ago, and he said that at 9 months gestation the human baby is born about 9 months early (that developmentally human gestation should actually be about 18 months long). So his conclusion is that the human baby needs constant holding for the second half of its gestation (the first 9 months after his/her birth). In case you're interested, you can probably find his book in your local public library...
Here is some other info about babies and sleep...
Here is some info on babies and fathers...