31 answers

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?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

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.

Featured Answers

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!

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

More Answers

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

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

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!

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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!

1 mom found this helpful

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!
D.

1 mom found this helpful

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.

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...

http://www.amazon.com/Touching-Human-Significance-Ashley-...

Here is some other info about babies and sleep...

http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJanFeb95p14.html

http://www.llli.org/NB/NBsleep.html

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070100.asp

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/t071100.asp

Here is some info on babies and fathers...

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t131600.asp

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t131400.asp

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t110100.asp

http://www.askdrsears.com/faq/fb3.asp

http://www.llli.org/NB/NBfathers.html

http://www.llli.org/NB/NBrelationships.html

Best wishes,
J.

You have a 2 week old. They are notorious for being awake at night= that's a given. It will take him a bit to adjust to the new world he is living in, and he does it best when snuggling with mom. As for your husband-he needs to get over it--it's his baby too that is keeping you up at night. IF it's interfering with his precious sleep too much, then show him where the couch is!
The first 4-6 weeks is the roughest with the waking at night, and constant nursing, and for most moms, the only way to survive is to nurse/doze at night. It will get better as you new little adjusts.
Congrats on the new baby! Hang in there~

I have a couple suggestions. My daughter had the swing that is round and swings side to side and is in a reclining position so that from the beginning her two preemies could sleep in it. Keep it in another room and use the monitor to listen, keeping it close to you so hubby can sleep. I could rag on him for not tolerating this, but he seems to be doing a good amount: pick your battles, and be thankful for what you have, right? You could start with the bassinette in another room, your husband could wear ear plugs. These are all preferable to having the little guy sleeping next to you. Then there is swaddling, it will prevent your baby from startling himself awake. My answer is sort of rambling, the swaddling should be tried first, then the baby is a small crib or bassinette in another room using monitor, then purchasing the ultra swing.

My husband slept in the guest room for a while when we had newborns. In my opinion, your family is better off if at least one parent isn't exhausted. Or maybe you can switch nights, so you can get a good night's sleep once in a while, too!

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!

Oh I felt your pain! We have a 7 week old and a 2 year old. I am the one who has difficulty sleeping though. Here are some things that help me: sleeping with foam ear plugs and a fan blowing in the room to block the "baby" noises. I always hear her when she cries, but not when she is just being loud in her sleep. I am also a big believer in swaddling newborns so they can't startle themselves awake. We used a SwaddleMe swaddler with both of our kids and it worked great. Bought it at Babies R Us. When our kids outgrew the swaddler, we just used a thin stretchy blanket to pin their arms down. Works like a charm! The biggest thing I did was start my kids with sleep training from day one. We used the Babywise method. It works great!!!! My 7 week old started sleeping 7 hours a night at 6 weeks old and my son did the same at 8 weeks old. If you are interested in learning more about the method, send me a private message. Maybe your husband should spend a few nights on the couch to get some sleep. I know it's hard because he has to get up for work, but you have to get up and take care of 3 kids while breastfeeding and recovering from childbirth. I think you have the rougher deal here. Good luck!

My daughter had her nights and days mixed up too when she was a newborn. Our ped told us to keep it as dark as possible during the day and bright at night. He said they sleep because the light hurts their eyes. It wasn't easy to sleep with the lights on but in few days we had it straightened out. As far as cosleeping I'm still trying to keep my six year old and 18 month old out of our bed so I don't have an answer to that!! Luckily my husband works 3rd shift so by the time my 6 yr old comes in he is gone to work!!! Good Luck!

Although our twin boys did not have to spend time in the NICU, they also ate a lot and were poor sleepers. For the first few months, my husband and I did what we had to to survive. He slept on the couch in the other room while I slept in the bed in our room. The boys wouldn't sleep in their cribs, so they slept in their bouncy seats for the first few months (either by my husband or by me, of course); it sounds unconventional, but even the pediatrician acknowledged that it was fine as long as it worked. I nursed, but my husband took over a night feeding so that I could get at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep.
I'm not saying you need to do exactly what we did, only that you need to figure out what will work for you and your family. One book I highly recommend is "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. It had a lot of great suggestions that helped me get the boys to take consistent naps (even for newborns, it can be done) and to sleep better at night. Good luck!

The sleeping thing is just a temporary thing, we all seem to forget how hard it is from child to child. It will pass, and maybe your husband can use those foam ear plugs or one of you sleep in another room for a short time? As for the baby sleeping he is so young, but I am a total believer in swaddling! I believe it makes them feel much more secure when they are newborns. If you aren't able to tightly swaddle using a receiving blanket, go out and get a swaddle blanket, they are so easy to use!! Good luck and congratulations!!

Hubby needs to get some earplugs or go sleep on the couch. My baby didn't cry much at night but he babbled in his sleep. It drove my husband nuts! So I'd either sleep on the couch with the baby (not recommended for a lot of reasons) or send the hubby to the couch. Eventually hubby figured out earplugs worked best. He slept just fine after that.

As for the baby sleeping, read Dr. Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby". Although two weeks is too early for sleep training, you can start at six weeks so read the book now. The important thing you can take from it right now is that babies should only be awake for an hour or two at a time. DON'T try to keep your baby awake. It's counterintuitive to us as adults but sleep begets sleep so let your baby sleep.

Good luck!

Hi S G.
Congrats on your new baby! We did not want to co-sleep either, and i was dumb and did not get a bassinet (which I will get for baby #2) so our son lept in his stroller or carseat next to our bed for the first 6 weeks. He also liked the bouncy seat. There were a few nights when he slept in bed with us. My husband had little foam ear plugs that worked great:) Don't worry about creating bad habits...I transfered our son into his crib at 6 weeks and he is now 6 months and is sleeping 12 hours at night. Good luck and congrats again.

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

i'm sure you are exhausted and so is your husband, but you really can't expect your baby to be able to sleep through the night without a feeding or be able to handle being away from you for long periods of time.
i would try some swaddling, but if you are going to get any sleep yourself, you might want to just suck it up and let the baby sleep in your bed. if it's too hard for your hubby, maybe suggest he sleep on the couch for a week or two until you get things under control.
i am also not one of those advocates of cosleeping for a long time, but i did transition my son to the crib and his own room at about 4 months. at this time, his nervous system was better regulated and he was sleeping for large chunks of time.
try to keep in mind that at this young of an age, your baby's wants are your baby's needs. you really can't train an infant this young to do much, but you can teach them that their environment is not responsive to their needs.
you can try to give your hubbie some literature on the subject or ask your ped to address it with him, but you might just have to say, look - this is what is working for the baby and me and it won't be forever just for a short while, so if it's that intolerable to you, maybe you should try sleeping in another room so that at least one of us is wel-rested.
my husband is also a sweet, supportive guy and a great dad, but he had some trouble sharing me with the baby at the beginning. it surprised me! there may be a little bit of that mixed up in things that's making it harder for him to be rational about it.

I'd suggest some white noise for your husband!

You're right about the co-sleeping----DO NOT DO IT! They've done another study on it, and again, relating it to SIDS. Plus, you don't need to have to worry about getting him used to his own bed when he's 4 years old (my friend is dealing with that now!) Remind yourself (and your hubbie) that your baby is only 2 weeks old! I went through this with my now 8 month old. Everytime he moved in his sleep he'd wake himself up! And he moved a lot (still does), but he did eventually learn to get back to sleep on his own. I know you have two other kids to worry about and be AWAKE for :) but if your little one is truly keeping you and your husband up at night, are you able to sleep in another room with him (the baby) so you can nurse him when needed? Put him in his crib/bassinette and you sleep on a couch/bed/air mattress/sleeping bag? OR, even better, have your husband sleep in another room or use earplugs??? I know that it's not the ideal sleeping situation for now, but again, he IS only 2 weeks old and will grow out of this. Another thing we did was not rush to our baby's side as soon as he woke up from moving around- that helped him learn to get back to sleep on his own. Just remember how little he is and that he's only this small for so long--- you WILL get through this, as you did with your other kids. Try not to get too upset with your husband--- you two don't need to argue about lack of sleep, etc.etc. while you're overtired anyway! But he does need to remember that a newborn needs their mommy and needs those late night feedings! :) Good luck and I'll be thinking of you! And of course, congrats on your new baby!

first your husband has to get used to the idea that for at least the first month he is no longer the king of the house. And his sleep needs come absolutely last. He should be getting the baby for you and helping you in every way he can as you just had a major body trauma.

That said, try this...
try using the Baby Whisperer's EASY method for a schedule, and the Happiest Baby on the Block 5 s's method. Those two combined will make cio not be a needed thing (at that age)
EASY - when the baby wakes up it Eats. After you feed it, then it has Activity - bouncy seat, tummy time, sitting up and playing with toys, swing, exersaucer, etc. When the baby gets fussy check the B's - boredom, butt or burp. If it's none of those then off to Sleep. Don't wait for the baby to do more than get the tiniest bit fussy, then see what is causing the fusses - if it's just that they needed their diaper change do that, but if it's not the activity is boring, the butt is dirty or they have to burp, then put them down. This may happen after as short as 45 minutes, don't freak, it really means they are tired.
Now, to get them to sleep use the 5 s's. Swaddle the baby, hold the baby on their side and sway as they suck on something (paci, your knuckle or their finger/thumb) and make a shush noise. This will calm your baby. When the baby is calm, but not asleep yet, keeping them swaddled lay them in the bed. I like to pat them instead of sway after a minute or two cause you can still pat after they are put down but you can't sway, so pat the baby and continue patting gradually decreasing it as you put them in the bed. Also continue the shushing as you put them down, again gradually getting quieter.
If you do these two you will find a well rested, easily managed baby in no time.

SG, First off let me say congrats on the new baby. Here are a couple things to possibly try to help you all get some sleep. First is the baby swaddled up good? new babies sleep best when they are feeling secure. which can mean cuddled in your arms or wrapped up in a blanket. also my daughter's oldest son slept a lot in his carseat for the first couple weeks. It was a safe secure spot that he didn't flail around in. maybe give that a try rather than the bassinet. good luck
sherry

My oldest had what we thought were her days/nights mixed up. Turns out she wanted to open her eyes when it was darker. I think the light might have bothered her. We finally figured it out after days of people coming to see her and she would sleep the entire time. No matter who held her or how much she was traded off back and forth. But as soon as the room got dark, she would open her eyes! Then we started to keep the house on the dark side during the day, so she would stay awake. Then at night we would put a light on. Try putting a light on in his room. Not a big light but more than just a light that plugs in to the wall. Keep the baby in his crib, in his room, and put a light on for him. Try for the next couple of days to keep the house on the dark side, so that he is up more during the day. It worked for my daughter. She is six now, and still needs a light on in her room, but we're okay with that. I can't blame her, I don't like to sleep in the dark either! I'm also not a fan of co-sleeping.

I didn't read the other responses first so sorry if I repeat anything others say.

I would make a deal with husband. I would say obviously there is an adjustment period needed with a new baby. Tell him he just needs to suck it up and deal with this for at least 2 more weeks. Giving you and baby a full month to get adjusted. THEN, agree that you guys will have to come up with a new plan if things are still not working out. Have a planned out goal for 2 weeks from now and follow through.

Tell your husband it could be worse. We were co-sleeping for a short time with twins. You have to do whatever helps you to get as much sleep as possible.

What I ended up doing is taking one side off the crib, and pushing it up against the bed. I think they also make cribs for that purpose.

Congrats.

I know this is a bit late, but my breastfeeding son slept in his car seat for the earlier part of the night for about 2 mos...he had horrible gastric reflux and the angle helped -- plus the cushiony feel around him helped him stay asleep longer. I would sleep on the couch and then wake, nurse him to sleep after a diaper change and then put him in the bassinet and get some sleep in a twin bed in the same room. Because my husband was working, I opted to sleep in a different room with the baby until a better schedule came about around 4 mos. You could always try one of those strap on co-sleeper bassinets for your little one -- the feeling of being in bed with you without the fear of rolling over on him. I too have another little one who got woken by the cries for a while (she is 2, son is 11 mos).

Good luck!

i hear you mom of three. i worry about the co-sleeping at such a young age. i was never big on co-sleeping but at times when i was so exhausted i would just put the baby in bed. one time i did this when our second was a few weeks old b/c i was so exhausted. (i put her in bed w/o telling my husband who is a heavy sleeper--- i woke up in the middle of the night and we both were practically on top of her!!) i never did it again.
so my suggestion is swaddle the baby and put the baby in a their carseat. i think this cradles the baby and almost simulates the sense of being protected in the womb. i found this to be a godsend. good luck!

First of all, congrats on your new little guy!! I don't know how much room you guys have in your house or how you'd feel about this, but my husband just sleeps in the guest room during the first few weeks after our babies are born (if you don't have a guest room, he could always camp out on the couch for a few weeks... it may not be the most comfortable, but at least he'd get uninterrupted sleep!). I'm with you... not a big fan of co-sleeping and I aim to get my little ones into their own cribs asap, but sometimes when they're really little, co-sleeping is the only way for mom and baby to both get some rest. It worked with our daughter, and after the first month or so, she was in her crib, and my hubby was back in our bed. I'm due with #2 in 4.5 weeks, and we have the same plan in place! It's nice for him to be able to get a full night's sleep, and I love not feeling like I have tip-toe around at night to nurse/change diapers. Good luck! :-)

I completely understand your situation. I slept on the couch and kept my infant in the swing until he had his days and nights figured out. Doing this (with both of my boys) worked so I could get some sleep and so could my husband. My second son never got used to the bassinet, so eventually we put him the crib and I just got up and took him into the living room to feed. Good luck!

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