DH not helping at night — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

DH not helping at night

When I was pregnant, I joked with DH that he wouldnt want to help me with night time feedings (we FF).  He said not to be silly, that of course he would help me.

Well.....that isnt happening!  Right now DH is the only one working while I am on maternity leave.  When we first came home with the baby I kind of offered to DH that he didnt have to help me with LO during the night because he was working during the day and I got to stay home with the baby.  I figured that the baby slept alot during the day and I would catch up on my sleep when baby does. Still, DH offered to take over the 6am feeding so that he can spend time with LO before work and I can get a few extra hours sleep.  That never happened.  One time I woke up at 6am to LO crying and tried to wake DH and he just wouldnt get out of bed.  So I went ahead and got up.   Since then, I just have taken over all feedings except for maybe one a day, when DH gets home from work and takes over so I can take a shower. 

But now LO is sleeping WAY less during the day (1 2hr nap if i'm lucky and 2 or 3 catnaps) and even when he is sleeping, I try to catch up with housework and laundry so I rarely have time to snooze myself.  He sleeps okay at night...usually one 4-5 hour stretch and then wakes for feedings every 3 hours...he wakes up at 6am EVERY morning and is up for at least two hours.  Im EXHAUSTED.  Lately, I have been driving to my parents house so that my mom can babysit LO while I take a 2-3 hour nap....but she has become overbearing and acts like she is co-parenting and is kinda relishing the fact that im depending so much on her..and I dont like that.  So I want to stop.  But in order to stop going over there, I need help from DH!

Ive mentioned it to him a couple of times that I would like him to help more at night and everytime I do, he keeps reminding me that I told him that I didnt need his help.  I tell him that the baby is getting older and sleeping less during the day and Im exhausted.  Then he says, "But I always take over for a couple hours when I get home at night."

A couple hours out of 24?!?!? Thats not enough!  I understand that he works ten hour days, but I work ALL day with this kid!  Then when my husband has a day off, he expects to sleep in until about 10am when the baby is up at 6am.  

I feel he is being stubborn and selfish and Im actually quite hurt and disappointed by the whole situation.  I assumed we would be taking care of the baby 50/50.  My husband gets 6-8 hours of sleep a night and if im lucky I get 4.  I dont think its fair.  He gets home and takes the baby for a couple hours while I shower and catch up on dishes but then he expects me to take him back so that he can be in bed watching TV and relaxing.  

Am i the only one going through this?  Any advice on how to handle this?

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Re: DH not helping at night

  • You are not alone!  I don't mean to make a blanket statement so I won't say all men, but let's just say a lot of men live in what my BFF calls "oblivous-ville" and they just don't get it.  Your DH doesn't u/s what you are going through b/c he isn't sleep deprived.  He can't u/s and probably never will.

    As for advice, you could try to pick one night a week that DH takes over the night feedings until you go back to work, at which time you could do every other.  Maybe if he knows every Wednesday is his night and he is on duty the whole night he'll keep up his end of the bargain, versus if it is the 6am feeding he has been asleep already and hard to wake him???  Then, on the weekends you could also pick a day that is his and a day that is yours, or say that every Sat at 2pm is my nap time and DH is responsible for LO.  I dunno, just a thought but it still might not work.  He does, after all, live in oblivious-ville  :)

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  • My hubs doesn't help much at night either. I mean, he'll get up a time or two on the weekends, and he doesn't grumble about it. Im awake the whole time he's up with her tho, worrying that she needs me... So I don't see the point in making him get up with her if I'm awake anyway. Plus, lately, even when he does get up with her, she'll eat and then fuss until I come to rock her to sleep.

    I go back to work tomorrow... And he'd agreed we'd switch off nights... But I doubt I'll wake him. (I hear her before he does) It's just easier to do myself, and I enjoy the 20 minutes of quiet, snuggle time.

     

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  • I'm right there with you!  Most of the time I'm ok with doing most of the work, but sometimes it pisses me off.  We need a break, too!

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  • DH and I have had discussions about this.  I can understand both sides.  His working 10hrs is hard and I'm sure he is ready to relax a little when he gets home.  I realize you have the baby all day and night and need a break at some point. I totally get it.  Could you get a babysitter, like a friend, to come over once a week for a couple of hours so you can nap.  I know that sounds crazy, but I'm sure there is someone who love to spend time with your LO for awhile.  Maybe try hiring a cleaning service or someone you know who needs the extra money to do your cleaning and laundry...Eventually you LO will sleep better and both you and your husband will get your sleep.  Just as much as you want your husband to understand your side, try to understand his.  He is working hard to help provide for your family and would probably trade you in a heartbeat to be home all day with the baby. 

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  • DH totally wishes he could be home all day with LO.  While it is great to be home with DD, and I am SO appreciative of our time together, it is hard and gets sooo draining.  DH and I set up a system for him to help.  He does Tues nights (he works from home on wed), and sat nights,  This way I can catch up on sleep.  Then, if I feel overwhelmed (like the days DD does not nap while DS is at pre school so I go allday without any rest), he will take the 8-11 shift and I will go to bed early.  Then he gets her tucked in to bed and I take over.
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  • That's unacceptable. I EBF and my DH still gets up and gives DS to me once I'm situated and ready to feed him and he helps me change his diaper. He works all day, but so do I. I'm home with 2 kids and it's non-stop. You need to talk to your DH and tell him how you feel and what you expect from him. Explain your concerns and how you feel hurt. Howpfully he'll change! Parenting is 50/50, but I believe I do do more then my DH though bc I'm home, but DH does do A LOT to make up for that. I guess I'm lucky, but you should expect your DH to step up and help. You both decided to have a baby, so it's up to both of you to raise it! GL!
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  • DH wasn't helping at all until about a week and a half ago.  In fact, he wasn't helping with anything.  I took care of LO, did all of the housework, laundry, shopping, cooking, etc.  It was like he was blind!  If I would ask him to do something, he'd do it, but I would get sick and tired of having to ask a grown man to do chores.  Finally my anger plus sleep deprivation caused me to seriously resent him.  I felt like my entire world had been changed, but nothing had changed for him.  I wouldn't even speak to him. I guess that's what he needed because he finally saw how stressed I was and finally started helping out.  

    Now he helps with nights.  I BF so I have to get up every time, but he gets DS back to sleep afterwards. He'll also give him a bottle if I need him to.  It has made such a big difference.  I get 6-7 hours of sleep a night (versus 3-4 hours) and am so much happier.  We still need to work on the chores thing, but its coming.

    My advice is to tell him exactly what you need.  Tell him what its like during the day.  Or better yet, leave him alone with LO for a few hours so he'll see.  Its rough doing it all by yourself!  And your sleep is just as important as his.  If he doesn't start helping, I'd quit doing his laundry, cooking his meals, etc and let him do it himself.   

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  • Men! I'm sorry to hear your DH isn't stepping up. Mine works from home and I'm currently on hiatus from school, so I do all the middle of the night feedings (BF and FF). It sucks, but DH has been great about staying up late with DS so I can get some sleep before he brings him upstairs, and in the mornings he takes him for a couple of hours so I can catch up on sleep. It's the only way I'm functional since I never seem able to nap during the day. I hope things get better for you. Sounds miserable!
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  • My husband doesn't help at all during the night either. I sleep in the guest room with LO so that he can get a full night sleep. But, this is a deal we made. While I'm not working, my only job is to take care of LO. My husband cooks, cleans, does the laundry, and takes care of me. He also parents LO when he is home, but the nighttime is my time with LO. 
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  • I do not have the same problem, but I will tell you that MH is oblivious to hints.  I have to flat out tell him what I want and how I want it.  After that, he is good to go.

    What has worked for us is a "schedule" of sorts.  I am not BFing any more, and DH is now back to work (I am home until August).  We alternate who gets up with DS, with DH taking the first shift.  The person getting up with DS is responsible for feeding, changing and soothing.

    DH is a super heavy sleeper, so I end up having to wake him up when it's his turn.  He takes a couple minutes to wake up and be functioning, but he does get up. 

    I will also take the feeding close to when he gets up for work (if needed) so he can sleep as late as possible, because I will often go back to sleep for a couple more hours. 

    This has been working really well for us.

    GL! 

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  • You are definitely not alone. My DH works 10 hour days as well. We EBF, but DH has a hard time just getting up to change diapers. I ask for help on the weekends, but during the week I tend to do everything--even when DH comes home. I get some time to make dinner and eat, but DD usually gets handed back when I'm done. I'm hoping when DD is more playful, he will be able/want to take her more often.

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  • I was on the verge of divorce a few weeks ago-- not exaggerating at all, I had a plan to move in with my parents and had priced moving trucks and researched lawyers-- because my husband was beyond unhelpful. It literally had to come to me committing to leaving him before he started pitching in- I also started taking DD every weekend to go stay with my parents and she and I would leave friday morning and come back late sunday. He got the point and now he holds DD for a little while when he gets home from work where he used to literally not touch her even once throughout the whole day. He ignored her like she didn't exist which broke my heart. I am very lucky that I have a ton of people who literally beg me to let them watch DD so I can get caught up on housework, schoolwork, etc. I would absolutely think back to anyone who offered to watch LO when you were pregnant and call them. If you spread out the days that your mom watches LO maybe she will feel a little less needed and a little more greatful to be spending time with the baby.
  • My answer is much different than most but I'll say it anways.... if your husband works ALL DAY long (10 hour shift dealing with stress and fellow co-workers etc) than I WOULDNT be complaining that he doesnt get up to help feed the baby. HOw can you expect him to work full time PLUS 50/50 take care of your baby? When is he supposed to sleep. In our grandmother's days they took care of the babies while the husband worked... your man needs his sleep..... I'd really try to see it from his point of view instead of complaining to other women on this site.... I understand it can be difficult in the beginning with a new baby and they are demanding but just remember your husbands job is ALSO extremely demanding physically, mentally etc. If you keep whining about this issue sooner or later your husband will become very fed up and distant from you.

     Unless you are both working full time jobs the baby SHOULD be your responsibility with feedings... its only fair and reasonable.

  • I am on maternity leave and I do not expect or want DH to be up on weeknights.  He works long hours and gets up early as it is....I don't want him to have the added stress of nighttime feedings.  He does get up on the weekends though.  I think I am getting more sleep than he is.  While being at home is hard, its easier to do on only a little sleep than his job is.
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  • I have to agree with the last 2 posters...while I was on maternity leave, on weeknights, I handled all overnight baby business.  DH took our son from the time he got home until the time he went to bed.  Once we went to bed, DS was all mine.  On the weekends, and now that we are both back to work, we take turns.  50/50 is simply unfair to your husband while he is out at work all day long.
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  • You need your sleep! You're taking care of the most important thing in your life, your baby. A sleep deprived caretaker is more likely to have an accident with her LO, more likely to lose patience with LO. All around it's not good for the baby. I'm back at work now and believe me, taking care of the baby was much harder and more draining than my full time job. What helped me was that I would get the first nighttime shift to sleep. I would try to go to bed between 9:00 and 9:30 and DH would take the feedings up until 1:00 or 2:00. There would usually only be 1 feeding during that time but it allowed me to get a solid block of sleep without it being too difficult for DH. Maybe something else would work better for you, but your DH really has to work with you to find a solution. Remind him that it will (probably) get easier in the next few months and maybe he'll be more willing to help.
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  • Stop 'mentioning' it to him and saying you would 'like' him to help out. 

    When you are as calm and rested as possible, call a meeting and tell him clearly that you were wrong about being able to handle the baby all night because he worked and you didn't. You are both working. You have a much more demanding boss and way worse issues if you screw up on the job. You NEED him to take over at least one feeding at night and you NEED him to take over 50% the rest of the time. You cannot frame it as a request that he may or may not comply with as he wishes. Don't frame it as an order either. It has to be a statement of fact.

    Honestly, my suggestion is to have him take a sick day or two, or a vacation day or two, and have HIM stay home with the baby all day while you go out. Make sure he also knows all the other things that have to be done during that day (laundry, dishes, cooking meals, etc). Then he will probably have a lot more respect for how much you have to get done and how exhausting it can be.

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  • image jennypenny1122:

    My answer is much different than most but I'll say it anways.... if your husband works ALL DAY long (10 hour shift dealing with stress and fellow co-workers etc) than I WOULDNT be complaining that he doesnt get up to help feed the baby. HOw can you expect him to work full time PLUS 50/50 take care of your baby? When is he supposed to sleep. In our grandmother's days they took care of the babies while the husband worked... your man needs his sleep..... I'd really try to see it from his point of view instead of complaining to other women on this site.... I understand it can be difficult in the beginning with a new baby and they are demanding but just remember your husbands job is ALSO extremely demanding physically, mentally etc. If you keep whining about this issue sooner or later your husband will become very fed up and distant from you.

     Unless you are both working full time jobs the baby SHOULD be your responsibility with feedings... its only fair and reasonable.

    I agree with this PP 100%! I am not working right now, but I have had very stressful jobs in the past... where when I came home he would have dinner on the table for me. I feel now is my turn to be home and take care of LO and DH. I actually always leave the bedroom (our LO sleeps in a bassinet in our room) with our newborn at night when he is crying and needs to be fed and changed. I don't want to wake up DH because I know he will have another tough day at work the next day and I will just be home all day in my cozy sweat pants. I feel like he needs his sleep more right now. (And I am on pain meds recovering from C-section and EBF) I think you need to just take over on baby patrol until you are working also. Then there needs to be a schedule set up where you both share the responsibility if you are both working outside the home. 

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  • This is exactly how things are going in my house. I just read ur post to DH so he could know how I feel. He looked at me with a sad pout face and said, "I'm sorry, I need to be better". Maybe you could write a letter to your DH or sit him down and talk to him. Maybe he doesnt realize how he is being. He is probably clueless like my DH. Tell him he needs to do all Fri and Sat's. I just told my DH that I am sleeping in the guest room on Fri this week and he has to do it all himself. We will see if he gets up! Ugh! Good luck.
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  • I see both trains of thought, and my response is in the middle of the road..

    With DS, he would wake every 3 hours.  DH and I alternated since he was bottle fed.  So, we would go to bed after DS's 11 pm feeding.  He'd wake 3 hours later and DH would get up.  I'd sleep.  3 hours later, I'd get up and DH would sleep.  At this point, I had 6 hours sleep.  When DS got up at 8, we got up for the day... and at this point DH had 6 hours of sleep too.  It worked for us...  we both got a 2ish hour nap with a 6 hour night of sleep. 

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