Dads Need to Wake Up in the Middle of the Night With Baby, Too!

Mom Moment 50

baby cryingThere's a debate going on on CafeMom right now. When it comes to the question: Should Dad get up in the middle of the night with baby? moms are divided into two camps. Some of you think, "Hell yeah, Dad should get up in the middle of the night! He created this little one, too!" While the other half of you think, "Um, no. Why?" Since I'm a mom -- and waking up in the middle of the night is still fresh in my mind! -- I thought I'd weigh in on the issue. Let the debating begin!

Basically, I feel like it depends on your situation. (Seems like a nice diplomatic answer, doesn't it? But hear me out!) In my case, my husband had a two-week paternity leave, and during that time, he'd usually get up, change the baby, pour me a water, and I'd nurse our daughter in the living room while he went back to sleep. (I'd usually watch TV while nursing, and there wasn't one in our room.) Was that "getting up in the middle of the night"? Yeah, sure. But it wasn't "staying up in the middle of the night." Big difference. I'm sure he would have stayed up with me if I asked him to, but, I felt like: "What's the point? I'm the only one who can feed the baby, and there's no sense in both of us being tired." When he went back to work, though, typically, I got up, changed the baby, fed her, etc. It was just easier. When we introduced formula, Dad got up a few times with the baby, but again, I felt like it was just easier if I did it. (There was usually a question asked, lights turned on in the room, something -- and my husband wakes up insanely early for work.)

So, I guess this was a really long-winded way of saying that, in my case, I was the only one to wake up, but I definitely don't think that's how it should be done. Not for a second. That's what worked for my family, my situation.

Even though I work, I full-well understand that being a SAHM doesn't mean you have it easy. Not at all. Having a baby is exhausting whether you're at home all day or out in an office. So I certainly don't think that just because a mom doesn't work, and her husband does, she should be the only one to wake up in the middle of the night. It's not that cut and dried. That said, though, every family is unique, and what works for one won't necessarily work for another. Who knows what will go on with my husband and me when we eventually have another baby? Might be drastically different from what went on this time. But flexibility -- and planning -- is key.

When my daughter was still waking up at night (knockwoodknockwoodknockwood), before going to sleep, my husband and I would plan exactly how the night was going to go. So there was never any "Who's getting up? What's going on?" at 3:00 in the morning. We always knew precisely what was going to happen, so when it was time, things ran much more smoothly. And I definitely think that's a good idea for every family.

Who wakes up/woke up in your house?


Image via bbaunach/Flickr

baby first year

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cassi... cassie_kellison

I am still breast feedin so like you say, what would be the point of him getting up too, he can't feed the baby. He is helpful during the day though, changing diapers, talking and playing, and feeding cereal etc.. to him. My husband gets upat 4am every day so I try not to wake him, but right now he is on vacation so I might start getting him up to take the 6yr old to school while I sleep in.

aeneva aeneva

My husband became a big advocate for breastfeeding because he didn't/couldn't feed the baby at night so I let him sleep.  Now I was working from home at the time and he worked full time outside the home and that made a big difference.  We coslept at first and I kept clean diapers and wipes right next to the bed so I didn't have to get out of bed at all which made things easy.  I think each family needs to do what works for them.

MomMom23 MomMom23

When my son was born, my husband took 2 weeks off from work. I wasn't working at the time. During those 2 weeks, he got up during the night with the baby, but when he returned to work, he stopped getting up with the baby. I saw no reason for him to get up in the middle of the night when he had to get up very early the next moring for work, and I got to sleep with the baby a lot of the net day. My son is now 3 years old and we take turns getting up with him if he wakes in the middle of the night.

miche... micheledo

We have five little ones - 6 and under.  I get up with them the majority of the time, but sometimes, for my own sanity, he takes care of all of them.  


I think the key is flexibility.  You have to do what works for your family and realize that can change from time to time.  There are nights that I am so tired, nothing wakes me, so he gets up with the kids.  


My husband doesn't mind getting up with them, but I hear them first.  If I tried to get him awake or waited for him to hear, I would be wide awake and not fall back to sleep for a while.  So, what is the point of both of us being awake??  :)

Iris0409 Iris0409

I agree - it totally changes according to each family's situation. We formula feed now, but when I was breastfeeding, I was the one getting up. It slowly made me hate my husband, what with his freaking snoring away next to me while I nursed exhaustedly. When we switched to formula, we went right back to the every-other-night plan like we did with our first. If it's his night, I sleep. If it's my night, he sleeps. On weekends, whoever's night it is lets the other person sleep until 9:00 - it's freaking glorious. I look forward to my sleep-in day all week, man.


This is just what works for us... but to be honest, I can't imagine a scenario in which I would be cool with letting him sleep through the night EVERY NIGHT while I got up. I'd probably punch him in the face at some point.

Flori... Floridamom96

I think it's totally up to the couple involved to decide and for everybody else to myob.

jalaz77 jalaz77

For us, while I am on maternity leave I get up and should. It's not fair when he has to work and I don't. I had the flu one maternity leave, our first baby, and he got up and changed the baby and I nursed her, that was helpful. By the time I go back to work our kids were sleeping through the night, maybe up once at night a week which was nice since I HATE pumping and the relief from a baby is better than a pump. When we are both working we take turns getting up if they are up for some odd reason.

jpfsmom jpfsmom

Obviously when I was exclusively nursing, I was the one that got up however when my husband was on summer break every other night we alternated (I also pumped and we did supplement) this worked because in Sept.when he went back to work it was 11 month mark and he was pretty much sleeping through the night and we were beginning the weaning process.

nonmember avatar Gretta

My husband gets up and gets me a glass of water most of the time and usually changes a diaper. He works long hours and gets up early so I am truly touched and grateful he does this because it would certainly be reasonable if he didn't,

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I'm all for letting dad sleep because it means he is actually awake in the morning. The sweetest thing my husband has ever done for me was getting up in the morning with our son at about one month, dressing him and giving him pumped milk before going out to get me coffee and donuts and letting me sleep until about 9:30. If he'd been up and down all night it never would have happened.

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