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

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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femal... femaleMIKE

Since my husband works overnight I have a strong feeling that I will be getting up wiht the baby at least 98% of the time.

Sierr... SierraLynn

I don't breastfeed. So dad can get baby as well. But as to nit interfere with his work he will only get her if she wakes up before midnight. After midnight she is all mine. This is also because dh usually comes home about a half hour before baby goes to bed and she doesn't like him to feed her during the day apparently. So its their little bonding time.

abra819 abra819

My hubs stayed up with our baby after I breastfed. He actually got ill from exhaustion because he was such a HUGE help. He's amazing.

purpl... purpleflower514

I'm a SAHM so I get up. If he is up doing something or is leaving work he will bring the baby to me for nursing but that is it. Makes the most sense in our house.

c_gal... c_galvan87

I was a stay at home mom so I got up at night then he would get up with baby at 5 am until he went to work and I got to sleep in on weekends

roger... rogersmommy0306

With our 1st, my husband and I would trade off. I got up more often, just because I'm a lighter sleeper, but he was a big help. With our 2nd, however, he fell asleep during one of her nighttime feedings and accidentally suffocated, with our 3rd I was the only one to get up in the middle of the night. So, to each their own. Do whatever works for you and your family.

MsRkg MsRkg

We both got up with the baby. For the first two weeks it was mostly me, but once I started pumping and had bottles he was getting up to take over those middle in the night feedings and he loved it. Even when we both went back to work he ended up taking over more of the night feedings ( because that was when he could really get his own one on one time with his son) but we had the nanny there too for the nights when were both exhausted. We found a balance that worked for us, but honestly every family has their own system that works. Different strokes, for different folks.

Aeris... AerisKate

When I was still breastfeeding, we both got up, but now that my son no longer nurses at night, my husband is actually the one who gets up the most.  I still wake up and am sometimes awake as much as he is, but he is the one handling everything.  He has always done things equally with me.   We've both always thought that we both work during the day - he just works somewhere else and I work at home (taking care of the kids, etc).  It's not like it's okay if I'm a zombie while watching the kids just because I'm at home.  I have to be alert, too.  

nonmember avatar eee77

I think my opinion is different from everyone else's. We have four and I have learned that because I nursed my babies, he didn't feel the need to get up and became immune to any of the kids waking up at night therefore all of the nighttime duties were left to me. He didn't wake up to anything unless I woke him up (then we were both up) POINTLESS!!! After the third one I would pump for night time feedings so I could get some rest every now and then, much to hubby's disappointment. I think that getting up in the middle of the night should be equal (especially if both parents work).

nonmember avatar anon

The first couple months of my son's life (before he slept through the night) he had himself on a bit of a schedule. He'd be hungry at 12, 3, 6, and 9. It was quite perfect actually. My husband would take the midnight feeding, gave him a chance to play video games or guitar or whatever while I slept. I took 3 am. And we'd take turns on the 6am one before he went to work. It worked out for both of us getting some sleep, helping the other out, and bonding with our baby.

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