My wife has lost all patience with me, and frankly, I'm a bit ashamed of myself. When my daughter wakes up crying in the middle of the night (she's 14 months old and usually wakes up once or twice during the evening), I sleep right through it. My wife stays at home with my daughter, so it's not as bad as it could be, but it's still really upsetting her.
I would like to be able to wake up immediately when my daughter starts crying, but it's like wanting wings. It's just not happening. Can anyone offer any help? I'm already down to 5 hours of sleep, to try to just be awake for any times she might be crying.
Please help! I really need to start helping on the midnight-wakeup helping front. Thanks!
Oh, sleepydad, that is the million dollar question! How do you get dads to wake up when babies cry? I don't really have a solution. All I can do is tell you that you're not alone. My DH doesn't budge when our 2 year old son, who still sleeps in our room, wakes up crying. I used to get really upset. I am a stay at home mom, with 3 boys, and I am exhausted most of the time. BUT, I can't blame my husband, because he is a man, and men aren't usually encoded to be care-takers, and wake up in the middle of the night. So I stopped getting angry. Instead, if I am especially tired, I will just wake my husband, so he can deal with my DS, and then I can go back to sleep.
What I would recommend, is telling your wife to wake you up if she wants to. And, also, when you come home from work, take over from your wife. She does need a break, and if you just come in and take over the care of your DD, without having to be asked, or given instructions, your wife will be SO very happy. Good luck!
Oh, thank goodness. I thought it was just me. I have told her repeatedly to go ahead and wake me up. That's part of the problem though... After my daughter, and then I, nod off, my wife usually goes downstairs to watch TV or play on the computer. It's her 'me time' and I don't begrduge it. I WOULD wake up if I was capable, but I'm not. So what winds up happening is she hears my daughter crying through the baby monitor, by the time she gets back upstairs my daughter is in a tizzy, and she's furious. I know she thinks I'm faking, but what kind of heartless monster could just lie there, listening to his daughter cry? I really and truly am oblivious. I wonder if part of it might be that my wife has the TV on in the bedroom when we go to sleep, and I'm 'programming' myself to sleep through anything. Maybe we should try just my daughter and I going up to bed and see how that goes...
Anyway, thank you for the response LisaFaith. Your answer has been a huge source of comfort, as I was convinced I was the worst father in the world and the only one capable of sleeping through a crying baby. And wouldn't you know, there's all sorts of information on the web about FALLING asleep, and there's even some for waking up at a scheduled time (with/without alarm clocks). But how to program yourself to wake up for crying... nothing.
Don't put yourself down so much. At 14 months old, I certainly wouldn't be recommending that you condition yourself to wake for the baby. I know you don't wake, but do you think maybe your wife is approaching the baby too often/too many times? Turn it on its head. Ask your wife not to go to the baby and leave the TV off......There's a huge difference between a baby grumbling, (usually in their sleep)! and major distress. In the long run it will do you both some good!, hopefully.
My husband never woke up in the middle of the night, ever. The kids could have cryed themselves silly and he wouldn't have stirred. Even these days they can come in, vomiting and nasty ill and he still doesn't wake up.
I didn't bother waking him up because that took more effort than to just get up and deal with things myself.
My husband was the exact same way and my dad and my husband's father. They all had sleep disorders. Made waking them pure hades. Might be worth looking into, just in case. I also have sleep apnea, as does my four year old. If the child wakes more than two times a night consistantly after the age of two and snores even if it is just slightly. You are looking and child obstructive sleep apnea.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
My husband was the same with my kids (and NONE of them had a sleep disorder). He could sleep through any of their stuff. I gave up very early on. I agree with the poster who said "don't beat yourself up". I really do think it has something to do with men's wiring, it is too frequent to put it down to individual stuff. My son is at the moment the stay-at-home parent, looks after 3 little kids all day, and STILL never hears them at night. They actually come and get into bed with the parents and fight over bedspace and he sleeps right through it!
We have three children and my husband has never heard them at night. I nursed all of them and for the first one he did wake up with me and was there for "support". After a while he figured I could handle it. By the second and third child, he had no clue how much they got up to nurse. I remember him waking up in the morning and saying "Wow, she slept through the night, huh?" Ah, no....she was up three times and you never heard it!!! I think you are very normal.
But I agree with the previous post. A 14-month-old should be sleeping through the night. Is she taking a bottle when she wakes? At that age, babies don't need to eat in the middle of the night. It's harder to start when they are older, but letting them settle themselves down and go back to sleep on their own is important. My husband travels a lot and I would be a crazy-lady if my kids didn't sleep through the night. We taught them early on (5 to 6 months old) to fall asleep on their own. I put my son down (he's 11 months) awake about 8:30 p.m. and don't see him again again until the next morning about 7:30. Occasionally, I hear him over the monitor, but I wait first to allow him time to go back to sleep. If he's sick, that's another story. But for the most part, he's able to take care of himself.
Maybe you can get up to support your wife as you allow your child to learn to settle down and fall back to sleep. It takes a few nights of major protesting by your child, but if you're strong...it's well worth it. Then you won't have to feel guilty for not waking up because your baby will be sleeping too.
My opinion is that the stay-at-home parent should be the primary person to go to the child in the middle of the night. There are obviously circumstances where help from your spouse is needed, and wanted, and very much appreciated, but my feeling is that I could nap when baby napped, or just generally be able to BE tired while being home. My husband on the other hand had to get up early, drive to work, and make it coherently through the day. I know not everyone is going to agree though! I had a friend that woke to nurse the baby and she made her bf get up to change the diaper - she stayed home with the baby and he worked full time. I didn't understand that thought process at all!!!!
Now we both work full time and if our 12-month old dd wakes we generally take turns, BUT I have to wake up my dh otherwise he'd sleep through it! I also agree with the pp that waking twice in the night isn't typical for a 14-month old child.
After my daughter, and then I, nod off, my wife usually goes downstairs to watch TV or play on the computer. It's her 'me time' and I don't begrduge it. I WOULD wake up if I was capable, but I'm not. So what winds up happening is she hears my daughter crying through the baby monitor, by the time she gets back upstairs my daughter is in a tizzy, and she's furious.
I don't understand why this is such an issue for your wife if she is already awake? I understand wanting to have "me" time, but if it's coming at the sake of a good night's sleep (and five hours is not that) than something needs to give. Good luck sleepydad !
I gotta agree with luvmy2kids.Granted I feel staying home and taking care of kids is the tuffest job it still does have it advantages over working outside the home.I am a stay at home mom have been for almost 14 years now and when I am very tried I do not always get to nap but I can say "the laundry can wait a bit" while I sit down for a while with some coffee.My husband has always worked and his job is very physical and over an hours drive one way.He would wake sometimes when ours were babies and help out but for the most part he never heard the baby either and I did'nt bother him.I also do not get why your wife would not just take care of the baby if she is awake anyway.Dont get me wrong we all need "our time" I think it is very important but there just is'nt alot of that with a baby.There is more as they get older.I do not want to sound harsh or anything and maybe its my way of thinking is just different.I do think you should be (and you probably are) helping with the baby after work but the middle of the night stuff I just do not see how youd do that and be ok to work a job the next day.As far as your baby being 14 months old and still not sleeping through the night I would try and make that happen.Maybe the baby is napping too long or too late in the day? I do not know but that would be frustrating.Anyway,I have 5 kids ages from 2 yrs to 14 yrs.I say to your wife it does get easier and she will have plenty of time for her as her child grows older and is able to do for himself.So tell her to hang in there and you stop beating yourself up for not waking.Best of luck on getting baby to sleep through the night
I just made my husband read this post, because at least you ADMIT that you aren't waking up, and would like to,...... my husband used to pretend to NOT hear ds waking up! I give you credit for asking for advice, I'm sure you're a great Dad when your awake, give yourself a pat on the back.
I agree with many here. I am a stay-home mom too and I never expected my husband to get up with the kids unless I needed his help with something and sometimes I did (if they were sick or I couldn't figure out what was wrong). I was able to nap later in the day and my husband had to go to work. Agree also that a 14 month old child should be putting himself back to sleep if he wakes up and that he only needs an adult in there if he is sick or something. Does he fall asleep unassisted at bedtime?
Well, first, thank you everyone that posted. I appreciate all the thoughts/support/advice.
Second, I think we've worked out some compromises. I don't think the core issue was that I wasn't waking up (though I'm sure my wife was getting a little resentful in and of itself). I think the core issue was that my wife was feeling she had too much of DD duty and was feeling overwhelmed. I agree I wasn't doing as much as I could be when I was home, but that was mainly because I was trying to do the chores around the house. Kinda had become a cicken/egg argument... she couldn't do any of the bigger chores because I wasn't offering to take of the baby while she did, and I wasn't offering to take more care of the baby because I was trying to get chores done. Anyway, we solved that with 'nights of primary responsibility'. Basically, every other night, each of us is the one that is responsible for keeping up with the baby (play time, watching her, feeding her, bathing her, putting her to bed). The other one is free and clear. Can help if they want, but can also do work around the house, or, if it's all done, do whatever else they might like.
As for why my 14month old isn't sleeping through the night, this requires some more background information. She actually was up until about 6 weeks ago. Then i started remodeling her bedroom, so she's been sleeping in her Pack&Go in our room. Not the most comfortable spot to sleep for 12 hours, so that's why she wakes up periodically. We're pretty confident that once her room is done and she can go back to her crib, this longer-term but temporary problem will solve itself.
The 5 hour comment wasn't the sleep I was currently receiving. What I meant to say was that was the only way I could see to solve the problem... stay awake through the first 2 wake-ups. With that setting the going-to-sleep time, and work setting my wake up time, that resulted in about 5 hours of sleep.
BUT, I tried something revolutionary. My wife and I actually sat down and discussed the entire problem from both sides. I actually bought some of that sticky back poster paper you use at work training for capturing ideas and we papered the dining room. And as I said earlier, the core issue is my wife would like more time with me taking care of the baby and she either doing work on the house or, when that's done, things she enjoys. Only fair, and as long as I have an agreement on the help with the housework coming before fun-time, I agree completely.
As for the original question, how to actually wake up, we're trying a 3 prong approach.
1) On my nights, I move the Pack&Go over to my side of the bed.
2) No more lights or televsion on in the bedroom after 10PM (so the tending parent can sleep). If it's not your night and you want to watch late TV, downstairs you go.
3) I have my wife wake me up every time my daughter wakes up. On my nights, that means I go tend to her, on her nights, I can fall right back asleep. The idea is to get me in the habit of waking up. Once I'm in the habit, we can drop this, as I will be waking up on my nights.
And, last (sorry for being so verbal), I found an interesting article that actually explains a lot about why men and women are different. The closest model to primitive human behavior out there is the baboon troop. And similarly, females focus on the needs and safety of their particular offspring. Males work in shifts, and when it's their turn, they focus on any and all perceived threats to the group at large.
This actually explains a very annoying fact to my wife. When my daughter cries, I sleep right through it, but I think that's because she's already in the room. When my wife or one of the dogs enter the room, I wake up immediately, even if the baby isn't crying. It was this behavior that had my wife convinced I was faking 'sleeping through it', because it appeared to her that the moment she appeared, I pretended to wake up and say "oh, but you're already here". It wasn't until I showed her the article that she understood I have different wake up triggers (and I stopped feeling like such a heel).
Anway, we appear to be on the road to Wellville. Thanks again for everyone's insights.
I am so glad that you and your wife have found a compromise. That is what it is all about!
Originally Posted by sleepydad07
as long as I have an agreement on the help with the housework coming before fun-time, I agree completely.
My ONLY comment would be that, sometimes, housework can, and should, wait. My house is NEVER as clean and tidy as I would like it to be, and I can't remember the last time I had all the laundry caught up. But I wouldn't change it for the world. My kids will only be young, and want to spend time with me for a little while. When they get older, I won't be the center of their universe anymore, so then I'll have a perfect house!