In the past, I have always nursed my babies, so I have always been the one to get up with them. Now that I am bottle feeding, we are trying to figure out what works best for my husband and I so that we both can get some much needed sleep. With three little ones to take care of, sleep is hard to come by these days.
What has been working for us is that my husband gets up at the first feeding, and then I get up at the second. This is mostly because I do better in the early morning hours than right after I go to bed. But, sometimes, I have to do all of the night duty when my husband has an early morning meeting. Those days are rough. Last night was one of those nights, and today it has taken me a long time to get going again!
When you share responsibilities in the middle of the night, it really does make life a lot easier for everyone. At least I have found that when we are all getting good sleep, everyone is happier! Here are a few tips for sharing responsibilities:
Talk with your spouse or significant other about what time they would prefer to get up. For us, it worked out perfectly that he didn’t like early mornings and I didn’t like late nights. The key is to communicate so you are ahead of the game before you actually ever get in bed.
Try alternating nights. Maybe it works better for you if you each take a night. Or, if one of you gets up 3 days in a row, and then the other person gets up 3 days in a row. Think of it as a job where you want to make sure every shift is covered!
Be flexible. If you have a big event the next day and you really need some sleep, then talk to your spouse about switching it up. Offer to reciprocate the next night.
Don’t expect one person to do all the work. Maybe you are better at getting up in the night than your husband is, but that shouldn’t mean that you always have to do it. Try to work out a schedule that works for both of you. Keep talking about it until you can reach a compromise that you are all happy with.
I have found that when there is open communication before the long nights begin, then everyone knows what is expected. If there is not, then lack of sleep can lead to lashing out at your loved one and feeling resentful. Sleep is a powerful thing. We all need it. And, it is amazing how much better you feel when you get it. The lack of sleep was one thing I underestimated as a new parent. So, work on figuring out what plan works best for you and your spouse and the baby, who is most important of all!