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Thread: Why does baby sleep better with dad? (Long)

  1. #1

    Default Why does baby sleep better with dad? (Long)

    My son is just about 5 weeks old and is doing great but I would like to get some advice and perspective about our nursing habits. From the beginning, my babe was a snacker. He would feed for 8-10 mins on one boob and then pass out cold. For the first couple weeks he was eating every hour or hour and a half. I was totally fine feeding him on demand 17-18 times a day because I was not totally confident about my milk supply and was not sure he was gaining weight. I practiced gently waking him after a short feed (by burping or changing the diaper) and would put him back on the same boob to make sure he was getting the fatty milk. At our 3 week appointment with my midwife the babe had gained 20 oz in 12 days! Yay! And as of yesterday (one month appt) he gained another 13 oz in one week. So now I am confident that he is gaining at least one oz per day and that my milk supply is adequate for him.

    At 3.5 weeks we introduced a bottle. I pumped and my husband gave it to him, no problem at all. I really wanted him to be able to take a bottle because 1) I wanted my husband to have the bonding experience of feeding the babe, 2) I have to go back to work eventually, 3) I wanted my husband to take over one late night feed before going to bed so that I can get a bit more sleep, and 4) I want to be able to leave the babe for more than 1.5 hours if necessary. All in all the bottle/pumping experience has been very smooth and educational as we now know how much he needs to eat in one feeding to satiate him. BUT, the process has almost gone TOO smooth if that’s possible. The eating/sleeping pattern that has developed between my husband and son is SO much better than my “up every hour” situation and I am trying to figure out why.

    This is the basic pattern over the last week. I feed the babe between 10-11pm and knock him out, then I go to bed in the guest room. My husband goes to sleep with the baby in our bed and takes care of the next feeding with a bottle of breast milk. (I pump in the guest room). They both then go back to sleep and when the babe wakes again my husband gets me and I take over in the family bed for the rest of the night. So for the last week the baby has slept for at least 2 or 2.5 hours both before and after the midnight/1am bottle feeding. I’ve been able to sleep from 10 or 11- 2 or 3am each night which is fabulous because before this I was not getting more than 2 hours at a stretch and it was killing me. This has totally helped my sanity.

    The problem is that once my husband brings me back into the room, the baby is up every hour AT LEAST and kind of fussy. I usually feed him every time he wakes up in the night (it’s the quickest and easiest way to sooth him) regardless of how long it’s been since the last feed. Which means we are waking and feeding every hour when I’m in the room—but when I was not in the room he was sleeping at least twice as long. So we are trying to troubleshoot why this is happening so that we all can maximize our sleep and still give the baby what he needs. I’d love to hear what you experienced mamas think about the following hypotheses or just tell me what you think the issue is.

    Idea #1-- The 3.5/4 oz bottle of breast milk goes down the hatch faster and easier then eating at the boob and so he is eating more in one sitting thus satiating himself for longer. This leads him to sleep longer. When he breastfeeds he tends to eat on one boob and then pass out. I hesitate to wake him and force him onto the other boob in the middle of the night when he is conked out. So maybe he is actually eating half as much during a mid-night breast feeding session as he is during dad’s bottle session, and therefore waking up twice as often. Maybe I should make more of an effort to force both boobs in the night to make sure he's eating as much as possible in each feeding-- maybe that will make him sleep longer? The only reason I’m not sure this is the explanation is that in the daytime he eats in the same way with me but will often sleep for 2 hours in the stroller or swing after a single breastfeed.

    Idea #2-- Maybe I am responding to the baby too soon, thinking he needs to be fed, but really he’s just passing gas or something, and if I left him alone or soothed him in another way, he’d go back to sleep. It could be that my husband lets him be a bit longer and things get resolved without a feed and without everyone waking up. My husband says if the babe is rustling, sometimes he’ll just stick his finger in his mouth for a minute and babe goes back to sleep. My response is always to feed the baby when he rouses in the night. It always calms him down and usually put him to sleep (for the moment.) But that’s because I have an unlimited supply of milk and hubby only has the finite amount. Am I creating the hourly schedule by responding with the boob every time he rustles?

    Idea #3-- When I am in the room, the baby can smell me and it wakes him up more often wanting to be held or fed by me. We are testing this hypothesis right now. I just fed the babe until he was out cold and put him to sleep in the bed with hubby. I’m sleeping in the other room. When the baby wakes next, hubby will bring him into me and I’ll breastfeed him, put him back to bed with my husband and leave to continue sleeping in the other room. If he sleeps 2 or more hours even after eating from the boob, it must be something about me being in the room which keeps him restless. If this is the case, maybe its time to introduce him to the crib in his own room.

    Any and all of your ideas and thoughts are appreciated!
    Thanks for reading this tome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Why does baby sleep better with dad? (Long)

    awe he's young yet you guys have to work it out togheter...
    Watch out for that growth spurt thats comming up in the next week or too.


    are you napping during the day? what's your hubbies schudle like for work? What time does he go, what time does he get home?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Why does baby sleep better with dad? (Long)

    I think it's three. He is young yet. But why not try this experiment;
    When they baby wakes up, instead of you going back to the family bed, have him bring the baby to you in the guest room. Feed the baby and then you roll over. Away from the baby. Since you will have more room. This way your DH will ALSO get a stretch of peaceful sleep. And without you having to stay (three in a bed) so close to the baby, perhaps you will get another long stretch by sleeping on the other side pf the bed. With your back to him.

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    19

    Default Re: Why does baby sleep better with dad? (Long)

    IME with both DDs, I think it's a combo of 2 and 3.

    DD1 started sleeping with DH in the other room when she was 3 weeks old as a method to keep my sanity - we realized that she'd sleep for 2-3 hours w/him as opposed to less than 1 if I was next to her. (I think the smell had something to do with it b/c in desperation one night when he was working, I had put on the t-shirt he had been wearing earlier and she slept for 1 1/2 hours)

    DD2 is a little bit "better" sleeper than her sister and will actually let us put her in the bassinet right next to our bed (DD1 always needed complete contact) so we've been nursing every 2 hours or so at night. During fussy spells, DH will take her and once she falls asleep, she often sleeps longer...last night she slept 5 hours with him! When I was trying to figure out what was different, DH pointed out that I was much quicker to respond and offer the boob, which of course, she'd take.

    Needless to say, I am totally in your boat!! Many have said that letting the baby sleep with Dad is not the "safest" method of co-sleeping but it works for us I look at it this way - I have a DH who is willing to share the sleep deprivation (which is GREAT), we all stay a bit more sane and the girls have some fantastic bonding time with their daddy.
    I'm Wendy.
    wife to Chris (2005), mama to Maggie (2/2009) and Samantha (12/2010)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    41

    Default Re: Why does baby sleep better with dad? (Long)

    We have the same issue except different. I'm going to say #2...
    DD sleeps upstairs in her own crib and I've learned to tune out a lot of her grunting and fidgeting, occasional outcries etc. She sleeps from 11p~5a on the nights that I'm home. When I work nights my husband says she gets up around 3 or 4...I'm thinking she's just readjusting or something and isn't really getting up. But if she was right next to me in bed I'd probably do the same thing you are.

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