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Tips for dad to help baby sleep? Help!

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  • Tips for dad to help baby sleep? Help!

    Hi guys,

    Ok, well we are still breastfeeding and cosleeping, which is great- EXCEPT I work 2 evenings per week (until 10pm) and baby goes to sleep usually around 8pm - Before I would come home, breastfeed her to sleep and go back to work, but i can't always do that now, and now she often wakes up 10minutes after i've gone and totally freaks out. When i cant come back my poor husband is left with an overtired, screaming baby, and he carries her around all evening to no avail (she is now over 20lbs!). Last night i came home and she was absolutely hysterical, and even i couldn't get her to relax and sleep- it took carrying her and breastfeeding while i carried her and singing for almost an hour before she finally relaxed and went to bed with me.
    Any helpful tips? Its at times like this when i *almost* regret cosleeping etc, my sister seems to have it "so easy" with her baby that has always slept in her own bed from day 1...and i KNOW what i am doing is right for me, but my poor husband is rapidly losing faith!
    Tips would be MUCH appreciated!

  • #2
    Oooh, That sounds tough.
    My husband feels the same way. Luckily for us I didn't need to be away at night untill my second had shown he would 'permit' him to cuddle him back to sleep (at 13mo). It still is not easy at times as he just wants his mother!

    Remember that your baby has her own personality and even if you did what your sister did, your baby will still do her own thing.

    There is no quick fix to help your daughter be OK with dads comforting. They will develop their own relationship for nighttime when you are out. It is a process at any age.
    He is the other part of 'Attachment Parenting'. Is there a way to have it be less stressful on her and him? Lets brainstorm ideas!

    I know with my second son that GOING OUTSIDE is a magic thing for him. In the middle of any crying fit, for any reason, with any person, we can go out and he calms down. Does your daughter have a thing or place like that? Does she fall asleep in the car?
    Find that thing and use it as a bridge to a more normalized nighttime process. Encourage him to find a song or a book to use together when they are playing and later in a tough mood she might respond to that happy association. He might want to do things differently when you are gone, on purpose, like a special daddy time. Then she would be more prepared when she woke up and not expect Mom -but Dad.

    I can't remember how old she is! DO you have anymore insight into the situation. That must of been particularly hard that night when she wouldn't calm down. My son had done that at 8 mo or so and I interpret it as him telling me how worried he was. "Mommy, I was so tired and Daddy was trying but I just wanted you, and then I wanted something and I was so upset that I couldn't tell daddy so I got more upset. And then the crying made my eyes hurt and I rubbed them and these Pajamas were itchy and the air was dry......" I try to imagine and listen and soothe.


    • #3
      Yikes! I can certainly relate, unfortunately... Although for us it was a rare occasion and not twice a week, I have absolutely "been there, done that!" when I had to work and DH had to try to get LO to sleep.

      Here are my suggestions...

      How does your daughter usually go down for naps? Is she ALWAYS nursing or are you sometimes in the car, or just rocking, or what? Maybe DH could replicate a nap-time scenario she might be familiar with? The car was magic for my son as well, and there have been times when DH just had to drive him around to sleep and then stay right with him (as he would stay asleep with DH in bed too or in a sling, but not alone in bed).

      Does she take a bottle of pumped milk? Could you pump extra so Dad could hold her and give the bottle so she had that comfort to go to sleep?

      If all else fails... Have you tried a pacifier? We finally introduced one when my son was still nursing all night long at a year old and would only fall asleep by nursing... I just had to have a break from time to time and within a few time of me cuddling him with the pacifier, he would take it with daddy. He still preferred to nurse, but that was a substitute he could live with, lol! I would try the extra bottles first if she's used to those, but the pacifier is a tool to consider.

      I know it's tough... but it will eventually get better. My son (18 months) still goes through phases where he just needs Mommy and then others when Dada or Nonna is okay, too...

      (((HUGS))) and good luck!


      • #4
        I'm sorry you're having this tough time. I can relate to the overtired takes an hour to go to sleep baby - my DS is like that a lot!

        Has your DH tried wearing baby in a carrier (my DH uses the ergo?) It might be easier on his back/aching arms - Our DS is 20lbs+ and I find the carrier helps me to hold him longer, etc. Also our DS sometimes will fall asleep from being in the ergo more easily than just being held.


        • #5
          Oh my gosh, you guys are SOOO kind and helpful! Sorry, it took me a couple days to get back to this- but all the suggestions are great.
          We have used a pacifier for her, and she's not so interested in it anymore hehe...
          He has used a babybjörn, but it bothers his back, and i have 2 other sling/carriers, but i really need to get him used to using them, as they are MUCH more comfortable!
          Yes, he does give a bottle, but she won't even go near it when she's cranky and tired, just seems to make her more frustrated. But we have started getting him to give food/bottle a little more often so maybe she'll start to adjust to that.
          I agree that a song/ritual thing with him would be smart. He is actually REALLY REALLY good with her- he sings, carries around, keeps her distracted etc really well usually. It's just those occasional late evenings. I think Monday was a bit extra hard since i'd been off and home for 2 whole weeks, so suddenly i was gone at a time of day when she was usually closest to me.
          She will sleep when he takes her for a walk outside in the buggy (we have these wonderful things here in Scandinavia called Voksi-bags- its like a sleeping bag sort of thing, but filled with WOOL so they are super warm! we use them in the buggy) so im thinking maybe he could go for an evening walk and then just bring the buggy in and let her sleep in that until i come home...
          Also we got this great cd when she was born called "don't cry" and its just tracks of sounds- the vaccuum cleaner, a car driving etc etc, really hilarious. When she was colicky the ONLY thing that would calm her was the track with the sound of rain. It was amazing- just turn it out loud enough that she could hear it over her own crying and she'd stop dead and just listen...i think we need to dig out that cd again!
          Thanks again guys for the wonderful ideas!!! (and the reminder that she is her own person, and that even if we had done things differently she'd still be that person!)


          • #6
            The buggy sounds like a GREAT idea since she is used to going to sleep in there already! Good Luck!