September 19, 2005

DT Poll: Mid-Night, And The Daddies Are Feeding

DT reader Matt Haughey writes in:

I'm taking an active role in the raising of my daughter, and part of that is we only feed
our daughter breast milk. To make sure it's not a burden on my wife,
I feed fiona pumped breastmilk via a bottle once during the night. It
means she gets a longer stretch of sleep and I sacrifice maybe an
hour of sleep from my night. The weird thing is that everyone I talk
to says "that's great!" with a bit more enthusiasm than I expect, and
in polling my other new dad friends, they did the same, but everyone
seems to give up early on it, citing work, sleeplessness, or other
issues. I'm curious if I'm a super dad for keeping it up or if the
people around me are a bunch of chauvinist pigs.
We, too, shared feeding duty this way from the get-go, although depending on pumping complications &c., &c., it was sometimes formula.

[update: I was gently reminded that this was only partly the case. We started the kid on a bottle from the get-go, sure, but because it was so hard to go without nursing in the night, I rarely did the nighttime feedings. Instead, I took the pre-dawn feeding and let my wife sleep in. Our division was more "EBB," "everything but breastfeeding" than mid-night feeding. And besides, the kid was sleeping 12-6 by 5.5 wks, and then was doing 8 hrs by 8 wks. I should read the archives sometime. Thanks, dear.]

So how does/did it work in your case? [if there's a story that doesn't fit in the poll options, feel free to put it in the comments.]

25 Comments

That's our plan as well, I am just waiting until my wife's milk starts to take off so that we can bank some for late night Daddy feeds.

How long will that plan actually last? Good question.

FWIW, as a mom, once I could nurse lying down I preferred to have my husband changing diapers more, because a middle-of-the-night feed wasn't bad if all I had to do was hook the kid up for three seconds and go back to sleep.

Never. I did handle 99% of the boy's output for the first 3 months though.

She was input, I was output.

I stayed home for the first month. We currently have enough breastmilk stored up to feed a small nation.
I'm lucky if I get to actually give the kid one. The only time I get to is on the weekends when I take the 5am feeding and let her get some extra rest. I've offered only to be rebuffed with, "my breasts hurt if I don't feed him."

So..I sleep and she feeds. But I look forward to my father-son time on the weekends.

Cobalt's mom had plenty of milk, and not enough sleep. I tried to get up during the night as much as possible to get him when he woke. But I never did the overnight feeds. Kyle has a way to nurse him while they both sleep. Go figure. I must say, however, that I would if I could.

I agree with Moxie. I'd just rather do the horizontal nursing. I HATE pumping. But my husband gets to do his time now that we have two. He does the early morning wake-up with the toddler (as early as 5:45, as late as 7:30) while I lounge in bed with the baby and horizontal nurse until 8.

We ended up having to formula feed the little monster, but I answered for my husband. He handled all night feeds for the first 6 months (wicked PPD, heavy sleeper that I am) and then would take the 6AM feeding after that, when he started sleeping through the night.
Even now that the Boy is o-lder, he still gets up with him in the morning and does morning daddy stuff before working is 10 hours. Yeah, he's superdad.

Wow! My spelling is atrocious! Um, mentally correct all of the errors. I blame said Monster, sitting on my lap.

Add another vote for the horizontal nursing brigade. Hooking the kid up and going back to sleep was one of the heavy hitter reasons I chose to nurse. Momentary wakefulness, a bit of a shuffle shuffle and everyone's back to sleep. (and, pumping sucked for me - no pun intended).

Mommy speaking here. I've breastfed 3 babies. Pumping is a pain and not real easy in the early months. It was not a problem to nurse the baby at night, staying in bed, especially since he slept between us anyway. Changing middle of the night diapers would be the most helpful thing Daddy could do. Our baby is almost 11 months old. His brother was 2 1/2 when he came. I'd forgotten about having to change a diaper at 1 or 2 am when you can't even open your eyes. Those were exhausting early months.

With twins, it was a given that I take part, and there we would both be, delirious, with small talk at 1am, 4am,and then the beginning of the day. The girls were on fortified breast milk since they were preemies.

at 5 months, one sleeps throught he night (12 hours) and the other still wakes up once at 2am.

I traded off night feedings with Mom until the young'un transitioned from bottle to sippy cups. At that point, nighttime feedings were fewer, and would only be accepted straight from the tap. When Mom really needed a full night's rest, I'd sleep on the couch with the baby monitor so there was no chance of interrupting her sleep.

I'm with Moxie on the horizontal nursing. Daddy works on the diaper duty at night and does all morning wakeup and ready for bed-time. We also trade off weekend mornings so that one of us gets to sleep in.

Our situation was similar to yours Jay. I would hit the sack about 11pm or midnight and my wife would sleep on the couch feeding lil' K during the night, then I would get up at 5am and take over until 11am or noon using pumped breast milk.

I'm glad that part is over. ;-)

Hubby really wants to help with the feeds, but sadly our little girl refuses all the bottles we've tried. She's 2-1/2 months now and we've been trying since 4 weeks, don't know how much longer we should try before giving up.

[our niece took about 4 months, varying bottle types (5) breastmilk vs. formula, etc. before she took it. One key thing is for only the non-breastfeeder (Hubby, in your case) to give the bottle. The kid wouldn't take a bottle from my wife at all while she was nursing. -ed.]

Elaine, I think some kids just won't take a bottle. My first did with no problem starting at 7 weeks. My second just wouldn't, even though we started trying at 2.5 weeks. We finally gave up at week 9, after trying half a dozen different bottles, all possible configurations of dad feeding him, etc. At four months, I just go out when I want to. He sleeps while I'm gone and wakes up within 45 seconds of my arriving home. Psychic or ornery?

My brother wouldn't take a bottle, either, and he's now 30, a college graduate, happily employed, living in a city he loves with friends and a normal dating life. So there you go.

[but does your mom still have to make all his meals? -ed.]

OUr newest one is a squirmer and grunter, so at the 4:00am feeding, my wife gets the kid and feed in the horizontal. At about 5am after about 40 minutes of grunting and squirming, I get The Boy and take him into the other room, either for some more sleep with Daddy (I tuck him in my arm to prohibit movement) or lay him in the bassinet. He's usually good until 8.

I am the Equipment Guy for all Pump Parts. It's my job to have them ready to go at a moment's notice. We are currently creating a Milk Depository in our freezer for when my wife goes out of country for a week. Poor kid... he's going to have to learn how to sleep through the night... Daddy can sleep through just about anything...zzzzzzzzzzz

My son (now 1 year old) never took to the bottle, so even though I got up at feeding times to fetch him, Mama still had to do her bit.

He went right from the boob to the sippy cup. We tried the bottle several times, but he didn't fancy it.

Greg, yes, but at least now he can chew them.

Seriously, though, of course she doesn't make him his meals anymore. She ships him MREs from an army surplus website.

As for Dad feedings, it helps if mom is not home (but easily reachable if all else fails) and the little tyke is very hungry. They prefer the breast, but the bottle becomes an acceptable substitute with time.

My wife works at night a few days a week and on those nights I handle all of the feedings.

We both get up most times and I'm the changer. I'm also the rock to sleep person if it's a non-feeding wake-up ( diaper, fussy ) during the overnight. After about 2.5 months of through-the-night, we saw a big upset in the sleep pattern after we switched over to daycare. Into it 4 weeks now and it S L O W L Y geting better. Bottle feedings at d/c going well, must just be a schedule thing ???

I am a crazy heavy sleeper so early on my wife had a hard time getting me up. I suggested that I give him a bottle in the middle of the night but she declined (loved the offer) but to keep her supply up she would have to get up and pump anyway.

More than once, and I don't remember this at all, the boy would be crying and Kelley would be asking for help and I said in a loud clear voice, NO! She knows I could sleep through armageddon but on more than one occasion she has threatened to push me out of bed. She's also scooped the boy up and moved to the guest room to escape my snoring. So apparently I'm a complete pain in the ass at night in bed. As long as I continue to have the coffee ready before work I can get away with it.

From day one on I always got up when the baby needed to eat at night, even though she'd been breastfed. I took her out of the co-sleeper/crib, brought her to her mom, gave company to both of them, put baby back to the co-sleeper/crib, and we all went back to sleep. Even now, two years later, I am the first out of bed at night when the baby cries.

My argument is that mommy is already around the kid all day long (SAHM) and it is my turn to do that when I am at home.

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of blogs but my wife reads this one and alerts me to the highlights. I'm posting after she reminded me that when it comes to co-sleeping and attachment parenting the dad's view point is often not heard. I wouldn't consider myself "crunchy" and until a few months ago hadn't even heard the term. I do however feel that our children deserve every advantage possible and I feel that co-sleeping and attachment parenting gives them an advantage. I'm in a different situation because I'm the only one who leaves the home to provide income. My wife is able to be a stay at home mom for Mr Boy and I feel this is another advantage I can give him. I haven't had to wake up in the night for feedings. Since I'm the one that needs to get up and leave she tries to make sure I get a good nights sleep. If the situation was different however I would be more than willing to wake up and feed and do whatever is required to make sure Mr Boy is comfortable and satisfied through the night.

I guess we have been very lucky. From the start dd has been on the formula, enabling dad (me) to feed when ever needed. Our dd has been sleeping thought the night from 7 weeks.
She is put to bed at 6.30. She will then get her sleep feed at 11.00pm. At around 7.00am she wakes and gets another feed.
My wife works 3 days as a teacher and I work 2 days as a computer consultant, and so we take it in turns at sleeping in the nursery with dd.
This works for us and after 6 months we hope to be able to leave her on her own.
Only 3 weeks to go...

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