Stressed Out New Dad!


I am dad to a 1 month old, and this last week has been very tough. For some reason she will not sleep past 4am, and I get up and feed, burp and change her. I get up as I want my wife to be able to sleep in as she has the baby all day. But by the time my daughter falls back a sleep, it’s time for me to walk the dog and get ready for work. I am exhausted at work all day, and am finding it hard to function getting up at 4am. The majority of my work is in the legal field as I manage and guide attorneys. I just feel like I cannot concentrate. I am trying to help out my wife as much as possible, with cooking, cleaning and feeding and taking care of the baby. But, the house is always a mess and that stresses me out as well. I can’t imagine what it will be like when she goes back to work next month. Any advice on coping with this better?


Welcome to the club. I went through this 8 times - well 7 if you consider the set of twins. Sleep deprivation does take it’s toll especially on concentration at work. My advice - don’t fight it, don’t think about it, just do it.

I thought I was going to die the first week we had our twins home and they were both getting up twice a night - at different times. My wife and I were passing each other in the hall as one would go down and the next would get up. Luckily after a week or so it was just once a night each and after 10 weeks, they were sleeping through the night. Or maybe my wife and I got so tired that we began sleeping through and they just gave up.:wink:

Good luck,


Is there a group for Dads on CF? My wife said that I should talk to my Priest about being stressed and over whelmed. But not sure what he could tell me. I am just having a rough time being a dad


My advice is something your wife probably won’t appreciate. :stuck_out_tongue:

If I was in you & your wife’s situation (and I have been there, four times so far), I would be the one getting up with the baby. You have a job to go to. I would be concerned about my DH’s safe driving in the mornings and evenings when he’s so tired, and his poor functioning at work. So, while I am off on maternity leave, I’m the one getting up. I can take naps with the baby during the day if need be. And she should be taking naps during the day!

You can do your part on Friday nights and Saturday nights to help out.

Of course, this all changes once you have more kids. Now, with our latest baby (5 months old), we do more of a rotate thing since I can’t really nap during the day like I used to. There are three other kids running around who can’t be unsupervised while I sleep.

But while it’s just you, your wife and the baby, I say YOU sleep at night, and SHE sleeps during the day.

Mean old me. :slight_smile:


We just had number 4 this past month, so I’m re-living what you’re talking about for the fourth time. My wife stays home, so we have an agreement. Weeknights she takes the baby. Weekends I take the baby. She gets to sleep in everyday anyway, so why shouldn’t she be up every weeknight with baby? I get to sleep in on the weekend, so why shouldn’t I take the baby on weekends? It works for us, and it really doesn’t last that long anyway. It might SEEM like it last forever, but it doesn’t. Good luck!


What my husband and I did until our baby was sleeping thru the night (took 7 months), was I slept with the baby in the spare room and let my husband sleep.

That way when he got home from work, he had the energy to help me and let me rest.

It worked for us really well b/c my husband’s mood swings were really getting to me and I found him easier to deal with if he had a full night’s sleep. I didn’t feel resentful at all b/c it was my choice to sleep elsewhere. Once Elisa was 3 months, my husband then began sleeping in the spare room b/c Elisa was transitioned into her crib from my bed and her crib was in our room.

We’ll be doing the same for our new baby. My husband will sleep with Elisa and I’ll sleep in another room with new baby when he comes.


Maybe you could take the “putting the baby to bed” shift and your wife could go to bed early and then she could get up the other times. Since she’s home during the day, she can take a nap when the baby naps. You don’t have that luxury–you need to function at work.

What we did with all of ours is co sleep (I breastfed), then no one has to get up and everyone is well rested. No, this isn’t for everyone, but it does work for many families.

One more thing to realize is that it won’t last forever :smiley:


You indicate that you “manage and guide attorneys” does that mean you are an attorney?


Congraulations on the birth of your child. They take some time getting used to, and their schedules always seem to change once you get used to them. The first few weeks can be extremely tiring. Make sure your wife takes advantage of the baby’s naps during the day, and nap herself. Sleep when the baby sleeps, my wife didn’t do that, and fatigue got the best of her around 3-4 weeks, and had a mini meltdown. I think it is fair what other posters have said, about her getting up during the week, this is what my wife and I did as well. Lighten her load as much as possible, ie housework, diapers, shopping, etc. We often look back and laugh about how tired we were then, sometimes the wife says she is still catching up on all the missed sleep, but enjoy they grow fast. If she doesn’t nurse, try switching formulas, of course talk to the Dr. first, and don’t get stressed out over it, embrace that little baby, look into its eyes, hold its tiny hand, the sleepless nights will be over before you know it.


I second Sancta- I do the night feedings because DH needs his sleep to function at work. If I’m really desperate I can nap during the day. The first couple months are HARD and any way you slice it you’re both going to be tired. He does take her when she gets up around 5-7am so I can get another hour in.

For a brief period after DD was born I did return to work. That was not fun- like you, I was having difficulty thinking of anything except putting my head on my desk and sleeping. I still did the night feeds because by the time hubs wakes up I could have her fed already. I have a cleaning schedule (Monday do X-chore) so everything gets done at least once a week, and I don’t try to get it ALL done in one day.

I know it’s cold comfort right now- but my daughter started sleeping a LOT better around 8-9 weeks, and a 3-4 hour stretch of sleep made my life much easier. HTH.


No not an attorney, have considered it, since I am in charge of them. One of my regrets (:(:(.) My wife has said that she never gets to take a nap during the day. And if don’t wake up and she does, she will be up all day and I feel bad for her.


Congrats and welcome to the wonderful world of fatherhood!

I had the blessing of working half-time at this stage in my son’s life. My wife and I took turns with the nights: one on and one off. We also did co-sleeping, as someone else has mentioned, but you need a proper co-sleeper or bassinet in the bedroom as having baby in the bed can be dangerous. Now I cherish the memory of all those nights we spent together when he was tiny. The hours go slowly but the months go quickly!

If you can agree with your wife that she gets up night times in the week and you do the weekends that could be a go. If that’s not a go, try going to sleep at the same time or before your baby does. After bathtime, give your baby a massage with olive oil- very good for the skin, for relaxing and for building up attachment. For the night, learn some soothing songs off by heart that you can sing such as the ‘Salve Regina’. These will distract you even if they don’t soothe baby! Also, pray the Rosary at night times. Try and join a dad’s prayer group- look for the FAMILIA program in your local parishes. This is a time, says John Paul II the Great, when a great influx of grace is needed. You’re experiencing the limits of your own strength, which is a great time to become really receptive to grace. Place your baby on your bare chest- skin to skin contact is very soothing and let him listen to your heartbeat. In general I recommend any reading on attachment parenting (Sears and Sears books).

During the day times use ginseng rather than caffeine to keep you alert as the latter gives you a crash in energy after an initial boost. I used to take ginseng capsules morning and evening and ginseng tea during the day.

Hope some of this helps.

St Joseph pray for you, God Bless.


Yeah this how we did it, too.

Why isn’t your wife able to nap during the day? Is the baby not sleeping? Or she feels she has to “get stuff done”? Address those reasons…with a one month old, my opinion is that a mother’s job is solely to care for and bond with her new baby. Everything else can wait. If you have friends or relatives nearby who offer help, DO NOT REFUSE. Now is not the time to be independent :smiley: When someone says, “Can I do anything for you” your response should be, “Oh yes, why thank you, as a matter of fact, would you mind throwing in a load of laundry?” Or bringing over a meal, or running to the grocery, or whatever.

The newborn period is rough, but it does pass. :slight_smile:


100% agree… if you are the one supporting the family financially right now - then you don’t need that burden.
Going back to work is hard (I’ve done it 3 times) - but we do what we have to… co-sleeping is really helpful for us (since I nurse) - then I don’t have to get up and down during the night.

If mom can nap during the day then she should sleep when the baby sleeps… Dad needs his sleep to do well on the job.


Why can’t she nap?


We have a 1m old foster daughter. I am at home, DH works M-F. Our rule is that I do all the night, his job is important to our financial survival PERIOD!!! I usually feed baby at 11:30 and she sleeps until about 4am, I get up at 4 and DH will take care of her if she wakes up after 5:30am (he is an early person and usually wakes up before 5:30). He has to be in the shower by 7am, so he wakes me up if she is still awake.

I can’t imagine why your DW couldn’t take a nap during the day, our 1 month old is still sleeping for HOURS during the day, maybe it is because it is light outside, if it is something like that buy some blackout shades/whatever is needed.

My other suggestion/question, is are you swaddling baby??? We have found that out 1 month old sleeps 110% better when swaddled, I am in LOVE with the swaddle blankets that velcro baby in!! :thumbsup:


She just says that she is never able to nap. I think that every time the baby makes a noise she wakes up. When I asked her if she took a nap, she looks at me like I am crazy. The other thing is, is that on the weekends I have yard work to do, and other house hold chores to get done. I don’t want to be a complainer, but this is taking a toll on me. It seems per my wife that the baby is good all day, and then I come home and she cries and cries. I try to think of Saint Joseph and what he had to deal with and what a great man he was, but it is hard.


Do you believe that she is suffering from postpartum depression???

I got to thinking about this when you said the house is still a mess and she is not sleeping during the day.


We swaddle her a lot, but it seems that she only closes her eyes when she is being held. Then getting her to lay down takes the skills of a magician so she does not wake up.


I don’t see any postpartum, she is happy and has not said a bad word about being a mom. I think that she goes out a lot with the baby. Either to her mothers, shopping or on walks etc. Seems that she is active with the baby.

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