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New Dad - How do I cope at night?

Community Member

I am a new dad (8 month old baby boy). He is a good baby. During the day, I am all good to change him or get him to sleep. But during the night, I am like a different person... I get frustrated easily and my first thought when I wake up to crying is always "urgh, I am going to be so tired for work tomorrow... how am I going to cope being awake now... I am going to have to quit my job and find something easier for work.... etc".

And i keep reading all these articles about how people need a good nights sleep for productivity and such... but it's just not possible with a baby.

How do we cope with the nights - while working a day job with an early start? My wife is great but I want to do as much as I can for our little boy while maintaining enough energy during the day to earn an annual income to keep the family going.

I know not to shake him and put him down when I am too stressed. But there is the sense of anxiety and fear... in anticipation of being tired for work (I work full time) the next dayand then not performing at work... leading to more anxiety and depression.

I hope that makes sense and someone can provide some advice... at the very least, maybe there is someone else feeling the same way that this will help them knowing there is more of us new dads out there - who are struggling with night time duties while having to work a day job with early starts.

I look forward to your replies..

4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear InsertFakeNameHere~

I think it was a wise move to come here and seeks other's experiences. You sound very stretched, and frankly even the idea of shaking the baby (I realise you do not do this) is a real worry. If you ever get tempted ring Lifeline 13 11 14 to help you de-stress.

The fact you do not want to leave it all to your partner and do your share is great.

First I have to say a new baby completely turns life upside-down and yes it is very tiring and demanding on both partners. Babies can be a full-time job in themselves. no way out of that, though it keeps getting better as time goes on.

So I guess the first thing is to ask if you have talked the matter over with your partner? Perhaps an arrangement can be reached with your wife to split up each night so each only is 'on duty' for part of it.

Our offspring had to be bottle fed (prepared before going to bed) and my partner and I split half each night which varied as shifts did.

There are also other sources that can give you advice on the best way to handle this life change and keep baby as happy as possible, apart from your own parents I'd suggest starting with:


which has practical advice and links to other organizations.

Much revolves around seemingly little things and trying for as healthy a personal lifestyle as possible.

Please let us know how you go.


Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi and welcome to bb

Your post was really touching on so many levels. Your love for your wife, your desire to be involved in your son's care and your brutally honest recognition that you are "a different person at night".

I understand that you need your sleep. My husband was in the same boat as a new dad, early starts and demanding work. It's not selfish to say that you need your sleep.

My husband made sure he was always home for bath time and this was his responsibility for years. His special one-on-one time with the baby, giving me a much needed break.

While I was on maternity leave he only ever got up at night on weekends, unless there were exceptional circumstances (eg when I was sick). I found time to rest during the day (the house usually looked like a homb went off but you can't have everything) or went to bed really early in anticipation of beingvwoken up, letting him put the baby to bed too.

When we were both working we shared the load, alternating nights. It gets easier as the little ones begin to sleep better and mostly through the night. When our son started sleeping through to early mornings, it was perfect for my husband to go to him and I got the extra sleep.

You don't have to get up at night "to do as much as you can" for your son. I suggest you find other ways to make your contribution and support your wife.

Perhaps you could try talking with your wife and exploring her feelings on the issue. It will be far better to work this through honestly with her (just as you've done here) than to risk a tragedy.

Kind thoughts to you

Community Member
Hi IFNH. I agree with all the replies here. An 8 month old baby is hard, tiring and seemingly non-rewarding. It does ease as the baby settles into a routine which in itself is a battle. One thing that worked for me, make sure he is fed, changed, happy etc. I used to put my daughter (a real screamer) into a well ventilated, but fairly warm room. I would insure (as much as possible) that she was safe and secure. I would leave soft music playing, and just leave her to sleep. Initially she screamed, however, knowing she was just exercising her lungs (healthy, they were too), I left her alone. After a while, half an hour, sometimes less, she would tire herself to sleep. Baby's are very good at knowing how to attract attention, scream and mum or dad will come. It's fine to pick them up and interact with them, but they do need to learn that screaming for the sake of screaming isn't going to get them anywhere. It's not cruel or neglectful to leave a baby alone. As long as the baby is clean, well fed, they will learn to settle and they will accept their routine. With working shift work, it's important you get your rest and baby will accept this if he is not 'pandered' to. He will rule as long as you allow it. Soft music often helps to pacify them: music to soothe the savage beast. Also the soft music in his room will give him comfort. Silence is frightening to a baby. They need the comfort of sound.

Community Member

Wait til they are teenagers and you can't sleep because you're worried about them lol.

Man kids are so life enriching and so life destroying at the same time. At some point and with an 8 month old I'd suggest you're not too far away, they will sleep through.

Not sure if your wife is working or not? If you're working and she isn't you need your rest, as stated through every WH&S meeting you have ever attended. If she is working or is exhausted, you need to carry her.

At some point you need to start stopping the day time sleeps, so they sleep through the night.

When our first was born we attended a how to get your baby to sleep program. We used the cry method, not for everyone but it worked miracles for us.

The main thing, if what your doing isn't working, then you need to change something. It may take a few changes, forget what you think you know, because what you know isn't working right? Seek help from the professionals, baby sleep clinics, what have you got to lose? Certainly not your sleep? Good luck and stay strong mate.