Ask a Dad Question

Can’t Seem to do Anything Right










QUESTION:

I am dad to three girls (6 , 3 and a newborn). I would like some help/advice on how to cope with my wife’s mood swings, that I am sure are caused by her lack of sleep.

A little info: the third baby was totally unplanned. My wife and I often discussed having another baby and I was very against the idea, primarily because I know from experience that the first 16 weeks (or until the baby sleeps through) are worse than hell on earth. What I mean by this is that my wife becomes a different person and I can’t do anything right, we can go for days barely communicating. I try my best to help out with the baby, my other girls, and all the chores and cooking after working an 8-hour day, but it seems that I can’t do anything right. My wife gets very angry for the smallest of things, dust on the bookshelf for example. Now if I dust the shelf, I know tomorrow it will be something else and I can’t predict what it will be.

She says that she’s doing everything and has no time to have a break. I realize she is with the baby 24/7 and she has to look after the other girls after school and everything that that entails. As she is breastfeeding there isn't really much I can do apart from giving the odd expressed bottle. I am not sure how to help or what to do.




ANSWER:

She is busting her butt and you are doing everything you can to support her. Sleep deprivation is doing its thing.

Suggestions:

  • Help her get four hours sleep in one stretch each night by handling one nighttime feeding/changing with an expressed bottle.
  • Insist on communicating. Sullen silences just compound the natural conflict between two tired, stressed parents with a newborn. Put it on the table, “Honey, you need to tell me why you are angry at me. We need to be working together.”
  • Pray for your baby to sleep through the night at 2 months.
  • Also, be aware of the signs of post-partum depression. Her hormones are very active and can be taking a toll. Another reason to insist on talking.
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