For parents and their baby, sleep is a precious commodity. When the working parent disrupts that sleep, it can be both demoralizing and enraging for the parent tasked with caring for the little one day and night. There are numerous reasons why dad could be waking the baby, and just as many fixes.
If your husband is regularly waking the baby, it could be from something as easy to fix as a creaky house, or more complex motivations from your husband like anxiety about the baby’s safety or feelings of sadness about being away from the her during the day. Either way, it’s important to address the issue with dad so that baby can get enough sleep.
Read on to explore the many reasons that your husband may be waking your baby and some solutions you can suggest to take steps for improving sleep for the whole family.
Husband won’t let baby sleep
Few moments provide as much comfort to parents of babies as when you finally sit down and rest after successfully getting the baby down for a nap or the night.
When dad wakes the baby in either of these scenarios, your feelings may range from irritated exhaustion to complete rage. In the moment, it is hard to rationally find a solution to deal with this untenable situation. Being sleep deprived certainly doesn’t help you approach the problem with kindness and patience.
The only way to improve this problem is to find a way to discuss the happenings with your partner and enact any changes that can bolster your baby’s sleep. To do this, you will first have to determine why your husband keeps waking the baby.
Once you understand why your partner is waking the baby, you can start implementing discussion and actual changes.
Husband wakes up baby
Here are some common reasons your husband won’t let the baby sleep:
- He doesn’t take care to be quiet because he doesn’t know how challenging the sleep disruptions are for you and your baby or how important sleep is to your little one (and you!).
- He inadvertently wakes the baby because he makes a lot of noise when getting ready in the morning or doesn’t realize how much noise he is making.
- He wakes the baby before going to work to get a bit of awake time because he is sad or regretful that he doesn’t have enough time with him.
- He feels anxiety regarding your baby’s health and safety and wakes the baby to check on him.
Notice that none of the reasons are backed by malicious intent. Keep this in mind when you begin the discussion with your husband about how his actions are negatively impacting you and the little one.
My husband is loud and keeps waking the baby
Adults with ideal, healthy sleep patterns can easily fall back asleep after being disturbed. Your husband may be one of the lucky ones unfamiliar with the torture of difficulty falling back asleep.
His life experience tells him that it isn’t a big deal to wake up for a few minutes because he can go right back to sleep if he needs to, so being quiet does not seem important because he doesn’t really understand that baby won’t just go back to sleep.
Below we’ll review sleep children’s sleep needs so you will be armed with the facts you need to advocate for your baby.
Husband wakes the baby while he’s getting ready for work.
This one can be frustrating when it becomes a routine.
He is either rushing around to get out of the house on time and not taking care to save time or your house is just loud.
Being quiet seems impossible in both of these situations.
Husband wakes baby up to see him the morning
Sometimes we forget that dad is also deeply connected to the baby, and fathers may feel the same intense feelings of regret of time lost with the baby while at work, and may even feel envious of the primary caretaker’s special connection.
When parents work late and do not make it home before the baby’s bedtime, leaving in the morning without interacting with their child for a few minutes can seem unbearable.
Husband keeps waking baby up on purpose
Some parents feel overwhelming anxiety regarding the safety of their little one, and the deep, unmoving sleep that newborns and infants sometimes fall into can be a real concern for those parents.
On the outside, this may look like a parent just pestering the baby and unable to patient with the baby’s sleep. On the inside, the parent is feeling a nagging worry that the baby is not ok, and the parent’s brain will not turn off until it is assured that the baby is still alive and well.
Why do babies need sleep?
Just as adults need sleep to heal physical ailments, babies and toddlers need sleep to grow and develop. Your newborn will double in length and weight in the first year; that’s a lot of growing! Adequate sleep promotes both physical and cognitive growth.
Brain function, language, attention, and impulse control all develop as brain functions mature during sleep. Studies find that babies who sleep for longer spans during the night are associated with better cognitive and problem-solving skills.
How much sleep do babies need?Sleep needs vary based on the age of your little one.
|Age||Amount of sleep recommended by the AAP|
|Newborn||8 hours per night
8-9 hours of naps
|4-12 months||12-16 hours
|1-2 years||11-14 hours
|3-5 years||10-13 hours
How much sleep do newborns need?
Newborns sleep 16 to 17 hours per day.
They lack the ability to sleep through the night because of their small stomachs, so it is particularly important to let a newborn sleep as long as their stomach permits.
How much sleep do infants need?
Waking the baby to play before her nighttime sleep period ends can seriously disrupt her sleep patterns and in turn create long-term sleep problems.
When possible, avoid taking the baby out of the crib at night once she no longer needs night feedings.
How much sleep do toddlers need?
Toddlers should sleep 11 to 14 hours per day, and only 1-2 hours of that should be naps.
Sleep promotes all the things you want to see in your toddler – increased attention spans, better learning, stronger immune systems, and healthy weights.
What to do when my husband keeps waking the baby?
Every family is different with unique needs and circumstances, including the ways that you need to deal with one partner who continually wakes a sleeping baby.
Check out these solutions to find what fits for your family:
- Talk it out
- Change the baby’s bedtime
- Make home improvements to quiet the house
- Switch up the bedrooms
- Anxiety-proof the baby’s sleep
Talk to him
This can be easier said than done, especially regarding emotional parenting topics.
Explain to your partner both your and your baby’s sleep needs, how his actions are impacting those needs, and provide solutions to move forward.
Keep in mind the possible motivations discussed above, and have a collaborative conversation to find a way to meet everyone’s needs, if possible, or to compromise so that the adults give and take a bit while your baby’s needs are fully met.
When having difficult conversations, remember to avoid starting a sentence with “You” and avoid blaming or ostracizing the other person.
Give dad time at night
American parents have fallen into the routine of an early-to-bed, early-to-rise sleep schedule for infants, but this is not true globally. Parents in Spain want their children awake for evening socializing and accordingly follow a much later schedule than we are used to in the US.
If your partner is feeling the pressure of not having enough time with the baby, change up your baby’s sleep schedule and push bedtime back long enough to give dad some playtime with kiddo.
We reviewed babies’ sleep needs above, and many parents find success in shifting back the sleep window to put babies on a sleep schedule more similar to parents. For example, a 9 pm bedtime will give an approximate wake-up time of 7 to 9 am (depending on how long your baby likes to sleep at night).
This type of schedule works best if you do not have to take your child to out-of-home care in the mornings. It will be important that your baby gets all the night-time sleep that she needs, and blackout shades do wonders to facilitate sleeping later into the morning.
I love Redi Shade which you can find on Amazon because they are inexpensive, go behind your permanent blinds, and do a remarkable job creating darkness even in the middle of the day.
Make some home improvements
Speaking of blackout shades, there are several basic home improvements you can implement to make your house more sleep-friendly for the little one. Darkening the sleeping area will help keep babies in a deeper sleep and make them less likely to be fully awakened by other sounds in the house.
Here are some other ideas for helping create a better sleeping environment for your baby:
- Use a sound machine – When surrounded by black noise, the baby will be less startled by other sounds in the house. The Munchkin has a variety of sounds and a night-light projector.
- Help eliminate kitchen and bathroom noise – Install door dampers to make your cabinets soft-closing.
- Fix squeaky floorboards – It is surprisingly easy to fix squeaky stairs and floors under the carpet with an inexpensive floor repair kit.
- Upgrade interior doors – Most houses come with builder’s grade interior doors that have a hollow door. The more solid core doors that you put between sound and a sleeping baby, the better.
Reconsider sleeping arrangements
If the home improvement tips above do not mitigate dad’s getting ready sounds enough to preserve your baby’s sleep, your next big decision may have to be evaluating where everyone sleeps.
- Move dad to a different room – This one seems the most bombastic, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Remember, this is only temporary until you get through this phase with your baby.
- Have dad get ready somewhere else – Assigning dad a different bathroom, preferably one far away from your sleeping baby, for his morning ritual may solve morning woes.
- Move your baby to their own room – If all three of you are still in the same room, this can be the easiest way to improve baby’s sleep.
Invest in different monitors
The anxious dads present the easiest fixes thanks to the great and ever-improving technology available to us.
Depending on your husband’s particular concerns, one of the following may settle his nerves enough to let you and your baby sleep again:
- Miku Smart Baby Monitor – This monitor was developed by military engineers, and it tracks breathing, sounds, and sleeping patterns with no physical contact. The breathing and sleep tracking displays in real-time, so this could really help an anxious parent feel confident that their little one is well.
- Owlet Smart Sock – Owlet’s wearable oxygen and heart rate tracker costs less than the Miku and can be paired with Owlet’s video monitor. The Owlet base plays different sounds depending on whether there is an emergency or just a fit issue.
- Nanit Complete Baby Monitoring System Bundle – The video monitor and wearable breathing monitor work together to give a full picture of your baby’s sleep.