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Who should get up for baby?

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The miracle of childbirth brings with it some stark inevitabilities, like financial constraints, less personal time, dirty nappies and of course the dreaded night time feeds,the question is who should get up for baby?

None of which should detract from the joy of being a parent, but some of which create immense social drama. For the subject of night time feeding there is a debate raging between mums and… well other mums about whether or not dad should get up to feed baby, naturally there’s a growing divide between camps who think they should and those who think he shouldn’t, so lets settle it once and for all.

father working with baby

Which one of us?

Some of the arguments are fairly obvious, for example if mum is breast feeding what is the point of both of you being tired? Others have countered this by suggesting that mothers express their milk or mix bottle and breast feeding, the simple answer is most mums simply don’t want to, they breast feed because they think it is best for their child and that’s that. Others would argue that if dad is working full time and mum has made the choice to be a traditional stay-at-home mum then there is no reason why she can’t catch up on sleep during the day when baby sleeps, whereas dad can’t.

The counter for this argument is of course, being a stay-at-home mum is a full time job and sleep time is house-work time, also it’s in dads best interest to get up if he doesn’t see baby much to reaffirm that bond. The arguments come thick and fast from every direction, I read in one parenting forum (which will remain nameless) a woman who wrote simply “he was happy enough to stay awake to make the baby, why can’t he stay awake to feed her?”, not remarkably elegant but emotive enough to earn a few positive comments.


I could list a hundred arguments but that won’t help you will it, so what do I think? Well it comes down to a little thing called compromise,  and what I mean by that is developing a system whereby you both support each other. Example? Ok, so baby wakes up, mum goes and gets him/her and feeds by which ever way she feels is her way to do so, then, once baby is filled up with milk mum wakes dad up and hands baby over so he can get them back to sleep, however long that takes, mum then goes back to sleep.

Another example you ask? Ok, you work out a shift pattern that revolves around your day to day activities, so if dad has to get up at 5am to go to work he has the night to sleep while mum does the work, on another night when he doesn’t have to get up he takes on the responsibilities, divide and conquer. I suppose what I’m getting at sleepy people is you need to find a method of night nursing that suits your individual situation but still caters for the need of the baby, there’s no use in having a sleepy argument at the early hours while baby wakes the neighbours dogs, so make sure you have a system that is pre-arranged and stick to it.

who should get up for baby

Scientific facts!

Interestingly the National Institute of Health (US) conducted a study of the brain functions of both sexes which showed that men’s brains are not wired to react to the cry of a hungry baby but women are, not surprising when you consider it has been long-known that women’s bodies react physically when baby cries to initiate milk flow. In the study they conducted brain scans when the participants mind was wondering and found that women’s brains responded to hunger cries more often than men (‘Gender Differences in Directional Brain Responses to Infant Hunger Cries’ – Pisapia, Bornstein and Venuti et al, 2013), interesting?

Let me give you one more example, I was lucky with all my children, they all slept through the night from a very young age, but when they did wake up generally speaking we would both get up, mum would feed and I would change and settle. Now, sometimes I didn’t wake up, either because I had had a particularly busy day or because I’d been out with my mates, in these cases the unwritten rule was in the morning I would sort out the baby and take their mum a nice cup of tea in bed.

The long and the short of it guys and girls is that night time feeding, as with every other aspect of parenthood requires compromises, don’t let it be a drama, just make the plan a solid one and stick to it, good night.



One Response to “Who should get up for baby?”

  1. Cheryl

    Mummy always got up during the week when partner working and he would help during the night at the weekend. One night he got up and the other night mummy got up and took it in turns for a longer weekend sleep in the morning


About Steven Petter

About Steven Petter

Steve has three children, Connor, Harmony-Skye and Fletcher. He is a Martial Arts enthusiast as well as an avid reader of books about Philosophy, he began writing short stories and also writes music reviews.

Website: Steven Petter

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