If your baby wakes up at 2 a.m. hungry, and you get out of bed, bring the baby to your partner, burp him when she’s done, do a quick diaper change, and slip him back into his rib, every single woman your partner knows will hear about how you’re the most amazing, chivalrous, wonderful guy. You’ll also be sleep deprived out of your mind. So here’s the politically incorrect solution: if she’s breastfeeding, you might as well stay in bed and let her take care of things. I know, I know, that sounds pretty boorish, but really and truly, there’s not much you can do to help. In fact, your sleeping through the feeding may actually benefit your partner. That way you get a full night’s sleep (or at least more than just a few hours) and you’ll be relatively fresh for the 7 a.m. child-care shift, and she’ll get to spend a few more precious hours in bed.
If, however, you’re bottle feeding your baby, all bets are off and you should do your fair share of the feedings. You might want to work out a system in which the one who does the 2 a.m. feeding gets to sleep in (or gets breakfast in bed.)
Sometimes, though, your baby wakes up for no other reason than to stay awake for a few hours and check things out. In this situation, you and your wife can split the child-entertainment duty or stay up together and see what’s on late-night TV. It’s a great way to catch up on all those CSI episodes you missed or to finally work though that huge list of shows that have been cluttering up your DVR.