Dear Mr. Dad,
We have a newborn and my wife and I are both exhausted. Who do you think should take care of the baby when he wakes up at 3 am? Do both of us have to suffer?
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night hungry, and your partner is breastfeeding, you might as well stay in bed and let her take care of things. 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 and you'll be fresh for the 7 am child-care shift, and she'll get to spend a few more precious hours in bed.
If, however, your baby is being bottle-fed, do your fair share of the feedings. You might want to work out a system in which the one who does the 3 am 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 those shows you missed when you were a teenager.
-- "Mr. Dad"
A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the author of The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the Toddler Years, Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be, and The Single Father: A Dad's Guide to Parenting Without a Partner (New Father Series). He has written on parenting and fatherhood for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts "Positive Parenting," a nationally distributed, weekly talk show, and lives with his family in Oakland, California.