At the risk of generalising and stereotyping here, it’s been my experience that there’s usually one parent who handles the bulk of the nighttime responsibilities. And that parent, in a heterosexual relationship, is almost always Mum.

Now, before you come at me, I’d just like to point out that there’s a reason this happens. As a sleep consultant, I don’t get called into situations where both parents are contributing equally, where the baby’s not relying on any external props, and everyone sleeps soundly through the night. Anyone who calls a sleep consultant in that situation either has too much money or has mistaken me for a Nanny of some type.

I’m most often contacted by parents who are having issues getting their babies to sleep and to stay asleep. This is almost always because their child has an external sleep prop that they use to get back to sleep when they wake in the night.

Now it will be no surprise that the most common prop is breastfeeding, which Dad can’t really help with anyway. This is a problem for a couple of reasons. Obviously, if baby’s waking up to six times a night and wants Mum to come back in to feed her back to sleep, that’s pretty tiring for Mum and baby. In this scenario, Dad often suffers also! It might be hard to imagine, if you’re currently reading this in the middle of the night with a baby on your boob comfort feeding and you are listening to your husband snoring contentedly from the other room, but it’s true.

Dads want to be great dads. They want to have an active role in bringing up their kids, and they love it when they feel like they’re succeeding in that role. Because Mum is the one with the magical breast milk, Dad often feels powerless to help out in the sleep department, which means Mum’s up every time baby cries and Dad, while sympathetic, can’t do much but go back to sleep.

Unfortunately, this can lead to some hostility from a sleep-deprived Mum and some defensiveness from Dad, who is feeling attacked for something he has no control over, and the love bubble of new parenthood starts to burst. I have some good news though, if you’ve decided to give sleep training a try it is often easier and more successful if Dad takes the lead. Get ready to snore away the nights Mum! This is because Dad doesn’t breastfeed, and he doesn’t smell as sweet as Mum and baby knows it. So, when it comes to breaking the association between nursing and falling asleep, baby tends to learn quicker and respond better when Dad comes into the room during the first few nights of them learning to sleep independently.

Whenever I let a couple know about this before they begin working with me, Mum lets out a big wahoo and teases Dad about how he’s much fun he’s going to have getting up six times in the night. But then on night one, as soon as baby starts to cry, Mum can’t help but to jump out of bed and go into baby’s room. Or Mum stands in the doorway instructing Dad on the right way to settle baby back down and corrects him every step of the way. Now, not one person is snoring, baby is confused and overstimulated and can still smell Mum!

So, Mums, if Dad’s going to get involved you have to let go and trust him and the process a little. As much as wives always say they’ll have no problem letting their husbands take the wheel, when it comes down to the moment of truth, many women have trouble giving up control! Give Dad a chance and trust that Dad will come and get you if he is really struggling!

Your darling husband might just be the magical solution to your baby’s sleep issues, but you’re going to have to let him take over. Most of my clients see dramatic improvements in their baby’s sleep in just a couple of nights and once those first few nights are done, Mum can start getting back involved when needed!

After that, you and your partner will have the evenings back to yourselves and your whole family can get back to snoring the nights away!