in , ,

New Mom Wary After Husband Throws Tantrum Whenever She Wakes Him To Feed Baby At Night

Upset man in bed
janiecbros/Getty Images

Redditor and new mom AmericanFolkswagon is currently navigating nighttime feedings and how they affect her marriage.

The Original Poster’s (OP’s) husband suffers from insomnia, and while he wants to be woken up to help with the baby, his initial reaction is not particularly pleasant.

This has caused the OP to harbor some resentments, and ultimately turn to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).

She asked:

“AITA for being resentful of my husband’s reflexive anger during newborn nighttime pumping/feeds?”

She went on to explain:

“My [32-year-old female] husband [35-year-old male] and I have a 3 week old newborn. My milk supply has been low so I’ve been pumping every 2-3 hours.”

“The arrangement my husband and I agreed to was that he & I would both wake up for the first ‘feeding/pump’ session, where he would go feed the baby a bottle and I would focus on pumping.”

“The issue is that my husband has insomnia & can’t fall asleep easily.”

“To mitigate this, I’ll wear sleep headphones & will listen for the baby’s cries when he’s hungry…”

“my husband’s ask is for me to wake him up when this occurs, so that he can help and I can focus on pumping.

“However, when I do gently wake up my husband at the time that he asks me to, it’s like a knee jerk reaction for him to be angry.”

“He’ll jerk, complain loudly that he just fell asleep minutes ago, slap the bed with his fist or open hand in anger, then stomp off to tend to the baby.”

“After which, he’ll cool off, start singing & put on his cute voice with the baby, & otherwise be ‘okay.’”

“Meanwhile, I’m left feeling horrible, feeling guilty for waking him up, to the point where I don’t want to wake him up…”

“…because I’d rather just take care of everything myself than deal with him being pissy.”

“Last night, I told him how these outbursts make me feel. That I’m afraid to wake him up because of them.”

“His response was that this reaction is a reflex, no different to how a knee pops up when struck with a hammer, & that I need to just accept that this response is an inevitability.”

“Well, it’s 2am now. I wake him up, he does his same angry song and dance, and I go to pump.”

“After he gets over his ‘burst’, he comes out being positive & happy, trying to lightly joke about how this really pissed me off and that I really couldn’t get over it.”

“Admittedly, I tell him passive aggressively that I’m over it, but maintain a shortness with him.”

“He gets angry again, stating that of course, between the two of us, he’s the one who can’t sleep but I’M the one who’s entitled to wear the angry b*tch face.”

“He takes the baby to the bedroom and slams the door.”

“After he’s done feeding the baby, I tell him that I’m going to sleep outside for the night and he asks me again to wake him up when the baby wakes up.”

“He adds, verbatim, ‘Can you just ignore my being mad for the first 15 seconds after you wake me up? I’ve done a good job here, and I feel like I’m owed that. I need you to be a big girl.’”

“I feel resentful of the fact that the burden is on me to ‘get over’ his outbursts.”

“However, I do also recognize that his bursts are short lived, and that he IS waking up to help me during an otherwise difficult time where both of us aren’t getting sleep.”

“He does do a great job of supporting us and my emotional well being during the rest of the day, so I may be the A**hole for harboring this resentment.”

“I need some outside perspective on whether he has a point and if I should extend him owed grace for this issue.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:

“‘I need you to be a big girl.’”

“Let me get this straight, your husband is gaslighting you into thinking you are the problem, becoming emotionally abusive when you explain his anger is an issue for you…”

“…and then he infantilises you by acting like you’re a child who needs to be placated cause you’re not putting yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable?”

“This is the bit where I’d say the pretty red flags you’re collecting are telling you to run.”


“Editing to add: this is controlling behaviour, OP has already said she doesn’t need him to get up and help, he has decided he has to.”

“He’s also laid the responsibility for getting him up on her as well, asking her to wake him up.”

“So in the middle of the night OP has to get up for the baby, wake up hubby and pump and deal with the temper tantrum…”

“…after having explained to him that she doesn’t need him to get up at those times.” – Relevant_Birthday516


“This is the hardest time as new parents, and both of you have personal challenges adding to the difficulty!”

“Both of you are exhausted and it’s expected that patience will be thin and emotions will be more difficult to control.”

“As someone who has dealt with insomnia, I can empathize with his despair of just having fallen asleep only to be woken.”

“However, he shouldn’t be using terms like ‘big girl’ when you are expressing sensitivity to his reaction.”

“He should simply apologize each time to you if it really is involuntary. Tell him that your response to his outbursts are involuntary as well.” – robecityholly

“I’m going NTA here. Stop waking him up. The stress his anger (even though it is involuntary) is causing you is damaging.”

“Tell him that he doesn’t get to tell you to be a big girl when you are the one having to deal with his outbursts. You are sleep deprived and emotional for a very valid reason.”

“This is making things worse for you. There are so many ways he can help – this way is not working for you and your emotional well-being.” – czzyp


“‘I need you to be a big girl’? Trying to comprehend right now what would happen, if I got the idea to tell this to my girlfriend, when we are discussing a serious problem.”

“How about ‘being a big boy’ and learning some minimal level of self control? Anger management issues are not an immutable trait, they can be worked on.” – KVNSTOBJEKT

“Sooo…your husband won’t regulate his own emotions, expects you to accommodate his emotional immaturity, called you a b*tch…”

“…told you he “needs you to be a big girl”(!!!!!!) but meant accommodate his morning tantrums, and expects praise for ‘helping’ feed his child. Did I get everything? NTA”

“Your husband is a whole a** grownup. You don’t need to make allowances for his tantrums. He needs to get himself under control.”

“Calling you a b*tch is obviously awful but his big girl comment is just as bad as it’s derisive and contemptuous.”

“But also keep in mind, again, he’s making these derisive and contemptuous comments because he’s mad you won’t make allowances for his daily temper tantrums.”

“Does your husband normally blame you for his emotions and behavior?” – skillz7930

“Be a big girl?”

“Has he considered being a big boy and stopping his little tantrums? You have a newborn. Sleep will suck. Getting pissy is not benefitting anyone.”

“NTA, but those are fighting words to me. Have a tantrum and then tell me to be a big girl and get over it? Ain’t no f*cking way.” – shoresandsmores


“What happens if in a few years he falls asleep on the couch. And your child accidentally wakes him up?”

“Would it still be an involuntary reaction if your husband shouted or hit things in front of your child and scared them. Or hit your child instead-since he’s admitted he can’t control his angry outbursts.”

“Honestly, I would stop waking him up. He doesn’t get to gaslight and belittle you.”

“He wants recognition for doing a good job when he can’t even do it without being an angry, abusive little boy.” – MrsJonesy2012


“I empathize with your husband because I also struggle with insomnia, but he is still clearly in the wrong here.”

“His behavior is abusive (slapping things, yelling, then telling you it’s not a big deal and you should get over it).”

“It’s very much his choice to act like that – like I said, I also struggle with insomnia, and I have never yelled at somebody or punched things when I was woken up.”

“He knows it’s bothering you deeply, but he didn’t care to adjust his behavior at all.”

“I really hope he is not emotionally abusive in other aspects of your marriage. I also hope that his outbursts don’t affect your baby.”

“Babys are more perceptive than many people realize, and behaving like that in front of a baby can (and probably will) scare them and give them attachment issues.” – WoodlandOfWeir

The OP is getting saddled with too much in this situation.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)