Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    69

    Default Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    I was not sure where to post this.
    My Dh has been feeling frustrated lately. Ourdaughter, who is 13 weeks old, cries more when he holds her. When I hold her - she rarely cries and if she does cry - it stops almost immediately.
    He is a hurt by this - I try to tell him that since I am breastfeeding, I am meeting one of her major needs right now...hunger. So she associates this need being met to me.
    How can I make my husband feel better about this? He is frustrated and it is straining our relationship a little bit.
    He also feels like the things I ask him to do sometimes...changing diapers, changing clothes for getting ready for bed - are things that upset the baby and she tends to cry more during those times. I do those things all the time as well..but she tends to not cry as much when I do them
    I am feeling almost guilty for the solid relationship I have with our daughter from breastfeeding. I am a little frustrated too because honestly, I am not feeling very appreciated. Breastfeeding is not always easy, I certaninly did not get much sleep for a long time. It is now much better- but I am still feeling a little hurt myself.
    Sorry for rambling..but any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    Mommyto2--
    DH and I experienced this same situation w/DS when he was born. DH had never held a baby before, let alone fed, diapered or comforted one. For weeks, if he was holding DS, he would be contorted into some weird position resembling a deformed pretzel to be sure that his arm was resting on his leg and he wouldn't drop DS. He was also very insecure w/the baby. I truly believe that babies can pick up on these things and know when the person holding them is comfortable and when they aren't.

    The only real solution I found was that I went out for a day w/my mom and left DH at home, alone, with the baby to fend for himself. Now, my cell phone rang more times than I could count with crazy questions like, "how many wipes do I need to use when I change his diaper?" He got through it, DS got through it unscathed, and they bonded and have been bonded since that day.

    Have you thought about letting DH give the baby a bottle of EBM? maybe that would help both of them to get more comfortable with each other. I'm no expert by any means, but my DH's face lit up the first time I let him give DS a bottle of EBM....Just a thought.

    Hope someone w/more experience can be more helpful--but it'll be okay.

    Krista
    Wife to Barney
    Mommy to Justin (22 months)
    Mommy to Ada (well, almost, she'll be here July 7th, 2006)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    I have sooooo BTDT. My DH had been the primary caregiver for his son during his first marriage, and he really prided himself on knowing how to care competently for a young baby. Twelve years later, we had a child of our own together, and because I was breastfeeding, DH suddenly felt like chopped liver. It also didn't help that I was home full-time while DH worked a very demanding job, so he simply wasn't around most of the time. Like you, I got resentful and felt unappreciated -- like he never would recognize that breastfeeding is WORK.

    I think you should reassure your DH that his daughter's secure attachment to her mother is a good thing, not a bad thing, and that the more he does with her, the more she will learn to accept comfort from him. Then YOU need to back that up by staying totally hands-off while he cares for her (this was really hard for me, the nervous perfectionist first-time mom). And be sure to express your appreciation for absolutely everything DH does to help you, whether it is directly doing stuff for the baby or other things that free you up to nurse. Make it clear that the two of you are a parenting team -- you may be playing two different positions, but you're definitely on the same side!

    When my son hit the age of 3 months or so, I remember wondering if this kid was ever going to do anything FUN, play with toys, anything. Reassure your DH that very soon she will be more playful and more interested in all the ways a daddy can be fun and entertaining.

    How does he feel about bathing her? I asked my DH to do that job from day one, because handling the slippery screaming baby just terrified me, and he was comfortable with it. Bathtime is still more about Daddy than Mommy for my 4yo son, and it was definitely bonding (great skin-to-skin contact, for example, and later great fun with toys in the tub). When DS was little, we often used the wet-parent dry-parent method, with DH and DS together in the shower, and when baby was clean I would take him to dry off, massage, and diaper, while DH finished his own shower.

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    Thank you for your ideas. I have given him some ebm in a bottle a few times. I am back to work - so I do not want to do that too often. I need every drop for when dd is at the sitter's.
    He is not as comfortable bathing her...he is still a little nervous about that. I have asked him and he is not too big on that idea.
    He does love playing with her and they do have fun...
    I agree - I need to give him kudos more often. But honestly, I sure wish I could get some too. Know what I mean?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,064

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    We went through this somewhat as well. First, I think it is very normal for a baby to attach primarily to mom at first. Afterall, you've been carrying her for nine months, and baby is programmed to need mom to nurse. There will come a day soon enough (for us it was I think a little before a year) when baby will have times when mom is rejected in favor of dad!

    That being said, I do think there were things I could have done differently that would have helped my DS and DH earlier. We had latch problems initially, so I was petrified to let DS have a bottle ever. But if breastfeeding is well established, and occasional bottle of ebm is not likely to jeopardize the breastfeeding relationship and may help DH feel closer to baby and like he is not just doing the grunt work (like diaper changes). Also, as some others mentioned above, I think its important to let dad have time alone with the baby (even if you're just in the tub or upstairs napping) so that they can get to know each other. As mothers we spend so much time with the baby early on (as it should be), that then I think we often feel a need to oversee dad with baby and make sure he knows the "right way" to do everything. It took time for us as moms to figure those things out, it will take dad time as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    We've had some of that as well -- my partner is a first time dad, hadn't held a baby since his brother was born 30 years ago. He's actually doing GREAT (and I agree it's important to tell him that), but we've had stretches where I could soothe our son and he couldn't. In fact, he was alarmed about five days after DS was born to find out that the baby could tell the difference between us! The hungry little fella would take one look at his face and start to bawl. We sort of barreled through a couple of "mommy-only" phases and they've always passed (except when ds is really hungry, then nothing helps but a pass-off to me). Also, my partner experimented with different holding positions and has found a few that work for him, rather than trying to do what I do. I agree that it's important just to leave the house and let him deal with it. He is less self-conscious that I'm judging him and has found some creative solutions. I nearly always come home to a calm house and a happy or sleeping baby, even if I missed a spell of crying while I was out. He has also learned that the baby crying in his arm doesn't mean that his son hates him. In fact, our son is very forgiving and now his face lights up whenever his dad comes in the room!

    Another good daddy activiy is reading. We've incorporated reading Dr. Seuss into the bedtime routine since about two months. I always call him up during a bedtime nursing break, and he reads 2-3 books, lying next to our son on the bed. DS is usually extremely attentive and kicks his heels and chatters away with him! It's a great bonding time and good way to get him involved in the routine.

    Annie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    BTDT, too, only with us, dh was not terribly comfortable with diapers or baths, either, so I felt like I was doing all the grunt work and making our dc cry...(they both had some crying during feedings, too, due to latch issues and overactive letdown, so they would get uspet about eating )...

    For us, dh's involvement was to hold dd and ds after I had met their needs, when they were most likely to be happy, and then when they did get to preferring mommy, sometimes I made it a three person bonding time. I would snuggle up to dh on the couch or bed, and let him play with the kids by making faces or tickling. I would say, "Look!! There's Daddy!!! " with tons of enthusiasm. But, I would keep holding dc, so that he or she would still feel secure...I just backed off to let dh do the majority of the interaction while I just snuggled up to him.

    Maybe something like that might work, to make sure that baby is looking at Daddy more often during contented moments, maybe have him hold her while sleeping once in a while. Sometimes I ask dh to hold ds while I am doing something that requires two hands, like heating up dinner...ds will spend the whole time watching me to make sure that I'm not going to work, but he doesn't cry as long as I'm in sight, so it gives dh a few more minutes of contact without needing to meet a need for ds that would make him cry. I think I used to ask him if he wanted to sit on the couch with us while I fed, too...so that we could chat about how our days went, and ds could hear his voice while happily eating. It has paid off in that when my mom came over to watch ds one night (dh had been working ridiculous overtime, so he didn't think he coud stay awake), ds wanted to be held by daddy instead of grandma. He was still crying about me going to work, but he wanted dh as his second choice. That made dh feel a lot better, that ds still loves him even though he is mostly crying when I am gone.

    Don't know if this is a good suggestion or not, but you could also say, "Why don't I take some of the crying chores for a few days to give you a break, and see if that helps break the association." Just make sure that dh knows that it is a favor to him b/c he's complaining/concerned, not because you think he's doing anything wrong, and make sure he gets to be with her (whether he holds her or you do, but still be with her) for the rest of her waking moments.

    It's tough. I know I felt horrible when ds was at that age that I had to do all the crying chores and didn't have hardly any happy moments, so I understand your husband's frustration, but I can see where it makes you feel underappreciated, too, that your husband is not giving you kudos for breastfeeding in the first place. Since he is not at a place right now where he can be secure in his relationship as father, needing reassurance instead of being capable of giving reassurance to you, I guess the big thing now is just setting him up for success and reminding yourself that it will pass.

    (And I do second the other posters who said that he might be more appreciative of your efforts once he has taken care of her on his own for a few hours...but it's up to you whether to do that now or wait until she's a little happier with him (so that it isn't the staw that breaks the camel's back.) I would do it on your day off, around the time she'd be gettting a bottle in daycare, instead of an evening when everyone is cranky and tired.)

    My younger baby is 4.5 months old now, and it seems like he's been happier and starting to play more for several weeks, so you should be turning a corner soon. Really, he doesn't crawl or anything too coordinated, but he bats at hanging toys like the bar that attaches to his car seat handle, and he stuffs teethers into his mouth (and accidentally drops them after a second), and he is working on lifting his head and chest higher...likes to practice on someone's tummy or shoulder instead of the floor, so we hold him and then lean back or lie on our backs. Maybe you could make that a project for dh...to figure out where she's at developmentally, find some appropriate toys and/or activities, and research whether your dd likes them yet. Pretty soon (maybe already? I forget if it's 3 or 4 months) she will be losing the stepping reflex and will want to push on a hard surface with both feet, like standing, and she'll develop enough neck control to be able to hold her head steady while being pulled into a sitting position, and maybe pull a little bit herself. Mine will pull a little bit to help sit up, and then once sitting, if you hold his arms up, he will push with feet to help stand--he can't support his full weight, but he is sooooo proud of himself since it's a new accomplishment. It's good for a huge grin and sometimes a giggle. Maybe dh could help dd work on some of those gross motor milestones (or verbal/social ones, too), and work on getting some toys that are geared toward where she's at...basically make him get into his manly problem-solving role and have an excuse to focus on play...so that he can tackle a diaper change with the idea that "As soon as we get off the diaper table, let's go check out that rattle and see if she's old enough to like it yet," so that he isn't mentally focusing on the diaper itself like some big ordeal and it isn't his main/only interaction with her.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    Thank you all for your replies!
    DH and I had a heart to heart talk last night and I let him know what I was feeling and asked him what I could do to make it easier for him.
    He was feeling a little left out because I do hold our baby alot - but I always offer to let him hold her. He is afraid he will not be able to provide as much comfort as I do.
    But he decided he will do it more. I believe he will - he is (thank God) a man of his word and he loves our dd very much.
    So - tonight he is having more "daddy" time. He is going to feed her some ebm...we both decided to not do that too often because I need it for the babysitter while I am at work.
    I feel better now..I needed to let him know how I was feeling and I wanted to know how to help him feel more comfortable. I know we will get through this....just takes some adjusting!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Daddy involvement - Feeling resentful?

    to be honest, you can reassure your DH that we have the opposite problem!

    our 13week DS associates me with food so much that when I pick him up he cries in "want" every single time. Even if we have just finished a 30 minute nursing session where he has milk drooling out of his mouth cos he is so stuffed full!

    however, as soon as I pass him to the nanny or DH, our DS quietens down.

    *sigh* am trying soooo hard not to take this personally!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •