Including your husband / partner with bringing up baby

18 May

Many new mums struggle with the balance between doing it ‘on their own’ vs. getting help and support.  At Nurturing Mums, our postnatal courses are for new mums to bounce ideas off of each other and learn from one another. Involving your partner in day to day care of your baby is a common topic that comes up.

This may seem like a ridiculous topic to tackle once you’ve had a baby; you may be thinking of course my partner will be involved, I wouldn’t dream of trying to raise this baby on my own! However, once you’ve carried the baby for 9 long months and gone through the agonizing process of giving birth to him/her, it is quite common for mums to become super protective and to be blunt, quite territorial about the way things are done.   This must be maternal instinct kicking in, coupled with fear, anxiety, a dose of mother’s guilt, and some postnatal hormones to seal the deal.  Many mums won’t let their husbands near the baby, never mind letting them feed or look after them.

dad looks after baby

Is this right? No. Understandable? Yes.  When you are at home with the baby day in and day out, you will likely have a routine set up and a specific way of doing things.  You will be feeding (breast or bottle, both have their challenges), changing, playing, soothing, winding, settling, comforting your baby and you won’t want anyone getting in the way of these tasks.   Even if that person happens to be the father of your child!

So, we have some suggestions for including your partner to give him some bonding time with your little one.  Recent research suggests that finding out the sex of the baby in advance can help the father’s bonding process, which goes to show that experts are concerned about fathers’ bonding with their babies from when they are quite small.  It does seem like a Dad who is invested in the baby’s activities from the very beginning, might be better placed to continue from this high point rather than having to build up to it.

dad holding baby

Some tips to include your partner:

1)      Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding, this doesn’t mean your partner can’t help.  He is more than capable of handling the baby post feed e.g. winding, swaddling and putting the baby to sleep.  If you are going to express at all, have your husband give this bottle to the baby and you should go off and sleep.

2)      Don’t delegate! It might be easy to order him around, but he is most likely exhausted (and emotional) as well and may not take kindly to a new tyrant in the house.  Try to work it out together and if you need help, ask kindly!

3)      Let go a bit, everyone does things differently.  Keep things in perspective, if the nappy isn’t put on with military precision, the baby will be ok.

4)      Remember that your husband loves the baby as much as you do! It is not a competition, and try to look at him lovingly as a father and how he is revelling in his new role (hopefully).

5)      Split up the household tasks e.g. he could be in charge of cooking for the next 6 weeks until you are back on your feet.  If he can’t cook, he can order online or arrange the takeaway.  If you have home cooked meals or food on the table, that will be one less thing to worry about.

6)      Spend the weekends going out with your baby and take a break! This is your chance to unwind a bit, and letting the baby fit in with some of the things you used to do will help things get back ‘on track’.

Remember, it is a partnership and one of the best things about your new baby is that you both created him / her together.  It is normal for early days to be an adjustment period, after all you are now a family of three instead of two!

family of three

 

Did you struggle to include your partner?  Would you rather do it your way? 

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One Response to “Including your husband / partner with bringing up baby”

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