dad feeling left out cause mom is "the milk lady"

Stephanie - posted on 06/25/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 1 month old and is completely breastfed, no pumping, no bottles AT ALL. She is currently going through a growth spurt and is wanting to nurse all the time and fusses, when I set her down or try to pass her off to dad for a few minutes. My partner has been getting kind of frustrated and jealous that I am the clear favorite. I tried to explain that it will only be like this for a short period of time and that he would more than likely be very close to her and a great source of comfort to her for the rest of her life. But at the moment she wants mom and mom only. Any advice on how I can help him to feel more included and more importantly more patient? I think his frustration is part of the reason she gets fussy when he holds her, babies are very sensitive to energy. I am always trying to be super maternal and loving and comforting to the baby, and he is very quick to get mad and hand her right back to "the milk lady". I DO NOT want to pump and give her a bottle, it is VERY important to me that she NEVER has a bottle or pacifier. Thanks for any advice you may have.

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Jessica - posted on 06/25/2009

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OK, can Dad do the bathing, or dressing, or something other than feeding that he can be the best at? At a certain point he really needs to let go of beng jealous that baby wants you first, because it's natural! Also, can he practice (when she is well fed), doing "baby dances" if she gets fussy when he holds her? Instead of giving up when she gets fussy, dads can be very soothing and helpful to give you rest by walking up and down with baby. The motion is great, and baby gets to learn that Dad is great too, not just grumpy. If he always gives her right back, neither one gets to learn about the other.

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Stephanie - posted on 06/30/2009

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Thanks ladies! All your comments have been a great comfort to me, I'm glad other people have walked this path before me and made it safely to the other side.

Nicole - posted on 06/28/2009

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he can help with getting her latched on- my boyfriend got very good at moving either baby or breast when I need extra hands. We co-sleep so sleeping was a way to create good daddy baby bonding.If you aren't co-sleeping, he could still cuddle with her at nap time or wear her in a sling or wrap while she sleeps or after a meal. Good for you for being anti-bottle!

Tammy - posted on 06/27/2009

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Lots of dads feel like this. He does need to try and stay calm with her. There are mant different ways for your husband to bond with her. Have him lay her on his chest with thier shirts off. Sometimes when a baby is brestfeed they relate the skin to skin contact to the secure feeling they have when nursing.
You said that its very important that you not give her a bottle. If there is ever going to be a time were dad is going to be watching her,by himself, its not a bad ideal to interduce her to a bottle, but let did give it to her. (Don't worry she'll always prefer you over the bottle. She'll learn the differance between your breast and dad with the bottle.) This can helps in more then one way. Dad gets to be included, dad and baby can start bonding more, but most important, if something was to happen to were you were not able to be there for a feeding, then it would make it easier on her and dad, or who's ever watching her. I say this cause two weekes after I had my daughter I ended up in the hospital, she never had a bottle. Well to make a long story short, after being up almost all day and night she cried her self asleep about 3:00 in the morning. My husband tried everything he could to get to calm her down and to take a bottle, and it was breast milk that I had pump. But she had cried almost all day and all night. Thats when I decided to start letting my husband fed her some. If you do dediced to try to let your husband to bottle fed, it's not going to weaken your bond with your daughter. If nothing else, it make a greater bond between you, dad, and daughter. Ihope this has been helpful.

Hannah - posted on 06/27/2009

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I think it is important for daddy to feel like he can clam the baby too...sometimes it means I have to leave the house so that I don't interfere. It is hard to sit there when your baby is crying, but if you know they are fed there is nothing wrong with a few more cries than they would have with mom. Sometimes I just give commentary..like "yesterday she loved it when I hummed to her..try that"...or maybe try to sway her and not bounce. you are correct in the fact that the baby can sense frustration...help coach him to stay calm and tell him how great of a job he is doing..I make a point to do that everyday. Good luck!

Minnie - posted on 06/27/2009

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Have him get a carrier- like a mei tai (what I'm wearing in my picture) or a ring sling. Then he can wear your baby in it, have her fall asleep on his chest, and feel important.

Tricia - posted on 06/26/2009

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Try using your "oh you're so manly and wonderful" voice. I would beg my dear husband, using my best damsel in distress look, to please burp the baby, because his manly man-ness is so much better at manly manly burping. :-)

Laura - posted on 06/26/2009

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My husband feels exactly the same way. I hear a lot of "the baby gets more boob than dad does right now". I really hate when he says this. My problem is that dad wants to spend time and be close with him, but only on his schedule, not on baby's. I've tried to explain the best time to interact is the first few hours in the morning, but dad wants to sleep. And dad only wants to be still with baby, and baby wants to move. I just wish they (dads) would realize that they can't have it both ways. ( This may not have been helpful, but I feel better now. Thanks)

Shelley - posted on 06/26/2009

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Everyone has been great with inclusive advice. I'm on my fourth kid and my husband has gotten the hang of things by now. The one trick that really helped us was for my husband to cuddle us closely while baby was nursing. He got his face close to mine so the baby could focus on him as well. This let our daughters associate him with a good feeling. But please be assured that if Daddy only gets in a minimal amount of time right now, it's not going to kill the father child relationship completely. My husband, because of youth, inexperience and job hours, did not get a lot of baby time in with our first child.It wasn't until she was weaned that he really got to playing with her and building that important relationship. And now, thirteen years later, she is 100% a daddy's girl. I also wonder, and this is not anything bad, but could your husband be jealous of the baby? After all, a huge amount of your time is taken up with baby, not only nursing, but bathing, changing, rocking and such and then there is an increase in the nursing which takes more time and attention and it is also a change in your routine that he may not have been expecting. Perhaps if he is feeling that, it's leading to guilty feelings on his part and that can be extremely frustrating. I'm not sure if that's the case, but I thought I'd throw it out there as a possibility.

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My husband felt the same way. My daughter is 6 1/2 weeks now. What my husband did was spend as much time with her as he possibly could. On the weekends after she eats, he burps her and does diaper changes. He lays with her on the couch and talks to her and snuggles with her. If she gets fussy, he moves around with her. Now, my daughter responds to his voice and smiles when he comes home from work. There are times at night where I can't get her to sleep and after hours of trying I'll pass her off to him and she'll fall right to sleep. He's even wrapped her in one of his shirts while she was fussing and she fell asleep. I think it takes a lot more effort for dads and babies to bond, but if he's willing to try my husband says it is worth it.

Johnny - posted on 06/25/2009

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Because this is a "Daddy question" I asked my DH what he thought. Not helpful as usual, "suck it up, we've all been there" is what he'd tell your hubby. So, yeah, men.

But my recollection is that allowing my husband to feed my daughter did not help to make her less mommy focused. I have chronic low milk supply due to breast surgery, and we had to bottle feed her until she was 5 months. So my hubby had ample opportunity to giver her a bottle, and he did so a couple times a day. But she still definitely preferred the breast and was only consoled by being held & nursed by mom. Until she was around 6-7 months, she still wanted mommy all the time. Now, they play together every evening, and he puts her down at night. They are very close and I can already see her becoming a daddy's girl. But in those early months, all she wanted was mommy. She knows you from the womb, and you are the most secure thing in her world. Letting him feed her a few times won't really change that. I think what you told him is correct, "it will only be like this for a short period of time" and as my insensitive hubby would say, he'll have to "suck it up".

ps. after reading this back to my hubby, he wanted to add that your partner should not feel bad, it is not is fault and there is nothing he can do to change it, just patience :)

Karen - posted on 06/25/2009

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When our baby was born I would pass her off after I fed her for him to burp. Then he would pass her back to feed some more. He changed almost all the diapers in the beginning too because he said he wanted and equal bond. My daughter is consoled by both of us almost equally although she does prefer mommy when she is really upset but I only think it is because my voice is softer than his and I will make silly singsongs to her when she is crying. I think it is important for daddy to make some thnig his exclusively like Jessica said. He maybe can do all the bathing or changing etc. While we are both home full time we kind of take shifts for one on one attention. I have the overnight shift while he sleeps and he takes early mornings after she eats to let me catch a couple hours sleep. We take turns during the day and I had to stop myself from running to her rescue when she cries when daddy holds her. He is just as capable of soothing her if I do not intervene.

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