He loves Baby, he provides for her and he is interested in hearing about her everyday progress. But your husband isn’t helping out as much as you would like.
You are left with the day-to-day care of the little one. It leaves you feeling like there’s nobody to share the work.
This can be extremely frustrating. It’s time to act on it!
First, consider why your spouse isn’t spending more time with Baby, and then take action to improve the situation.
WHAT’S WRONG He’s uneasy around Baby. Some men are still very wary of carrying, bathing, changing or feeding a one-year-old. A previous bad experience – perhaps when his then newborn was fragile and vulnerable – could have dent Dad’s confidence.
WHAT TO DO Encourage Hubby to play his part in caring for Baby, even if he is afraid he won’t get it right. Reassure him that it doesn’t matter if, say, his cutie’s blouse isn’t buttoned up properly. Hands-on experience is the only way to boost his confidence that he can handle a young child.
(Also read: These hot celebrity fathers are #dadgoals)
WHAT’S WRONG He doesn’t understand the importance of bonding – that is, of forming a strong, emotional attachment between him and Baby.
WHAT TO DO Explain that Baby needs Dad’s love just as much as Mum’s. Each relationship adds a new dimension to her world, so he needs one-on-one time with her. It will be emotionally rewarding for him, too.
WHAT’S WRONG He may be convinced that he doesn’t have a clue how to calm a screaming child or play with her. He stands back because he doesn’t know where to start when it comes to managing her.
WHAT TO DO Offer suggestions. For example, Dad could soothe his crying cherub by rocking her gently, stroking her face, singing softly to her or carrying her close to him as he walks around the room. Suggest that he tries each technique for, say, 10 minutes before changing to an alternative. Give him lots of positive encouragement and assure him, too, that he can care for Baby in his own way.
(Also read: Baby wants mum only? Here’s what dad should do)
WHAT’S WRONG He works full-time and is exhausted when he arrives home late at the end of the day. Besides, Baby is usually fast asleep when he is back. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time.
WHAT TO DO Can your husband negotiate a flexible, family-friendly work schedule? Perhaps he can set off half an hour later on some mornings, or come home earlier once or twice a week. Maybe he can use his lunch hour, or some of his annual leave, to spend more time with Baby. Remind him to take his infant care leave, too.
WHAT’S WRONG It’s possible Hubby considers the raising of Baby to be “women’s work” and that he simply isn’t interested in childcare matters. Perhaps he only values those activities traditionally associated with men.
WHAT TO DO Have a chat with him. If you find that he does hold this view, arrange for activities that will fire his enthusiasm. For instance, the family can go to the park for a picnic or a walk during the weekend. You’ll both be surprised to find that he enjoys these leisure programmes and feels closer to the little one as a result.