Parent Question:  I think my husband feels left our of our newborn's life. I'm the one who spends all day with her, while my husband's at work. When he comes home she's asleep. Of course, I breastfeed so he misses out on the feeding connection. I don't have any ideas on how my husband can have more input in our cherished firstborn's life. 

The vast majority of husbands feel left out of their baby’s life in the early months.  Before the baby, he was your only priority, now he takes second place.  You have all day to bond with your baby and when breastfeeding he cannot be part of this either.  Babies have an intense emotional bond with their mothers and in fact, babies exist within their mothers’ emotional personal space.  It is difficult for fathers to be equal in this bond however; there are a few ways that he can be involved.

If dad is around for the first feed of the day i.e. around 6 am then he can be the parent who responds and picks up the baby and brings baby to you for a feed.  Those few minutes before a feed are quite precious and usually a girl is happy to have a chat for a minute or two before feeding.  This is an optimal time for interaction, after a nice long sleep and before they are too hungry.  You can also use this technique for the last feed of the day and/or the first night feed.  If of course, your little girl is too hungry and not interested in having a chat, his contact will be limited but of course he can still be part of this routine.

He can also change her nappy during the feed or at the end instead of you doing it.  This is also an optimal time to have a chat, bond and care for her.

Another suggestion is to place her to sleep in her pram at the end of the day and when your husband comes home he can take her for a walk.  Just bring the pram inside, into her room and place her there with a sunshade over the top.

Another is to express a bottle of milk so that he can actually feed her for you.  Late in the afternoon is ideal, when you are busy and you milk supply is likely to be the lowest or you can go to bed early after dinner and he can do the first night feed.  He will cherish this time alone with her and be able to have a cuddle as well.   This is also a great idea for other reasons as she learns to use a bottle, and gets used to dad putting her to bed.  You won’t believe how important this can be later on.  You can also do this with a formula bottle as well.  These are a few ideas to get you started and Good Luck.

 

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