I’ve been thinking recently about how important Attachment Parenting is to fathers.
Many men seem to feel helpless and left out when it comes to the whole process of pregnancy, birth and those early weeks with a new baby. Mother and baby are like a little closed group with eyes only for each other. Everyone pampers a new mother, but little is done for the new father. He can feel overwhelmed by his new responsibilities and this tiny new person that has just entered his life! Some men can feel pushed aside as they watch the new relationship blossom between mother and baby.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There seems to be a common perception that dads won’t bond with their babies unless they can feed them. This perception can put pressure on breastfeeding mums to introduce a bottle of f*rmula or expressed breastmilk from the start. After all no mother wants to feel that she is hurting the relationship between her baby and his dad.
But, again, it doesn’t have to be this way.
I really feel that Attachment Parenting and the sentiments which surround it are a huge help to men during this new period of their lives. Mr. Halfpintpixie has always had a great relationship with littlepixie and we credit a lot of that to our parenting “style.” I really feel that cosleeping provides one of the best opportunities for a new family to bond and get used to being in each other lives. It’s the perfect way to finish a day and the perfect way to start the next!
As a very young baby, littlepixie would only sleep in our arms. For the first few weeks, I had a very hard time with breastfeeding and was in a lot of pain especially at night, so every night littlepixie would sleep snuggled in her daddy’s arms, coming over to me for feeds when she woke and then back over to him afterwards.
These weeks helped Mr. HPP to attune to her needs and helped littlepixie realize that along with mammy there was another person who would always be there for her, her daddy. It was a very intense few weeks and none of us got very much sleep, but we got a lot more sleep than we would have had we insisted on using the moses basket!
We’re still cosleeping and breastfeeding, and Mr. HPP gets a lot more sleep now! Myself and littlepixie have gotten much better at feeding while half asleep so when she wakes in the night, she just has to mooch over, latch on and go back to sleep. She’ll often roll over to me for a quick feed then roll off back over to sleep beside Mr. HPP again.
Some mornings I’ll wake, stretch out, realize I’ve just stretched in a big empty space, and then look over to see the two of them fast asleep snuggled together. It’s the sweetest thing in the world!
Have a read of API’s Nighttime Parenting article for more information on cosleeping and some important safety information.
8 thoughts on “Fathers and AP”
I agree! Even tho DS is in his own bed next to ours now, he needs both me and his Dada in our bed for him to sleep well. And when he wakes up in the middle of the night, climbs over me and starts smothering his Papa with kisses…makes the sleepless nights so much happier for all of us.
We’ve also had the fortunate opportunity to switch primary caregiver roles of late – DH looked after DS 3 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon for about 3 weeks. Our entire family dynamic changed in such a positive way. AP fathers are remarkable, resourceful, gentle, loving (and in our case, hilarious, patient, and full of beautiful “chill energy”) caregivers.
yes, yes, yes! jody, my hubby, has never understood why guys feel they must feed a baby in order to bond or be a part of his/her life. he’s very attached to our kids, bonded wonderfully since birth to both of them, and we never did expressed milk (though we tried once w/ julian, but it was a no go).
wonderful post. 🙂 hooray for AP daddies!
It’s definitely such a lie that fathers can’t bond unless they feed their little ones.What did fathers do before formula!?
yes,hooray for AP daddies!
Breastfeeding is such an intimate relationship between mother and baby, I think it can be tough for some dads, grandparents, etc. to see that and not be a little jealous. But of course, as you point out, there are lots of ways for dads to develop their own unique relationships with their children.
In addition to cosleeping (which we don’t do much of here at my house), I think babywearing is another common AP practice that really helps dads bond with their kids. And of course, moms don’t have any mystic powers that make them better equipped than dads for bathing, diaper changing, singing, rocking, snuggling, going for walks outdoors, etc.
Both of our kids are just as excited (if not more so…) to spend time with dad as with mom. I definitely agree that the underlying values and common practices of attachment parenting have a lot to do with that.
As a father, the feeling of having your child fall asleep in your arms is indescribable. I want to be so bold as to say that fatherhood is incomplete until this has happened.
Formula and feeding is not necessary at all. Both of our children are different. Our second son falls asleep more readily than did our first son when I hold him tight against my chest. No need for a bottle either. When he rustles and seems to wake up, a deep inhale of my chest usually lulls him back to sleep as if by magic. Sometimes I have more success getting him to sleep than does my wife.
Charles, Mr. HPP used to do that deep chest inhale too when LP was small. I’d forgotten that, thanks for the memory 🙂