Daddy and Me

Sometimes I feel bad for my husband. He is a great guy and has been an awesome father. He was with me at every prenatal visit and right by my side throughout my labor. He cut our son’s chord as his eyes filled with tears. He was the one who walked our n503414499_482527_5780son all night long for the first two nights of our son’s life as he cried with colic. He helped my change my clothes and even took care of my postpartum pads. So now when my son cries when his daddy takes him or yells “NO” at him and reaches for me I feel a little sad. I know it is just a stage. I know that I am the “favorite” at the moment because my son and I spend all day every day together. Because I breastfed and have been up with him most of his other waking nights since Daddy went back to work. I can sometimes see a little pain in my husband’s eyes when our son refuses to go to him willingly and instead clings to me. Sometimes I have to force myself not to explain to him that this is “just a stage” once again. That doesn’t help. He isn’t looking for an explanation. His brain already knows; it’s just that sometimes his heart doesn’t remember.

I have noticed a few things about father/son time though. I step in too often. I tend to think since I am here all of the time that daddy needs to do things the way mommy does them and I am seeing that that is just not the case. I need to move over and make room for the relationship that they are developing, the one that I am not a part in. I need to remember that sometimes daddy knows best because he too invested the time to become firmly attached to our son. Now they have to figure out how to work out the kinks in their relationship and as they do they will learn more about each other and grow even closer together. As I have let go more and more and backed up and encouraged my husband in his relationship with our son I have seen some wonderful n503414499_496831_1822things start to happen. Daddy got him to start using the potty. Daddy is the one he wants to read him books. My son asks for daddy every day. They take naps together. They wrestle. They eat sweets and think that they “get away with it” because mommy didn’t find out.

I love my boys and look forward to seeing my son grow in to a wonderful man like his daddy.

Jasmine is a co-housing community living mama with a passion for fierce writing. She blogs.

(These are all photos my hubby and our son as a newborn and at a few weeks old. Our son is now 20 months old.)

Getting Dad into the Game

I often hear new moms tell me they are pumping so that dad can give the new baby a bottle. Over and over I hear that they want dad to feel involved and feeding an infant a bottle is just the way to do it.

As the mother of four, this seems redundant to me. My motto is always to prioritize and simplify. If you are nursing your baby, feeding the baby is not a task that needs doing by someone else. You pretty much have that one covered… and you can accomplish it while ostensibly sitting down and thumbing through a magazine or checking your e-mail. In my world, that means nursing is a baby duty I am happy to do! To let someone else feed the baby actually means more work for me, not less, as I have to figure out a time to pump when the two-year old does not tug at the machinery and what the heck do you do with a crabby newborn while you use both hands to juggle the pump anyways? Such a production!

So then, where does that leave dad? And older siblings? And grandparents? And everyone else who wants a piece of that delicious baby-care pie? Fear not, new babies are nothing if not, how can I put this graciously, full ’o needs. Even when mama is taking care of 100% of the feeding needs, baby still needs changing, bathing, dressing and holding. There are still plenty of baby-care duties that can be delegated and provide those special moments for bonding… tasks that actually need doing.

Send dad off on a walk with a well-fed, drowsy baby in a soft baby carrier and put your feet up and enjoy 20 minutes to yourself. Dad gets to bond with the new baby, dad feels competent because babies are generally content nestled in a soft carrier. Win- win! Let older siblings be in charge of choosing the outfit for the day, or singing to the baby during diaper changes. Grandparents can bathe and cuddle the new baby. There is never a shortage of baby care duties. And, hey, if someone really, really still wants to feed the baby, no worries, in 6 to 8 months, baby will happily accept cheerios, banana and avocado from just about anyone.

Breastfeeding can be intense the first few months. The nursing relationship between mama and nursling can seem exclusive. How have you included other members of your family in baby bonding time outside of the nursing relationship?

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