Dad feeling a bit useless

(27 Posts)
McGeeDiNozzo Fri 28-Jun-13 04:08:18

Various problems:

a) 4-month-old DD is getting very needy, won't be put down for more than 10 mins and will only be held by DW (except while half-asleep), and is still feeding every 2-3 hours, which seems often. Sleep is generally fine - she goes down between 9 and 10pm, wakes between 12am and 2am and then sleeps until 6 or 7am.

b) I have CP on the mildest end of the spectrum - limp, hand tremors which get worse if I'm using my hands to perform a task, limbs which occasionally move independently of anything my brain is doing, poor co-ordination. This gives me terrible problems doing anything intricate like changing a nappy while DD is in full-on wriggle mode, or cooking (beyond very basic stuff like making tortilla wraps that look like falling buildings, or whanging a frozen pizza in the oven). I don't actively avoid changing nappies, but there have been a few occasions when my cack-handed nappy jobs have resulted in cack-flooded car seats and the like (once right in the middle of a local government office). Also, I can't drive as I'm totally unaware of where I am in three-dimensional space, so DW has to drive me everywhere (apart from to and from work, where there are regular buses).

c) We are in a new city, several thousand miles from where either of us is from, and DW (a SAHM while I work full-time) is at her wits' end - homesick, too busy with the baby and feeling lonely, cooped-up and unsupported. She has been socialising with some other mums/baby groups but has had mixed experiences and one or two knockbacks, so she's not feeling good right now.

At the moment I do storytime, dandling duties (if DD is solicitous), stupid faces, getting baby back to sleep if she wakes in the middle of the night, running errands to the shops (we live in the centre of town so I don't have to drive to any shops), dishwasher stuff, getting her in the car seat, going on short walks with her, some laundry and taking the rubbish out.

But it's not really enough, because when it comes to dealing with the baby, really DW does 80-90% of the work and that's not a fair proportion. I want to be more supportive to her but, with my medical issues as they are, I'm not sure how. In particular, though, I'm very proud and don't want to use those issues as an excuse to sit on my arse all day: to some extent, however, that's exactly what I'm doing, because I lack confidence.

So does anyone have any ideas? Is anyone else an unco-ordinated parent? How do you get by? In particular, are there any aids for dads who want to give their kids formula/expressed milk but are not confident about doing it? At the moment DD is EBF but neither of us is sure how much longer that can continue.

There is a disabled parents thread for this sort of thing, but that gets 1 reply every 5 years, so I'm posting here.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 30-Jun-13 20:22:26

Four months is really difficult, there's a big growth spurt and a "sleep regresion", breast/formula feeding demand tends to increase a lot and it's difficult trying to hold out on weaning for as long as you can - but she will be old enough to start solids soon which will take the pressure off of breastfeeding.

Can you bath with the baby alone or would it not be safe in case you dropped her etc? (I'm sorry I am not familiar with CP so I'm not sure if it would be safe or not) - my ex-partner used to love doing this with our son and it was a nice bonding time for them which wasn't breastfeeding.

I love the idea of a sling since it's hands free and DW could presumably help you to put the baby in. They tend to be really calmed by things like this.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 30-Jun-13 20:26:13

Oh also - it might be worth doing a shout out in the "Living Overseas" thread section for the city you're in to see if any other mumsnetters are either nearby and want to meet up, or know anything about the local area which might be helpful?

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