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How do I get my husband to bond with our baby?

(31 Posts)
1Catherine1 Wed 08-Jun-16 13:10:07

Our son is 5 months old and since he was born (and while I was pregnant) my husband has taken very little interest in him. I have returned to work this week and now for half the week my husband has our DS during the day.

When DS goes to the childminder, he gets fussy at midday when he wants to be BF and has to cope with the bottle but then gets on with it and is generally quite happy. When he is at home with my husband, according to my husband, our DS spends the day crying, refusing to eat and not sleeping. DH gets very mad by this and hates this time with our son.

This upsets me so much. I love my DS and he is the happiest, sweetest little boy. I don't know why my husband is finding it so hard to "cope". I know they need to bond - I have never stopped them, but the DH never seemed interested (even when I suggested). What can I do? How can I help them? I wish I could quit my job and go home and look after him myself but financially this isn't an option, neither is full time childcare. I am worried what effect this is going to have on my happy little boy too.

Somerville Wed 08-Jun-16 13:29:27

Most importantly; what do you mean by 'very mad'?

Have you witnessed your son being so unsettled with your husband, or does your husband just report all this to you. (To guilt you out?)

mouldycheesefan Wed 08-Jun-16 13:33:51

Current arrangements are not working, your DH is not enjoying being sahd. You need to review. Tbh 5 month old babies are not that fascinating once he starts interacting more then he may become more interesting. It is Groundhog Day looking after a baby. Has your dh always been involved in feeding? E.g did you express so he could do some feeds? Or was breastfeeding always something that you did and now dh is struggling to transition Ds to bottle? Have you discussed openly your dh feelings about being a dad, counselling may help?
Good luck 💐

Colchestergal Wed 08-Jun-16 13:35:44

You cannot leave your son with a man who hates him.

He sounds like a dick tbh.

Joysmum Wed 08-Jun-16 13:37:51

I remember feeling annoyed and upset when my DD was under 5 months. I felt like nothing I did was good enough

MidnightVelvetthe5th Wed 08-Jun-16 13:39:36

What is your husband doing in the day whilst your baby is crying & upset, is he trying to sort it out or is he playing the PS4 & ignoring him then getting 'mad' as he's being interrupted?

When you are at home I get the impression that all childcare is down to you, is this right? Do you ever see him parenting when you are in the room?

CMOTDibbler Wed 08-Jun-16 13:45:56

Your DH needs to suck it up and find tactics of his own to deal with ds - and not tell you about it when theres nothing you can do about it.

Tactics might be going out more with ds in the pushchair/sling, feeding him not in the house (as possibly he associates the house with bfing), trying different sleep approaches and so on. But its your DH that needs to work on it.

dividedmansions Wed 08-Jun-16 13:48:46

Hang on, I'm at home with my 12 week old son all day and he does my head in sometimes when he cries and won't sleep and I'm at the end of my tether. Haven't we all been there as new mums??

If a woman came on here saying the above she'd (rightly) be given sympathy.

I'm not saying your H isn't a dick, maybe he is, but I don't see anything in your OP to justify saying that!!

corythatwas Wed 08-Jun-16 14:05:38

Agree that he should be treated the same as many women on here with similar feelings. Which means:

he is not a dick for feeling this way or even telling you about it

this isn't actually a get-out card; he is responsible for this small person, so like any SAHM in a similar situation he needs to find a way of making it work

and if he goes back to work, he will still, like any woman struggling in the same way, will responsible for finding ways of bonding with his baby

1Catherine1 Wed 08-Jun-16 14:12:30

My DH is not a SAHD, he works shifts so has our DS between 1 and 4 days a week. The rest of the time DS is with the childminder. I am the main earner so we cannot afford me to have any more time off.

He is a good father to our 5yo DD but he was more interested in her from the off. He still found it difficult when I returned to work but seemed to take it better. I don't think my DH hates our son, he just hates looking after him. He has to though, there is nobody else to do it.

I have been expressing for a while and there has been milk available to feed him but again, my husband never actually wanted to. My son is reluctant to take the bottle despite my childminder introducing it to him 7 weeks ago. He will take it now for her, but still reluctantly.

1Catherine1 Wed 08-Jun-16 14:14:49

Oh, and he is trying everything I suggest. I hadn't thought of him going out of the house to feed him though. It could explain why he takes it for the CM but not for him. He says nothing I suggest works.

Joysmum Wed 08-Jun-16 14:38:33

I feel for him. What works for one may not work for the next and it saps your confidence if you don't think you're good enough.

1Catherine1 Wed 08-Jun-16 22:54:15

MidnightVelvetthe5th - generally it is down to me because I'm the stricter one. I must admit though, when I'm getting nowhere, he steps in and our DD knows she has gone too far. For our son though, it is all down to me.

dividedmansions - Thank you for your post. It was very eye-opening. I hadn't thought of how I struggled with our DD. I remember one morning (after having a terrible night with her), crying to him that I couldn't cope and it was too hard. It was then he stepped in and took her out (at 5 weeks old) and left me to get some rest. I suppose that I have been so grateful for our DS (took 2 yrs to conceive) that nothing has been too much for me so I haven't needed him to step up before now. So perhaps I am responsible for this situation.

I think you have hit the nail on the head Joysmum, he has seen how I have taken everything in my stride this time around and been happy doing it and has now been chucked in the deep-end without a clue as to why our DS is so good for me and for the childminder (I have reassured him that she is the professional and has plenty of experience with fussy babies - she has been doing it for getting on 20 years!).

dividedmansions Wed 08-Jun-16 23:00:39

You are not responsible and I wasn't getting at you at all, just a bit hmm at the immediate responses calling him a dick etc as I didn't see anything to justify that. It's hard work being at home with a baby, they do your nut in sometimes.

Best of luck flowers

Kiwiinkits Thu 09-Jun-16 01:19:32

Hang in there. Your DH will find his own ways to cope and his own routines. The baby will become more interesting soon. And may be a bit happier once sitting up, eating solids and interacting more with the world. So don't do anything drastic. This transition is hard.

Babettescat Thu 09-Jun-16 01:36:46

Sounds like me on my 3-6 months of maternity leave and texting DH all day about how hard and relentless I found it.

Not to guilt him out. He just coped with the relentlessness of baby stuff far better than me.

So it doesn't automatically follow the parent getting frustrated is a dick.

nooka Thu 09-Jun-16 01:46:48

Sounds like it's only been a couple of days and your ds isn't yet settled with his dad. It probably is hard for both of them, but that doesn't mean it won't improve. Be supportive and it will almost certainly get better. Time will help with the bonding, and probably with the adjustment too (for all of you).

DontMindMe1 Thu 09-Jun-16 03:05:53

i have sympathy for him to the extent that i know looking after a baby/child is hard work, especially when you're new to it. and that's where my sympathy for him ends.

1. Our son is 5 months old
So dh has shared the same rooms/roof as his son all this time -what/how was he interacting with him when at home? Did he ever do normal parenting stuff like change nappies, bathe, dress,feed his son? Did he pick him up and cuddle him when he was crying? Did he ever have fun with his son, you know-making silly faces/noises/talking? Cos babies at that age do communicate.

2. our DS took 2 yrs to conceive
since he was born (and while I was pregnant) my husband has taken very little interest in him
I'm assuming he wasn't forced into having ds then? hmm So why that attitude? Has he told you why he isn't interested anymore?

4. He says nothing I suggest works
Well what has he been doing for the past 5 months?? Why hasn't he come up with ideas to try?

5. For our son though, it is all down to me
So he doesn't see the baby as his son? Does he think/feel he has no responsibility towards the life he's helped bring into the world? Does he understand that, in effect, he's 'got' you pregnant and then abandoned you?
Does he not think about the effect his attitude is having on the dc? Does he realise if he carries on playing 'favourites' that it will ultimately be the dc who pay the price for his fuckups?

Maybe your dh should have a chat with his gp. The stresses and strains of ttc affect men emotionally and mentally too, so he needs to be honest with himself. Then he needs to be proactive about handling it.

He doesn't get to 'opt out' of being a parent to his own son whilst living under the same roof as him. If he wants to opt out then he can close the door behind him on the way out.

minatiae Thu 09-Jun-16 03:16:52

Men can have post natal depression. Give him the support and time you'd expect from him if you were feeling this way yourself. I'm sure things will improve with time.

Rebecca2014 Thu 09-Jun-16 06:05:14

So he developed a bond with his daughter much easier it seems. It sounds like your son is a difficult baby? maybe because he is breastfed your husband feels he cannot be much help? so when his trying feed him and he's being fussy, your dh may be thinking "He doesn't need me, he needs his mum" and that makes him angry.

I do believe your mood reflects on the baby, so if your oh was in a better mood the baby will pick up on it so it could be a vicious cycle going on here. If the baby not feeding properly then of course your son going be fussy for the whole time he is with his dad etc...maybe time you stopped breastfeeding? no offence but your not a sahm and is it really fair for the childminder and father to struggle with the baby not wanting take bottle.

1Catherine1 Thu 09-Jun-16 23:49:57

Thank you for your messages. A quick update, they had a breakthrough today! Perhaps I worried too soon. It did mean DS taking solids (although not much) sooner than we wanted but it made him happy and in turn my DH happy. Also helped by the fact our DS seems to be Reverse Cycling so he isn't as hungry as he was earlier in the week. Although I am a lot more tired!

To clear up a few things - it's been a rough couple of months since our DS was born. We got evicted from our home unexpectedly which emptied our savings and emergency cash, so my husband got in as much overtime as he could to support us so I wouldn't have to go back to work earlier. He did pick up our DS when he was crying and changing the odd nappy but not much else. This is why I think it's a lack of bonding. My DS is far from a difficult baby, at least not for me. I find him more laid back than our DD was. My DH would smile at our DS and pull faces to make him smile, so it isn't like he has ignored him, but then he would quickly move on. Perhaps because he was tired from working so much. My husband isn't a dick (well, at least not on this issue), he just doesn't cope with feeling like he has failed and I wanted a way to fix it. It seems most of you were right though, he just needed time to work it out for himself. It has taken him 3 full days - I suppose that isn't bad going!

maybe time you stopped breastfeeding? no offence but your not a sahm and is it really fair for the childminder and father to struggle with the baby not wanting take bottle.

Thank you for this piece of advice. However, I fail to see how it would help. Perhaps I should have not breastfed in the first place to avoid such a situation (I wholeheartedly disagree on this point) developing but now he has this preference, I fail to see how removing it completely would be productive. Do you think magically overnight he will start taking the bottle happily? Personally I think it would just make him unhappy and confused as to why mummy won't give him his feed anymore. Actually, I think it's a little cruel to do it now, especially when he is adjusting to being away from me. Perhaps I shouldn't have allowed him to get so attached to me, after all, I'm not a SAHM (I wish sarcasm was something you could communicate via text). " no offence " Just because you say this does not mean someone isn't going to take offence...

Rebecca2014 Fri 10-Jun-16 02:47:18

Actually yes he may more likely adjust to the bottle especially if you gave him one yourself. Why can't you bottle feed him your breast milk? Your son wont struggle so much when your away, I be pretty horrified if my child wasn't getting fed when I was at work just because he wants to be breastfed, it's not fair on your oh too.

Sorry if that offends you but i see nothing wrong with you bottle feeding your breast milk.

Babettescat Fri 10-Jun-16 06:25:06

rebecca2014 - your post is gobsmacking. Bizarre things people say,...

Rebecca2014 Fri 10-Jun-16 06:51:30

Bizarre? Her son is struggling with the bottle while the mum works full time and because he is hungry hes in a bad mood which effects the relationship with the father.

My suggestion is the mother bottlefed her son the breastmilk so he can get solely used to the bottle but if that makes you gobsmacked then so be it. What an awful, cold suggestion from me! hmm

Sounds like they found an solution anyway by giving the baby solids...

MissMargie Fri 10-Jun-16 07:24:16

I would agree with Rebeca2014. Surely baby must be happy with the bottle by the time DM goes back to work. Would have thought this was common sense.

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