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are fathers equal to mothers?

(231 Posts)
tittytittyhanghang Mon 28-Jan-13 22:33:12

Regarding parenting babies/toddlers. I thought they were? If a mother and father are no longer together they surely it is important and right for that child to maintain an equal relationship with both parents (given that both parents love the child and want as deep and loving relationship with the child as possible). Bars breastfeeding then, i dont understand how mothers are somehow superior to fathers and a baby/toddler 'needs' to be around the mother at all times, (I actually find this argument deeply insulting to mothers who have went back to work and left their babies in the care of childminders etc) whereas it would only need to be around the father a couple of hours a week. AIBU to think this is more to do with the mothers insecurities and that in fact a baby would be cope fine spending more than a couple of hours/overight with the father.

This probably is a thread about a good few threads i've read on mn, so flme me if you feel the need but im a bit irked (and shocked) that the likes of this can be said - 'That aside don't talk about your rights as you don't have any, she as the childs mother & primary carer calls the shots so the sooner you get your head round that the better you'll get along.' and hardly anyone challenges it.

fruitloops3 Mon 28-Jan-13 23:02:44

Yes, both parents are equal. However, I'm told that many courts still rule in favour of the mother where there is no clear reason to rule either way.

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 23:03:29

Sorry Really only just saw you mentioned the bottle. I think if a bottle is introduced early enough baby will take the bottle.

tittytittyhanghang Mon 28-Jan-13 23:04:52

Leaving a baby at nursery is hellish for the first few months. Babies at nursery often do scream horribly for the first few months. Seperation anxiety can be utterly horrific in babies. When I left my baby in a nursery at eight months I used to cry on the way to work because I knew she was crying.

But the point is you persevered because I assume you needed to go to work? I would think a child spending time with it's father would be an even more important and justified reason than going to work, and so should also be perservered.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Mon 28-Jan-13 23:05:37

It's a stupid question. Your gender doesn't determine how good a parent you are/can be.

If a relationship breaks down it though I think small children need stability, which can mean that they spend more time with one parent in one home rather than a strict 50:50 split of time.

My DH is a full time Dad so I imagine if we ever split up he would be in a stronger position to be the RP.

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 23:05:59


Shouldnt the desicion to BF have come from them both though and if it didnt - and the ex wants the baby - the baby can simply be bottle fed - expressed milk!

What I mean is the baby still has the breast milk - but from the dad via a bottle.

5madthings Mon 28-Jan-13 23:08:12

Not all babies will take a bottle, not all mums can express.

My dp has always been very hands on and involved but feeding had to be done by me when they were bfed.

In the UK courts don't seem to order overnight contact under 12mths regardless of feeding method, no idea of if there is many research behind that tho?

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 23:08:25


" Seperation anxiety can be utterly horrific in babies. When I left my baby in a nursery at eight months I used to cry on the way to work because I knew she was crying."

You mean for you though? All babies cry and you have no idea about the babies seperation anxiety. Its more hard for the parent - the baby needs some one to comfort and cuddle long as they get that from anywhere - ie at nursery or from dad - they wil be fine.

LadyWidmerpool Mon 28-Jan-13 23:08:49

Wild horses wouldn't have got my baby to take a bottle and it would have taken days to express enough milk for a night of cluster feeding. Expressing isn't necessarily a magic answer.

5madthings Mon 28-Jan-13 23:09:23

Eliza its really not that simple reexpressing and giving a bottle, for some babies it us but for many its not.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Mon 28-Jan-13 23:10:05

YANBU. Not at all. I find all the posters that think babies have to be with their mothers at all times very sexist. I think babies and children should automatically be cared for 50/50 unless there are exceptional circumstances.

I find it very confused when women (or men) limit access to DC's to spite the other parent.

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 23:10:36

5mad - loads of babies are fed by bottle straight off and are fine.

Babies will survive if they are not BF - they can survive on FF!!

People have also said when they have had trouble after a few months when they first introduce the bottle - that when baby is hungry enough they soon learn.

5madthings Mon 28-Jan-13 23:10:44

Babies don't just bfeed for food as well its for comfort etc and they often cluster feed etc all problems retaking an ebf baby away from its mother.

SamSmalaidh Mon 28-Jan-13 23:11:31

As if expressing and bottle feeding is a simple option grin

They can be equal, but mostly they aren't (in terms of babies at least). Mothers tend to bond first with newborns are they carry them and breastfeed them. Mothers take long maternity leaves and are the baby's primary carer. And yes, I think babies do need their primary carer more.

After the baby stage though, there's no reason why a father can't be an equal parent if they put in equal time and effort.

Whether or not the parents are "equal" in terms of care of the child is going to depend so much on circumstances. In the case of say, a 4 month old who is cared for 90% of its waking hours by the mother, then the mother is going to be more important to that baby and if the parents split, then any contact arrangement should acknowledge that.

In the case of a 4 year old who goes to school, both parents work and do 50% of the care each - if that couple split then retaining a 50/50 split is likely to be in the child's interests.

BertieBotts Mon 28-Jan-13 23:11:46

Mothers and fathers are equal, of course, unless one parent is an abusive douchebag. Since people don't tend to post when they have happy set-ups I would imagine that most posters who are experiencing conflict over access do have abusive exes since it's extremely common for the ex-partner to try to use the children to continue controlling the PWC in these situations.

That's what the majority of threads I see on here come across as, anyway, and in those cases where the father (sorry to generalise but if you're going off threads here, the majority are mothers as it's a female dominated side) is banging on about his "rights" it's not because he genuinely misses his DC but because he feels entitled. In those cases it's correct to remind the OP that parents don't have "rights" towards their children, they have responsibilities. Part of those responsibilities is sometimes accepting that something you would rather not happen, has to happen for the good of the child. I'd be utterly devestated if I was suddenly told I could only see DS at weekends, but if it was the only option that made sense for DS then of course I'd take it even if it broke my heart.

5madthings Mon 28-Jan-13 23:11:49

Bfedbabies don't always take a bottle just because bottle fed babies do just mean a bfed baby will our can.

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 23:11:52

but surely 5 mad if you do it off the bat the baby knows nothing else?

BertieBotts Mon 28-Jan-13 23:13:10

So you mean expressing from birth just in case you split from your partner? What a waste of time and energy!

5madthings Mon 28-Jan-13 23:13:49

Actually no even at two days old ds1 wouldn't take a bottle and its not recommended anyway for 6 wks whilst establishing breeding for many reasons.

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 23:14:59

Sorry no I mean if you are pregnant and seperated from the DF, but he wants equal access.

SamSmalaidh Mon 28-Jan-13 23:16:38

I find it hard to believe any good father would demand their newborn was separated from its mother just so he can have equal access.

5madthings Mon 28-Jan-13 23:16:46

They still won't always accept a bottle, I was going back to uni when ds1was three weeks old so tried bottles from day two, I could express easily but he wouldn't take one and believe me we tried!

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 23:18:26

Ok, but if the baby wasnt BF and did take a bottle there is no reason why it cant be with its dad!

pippinsmum Mon 28-Jan-13 23:18:53

I am prepared to be flamed for this by no I don't think fathers and mothers are equal.

When a man can carry a baby inside him for 9 months then yes they will be equal. There is no way in this world I would let my small baby be apart from me for 24 hours at a time. Aithough I would not stop the father from seeing baby I just don't feel small babies should be away from their mothers for long periods.

5madthings Mon 28-Jan-13 23:20:25

Well the courts don't insist on it so maybe there is a reason for that.

Fwiw I ended up bottlwfeeding no 5 dp could feed her but he couldn't get her to go to sleep!

MiniTheMinx Mon 28-Jan-13 23:20:45

>>YANBU. Not at all. I find all the posters that think babies have to be with their mothers at all times very sexist

I think men that think they can insist on FF the baby because it suits are selfish.

I FF both of mine, my body my choice, DP had no say in this and had he have not been living under the same roof, he would have still had no say in this.

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