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To think DP should maybe find out a bit about babies, since we're having one in four months?

(129 Posts)
hearthattack Tue 23-Jun-15 09:46:19

I don't want to paint him as a villain, or the stereotype 'useless' man. He's kind, thoughtful and conscientious. He's interested in my pregnancy, feels my bump all the time and asks how baby is. I'm sure he'll make a great Dad. But...

When I found out I was pregnant (planned) five months ago I bought a couple of basic books about pregnancy and becoming parents. DP hasn't picked them up once. He sometimes asks questions or makes statements that make me wince with his lack of basic knowledge. eg 'He doesn't have ears yet does he?' in response to me saying baby I thought baby had jumped at a loud noise. 'Can't we just pop them in a backpack with their head sticking out?' when I was looking at slings on line.

Last night in bed, after one of these questions, I got really cross, shook his arms off me and told him he needs to do some bloody reading and find out some stuff for himself. He instantly looked hurt and I thought I might have been bit harsh. I said that I didn't want to be the person 'in the know' so he can defer to me all the time because it's not fair that I should have to carry the burden of worrying about things like is their head position right, are they too hot/cold, how do I recognise signs of illness etc entirely on my own.

His response to this was to say I could ask the midwife.

I in no way think you can learn how to be a parent from a book (the whole industry around 'professional parenting' kind of bugs me too). I get that we will have to just make some stuff up as we go along and figure it out as best we can. DPs attitude, in other areas of life, is something I admire about him and has stood him well in the past; he's capable and successful and balances my tendency to over think. I'd just like him to show willing and give me a bit of moral support.

Am I being unreasonable to have lost patience with his laid back approach to impending parenthood? Am I right to be finally putting my foot down and telling him he needs to step it up? Or am I being a naggy old bitch and a worry guts?

formerbabe Tue 23-Jun-15 09:51:02

When I found out I was pregnant (planned) five months ago I bought a couple of basic books about pregnancy and becoming parents. DP hasn't picked them up once

Mine didn't either!

It's not 'real' to some men till the baby arrives! It is very different for women as we are the ones carrying the baby....its real for the women constantly iyswim! I wouldn't worry about it tbh.

Nolim Tue 23-Jun-15 09:51:05

I dont think it is that important to know if the fetus has ears etc.
first aid may be an kmportan thing to learn before the baby is born but other than that, most parenting is learned by being hands on.

SylvaniansAtEase Tue 23-Jun-15 09:53:29

DPs attitude, in other areas of life, is something I admire about him and has stood him well in the past; he's capable and successful

Make this point to him - it might get it to click.

Having babies and learning how to look after them and parent is a new life skill just like any other - living independently, getting jobs and building a career. It ISN'T a situation where the woman takes on one level of expertise and the place of the man is the stereotypical 'which way up do you hold it, durrr' nonsense. Is he buying into this without even thinking it?

'I'm surprised that you don't seem to be taking as capable an attitude as you usually do to this - one of the things I love about you is your successful, can-do attitude to other life skills such as career, social life- but so far when it comes to this next stage, parenting, you suddenly look like the clueless office junior or the idiot that can't change a spare wheel - why is this DP? Are you nervous about the new challenge? I'd like to think you were more than capable of becoming a strong, knowledgable parent...'

CatsCantTwerk Tue 23-Jun-15 09:54:22

I don't think it matters how many books you buy and read, The day the baby is born is the day you and your dp will start to 'learn' how to be parents.

EmzDisco Tue 23-Jun-15 09:54:43

We are expecting our fist baby, and it has been a really gradual process with my DP, he likes me to send him the e-mail updates I have signed up for each week - the "29 weeks and your baby's ears have grown (!)" type ones. They've really helped with keeping us both informed about the pregnancy.

He still hasn't done anywhere near as much reading as me about actually childcare though, but I've learnt absolutely loads from mumsnet!

How far along are you? Do you have antenatal classes booked? I think that will be a bit of a catalyst for my DP (and me too!) to start learning about how to take care of a baby in more depth.

But no, I don't think you ABU, because at the end of the day you can't put babies in backpacks.

QuiteLikely5 Tue 23-Jun-15 09:54:59

Sorry but I think this is ridiculous.

I can't actually believe you took a huff because he asked you a question!

Can't you just share information with him? Why not?

I don't think he should be forced to read a book on your day so.

QuiteLikely5 Tue 23-Jun-15 09:55:12

Say so not day so!

SavoyCabbage Tue 23-Jun-15 09:56:19

I think yabu. You see it as important to read books about it and he doesn't. He will learn on the job! You have different learning styles I suppose.

I think it's a good idea to learn how to put the car seat in and out but a lot of what you do at the beginning is half instinctive and half muddling through.

And the muddling through can be quite bonding I found. I quite liked dh and I saying 'does this look right to you' when putting on the first nappy.

LosingTheWillToSkate Tue 23-Jun-15 09:57:31

I think fair play to him. I wouldn't bother reading all that crap either. Seriously, people have managed to birth and raise children for an awfully long time, for the most part without having to read up on every tiny unnecessary detail.

sparklewater Tue 23-Jun-15 09:59:08

he's capable and successful and balances my tendency to over think

Sounds about right! My dh was the same - but he just does things differently to me. So where I might read up on advance so I know what to expect, he'll google if there's a problem / something he's not sure of.

Antenatal classes will cover the basics and everything else will be ok smile

AuntyMag10 Tue 23-Jun-15 09:59:29

Yabu I wonder how much you will actually remember and refer to these books when the baby is here and the situation is not exactly like the book says.

Seeline Tue 23-Jun-15 10:00:52

Reading books isn't really going to help. You learn 'on the job'. Neither DH or I had had any experience of babies before DS was born, it was a steep learning curve, but we managed. Reading a book really wouldn't have made much difference. When DD came along we thought 'been there' done that', but guess what - all kids are different. Things have do be done differently, they have their own characteristics/problems/issues. Having had one DC wasn't much help - a book can't cover everything.
Share what you learn with him. Ask him to research specific things - cot, pram whatever, just to get him thinking. But beyond that, it will fall into place once baby arrives.

Earthbound Tue 23-Jun-15 10:03:21

I think YABU sorry. As you point out, no matter how many books you read, you won't know how to be a parent until the baby arrives.

My DH and I had hardly ever held a baby before we had our first. I had never changed a nappy before we had Dd! We managed fine. Caring for a small baby is mostly common sense. You learn as you go.

A first aid course would be a good thing to do once baby is here but I think you really need to chill out about the other stuff.

Mrscog Tue 23-Jun-15 10:03:58

I don't think reading up now is that important, but I read the riot act to my DH at a similar time, stating that I didn't want to be the expert and him the helper. I then gave him some examples of what I'd expect - nappy changing, not just being willing to do them when asked, but recognising that a nappy/clothes need changing and just going and doing it, learning how to settle them (and he has done with both DC even though I EBF both of them - often partners use BF as an excuse because they 'settle better for you', well yes,BF does give an advantage there, but other methods can be learnt by Dad and baby they just take a bit more perseverance. If you're not BF, they should be able to learn how to make up bottles properly as well as give them etc.

As a result of this DH has turned into a far far better co-parent than I ever hoped for.

NerrSnerr Tue 23-Jun-15 10:05:02

I didn't read any books when having my baby. I went into labour before my elective section and thought 'shit, i haven't done any reading yet'. I don't think it made any difference, we have googled everything as it has come up.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 23-Jun-15 10:05:33


I assume that babies were bought up safely for a very, very, very, very long time before books were published on the matter otherwise we'd be an extinct species?!

ChunkyPickle Tue 23-Jun-15 10:05:44

I didn't read books (well, I flicked through the big purple book of pregnancy I got from the NHS) and assumed I'd cope, but, did get annoyed that DP couldn't seem to be bothered to find out or prepare anything for himself (or rather, for his future son).

I stomped pretty quick on efforts to defer to me - I was not the font of all baby knowledge, I didn't spring into being knowing everything about weaning (for example) - I went out and bloody researched, because the baby needed to have real food at some point. If he wanted to know (and he should because he had to feed the child too) then he was expected to go and find some of this stuff out as well - I wasn't there to do all the effort and give him a precis

This only works if you're prepared to put your money where your mouth is, and leave him to it, to make mistakes if need be. I know some people who can't do that, who have to have everything done the way they would do it, and they're not really helping themselves by doing that (not that that excuses lazy DPs who don't step up and tell them they are capable on their own)

VacantExpression Tue 23-Jun-15 10:06:48

The books will all go out the window when baby is here anyway. I think its common OP to feel like DP isn't taking enough interest, when you are pregnant it is real to you 24/7 and most of my bloody street with the constant retching in my case but your DP probably feels disassociated from things at the moment.

Don't panic, how many books he has read will have no impact on how wonderful a father he can and I'm sure will, be. So YABU, but be gentle with yourself pregnancy is the most normal thing in the world but also very emotional, stressful and full of anxiety. Three DC's down the line I'm pleasantly surprised if DH calls each by the right name!

Namelesswonder Tue 23-Jun-15 10:08:22

Don't worry, my DH was the same pre birth but stepped up once DC was actually present. It's just not real to a lot of men till the baby is born and they just think they will learn by doing. A bit like reading an instruction book - men just don't, they try and figure things out themselves!

sparklewater Tue 23-Jun-15 10:08:59

Come back to correct myself. I did force dh to read the BLW book as he didn't believe it was possible and kept looking at me with terror in his eyes every time we fed dd!

DoJo Tue 23-Jun-15 10:11:27

I think YABU - I didn't read any books before my son was born really, and not knowing when a foetus grows ears does not make you any less capable as a parent! There's really no point him researching the same things that you are, or you withholding information from him because you think he should look it up himself. The internet can answer almost any question within seconds when the baby is here, so filling your heads with stuff that you may never need to know simply isn't necessary - you might like to do it because it makes you feel prepared, but him not wanting to doesn't mean that he will always 'defer' to you, just that he is taking a different approach to you.

hearthattack Tue 23-Jun-15 10:12:58

Ok, sounds like I might have been a bit of a cow. Not the first time I've blipped over something silly since I got knocked up!

I would like to point out though, that I bought TWO books. One week by week pregnancy thing, and more recently one about child birth. I'm not stupid enough to think I can read a book and suddenly become a know-it-all parent (god forbid). But some stuff, like the different kinds of pain relief or when you should first start to feel movements, are things I wouldn't have known if I'd not found them out for myself. There is a massive grey area between the black and white 'swat up so I know everything and can spout endless guff about it to my friends' vs 'People have been doing this for ever and my body will tell me everything I need to know'. People survived for years without the internet too but it doesn't mean anyone who uses it is an idiot for doing so.

Thanks for the helpful comments and soothing words smile. I will calm down and lay off the poor man.

bittapitta Tue 23-Jun-15 10:14:00

YABU I knew jack shit about babies before giving birth. You learn on the job. You Google/MN in the night. You learn by doing.

peggyundercrackers Tue 23-Jun-15 10:14:37

I must be a bad parent, so must my DH - neither of us have read any books about parenting...

just answer his questions if you know the answer. im sure you ask him questions about things he knows about and he answers you.

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