concerned dad(19 Posts)
My son was born just three days ago and we just got home from the hospital. I'm having some emotional problems, mainly concerns that i'm not doing things right, that what i do for my son doesn't help, and that i'm more of a burden to my wife than help.
Is this a normal feeling?
I would guess so, its a massive upheaval for any family.
It is normal for the father to feel a bit pushed out, the mother is often in a newborn and sleep deprived panic about everything being perfect and can be reluctant to hand over control.
I'm sure that you are fantastic with your new baby, but when they are that tiny they don't know that they are separate to their mum, they realise this at about 9 months!
Why not offer to run her a bath and look after the baby while she relaxes for half an hour? If she is bf then run it while she is feeding so she can jump straight in when baby has finished. Then you can have a bit of bonding time while she has a bit of me time.
Yes it's normal. My DP found this book very helpful:
You're the Daddy
it is completely normal, and you sound lovely
your wife probably feels like she has been hit by a train. The baby will be feeling similarly discombobulated. Don't worry, you have plenty of time to get the hang of doing the caring for your son, he is here to stay
for the time being I think a good formula is: she surrounds and concentrates on the baby - you do the same for her. Nurture her - get her food and drinks, make sure she is comfortable, ask her what you can do to make her feel better.
It's a huge roller-coaster and one that honestly does slow down!
It's very strange to arrive home as three, my advice is to make a cuppa for you both, tell your wife what a wonderful beautiful woman she is, make feed her well ( plenty chocolate!), stick some fav mindless TV on, curl up and relax together as a family.
Relax into it there is no rule book really, being a great dad in those first few days may have more to do with being a domestic god with a camera and open arms than much else!
It'll all come together OP. Many congrats. One piece of advice.... Never complain you are tired .
Confidence comes with practice. Things my DH did in the first few months which helped...
Sorted out tea (otherwise I would never have eaten)
Shushed DD on his shoulder between 9 and 9:30 each night so I could have a shower and get ready for bed in peace before snuggling up with her.
Took DD out for some early morning walks whilst I caught up on a bit of sleep.
Took phone calls, printed photos for family and friends.
Told me what an awesome job I was doing. I had crises of confidence just like you and this helped a lot.
Kept on top of the shopping list so we didn't run out of food.
Changed a lot of nappies.
The first few months are mad because your baby changes so fast and you are still getting to know each other. Once things calm down it is much easier for fathers to be more hands on with their babies. DH and DD are now as thick as thieves and I'm sure all the time he spent comforting her in the early days helped them to bond.
Congratulations, I think you need to remember that this is a massive change for both of you, sometimes I think so much is all about the mother that men can get forgotten. It is normal to feel emotional and I am sure you are doing a great job, work together and enjoy all the experiences together. Also remember sleep deprivation is bloody awful and can make people do and say things they don't mean.
Maybe you can look into baby massage group to do as a family, it gives you a chance to bond and have 'daddy' time too.
If however things don't settle down for you it is ok to admit you are struggling too!
How lovely, I'm sorry you're feeling a bit lost, things will settle down, I promise. I second everything already said and add these which I think as a mother of a 3 day old I did/would have appreciated.
Lots of cuddles - for baby and mum
Reassure her that staying in bed all day is fine and bring her food up to her - and cut it up, if she's breastfeeding, especially if baby is feeding non stop. Ditto sitting on the sofa, if that's where she'd rather be.
Washing (especially of baby clothes). Tidying. Refilling of water bottles within easy reach at all times. Food shopping, cooking, organising visitors, notifying distant family, thanking people for gifts. Any forms which need filling in (Child Benefit, tax credits) All the general thinking that needs doing so that she doesn't have to.
Chocolate! Green & Blacks was my night feed fuel. Lots of iron
If she's breastfeeding, and she's struggling, don't offer to give the baby a bottle so she can have a break. You might think this is helpful but it's the worst thing you can say. Instead, get googling and find what support you have in your local area, as well as the phone numbers for the NCT breastfeeding support line and the La Leche League one. Or just get straight on the mumsnet breast and bottle feeding board, even if (especially if!) it's 3am.
i agree with all the above. Would also suggest you spend time with your wee one. Just changing nappies and putting on clothes, watching them as they go to sleep and wake up helps you to know them, which will increase your confidence.
'Doing things Right'is the motorway route to madness. Just about every parenting decision is an area for disagreemnt so be happy with the choices you and DW have made. If you are (a) changing nappies (b) feeding/helping DW to feed and (c) making surw she gets time to rest then you're doing fine.
Have you spoken to your wife
DH felt exactly the same as you. He felt that he was doing it all wrong.He made up all the feeds when we came home from hospital (DS was exclusively FF) twice because he thought he hadn't done it right the first time.
It does get easier.
I'll let you into a secret, it's not just dads that feel like this, most mums feel like this too.
I echo what everyone says here. The absolute best thing you can do right now is take care of your wife. She has been through a huge physically and mentally exhausting process of carrying and giving birth to a baby, and is now having to learn to be a mum. Her hormones are all over the place as she learns to care for her baby so she won't have time to think about looking after herself. My DH was brilliant - he cooked quick but nutritious meals at regular times so I ate well, brought me treats like cream cakes and strawberries, and ensured I had a glass of water by my side each time I settled down to feed the baby. He would change nappies, do laundry, run me baths, take the baby for a walk so I could get a break or nap, and generally just nurtured me and the baby. And all this while probably feeling completely overwhelmed and knackered and uncertain himself. It made me love him even more
Building a relationship with your child takes time for both parents - try not to worry about this now when he is only 3 days old. Just change nappies when needed, cuddle him when he cries (even if he keeps crying he will be comforted by being held and knowing there is somebody there for him and over time he will learn that cuddles from dad make him happy and peaceful), give him his bath, take him for a walk. Soon you'll have your own routines and rituals. There are no real rights and wrongs in the early days provided you just care for your wife and care for you baby in the best way you know how.
Good luck, and try to just go with the flow and enjoy these precious early days and not analyse them too much: I remember crying when my DS was a week old because I had to measure his age in weeks rather than days and he seemed to be growing up so quickly!
you sound like a lovely partner and dad. Others have given great advice and are right, things will get better.
But just wanted to add that it is not unknown for men to suffer from post natal depression. Obviously it's very early days and so your feelings are completely normal. But if things get harder or go on for longer than feels right (or for anyone else reading) do see your gp.
Best wishes to you and your family.
Make her LOTS of cups of tea.
Cook for her, make sure she's OK.
Do the bath thing, mentioned above.
It is possible she is being over-protective, but it's kind of what happens.
If baby cries it's not the end of the world, it's the only way they can communicate. Once you have learned to settle baby you're sorted.
Baby needs you, Mummy needs you. Remember that always x
You sound lovely, congratulations on your son
It sounds pretty normal, I know my DH felt like that but I couldn't have done it without him. He helped as much as he could at night (he did nappy changes for example, while I did feeds - he did a fair amount of rocking DCs back to sleep after they'd been fed as well), he used to make me lots of tea, cook dinner fairly often. He's always been involved with the DCs and done as much as he could with them, partly to give me a break and partly because he enjoys it. It means he hasn't felt too 'pushed out' and I like that he knows how to look after them - I know that sounds bonkers but I have heard of dads who don't know how to change nappies (). I wasn't always very good at letting him know how much I appreciated him though!
Would second the idea of nappy changes as a great way to take work off your wife and give you a chance to bond with the baby. One of my proudest memories is of the first day in hospital with my second baby. Ds (slightly prem) was titchy and undeveloped compared to the other babies, but all the envious eyes were focused on our bed- because I had a husband who was an expert nappy changer. Doesn't take long to get the hang of, but is a great way to be a hands-on dad.
Thanks everyone for your help and advice - a few days on and still a little overwhelmed but we seem to be getting there.
That's good to know. Stick with MN for support and advice - it's been a lifesaver for me!
Join the discussion
Please login first.