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Quick outside perspective needed on a frankly trivial but bothersome issue (DH and I having first disagreement over parenting)

(21 Posts)
LDNmummy Sat 08-Oct-11 23:31:26

Our DD is 8 days old and I am being slightly overprotective at the moment as I do watch her almost every minute of the day, so I acknowledge I may be being a bit PFB about this.

DD was crying and fussing in her moses basket. DH puts his hand under her side and starts jiggling her body back and forth in little jolts, IYSWIM. I asked him to do it a bit gentler as I felt he was being a bit aggressive with it, and he got very upset and said I was criticising his parenting.

After a couple minutes of disagreeing, I said ok and that he should hold her as she was still fussing and I figured that he wanted to and that he felt I had interrupted his time bonding with her.

He refused to take her because he felt criticised and refused to talk to me except to say he was angry at being criticised on his way of parenting.

I feel very angry he refused to hold his daughter because of a slight issue and at his sulking rather than talking to me over something otherwise so trivial. We have at least 18 years of joint parenting to come so what are we going to do if he can't take a little criticism!?

I feel maybe he is upset because I have her all the time, but I don't understand his reaction. I just wanted him to rock her a bit gentler, I wasn't trying to be overly critical or interrupt his time with her.

So anyone want to venture their opinion? Yes a trivial matter, but it really bothered me that he refused to hold her because of a disagreement we were having. Plus, now I am a bit worried this means we are always going to disagree over stupid little things like this.

Tryharder Sun 09-Oct-11 03:19:06

It's impossible to say if your DH was in fact jiggling your DD too hard or whether you were overreacting without actually being there.

Just let him calm down. Yes, he's sulking and being a bit of a twat but aren't we all at times. It doesn't mean that you are destined to argue for the next 18 years.

I would apologise - something along the lines of "I didn't mean to undermine you, really sorry about it" and let it drop.

Parietal Sun 09-Oct-11 03:42:48

Good advice from Try.

If baby is only 8 days old, you must both be sleep deprived and very new to it all. It will get easier, and your DH will get to know the baby & be a great dad.

I still have to bite my tongue to stop myself telling my DH what to do with DD all the time, and she is nearly 4.

PureBloodMuggle Sun 09-Oct-11 04:30:21

iif he's usually reasonable about things he'l get over his sulk

as try ssaid we can't say as werent there. But when a first baby is that new even the smallest things seem major, for dads just as much as mums

nooka Sun 09-Oct-11 04:49:39

I guess it could seem to your dh that first you told him he was doing it all wrong (the jiggling), and then you told him what to do (pick her up). I'm sure that wasn't what you intended but it is very easy to upset each other when you are both tired and overwhelmed.

You are right to be concerned and you do need to talk about how you are both feeling because you really do need to communicate as parents. Otherwise it's terribly easy to get into the pattern where you do the majority of the care and he gradually does less and less because he feels that you think he is incompetent. And then you get upset and he gets resentful. Or just that he doesn't really learn how to care for your baby becasue he never gets to practice.

But this should be easily resolvable (provided there aren't any other issues) by communicating. I'd wait until he has calmed down a bit and then do try and talk about how you both feel and how to approach similar circumstances in the future.

Octaviapink Sun 09-Oct-11 05:44:25

My DH is also very sensitive to criticism about parenting. Newborn babies are quite tough - you don't have to treat them like glass and it's good for them to experience different methods of handling (as long as they're safe) so although I understand your reaction you might have been a bit PFB. On the other hand picking her up for a cuddle rather than trying to settle her in the Moses basket would have been better all round. He may have been nervous about picking her up - men are often scared of newborns - and so your criticism hit harder than it would normally.

I'd encourage him to hold her as much as possible all day long, TBH - you get to breastfeed but he can actually be more effective than you at settling her with voice and cuddle because babies ADORE being held just under a man's chin and murmured to. They hear through their skulls (vibration) as well as their ears and a deep man's voice that vibrates in the chest and across their head is very soothing for them. That way he gets to bond with her and do something effective, as well as learning the way she likes to be handled. It can be very frustrating for men not to be able to 'fix' babies' crying, so teach him how he can.

TheSkiingGardener Sun 09-Oct-11 07:09:14

One of the things I didn't like having to accept as a Mum was that DH was going to do things differently to me and that that was ok. DS is quite comfortable with the things we do differently and has come to no harm. Impossible to say if he was jiggling too hard but it was obviously harder than you would jiggle her. She may have loved it or not but your DH needs to learn it from her.

Georgimama Sun 09-Oct-11 07:19:07

If he's sulking and feels attacked about his parenting skills I doubt telling him "five hundred experienced mothers on MN agree with me". He may have been being a bit more vigorous than necessary, although they aren't made of spun sugar and I really doubt he could have hurt her. Sometimes babies actually like quite large vigorous movements, depends on the baby. And he will do things differently to you and must be allowed to find his way too.

Both of mine loved skin to skin on dad's chest as newborns to settle them, ask him to try that - it always made DH feel he was doing something useful as if they got near my chest they immediately sniffed milk and wanted feeding. He could settle them in that way without that complication.

Georgimama Sun 09-Oct-11 07:20:22

didn't finish my first sentence - it's early!

*doubt telling him "five hundred experienced mothers on MN agree with me" will help

that should have read.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Oct-11 07:56:22

You are different parents and you're always going to approach it slightly differently. I've often found men are a bit more 'muscular' in their treatment of babies than women are. Whizzing them about in supermarket trolleys , vigorous play, throwing them in the air and catching them etc. My DS used to be in fits of laughter when his Dad did that sort of thing whereas I'd be saying 'ooh be careful!!' like a big girls' blouse every five minutes. Nothing bad ever happened.

OhBuggerandArse Sun 09-Oct-11 08:18:31

You could both have a look at Harvey Karp's 'Happiest Little Babay in the Block' videos on You Tube - his jiggling techniques are pretty vigorous (and magically effective on our kids at least), and often easier for dads to do than mums! Might give you both a bit of confidence about it all.

OhBuggerandArse Sun 09-Oct-11 08:19:15

Gr. *Baby.

matana Sun 09-Oct-11 17:03:49

It's early days. Not meaning to trivialise it, but my guess is in a few months you'll look back and laugh about it. You probably do need to chill out a bit though as it's easy to think that mum's way is the only right way. Add this to men having a tendency to be a little sensitive in the early days and things can soon spiral. You'll always have disagreements about how to raise your LO, but you'll get better at compromising and communicating likes and dislikes to each other.

NinkyNonker Sun 09-Oct-11 20:50:18

I think sometimes babies appreciate the firmer touch of a man, I know when DD got overwraught as a teeny a nice firm cuddle with her dad would solve the problem were I couldn't. Still the case now at 14 months.

I think unless you have reason to believe otherwise there is nothing to say that you know better than he does...you are both as experienced as each other so unless he is doing something obviously dangerous I think you ought to let him make his own way with her.

PenguinsAreThePoint Mon 10-Oct-11 10:06:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wigglesmonsterock Mon 10-Oct-11 10:21:13

Its very early days for all three of you, no-one is right or wrong, he got a bit huffy, you got a bit precious, settle it and move on. I'm a bit of a jiggler with my babies, my husband isn't.

ConstanceNoring Mon 10-Oct-11 10:23:26

I think there are probably a couple of things going on here.

Firstly you have a very new baby and if you are doing most of the caring for her you are bound to feel critical of someone else's handling of her, even DH. It sounds as though you may have overreacted though.

Secondly she is DH's very new baby too and to be criticised for the way in which you are handling your own baby probably feels like a bit of a kick in the nuts - especially if you have made him doubt his actions.

This doesn't mean you are always going to argue about every little thing, if you can bear in mind his feelings about his baby next time you're uncomfortable with something he's doing.

And relax.. wink

pozzled Mon 10-Oct-11 10:31:22

You are both sleep deprived and trying to get to grips with a huge change in your lives. You will respond differently to your baby, and that's fine- babies soon get to know that parents do things slightly differently.

It sounds to me as though you are being a little bit pfb (I don't mean that nastily, if you can't be pfb in the first couple of weeks, when can you?) Is your DH being actively involved with your DD? Is he doing plenty of the nappy changes and helping to settle her when she's fussy but not hungry? I would encourage him to do as much as possible, and perhaps leave the room some of the time so that he can get used to her without feeling under scrutiny. He won't hurt her, and she will soon let him know if she doesn't like the way she's being touched or held.

LDNmummy Thu 13-Oct-11 00:17:41

Just wanted to come back to this and say thanks for the responses and advice.

I read this earlier but didn't get a just to respond with a restless newborn in the house smile

I did follow the advice and am letting DH take the reigns more as well as learning to appreciate that my DD will be the first to make us aware if she is unhappy with something either of us are doing.

Sleep deprivation may definitely be playing a part, and I do own up to being PFB right now blush

Thanks for the outside perspective!

PenguinsAreThePoint Fri 14-Oct-11 17:47:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PenguinsAreThePoint Fri 14-Oct-11 17:50:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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