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Dad not really bonding with new ds

(6 Posts)
Cha Tue 04-Nov-03 16:06:25

Has anyone had a similar experience? My ds in now 9 weeks and a colicky, cry-y little babby at the best of times. I am worried because my dp does not seem to like him very much. We already have a dd who is 2 and I don't remember him being like this with her when she was a little baby, though she was much easier. I know it is harder for Dads to bond, especially as I am bfing and that is about the only thing that can stop him crying but dp shows no interest in his son. He will 'have him' if I am busy or cooking dinner, but within seconds all I can hear is ds screaming his head off and when I come in to check, dp just looks irritated with the baby. He doesn't really try too hard to soothe him, just jiggles him on his knee while he watches the football or something while ds cries his heart out. I know it is exhasperating - I myself have felt quite wild with the innadequacy I feel in the face of one of ds's crying fits, but I sometimes feel I can't trust dp to be nice to ds. Whenever ds smiles or coos (and he is lovely when he's not crying), I try to get dp interested, but he just plain isn't. Dp has actually told friends that he and ds 'haven't bonded' so I am not imagining it. Will it get better? I am doubly worried as dp already has 3 other kids and I don't want my son to be his least favourite (if there can be such a thing).

lucy123 Tue 04-Nov-03 16:14:15

Not exactly the same, but dp didn't start to bond with dd until she was around 6 weeks (i.e. when she started doing stuff other than cry). Before that he was exactly as you describe, albeit holding a more tranquil baby.

I suspect if dd had been more difficult it would have taken longer.

So I don't think it's necessarily anything to worry about. But (just in case) is there any time when your ds doesn't cry when you could leave him with your dp for a while?

SoupDragon Tue 04-Nov-03 16:31:43

I remember a friend admitting that he didn't get nearly as excited with anything his subsequent children did as he did with his firstborn. He loved them all equally but the excitement just wasn't there since he had "been there done that" and, let's be honest, babies aren't *that* interesting at 9 weeks old. Once the children developed their own personalities and started interacting more, that excitement came back.

In his case, it wasn't not loving them or not having bonded with them as such. Could it be similar for your DP? If he's already been there with 3 (or is it 4 with your DD) other children then he may well struggle to feel bonded to a baby who doesn't seem to be comforted by him.

My one suggestion would be to leave your DP alone with your DS for a while. Don't go and check up if DS cries. You may be best going out for this; leave a bottle of EBM if he'll take it and leave them to get on with it whilst you do something with your DD. DP is not going to let your DS come to any harm and when he manages to calm his son down himself and have a calm contented baby then it may just do the trick.

I'm sure when your DS gets past the colicky stage and begins to interact more with the people around him it will work out. "Difficult" babies can be very difficult to like at times (which is not to say you don't love them)

Tom Tue 04-Nov-03 16:32:36

Very common Cha - although not as common among dads who already have kids. It'll come, in time - especially when your boy is bigger and dad is able to take him along to the footy etc! So be patient.

In the meantime....

- Does he tend to see your son most when he comes home after work? It's very common for dads only to get time with the baby at the end of the day, when bubba is tired and irritable, and they both begin to associate each other with negative feelings becuase of it. Solution? Allowing him to spend time with his son when he's 'at his best' - usually at the weekends. When bubba is fed and happy, he'll be more fun to engage in.

- A key 'tactic' is to hand your boy over to dad for a whole day as soon as you can and let him get on with it. You should be at least 20 miles away, probably shopping, with mobile turned off! There's nothing like being in charge for a whole day without the 'out' of handing back to mum for sorting out us dads. It'll help you feel more confident about trusting him with your son too.

- A couple of things that he could do to grow their relationship - and you can facilitate this... 1 - express milk so he can feed - it's the most critical bonding time a baby gets with a parent, and they'll get to know each other quicker if he can feed him. 2 - can you pursuade him to do bathtime? It's a brilliant way for dad to take over at the end of the day and have fun with the baby - and if he's feeling tired and irritable this may be the only way you can get yourself a break without dad and son getting pissed off with each other. Ask him to bath and dress the baby for bedtime and then take over.

just some ideas....

Davros Tue 04-Nov-03 18:07:46

I think it would be a good idea if you can express milk to let your DH do some feeding. Having BFd one and bottle fed the second it definitely improves bonding if they can do the feeding now and then, especially if its the thing that usually or often stops the crying, he'd feel quite effective . I was amazed recently to see a friend expressing with an electric unit-thing she'd hired. With my first I only had a hand pump and hated it but this looked rather good! ALso, with the first I wasn't doing anything else so I didn't persevere with expressing but definitely would go for the cow milking machine if I had BFd the second time.

Cha Fri 07-Nov-03 14:47:00

Have been trying the EBM thing - ds hates it but we will persist. Dp is not a great one for little babies, his ex reminded me the other day, but comes into his own when they are up and about more. She was very supportive, as ever. DP will not be left on his own with ds not matter how hard or gently I press it. I am just hoping that ds grows out of being such a cry baby SOON.

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