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DH isn't bonding with DD (6 months) is there anything I can do to help them?

(31 Posts)
entropy Fri 02-Feb-07 13:54:32

My dh hasn't bonded with our dd. he works a long way away (something we know we need to change but easier said than done) and when he is at home he feels his time is precious and doesn't want to waste it doing things he doesn't like. Being with dd falls into this catagory. He says he wants to want to spend time with her but he always feels like now is not the right time.... I have tried to force the issue but end up with a resentful dh and a distressed dd if I throw them together. when I try to do things as a family he always manages to do all the hands off stuff.

She has feeding "issues" so its not easy for him or anyone else to feed her. he can't get her to sleep, she just cries for me. He has a bad back so he can't do bath time and he finds sitting on the floor to play with her uncomfortable......

he isn't used to babies (but then again nor was I) in fact his family are a bunch of baby haters! he has been brought up to believe that having a crying baby in a public place is unacceptable and inconsiderate!! so I am having to work against years of indoctrination. He thinks everything will be ok when she is older but what I am worried about is that by then dd and I will be so used to him living on the edge of our lives that it will be too late to let him back in.

I know I can't change things, it has to come from him, but if anyone has any helpful suggestions we would appreciate them. he isn't happy with the way things are at the moment and I don't know how to help.

aviatrix Fri 02-Feb-07 14:09:39

Message withdrawn

Tortington Fri 02-Feb-07 14:14:14

what issues?

fine - i say dont bond - not everyone likes babies - i dont mot even mi own. still its not acceptable to go - i cant bond - therefore i cant change nappies, feed the baby or help with housework - cos thats just bollocks

juuule Fri 02-Feb-07 14:14:29

I wouldn't worry too much at this stage. I would encourage some time for him to spend alone with your dd when she is in a pleasant mood. Perhaps while you nip out for something. Just short times to start with and increase them. My dh doesn't particularly like babies (he admits it himself) and only does things for them out of necessity. However, when they get to the 2yo mark everything seems to change for him. He's much happier being with them from that age. However, having said that, if you need a few hours to yourself with him being away a lot, then don't hesitate to tell him that she is his child too and you are going out for a few hours. He'll cope Even with the feeding. He might not like it at first but he'll manage.

Pinotmum Fri 02-Feb-07 14:22:39

Ok so the baby wants you more than him at the moment - natural imho. Your dh may become more interested as time goes by but he sounds a little self centred to me. To be a good dad he needs to put the baby before himself. If he can't/won't do that then this is your future.

entropy Tue 06-Feb-07 23:26:20

thanks for all your replies. I had a feeling there would be no quick fix answer. {crosses fingers for a years time when dd will be 18 months)

"issues" relates to dd's complexed feeding problmes which we still don't fully understand (ruled out reflux and lactose intolerance so far) she is in pain when she feeds and soothes herself on my fringe whilst she feeds. she just about eats enough if I feed her but dh can't get anything into her at all (maybe he should grow his hair )

to be fair he does change nappies (when he is around) dd is very strange and loves having her nappy changed! its the tasks which require any degree of uncertainty he is unwilling to take on. he wants me to tell him exactly what to do in every concievable situation, which can make life very frustrating as I wish I knew the answers that he wants before he will start!

mummytosteven Tue 06-Feb-07 23:29:52

DH was similar, I think the only thing that helps is for your DH to spend more time with her, that's the only way he's going to develop confidence in his parenting. DH wasn't keen on babies either. Once DS hit the terrible twos, we were both equally baffled and frustrated which sort of unified us again, after the rift of the first year.

entropy Wed 07-Feb-07 09:58:03

oh I'm baffled and frustrated already

I do think you are right though... I have just got to find a way of getting them to play nicely! If i'm there he sits back and leaves it all to me and at the moment even an hour lie for me leaves them both grumpy! I hate to think what would happen if I left the house!! but he knows there is a problem (he knows I am talking about him on here ) and wants to sort it and thats the first step.

juuule Wed 07-Feb-07 12:39:32

"I hate to think what would happen if I left the house!!"
And that's where part of the problem lies. You need to be able to trust your dh with his own dd. It's quite possible he knows that you don't feel he is capable so he doesn't even try so he you become more capable and he never improves. Trust him. He loves his dd and wouldn't let any harm come to her. He might not do things your way but he will be able to do things if allowed. Like I said before, pop out for an hour to start with while you both gain confidence. Eventually he'll feel better as he realises he can do it too.

dejags Wed 07-Feb-07 12:41:23

I haven't read the rest of the replies but I think the only way to do this is for you to leave them to it.

Arrange a day out for yourself. Leave your DD with your DH - he is her father and needs to establish his own way of doing things imo.

ThisTime Wed 07-Feb-07 12:47:11

Is he confident in the things that he does with DD already? LIke everyone else has said i think you need to leave him a bit at a time and then he can build his confidence up on the other tasks at hand!

Good Luck x

scotlou Wed 07-Feb-07 12:56:10

Are you married to my dh?!!! Mine found it very difficult to bond with either child until they were over a year old. He found dd even more difficult, as she was a very challenging baby. I gave up stressing about it. Eventually (I can't remember how or when) his relationship with her got better and he now has a close bond. The problem if you force them together is that it may make them both unhappy - so less likely to want to try again. I have very vivid memories of dh sitting on one side of teh sofa with a sreaming dd propped at the other end - she'd cried cos I wasn't tehre, he couldn't stop her so just ignored her!

One thing he did do - which probably helped eventually - was do bathtime. Due to his bad back he would get into teh bath with them. I would hand dd to him when he was in the bath - and would leave them to it for 20 minutes, then go back up and get her out. Sometimes they had a good time - sometimes they didn't - but I think the routine of it probably helped.

adath Wed 07-Feb-07 19:39:04

I have not read all the replies but have read a few. I had a similar situation with DP he had never even seen a baby close up I mean he had seen them in prams on the street but never apart from that and he was petrified. He did do the nappies and went through the motions but never bonded with her for a very long time. I felt exactly like you do now especially at the time DP was away a lot with his job.
I can honestly say from long experience that going out and leaving them to it is not the answer both of them will end up stressed and upset and that could make bonding take longer.
He is asking you all the time if he is changing nappies right etc he is obviously anxious about what he is supposed to do with a baby and possibly feels embaressed about actually getting down on the floor to play with her as he probably has no idea what he is supposed to be doing and feels a bit daft talking to a baby that cannot unerstand him or answer hi back.

I have just asked dp what he thinks about this and he says that it works out in the end, he started getting a bit more of a relationship with DD when she was maybe about a year and she was a bit more interactive you know pretty mobile able to participate a bit. And that year was themajor turning point as she grew a bit more so did his ability and confidence to play with her and spend time with her.

I think men seem to think that us mums have a baby manual downloaded into our heads as sson as we give birth that means we know it all and as frustrating as it is that is why they leave us to it.
If your Dh has had that kind of attitude towards babies drilled into him it is no wonder he is petrified but by gently getting him involved they will get closer I promise.

If he is happy doing her nappy hand her over for a change and say you MUST go to the loo, the shop 5 minutes away, finish dinner whatever and let him do it, maybe leave some toys she loves with him and suggest how she likes it played with ie a rattle shaken above her whatever and build up slowly. Or suggest he takes her for a stroll in the pram/sling he probably won't chat much to her but theywill be together and if he has this alone time regularly then he will gradually notice how interactive she is getting each time.

I will try and have another chat with dp see if he can suggest anything

entropy Tue 13-Feb-07 20:23:06

its good to know that dh isn't the only babyilliterate man out there

he figured out that he can make dd laugh which is a big step! but the way he does it tends to be to hold her upsidedown, usually just after I have fed her! she may or may not have silent reflux depending on which doc we see, so we are sposed to keep her sitting upright for 15 mins after each feed its so nice to see them happy together though. The opposite ends of the sofa thing is very familiar Scotlou, if she doesn't stop crying straight away he gives up and just leaves her to it. (but I do feel sorry for him as I have magic mummy hair which can make her forget most of her problems)

We are going away this weekend, What was I thinking!!!! all three of us sharing a hotel room!!! He evicted her from our room at 2 weeks old as he couldn't get any sleep at all with her in there. he really couldn't relax at all. and she and I both have a stinking cold at the moment (her first bad one and she isn't sleeping welll at all.) he is planning to sleep downstairs tonight to get away from the noise but I am dreading the weekend! and he has to do a full day's work on the monday and then drive us home which is 180 miles. (I can't drive) and he is rubbish if his sleep gets interrupted... he suffers more from being disturbed by me getting up 3 or 4 times in the night than I do from having to get up and see to her. I know he can't help that but it bugs me all the same when he isn't coping the next day as I disturbed his sleep getting out of bed to comfort a crying baby. I think I need to do a bit of sleep training with her when she'd better and I am seriously thinking of sending him to stay at my mums until its done

IntergalacticWalrus Tue 13-Feb-07 20:36:58

I actually think this is quite a normal thing.

DP will be the first to admit he wasn't the best dad to start with, which wasn't helped by DS1's contant screaming for the first 6 months of his life, and my PND, which was horrendous for all of us.

DP felt "the bond" came when DS1 was about 6 months ish and started moving around and "doing things" as he puts it.

I think a lot of men find the first months of a baby's life difficult because they feel surplus to requirements, as naturally a baby looks to its mother for feeding etc, and because generally mothers spend more time with tiny babies. They may also feel pushed out by the fact that the baby is, quite rightly, the centre of his wife or girlfriend's universe.

Frome the time DS1 was about 7 months old, I have tried to make sure that DP gets time on his own with him, and now we have DS2, I still do this.

I think a previous suggestion about your DD having a bath with your DH (maybe you could be there to lift her in and out of the bath so he doesn't feel totally out on a limb) would hel;p enormously. I know that bathtime was instrumental in DP becoming properly acquainted with both DSs

Also, whenever your DH is aty home, maybe he could do bedtime duties, like story reading and dressing in pjs etc. Even young babies enjoy being read to, and this will help your DD become used to your DHs voice etc.

FWIW, I think there is already a good bond between your DH and DD, because your DH wants to change things for the better, which is a really good sign.

Good luck

IntergalacticWalrus Tue 13-Feb-07 20:40:00

Btw, with regards to the reflux thing, DS1's, which was really bad, bless him, improved a lot between about 6 and 8 months, and he was a much happier bunny, which obvioulsy helps things

cruisemum1 Tue 13-Feb-07 21:16:39

my dh is kind of similiar. Doesn't do anyting with regard to 'taking care of' ds (or dd1 when she was small). It does come in time. He loved it when she could walk/talk/communicate etc. Prob been said before but keep putting them together so she learns to rely on him for comfort etc.

pointydog Tue 13-Feb-07 21:21:40

was going to say same as aviatrix. Quite a few men find it easier to 'like' their kids when they get to about 2. And don't tell your dh what he should and shouldn't be doing with the child - if he wants to waggle her upside down, fine. He clears up the sick though.

cruisemum1 Tue 13-Feb-07 21:23:34

pointy - you are so right. I have to look the other way when dh puts ds in his chair, gets him dressed (a rare sighting indeed ), he is so clumsy with him that I think I actually make him nervous when I am in the vicinity so I try not to be. Just let dh/dp get on with stuff and let him bear the consequences!

Jonut Tue 13-Feb-07 22:48:31

My OH didn't do anything with Dd1 and used to get in such a faff when he did. When she got to the age where she was responding and playing back he loved it and now takes her out every Sunday afternoon to the park or to one of those play centres (I swear, he gets more excited at the thought of those plastic balls and slides than she does!!! ) and takes her swimming every Monday after school. I think most men worry because babies are so small and they worry that they might hurt them- my Oh's dad didn't even pick him and his brother up untill they were about 2/3mths old!!

rookiemum Wed 14-Feb-07 20:55:04

Agree with Jonut, once she is old enough you could all go along to the soft play. We all went a few weeks ago and now DH loves taking DS, in fact he is way more adventurous than I would be and it is much better for all of us if I sit at the side sipping a cappucino and flicking though my mag.

I also really egg up any daddy preferences DH has. Last night I told DH that DS heard him when I was putting him to bed and got all excited and said Dadadada which I swear he did. Makes DH feel all proud of himself and more likely to interact.

Agree with custardo though. Changing shitty nappies, feeding a screaming baby, getting up in the night when you are so tired you could scream, doesn't matter if you love babies or hate them, you do these things because you are a parent and you have to. Oh and you also do them because you love your partner and want to be fair on them.

entropy Mon 19-Feb-07 04:22:04

sorry - long rant............

this weekend has really summed up everything that is wrong with us as a family unit. we went away on friday. dd had an appointment at great ormand st and DH's family live in london so we planned to stay down for the weekend. there isn't really anyone who has the room to put us up so we booked 3 nights in a travel inn type hotel.

things got off to a bad start when dh abandoned me and dd at the hotel on arrival to go get food. I left dd sitting on the bed (fully clothed) while I unpacked as she liked the patten of the quilt and when I went to get her for her bath I found her sitting in a huge puddle of poo. I managed to get the bed changed before dh got back but the room stank! dh has flu/bad cold and had done all the driving but he didn't ask if I was managing. he just got straight into bed. I had only had a couple of hours sleep the night before and was shattered. I wouldn't have asked him to do anything, it was the presumption that he didn't need to that bugged me. They both went to sleep while I cleaned bottles for the morning and did other housekeeping type stuff then I woke dd for her late feed at 10:30. She cried out a tiny bit and that woke dh up. apparently he never got back to sleep. (I slept very soundly as I think did dd) he got up for the loo at 5:30 and that I think woke dd which in turn woke me, I put on her lullaby thingy (which is annoying but she likes it) next thing I know he is having a panic attack. he had spent the entire night trying not to cough, bless him, for fear of waking dd and the stress of it coupled with lack of sleep coupled with 10 mins of the same couple of bars of music over and over and over tipped him over the edge. we checked out of the hotel as he couldn't cope with staying there. We ended up staying at one of his friends houses last night and they put their dd in with them so that DH and DD could have seperate rooms. we felt bad about putting them out and came back as soon as dh was well enough to drive.

tonight dd isn't well. she has a temperature and I'm scared as she hasn't been ill like this before. I went to tell DH and ask what he though I should do and his response was shut the door (to his room) as it was too loud for him to sleep I know he's exhausted and probably wasn't fully awake and aware of what he's saying but grrrrrr.

we have to got to Grt Ormand st every couple of months with dd. Dh won't go on the train with dd and I as he finds it too stressful and dd can't cope with there and back in the car in one day. its just too much time in the car seat! Taking her on the train by myself is challenging (I am blind) but seems to be easy option. Things just don't seem to work if we try to do things as a family.

Swizzler Mon 19-Feb-07 05:51:17

Sorry you had such a bad time . It sounds like you reallt need to talk this through with your DH as you're not getting the support you need. On a practical note, do you have a friend or another relative who could go to London with you on the train? It might only need to be once, if your DH can be convinced that it's workable (I would have thought it was a lot easier than a long car journey).

nearlyfourbob Mon 19-Feb-07 06:33:55

Does he have panic attacks often? He really sounds as if he needs someone to talk to about the transition to parenthood, especially of a sick child.

wannaBeWhateverIWannaBe Mon 19-Feb-07 07:16:01

Hi, am sorry you’re all going through such a hard time at the moment.

It sounds to me as if you’re all under a huge amount of stress, and that your dh is finding it much harder to cope with the transition to parenthood than you perhaps thought would be the case.

Firstly with regard to your dd’s temperature, I know it’s easier said than done but try not to worry too much. We’ve all been there when our child has “never been ill like this before” and the first time it is a truly frightening experience. But if your dh has had flu it’s likely that your dd has similar and is just feeling very under the weather, and it’s made worse by the fact she’s a baby and the only way she knows how to tell you she’s not feeling well is to cry, and cry, and cry some more. Calpol will bring down her temperature as will ibuprofen although am not sure if ibuprofen can be taken at 6 months so maybe check with the farmacist, but if it’s ok they can be given together and are very effective. Just make sure she has lots of fluids, all common sense I know but atm fluids are far more important than food so if she doesn’t want to eat then don’t worry, she will eat again when she’s feeling better, and until then just give her what she wants, yoghurt is very good when they’re not well as it’s cold and slides down easily and soothes a sore throat.

It sounds to me as if this goes a bit deeper than just your dh not being able to bond with your dd, it sounds to me as if he’s having a hard time adjusting to the changes in your lives, and that coupled with a stressful job is making things very difficult for all of you. How was your relationship before your dd was born? Is it possible that your dh could be suffering from post natal depression? I know that sounds strange but it’s said that men can suffer from this because the transition for them can be so difficult. Men just don’t have that automatic paternal instinct that makes them selfless and want to put their child first, so sometimes when a child is born they find it hard to leave their old selfish habbits behind and adjust to a new way of living iyswim.

It also sounds as if you’re not getting the support you need, especially not from your husband, and because he works away, it sounds as if you are on your own with just your dd. Do you have a friend/family close by that you could leave your dd with for an afternoon so you could get a break? Could you join a toddler group in your local area, I know that dd is still a baby,but it would at least give you a chance to talk to other mothers, other human beings as it were.

As for going to gt ormend street on your own, well IMO that’s just not on. This is your dh’s child as well, and he should ensure that you and your dd get there safely, and if that means he has to go with you on the train, then so be it. It’s no fun travelling with a young baby on your own, he should be there at least to break up the journey for you and to help you across London to the hospital. I am blind also and there is just no way my dh would have made me go to London on my own with such a young baby, not because he didn’t think I could, but because he thinks I shouldn’t have to and because he’s my husband and my ds’ father and he’s there to support us both.

Where abouts do you live?

I do think you and your dh need to have a serious chat, maybe get a babysitter and go for a meal so you can talk without the destraction of the baby. Things just don’t seem right for you atm and IMO the longer you leave them, the less likely things are to improve.

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