Can’t leave DH alone with our twins!(49 Posts)
I could use some advice as I’m really not sure what to do about this issue.
We have seven month old twins and I cannot leave them alone with DH for any decent length of time without coming home to babies having meltdowns and a stressed to bits DH.
For example I had a driving lesson yesterday. I was out a bit longer than planned, nearly two hours in total. I walked through the door to find both babies in hysterics and DH immediately started having a go at me about how long I’d been.
They are ebf, but twin two will happily take a bottle of ebm. Twin one is a little less keen. I’d fed them just before I left to make sure they weren’t hungry.
DH says they just cry all the time when I’m not there (they are generally very happy, chilled out babies) He’s saying it’s because they are breastfed and he can’t just get a boob out for them! However my DM can’t either and they are usually OK when she looks after him. I feel like I can’t leave my babies with their own father and it’s really getting to me.
What do I do?
You tell him to grow up and parent his children.
I’ve tried! I pointed out that I somehow survive all day with them when he’s on 12 hour shifts.
I spoke to my MIL and her sterling advice is that as long as they are fed, changed and warm then crying is just a noise and you get used to it!
I had this, honestly he used the excuse until I stopped breastfeeding as much at a year. I now only breastfeed in the mornings when we get up and he has him while I'm at work and gets him to bed better than me! It's just a lazy excuse! My baby would be crying becuase he had a dirty nappy and rather than change him, my husband would assume he needed breastmilk and shove him at me
You let him find a way of settling them and cracking on with it! It sounds harsh but I've been there, done that. Dd was the same, I did everything for her because I think you tend to in the early days, DH picked up the slack elsewhere. And that's how we stayed until she was about 8 months. Then I went back to work and DH had Dd 2/3 days a week.
The first few weeks were hell. I'd get home to a grisly clingy baby and a husband that slowly dipped into almost depression because he felt like such a failure. It wasn't anyone's fault but each time he would have Dd and I was around, as soon as she cried or made a fuss, I'd swoop in and sort it.
It wasn't helped by the fact that DH thought he should also be doing everything household wise while he had Dd, he was putting too much pressure on himself (if I'm at home with dd we share those tasks).
I had no option but to go to work so he had to get on with it and find ways of soothing her. She's 3 now and they are like best friends.
Talk to him, explain that he just needs to keep the 3 of them alive for now when you're out. But he also needs to keep calm. They are still tiny and will obviously want you but if he's getting stressed because they are crying they will pick up on that. If Dd was crying DH used to put music on and dance with her. Sounds naff but he said I drowned out the sound of the crying a bit and gradually she would calm down!
It’s so annoying @Feb I never thought for a moment when babies were first born that I wouldn’t be able to leave them alone with him.
I’m planning on extended breastfeeding so he’s going to be able to use the boob excuse for a good while yet.
I think he gets worked up quickly which sets the babies away. He needs to learn to stay calm but I don’t know how?
If I was on your position I would leave him alone more not less, practice makes perfect and your MIL is right in a way, your DT won’t come to any harm crying for a bit and it will give him the practice he needs to learn to settle them, if he knows you are back in a bit he may as well leave them and let you sort it. That is why he was cross you were longer than expected, he was pushing it out for you to sort.
I agree you need to leave him more - he was waiting for you to come back and sort them out.
I think you’re being a little hard on him. Youbdi have the advantage of whipping a boob out to settle your dc and he’s right that he can’t just do that. Of course he needs to find his own ways of settling them but don’t underestimate how tricky that can be to establish when they are predominantly with you and used to it on tap.
But presumably they’re weaned at 7 months, so can’t he distract them with solid food? Or toys? Or jiggling them about? Or the telly? Or the million other tactics people use to distract grizzly babies?
Sounds like he is trying out strategic incompetence, if he can make it a horrible experience to walk in the door after leaving them a couple of hours, he can ‘train’ you never to leave him with them. Personally I would suggest to him that it seems he needs more practice at it in order to learn his own techniques, and start leaving them with him more frequently.
For starters he needs to learn how to communicate better.
"Where were you, the babies have been in hysterics, what were you thinking"
"I'm so glad you're home, the babies have been crying and I've been really worried about them, I need your help"
See if he can get his head around the concept of owning his perceptions rather than blaming someone else.
He needs to discover what his own repertoire and skills are. He sees you solve 90% of issues by getting the babies on the boob and he has no confidence in his own abilities yet.
Can you leave him with one twin at a time to help train him up just in the short term. Give him lots of positive praise for any little successes he has.
It must be very frustrating for you but by helping him a bit now it'll be to your benefit in the long run.
My ds2 would scream constantly for about three months every time I left him. This was age 7-11 months as I'd never had need to.leave him before. Poor DH would do a days work and then have to look after an 18 month old and a screaming constantly 7 month old for the whole evening while I worked. It was hellish for him. Your DH needs both empathy and support to stay calm. You'll need to accept they will get upset and support but not criticise him for it. It's super stressful with a baby that can't calm.
That being said - do you think he's physically doing everything ok? Eg it's not neglect or anything? If it's not just give it time.
I could be wrong but that's my experience
A pp had the perfect answer- he needs more time alone with them.
Have you tried saying out loud what you are doing to settle your babies other than feeding them? Doing things like rubbing their backs or humming softly etc might be natural and obvious to you but might not be obvious to him? Have you tried “coaching him” - talking him through what to do from the doorway for example? If your babies are only used to being calmed and settled by you then it will always be harder. Get him trying while you’re around and then go out more for short periods, get him feeling some success and then you can start going out for longer etc and things will be easier. Twins are hard!
When ye are both there does he manage one baby while you manage the other eg nappy changing etc.? This way he is learning ways to cope without being totally overwhelmed.
As said twins are tough and not easy when breast feeding mom is out.
My bil left us ..dh and l with twins to babysit at about that age . The two of them roared after a while. With one each we both walked up and down cuddling, singing etc. No luck. It was very stressful as we didn't want them distressed. Eventually we lay them on our big bed for a moment to rethink as we were getting desperate. They both fell fast asleep immediately. The relief!!
I have some sympathy for your dh. . Lots of breastfeeding mums can't leave one baby not alone two.
He needs to get out of the house and he needs his confidence boosting so he believes he actually can do it. But that can only come from going through the pain barrier and doing it more.
I'm generally not one to defend the men, but here I've got to. I only had one baby, but around three months of age she refused to take a bottle and would cry her eyes out any time she was apart from me. I had only one friend who could deal with her by swaddling her.
Then my dgd was the same and it was my turn to have to try to soothe a baby who just wanted her mummy.
I think you re being really hard on him actually
BF babies who won’t take a bottle and are only just weaned are very attaycher to their mum- he must feel terrible when he can’t settle them easily and yes they will pick on his distress but he’s unlikely to be doing it on purpose
You swooping in all saviour like won’t help esp if you then berate him
Do more together and let him manage the one twin who will have a bottle to start with. He will find his own ways as they get older but for now it’s harder and that must feel rotten as the parent they are less attached to actually.
I was in a similar position, very comforted by feeding baby and a husband fairly hands off. Only thing that sorted it was me going back to work at 8 months. He went from never having him to having to get him up and ready for nursery and a full 12 hours on his own on a Saturday. I still fed completely on demand for another 9 months from then so he couldn't get away with that excuse!
I honestly feel because I did everything he didnt have much confidence on his own and it just took him a wee while to find it. They became thick as thieves after that but I did take a big change (that I couldn't help- therefore he couldn't have a go about me being out all day)
It’s early days OP. YouR twins are presumably very attached to you and have to learn to be settled by others. Your DH also needs to learn how to settle them. These both take time and practice! It’ll be hard on DH because the twins will cry and get upset because they want you back. Take it slowly if you can, they will get there in the end.
It gets easier as they get better at taking food in more ways. Does the one that is less keen on the bottle take anything at all that way? My DD took ages to get used to taking a bottle from DH (she was ebf and very keen on it), but would take one from my DMum, which I think was just because she picked up that DM was more confident. Once DD had done it a few times, she would then do it for DH. She NEVER took a full bottle from me, the only time she was desperate enough to really try was once in the car (stuck in traffic, didn’t want to take her out of car seat).
He may be a lazy fucker who thinks caring for the babies is really your job.
But hopefully he's just struggling to be a Dad. As others have said, he needs lots more time alone with them so that he builds up confidence and strategies. So you need to get out of the house for as long as possible at least several times a week. Just like everything worth doing, it takes practice.
Sit down with him and gather ideas to try, maybe basic but it may help him to create his own tick list of strategies. Change nappy/time on playmat/music/stroller and park/banana to eat/read a book/ etc.
As for the breastfeeding : The DTs must be eating bits of banana or avocado or such by now? He can feed them if he thinks they are hungry.
Yes- he definitely needs to get more practice. He will learn how to look after them by spending time doing it. At the same time, the babies get used to him, and with that extra familiarity become more comforted by his presence.
Do not swoop in and rescue him.
How do you comfort the DTs if you don’t think they are hungry? Would you still offer them your boob if they start crying?
Point taken that I’m possibly being too hard on him.
I think as said upthread it’s the way he framed it that pissed me off. I’m with them 24/7 and the one time I leave them I get yelled at the minute I walk back through the door. I was in a good mood too which made me even more annoyed when he started having a go!
He did have nursery songs they usually love on but it didn’t make a difference apparently. The trouble is he has a very frantic way of trying to soothe them. He’ll jiggle them about and move them around quickly which makes it worse. I’ve tried telling him not to do it that way but he doesn’t listen.
He says I’m always saying everything he does with them is wrong. I try not too but it’s so hard when he doesn’t listen to me!
I’ve started weaning, but they aren’t taking much yet. They were premature so their corrected age is less than seven months. They don’t enjoy food enough yet for it to be a distraction iyswim. Plus DH hasn’t really gotten involved with helping me wean them so far.
Him taking them out in pram is a good suggestion. He’s never actually taken them out by himself and I think he really needs to start.
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