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.
Seven months is prime age for separation anxiety isn't it?
It is hard to soothe ebf babies. My husband found it hard.
However, He did one day a week child care when I went back to work and it was brilliant for all of us. He learned how to cope. He did things differently which threw me a bit at first. It was only coping on his own that taught him how to soothe and calm and later to play with a baby.
My husband had a hard time of it initially, although he suffers with depression and anxiety that was going untreated at that point, he wasn’t confident in his own abilities so panicked which then turned to stress and of course no one was calming down by that point.
I would still go out but just for an hour at a time and I would build it up. I would also try not to ever intervene if he had DD when we were all together.
I did stop breastfeeding at 4months which I think helped to be honest, but realise that’s not on the cards for you yet.
Don’t worry, just react to him the way you want him to react to the babies, if you are calm, it will make the whole atmosphere in the house better
You sound a bit overbearing tbh
If my DH criticised the way I was trying to soothe my babies I’d be fuming
And him being angry when you got back was clearly just him being stressed and upset- have you never snapped in the same situation?
I would start going out more ( reasonably) and for longer.If he has to spend more time with them on his own , he will work out his own less frantic method. The pram is a great idea for a start.
I'd say he yells because he's stressed and frustrated because he knows you can fix what he can't.
He'll be picking up quite clearly that you think he's incompetent and can't be trusted. Give him more chances , not less.
He really just needs to learn his own coping methods and be with them more. One of the things I love about my dh is when I went back to travelling for work and was leaving him with a baby who was used to having EBM at nursery, but not at night, he just got on with it and never moaned or told me when it was difficult.
Is there any of his friends/family who is a decent dad who could be recruited to talk to him?
Resist trying to sort it for him. Just say I know it's exhausting and I've had more practice but I need to be away sometimes. And let him find his own ways. There's probably plenty of new mums too who straight away moan at their partners when they walk in the door. We agreed we both needed 'adjustment time' of ten minutes when we came in from work to small children.
Give him and the babies a chance to learn. Make a plan with him so he knows he and the babies are practicing letting you go out. He needs to recognise he and the babies need to be able to manage without you.
Take one twin out for an hour,
get your mum over to stay with him for an hour while he has two,
Build up the time you leave them.
He'll get more confident,
I can see how it would be hard. My babies were not ebf but DH struggled to settle both of them (not twins) as they were both Velcro to mum babies! My youngest is 6.5 m now and he's just getting confident in settling her and it's our second child.
I know what you mean about the jiggling. I used to say to DH that when they were really kicking off he'd end up doing an 'angry rock' where he'd be so frustrated he'd be cuddling but jigging about like a loon and it did no one any favours. Try telling him to put himself in the position of a distressed baby and see how he'd like being held like that. They pick up on your stress.
I don't see that it's a bad thing that a mother might say nicely 'that's not going to work, but this is what I do....' It's not being critical, it's giving them a nudge in the right direction when actually the mum (usually, and in this case and mine) is the one that does the majority of care and is, if you like, the expert. Dads do need to find their own way but there's nothing wrong with giving them a helping hand.
OP he needs to start taking your feedback onboard but you equally need to make sure it's phrased in such a way that it's helpful feedback not moaning at him. And I agree, more time alone is needed so he learns, from you and also his own way.
If he's just being lazy and expecting you to sort it then he needs to sort himself out though. Too many men just think of the tough bits of parenting (like settling fractious babies) as mums job and are only too happy to hand it over!
I am wondering why this man should be forced to do something he is finding so difficult. Who is helping him?
Definitely you need to leave him with them more! Whether I feel sorry for him depends if he’s tried everything. Ask if it would help If you leave a list.
A list sounds like: stay calm. Is nappy dirty? Are they too hot/ cold? Can they be distracted with toys? Snacks? Have you gently done tiger in the tree hold for 5 mins? Winded them? Cycled legs? Sung twinkle twinkle? Made silly faces?
Etc etc. Of course it’s hard and endless but that’s what we do. Caveat- twins must be very difficult!
confusedbeetle it doesn’t sound like he was forced to have dc at all. Now he does, he is looking after them. Because he’s a parent.
I have just seen that you are exclusively breastfeeding and planning on extended( how ever long that takes). It would be useful for you to take a step back and look at the needs of yourself, the twins and Dad,
1. You are breastfeeding, a special place, only you can do it. your babies know this. all lovely and cozy but you need to be with them all the time.
2. Babies are well ready for weaning. There is a window and if you leave it much later you may have difficulties.
3. By being super feeder and Dad not managing. you are emasculating him.
You say yoou want to be able to leave them and yet are moving heaven and earth to be the only one who can sooth them. EBM in bottle is not impressive tp most babies. It is the breast they want,
Put up or allow the babies to develop to the next stage of feeding
He needs to get used to looking after them, although one can jar the nerves, never mind two! What would happen if you had to go into hospital? Would he dump them on his dm?
@Confusedbeetle I think you are very confused, apt username. Perhaps he needs to look after the children because he's their father? Not a put upon babysitter?!
It's perfectly possible to ebf and be able to leave them for short periods, especially after 6m. And not all babies wean immediately at 6m. Mine is currently 6.5 months and not the least bit interested in food yet. We're trying, every day but it can take time (and she's not BF at all now she's been FF since 12 weeks).
I ebf. And leave my baby with dh. I’ve just started switching to bottles two weeks ago and will still be feeding overnight when I go away without him for two nights next weekend. How do I know dh will be able to settle him to sleep? Because he’s done it a million times already.
3. By being super feeder and Dad not managing. you are emasculating him.
God in heaven. No she is not 'emasculating him' by breastfeeding their children. Plenty of breastfed babies the world over can be comforted perfectly well by their Dads - but it does require Dad to actually work at finding ways to comfort them, not panic and stress and yell at Mum about it.
He needs to find his own ways to comfort them. It's up to him if he wants to take suggestions from you OP or just try new ideas himself until something clicks, either is fine, but trying one method (manic jiggling) and then panicking and giving up when it doesn't work is not the way forward. Tell him you absolutely sympathise with how stressful it is to have two crying babies you can't calm, it's horrible, but just as you had to learn ways to calm them he's going to have to as well because you can't never go out ever again. He could start by taking one of them out at a time and build up from there.
YOU ARE NOT EMASCULATING HIM BECAUSE YOU ARE BREAST FEEDING!!!! Yes I'm shouting
I think the way to deal with this is to leave them with him more often and for longer periods! He needs to learn, the only way he can do that is by actually DOING it, the same way you have learned. I guess maybe you can't leave more than a few hours at a time because of breastfeeding so fine work around feeds but do it more frequently. I don't think soothing them has anything to do with breastfeeding unless this changes as they get older idk I'm not an expert, I only EBF for 6 weeks and mixed fed til 12 but DH was an involved and loving father from the start and could soothe DD better than me when she was a newborn, without using a boob! (She's a 'high needs' baby and at 9 months still cries a lot of each day.) He's obviously just not very involved and that is the main issue like you saying he hasn't been involved in weaning for example. Weaning was a process DH and I are doing together, obviously I've been at home more on mat leave but we've almost always had our evening meal together and then weekend meals all together so he has been an active part of the weaning process. Dads shouldn't be allowed or enabled to just opt out of parenting their own children. This should have been nipped in the bud in the early weeks instead of it getting to the situation you are now in. But now you're here and you need to fix it asap for everybody's sake.
Slight variation on some of the advice above - I'd start with getting him to do more hands on care when you're around. That may be in the same room, or the next room - depending on what is comfortable for your twins. That way the DC get used to being around Dad (and vice versa) without being stressed that you're not around. Hopefully this will help all three be calmer, enjoy being together a bit more and start a positive circle.
However, this will only work if he is willing to use this as an opportunity to become more comfortable and doesn't immediately hand the child over the moment they get upset. As they get more comfortable around each other you can be away more and more.
Just wow at confusedbeetle’s ridiculous comment!
I only have one baby and often think how hard twins must be. Mine was EBF too and wouldn’t take a bottle. It was hard for DH at first but we really worked on it. He would take the baby every morning for an hour before work so I could have a lie in. DS got really used to daddy time and DH got used to alone time with the baby. Agree with the pps - your DH just needs loads of practice, maybe starting with just one twin. It would be nice for all of you to have one on one time with the babies too presumably.
Wow there are some strong opinions knocking about here! I think it is hard, especially with you first child(ren), not to get into a mum as expert thing, particularly when breastfeeding and being with them most of the time. It may just be me, but when I decided to night wean my first DD, I realised I was actually terrified that the boob was my main parenting tool, and I was going to have to find other ways of soothing her. I can imagine dad sees that a bf mum has this easy way of fixing things. I also used to find my DH quite frantic in his soothing of her, jiggling her so roughly, and started off really critical but actually some of his methods in the end turned out to be the most effective and ones I adopted, like rockingthe pram really vigorously for naps. I really had to bite my tongue at times as his way was so different to mine, and many times I failed to do this, or he would be proud and stubborn about taking feedback.
It sounds like you both need to sit down and talk about your respective experiences. You both are in the thick of it, it’s the hardest months and with twins too - I’m sure he’ll be more likely to listen if he feels empathised with, and you will feel better if he understands what it’s like to come home from a rare break cheery and get shouted at. You are both going through a lot but in different ways - I found at this stage every argument descended into the same ‘I’ve got it harder than you’ story, but it’s not comparing like with like, you both have different challenges. Have a bit of chocolate together and relax tonight if the kids will allow
Hi OP, not twins but similar position (7 month, but premie so younger age adjusted. Breastfed etc.)
I found that getting my DH more hands on when I'm around helped. More time playing/ doing tummy time. My DH reads the bedtime story etc. Getting DH to rock and cuddle DS at bedtime after he's had a feed for a few weeks.
My very velcro baby is now much happier being soothed/ left with his dad. He sometimes grizzles a bit at first, but then is fine.
Also found he will take a small bit if milk in a cup. He's a bottle refuser too.
Managed to get out for 2 1/2 hours on Friday
However my DM can’t either and they are usually OK when she looks after him.
Your DH is a dick who basically doesn't see why he needs to make an effort to learn how to even keep calm and learn what makes his own children tick. That's basically it, from what you've said.
He learns now or you'll eventually split. Say this and mean it.
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